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An amazing SPIbelt giveaway and a cautionary tale about my first ever marathon...

How's this for exciting? This week I'm partnering with SPIbelt to give away one of their large pocket belts in the limited edition 'Perfect Paisley' pattern. I have long been a fan of SPIbelt--SPI stands for Small Personal Items. The whole idea is that you can slap the belt around your waist and all your essentials are close at hand for your runs! I've been a proud owner of a SPIbelt since October 10th, 2008. Want to know how I know that so specifically? Read on...

My first ever marathon was October 11th, 2008. The Baltimore Marathon, to be exact. I had never participated in a single race as an adult, but my good friend Maggie said to me "Hey! You like running, I like running, let's run a marathon!" I had no idea what a marathon was, but I said "Sure, why not!" and then immediately realized I was in WAY over my head. I half-assed my way through a training plan during an unforgiving D.C. summer. The first time I ran 11 miles without stopping I came home and slept for about 2 hours because it was so exhausting. My roommate found me passed out on my bed still wrapped in a towel. She chalked it up to a boozy endeavor (a good guess). I didn't have a running watch so I would attempt to map out routes in advance, but I now know I was cutting my runs WAY short.

Finally the race weekend rolled around. We had a hotel in Baltimore nearish to the start. We went to the Expo and decided that we needed to get matching SPIbelts--Maggie's was black with a hot pink zipper, mine was black with a neon green zipper. Buying that SPIbelt was pretty much the only smart thing I did in preparation for that race. We ate a bunch of pasta the night before. I can't really remember but I'm sure we had wine--we weren't the kind of people who went to an Italian restaurant and didn't get wine--we're still not.The next morning we got up. We had found a grocery store and ate banana walnut muffins for breakfast, plus a banana. That was mistake # 1. Mistake # 2: I put on cotton underwear and a pair of athletic shorts from Target with no built in briefs. I learned all about chafing that day.

The race started, and I quickly realized that I was super undertrained and that my stomach was really unhappy about the muffin. Mistake # 3 came about when we realized that what Maggie thought she had read as 'a great course for a first time marathoner' actually meant 'this course is hilly as all get out and you're going to struggle'. But you know what? We had our gels safely around our waists, not bouncing, in our brand new SPIbelts. We somehow finished that race in 3:48:03 and despite the chafing, stomach issues, and exhaustion, I was hooked on distance running, and have been doing it ever since. Maggie is still a great friend to this day, in spite of enduring close to four hours next to me while I was having gastric issues. That's how life long friendships are forged in the running world.

I still have my trusty SPIbelt from that day--it has been retired from racing to going around my waist when walking the dogs, and it holds dog treats and poop bags. I've also recommended SPIbelt in my professional life to families who have children who need to keep medicine close at hand (for diabetes, asthma, allergies, etc.) as the fun prints and zippered design mean kids (or adults!) can go about their every day lives and still safely have their necessary items nearby.

This particular SPIbelt that I'm fortunate enough to get to raffle off is large enough to fit an iPhone 6, 6 plus, or 7. It also will fit a Galaxy Note 5 which is a phone I know nothing about because I can only operate an iPhone. It's adjustable, non bouncy, and super cute! Enter below using my trusty RaffleCopter entry form--and good luck!!!

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