August 27, 2016

lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon 2016 Race Recap

If you don’t read anything else, I’ll just let you know that the lululemon SeaWheeze Half Marathon was AMAZING. It is WELL-worth the money and the trip if you can make it a little racecation/vacation in my opinion. If you are interested in more of the details, let’s continue. Also I’ll just say that I have a lot to say and thought about splitting it up into expo and race but figured I’d put off the post if I did that so here’s my attempt to not be too wordy yet give you all the details. 

lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon 2016 Race Recap


Registration for this race was $128 Canadian which is like $95 ish dollars US. That’ pretty much the cost of a lot of the bigger half marathons these days AND instead of a race shirt I may or may not ever wear I got a pair of awesome lululemon shorts in a special edition Seawheeze print (I chose the speed shorts because I love them) plus extra goodies before even running the race. ) which are like over $50 in store anyways. I received my entry through a giveaway last minute so I picked up my shorts at the expo but other people had theirs mailed to them ahead of time which is sweet.

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Pre-Race

I took an Amtrak train from Seattle to Vancouver (first time to Vancouver or BC!) for around $34 with an early bird fare which had pretty views and was nice because I could relax and nap too. Friday morning I went to the November Project-Vancouver Pop-Up workout which was super fun-so many tribes were represented!

The event has a Showcase Store of lululemon items in a special limited-edition print. It opened to runners from 7-11 and then to the public and apparently people camp out. The line was ALL the way around the building at 6:29 when the NP workout started, and we all high-fived everyone in line. 

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I even finally met this lady Carlee at the NP-workout! 
After the workout I grabbed my gear at check-in at the race expo area at the Vancouver Convention Center which was super-fast. You received a wristband, a really cute, nice mesh bag for gear check as well as sunglasses, a tube of Nuun, a water bottle and your race number which was two timing chips for your shoes and a number for your bag-no traditional bibs for this race! 

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They also had lots of little tents outside with the vendors and hair-braiding stations, places to get temporary tattoos, and more-it reminded me a lot of the Nike race expos which don't have any non-sponsor, more traditional race vendors. 

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Of course I stopped by the Nuun Hydration booth and got my bottle filled up with Watermelon Nuun!

I ended up going into the showcase store later around 10:45 when the line was a lot shorter and walked away with some shorts, socks, and a headband. Everything is still full price and honestly I was there for the race, not with buying more lululemon as my number one priority so I was satisfied. 

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There were also a  bunch of yoga classes going on all day but unfortunately I didn’t make any of them.


Race Day

For race morning, weather was a bit warmer and more humid than I was expecting and apparently a bit warmer and sunnier than usual for Vancouver. I thought it felt pretty good compared to the record high temperatures happening in Baltimore that very same weekend. There was also a BEAUTIFUL sunrise as I got to race start area. 

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(source)

The race had 10,017 registered runners and the start was self-seeded with no corrals, which I HATE, so even though they had wave starts, the start area was really crowded. It was so congested I couldn’t get into the 1:40 or 1:45 corrals and had to wait until the first wave left. Sidenote, it was weird running internationally and hearing the Canadian national anthem before the race!  The first couple of miles were definitely spent trying to relax and ease into the run as well as maneuver around people not going my speed.

I was really unsure how I wanted to run the race. I spent the first half of the race trying to run it at marathon race pace like my marathon training and eventually was having so much fun and feeling so good that I decided to just run faster. The course was also a lot flatter than I expected which helped me feel great.  Running through Stanley Park was really awesome because it was SO gorgeous.

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Many of the back end of the course miles took us along the Seawall which was SO gorgeous. I even snapped a few selfies and photos of the view because there was no way I couldn’t. With the beautiful sunny weather and the water, I totally wished at a few points I could just stop running and hang out on Kitsilano Beach or along the Seawall instead.  It was definitely top 3 most beautiful races as far as views/scenery that I’ve run. 

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Seawall selfie! 
There was no puppy cheer squad which was advertised and disappointing but apparently had to be disbanded because of the heat.  There were however tons of other cheer squads including secret agent costumed cheerleaders (to go with the ‘secret agent’ them), police officers, mermaids, a fancy dance party, people cheering from a party boat, and guys holding signs flying out of water-fueled jet packs. SERIOUSLY.

As the race was ending I was ready to finish as I always am during half marathons I finished in 1:42 and felt really strong finishing the run faster however I was a little annoyed that the course was longer than 13.1 and closer to 13.4 according to my Garmin (and others agreed!).  I was super happy with my time and place in the top 250 finisher ::woop woop:: 
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The medal wasn’t revealed until you got it after finishing-it was huge and heavy and looks really artsy and cool. The outside edge has a hidden message that says ‘mission accomplished’!
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Post-Race

It was literally like trick or treating when we finished. First we got bottle of Smart water at the finish, which you know means this ish is fancy.

I first hugged a bunch of the Nuun Hydration team who was handing out tablets right after the finish. We got a chic navy blue finisher’s hat and a bag to put everything in (which is a must at finish lines!), plus a cold washcloth, KIND bars, Vega recovery and protein powders, and Saje body products as well as getting spritzed and rolled by their refreshing spray and muscle recovery oils . 

If that wasn’t awesome enough they had a kickass brunch box that included an egg and roasted red pepper breakfast sandwich on focaccia bread, red grapes, and a cherry strudel.  After hydrating a bit I totally demolished that breakfast sandwich. I walked in and got in line for a runner’s massage which was the post-race massage I’ve had at a race. It was like 15 minutes of heaven.

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After showering, going to a Nuun post-race meet up at Steamworks Brewery and then the November Project Happy Hour I made my way over to the Sunset Festival in Stanley Park.

The Sunset Festival was free for runners and also had tickets available for purchase for others. It had a music festival vibe with a few bands and beers and food for purchase including a special beer brewed for the race weekend called the Courageous Blonde.  They also had a huge yoga practice going on, but I didn’t have a mat and the shuttle from the convention center took a little longer than I thought so I was fine missing out on that. I ended the night dancing to Chromeo’s entire set with some NP friends from Calgary and having so much fun.  Kudos to Lululemon for not only putting on a fun race, but also a great after-party. 
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The Bottom Line


For the registration fee and the US to Canadian exchange rate right now, this race is definitely a must-do even if you aren’t a huge lululemon fan.  It was one of the most fabulous race experiences I’ve had! Although I must add that I heard that some finishers who finished after me didn’t get water or hats and didn’t bother waiting in line for the brunch and everything because it was so long so not everyone had a great time. Finally, I received great customer service from all the lululemon staff I interacted with including special touches like staff cheering when my friends and I walked inside to pick up our bags at gear check! 

If you want another sneak peak at all the fun, check out this awesome race video lululemon created about the 2016 race. 



August 23, 2016

#WeirdWorkout Campaign with Prana and Organic Valley & Grouse Grind-ing.

This post is sponsored by prAna and Organic Valley through my partnership with FitApproach. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
I wanted to let you all know about this awesome giveaway hosted by prAna and Organic Valley that is happening because who doesn’t love winning things. Especially when the giveaway is offering 10 winners the chance to earn $300 in credit to use at prAna.com, a 2-month supply of Organic Valley, and lots of free swag. To keep it short and sweet, you can go right ahead now and find out more details and enter here
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The contest runs from August 15th through the 31st , 2016  so hurry up and 
If you aren’t familiar with both brands, they are great. I haven’t had the opportunity to own any prAna gear yet although I’ve tried some on at my local yoga studio. PrAna’s mission is to inspire healthy, active, free-spirited living (which is right up my alley) and create versatile, stylish, and sustainable clothing and accessories to wear during every adventure. 
 Organic Valley’s Organic Fuel shakes are made with only 9 ingredients with protein coming from real organic milk made by pasture-raised cows on Organic Valley family farms. Their product is lactose-free, gluten-free, and free from GMO’s and hormones too which I love.
You can also SAVE 15% on prAna.com purchase right away with my code PFS16BDAS, valid through October 31, 2016.
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When I was out west, I got to do some weird workouts-at least out of the ordinary for me!  No, I’m not talking about November Project :) 
I've been saying FOREVER to my boyfriend and friends that I want to do more trail running and hiking in my life so I'm happy that I definitely did some in Seattle and Vancouver.  
I completed the Grouse Grind, which if you didn't think walking up a mountain was a workout, you are mistaken. I was drenched in sweat by the time I finished.  Hiking up Grouse Mountain via the Grouse Grind is 2,830 steps and 2.9 km (1.8 miles) ascent with 853 metres or 2800 feet of elevation gain. YIKES.  
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Luckily there is a nice little chalet at the top which meant amazing views as the sunset, food, and beer with friends as a reward! It was definitely one of my favorite out-of-the-ordinary workouts despite being tough! Luckily everyone in the group was up to pay the $10 CAD to take the gondola back down the mountain at the end of the evening. I highly suggest it is a Vancouver tourist attraction if you are up for the challenge. 
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What is one weird workout you have done lately? Do you enjoy hiking? 

August 19, 2016

On Traveling Solo

I haven't posted in a bit because I was travelling out on the west coast. I had an amazing time at Seawheeze half marathon (more on that later) and fell in love with Vancouver, British Columbia. Who wants to move to the pacific northwest with me, haha? Taking the whole trip solo was a really great experience. I've done plenty of longer weekend solo trips including 2 last month, but this was the first time in a while that I was travelling solo for a full week.  

Of course everywhere I went people were asking who I was travelling with and were a little surprised when I said I was out here alone.  I'm assuming the feelings are the same ones I was having. People are scared of being lonely, feeling unsafe, or looking like they don't have anybody-similar to taking yourself out to dinner alone.  I have some social anxiety which makes it a little understandable for me but still, people are constantly on their phones and rarely just sitting anytime they are on public transit or waiting for someone. The beginning of the trip during my couple days in Seattle was still a little stressful for me. I had some things going on in my personal life still messing with my head and was feeling a little insecure about being out on my own. 

Obviously I had friends.acquaintances, and November Project people I met up with in Seattle and Vancouver so it wasn't like I was in a completely foreign place with no one. Still, there were a few days where the world was my oyster, and I had hours and hours to fill. I was also having a stressful feeling those first few days like "what am I doing here?" & "why am I spending all this money when I'm a broke graduate student?". There was also the big question of "What in the world do I want to do, today?" 

Eventually post-race in Vancouver, I spent a lot of time outdoors and with the amazing views that Vancouver has to offer and reached a really nice place of zen that I had not found in a while. It was a very centering experience and has helped solidify for me some things that I was feeling anxious about. I am an awesome person and settling for anything in life is not worth it. I may be paying off this trip for months, but it was freaking worth it. My saying that I always tell people is that I'll never have time and money all at once, so if I want to travel-I'm going to make it work. That has been my feeling really since the amazing experience I had flying across the country to go run Hood to Coast in Oregon 2 years ago this month. Flying solo and being able to stay in hostels or Airbnbs nowadays also helps keep things cheaper! 


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Top of Quarry Rock in Vancouver, BC
Also travelling solo became really relaxing. My day didn't have to be jam-packed scheduled with things. I didn't have to worry about someone else's schedule or figuring out what they wanted to do. If I wanted to grab a coffee and pastry and leisurely window-shop for a couple hours, cool. If I wanted to check out this art museum that I really wanted to go to it was great. I didn't worry about if others were bored or how long to spend at each piece-I took my time.  Another perk was that pretty much any restaurant or place that had a bar meant not waiting for a table!  I got okay with sitting at a bar and grabbing a beer to watch the Olympics at night. I love planning, but I spent a lot of time living in the moment and letting the day take me where it would. Jumping into plans I was just invited to turned out to be the best times of the trip.  

As far as for Seawheeze I was in a Facebook group, and there were many "orphans" or people who were coming out solo for the race that connected and posted about meeting up for dinner or activities. I ended up meeting a fellow Baltimore runner lady for dinner after connecting on the Facebook group!

While travelling with family and friends is great, I really recommend that everyone travels solo even for just a weekend. I would also like to thank Google Maps and Starbucks free wifi for making navigating an unfamiliar place easy for a lady with a terrible sense of direction like myself. I saw an amazing part of the country and met some awesome people.  Now the hard part is being back in the real world with school, work, and stress and trying to keep this little piece of zen inside me. 


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This quote at the top of Grouse Grind has become my mantra for the trip and beyond!

This post was linked up with my fave Friday Linkup ladies CourtneyMar, and Cynthia  as well as Nicole and Amanda.

Have you ever traveled solo? Have you ever taken a solo race-cation? 

August 11, 2016

Remora Tracking: Safety for Runners and Beyond

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. I am friends with one of the entrepeneurs behind Remora Tracking and wanted to share information about their product. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 


As a female runner living in a city, safety is always on my mind. There have been two recent unfortunate incidents and attacks on female runners in NY and MA that were in the news recently that always serve as a reminder to me to stay vigilant. I’m sharing a new awesome product that promotes safety and is a project that my fellow 2014 Hood to Coast Nuun teammate Sean as well as 4 other Phoenix-based entrepreneurs just launched on Kickstarter called Remora Tracking.

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I spend lots of time running around the city by myself. 
Remora Tracking is a car-key sized device that clips onto pretty much anything and can locate anything in real time WITHOUT the use of a cellphone. That part is key for me especially because sometimes I don’t run or race with my cell on me.  It’s also waterproof so it can be used for swimmers, boaters, and more.  It has safety alerts that get automatically sent to stored emergency contacts in case you are wearing it and get hurt, go unconscious, leave a pre-determined geofence area, or if the temperature in your location rises or drops to a pre-determined level. 

Remora Tracking Founder and CEO Nicole Zeno said “I got the idea because in the 12th hour of the Ironman Arizona race, my dad asked me, ‘Where is your friend on the course?’ All I could answer was, ‘I don’t know,’ and I thought there must be a better way’.

What exactly is Remora Tracking? 


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Remora Tracking is a small and lightweight device that uses cellular and GPS technologies and doesn’t have to be connected to a phone to work. After using GPS to determine the device’s location, it communicates with the built-in cellular antenna to transmit the location of the device to Remora’s database where it can then be accessed by your emergency contacts or friends. 

Along with your location, Remora uses an Accelerometer, Gyroscope and Thermometer to send other important metrics to the database as well. Besides athletes or runners, it can be used for pets, children, teens, valuables, and persons with special needs to help keep people or valuables safe. You could know when your pet escapes the yard by attaching it to its collar or have peace of mind knowing someone is safe.

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I definitely encourage you to support the Remora Tracking Kickstarter campaign and check out their page to see a demo and get more information. I think this is a really great product for everyone but especially as a female and a runner. Sometimes I have my phone out on runs or when travelling, and I don’t have any cell phone service so knowing that this doesn’t require my phone makes it really innovative.  

August 8, 2016

Chicago Marathon Training Weeks 5&6 Recap

I just saw today that we only have 63 days until Chicago. What?!? I've just been chugging along in my training, getting in those long runs. Baltimore has been having it's usual summer weather this past month, hot and HUMID. I finally have a few weeks off from school and am soaking in every last day of it.  Here's a recap of weeks 5 & 6 of my Chicago Marathon training. 

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Marathon Training 2016 Week 5 (7/18-7/24)

Monday: easy recovery run, 5 miles
Tuesday: 5K coaching group, 2 miles
Wednesday: November Project Baltimore workout and run, 5 miles
Thursday:  Tempo run, 6.6 miles
Friday: November Project Baltimore hills for breakfast run, 5 miles
Saturday: HOT HOT HOT long run and coaching, 16.3 miles. Had to split it up briefly to coach but happy to get it done strong. 
Sunday: Rest

Total miles: 39.9


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Week 6- crushing stairs and burpees at #NP_BAL PR Day {Photo thanks to Gio}
Marathon Training 2016 Week 6 (7/25-7/31)
Monday: Treadmill easy miles and 20 minutes upper body weightlifting, 5 miles
Tuesday: 5K coaching group and easy harbor miles, 4 miles 
Wednesday: November Project Baltimore PR Day workout with an 8.0 PR!, 5 miles
Thursday:  HUMID and HOT too late tempo run, 5 miles
Friday: November Project Baltimore workout running bleachers at JHU, 1.29 miles
Saturday:Drenched #sportsbrasquad humid long run and 5K group coaching, 14 miles + 3.1 run/walk coaching. 
Sunday: 60 minute #ChurchofEC spin class at Rev Cycle Studio with Sarah

 
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