November 22, 2017

10 Awesome Holiday Gifts for Runners (Under $50) 2017

Disclosure: I am Lily Trotters and Momentum Jewelry ambassadors and receive complimentary & discounted merchandise from both brands. I love both brands and did not receive any compensation for inclusion in this post. I also am a coach at Charm City Run. All thoughts and opinions in this post are my own. 

So I've got lots to update the interwebs on, like how I ran the Philadelphia Marathon on Sunday. Say what?! This week on the agenda I just have some rest, recovery, Thanksgiving and leftovers eating, and of course holiday shopping. Can you believe it's already that time of year again? I have been resisting getting into the holiday spirit, but really we only have 5 weekends until Christmas so the time is now! Here's 10 awesome holiday gifts under $50 for the runners in your life (::hint::hint:: to all the special people in my life). 

10 Awesome Holiday Gifts for Runners (Under $50) 2017

10 Awesome Holiday Gifts Under $50 For Runners

1. Runner X4 Pint Glass ($10) and 6-pack of beer (recommended: Union Craft Brewing Duckpin Ale, price varies)

Union Craft Brewing Duckpin Ale

This is a perfect gift for that fellow runner and beer-lover in your life. Grab this super cool pint glass for $10 (that I was lucky enough to receive during the RW Half weekend) and a 6-pack of your favorite local beer. 

2. Pair of Lily Trotters compression socks ($48)


These comfortable, stylish compression socks are a local Baltimore business and are the perfect gift for the runner, traveler, or any professional who spends a lot of time on their feet. Plus these socks are easy to get on and off! Compression socks increase circulation which can decrease muscle soreness, prevent blood clots, and keep your veins healthy. Check out the special holiday styles that are now available and perfect for this time of year. 

Save 15% on Lily Trotters all year round with code BREATHEDEEPLY 😍 


3. Momentum Jewelry WISH Wrap ($24.99)

Momentum Jewelry WISH Wrap

Momentum Jewelry just launched their new WISH wraps with beautiful new shimmery leather colors including bronze, platinum, or my favorite-stardust which is a light blue. These cuffs are sparkly and beautiful. You can choose a motivating saying or customize with your own saying or wish for a special runner in your life. 

4. Janji men's Renegade tee ($42.00) or women's Raquel tank ($46.00)

Janji men's Renegade tee or women's Raquel tank


Janji is a great company that connects running apparel to international water access. 10% of each of their sales goes to help fund clean water projects in various countries. Their gear comes in unique patterns and colors inspired by the countries their purchase helps. For instance the Raquel tank gives a year of clean water to someone in Peru.  I also got the scoop that for Black Friday weekend Janji is offering: $25 off $100, $50 off $150, and $75 off $200; and Cyber Monday will have 40% off all past seasons gear. I've had some of Janji gear for years because I love the look and the mission. 


5. Gift certificate to local running store like Charm City Run (price varies)

Support your local running stores and give your runner a chance to treat themselves to some new running fuel or gear or put it towards new running shoes for the new year. Marylanders, definitely check out Charm City Run for all your holiday runner shopping. 

6. Knockaround Sunglasses ($15-30, depending on style)

Knockaround Sunglasses
After grabbing a few pairs of Knockaround sunglasses at November Project Summit last year, they have been my favorite sunglasses to wear all the time and when running. I am currently oogling these glossy tortoise shell/green moonshine Fort Knocks sunglasses. I always get compliments on them, and they are inexpensive enough to pick up a couple pairs in different styles. They are high-quality and durable plus don't slide on my face during races. 

7. Run Fast. Eat Slow cookbook ($14.58 on Amazon) 
Run Fast. Eat Slow cookbook
This cookbook by Olympian and recent NYC marathon women's champ Shalane Flanagan and chef Elyse Kopecky is full of delicious and nutritious meals to fuel runners and non-runners alike. Their second cookbook is coming out this summer so the price has dropped a bit on this one. 

8. I'd Rather Be Running tee from Sarah Marie Design Studio ($30.00) 

I'd Rather Be Running tee from Sarah Marie Design Studio


Isn't this how all runners feel? I love mostly everything from Sarah Marie Design Studio. This unisex, comfy tee is a great addition to a runner's wardrobe. 

9. Stance run socks ($15-36)

Stance socks is another cool company with a cool mission mixing performance with art and self-expression. I currently have these R2D2 socks on my wish list ($22) because I'm a huge Star Wars nerd. I have a pair of their run socks which are quality and comfortable. They also make more casual socks with cool collections such as Disney and a Rihanna collaboration. You can also snag these silly Bart Yasso Stance socks ($18) from Runner's World. 

10. StrideBox gift subscription (1-month gift subscription is $24.95)
StrideBox subscription

StrideBox is a curated subscription box for runners that is fuel of running accessories, fuel and fun each month. StrideBox is one of the only subscription boxes I have tried where I actually use many of the products and have at least a couple products in each box that I actually really like. Subscriptions are on a month-to-month basis and can be cancelled at any time. Their gift subscription options are a unique gift for the holidays.

If you are looking to spend a little more money, you can save 10% off 3 month and 6 month gift subscriptions with code BreatheBlog10 through 12/24/2017.  

Now that I've shared some of my own personal favorite runner gifts, I also need some help building my own holiday wish list.

What are your favorite running gifts to receive or give? 

October 31, 2017

10 Favorite Things from the Runner's World Half Festival 2017

So I've been stalling writing any blog posts about the Runner's World Half Festival because I had such an amazing time and there is so much to say. It was an absolute honor and pleasure to be invited as part of the RW Half Run Crew. I left with sore legs, sweet bling, and new running friends! Since I love lists, I figured I'd start out my post-race weekend recap the way I blogged about what I was most excited about pre-RW Half Festival! Spoiler alert: some of the things I was excited about beforehand DID turn out to be amazing.

10 Favorite Things from the Runner's World Half Festival 2017

My Top 10 Favorite Things from the RW Half Festival Weekend (not in order!) 

1.  The people: The RW Half Run Crew and all the Runner's World employees I met were so nice (Oh and RUNNING WITH RYAN HALL WAS PRETTY FREAKING COOL TOO). We had a such a great group of people in the RW Half Run Crew. 


RW Half Run Crew with Ryan Hall

2. Meeting Ryan Hall: See above re:running with Ryan Hall. It was great to hear him talk about his kids and biggest tip about marathoning is to relax! He said he races best when he is relaxed. 

RW Half 2017 Ryan Hall photo

3. Meeting Bart Yasso and hearing him talk: So apparently everyone likes Bart Yasso because he is actually an awesome and super nice guy! He gave a little talk after our lunch with him that brought me to tears as he read letters from young kids who were inspired by him and "wanted to be Bart Yasso, without all that running crap". Runner's World isn't going to be the same without him when he retires! 

He also said something was really inspired me-"you never know who you're connecting with or influencing, so keep doing it". This relates to me on a professional, personal, and social media level!

Lauren_2017_RW Half-Bart Yasso

4. The dog "race": It was just as amazing as I imagined and the best run of the weekend. I spectated and then got to pet SO MANY DOGS after the race. A few people were serious and ran the 1 mile race with their dogs. Some weren't born for racing. 

RW Half 2017 dog race1

Some decided that 1 loop or 0.5 miles was enough and needed a break. 

RW Half 2017 dog race2

5. The half marathon on Sunday: Doing the grand slam (4 races in 3 days) I was kinda dreading how I'd feel on Sunday for the half marathon and last race of the weekend. I started out slowly and was going to use it as a marathon training pace run but ended up running around 8 minute miles. I was so happy and full of gratitude running. I had so much fun stopping for a couple photos, stopping for some beer from spectators, and taking in all the beautiful scenery.  Running along the tree-lined streets of Bethlehem with perfect weather was absolutely beautiful. 

RW Half Marathon 2017_race1
Photo on the run

RW Half Marathon 2017_race2
Post-half marathon happiness

 6. Free race photos:
Because all races should have them. Seriously though I got a few nice photos during and after the races like this one below after the 10K on Saturday. 



RW Half Marathon 2017_10K-racephoto

7. Exploring the city of Bethlehem (on foot!): As I mentioned before, Bethlehem is a beautiful city. I had only visited once before so seeing a lot of the city on foot via the races. 


I mean look at this sunrise on Friday morning:  
RWHalf_2017_Bethlehem-1

Having all of the races start and finish at the SteelStacks was really cool too. They are really stunning and massive. It's a cool part of history of the town. 

RWHalf_2017_Bethlehem-2

Running over this bridge over the Lehigh River multiple times over the weekend was a highlight as well. 
RWHalf_2017_Bethlehem-3

 8. Learning about Altra Running company and shoes from founder Golden Harper: Golden Harper, the founder of Altra Running gave a whole talk about how the company was founded and how the idea of zero drop shoes came about (you can read a little bit of the story here).  He then gave a very informative seminar about efficient running form (information also available on their website-check it out!). I love trying out the Altra Running HIIT XT shoes we were given before participating in a tough HIIT workout as well as a trying pair of the Escalantes that I ended up running the half marathon in them!   


RWHalf_steelstacks_altrarunning-1

RWHalf_steelstacks_altrarunning-2


RWHalf_altrarunning-HIITXT


 9. Pizza at the end of the trail run: A beautiful site to see after the 3.6 mile trail run on Friday afternoon-that was super fun! 


I repeat, finishing a trail run and seeing all of these boxes of pizza: 
RWHalf_trailrun-pizza

This is the look of true happiness on my face right here. I couldn't even wait to take a photo before taking a few bites. Shout-out to Lehigh Pizza! 
RWHalf_trailrun-2

Oh, and this view after the race was nice too. 
RWHalf_trailrun-3

10.The Bling & Swag: The Grand Slam was my first running challenge of doing multiple races as part of the same event. It was definitely exhausting but was a really fun experience. All of the medals were cool and SteelStacks-themed. It was EVEN COOLER that the Grand Slam runners received a larger half-marathon medal that 

RWHalf2017_medals-1

As part of the RW Half Run Crew, Runner's World hooked us up with an awesome bag of goodies from the vendors including The Stick, Janji, Balega, MoJo Socks, and Altra Running

I also like the long-sleeve Altra race shirt we got as well as the blue backpack I received for registering for the Grand Slam. 
RWHalf2017_swag-1

RWHalf2017_swag-2


 RWHalf2017_medals-2

So the Runner's World Half Festival gets two big thumbs up from me. Running the Grand Slam was a blast, and I loved the other challenge options for doing multiple races. Everything was well-organized and the race courses were fun. 

Thanks to Runner's World you have the chance to win a sweet RW Tote full of running goodies too. Just enter using the Rafflecopter below. U.S. residents only. Giveaway open until 11/7/2017 12 AM. 
 RWHalf2017_swag-tote-1

September 28, 2017

So I'm Boston Bound-Hello Boston Marathon 2018!


So my goal of getting accepted to run the Boston Marathon is becoming a reality. I received an email in my inbox last Sunday night that looked like this: 

boston-marathon-bound-2018-acceptance

I saw the subject line in my inbox and was like HOLY SH#&! 

Now I had put in my application on Friday when it opened up for qualifiers who had a  time over 5 minutes under the qualifying time. I was expecting to hear back on Monday, because silly me assumed people weren't working fast enough to verify results and get a bunch of emails out on Sunday night. So just randomly checking my email Sunday night as dinner was cooking literally really caught me by surprise and I yelled and then got a bit teary. So it was more like omgomgomgomgomogomg


thehills-excited


And then randomly crying on and off. 

I celebrated with some prosecco and supermarket chocolate cake! Okay so really I was planning on having the cake before I got the email, but it was clearly meant to be.

boston-marathon-bound-2018-acceptance2


Running a qualifying time with a big cushion this past year at the Chicago Marathon was really special. Like really FREAKING special. It's been weird since then when I'm talking to people about having another qualifying time with a cushion most likely to get me accepted into the race based on previous years, but not having that official acceptance. I've been saying "well I ran X time, but do not know if I'm officially able to run the race yet." That leads to me explaining that there are only 30,000 spots available for the race with 80% going to qualifiers and the remaining 20% of spots going to charity runners. Therefore in recent years more people apply with qualifying times then there are spots available. This year the cutoff below the qualifying time ended up being 3:23 (more info here). 

I feel like I could drag on about how hard I worked for this.That I had a really freaking strong training cycle last year despite slogging through full-time graduate school, coaching, and working over 25 hours a week, etc.Then that I also had a really great race day where I stuck to my race day plan and things turned out better than expected. 

This dream I've had since running my first full marathon, and yes it was only a dream at first, of qualifying for Boston is REALLY HAPPENING. I know a bunch of friends and virtual running friends who will be there running, and even my parents are planning to watch me run (who have never seen me run a marathon before!). This is one of those big long-term goals that I've finally achieved. Obviously because they are big and long-term, it's not the type of  goal you are crushing every day or even every year. The hard work, the journey makes it even sweeter. 

I want to make you feel super inspired or could babble on about how important this goal is to me, but don't know what I can say that doesn't sound cliche or silly. So here's a little token of my journey I shared on social media. 

💙5 yrs ago (the weekend I received my acceptance email, actually) I ran my first half marathon at Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia
💙 4 yrs ago I ran my first full marathon- the Baltimore Marathon
💙2 yrs ago I qualified by 12 seconds but wasn't accepted to run Boston due to number of runners who applied vs. spots available 
💙1 yr ago I ran my best marathon yet at Chicago 7:36 under my qualifying time
💙2018 I'll be running the Boston Marathon 


hello-boston-marathon-2018

So remember to run happy, dream big, and keep hustlin'. Dreams come to those who hustle. 
See ya in April, Boston.  

August 17, 2017

Join me at the 2017 Runner's World Half Marathon Weekend {Discount & Giveaway}


Today I'm sharing some really freaking exciting news. I literally yelled "OMGGGGGGG
when I saw this email slide into my inbox. 

parks-recreation-andy-excited


I am SO FREAKING PUMPED to share that I'm a part of the 2017 Runner's World Half Run Crew and will be at the Runner's World Half & Festival



2017-Runners-World-Half-Festival-runcrew-1

This year's events start October 20th in Bethlehem, PA and include a 5K, 10K, half marathon, kids races and trail race. There is also several multiple-race options including The Five & Dime (5K & 10K), The Hat Trick (5K, 10K, and Half), and The Grand Slam 26.2 Weekend Marathon. 



I've never attended or run any of the events in this festival, but I'm beyond excited to run in a new festival in a new area. I also have been a subscriber to Runner's World for approximately 4 years since around the time I ran my first half marathon so this is beyond exciting. 



2017-Runners-World-Half-Festival-event-2


Besides running and being a part of the Runner's World Half Run Crew, there's plenty that I am excited about just from attending the festival. 
Here are five things to check out that are sure to make Runner's World Half & Festival a great weekend: 



2017-Runners-World-Half-Festival-event-1

1. Seminars with Altra

Besides all of the awesome races, there will be really awesome events including seminars with help from sponsor Altra with some of the topics including self defense, pregnancy and postpartum as well as one I feel every runner should be educated on-Runner's CPR. 

2. Sara and Ryan Hall

This year there will also be a special Q&A with elite runners Sara and Ryan Hall (who will be running events during the weekend with their kids!). Sara's a professional runner who has recently made appearances in the marathon distance, and Ryan is ran in two Olympic Marathons and h

3. Bart Yasso

Bart Yasso is the legendary runner and longtime Chief Running Officer of Runner's World who is retiring in December. He is having a special book release party Friday, October 20 for his second book during the weekend (4 days before it goes on sale to the public on October 24th!). Check out his book here (love the message of the title!). 

4. A DOG RACE

After the kids races on Saturday there is a 1-mile run for dogs and their owners through the historic ArtsQuest campus. It's FREE with pre-registration. No, I do not have a dog I am just an avid dog- watcher and animal aficionado. By dog watcherk I mean dog creeper and person who loves to pet other people's dogs with permission! 

5. Free beer from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Who doesn't love a delicious free beer after a half marathon? I'm especially excited because Dogfish Head is one of my favorite breweries! 

2017-Runners-World-Half-Festival-dogfishhead-beer

I have so much more to share as the event gets closer including lots of goodies and giveaways for you all.  I have a discount code good for 10% off your registration for any event in the Runner's World Half & Festival-just use BREATHEDEEPLY at checkout when you register. 
2017-Runners-World-Half-Festival-discount-1

You can also try your chances and enter my giveaway for a FREE race entry (thanks to Runner's World!) below. 

What race event (or multiple-race challenge!) would you like to run at the RW Half & Festival? Have you ever run a race at this festival?