Showing posts with label Nuun. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nuun. Show all posts

July 6, 2018

Things That Made Me Happy This Week #1

Hi, it's been a minute since I've typed a post. Honestly I've been going through a rough patch in life, and haven't felt like blogging and/or don't know what to blog about. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I'm  marathon training again (more on that in an upcoming post!). I'm switching things up as one does when things feel stale. Instead of Five Friday Favorites I'm changing this series to "Things That Made Me Happy This Week" inspired by a segment on one of my favorite podcasts Pop Culture Happy Hour on NPR. So despite the sad/mad/frustrating/blah in my life, here is what is making me happy this week: 


1. Lake Street Dive's new album Free Yourself Up

This is my favorite song on the album.
I have been obsessed with this album from Lake Street Dive, a band with a killer lead singer making a mix of pop, soul, and folk rock music. I was SO happy to get to see them at WTMD's free concert series First Thursdays at Canton Waterfront Park. Lake Street Dive put on an amazing performance! 

2. Ice cream and freezy treats

May 11, 2017

What to Pack in Your Marathon Gear Check Bag

Disclosure: I received complimentary product from ShowerPill. As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own. 

When you cross the finish line of a half or full marathon, the first thing you are thinking is YAY, glad that's over. If you are me next you are thinking where can I get a beer, water, banana, and sit down, PLEASE. If it's a big event or one where you plan on hanging out around for the post-race festivities that so many races have now, it might be a good idea to pack a gear check bag. I find this especially true if you're running a big race where it's going to take you a while to get back to your hotel/lodgings/house or you'll be hanging out in your post-race clothes for a while. 

After the Chicago Marathon the past 3 years the weather has been nice, and I've been feeling good so I hang out with friends, have a couple beers, and listen to the music in Grant Park. 
Post-Chicago Marathon 2016 with a beer in one hand and my gear check bag beside me
Now, I'm the type of person that is usually cutting it close to getting to a race start or at least isn't giving myself much time beforehand. Even with marathons which are big deal to me, I still feel like maybe I should give myself some more time to get around. This is particularly true if you're running a huge race or one with security checkpoints. 

I usually hope that I have a friend or my boyfriend to carry some stuff for me until I finish. If not then sometimes I'll quickly navigate the pre-race area and drop off a gear check bag, if available. For some of the bigger half marathons and marathons I've run bag check is usually offered, and the process is pretty organized. Races give you a clear plastic bag at packet/bib pick-up (security reasons nowadays!). Then you can drop it off before the race with your bib number attached, and pick it up after finishing the race. It's not recommended to store valuables in there, because it's not like locked-in-a-safe secure. 


Here are 5 items that I always pack in my gear check bag


December 19, 2016

8 Last-Minute Gift Ideas for Fitness Fans

I seriously can't believe it's the week of Christmas. SERIOUSLY. Between moving, bouncing around between doctor's and physical therapy appointments, plus finals, this past month has moved crazy fast. Luckily I have done some online shopping plus braved the crowds at Target this weekend so I only have a couple gifts left to purchase.  

If you have been mostly shopping deals to buy presents for yourself and now need to finish all your shopping in T-7 days, here are some great last-minute gift ideas for you! 


I shared lots of products that you can purchase on Amazon because I'm an Amazon Prime addict with that free 2-day shipping. You can't beat getting things in 2-days if you are short on time!  Check out some of my favorite items for runners, yogis, and any other fit fans in your life. 


8 Last-Minute Gift Ideas for Fitness Fans

1.  Believe or Complete Training Journal and Believe Logbook

I have been using the Believe Training Journal for the past two years to record my weekly workouts, log my miles, and write down my goals and progress.  I love that it includes articles on different topics like goal-setting and nutrition. This year I was given the chance to review the Complete Training Journal and Believe Logbook


The Complete Training Journal is a souped-up version of the Believe Training Journal and focuses more on competitions and tracking progress towards goals and races more in-depth. The Believe Logbook offers an open and customizable, minimalist workout logbook with an annual calendar. 

All three are also available on Amazon with Prime shipping: Believe, Compete, Believe Logbook

2. Namast'ay in Bed candle

The Brooklyn Artists and Fleas Market is open Saturdays and Sundays in Williamsburg, BK and carries this cheeky 100% natural soy wax candle from the 125 Collection. The candle is hand-poured in NY and features one of my favorite quotes-perfect for the yogi (or sleepyhead) in your life.  

If you're not near Brooklyn, you can order the candle from the store's Etsy site

February 12, 2016

5 Friday Favorites featuring Mizuno Running & Snacking

Disclosure: I was sent a pair of Mizuno Running Wave Catalyst shoes as a part of a sponsored campaign through the Fitfluential Network. I was also given a complimentary code for 3 meals through Galley Foods. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Workouts have been not too great this week because of being so busy plus trying to avoid running outside in the below freezing windy temperatures we've been having this week. Apparently it's going to be in the single digits this weekend. Um, is it spring yet? I plan on knocking out a workout and then getting nice and cozy and warm and watching the Olympic Marathon Trials from LA on Saturday, rooting for my #TeamNuun lady Kara Goucher, Shalane, and Meb of course as well as some other awesome runners.  I have a lot of exciting things planned for the spring, but need to survive a lot of work this semester and this crazy winter weather. Here are some of my favorite things from the past week:  

5 Friday Favorites

1. Favorite Package: Mizuno Running Wave Catalyst

5 Friday Favorites featuring Mizuno Running & Snacking

Thanks to a campaign with Fitfluential I was sent the new Mizuno Wave Catalyst shoes. Besides loving the neon color, I was really excited to try a lightweight shoe from Mizuno since I've only tried their more supportive shoes. I'm a fan of more lightweight shoes and so far like it. The bottom is still a little stiffer than I normal like, but I appreciate the light weight feel and the thinner upper on the shoes.  I skipped a bitter cold run last night, but still took these babies to yoga class!

2. Favorite Dinner: Lamb Bolognese Fettuccine from Galley Foods

February 3, 2016

It's Not You, It's Me {Finding Meaningful Brand Partnerships}

With a new years comes lots of new things-new hobbies, new healthcare plans, maybe a new job, a new semester of classes, new goals, and for many bloggers-new ambassadorships. I know that's kind of a stretch from healthcare plans, but roll with it. I still feel like a tiny fish of a blogger in a big pond of amazing bloggers that I follow. However I have managed in the years to work with amazing brands, have amazing opportunities, and find a lot of awesome and supportive friends. To boot, I even made enough money from some sponsored posts to cover some race entry fees and a couple pairs of running shoes last year which is really all I want

I think recently brands have really have acknowledged the power in having some of kind of grassroots promotion and blogger or brand ambassadors. They have people who love their product and promote it all the time in creative ways which they don't have to pay, besides sometimes giving them some discounted or complimentary product. 

With my really busy schedule of school, work, training, coaching, life (obviously the major reoccurring theme in my life for the next 2 years so get used to it!), this January I took some time to reevaluate my obligations and really plan out my weeks using my handy planner. Unfortunately contrary to popular belief, I may not be Wonder Woman. 

It's Not You, It's Me {Finding Meaningful Brand Partnerships}

I blog when I can, but when you have limited time you also really have to make time for hobbies that are important to you. I have also decided to cut out some of my brand partnerships that really weren't benefiting me for the work I would have to put in and didn't apply for extra things just because I could.  It's easy to get sucked into trying to apply for and do everything! I want to support more local companies as well as have partnerships that feel natural and meaningful. 

The brands that I chat about or am an ambassador for, I've all loved before that position was even an opportunity for me.  I think it's really important to keep it real (for real though) and represent a handful of amazing brands and companies whose products I believe in instead of being able to tack on my affiliation with a laundry list of companies. It's also really important for me to like the communication and interaction I have with the brand's managers and employees. 

If I'm entering an agreement to promote a brand (maybe market exclusivity), post on X social media channels X times a month, wear and use during races, and blast their updates on social media, I also need the relationship to be mutual.  It doesn't have to be loads of free product, but discounts and at least a few products complimentary to start helps. If you give me a discount on a product I love, I will definitely be online shopping!  

January 13, 2016

Ragnar Relay Las Vegas 2015 Recap with Nuun Hydration

I FINALLY have my big ol' Ragnar Relay Las Vegas 2015 recap. I know you have been waiting with bated breath for this

Ragnar Relay Las Vegas 2015 Recap with Nuun Hydration

I was lucky to be able to run this race in November with Team Nuun athletes again, with half of them being my friends I ran Hood to Coast with in 2014 so it was a nice reNUUNion! I was really excited because it was my first Ragnar Relay as well as my first trip to Las Vegas! Yes, only I have my first visit to Vegas to run a race #crazyrunnerlady. 

Ragnar Relay is an overnight relay race with 12 runners on a team who total run 200-ish miles all while travelling in vans and meeting up at exchange points.

Ragnar Relay Las Vegas 2015 Recap

Our Nuun team Viva Los Electrolitos was made up of 12 runners, 2 vans with Nuun employees Brian and Eleanor driving and running with us.  I was in Van 2 the all-lady van because #girlpower. 
Ragnar Relay Team Nuun Las Vegas 2015 Recap
My day flying out was stressful because I had 2 classes and a quiz to take before booking it the airport to catch my afternoon flight across the country. I was so in awe of the view of Nevada from the plane as we got close. Nevada seriously looks like Mars. 

Ragnar Relay Las Vegas 2015 Recap Nevada View
Actual photo from the airplane window
It was awesome seeing the Vegas strip for the first time just as the sun set. Everything is so huge and flashy. I was totally ooh and ahhing the whole cab ride over to the hotel on the strip. 

las-vegas-The Hangover

I was definitely feeling hungry and a little groggy once I got to the Vegas after the long flight and time change. Once I got to the Flamingo Hotel on the strip the whole gang headed up to start decorating our vans.  

Ragnar Relay Las Vegas 2015 Recap

November 3, 2015

Hood to Coast with Nuun Recap Part 3: Finally Sharing Thoughts on the Race

I know it's ridiculous that over a year later I'm processing some thoughts and sharing some moments from Hood to Coast 2014 with Nuun Hydration. Last year I was busy in the midst of marathon training and only shared Part 1 & Part 2 of my recap. I never really figured out how to talk about the race itself and share how great of an experience it was so I just let it slide.  It was hard and definitely not just like any other race recap I have on the blog-there was so much involved.  Finally I have something to say because I'm excited to be having a similar opportunity this upcoming weekend. 

I also did a guest post a little bit ago on Run Far Girl about the best and worst of overnight relay races that is all based on my Hood to Coast experience. 

Well, I'm ridiculously excited to be running another overnight relay race with Nuun Hydration in less than a week. This time we're taking on Ragnar Las Vegas! I would be the person to go to Las Vegas for the first time ever for a race #crazyrunnerlady.  

It's gotten me thinking about Hood to Coast 2014 a lot so here's a kind of list of thoughts, moments and photos. 

Hood to Coast 2014 Race Recap 


Running late to the start in Leg 1 because of Seattle to Portland traffic and that anxiety of being the first person from my van to have to rush and run.  It also didn't help that Lisa was the runner before me, and she's wicked fast. 


Running in rural Oregon with nothing but some vans and a few other runners was amazing. 

I ate countless peanut butter-filled pretzels. I couldn't control myself sitting next to a giant bag for 36 hours.  

Port-a-potty lines at a relay race are no joke. 

Getting maybe an hour of sleep and then being woken up after 3 AM to get ready to run on a dirt road past Portland in the pitch black of night was a unique experience.   

Compression socks are a relay race necessity. 

I loved these Pro Compression ones with the Nuun logo we were given!
The pacific Northwest is beautiful. SO BEAUTIFUL. Why do I live so far from it?! 

SO MUCH HAPPINESS & EXCITEMENT. Having a team cheering you on and running in a new place and being surrounded by nature. All of it makes me smile like this: 


I was in awe of all the amazing stories I heard from all my van-mates and all the Team Nuun runners. Frankly felt I didn't have much of a story to share. It's just a reminder that there must be more big adventures in store for me in this life.

Counting roadkills (runners you pass). My new favorite running pastime. 

Eff serious traffic during a relay race in the middle of nowhere. 

Showing that sign who's boss. 
 Always stay hydrated (Nuun is my drink of choice, obviously). 

Cheering on teammates as they come to the exchange points is so fun. Running up to really crowded ones with lots of excitement is also fun. Unless you can't find your teammate or your team hasn't made it there yet. Otherwise the energy is awesome!

Finishing my last leg on a sunny afternoon like the badass that I am in super fast time and running one of my fastest miles ever thanks to the push from an African guy who lived in NYC who challenged me to keep up with him was awesome. 
Finish strong, amiright?

Starbucks tastes amazing after sitting in a van for 30 hours. 
Best chai latte that you've ever had, and me. 

Pizza and beer also tastes amazing after an overnight relay. 

Even when it's foggy and cloudy on the beach at the finish line, runners know how to party.

The medal could be a little bigger. The memories and that big run happy smile are worth more though. 

Post-relay race yoga is a must. 

Waking up in Seaside, Oregon with this view is not awful. 

 I'm pretty sure Nuun Lemon-Lime Energy Van 2 will be friends for life. It's easy to get to know somebody once you're all stuck in a van together for over 36 hours.


Also Eric from the other Team Nuun team made this awesome video that captures some of the race in a few minutes. Check it out!

Of course I watch the video after writing this and going through all my photos, and I'm getting all weepy. Also I'm SO EXCITED for a new experience in Las Vegas this weekend!

Have you ever done an overnight relay race? What's one snack you always have on long car rides

This post was linked up with The Fit Dish & Weekend Snapshots.

October 22, 2015

Chicago Marathon 2015: The Big Recap

 So I finally sat down and finished my big ol' Chicago Marathon 2015 recap. I started out writing 2 posts about the expo and race, and now I've shortened it plus included lots of photos! It was a little weird running Chicago after just running it last year. I knew the way things were organized, the course, and what to generally expect.  This year was less fun because I had a really stressful week of school beforehand and had to plan a shorter trip, as well as get some homework done when I was out there. 


I went to the race expo on Friday after getting in late the night before. McCormick Place Convention Center is a hike from where I was on the western part of the city. Once we got there I grabbed my bib and checked out the expo. 


The Chicago Marathon Expo is my favorite so far. It's so well-organized and more importantly, super spread out. It's not super cramped and ridiculously crowded like I felt the Boston Marathon expo or other large expos are.  Nike had a huge booth as a sponsor, but the designs of their race apparel & merchandise were really similar to last year and not super cool, which was disappointing. Although the race shirt I got with my bib is an awesome  red short-sleeved top with a graphic black and white text in the middle. 


Once I was in the expo, the energy of all the runners and excitement for the race really hit me. I instantly became super proud to be among all these runners!  I also couldn't believe the race was in a matter of days. 


Nike had a big sign again that you could autograph and would be on the course. 


I wasn't able to make the official Nuun meetup on Saturday, but I was really happy to stop by and have a chance to chat with Kim who works for Nuun and was one of my Hood to Coast teammates! Getting a little pep talk and encouragement was really nice. 


I also picked up a cool shirt from one of my favorite running brands, Brooks Running, as well as some extra race fuel.  


Advocate Health Centers had a fun little photo booth going on. This sign really speaks to me! 


I didn't get a chance to snag a photo, but I got to say hello to Bart Yasso at the Runner's World booth before he had to scoot off to go give a talk.  

Nike is really great at having awesome photo ops at the expo. 


The rest of the day I spent in the city including grabbing lunch and finally meeting Susie in person which was SO fun. I did too much walking during the day and knew it was bad when my feet were hurting. 

The next day I went back to the expo to spend a little more time persuing and grabbing a few more things like an awesome Bondiband to wear on race day.I even bumped into Angela leaving the race with was SO awesome and random. My calves and hamstrings were feeling really tight which worried me, especially because I couldn't bring my foamroller out to Illinois. I had dinner at Little Goat Diner which included a burger, a side of homefries, and a little bit of apple pie aka all the carbs.  

Race morning I was so anxious that I woke up before my 5 AM alarm multiple times in a panic, which is typical for me before big races. My boyfriend said I was really amped, even before eating and having a little caffeine.  I had a banana and a plain bagel with peanut butter along with some Lemon-Lime Nuun Energy before getting on the train.  

Once we got downtown I was getting really anxious. The weatherman the day before had said it would feel like summer in Chicago for race day, which is no bueno, but it made for a perfect race morning. There had been talk all week about how it would be windy and unusually warm on race day as well as the race bumping up their EAS safety levels from low to moderate. I quickly took my throwaway shirt off when I got downtown. My boyfriend also made my name on my shirt (written on hot pink KT tape) bigger before saying goodbye.    

I wore my Adidas Energy Boosts ESM shoes, Feetures! compression socks, Lululemon pace setter skirt, Under Armour sports bra, Bondiband headband,  and a Lululemon tank along with my Nuun tattoo and some throwaway gloves.  

I anxious because the security line ended up being really long around 6:40 when I got there. I knew Corral C closed at 7:20 so I wasn't sure I would make it through in time. The energy of runners was filled with excitement, nerves, and impatience with the line.  


Eventually I made it through security, jogged to gear check to drop off my bag, and headed to the port-a-potty line before I made it into Corral C with minutes to spare.  I was stuck in the very back of the corral so I wasn't near any pacers. Once the race started there was so much excitement. I heard the elites start and then all of a sudden before I knew it we were running. The beginning of the Chicago Marathon is so special and is PACKED with spectators. It's also flat & fast so I know a bunch of people start out way too fast. I was nervous about my pace and how the weather and wind would be so I kept it slower for the first 13 miles. Looking back I wish I picked up the pace just a little bit, but c'est la vie. Also quick note, my Garmin GPS was all messed up from a tunnel and the buildings so I think I thought I was going faster at times than I actually was. 

Since I wasn't running with friends this year, my boyfriend made a plan to meet me at 5-6 locations based on his experiences trying to catch me last year. He was fabulous and saw me 4 times during the first half and manged to snag this awesome action shot at mile 3. Notice how happy I look! 


It's hard because now after the race, the miles blur. I loved going through all the different neighborhoods of Chicago. It was also fun because after racing last year and then exploring the city, I recognize different parts a lot better now.  I tried to keep my pace conservative until around mile 16 when I knew I could speed up a bit.  I was SO cautious of going out too fast because it's such a trap, especially in Chicago where the whole course if flat and fast. I sped up to around 8:00 min/mile  and was feeling okay. I was having a salted caramel GU every 6 miles along with salt tabs and honey stinger chews in between when I felt I needed something. 

I made the last minute decision to buy a handheld water bottle at the expo instead of my waist belt that I had been training with. I knew I didn't want to suck down the Nuun in it and then have to toss my belt halfway through the race so I went with the smaller water bottle so I didn't chance the belt annoying me.  My skirt held all my fuel which was great! 

The first half of the course is amazing. It's fast, exciting, and shaded. Once I got about 2 hours and thirty minutes into the race I was feeling overheated. The second half of the race is all mostly in direct sunlight. There was not a cloud in the sky which helped, and I saw from an outdoor thermometer at one point that the temperature had already hit 70 degrees (the high for the day ended up being 78). I was trying to focus on my Paceband and was keeping an eye on the big clocks on course, but didn't know what time after the elites I had started. I knew I was behind my 3:30 race pace but figured a consistent pace was at least good to be. This time in Chicago I tried to soak everything in-the city,the signs, the spectators, and the fellow runners. I gave lots of high-fives, shouted, and always gave at least a fist bump when I heard someone yell my name off my shirt.  So many moments of running happy. 

Now I know I didn't hydrate well enough the days leading up to the race. I drank a bunch of fluids and electrolytes the day before and had lots of Nuun the morning of. I took a few salt tabs and alternated with water and Gatorade at every water stop. Something I've noticed in the last year however is that I just overheat sometimes and that's what happened. 

Besides my legs feeling tight since mile 14, and then generally feeling like lead pipes from mile 20 on, I just felt blah. I was feeling warm and not cooling down, despite a few ice cold sponges I grabbed later in the race from volunteers. Those last 6 miles were so tough. I walked through a couple water stops to try to regain composure because I was getting upset.  I can't explain it by anything except overheating. My head felt heavy and when my boyfriend managed to say hi to me at mile 22 and ran along side me as I took a few swigs of the Gatorade bottle he had bought for me, he said I was just sobbing. I just told him to leave me alone, that I needed to finish the race. I think you can be prepared, but my marathons have never felt like my training runs. 

It was that mental point where I couldn't talk to anyone, I was in pain, and I just needed to get these miles done with.  The super long, straight race course at this point doesn't help mentally either.  Definitely lots of tough moments mentally that come up only in races like this for me. I focused on staying positive and trying to push out those bad thoughts.  There were some tears, but eventually I just had my head hanging back a little  and tried to power through. I was repeating my mantra of "stronger than you" and "breathe" out loud those last 3 miles. Eventually at Mile 26 there is that little hill for the last 0.2 miles, and I gave it everything I had left in the tank.  

That face is a lot more pained than that photo at Mile 3!
I didn't even know what time I crossed the finish line in. When I was done I just needed to be done. I stopped my watch but didn't even look. I ended up finishing in 3:34:48, 5128/46034 overall, and 286 in my age group.  I'm not sure of my overall average race pace but it was probably around an 8:12 min/mile.  It was also a freaking negative split, which I mean, who does that?!

Once I crossed the finish line I just had to stop, but the amazing volunteers at the race finish wanted to keep people moving. The volunteers were great with checking on people, helping people, getting medical attention, and providing wheelchairs for those who needed them. Shout-out to ALL of the awesome Chicago Marathon volunteers at every part of the race! I felt like death for a minute or so and a lovely volunteer walked with me to make sure I was okay and not dizzy or anything. After chugging a bottle of water and 3 cups of Gatorade I was feeling okay, minus my legs barely being able to walk. 

I hobbled along, grabbed a heat blanket, and got some photos taken. Chicago is so big and organized so  they had a nice line to grab bags of snacks plus bananas, protein bars, and Gatorade protein drinks. They also had bags of ice which felt amazing.  At this point, a few happy tears were shed and maybe a few flexing/biting my medal race photos were taken. 

Goose Island, like last year, was handing out free 312 wheat beers in the finishers area (ones you didn't have to use your beer ticket for) which is what I had before any food. It tasted gloriously.  Eventually I hobbled over to Buckingham Fountain (which is currently being renovated so it wasn't working) and grabbed my gear. 


Next I sat down and looked at my phone which was filled with texts and congratulations. In this moment I finally smiled and realized I did get a PR and a BQ. It's not far enough under 3:35, but still. There were points in the race where I thought it was going to end up being a slower race so this still felt amazing. 



Once I found my boyfriend and a friend, I got to relax in Grant Park. It was a beautiful day if you weren't running! It was awesome to see so many people finishing and to take a few moments to reflect that I just ran my 3rd freaking marathon. Who would have thought 4 years ago that I would be a MARATHONER, PLURAL. Even though I was in horrible pain at the end of the race, I was already thinking of what my next marathon would be. 
It's a sick hobby, isn't it? 


I eventually redeemed my free beer, munched on a protein bar, and then headed out to spend the afternoon grabbing some food and drinking a few beers. 

Snacks from the race bag that I didn't eat until later!
Sometimes post-race it's a burger and fries, but today all I wanted was this personal pizza all to myself. Yes, I like thin crust better than deep dish! YUM. 


Honestly, I can't be sad of achieving my B goal, a PR and  BQ, even if it isn't fast enough to actually get to run Boston. It sucks that I felt like it wasn't even a real Boston time because I know when I apply I'll get cut,especially with how many people applied this year. I just feel the need to qualify saying I have a BQ because when people ask if I'm running Boston I can't say yes. 

Now I've accepted that you know what, it is really freaking awesome and is a Boston Qualifying time so HELL YEAH. I'm chipping away and know that I can train hard and maybe have that magical race day where I can run a little faster. Anyhow, coming away with a PR is a really great feeling. It kinda sucked not having any of my running buddies that I trained with along side me, but I was super grateful for how beautiful Chicago and all the spectators, volunteers, and runners were. Also my boyfriend is a trooper for seeing me on course like 6 times and having some extra fuel for me if I needed it. 

I was so happy to have my custom race mantra on my arm thanks to Momentum because it was the best reminder to repeat it to myself. I am stronger than I know! 


What's your favorite race mantra? How did your big race or event of the season turn out?