Showing posts with label half marathon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label half marathon. Show all posts

March 8, 2017

5 Spring Race Day Tips

Even though the weather can’t make up its mind, it will soon officially be spring. In the Mid-Atlantic region, that means ALL the races as the weather warms up.  I know many people are running the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Marathon and 1/2 Marathon this weekend. I have the past three years (2015 race recap here), but am holding off a couple weeks before racing long distance because I haven’t quite built my mileage up enough.

I will be, however, be running the KELLY Shamrock 5K with most of Baltimore on Sunday, and can’t wait (2015 race recap here). It’s not going to be fast, but that race is pretty easy-going. I've run it 4 years, and it's always a fun, city-wide event. Spring may mean the first race of a new racing season for many runners. Here are some of my tips for the first race of the spring racing season.


5 Spring Race Day Tips

1. Lay out your clothes and gear the night before. 
I do this before every race, but it’s especially important if it’s been a few months since you’ve raced. Make sure all your gear is together and that you aren’t forgetting anything. Charge your phone, running watch, or iPod if need be too! You don’t want to be scrambling around in the AM looking for your fuel belt, headphones, gloves, or clean running clothes.

2. Run with friends. 
I love running with friends in general but especially for the first race of the season it can help keep the pressure off yourself and keep things fun. The first race of the season is usually not a goal race for me. I look at it as more of a warm-up for the copious other spring races. Keeping pace with a friend can keep you motivated and help you pace yourself in the beginning of the race.

3. Start slowly. 
The first race of the season can be super exciting, especially once you are the start line and have the energy of the crowd and fellow runners. It’s super easy to get caught up in starting too fast at the beginning instead of pacing yourself. You don’t want to use up all your energy at the start or it could be a longgggg race. Trust me.

4. Dress in Layers. 
At least in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, spring race weather is very unpredictable. I’ve run races in March and April where it was freezing cold or unseasonably warm. I always grab some throwaway clothes from Goodwill. I also have few pairs of arm warmers that I love to race in when it’s cool at the race start, but not cold enough for long sleeves because I can pull them down during the race. Dress in layers you can easily take off and toss as well as have layers like a pullover available at the finish line for when you cool down after the race.

5. Have fun. 
The first race of the spring season I am usually a bit under trained after taking some time off and adding more cross-training into my routine. That is even more true this season as I’m rebuilding after an injury. This first race of the season is a benchmark for where you are at so learn from it. Reflect on where you are right now and what your goals for the rest of the year are, but don’t get discouraged. Think about the positives, decide what you want to work on after the race, and stay motivated through the season. Have fun and enjoy the race! 

Yet again, this will be me after the Shamrock 5K!
I linked this post up with the Half Marathon Race Tips link-up below. Check out all the awesome posts!

Do you usually run your first of the season for fun or to target a goal? What's your first competition or race this season? 

February 2, 2017

ZOOMA Annapolis 2017 Is Coming!

Disclosure: As a 2017 ZOOMA Women's Race Series ambassador, I received complimentary registration for the events and a unique discount code. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I am back as a ZOOMA Women's Race Series Ambassador in 2017 for the third year in a row and am more excited than ever. I first got involved with ZOOMA because I was attracted to a female-centric race series that was really catered towards womens running. Now I also love all the people I've met behind ZOOMA including Brae who started the series. ZOOMA has taken lots of feedback from last year and is always trying to improve their race experiences. 

I have run the ZOOMA Annapolis half marathon race in 2015 and 2016 so I'll definitely be back this year.  This year is actually the 10th anniversary of ZOOMA Annapolis so it's going to be an extra special event.  

The half marathon and 10K start at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and then takes you through lovely downtown Annapolis then up and over the challenging Naval Academy Bridge before ending back at Navy Stadium. The race course is open for 3.5 hours for both races. 

Same courses in 2017 as last year!
I always loved the open and relaxed After-Party Expo at the race with live music, wine, and recovery yoga. The weather and humidity in June always make this race a little challenging, but it's a great weekend with awesome perks such as a great swag and FREE race photos. It is a women's race series, but men are welcome to run! 

My free race photo as I crossed the finish line at the half marathon in 2015 
This year for the 10th Anniversary celebration there will be a Virtual Half Marathon or 10K option which lets your participate virtually and still receive swag including a shirt and medal in the mail.

This year ZOOMA Annapolis falls on the June 3, 2017, the same day as the Baltimore 10 Miler again so I wanted to get the word out there to peeps in the area. I am just starting to feel more comfortable in my injury recovery with making future race plans so I marked it on my calendar officially. I'll also be coaching the ZOOMA 10K training group out of the Charm City Run Baltimore location in a few months which will be super fun as a race ambassador and someone familiar with the course too. 

Registration is open for the Annapolis race and prices increase May 21. 
Use my code LAUREN2017 to save 10% off your registration. 

ZOOMA also has a great podcast about all things health and fitness that you can access through their website here

I'm excited to have a fun summer race already on the books! 


Do you have any big summer races planned yet?

September 29, 2016

Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon 2016 Race Recap

Disclaimer: I received a free 3-pack Tourpass through my Rock ‘n’ Blog ambassadorship. As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own.

If you read my blog or follow me you know that I love Philadelphia and run multiple a races a year there! Thanks to school stress, I wasn't looking forward to trekking up to run the  Philly Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon that I was able to run thanks to my Tourpass perks as Rock 'n' Blogger. Of course once I got into the city and visited the expo that all disappeared, and I was excited to run! 




Like I mentioned, school gets in the way of my mini adventures and weekend plans this semester, so after a late afternoon class on Friday and then coaching my 10K group from Charm City Run on Saturday morning I finally packed up and hit the road to Philadelphia. After coaching I was feeling really nauseous and out of it, which aren't good signs when everyone seems to be getting sick at the first sign of Fall around the corner.

I ended up getting to Philadelphia Saturday afternoon to stop by the expo and grab my packet as well as have some fun taking photos. There were lots of nice vendors and the Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia specific gear was especially nice this year. Going to the expo always gets me excited for the race! 


After the expo at the Convention Center we stopped at the nearby Reading Terminal Market to grab some lunch and some doughnuts from the Amish market. 


Yes, my boyfriend and I ended up eating those 6 doughnuts over the course of the afternoon. Whoops

Swag from the expo

Race Day

Last year I was running this race 3 weeks after the Chicago Marathon, and I was running 3 weeks before the Chicago Marathon so it was a very different race experience for me. 

It was also a really special race because the Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon was my first half marathon ever.

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.



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. 


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! 


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. 

June 10, 2016

ZOOMA Annapolis 2016 Half Marathon Race Recap

Disclosure: I am a 2016 ZOOMA Women's Race Series ambassador and received complimentary registration for this event.  As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own. 

In my 2015 ZOOMA Annapolis race recap I described my race experience as hot, humid, and hilly. Those rang true again this year!  Although I said I would not be running the half marathon again and would do the 10K, I found myself running the half marathon again, whoops. Despite the conditions this time of year, ZOOMA always puts on a nice race weekend for women in Annapolis. This year in addition to a half marathon and 10K, a 5K race was added.  



Friday evening after sitting in terrible traffic from Baltimore to Annapolis after work, I finally made it down to the ZOOMA Annapolis race expo at the beautiful Loews Hotel in downtown Annapolis. The expo is really small, but there was some nice women's running vendors and packet pickup looked easy (I grabbed my bib the night before in Baltimore). 


I grabbed dinner and a drink with many of the ZOOMA ambassadors, most of whom I've met before or were ZOOMA ambassadors with me last year.  It was fun to see everyone and especially those people whom I've never met in person or those who I interact more with online through social media. Those running the 10K and 5K got to have a few more drinks and a little bit more fun, which also made me regret signing up for the half! 


I finally had the chance to meet Cori (She's Going the Distance) who was nice enough to let me share her hotel room after realizing a couple weeks prior that I had not booked anything and didn't feel like driving down 2 days in a row or the morning of. I think we're similar so we vibe together pretty well, and I was happy to meet her after lots of social media interactions. 

March 30, 2016

Asheville Half Marathon at The Biltmore 2016 {Race Recap}

In March each year, the Asheville Marathon & Half Marathon is held on the historic Biltmore Estate grounds. Biltmore is America's largest home and is a private estate owned by the Vanderbilt family. It's over a 7 hour drive from the Baltimore area down to Asheville, NC so we decided to fly and make it into a little trip for my spring break.  This was definitely the prettiest race I've ever run!    

Asheville Half Marathon at The Biltmore 2016 {Race Recap}

The race is at capped at 1,400 runners in the half on Saturday and another 1,400 runners in the marathon on Sunday, as well as the option to run a back-to-back race challenge over the weekend.  The Expo was pretty small and a little unorganized but convenient to get to. I picked up my bib on Friday and then spent the rest of the day relaxing in Asheville.  

Pre-Race: My boyfriend's sister was running this race as her first half marathon so we got to the race extra early. We bought tickets to take the shuttle from a local hotel onto the race grounds to be safe and avoid any traffic or parking issues getting on the estate grounds.  

It was actually pretty nice because we hung out in the Biltmore Village on the grounds so I got to use a real bathroom and had a place to sit before heading to the start line. It was a little chillier than I expected before the sun came up, but I knew that temperatures would be close to 70 degrees as the high for the day. 

 I was rocking a Lululemon Run Swiftly tank, Lululemon speed shorts, Pro Compression shamrock socks, Bondiband headband, November Project buff, and the Mizuno Wave Catalyst running shoes.    

Asheville Half Marathon at The Biltmore 2016 {Race Recap}-race outfit

As the sun came up over the grounds, it was already scenic and beautiful! 

Asheville Half Marathon at The Biltmore 2016 {Race Recap}-sunrise

I was really excited to #sharethespark with my boyfriend's sister and give her a little Momentum Jewelry motivation for her first half marathon! 

Asheville Half Marathon at The Biltmore 2016 {Race Recap}-momentum-jewelry-sharethespark

I got to meet some fellow Team Nuun ladies and snap a quick photo with them before the race, which was so much fun! I had a banana and peanut butter along with some Nuun as I was getting dressed and then ate a Munk Pack squeeze before heading to the start line. Since the race was limited to only 1400 participants, there were no corrals and lining up was very quick & stress-free.  

November 17, 2015

Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon 2015 Race Recap

Disclaimer: I received a free 3-pack Tourpass through my Rock ‘n’ Blog ambassadorship. As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own.

It's no secret that I love Philadelphia and love racing there.  I was excited when the date for the Philly Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon finally got sorted out (the pope's visit caused some scheduling issues with the city) and could register thanks to my Rock 'n' Roll Tourpass School made scheduling things a bit of a mess later in this year so I was glad to be able to use this perk of being a Rock 'n' Blogger


It was also a really special race because the Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon was my first half marathon ever. It was pretty surreal running it again 3 years, countless miles, and many awesome running adventures later. I had a really great race which was especially ehanced by the fact that I had VIP access for this race. I'll review just the VIP package perks for the race separately after this race recap.




I stopped by the expo Friday afternoon down at the Convention Center. It was easy enough to get to and the big Rock 'n' Roll expos are always fun to shop around in. It was an extra fun because the race was actually on Halloween morning so there was some spooky decorations and bowls of candy when I picked up my bib.  Brooks Running is the gear sponsor and always has such cute race gear for sale, but I tried to restrain myself from dropping more money. 


It was around the time that people started to get out of work so the expo was busy. I grabbed a pair of running capris on sale (plus a coupon!) at the Sports Authority booth and made sure to stop at the VIP table to grab my wristband that I needed to get into the VIP area on race day. Of course I sampled all of the snacks and looked at more running gear I don't need.  Honda had a fun interactive area where you sat in 3 different vehicles for three different activities for a chance to win an all-expense paid trip with friends to a Rock 'n' Roll race.  There was a fun photo booth car where they actually emailed you a little gif. 


I didn't have any expectations for the race, especially since it was only 3 weeks after the Chicago Marathon and my running had been on the lighter side.  I got up earlyyyy running on not that much sleep, to make it into the city from NJ. It was fun taking the train in on a cold, dark morning and seeing who was wearing costumes. A guy dressed up as the running Forrest Gump sat next to me-he had no idea how running 13.1 miles in a pair of khakis was going to be!  



Once I got the race start area by the Philadelphia Museum of Art I walked up to the VIP area which was near the finish line. It was awesome because I got to grab a pre-race bagel from the continental breakfast and use the VIP port-a-potties (I literally waited only a few minutes!).  I also loved having the small VIP gear check right there so I said hi to Cynthia and waited until I had about 5 minutes to get into my corral. It was a pretty chilly morning, but I was just glad it wasn't raining or anything like the DC half marathon earlier this year.  Corral 6 was farther up so I had to speedwalk to get up there but eventually made it into the corral.  It was exciting to hear the elites start because many were trying for Olympic qualifying races! 


I was a modified Minnie Mouse because temps were pretty cold plus I wanted to sport my Rock 'n' blog tee. I also really loved my matching Bondiband and Rock City Skirts sparkly skirt which went perfectly with my Minnie Mouse ears. I was worried the ears would bother me, but they stayed put and didn't move around at all. 

 My favorite part about the race was seeing all the costumes people were running in.  I saw animals, Star Wars characters, Disney princesses, and superheroes out on the course.  My plan was to see how my legs feel and keep it around an 8:00 min/mile pace. I know I say this often, but I really just wanted to have fun.  


I felt pretty great for the first 6 miles and warmed up quickly. It's a flat and fast course which makes for great PRs. I had a weird twinge in my right calf all week so I had some KT tape on it, but luckily it wasn't bothering me. The race starts on the Ben Franklin Parkway and has you run through Fairmount Park on the right side of the Schuylkill River.  

Around Mile 8 once you get through parts of Fairmount Park there is a turnaround near over the Falls Bridge which has you running back towards the Art Museum on MLK Drive on the other side of the river. I was starting to feel a little tired but finished off my bottle of Nuun that I carried and ate half of a salted watermelon Gu packet.  The only thing about Philadelphia races is that most of them include those long, straight stretches along the river which can be boring or bad for your mind games. 

There was only a few bands on the course which seemed typical for the Rock 'n' Roll races. I always bring my iPod so it wasn't a big deal. There were some a couple groups like a school and cheer squad out there, which was awesome since it being a chilly Halloween morning.

Mentally miles 8-10 were tough, which is typical for half marathons for me.  Once I hit mile 10 I knew I didn't have much longer. I was running close to a 7:45 pace during the race, which felt comfortable. I kept telling myself that 3 weeks ago I ran freaking 26.2 miles so I could definitely finish half of that.   It's definitely when I needed to find my jams to bop along to as I ran. 


I felt strong finishing and definitely pushed it that last 1.2 miles, finishing in 1:41:48. I'm always happy with a top 10% finish and had a better race than I expected! 

I was hungry and knew I'd finally be able to have some food! You finish right in front of the Art Museum and the infamous Rocky steps. The announcer for the race did a great job and called out names and some different facts about some of the finishers. It was easy to shuffle through the corral chute and there was plenty of food. The only thing I wanted was a bag to hold all of my snacks in because that was annoying.  



I drank some chocolate milk as I walked to the VIP area again, which was not very long because it was right at the finish. Not too many runners were there yet so I immediately signed up for 10 minute massage (shout-out to Phila Massages-you rock!). My calves were really tight so it felt great to get them loosened up immediately after the race.  


Afterwards I indulged in a mimosa (or 3) and a plate of hot breakfast food from the buffet, followed by multiple cups of coffee. Gin Blossoms were the concert after the race, and I got to catch a few of their songs, which was fun. I enjoyed hanging out in the VIP area before taking the VIP shuttle back to the host hotel with Cynthia before heading out of the city.  



This race was an awesome start to my Halloween and is still one that will always be near and dear to my heart. 

I love how organized the event is and how it's such a great course. The medal and shirt are always fun-I especially loved how the medal is Halloween themed with a little witch on a broom.  I think it's a great race to run with friends or if you are looking for a fast, flat course to get a new half marathon PR on!


This post was linked up with Tuesdays on the Run

Did you run any Halloween races? Have you ever run in costume? 

June 1, 2015

ZOOMA Annapolis Women's Racing Half Marathon 2015 Recap

Disclosure: As a 2015 ZOOMA race ambassador I received complimentary entry into the race. As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own. 

If I had to describe this past weekend's race it would be the 3 H's-hot, humid, and HILLY.

Nonetheless, ZOOMA put on an awesome race event in Annapolis and I'm so happy to have been an ambassador for the race. 
Check out all of their race events here and an awesome set of pre/post-race recipes from the Annapolis ambassadors with a promo code for future ZOOMA races here!

This is a longer race recap, but I just had so much to say and so many photos!


Packet Pick-up/Expo: After a Crossfit class on Thursday I popped into Charm City Run to use a coupon before it expired and stumbled upon the ZOOMA packet pickup so I grabbed my bag & bib.  Apparently Sean Astin had picked up his bib a little bit before-SO awesome that he was in Baltimore and was running this race!


We got a nice women's sized race shirt, ZOOMA branded journal, and a pair of my favorite running socks-Feetures! It was nice to know I already had everything I needed for the race with me, even though I planned on checking out the expo the next day in Annapolis. 


The race host hotel was the Loews Annapolis, but their special race rate had already sold out by March so I ended up booking a night at the historic Maryland Inn. I got there in the afternoon on Friday and was really happy with the room. It's old and the rooms are smaller, but staying in a place with so much history was great. The bed was really comfortable so that's the most important thing in my book!


My boyfriend and I grabbed dinner in downtown Annapolis and then I headed over to the Loews where the expo was taking place for an ambassador happy hour. It was great to see all the other ladies and chat running. I even got to get some great advice on marathon training from the race's announcer, Creigh Kelley.  Thanks so much to Stella Valle for the beautiful bracelets as well! I had a really terrible headache for most of the evening so after meeting up with my boyfriend at the bar down the street and grabbing a late night pizza bagel, I laid out my Flat Lauren gear and went to bed. 

May 27, 2015

Rock 'n' Roll DC Half Marathon 2015 {Race Recap}

Disclaimer: I received a free 3-pack Tourpass through my Rock ‘n’ Blog ambassadorship. As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own.

I ran the DC Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in 2014 and thought the race was just okay. I honestly wasn't planning on running it again this year until I found myself with a Rock 'n' Roll Tourpass (thanks to being a Rock 'n' Blogger) for 3 races with not much money to travel far. While I appreciated the course a lot more this time around, overall it was a crappy race for me.  

Mostly because of the cold, rainy weather. 

This is partially a pity party because I was not enjoying myself for most of the race so apologies if that's annoying. 


I'm pretty sure this race used to be the National marathon and 1/2 but officially is now the DC marathon and 1/2.  I'm luckily my best friend lives in D.C. so I always crash at her place the night before any races I run in the area.  



I headed down to DC after work Friday and just the trek was much less unpleasant this year since the expo was at the Convention Center not the Stadium Armory.  Brooks Running is a sponsor of the race series and had an awesome area called their Run Happy Island with a tiki bar to show off their shoes and some games. I was flying solo for this expo, so I had some time to walk around and check everything out.  

Of course I stopped at the Rock 'n' Roll Race Series booth as I dreamed of running a race abroad. 

May 8, 2015

5 Friday Favorites 5/8/15-Ways to Share Running & Fitness Love

I obviously  love sharing running & fitness love so today's  DC Trifecta Friday Five linkup seemed like a perfect topic to discuss on the blog . Life is still cray and busy and I'm not caught up on life or even unpacked after my vacation, race, and birthday.  Hoping to make some progress Sunday but if it's sunny outside, all bets are off! 


5 Friday Favorites: Ways to Share the Running/Fitness Love

1. Find a group. 

Whether you recruit friends to run with you or join a local running group, running with others is my favorite way to share the love.  In Baltimore, check out local running groups through Charm City Run, a race training group like the Baltimore Women's Classic 5K training,  join this month's Shake Shack Track & Field run, or drop in for a free November Project-Baltimore workout with me! People who sweat together, stay together!

Mid-run Team Nuun Hood to Coast selfie from August 2014

2. Connect online. 

I love finding motivation, encouragement, and friends through connecting with others online. There are Facebook groups like the Half Fanatics, Twitter, blogs, and Instagram. You can search for hashtags like #runchat, #run, #fitfluential to find some posts about running & fitness and be inspired! 

3. Make it a date. 

April 23, 2015

Love Run Philadelphia Half Marathon 2015 Recap

Life won't slow down, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Unfortunately that means a lot of half finished blog posts sitting in my draft box. Today I rallied and managed to get this race recap out for you!

The last weekend in March I returned to Philadelphia to seek vengeance on the Love Run Half Marathon.  Last year was the inaugural race and was really well organized. I loved everything about it except for the down-pouring rain for most of the race. It figures that one of the few races my parents came to see me finish there is a record rainfall that day for Philadelphia.   I knew I had to come back and run it again, this time hopefully without rain.  


I had just been in Philly the past weekend and had gotten a little run around the Ben Franklin Parkway where the half marathon would start & finish. This is where most of the races I've run in Philadelphia start. 


I had quickly gone to the expo at Citizens Bank Park the day before and picked up my bib, mug, free 2 Phillies' ticket vouchers,neck buff, nice long-sleeve red tech-tee. It was really windy and cold in the stadium so I grabbed my  things, purchased an awesome Bondiband with the race logo, redeemed my ticket vouchers, and left.  I loved the stadium expo because it was easy to navigate, convenient for parking, and a cool place to visit. If it was warmer I probably would have rushed around less. 

Race morning I left a little later than I wanted to get into the city thanks to my driver/boyfriend, but managed to get to the start line with 15 minutes to spare. Now we had been having some nice spurts of spring weather ,but this particular weekend showed March would not be tamed as temperatures were downright wintry in the high 30s. That means it was somewhere in the 20s on race morning-yikes!  I was representing ZOOMA Annapolis (register here with my code LAUREN15 to save 10%) but had to layer my cute Oiselle ZOOMA tank over a cold-gear zip-up. 

Photo taken from Love Run Philadelphia. I love this city. 
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