Showing posts with label race recap. Show all posts
Showing posts with label race recap. Show all posts

October 27, 2016

The Big Chicago Marathon 2016 Recap {Expo and Race}

I have been putting this off because I don't even know where to begin talking about the Chicago Marathon. I've also been dealing with some foot pain and grad school midterms which can take a person's mind off blogging. Anyone else feel like their marathons go by in a blur? After it's over I only remember certain sites, certain miles, and certain feelings (including those steps across the finish line). 

The Big Chicago Marathon 2016 Recap {Expo and Race}

Because of my grad school schedule I missed some fun things and had to get into Chicago late Friday night. I was feeling like a cold was coming on all week which had me thoroughly freaked out about the race. Saturday morning I ended up taking the train downtown to meet up with Kelly Robert's #SportsBraSquad Shake-Out Run at the Westin on Michigan Ave. I had met Kelly briefly at the November Project Summit in Ontario in July but finally got to have a quick chat and snap a photo with her.  She's fabulous and had a nice big group for a 2 mile shakeout run that included lots of beautiful city views and selfies. 


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Also kudos to Oiselle for hooking us up with some swag. I am in love with this shirt! 

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You should totally go to Kelly's NYC Marathon shakeout run if you are in town for it! After a quick pit stop at Trader Joe's for bananas, bars, and beet juice with Emily  before heading over to the expo. 

Since this is my third year in a row, I knew what to expect. Things were still really organized as I expected. I suppose I was feeling a little bit anxious about the race and that my boyfriend hadn't up with me yet so I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.  Also the expo is far more crowded on Saturday than it would have been on Friday so that is something to get used to if you haven't been to a big race expo, particularly a World Marathon Majors race one. 

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So I quickly grabbed my bib and bothered strangers to take photos of me, despite still being kinda gross looking since I didn't shower post-shakeout run. 

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No big race expo is complete without a stop to the Nuun booth to say hello and grab a cute new water bottle to add to my collection. 

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I also got to check out the Moji booth and try out some massage products that I took home with me. This Moji Foot Pro is fabulous on the bottom of your tired feet, especially if you freeze it first!

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As always, I love all the awesome Nike graphic photo backdrops around the expo. Perfect for getting pumped about the 26.2 miles happening the next day!

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I also co-hosted the We Run Social meetup with the fabulous Heather which was nice, despite some people being confused that we were not in fact speaking on the Runner's World stage but rather just meeting near it! 

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There was a few more photos before getting showered and relaxing. I grabbed some pasta with Erica for dinner. I had some pasta with chicken and marinara sauce as my pre-race dinner. 

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Before bed was iPod and Garmin charging as well as laying out all the goods I needed for the next day. 

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{Lululemon Run Swiftly tagged shirt, Lululemon shorts, Ciele hat, Feetures! compression socks, Brooks Launch 3 running shoesHoneyStinger Ginsting gels & Huma gels, Nuun Hydration Lemon-Lime Energy, and Run Gum in peppermint} 

I had worked with Coach Suz (she's fabulous!) to have her consult on my training plan and race day plans and offer her suggestions so I had a general idea of how I wanted to run the race. I was feeling anxious and unsure of how I felt about the race pretty much up until I got to the starting area.  Once I felt the chilly weather (despite not being quite as chilly as I prefer) and all the marathon excitement in the air, I was really happy. 

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It was also possibly that things were going super smoothly. I got dressed and had a banana, Salted Caramel HoneyStinger waffle, and Nuun. I took the train into downtown and caught one just as it arrived from the Austin blue line station. I moved through the security checkpoint super quickly this year and EVEN found a port-a-potty with only 6 people ahead of me in line. There were Nike pacers in line too so I'm almost positive it wasn't VIP or anything and was just covered by bushes so it was less crowded. The realist that I am, I was thinking that things were going too smoothly to be true but tried to roll with it. 

Miles 1-5: Pace groups make me anxious because of my self-placed pressure to keep up with the group, but I decided to line up with the 3:30 pacers anyways. Hats off to the guys that were super fun and amazing.  The start is really crowded which kind of helps with runners starting out slower and not going out too fast so I didn't worry. The beginning miles with the pacers was super crowded and for the first 5 mile I was almost tripped and bumped into people multiple times which was really freaking annoying.  It's such a big race and the 3:30 pace group seemed popular. Especially since I have run this race now twice before, I really tried to soak in the race and excitement with no music or anything. My GPS was yet again messed up because of the tunnels so I really focused on just staying with the pace group.

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My boyfriend got this cool shot of me running by and smiling at around Mile 3ish. 

Miles 6-10:
 I told myself to just try to settle in, stay comfortable, and follow the pace group but not freak if I wasn't right next to a pacer. The pacers were great with one guy telling the guy in front to pull back. I was feeling great and tried to settle in and stopped at most of the water stops. I wasn't carrying any water because it annoys me so I made sure to stay hydrated.  The miles were moving past especially because I wasn't paying attention to my watch. It was nice to feel comfortable with the pace group and not have to worry about anything but running and keeping them in sight.  Still no music and lots of crowd support! 

Miles 11-15: I feel like in my marathons I always am dreading and waiting for the wall so I talked to Suz about throwing in some faster strides and changing my mentality. This time I stuck with the pace group but was feeling really good and was annoyed by the crowdedness of the group behind the pacers so decided to run in front of the pace group around mile 14. I kept my mentality the same as I had at the Philly Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon this year where I tried to just run where I felt good and not get freaked out by the pace. I also took an extra gel around mile 12.5 as Suz suggested to give me an extra boost when I usually start to freak out on the inside.  The pacers reminding everyone from Mile 11 onwards to stop at the water stops was also super helpful. 

Miles 16-20: Around Mile 16 I turned on the iPod. I also peeked back behind me a couple times before I just kept running and knew that if I saw the pace group pass me, I'd have to keep up-but I didn't see them. I kept telling myself my mantra "I am comfortable, I am strong" and reminding myself how crappy I felt at this point last year and how my legs felt good this year. My breathing wasn't heavy or labored, and I was having fun. Once it hit 18 I tried to periodically check out my watch but not let it determine the race for me.  Around 18 the thoughts that I had a fast enough 3:30 BQ (and PR) in reach but tried to not get ahead of myself because as I knew, the marathon is a 20 mile warm-up with a 10K race.  I saw my boyfriend at Mile 18 who had some water and was literally stunned as I ran by smiling and giving him the thumbs up, telling him I felt great. 

Miles 21-26: Obviously my legs started to hurt after mile 20 as is expected with a marathon. I knew at this point that I was crushing it and only had to make it to the finish. Mile 22 on was just giving it all I had left in the metaphorical fuel tank. I had my music and the crowds to help push me. At Mile 22 was the November Project-Chicago cheer station which was a huge boost to get some cheers and high-fives.  During this last stretch I focused on just getting to the next mile marker.  Making it to the next mile was a nice mental game that helped push me to the end.  The miles blur together now. 

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Around Mile 23, pushing it to the end. 
As I got to Mile 25, all the emotions start to hit me. It was different because usually I get more emotional during the race but was surprisingly composed during this marathon (mostly because of my mental game).  Once I was at this point I knew I would make it and tried my best to push it to the end.  As I crossed the finish line I was in tears and just broke down sobbing after I finished. Two different people asked me if I was okay, and I told them it was just happy tears, no worries. 

As I waddled towards the fountain with my Goose Island beer in hand, which tastes effing amazing after a marathon, I was SO damn happy. You can see it in this photo below. That moment of relaxing, with a beer in hand, all by myself was is my favorite post-race moment to savor. 

 I was ahead of the 3:30 pacer, completely surpassing my A goal for the race. I grabbed my bag and had texts from friends. Suz texted me that I crushed it. I was confused because friends were saying I had run 3:34 because the live tracking on the app had gone by gun time not chip time (which I later found out) and caused me to freak out that my results were messed up. 

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Suz texted me my actual race results which made me feel awesome. 3:27? WHAT?!


I met up with my boyfriend and some friends and was on top of the world. ON TOP OF THE WORLD. I was kind of in disbelief that I ran a marathon in crushing my goal time and it wasn't that painful. I mean my legs hurt, and I don't think I could go faster but I did it. Despite not really believing in myself until race morning. Over a 7 minute PR and a nice cushion over my 3:35 Boston Qualifying time.  

Third time's a charm, Chicago. I LOVE YOU. 

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The race was a little warm (not as much as last year thank goodness), but perfect for hanging out afterwards. After frantically finding the results tent I learned that their tracking system was down and others had messed up tracker times so I felt confident that my time was not completely messed up. I threw some sandals on and just hung out with friends jamming to the live band. 

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Oh and I used my beer ticket to grab my free beer (the one at the finish doesn't count-I love you Chicago). It was so sunny out I actually got a little sunkissed on my face.  

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After a shower and some relaxation, I headed out to Small Cheval for my post-marathon meal of choice-a burger, fries, and a beer. Amazing

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Finally the night was ended with a few more beers and some Jeni's Ice Cream in Wicker Park. I was going to go for the double scoop, but the triple scoop was the marathoner's special for the same price so obviously I went with that. The perfect end to the day! 

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The race day was better than I imagined and now I'm a little worried I won't have a better marathon!  Thank you again everyone for all the love, support, and good vibes!

What is your favorite big race moment? 

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! 

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Pre-Race

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! 

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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. 

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

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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.

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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. 

June 28, 2016

Baltimore Women's Classic 5K Race Recap 2016

I've run the Baltimore Women's Classic 5K the past 3 years including being a volunteer training coach last year.  It's the largest mid-Atlantic all-women's 5K which has become an annual race for me because of how much of a fun ladies event it is as well as the fact that it benefits Cancerve which provides support to female cancer patients in Maryland.  It is also a beautiful event right in Baltimore's Inner Harbor which makes it great for post-race fun. 

Baltimore Women's Classic 5K Race Recap 2016

Pre-race: 

Unfortunately Friday afternoon I was struck with a head cold so I wasn't feeling well and woke up with just enough time to get down to Rash Field Saturday morning June 26,2016  and make it in the Charm City Run BWC training group photo.  It was fabulous seeing Rash Field filled with women and their families.This year CCR had all of the vendors under tents on the middle of the field, which I liked a lot better.

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I saw some of my training group ladies at the training tent and dropped off my bag before heading to the start.  It was a warm, sunny morning. All of us Patterson Park training group ladies had yellow ribbons on which was a really fun touch! I lined up right in the front at the start on Key Highway in front of Federal Hill  because there wasn't many people sub-8 min miles. Thanks to the head cold and really feeling knocked out Friday night I wasn't sure how the race would go and was going to try to stick around 7 min/miles but definitely feel it out. 

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Me in the chevron skirt!(Photo courtesy of Charm City Run)

Race: 

Mile 1 of a 5K always flies by for me, and this one was no different. Some ladies running for Falls Road Running were flying so I tried to just stay strong and consistent on my pace. I told myself to settle in through Mile 2 and then pick it up for the last mile if I felt good. It was great seeing some November Project friends at a water stop as well as having some fellow coaches and friends cheer for me as I passed by Federal Hill for the 2nd time. I ended up finishing really strong-I love the finish that comes along the promenade. It's pretty plus it's a stretch I run all the time.   5Ks go by so fast that there isn't much to report. For me it's always about trying to pace myself plus mentally get through the pain that comes with pushing myself to run fast. 

I ended up coming 3rd in my age group, 10th overall in 21:00, which is a minute faster than last year! 

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After getting my medal, cold towel, and red rose at the finish, I quickly ran up towards Key Highway so I could cheer on my training group ladies. I was glad to be able to see a bunch of them and cheer them on as they entered the final stretch of the race.  


I missed out on the watermelon but grabbed a banana and some water after seeing the last of my ladies go by.  I hopped over to the training tent to chat with some of my training group runners after wards and grabbed a little mini bagel. The training tent had food and freeze-pops (GREAT idea!), but it was hard to keep out non-training group people from coming in!  

Really this race for me was all about supporting and celebrating with my training group. It was awesome to hear how great everyone did in the race and hear the thanks the ladies had for the group and coaches. It fills my heart with so much gratitude to see ladies I've helped train and seen grow stronger in 8 weeks, crossing the finish line and reaching their goals.  Yup, I could gush about coaching longer, but I'll put a cork in it. 

Shout-out to Charm City Run for doing a great job with the training groups and the race! 

Overall: 

As I've said previously, I think that the BWC 5K is a great, well-organized 
 event that all Baltimore female runners should support. The race keeps all of the details with ladies in mind and always has a nice medal and finish area.

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New Balance race tech tee and 2016 medal
What is one of your favorite hometown races? Do you like running 5Ks?

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.  


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Pre-Race

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). 

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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! 


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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. 

April 21, 2016

Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Miler 2016 Race Recap

Disclosure: I was a social media ambassador for the CUCB 10 Mile Run and received complimentary entry with an upgrade into the race. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

It's been so crazy with school, work, and travelling that I'm happy to finally get back into a little bit of a blog routine! It has been two years since I've run the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run and running it again only reminded me how much I love this race.  Despite high winds and cold temperatures this year, I had a fabulous time.  Thank you so much to CUCB for letting me be a part of the race as one of the social media ambassadors! 

Cherry Blossom Ten Miler 2016 Race Recap

Pre-race: I actually stopped by the expo Friday afternoon to beat the rush and grab my bib despite coming back to the expo on Saturday.  The expo was in the beautiful National Building Museum again and everything ran smoothly.  

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I was hanging out at the ZOOMA Race Series booth for a while but first I stopped by to see Meb speak. The line that was forming on the right was really short so I hopped in to meet him afterwards. As everyone says, he comes off as such a nice guy. I wish they had the mic a little louder because it was hard to hear! 

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I also can't freaking believe I met MEB! He's an American hero! He is also the nicest guy and after he signed an autograph, and I started gushing about how I watched the whole Olympic trials and explained to my boyfriend everything that was going on like a nerd, he gave me a spontaneous hug. MADE MY DAY. 

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The next day I was lucky enough to have a hotel room in DC so I popped back over to expo to pick something up and decided to hop into the line to meet Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first ever women's Olympic marathon champion and all-around badass femalre runner, because the line was short.  Here's us just having a totally normal conversation. No I'm not gushing and nervously talking about getting a BQ in Chicago. (I'm the nerdiest.)  

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That night I got to attend the VIP Elite dinner and finally got to meet all of the other social media runners and ambassadors I haven't met yet.  The joke of dinner was how all the elites were sneaking out to go to bed and get a good night's sleep. Instead I stayed the whole time and then went out for a drink with my friend in DC because #priorities. 

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That day we had gotten an email that because of predicted high winds of 25+ mph and maybe up to 50 mph, that the race was not having any signage on the course as a safety precaution. The weather was supposed to also be in the 30s which is just lovely. Isn't it supposed to be spring? I dressed warmer than I probably could have but wasn't really having any of this cold weather.  I also did what you really shouldn't do for a race and wore my brand new New Balance kicks. Rebel

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Race: Besides the wind and cold temperatures, the race start was a beautiful morning.  The start was a little hectic with no signage but the volunteers did a great job. I will say that the big open area around the Washington Monument was the windiest part!

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I did a little jog to the start line and pretty much stood around like this until getting in my corral: 
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I came into the race with really no time goals and was just going to try to run around 7:45 pace.  Miles 1-4 I was feeling pretty good. The first mile was a little crowded but things started to break up, and we weren't running much against the wind.  I took it easy and allowed my legs to start to warm up.  

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.    

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

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

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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.  

 
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