Posted in Running, Thoughts

And half of 2017 is over

And just like that, half of 2017 has passed. That’s kind of crazy, right? June was an intense month for me. My face is currently marked with pimples from all the stress I’ve been experiencing. LOL. It’s definitely been an interesting month. I’ll highlight just a few things I’ve been up to.

Graduate school – I had my pre-thesis defense meeting this month and it went better than expected. A committee member missed my meeting, but read the report I sent out a week earlier and supported my decision to graduate. Yay! I also finished my manuscript this month, or at least I thought I did. What is interesting about research is that it never really ends. Once you answer a question, several follow-up questions come up. It’s like a hydra only instead of chopping off heads, you’re answering research questions with no end in sight. LOL

After discussing some things, my advisor and I agreed to try a few more experiments to answer any possible questions my peers may have. If the experiments work, the data will further strengthen my conclusion. If it doesn’t, well at least I tried. 🙂

I have also set my defense date for August 23rd. Holy crap. From now until August, I will be furiously writing my dissertation. Hopefully, all goes well and in less than two months, I will have a PhD. Yay!?! I’ve also been looking at jobs within the biotech industry at a few different companies and am praying that positions that I qualify for open up soon.

Escape room – I did not participate in an escape room this month, but I did attend an escape room enthusiast meet up. If you ever want to find a group of people with your particular interest/hobby, give this website a try. I had never gone to a meet up event prior to this event and when I arrive, I was pleasantly surprised. Like the description implied, this meet up was all about meeting with people who were interested in playing escape rooms. I had a lot of fun talking to new people about how many they had done and which rooms were there favorite. I even met people who had done 140+ escape rooms. That’s insane, right? I would never spend that much money on that many escape rooms…maybe for races. 🙂

Visiting Texas – I visited my better half in Texas again and we did lots together. I went to the Hamilton Pool Preserve. This place is beautiful and I’d recommend anyone in the Austin area to pay a visit. Bring a swimsuit and swim around in the collapsed grotto. It’s totally worth it. But make sure you book way in advance. It fills up quick.

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Pictures don’t do it justice

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Path to the pool

If you’ve never heard of the greenbelt in Austin, check it out. I’m not a big nature fan, but I just had the greatest time running around this area. It was SO HOT (87°F) and HUMID, but I loved running in the area so much that my one mile run turned into four. A lot of people go paddleboarding on the river and some people bring their dogs to walk around as well if running isn’t your thing. 🙂

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Running along the river on the greenbelt
I also dropped by the Bouldering Project for a little crosstraining. It was a great break from the heat and I had a fun time bouldering and challenging my fear of heights.

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So scared up there
Run Mai Run – This month was filled with running related events. I ran the San Diego Rock N Roll half marathon as my 14th half marathon. Woohoo! I didn’t beat my overall personal record (PR), but I did beat my course PR. 🙂 June also marked the start of my marathon training for the Chicago marathon in October. For the next several months, I will be running my little legs off in hopes that I can run the marathon in under 4 hours. Eek! Also, if you remember way back when, one of my resolutions was to run 1000 miles in 2017. I am happy to report that I surpassed 500 miles a few days ago and am on track to finish before the year is over. Hooray!

So that’s my June in a nutshell. How was your June? Anything cool you’d like to tell me about? What’s in store for July?

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Posted in Marathon Mondays, Running, Thoughts

Marathon Mondays – Week 2 Chicago marathon training

And I’m done with week 2 of marathon training. I’ve decided to try and bring back marathon mondays where I recap my previous week of marathon training. Hopefully it won’t be too boring for you to read through. 🙂

Week 2

Monday (Rest) – It has been incredibly difficult to rest when you’re on IG and looking at everyone’s running photos. LOL. It was tough, but I did it. I actually rested and wowee, my body needed it. Week 1’s activities wiped me out.

Tuesday (5 miles) – Yup. ~5 miles at an easy pace. Nailed it. Good thing too because my body was still super tired for some reason.img_0408

Wednesday (Rest) – Another day of rest. Wednesdays will be my only day of rest in a few weeks. I think during week 5 or 6, I’m supposed to do easy runs on Monday so that rest day will be gone. Yikes. Therefore, I plan to fully rest on Wednesdays. Got caught up on scrapbooking and organizing things around my place. Win.

Thursday (3 miles) – It was a double workout kind of day. 3 miles of running and 1 hour of intense cardio kickboxing. Do you know why it was intense? Because I pulled my gluteus maximus (aka my butt muscle) 20 minutes into the class and my hamstrings STILL HURT. LOL. I know I’m not supposed to cross train at all using this program, but I had a 10 class kickboxing pass I bought way back when and need to use it before it expired. I won’t make a habit of crosstraining too often. I promise. 🙂img_0502

Friday (3 miles) – Woke up SUPER sore from Thursday’s kickboxing class. I guess I did one too many squats and jab crosses. LOL. Was planning on going kickboxing again, but that didn’t happen. Ran an easy 3 miles and called it a day.

Saturday (5 miles) – Sigh. I am not a morning person, but since its’ getting warmer and I’ve joined a run group with Movin’ Shoes, I will wake up early to run. LOL. Got in 6 miles because everyone else was running around that distance. LOL. I’ve succumbed to peer pressure. 🙂 It also happened to be Global #sportsbrasquad day so I put my insecurities aside and ran with just a sports bra. It was nerve wracking at first, but I ended up having a lot of fun chatting with another girl and forgot about my insecurities for that hour. 🙂 img_0545

Sunday (5 miles) – Because I ran a little more that required during the other days, I only had to run 3.5 miles. Thank god too! I was packing all weekend and was really tired. I ended up forcing myself out the door midafternoon for a run and the run was not pretty. My legs felt like lead the entire way through, but I’m glad I got it done.

Total Mileage: 21 miles!

For this upcoming week, I’m hoping to repeat last’s week running schedule. 🙂 Wish me luck!

Question of the day: Are you training for anything and if you are, how is it going? 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running

The many uses of SmellWell + a SmellWell giveaway

Disclaimer: I received SmellWell pouches to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

Exciting news everyone! I have been given the opportunity to host my very first giveaway! I’m so excited and I hope you are too because I’m giving away SmellWell pouches! I promise you that they will make you and your stinky items smell SO much better. 🙂

You have from now until Friday, Jun 30th, 12 am ET, to enter my raffle located at the end of this post to win a brand new set of SmellWell pouches. (Each packet includes 2 pouches). I tried these pouches a few months ago on my smelly items and when asked to try them out again AND host a giveaway, I, of course, jumped at the chance.

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One of these could be yours!

The Basics

  • SmellWell pouches prevent bacterial growth by removing moisture from your shoes (No bacterial growth = no odor/stink)
  • They are non-toxic and all natural.
  • They work 24/7 and last for 3 to 4 months.
  • They can be used for your smelly shoes, gym bags, cars, travel, boxing gloves, etc.
  • They leave your smelly gear smelling really nice.

If you don’t wear socks when you wear your shoes, chances are your shoes smell nasty. I mentioned in my last review that I had a pair of SMELLY flats that I didn’t dare part with. They were my favorite pair of shoes, but because they made my feet smell so bad, I just put them into a corner and hope that the smell would go away after a few days. Nope. It took ages for the smell to go away. Now, with SmellWell, I can just slip in the pouches and leave them overnight and the smell is gone.

They work with all sorts of shoes (flats, rockclimbing shoes, running shoes, hiking boots) My boyfriend doesn’t wear socks with his rockclimbing shoes. Nasty. LOL. I put those pouches in overnight and it worked like a charm. The smell caused by the bacteria disappeared and left his shoes smelling like flowers.

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I also found that they work really well with my boxing gear too. I just slip them into my gloves or wrap the pouches with my wraps, leave them in my gym back overnight, and then the smell is gone. My wraps really have never smelled that amazing after a workout. LOL. img_0543Ever since trying these out, I’ve included them as an essential in my travel packs. I used to have to air out my dirty clothes before re-packing them into my luggage. Traveling through Europe with a backpack of dirty clothes was kind of gross. Now, I just put the pouches with the dirty clothes in my backpack and not have to worry about it stinking up my other clothes. 🙂

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I love these SmellWell pouches and I hope that you have a chance to try them out too. You can enter the raffle below. Some options allow you to enter once a day so make sure to drop by and enter every day to increase your chances. I will notify the winner on Saturday, July 1st. 🙂

If you don’t win my raffle, you can order one for yourself here. You can buy 2 and get the 3rd one free if you use the code “BIBPRO10.” 

Enter here for a chance to win your own SmellWell Pouches

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

Footcare – 2Toms Footshield review

Disclaimer: I received 2Toms‘ FootShield to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

Ever have a blister on your feet? Maybe from when you’re trying to break in those cute ballet flats or sandals? Or from when you’re running a half marathon in humid weather? Oh I definitely have and let me tell you, it’s not a pleasant feeling.

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2Toms FootShield and compression socks to keep the blisters away

“2Toms mission has always been to provide the best comfort and care to athletes by offering the most technologically advanced products available anywhere.”

2Toms’ most popular products include the BlisterShield and Sportshield, a blister prevention and chafing prevention product respectively. Most recently, they came out with FootShield, a perspiration barrier for your feet. I was fortunate enough to try it out and here’s my review of the product. Enjoy!

How it works: FootShield comes in the form of a roll-on applicator. You roll the solution onto the bottom, top, and sides of your feet, wait a few minutes for your feet to dry, and voila, you’re on your way to a blister free day. As mentioned previously, Footshield creates a perspiration barrier. That barrier prevents your feet from getting sweaty, which also means it reduces your chances of getting blisters. As a runner, I cannot love this aspect of the product more. Blisters suck and if I can prevent them, I will.

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Brought Footshield with me to Texas, where is was HUMID as hell

The formula 2Toms uses also contains natural anti-fungal ingredients that fight bacteria, which minimizes odor and your chances of getting Athlete’s foot. That’s a nice perk, don’t you think? 🙂 The roll-on also smells of spearmint, which I can totally get on board with.

My experience: I’ve applied FootShield several times before going out on long runs (even a half marathon on a super humid day) and never have I come back with blisters. I have also applied FootShield and gone out in sandals and ballet flats and have not experienced any irritation. I should mention that I’m not as prone to getting blisters nowadays, but I will say that my feet are not as sweaty after application, which I’m extremely grateful for. This will definitely help me during the humid summer.  It allows me to wear socks for multiple days without having to do laundry. Hooray!

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Happy feet. Happy life.

I will continue to use it all summer long (races and marathon training included) and hope that I never have to repeat my AFC experience. Ouch.

Join us for #bibchat on Twitter at 6 pm PT on Tuesday, June 27th. We’ll be giving away a bottle of Footshield to two participants. Also, if you would like to buy a bottle, they are $15 and you can use the code “2TOMS20” for 20% off your entire online order. 🙂

Check out other BibRave Pros’ review of the product below.

Merideth – Kim – Connie – Amy

Are you prone to chafing? Blistering? Have you tried their products? What was your experience? 

 

 

Posted in Running, Thoughts, Training

Chicago marathon training has commenced!

This is a week late, but Chicago marathon training has commenced! The Chicago marathon will be my second full marathon and I’m nervous as hell about training for it. Last year, I ran the NYC marathon and had an absolute blast. I wasn’t shooting for a particular time. I just wanted to finish, which I did. 🙂 This year, it’s time to shoot for the moon.

Since I’ve been getting faster the past six or seven months, I decided to try for an ambitious goal. I finished last year’s marathon in 4 hours 48 min and 49 seconds. This year, I’m hoping to shave down 49 minutes and run the Chicago marathon in under 4 hours. Holy crap, right? That means I would have to run a full 2 min/mile faster AND do it for 26.2 miles. O.M.G. I only started running sub 2 half marathons last December. I’m thinking about it now and this has got to be one of my craziest goals yet. I find myself giggling whenever I think or talk about it. It could be part nerves and part excitement. Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s all nerves, but whatever. LOL. 

Marathon training has commenced and I’m going to try and put my best foot forward – literally. Last year, I tried to follow this Women’s Running plan. I ended up doing 3 out of the 4 runs a week and I think my peak mileage was 31 miles. This year, I’m following Hanson’s marathon, which emphasizes CUMULATIVE FATIGUE. I’m essentially running on tired legs for 17 weeks. LOL According to the plan, I’ll be hitting 57 miles during peak week. Yikes! The plan is actually 18 weeks and I started a week late, but that’s fine because I’m already starting off with a base mileage of 21 miles a week. 🙂 I’ll try my best to recap each week’s workouts, but since I’m also trying to graduate in August, I may miss a week or two. Hope you’ll forgive me. 🙂

Week 1 

Monday (Rest) – I actually did rest – unintentionally. I was coming back from vacation and didn’t get a chance to run. Luckily, it worked out for me since I wasn’t supposed to run anyway.

Tuesday (Easy 4 miles) – According to the Hanson plan, easy runs are supposed to be EASY. Since you’re running so much, you have to run a chunk of the miles at an easy pace. I’ve never really tried training this way so my first easy run kind of failed. My target pace was a 10:15 min/mile. I ran at an 8:17 min/mile. Oops. At least I hit 4 miles. 🙂

Wednesday (Rest) – Sooooo I did not run on Wednesday, but I did attend a free spin class and according to Hanson’s method, crosstraining is a big no no. LOL. But the class was free and I wanted to take advantage of it. Oh well. 🙂

Thursday (Easy 4 miles) – Ran 4 miles close to my target pace. Also, attended another spin class because, all the free classes end on Sunday. I had to make the most of it.

Friday (Easy 4 miles) – Ran 4 miles, but my pacing was all over the place. I ran for the first time in a sports bra and I was feeling very nervous about being judged so I ran faster to finish faster. Maybe I’ll get more comfortable just running in a sports bra one day. 🙂

Saturday (Easy 4 miles) – Nailed my pacing and mileage. Also, I took my last free spin class. 😦

Sunday (Easy 5 miles) – I had actually run a little more than 4 miles on the other days so I only had to run a little over 4 on Sunday to finish the week off with 21 miles. Hooray!

Sooooo can I actually do this? And the answer is that I honestly don’t know. I’m scared. This plan could completely blow up in my face, but I’m trying anyway. It’s better to shoot for the moon and land among the stars, right? 🙂

Have a great week everyone! 

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts, Training

UltraBoostX – Running shoe review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Adidas Ultra Boost X to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!


If you told me when I was 10 that I’d have a closet full of shoes almost 20 years later, I’d laugh at you. I’ve never been interested in shoes. Heels were too difficult for me to walk in and sandals didn’t really give me the support I needed. To me, shoes were just shoes…or so I thought. As a more serious runner now, I’ve found that a good pair of running shoes can make or break your training.

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Those aren’t even all of my shoes. LOL

Here’s a short history of my running shoes: I started out with Brooks’ Ghost – a neutral shoe with cushioning (12 mm midsole drop) I ran through almost four pairs before giving another brand a try, not because they no longer worked for me, but because I had won a pair of New Balance shoes from a Strava challenge. I chose to try out the New Balance Vazee2090 – a neutral shoe with cushioning (6 mm midsole drop) and in all honesty, this shoe blew my mind. The Vazee2090s were more responsive and I got faster.

A responsive shoe means that the shoe is responding to the ground. It’ll allow you to spring faster after the initial contact with the ground. 


So when BibRave gave us the opportunity to try out the new Adidas’ UltraBoostXs – another neutral shoe (10 mm midsole drop) that praised to have the most responsive cushioning ever, I was 100% hands down to try them. Here’s a little bit more information about them.

UltraBoostX

The first look and feel: I’ve never had more people compliment me on my running shoes before. LOL. The UltraBoostXs are a hug for your feet. Seriously. Their Primeknit material wraps around your foot and leaves it feeling pretty breatheable. The only thing I don’t like about the material is that I do have to put more effort into putting on the shoe. I can’t just push my foot into the shoe and wiggle it into a good fit. With these, I have to hold the collar open and insert my foot in. The sole is made from Continental tire rubber. Yes, you read correctly. Tire rubber. They’re meant to last. I obviously can’t say how true this is because I’ve only run 30-40 miles on these, but it’s comforting to know they are made out of tire rubber. These shoes also have a free floating arch that adapts to your running style. This arch felt VERY different from previous running shoes and definitely took a lot of getting used to.

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The first 35 miles: For anyone trying out these shoes, I’d definitely walk around in them for a few miles before attempting any runs with them. Once you think you’re used to the floating arch, try running a few miles with them. Build up SLOWLY especially if you’re prone to injury. Like all running shoes, you should take the time to break them in properly or else you’ll risk injury. I made the mistake of taking these shoes out on an uphill 10k run and pulled a hamstring because of that. I’ve run on tracks, roads, and relatively flat trails and have found these shoes to work well on all of them. I would advise against running on any rocky trails. I found that the shoes don’t work very well on uneven surfaces. Personally, I find the shoes to not be as responsive as the Vazee2090s, but it could be that I haven’t fully broken in the shoes.img_9500

My overall experience with these have been a positive one. They’re wonderful to walk in and I’m sure these shoes will get better to run in over time. I will be putting these shoes into my rotating shoe schedule for marathon training this summer. Who knows? Maybe I’ll end up running my marathon with them. 🙂img_9891

If you’re interested in purchasing these shoes, you can find them here at Dick’s Sporting Goods. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask me. I’ve also included a list of reviews from my fellow BibRavePros on the shoes below. 

Adidas UltraBOOST X reviews
Jeannine – Heather – AmyJenna – LindseyAngieEmily – Heather

What are your favorite pair of running shoes? 

Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Third time’s the charm – SD RnR race report 

Hey everyone! It’s been over a week and a half since I last ran the San Diego Rock N Roll half marathon and I’m happy to report that the overall experience was a success! I ran this course in under 2 hours, which was a dream of mine ever since the first time I ran it 3 years ago. 🙂 Without further adieu, my race report and some lessons I learned throughout the trip.

Health and Fitness Expo

Lesson #1: Take the trolley from a transit center to get to expo. It’s $2.50 one day and $5 for an all day pass. If you’re planning on going by trolley to get to the race, buy a 2 day pass for $9 and save yourself the hassle of downtown parking and high parking rates.

I easily got to the expo in Saturday afternoon by trolley, picked up my bib, changed my corral, and spent a few hours volunteering at the HoneyStinger booth. I’m one of their ambassadors and when they asked for volunteers to help man their booth, I jumped at the opportunity. For two hours, I cut up waffles and filled up bowls with whatever they were running low on (while also tasting their newest products). It really was a fun gig and I walked away with some free product as a thank you for volunteering. Whoo. Thanks HoneyStinger! I definitely have enough HoneyStinger fuel for my summer marathon training. 🙂

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My HoneyStinger score 🙂

 

While I was at the booth, a few people who I’ve interacted with online came to see me. I had told them I’d be volunteering and they actually dropped by. I was estatic and extremely appreciative they took their time to see me. I met the talented Briana from @MatMilesMedals (IG),

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Briana

crazy ultra runner Chelsea from TheDancingRunner, and fellow BibRave Pro Fallon from SlackerRunner.

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Chelsea and Fallon

After working my shift, I checked out a few other booths. While at the ProCompression booth, I saw other runners I followed on Instagram (Brian from PavementRunner – the organizer of the #WeRunSocial ornament exchange I took part in last year and CarleeMcDot – an incredible runner who I won a giveaway from last December). I definitely had a fangirl kind of moment.

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The WeRunSocial crew and I

I also made a stop by the SportHooks booth for an add-on medal rack, but was sad to find out they had run out. 😦 I’ll be sure to stop by at the Los Angeles Rock N Roll expo in October to get one then. I also met up with BibRavePro Emily from @AZSunGoddess (IG) and Fallon again later that day. 🙂 I had a wonderful time circling the expo. They have a lot of variety and entertainment and is still to this day one of my favorites.

 

 

 

Pre-race

Lesson #2 – This ties back to lesson #1. If you’re local, drive to Qualcomm stadium or one of the other trolley transit centers and take the trolley to downtown. From the stop, you have to walk about 10 minutes to the start line. Consider the walk a warm up. Taking the trolley will save you LOTS of stress, time, and money. Even if you’re not a local and you’re not in central downtown, do this option. It is by far the best way to get to the race. 

This year, the race had different start times depending on which corral you were in. I was in the first 10 corrals and was amongst one of the first few corrals released. I got there around 5:45 am, dropped off my stuff at gear check, made it into the #WeRunSocial picture, met Maria from @Running_notybaby (IG), and was off to race.

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Maria, Briana, Fallon, and I

Race time – 

Plan A – Beat my PR of 1:52:34

Plan B – Run a sub 2 hour half marathon

Plan C – Beat my course PR of 2:07:31

My plan for this race was to try and PR. I had done so well in the past few races I figured why not shoot for it. Unfortunately, I had pulled a hamstring the week before and was just going “wing it” during the race. Mile 1 went off just fine. I wasn’t as fast starting out, but I was in under the pace time. I saw some drag queens in Hillcrest that boosted my morale, but mile 2 to 6 was a struggle. Even the mile 4.5 bar that some neighbors set up wasn’t enough to pump up my energy levels. The humidity was high and by mile 5, I was already wishing it was over. It also didn’t help that I had been having lower back problems a few days before. By mile 6, I knew I wasn’t going to PR. I was still on track for Plan B and I also planned on trying out my new StimGear compression arm sleeves around mile 7 so I tried to remain positive. At mile 6.5, I activated the cooling packets from StimGear and within seconds, a rush of cold hit my wrists and began cooling me down. The packets were actually so cold that I tried pumping my arms faster so I’d warm back up. LOL. The effects wore out after 15 minutes and the rest of the race was kind of a blur. I was so focused on finishing in under the 2 hours that I didn’t enjoy the rest of the race. I did finish the half in 1:54:11, but I regret not slowing down even a bit to make the event more enjoyable.

Lessson #3: If race conditions aren’t favorable to PR, slow down and enjoy the experience. There’s course entertainment and lots of things to see along the route. Not every race is meant to be a PR. 

Post-race – 

After crossing that finish line, I grabbed my medal and all the food in sight. LOL. Unfortunately, the race AGAIN forgot to provide bags for us to carry all the food given out at the finish line. Don’t get me wrong. I am super grateful for all the goodies they gave us at the end, but a bag would have been nice to carry all the stuff in. I instead was dropping things left and right and had to sit down on the side of the curb and eat some things so I could carry the rest of it with fewer problems. LOL.

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At the finish line

 

I made my way to the festival, grabbed my gear bag, and sat down to eat the rest of the food I received. After a few minutes, I quickly got cold to the point where I started shaking.

Lesson #4: Bring a change of clothes or a jacket and put it in your gear check. 

Luckily, I had stashed a jacket with me in my bag and put it on. Had I brought a change of clothes, I think I would have recovered a bit better. I was soaked in my sweat and was shaking for a bit even after I put my jacket on. I planned on meeting up with more friends after the race, but because I was so cold and by myself, I decided to just head home. I have never appreciated a shower more. LOL.

Overall – The expo was amazing. I had a great time interacting with other runners and wish I had more money to go to more races and meet other people I’ve interacted with online. The race was a little lackluster, but I think that could have been due to the humid weather. Ew. The race entertainment could have been a bit more interesting, but I will say that the neighborhood support was wonderful. It was amazing to see people come out and support us with alcohol, water bottles, and other things. 🙂

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The center spins too

Woohoo. My 14th half marathon is done. Now onto my 15th next month. 🙂 Have you run a Rock N Roll race? Which one? How was your experience?