Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running

Goodbye Ziplock Bags and Hello CAMA

Disclaimer: I received the CAMA Bag 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!

About a month ago, I got the opportunity to test out the CAMA Bag from CAMA and if you’ve never heard of CAMA before, the details are below along with my review of the bag.

What is it?

The CAMA Bag is a reusable bag that is made of moisture-wicking and odor- absorbing fabrics. It comes in two sizes: The Bigger One [15″ (w) x 19″ (h)] and The Smaller One [12.5″ (w) x 15″(h)] . It’s machine washable allowing you to reuse it again and again.

Why use it?

The CAMA Bag is designed to be portable and to be used when you’re on the go and need a place to stash your sweaty clothes/gear/equipment. It’s constructed of 3 layers of fabrics that helps with keeping your clothes from getting stale and smelly.

Cost?

$55 for The Bigger One and $45 for The Smaller One.

Review?

If you love to travel and/or lead an active lifestyle, I think this bag would fit right in with that lifestyle. I first got the CAMA Bag right before my travels to Sacramento for the California International Marathon and decided to bring it along with me as a way to stash away my race clothes post-race. Normally, I would have had to bring a zip lock bag with me, but gone are the days where I need to do that. 🙂 I was able to change out of my sweaty race clothes and throw them into the CAMA Bag and zip it up. This allowed me to keep my race clothes and my regular clothes separately in my luggage.

Carrying my dirty race clothes in my CAMA bag waiting for my flight

Even if you aren’t leading an active lifestyle and are just like to travel, this bag is still really useful especially if you aren’t able to do laundry while you’re traveling. I store my used undergarments in the CAMA Bag to keep them separate from my clean clothes and it works like a charm. I’ve also thrown clothes that have gotten drenched from the rain into my CAMA Bag. Just wrung the water out of the shirt and threw it in there because I didn’t want to make my other clothes in my luggage wet before I got home.

Best part of the bag is that it’s reusable. You can machine wash it, line dry it, and use it again and again. When I was traveling abroad, I used up so many zip lock bags to store my used clothes since I didn’t stay anywhere with a washing machine. Now, I can just bring my CAMA Bag along.

Washing my race clothes and my CAMA bag at the same time

If you have questions about the CAMA Bag, let me know.

Posted in Running, Training

2022 – A New Year and a New Attempt at the Big Sur Marathon

Big Sur Marathon Attempt in 2022

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Big Sur Marathon 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!

On December 19, 2019, I last wrote about preparing for the Big Sur Marathon in April 2020 and on February 22, 2020, I did my last 18 mile long run for the marathon. We went into lock down shortly after and most if not all races were cancelled or deferred to another year.

Now that it’s 2022 and vaccinations have been made widely available, I will be attempting another Big Sur Marathon training cycle.

Details

Distances: Marathon (Lottery drawing), 21 miler, Marathon relay, 11 miler, 12k, and 5k

Date: April 24, 2022

Time: 6:45 am PST

Time limit: 6 hours; Officially ends at 1 pm

Since my last attempt, I have raced a virtual road 50k, raced my first international marathon (more on that later), and raced a second marathon 2.5 months later. In that second marathon, I broke my marathon personal record by 11 minutes. 🙂 Despite those accomplishments, I’ve also rolled my ankle numerous times on random flat sidewalks (LOL) and have experienced tendonitis a few more times than I’d like.

All smiles post long run ^_^

I’m about 16 weeks out from the marathon so I guess I should start training. Sigh. LOL. I do love running, but getting out of bed to get those long runs in are exhausting. Hah! Anyway, before I leave, I did want to mention that I came across a Sarah Marie Design Studio crop top that said “Kinda rude how running a marathon requires months of training, but ok” and thought it was very fitting for me recently. 🙂 Happy New Year everyone!

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running

Another Missed Sub Two Attempt at the San Diego Craft Classic Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the San Diego Craft Classic Half marathon 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!

The Craft Classic Half marathon in San Diego occurred this past weekend and I could not be happier by my performance. Here’s how it all went down.

Friday

I headed down to San Diego to go to PT (more on that in a later post) and I kid you not, an hour before my PT appointment, I roll my ankle WALKING on the SIDEWALK. Yes, read that again. I ROLL my ankle TWO days before race day while walking on a FLAT sidewalk. I quickly text my PT, let m know what happened, and I came in and he checked my ligaments to make sure nothing was damaged. He ended up massaging my very tight calf, taped me up, and send me on my way. He was confident I could race. I was not. LOL. I legitimately almost cried after rolling my ankle. I’ve been dealing with so many injuries the past year that I thought I wouldn’t be able to race.

Leaving my PT’s office, I hoped for the best and headed off to packet pick up at Road Runner Sports, met up with another Bibrave Pro, and caught up with fellow runners at the store. That night, I end up dunking my ankle in an ice bath and HOLY MOLY, how does anyone do this? I could not keep my ankle in the ice water for more than 5 seconds without screaming.

Saturday

My ankle was still a bit tender. Walking around felt okay, but I wasn’t sure if I could run and I didn’t want to risk injuring it further by trying to run Saturday so I held off and hoped it’d be okay for race day. Laid out my flatrunner and dropped all of my essential race gear in a bag that night and passed out.

Sunday – Race Day

The race started at 6:30 and this year, we were parking near the start line so I was able to sleep in until 5 am. LOL. I was out the door by 5:30 am. Parking was at a high school and we all walked to the start line. The race was a bit smaller this year, but as we are still in a pandemic, I was pretty happy with how many people came out. The weather was also much better this year than in other years. It was much cooler and had a lot of cloud cover. Runners were released in waves and I headed out with a friend of mine and as soon as I took that first step, I felt stiffness in the front of my ankle. I honestly wasn’t sure if it’d be smart to continue, but when do runners ever listen to reason. I told my friend I’d try to run a bit more and see where it went. Luckily, she doesn’t like to run fast so we took our time and ran together for about 3 miles.

At the finish line

At that point, she and I parted ways and my ankle was feeling a lot better and I decided to continue forward. As I wasn’t chatting with anyone, I was able to pick up my pace and realized that I might make a sub 2 cutoff if I pushed. I’ve run this course 2 other times and both times, I’ve missed the sub 2 cutoff. I have raced a sub 2 before, but it would have been nice to have a sub 2 for this course. In the back of my head though, I was also absolutely fine with missing it because I’d rather finish and not be injured than try and race faster and be injured before my fall marathon. I conservatively ran an 8:30 to 9 min/mile up until mile 10. Most of the course at that point is downhill. (YAY). Then came the king of the hill that crushed my dreams. It’s about a 300 ft elevation gain across maybe a half mile or 3/4 mile and my legs were not having it. I managed a jog/walk up it, but by the time I got to the top, I knew I’d miss the cutoff. Funnily enough, that’s when I felt a weight lift off my shoulder. With that pressure removed, I was able to take more walk breaks and enjoy the last bit of the course. Don’t get me wrong, the course through the back part of the city was pretty with the trees on either side of the course, but the pressure of running faster was always in the back of my head. The last bit of the course is a bit deceiving. Once you reach the top of the biggest hill, you head back down and you turn the corner and there’s one more hill and then you turn the corner again and there’s another hill. LOL. You just silently or not silently curse to yourself as you’re running it. At least, I did.

My crazy friends

I had a really strong finish though where I clocked in at about a 7:30 min/mile meaning I could have pushed if I had wanted to. I finished in at 2:03 and some change and didn’t roll my ankle again and it was my 31st half marathon! I also got to see a lot of friends I hadn’t seen in over a year and a half and it felt fantastic. I gave my friend my free beer ticket and they cashed it in for a Green Flash Beer since that’s where the race ended. 🙂 After dawdling a bit, I headed back to the shuttle that took me back to the start line parking lot.

My 31st half marathon medal

TLDR? I started out with a rolled ankle and finished my 31st half marathon with a time of 2:03.

Have you raced in person since the pandemic started yet? How did it go?

Posted in Running

A Week Out from the San Diego Craft Classic Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the San Diego Craft Classic Half marathon 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!

From the title, you can see that I’m exactly one week away from my return to an in person road race and in all honesty, I am a bit nervous about it all. It will be my first in person road race since the pandemic and I haven’t been in such a large crowd in some time. It will definitely be an interesting experience.

I’ve also just been having a few more injuries than I’d like this year. I won’t bore you with the details, but I have Posterior Tibial Tendonitis. The tendon that’s affected is the one on the inner side of the ankle. It also happens to be the same ankle that I’ve rolled over and over again in the past 6 months. Coincidence? Probably not. Since being diagnosed with it a few weeks ago, I have been working with my PT to try and find the root cause and nip it in the bud. After all, (spoiler alert) I am also in full swing of marathon training and I can’t get more injured or else I won’t be able to make it to the starting line.

I have been feeling a bit better about the training though and although my tendon is sometimes angry with me, I think this will be a good race. I’ve been training on a lot on hills (this race has one major hill) and my PT has helped me improve my running form.

We are however, experiencing a bit of a heat wave at the moment, but I do see the weather trending towards being colder in a week so fingers crossed it’ll be colder or at least we’ll have some cloud cover before it gets too warm. Luckily, there are 7 aid stations throughout the half course so all I have to do is make sure I drink water at all of them if it gets too warm. Heh. Wish me luck!

Discount Alert: Also, if you want to plan a last minute trip to San Diego and run this half, you can use the code “BIBRAVE20” for $20 off the half registration. They also do have a 5k if you just want to run much less and still earn a free beer. You can use code “BIBRAVE10” for 10% off the 5k registration.

Posted in Running

My Return to Road Racing – San Diego Craft Classic Half (Discount Code included)

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the San Diego Craft Classic Half marathon 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!

Yes, you read the title of the blog post correctly. The time has come for me to return to road racing and that time is set for July 25th, 2021. It’s been ages since I last raced an in person road race and I’m excited that we finally can.

Honestly though, my anxiety has been through the roof the entire pandemic and I have not run with a single person in over a year for fear of getting it as well as possibly spreading it. Thankfully, things are starting to look up (*knocks on wood*). San Diego has recently been moved to an Orange Tier where more businesses have been able to reopen and COVID19 vaccinations are being made available to everyone over the age of 18. I’ve already gotten my first dose and will be fully vaccinated by the time the Craft Classic rolls around. Hooray!

If you’re itching to return to road racing, this might be the race that you’re looking for. If you’re not comfortable with the half distance, they also have a 5k available and the bonus of running the 5k distance is that you’ll also get a complimentary beer from Green Flash Brewery. 5kers are honestly the smart ones. They run 10 miles less and also get the same beer. LOL. I’m personally a glutton for punishment so a half marathon it is.

I’ve done this race a few times and I will not lie to you. It’s not a flat course and it’s not the easiest, but it’s also not the most difficult. I’d say that it challenges you. There is one major hill towards the end of the race so pacing is pretty important. I’d also say that training on hills or being okay with walking up them is pretty key. But once you get over that hill, that beer will taste so much better.

The Craft Classic will be my 31st half marathon and I honestly can’t wait. I’ve missed meeting friends at the start and end of races and the occasional slap on my back as a friend speeds by along the course. 🙂 Also, this race has free photos! That’s a rare find with races. 🙂

If you’re concerned about the race being cancelled, their FAQs do address those concerns and I’m posting this here for easier viewing. You can also view them here.

What happens if the race date is changed or cancelled due to COVID?

  • If the race date is changed or cancelled, all existing registrants will be given the option to run virtually, defer to the new date/2022 or receive a refund.

Will anything be different for the event due to COVID protocols?

  • The health and well being of our participants is our first priority! We will follow all state and local guidelines for hosting a safe half marathon & 5K. These guidelines are very fluid and can change. So we will be working closely with local officials to ensure we are following the latest protocols on event day.

If you’re interested in either race, the price increase occurs on June 10th ($95 for the half and $45 for the 5k). You can use code “BIBRAVE10” for 10% off. Let me know if you’re racing and want to meet up! It’s been too long since I’ve gotten photos with other runners! 🙂

If you have any other questions, let me know. I’ve run the race twice and the course has been more or less the same the past few years.

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Discount Codes, Running

Escape Room x Running = A Run to Escape Experience

Disclaimer: I received registration to the Run to Escape Experience 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!

As you may or may not know, I have been a BibRave Pro for over 4 years and over the years, I’ve been able to test out interesting running products and race in really amazing cities for BibRave. Recently, they came out with this awesome concept of launching their own running/racing experience. As most things are virtual these days due to the pandemic, we needed a way to make running more interesting and motivate us to run. (Some people like myself have not run with anyone in over a year. Yikes.) The Run to Escape Experience is BibRave’s way of doing that. Even with some races starting to come back, I thought this would be a great way of motivating myself to get back into it all.

Check out my IG reel that is a brief overview of the experience. I don’t give out any actual puzzles from it as that would be spoilers, but if you enjoy solving puzzles like the one in the reel, this might be of interest.

IG Reel – Run to Escape

The Run to Escape experience obviously running and puzzles/riddles. Think of it as a cross between an escape room and running. The experience consists of 6 separate runs that will test your wits and make you laugh along the way if you’re into Greek mythology like I was in high school. In each run, you are given more and more of the storyline in an audio format. In addition to the storyline, you are given clues to solve a puzzle and after each run, you are given the puzzle. Don’t worry if you miss the audio clues. They’ll be provided to you so you can listen again and again to solve the puzzle. I say again and again because I definitely had to listen to a few clues on repeat to solve a puzzle or two. Haha. Once you solve the puzzle, you enter the code to unlock the next run/part of the story line.

Head over to the RTESeries IG page and try to solve their clever puzzles like this one!

As someone who was addicted to escape rooms a few years ago, this was right up my alley. I was dead tired after work some days, but because I wanted to progress along the challenge, I muscled up and ran so I could hear more clues. I would then spend the evenings in bed piecing together the clue to unlock the next run. I had a blast doing this since it was so unique. I can’t spoil the end, but I was so pleasantly surprised at how well they wrapped everything up.

Can you solve the What Am I puzzle? Let me know!

Right now, the Run to Escape Experience has a flexible refund policy so I highly recommend giving it a shot. If you don’t like it, there’s always that refund. If you do sign up, use code BibRave10 for 10% off the registration.

Oh! I forgot to mention this, but if you are worried you won’t be able to solve the clues, there are hints, just like a real escape room. Every run has 3 hints and you will definitely be able to solve them if you use all 3, but if you’re just like me, you’ll just be agonizing over the clues until you can solve it without any hints. Haha. Good luck and let me know if you have questions!

I’ve also included some reviews from other BibRave Pros if you’re unsure if you want to sign up.

LissaMike P.Cynthia RyanStephanie D.SarahKatie

Posted in Discount Codes

Adding a little oomph to your training

Disclaimer: I received a free pack of MetCon Start Pre-Training 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!

Hello my fellow readers! Today, I’d like to share my experience with a pre-workout supplement called MetCon Start. Their blend claims to increase your muscle endurance, stamina and nitric oxide production. As someone who has a scientific background, I definitely can’t speak to it increasing my nitric oxide production, but I can speak to how I felt while using it.

A little bit of background about me if you are just joining me on my blogging journey. My main hobby is running. I’ve been running consistently since 2014 and on average log around 20 miles a week. More recently, due to quarantine, I did up my mileage the past few months to maybe 40 miles a week and had completed a broken up road 50k in April.

By the time I received MetCon Start, I was working towards attempting my first continuous 50k (2nd one in 24 hours). I had maybe a week to decide whether I wanted to use MetCon Start to prepare for it. Even though every experienced runner will tell you not try anything new on race day, I figured that because my 50k was virtual, I could swing back towards my place if something disastrous were to happen. Soooo going against every runner’s advice, I decide to use it for the race.

Before actual race day, I did test various scoops of MetCon start the week leading up to it. It suggests that 1 scoop is recommended, but if you are concerned about how you will deal with it, they suggest a half scoop first. A half scoop on a 3 mile run gave me no issues. A full scoop on a 15 mile run also gave me no issues so I figured it’d be fine to use.

On race day, I added 1 scoop to my water, shook it a bit to dissolve it, and guzzled it 25 min before I started my race. I’ve tried using other supplements before and I was pleasantly surprised that MetCon Start dissolves very easily in water. It doesn’t require you to use a ball blender of any sort. You just add the powder to the water and give it a few shakes and voila, it’s ready. MetCon Start comes in a Fruit Punch flavor, which is not overly sweet and actually very clean tasting. It doesn’t taste like typical fruit punch and I can’t quite put my finger on what it actually tastes like, but it’s a very pleasant drink.

They do recommend that you take it 15 min prior to your physical activity I wanted to be on the safe side and give it a little more time. During the majority of the 50k, I felt fairly strong, which is saying a lot. Normally, during any marathon, I bonk at mile 20. Doesn’t matter how well I prepare, mile 20 comes around and I start slowing down significantly. During this 50k, I felt good until mile 25. Taking MetCon Start seems to have staved off my fatigue and although, it couldn’t stave it off the entire 50k, I’m pretty happy it delayed the eventual pain town I would have entered 5 miles earlier. LOL.

It’s also super important to note that I had no gut issues while taking MetCon Start. My gut is very sensitive during race day and in normal races, I can only drink water and sometimes. Even in some cases, pHed water gives me an upset stomach soooo having no issues with MetCon Start was awesome.

In addition to the vitamins and electrolytes that MetCon Start provides, it also has a bit of caffeine in it too. They do recommend that on your non-training days to drink some at the start of your morning. I’ve also done that too and I don’t necessarily feel any different from taking it, but it’s a good way to force myself to hydrate and additional supplements couldn’t hurt.

Overall, I had a really great experience with this. If you’re interested in getting yourself a pack, you can use code BIBRAVE for 20% off your first order. If you have any questions, let me know!

Also, see what my fellow BibRave Pros had to say about it. Once more reviews are up, I’ll link them below. 🙂

ShannonKenJuanReneeAndrea

Posted in Running

Staying Active while in Quarantine

Disclaimer: I received a $50 Amazon gift card to review FitnessBank 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!

Hey everyone! I hope you all have been staying safe and healthy while we’re in these crazed pandemic times. I haven’t felt super motivated to blog, as you can tell by my lack of posts in the last 6 months, but you know what I have been motivated to do?

Run.

About 6 weeks ago, California issued a mandate that all non-essential employees work from home. I don’t like working from home. I did when I had a 45 minutes commute, but when I lived 15 minutes away, I preferred to go into the office because it gave me a routine. Nowadays, I wake up 10 minutes before my workday, check my email to see what events have been cancelled, and then start work. I barely left my bedroom and when I did, it was to use restroom or eat. My mental state deteriorated pretty quickly.

Luckily, I started participating in the Des Linden Spring Step Challenge hosted by FitnessBank and it’s provided some motivation for me to go out and just walk around even if it’s for 20-30 minutes.

A little bit about Fitness Bank:

It’s essentially a fitness tracker that tracks your steps through your phone, FitBit, Apple Health, or Garmin. It’s called Fitness Bank because it also happens to be a bank. You can deposit some money into your bank account and depending on how active you are step wise that month, you are get a certain APY. So this is incentive to be more active so your APY is higher (up to 2.5%).

The other aspect of Fitness Bank is that it partners with different organizations to hold step challenges. I did one a Fitness bank challenge with some BibRave Pros and we all competed to win shoes. I uhh didn’t win. I can tell you that the BibRave Pros are a competitive bunch and within a day, I was kicked down several spots. Haha. I mean, some people were logging in steps on their treadmill in the wee hours of the night when their kids were asleep. I didn’t stand a chance.

The Des Linden Spring Step Challenge started on April 1st and ends May 31st and it’s been intense to see how many steps people log on average. This particular challenge averages your steps whereas the one I did a few months ago was a total step count. And the incentive for joining in on this challenge? I mean, aside from the fact that it’s a motivation factor to stay active in this pandemic, it’s also a chance to win a free pair of Brooks shoes and a year’s worth of races. 🙂 That’s right. Even if you join now, you still have a chance. I believe the app will retroactively pull all your steps from the last 30 days so if you’re a step fiend, give it a shot. You do not at all have to provide any of your banking information in order to use this app. You can use it just to check your daily steps and see how many people you can pass.

Even if you’re not one of the top 3, you still have a chance to win just by showing up. 🙂

FitnessBank

Since joining the app, I’ve definitely been more active and like I said above, I’ve upped my running game. Since starting the challenge, I’ve gone out and logged 30+ miles every week and just over a week ago, I was invited to solo run a 50k (on road because all the trails are closed) along with 2 other friends and like an absurd person, I went out and finished it. I logged over 70k steps that day. LOL. This past weekend, I went out and did a Virtual Spartan race. I did the beast because well if you don’t go all out, was it even worth it? 😛

IMG-2342

And if running isn’t your thing, social media is full of home workouts right now. If you don’t know where to go, I’ve included some suggestions below just as a starting point. I was not paid to list them below. They’re just ones that I’ve come across and have done and found them useful. 🙂

I have a friend who created a 30 day oblique challenge and after 8 days, you’ll wish that you were already on day 30. LOL. She also has a 30 day balance challenge if that’s more up your alley. I met a Youtube Fitness Instructor at a Spin class a few months ago and she also has some great workouts. I also started taking yoga classes through youtube. Yoga with Adrienne is very good for beginners and I am most definitely a beginner. Vuori has a lot of IG live workouts. They’re a San Diego based apparel brand so I have to support my local small businesses. 🙂

Anyway, I hope that everyone continues to stay safe and if you want to check in on me, check out my social media handles: Once_Upon_a_Run on both Twitter and IG. I’m more active on IG and post my daily ramblings there. 🙂

Posted in Running, Thoughts

Big Sur Marathon 2020

“Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Big Sur Marathon 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!”

In 2018, I ran the 21 miler (read the race report here) and after crossing the finish line of the 21 miler, I knew that I had cheated myself. The full would have been an additional 5 miles and those 5 miles would have been through the beautiful Redwoods of Big Sur. So after much contemplation, I decided to opt into the full Big Sur marathon for 2020.

IMG_6126

The marathon is unfortunately a lottery and the drawing has already happened, but there are other distances available. If the hills of Big Sur are too daunting, but you still want to try running along the scenic waters, try the 12k, 5k, or even the 3k. Unfortunately, at this time, the marathon relay, 21 miler, and 11 miler are already sold out, but if you have your heart set on these distances, make a note on your calendar for the following year to sign up early. That’s how you know this is a good race. Despite not having the crowds come out to cheer you out on course, the race still sells out almost every year because it is that beautiful.

IMG_6172

There’s a piano player on Bixby bridge and you can hear the music miles away. There are Taiko drummers at the top of the highest hill pounding away. It’s honestly a once in a lifetime experience. The Big Sur route only closes for this race so you only really get this experience during this course. Sure, you’ll be able to drive up and down it, but to really take it all in, you’ll need to go at a slower pace. I don’t want to be redundant so if you want to know more, head on over to my race report where I recap my 21 miler experience.

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

My BibRave Exuma Getaway Experience

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Run for Pompey Half Marathon and received an amazing resort package as part of the BibRave Bahamas Getaway package and for 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.

Hello all! I’ve been having quite an adventure since the last time I blogged. If you’ve been following me on social media, you’ll know that 4ish weeks ago, I visited Taiwan for all of the food adventures. I then came back to the states for 5 days and then jetsetted to the Bahamas for 5 days for an amazing and relaxing adventure.

I swear I’ll get to my Taiwan adventures, but since the Bahamas are fresh in my memory, let’s start with that. 🙂 Disclaimer: This will be LONG and I am sorry, but there was just too much to talk about that it would not be genuine to leave things out. I broke it down by subject and included pictures to make it easier to read.

For those of you who may not remember, I was going to Exuma in the Bahamas as part of the Exuma Getaway package that BibRave helped host. That package is described in my earlier post.

Flight

Let’s start with the flight. It’s not an easy flight out of the West Coast. I caught a red eye and had a 4.5 hour flight out of LA to Ft. Lauderdale, a 5.5 hour layover, and a 1.5 hour flight finally to Georgetown in the Bahamas (Georgetown is a city on the island of Exuma). After landing in Ft. Lauderdale, I was delirious. I had some flight schedule changes and I pulled up the wrong itinerary and thought I was going to miss my connecting flight. Well, a panic attack and a sprint down two terminals later, I realized my flight was 4 hours later. Oops. LOL.

My first impression

That frown turned upside down the moment I started seeing glimpses of the Bahamas from the air. The water was gorgeous and I was beyond excited to finally land. LOL Once I landed, I quickly got through customs and the Grand Isle resort ambassador was there to help me arrange a taxi to get to the resort. Once at the resort, fellow BibRave Pro Chris and I checked in and was given the tour of our villa and oh my goodness, it was beautiful.IMG-0522

Grand Isle Resort and its many amenities

The Grand Isle resort consisted of villas, two pools, a spa, fitness center, and various restaurants (La Palapa Grill, 23 North, and one other location I cannot remember the name of). All villas are two stories and have a maximum of 3 bedrooms. The villas all come equipped with a kitchen, some kitchenware (pots, pans, eating utensils, fridge, freezer), a laundry machine, air conditioning, and amazing views from the 2nd floor patio. I could have honestly just stayed in the villa for the entire stay, but the beach and pools were calling my name. Also, I had to run a half marathon so there was that. 😛

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The resort is right next to Emerald Bay and oh my goodness, I didn’t know salt water could be so beautiful. I had a blast swimming in the waters. Beware of sand fleas (aka noseeums) though. They will nip at you and you will be itching for weeks. I didn’t think to put on water proof insect repellant and am paying the price. I have about 15 bites and it is not pleasant. So if you go, make sure to wear insect repellant. That is an absolute must.

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I stayed at the resort for most of my stay, with a trip to the convenience store to grab snacks. The receptionist at the resort can arrange either taxis or a day long car rental ($75/day). You could even arrange to swim with the pigs from the receptionist and I was even scheduled to, but due to unfortunate weather and my schedule, I couldn’t make it work. The tour groups will pick you up from the resort as part of the package, which is super nice. So instead, I took advantage of their spa services and got a super relaxing sports massage with my first ever manicure.

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The Bibrave Perk of the Exuma Getaway

As part of the Exuma Getaway, BibRave gifted those who signed up with an awesome pair of Aftershokz Aeropex. (Note: If you haven’t tried them, I’d highly recommend them. They use bone conduction technology so even the hard of hearing can experience music/audiobooks with ease). As part of being a BibRave Pro, I was also gifted things that really helped me get through the Bahamian weather.

Go Sili’s Straw Cup and straws– It’s a silicone cup with a lid where you can store your liquids in and it’s light and durable. Pretty nice for traveling and it won’t break during the shuffle.

Nuun Rest – Nuun’s newest line of hydration specifically designed for resting after a hard day of work or running.

BUFF’s Running Cap – Super lightweight and easily packable. The brim is crushable and the upper panel has UPF protection. Really nice to run with.

KnockAround Sunglasses – I’m a San Diego girl and love this local sunglasses brand. It also really helped shield the sun when I ran.

Vooray’s Pulse Active Backpack – A lot of nice pockets and straps that you can clip things to. I clipped a small sunscreen bottle to it, some hand sanitizer, and chapstick. There are two spots for bottles on the sides and held all the things I needed for a day of sightseeing.

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The Entire Race Experience

With the getaway package, there was a pre-race pasta dinner and boy was that a carb loading experience. I wish I had run the marathon so I could have eaten even more pasta. It was sooo good. It was a choose your own type of pasta ordeal. They had pesto, alfredo, and marinara sauce along with several different types of pasta and protein (Grouper or chicken).  After eating my fill, speeches were made and the race directors let us know that the race was able to provide scholarships for students to attend college and due to the hurricane this year, they also donated to those affected. It was definitely a nice way to end the night.

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Getting to the race was a breeze. We took the race day shuttle at 5:15 am and arrived shortly before the race at 6 am for the half marathon. The marathoners had already begun at 4 am. In its 5th year, there were 3 ultra marathoners (50k), 3 marathoners, 11 half marathoners, and a LOT of 10k, 5k, and 2kers. There were also cash prizes for the longer distances – $500 for the first female and male finishers. So if you were a marathoner or an ultra marathoner, you had a really good chance of winning. In fact, my fellow Pro Chris won the marathon and smashed the course record by an hour at 4 hours and 35 min.

I do not do so well in humid and warm weather so I ran a moderate 2:28:04, which actually put me in 10th place. The temperature when I finished? 83F. The course starts out around a lake and with the sunrise, it’s a beautiful sight. You’re running along the streets and it is not blocked off from traffic so staying to the sides is important. There were also some wildlife (ie stray dogs) that made the course a bit more interesting and definitely kept me on my toes. For the half marathon, there were 7 aid stations, which were greatly appreciated. I grabbed an ice cold water bottle at every station and kept it until I got to the next one. We had great cloud cover for the first half of the race, but on the second half, the sun came out and I more strategically did a run/walk to get me to the finish.

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In all honesty, I didn’t think I could finish this half. I had done a 3 mile shake out run around the resort the day before and melted. Running 4x that amount in the weather was beyond what I thought I could do. But I did it. I ran it and I completed my 30th half marathon. At the finish line, they called random bib numbers for giveaways and their grand prize was actually a week long stay at the Grand Isle Resort. That’s a $7000 value. Sadly, I did not win, but I did get a really cute swimming pig medal from the race along with a cute pig plush pictured below.

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Post Race

Another perk of the package was a post-race celebration dinner and boy did I get my grub on at 23 North. Their tempura was amazing and I’ve never had tempura as good as I had it here. 23 North is an Asian fusion restaurant at their resort and their food is delicious. After dinner, I called it an early night. As my swimming pig tour was cancelled, I ended up treating myself to a nice sports massage the next day. The masseuse knew exactly how to get my knots out. I finished the massage feeling extremely relaxed and my hands looked real cute after the manicure. I spent the rest of the day swinging on the beach because why not have swings on a beach? LOL

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Leaving Exuma

After 4 amazing nights, I left Exuma with great memories (and some bug bites LOL). The resort staff was super top notch and very sweet and accommodating. The race was one I never thought I could finish, but mind over matter, right? It was a one in a lifetime trip and I’m glad I got to experience it.

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TLDR?

The resort was amazing from its staff to its food and its accommodations. Bring bug repellent. Emerald Bay is BEAUTIFUL. The race was challenging, but definitely teaches you to run in hot weather. 10/10 would do again. 🙂