Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Viva Las Vegas – Race Report

And just like that, my last scheduled race for the year is done. Rock N Roll Vegas was my 19th half marathon and it was a fun one. I met up with a few BibRave Pros and some of the #WeRunSocial crew and even bought myself a set of heels on a whim. Without further ado, my Rock N Roll Vegas Half Marathon race report.

I left for Vegas with a few friends on Saturday morning and drove 4 and a half hours to Sin City.  We easily picked up our bibs at the Health and Fitness Expo and bonus – we didn’t even have to pay for parking! That’s always a win in my book. There were again a lot of things to see and a lot of photo opportunities. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you probably saw some of them. One of the noteworthy things I saw and forgot to take a picture of was a wall where everyone could sign in neon sharpies. They later moved that wall to the course and so we ran by it and it lit up with everyone’s messages.  Anyway, my friends dropped me off at my hotel after the expo and I met up with fellow BibRave Pro Fallon, who graciously agreed to let me crash with her for the weekend. I want to tell you that we painted the town red, but we didn’t. Fallon was running the 5k that night and all I wanted to do was just stay in my hotel room and not be saddened by all people outside gambling and going clubbing.

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View of New York New York from the hotel

Sunday was better. It was the day of the race and I had scheduled to meet up with several other BibRave Pros (Christine, Fallon, Jeannine, Allison, and Justin) for brunch at the Planet Hollywood buffet.

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Fellow BibRave Pros

That’s a smart choice, right? To eat at a buffet the morning of a race? LOL It was tough, but I controlled myself. I only limited myself to one sausage, 4-5 slices of bacon, an omelet with all the fixings, some smoked salmon, grits, hash browns, and orange juice. Nothing too heavy. LOL. Don’t worry. I made sure not to eat anything the rest of the day so I was done digesting by the time race time came.

I met up with some other social media fiends at the #WeRunSocial meetup.

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The WeRunSocial crew

We chatted, got a #werunsocial multi-use headwear thing  (the gray thing I’m wearing), took a ton of photos, and went on our merry way to our corrals when they opened. We were squished during the corrals. There was no doubt about it. A lot of us, me included, had to wait on the sides until they released the corrals to be able to get into our corral. Every wave release had a nice mini fire show at the start line, which pumped up the crowds.

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Start line

Race: This race has always been on my bucket list. Racing through the Las Vegas strip at night always seemed like an interesting concept and it was. We started off by the T-mobile arena and headed 2 miles south towards the airport before making a u-turn back towards the heart of Las Vegas. We passed by the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, which tons of people took selfies in front of, and they had lined parts of the race with the wall we had signed at the expo.

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Famous Las Vegas sign

Since the messages were in neon, they lit up the course with our messages. That was very cool. Once we returned to the starting area, we ran an additional 5 miles north of the strip.We passed by all the big casinos and I was pretty much blinded by lights when I looked up. Towards the north end of the strip, we passed by the older casinos and even passed by the famous Pawn Shop seen on Pawn Stars. At mile 9, we made a u turn back towards the finish line and passed by Downtown Las Vegas, which from the outside looks like a huge carnival with a ton of lights. There were a good amount of fans cheering us along the route, but because Vegas is so busy, I barely noticed the people. Because I hadn’t been running regularly, my legs suffered. My feet started hurting at mile 3, but because I wanted to finish so badly, I didn’t care. I pushed on and after that second u-turn, I tried my best to not burn out.

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My unofficial finish time was 2:00:18. I knew I was close to 2 hours and I desperately tried to sprint at the end, but because it was a night race and it just got colder later in the race, my body wasn’t adjusting well to the temperature difference and I just missed the 2 hour mark.

All in all, it was a great experience and a unique one at that. I’m glad that my friends as well as you all pushed me to run the race. It had been on my bucket list for a few years and now I can finally cross it off my list.

It feels bittersweet knowing this was my last race of the year. Maybe I’ll sign up for a last minute holiday race to beat the holiday blues. Who knows?

So how about you? Any more races for the year or are you done until 2018? 

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Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts, Traveling Adventures

Travel Tuesdays – Backpack edition

Disclaimer: I received an Eagle Creek 60 L duffel 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! All opinions are my own. 

As someone who’s been traveling a bit more for races lately, I figured I’d need a travel backpack or in this case, a duffel bag. Enter the Eagle Creek 60 L duffel bag.

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The packed version of the bag

This bag is crazy big when it’s expanded. It’s considered their medium size so I can’t even imagine what their large 90 L bag looks like. Despite being a bag that can hold 60 L, the bag is surprisingly lightweight. It only weighs a lb and 12 oz. A few of its features include:

  • A water-repellent coated Bi-Tech™ Armor Lite fabric: a fusion of technology that merges max abrasion-resistance with ultra-light carry
  • Carry by its removable backpack straps, padded top haul handles, or side grab handle
  • Two sizeable easy-access zippered end pockets for gear organization
  • Six heavy-duty lash points for attaching this bag to a roof rack
  • #10 lockable zippers with storm flap shield zipper from rain
  • Bottom is foam padded to help protect contents against impact

I used the duffel bag on three separate occasions – on my trip to Chicago, Los Angeles, and most recently Las Vegas.

I flew with it to Chicago while flying Spirit Airlines and was extremely nervous the attendants would make me check the bag. Being the anxious person that I am, I only ended up packing half of the duffel bag and lucky me, I was able to squeeze the bag into my front seat. I was still able to bring all of my running gear and even had extra room to bring back other items from the marathon. 🙂

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The unpacked version – the bag is packed into one of the side pockets in the packed version

Note that with Spirit, you can only bring on a personal item for free. Anything else (even a carry on) costs moolah. Their personal item size limit was 18 x 14 8 8 inches and my bag somehow made that cut off. That’s the bonus of not carrying a suitcase. I’ve always hated suitcases. They are so difficult to maneuver around airports and they’re just too rigid for me. I’m a carry-on kind of girl and if I can’t take it with me straight onto the plane, I leave it at home.

The duffel bag has backpack straps so as long as you don’t have a bad back, you’d be able to carry this bad boy on and off the plane no problem. The straps are pretty comfy and don’t chafe while you walk around. I also really liked the two side compartments because I was able to compartmentalize all of my things. One pocket held all my small little misc items and the other held my running shoes/OOFOS sandals.

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On my way to Chicago

For my road trips to Los Angeles and Las Vegas, I didn’t really need that big of a duffel bag, but again, I really liked using the side pockets for my shoes so I brought the bag along with me. It’s also just really nice to have everything in one bag as opposed to three separate ones.

In addition to using this bag for racecations, this bag would probably be ideal for backpacking and camping. I personally am not a big nature person so maybe using this for the SoCal Ragnar Relay will be the closest I get to being out in nature. 😛

For those of you who travel, what do you travel with? A suitcase? A duffel bag? Do you carry-on or check a bag? 

For more information, check out what other BibRave Pros had to say about this product or you could ask me! 🙂

Lindsay – Ryan – Chris – LauraVanessa – Mark – EmilyMeridith – Brenda – Matt – Haley – Jenna – Heather – Gina – Amanda – Joshua – Jennifer – Fallon

Posted in Running, Thoughts

To Run or Not to Run…

If you follow me on social media, you’ll notice that my training posts have scaled down dramatically. A part of the decrease in mileage is due to the post-marathon blues and yes, a huge chunk of it is due to my recent break up. Bleh.

I originally took up running almost 4 years ago as a way to cope with a break up. I was diagnosed with depression and it took me months to get the control I needed in my life. What started off as a horrible 3 miler led to what I’ve accomplished today – 2 full marathons and 18 half marathons. That being said, I find it incredibly stupid that I can’t bring myself to run and regain that control. I think I’ve only run 5 miles this entire week.

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Taking one step at a time
I have one more scheduled race for 2017 and it’s this upcoming Sunday for the Rock N’ Roll Las Vegas half marathon. I’ve been debating all week long about whether I should run it or not. My flight’s already been booked and my accommodations have already been set, but the motivation isn’t there. This race has been on my bucket list for a few years and I was looking forward to running the strip at night. However, it’s difficult to be surrounded by happy and energetic people when you’re struggling with your own self worth.

As I’m writing this, I am still scheduled to run the race, but I’ve modified my travel plans a bit so I’m not out of my comfort zone (i.e. my room) for too long. My goal for this race? Just to make it through.

I do apologize that the past few posts have not been very upbeat. If you’ve ever met me, you’ll know that I am very open about my feelings, both happy and sad. So much so that I’ve lost friends in the past over it. I will try to keep these kinds of posts to a minimum, but for now, I just needed to let it out.

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Running Rock N Roll LA – Race Report

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Los Angeles 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! All opinions are my own. 

It’s only been a few days since my last post and quite a bit has changed since then. I want to tell you that my race experience was phenomenal, but in actuality it wasn’t. I’m not ready to get into the specifics of it and I’m not sure I ever will, but in order for this post to make sense, I will tell you that my long term relationship with my significant other ended.

As I alluded to in my previous post, I had spent a good deal of time in LA with him, which made race weekend extremely hard on me. I was essentially a zombie race weekend and almost didn’t race. Fortunately, my friends who were running the race had offered to drive me up to LA and help me get through the weekend. Apologies in advance as this post won’t be as joyous as other race recaps.

Health and Fitness Expo – It was held at the LA convention center and parking was $20 there. With a little bit of research, we were able to save a few dollars by parking at a metro stop and taking public transport to pick up our bibs. Bib pick-up was easy and we were in and out of there in 30 minutes. This particular expo wasn’t as big as the San Diego RnR expo, but there was still a lot to see (Brooks Running, Meb Keflezighi, KT Tape, Sport Hooks, RnR Heavy medals, etc) and I’d still recommend checking everything out even if it is just for a hot second.

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The Cali Combo medal and Heavy Medals if you run 2+ RnR races in the same year
Race – I crashed at a friend’s place and hadn’t slept that well prior to the race. I estimated maybe 5 or 6 hours, which was not great. I average 8 hours. Thanks to public transport, we got to the race with about 30 minutes to spare. Whew.

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The start line
I have to apologize to everyone that I bumped into at the race. I was in a bad place (and still currently am) and I just couldn’t bring myself to talk to anyone for very long. It’s hard for me to admit, but I didn’t want to see anyone that day, which made me feel worse because I felt like I was letting my friends down. I love interacting with other runners and there were runners in all sorts of really nice costumes (saw people dressed up as pizzas, M&Ms, donuts, french fries; there were a lot of food costumes), but all I could feel was sadness.

Anyway the race began and off I went. I will spare you my sad thoughts that raced through my head, but just know that I struggled mentally through a lot of the course. The course route itself was very pretty. There were a lot of rolling hills, but I do fairly well on hills so it wasn’t too bad. Heh. You start at the Staples Center, which I could only describe as a mini version of Times Square in New York City. The half marathoners share the course with the 5kers and they both at the same time. That means there’s a bit of crowding for the first 2 miles. Boo. You then make your way to USC and Exposition park, where a lot of museums are located. Once you turn, you head back towards downtown and past MacArthur park into Koreatown. Then, you double back and head back towards downtown where you finished back at Staples Center. Although, this race is an out and back course, it still allowed you to see what parts of LA are like. One thing that I really liked about this race was that the end was primarily downhill with a turn and then maybe 200 meters til the finish line. I dislike races where you turn and then you have 800 meters to go. That’s too long of a sprint. Heh.

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Friends who kept me sane for the weekend

Final thoughts – This race was probably my toughest race to date mentally and I’m not sure I’d want to repeat that experience, but there was one redeeming thing I did. I wasn’t sure the entire race whether I’d be able to hit a sub 2 hour marathon, but with the last 700 meters and a few minutes ’til the 2 hour mark, I put my best feet forward and raced as fast as I could. Time? 1:59:48.

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Question for youEver race when you’re sad? What do you do to cheer yourself up? I’m all ears. 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

The Post-Marathon Recovery

Since I posted about my the days leading up to the marathon, I thought it’d be fitting to also post about my recovery following the marathon.

Immediately after the marathon, my body was in complete shock. My legs hurt and I never wanted to run a marathon ever again. LOL. Despite those feelings, I knew that I had to keep moving after crossing the finish line or else my legs would stiffen up so I pushed on. I got to gear check and within seconds, I changed out of my running shoes and into my OOFOS sandals.

Disclaimer: I received a pair of OOFOS sandals 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. 

These sandals are AMAZING for post-marathon recovery! AHHHHH-MAZING! I don’t rave about things all too often, but I can’t stop raving about how great these are for recovery. Just the other day, I was walking around and some woman stopped to talk to me about how great they are for her feet. LOL. True story.

The traditional running shoe is designed to be responsive. They’re supposed to take the energy you force down and propel you forward. The OOfoam that these OOFOS sandals are made out of do the opposite. They absorb (they say 37%) more of the impact and this ultimately reduces the stress on your feet and body helping you recover faster.

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Damn right my feet earned this. 🙂

After I ran my first marathon last year, walking around hurt A LOT. I didn’t change out of my running shoes and ended up hobbling around because my joints hurt so much. This time around, I made sure to bring my OOFOS sandals with me to gear check and after putting them on, my legs felt an immediate relief. Honestly, I was skeptical when I first wore them pre-marathon. I didn’t think it’d make that much of a difference. I was so wrong. The OOFOS sandals have made my recovery a lot smoother. I was able to walk up and down stairs a lot easier (which was great because the Chicago public transportation system requires you to walk up and down a lot of stairs) and later that night, I was able to walk around downtown and meet up with more people to celebrate. I would say that by that night, I was walking at about an 80%, which I thought was amazing.

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So how have these sandals helped me in terms of running? My first run after the marathon, which was also a 5k race (LOL) took place 5 days later. That race? It took place on a hill. Yep. My time wasn’t amazing, but it was still pretty impressive to me especially since I had practically torn all of my leg muscles 5 days prior. Since the 5k, I’ve run 6 more times and each run is getting easier. Thank goodness too because I have a Rock N Roll LA next weekend. I know. I’m crazy, but it’s okay, I got this.

I feel like I’m a broken record, but I cannot emphasize how great these are. I’m not at a 100% with running yet (I’m maybe at 80%), but I feel like these really helped me move around more normally. Check out my Instagram. I have proof. I was bouncing up and down without pain and it was the greatest thing ever. I like them so much I’m going to end up buying a pair for my mom. 🙂 Luckily, they have a variety of OOFOs shoes because my mom is picky about what she wears.

If you do end up buying a pair online this month, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, OOFOS is donating $10 for every pair of Project Pink shoes sold to breast cancer research. 🙂

If you have any questions regarding the shoes, please feel free to ask me or any of the Bibrave Pros below. I tested the women’s OOAHH Sport Project Pink Sandal, whereas the others may have tested the other types of shoes.

Christi – Kim – MeridethJennaGisgieVanessaPaulaAubreneKolbe – Heather -Amanda – Bradford – AngieLaura –  Emily – Jennifer – Stephanie – Melissa – Mark

 

 

Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Days Leading up to the Chicago Marathon

Well, it’s been 10 days since I ran my second full marathon in Chicago and I think most of the feelings have been processed. 🙂 This race was less than ideal for me, but I think I did the best I could given the circumstances I’ll later describe in my next post, but for now, here are the details of the days leading up to the race:

I was pretty jittery during the days leading up to the race. My knee still didn’t feel 100%, but I also didn’t want to be too stiff during the race so I logged in about 10 miles the week of the race. I flew into Chicago Friday evening after a 2.5 hour delay on the plane. Boo Spirit! A 6.5 hour flight is not conducive to running. Luckily, my friend picked me up and so I got to sleep sooner than anticipated. After about 8 hours of sleep, I got up and dropped by Cloud Gate to meet up with some #werunsocial runners (I even met Kristin, who gave me an ornament from the ornament exchange last December) and then headed to the expo to explore.

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Kristin!

 

The Expo: If I could rank the top three expos that I’ve been to, I would say that the Chicago Marathon Expo would be at the very top with the New York Marathon Expo and the Rock N Roll Expos following it.

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Taking the Windy City by storm!

There were so many things to see and do at the expo. Runner’s World, Aftershokz, Oofos (which I’ll talk about in a later post), Run Disney, SportHooks, and about a billion more vendors were there.

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I love their headphones so of course I had to drop by to say hi!

I walked around and grabbed as many free Chicago marathon memorabilia as I could. I may have walked around for a little too long, but hey, they gave out cow bells to cheer on runners. Of course, I had to grab one! LOL. I even saw Hal Higdon and Bart Yasso at the Runner’s World booth and got a little starstruck. The expo was a place where you can meet the who’s who in the running world. They had speakers come out and it was just a great location for people to meet up. While I was there, I also ran into the BibRave team and other runners I’ve interacted with on Twitter.  Running into people that I’ve interacted with for over 6 months on social media was probably one of the highlights of my trip. I finally got to put names (or in some cases social media handles) to faces. LOL

Pre-marathon meals: After a few hours of walking around the expo, I headed out to grab lunch at the Purple Pig. I had eaten here before and since I was a party of one, I knew I wouldn’t have to wait long. I was right. What I didn’t anticipate was how the Roasted Bone Marrow With Herb Salad and Sicilian Sea Salt would affect my stomach the next day. LOL. Oops. I mean, honestly, who wouldn’t want to eat some fatty goodness the day before a race?

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Look at how happy I am with my Bone Marrow LOL

I later grabbed a few slices of deep dish pizza at Giordano’s with a friend (an action I also regretted the next day) and called it a night. Stay tuned for my next post on marathon day! 🙂

 

 

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

#SkinsOrNothing Compression Shorts Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Skins’ Compression A400 shorts 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. 

There has been a debate about whether compression wear works and for some, it does. Luckily I fall into that category. 🙂

For those of you unfamiliar with it, compression wear is designed to boost a person’s natural performance by providing more oxygen to their active muscles. The most common type of compression wear is probably socks. People who spend hours on their feet (like nurses) will often wear medical compression socks to prevent blood from pooling in the lower leg. This reduces the swelling in their legs and some even say it prevents varicose veins. Athletes will wear compression gear to improve their athletic performance and recovery. Compression socks, arm sleeves, calf sleeves, shorts, tops…if you can wear it, there’s probably compression gear for it.

As I previously mentioned, I received a pair of Skins’ A400 compression shorts to try out. And before I get into some of my thoughts on them, here’s a little bit more information about them from their website.

“The SKINS’ gradient compression has been engineered to provide the correct level of surface pressure to specific parts of the body. This enhances circulation and gets more vital oxygen to your active muscles – boosting your power, speed and stamina.”

Their “memory MX fabric contains a unique high stretch elastomeric yarn – which returns to its original shape no matter how much stress you put it under.” This means that regardless of whether it’s your first time or 50th time wearing them, you’ll get the same level of muscle support and controlled compression.

At low temperatures, “the unique polymer binds moisture in its structure keeping you feeling warm and dry. As your temperature increases it changes its surface properties, releasing the stored moisture to the surface where it evaporates and cools your skin.”

So for the past 4 or so weeks, I’ve been wearing these shorts on my short and long runs. SPOILER ALERT AHEAD!?!?………………..

I like them. 🙂

Fabric – There are so many things I like about the fabric. They’re really smooth, like baby smooth. If it wasn’t weird to feel my thighs all the time while wearing them, I probably would. LOL. There’s nothing bulky about these shorts. Even the seams are really flat. That’s so nice because sometimes, even the slightest bump on a pair of shorts will cause terrible chafing. I know. I’ve experienced it first hand. With these shorts, I never had a problem with chafing. Hooray!

Fit – Since these are compression shorts, it’s probably a good idea that they fit just right. When I first put these on, I felt like they were TOO tight, but after one run, they were just perfect. Due to their Elastane blend, the fabric is able to stretch according to your movements and return to its normal state when you’re not wearing them. I’ve worn these A TON OF TIMES and it doesn’t seem like they’re losing their compression.

Their website states that their shorts have a wider waistband for comfort and are lower rise allowing them to sit comfortably on hips. That was definitely not the case for me. The fit was right, but I had to pull the shorts up to maybe my belly button. That was perfect for me though. By doing so, the shorts smoothed out my muffin top. LOL.

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Note: If you order your own, try to stick to the sizing chart. If you choose too loose of a fit, you’re defeating the purpose of compression wear.

Recovery – I can’t say too much about their effect on my recovery because I haven’t had a chance to run anything super long (17+ miles). I did run a 16 miler in these and they felt fantastic to run with. My quads and hamstrings didn’t feel sore afterwards, but my calves did. Boo. LOL. Note that my calves are prone to soreness. I blame not foam rolling enough.

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Anyway, you can read my fellow BibRavePros’ reviews on the Skins’ compression wear. I tried out their shorts, but there were other options and you can read about their reviews below. If you have other questions, you can always ask me and/or join BibRave on Twitter on Tuesday, Oct 10th at 6 pm PT for #bibchat. Our sponsor Skins will be giving away a free pair of compression tights and if you participate in our chat, you’re eligible to win. 🙂

Lindsey – Jessica – Fallon – HaleyConnie – Cassie Lee – Ryan – Emily – Aubrene – Mark    Jennifer – NicoleGina – Michael – John – Casey – Amy – MatthewLisa

If you want to buy your own, you can use the code “BIBRAVE20” on your order through the end of October. This is only valid on full price items.