Thursday, September 3, 2015

#TrainingRockBox: 10 Reasons I love Rock 'n Roll + Las Vegas Discount Code!

So as y'all know, I'm one of the 100 Rock 'n Bloggers for the 2015 Rock 'n Roll Race Series this year. I'm beyond lucky, and beyond grateful, that I was given such an opportunity, and then they go and out-do themselves with this kinda stuff. Mailbox love, FTW! 

The pretty kick-ass folks over at RnR sent us some training goodies, complete with Gus, socks, new hats, and discount codes galore for new Garmins (mine's pretty close to retirement), sunglasses... you name it. There's some pretty incredible sponsors for RnR races and I'm so stoked they loved us all enoguh to spread the love even more! 

Wanna see what's inside?

Probably one of my newest, fave hats ever. It's not boring and matches pretty much everything I run in already (blues and purples, errrryday). Win. 

Admittedly, I used CEP once like four years ago, didn't love them, and gave up. But after using these babies a few times, CEP might give me a run for their money now too. Again, with the blue... you can't go wrong! 

Garmin@GarminFitness | #GarminRocks 
I'll never scoff at 35% off a new Garmin. Mine is creeping on three years now and I think it's time I give myself an upgrade. I'm looking at her - I love the colors and updates (like live-tracking) that have come along since I bought my first Garmin! Input? Opinions welcome. 

Endurance Formula Powder Sticks are new to me, so I haven't given them a shot yet. I've got a few long runs coming up on tap before a full fall schedule of races, so they'll make a debut in my bottle soon - more to come! 

Gu and I used to hate each other - the texture is something I just can't get past, but after more tummy issues post-run, I gave it a shot again. Texture is still something I struggle with but I have a few select flavors (re: vanilla bean, lemon lime, tri-berry, jet blackberry) are all delicious and sit well with my stomach after a half marathon. Gu offers more than gels though, so if gels aren't your thing either, you've got options. Lucky for me, they sent me some of my fave flavors so these guys got used pretty much instantly.

AND you can save your performance nutrition packaging and bring it to the GU booth at your next Rock 'n Roll expo for your chance to win (2) race-day VIP passes! Count me in! 

Maui Jim Sunglasses | @OfficialMauiJim | #mauifilter #mauireflection
Super discount at Maui Jim. Yes, please. And you'd think they'd been watching me and already knew that my sunglasses busted on me last week. Creepers. I kid.
$25 to Sports Authority? Yeah buddy. I swear, these folks have been reading my mind and telling me to finally go get all the things I've been putting off (like sports bras... oops). Thanks, guys - gonna finally go make this happen for myself! 
He knows how I feel. 
Nature's Path provided us with a full bag of Qi’a Cranberry Vanilla Cereal - trust me, trying new food things is wayyy outside my comfort zone, BUT I gave this guy a shot. And ZOMG. Delish. 

Qi’a (Kee-ah) is Nature's Path's new superfood cereal made with chia, hemp and buckwheat. This power trio is full of plant-based protein, fiber and ALA Omegas. Boost your nutrition after your run with only 2 tbsp. of cereal and feel the energy from this powerful, functional, and nutritious superfood. Give it a shot - you'll be surprised! 

Transamerica  |  @Transamerica |  #Active4Tomorrow

It's like these folks knew that over the last two months, I was on my phone 17 hours a day at work coordinating 400 freshmen at a time and that meant that  most days, my cell phone was at 1% by 2 in the afternoon. Not gonna work when your work day goes until 7 pm! Lucky for me, just as I was thinking about the genius idea of getting a power bank charger... they sent me one. High fives, guys. 

Running races, crushing your personal records, and achieving greater results takes planning. By planning ahead, you can reduce worry that something could get in the way. Transamerica can help with a variety of solutions from race registration protection to insurance, investments and retirement planning. You can explore more about their products here.

New training shirts are always fun, especially when they show off you're part of Team RnB -- excited to rock this at the Brooklyn expo in a few weeks and meet some folks finally and putting faces to names! Holler if you're coming! 

But by far, and I mean this, out of the entire box was a personal note from Ashley, our RnB coordinator-emailer-organizer-extraordinaire. And I do mean personal - for all 100 of us. Can you imagine? It's things like that that totally suck me in and realize that I'm part of a team here and they want nothing more than to make us a part of such a group. Warm fuzzies all around.

So super high fives to Ashley, Rock 'n Roll, and of course, all the folks above! I'm ready to get crankin' on fall half marathon training. Let's do this!

And now... MORE EXCITEMENT! For the first time in like, ever, the super badass folks at RnR have released us a discount code for Las Vegas! Can you say ZOMG! So, the excitement you've been waiting for: 

Use code RUNMEGANRUNLV for $15 off the half or full marathons, making them $145 each! Your deadline for this code is October 1, so make sure you take advantage now and get to it! Let me know if you'll be coming to run the #StripatNight! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Goodbye August, Hello September!

Um, hello September? How is that even freaking possible?! I could have sworn summer just started. Maybe it's these 100-degree days that make me swear like it's still June and that our students just graduated last week. Wrong? Well, damn.

Through a text conversation yesterday with the superbly awesome Jacky (Iron[wo]man in training) and Monica (who's out for another marathon PR in Chicago), I was a little down on myself. August was not the training month I'd hoped for - July was terrible in terms of getting out there and getting my runs or anything fitness-related in, but with working 60+ hours in four days every week for five weeks, that's just bound to happen. And I need to learn that that's okay. In my head, it's not - I have goals to work for, things I want to get done and I feel behind. 

Really, for what it was, August wasn't terrible. Not awesome, but not terrible - a decent 60-mile showing for finishing up those 60+ hours weeks and getting it done mostly on Saturday mornings. In that regard, that's a win! But as Jacky said yesterday, it's a new month. New goals. It all starts now. So with that... bring it on, September. Bring. It. On.
  • 110 miles: This is a stretch, andI know that, but right now it's 90% mental for me. Not hitting snooze, not convincing myself that I'll run when I get home in the evening. I wanna come back big, catch up on my 1,000-miles-this-year goal so I can earn my pin (as of August 31, I'm 424 miles short). I got this!
  • Start Strength Training: Always a weakness. Always. But with a lot of halfs coming up in the fall, most of which I'm pacing, I need to make sure I'm at my best and I know a lot of that is to start working on my strength and muscle endurance. I don't have a plan, just an out-loud commitment to doing some core work, getting on some weights and getting to work.
  • Cut Back on the Soda: I got through said 60+ hour weeks with a lot of Dr. Pepper. And Starbucks. I recognize it and with a new month, it's time to get back to being better - namely with the soda intake. I know I can't drop back down to zero and I'm being realistic about it, but I need to treat the Dr. P especially like a treat and not an every-day necessity. I'm jumping back onto Waterlogged to track my water intake and hold myself a little more accountable each day.
  • Pay Off One Credit Card!: In line with my year goals, I'm thisclose to paying off a card this month and I want to make sure I get to it to working towards lowering the debt. It'll be a stretch this month as it'll be a slightly higher payoff than I'm used to each month, but the fact of paying off one more is a little more exciting than the stress is worth. 

I'm excited. I'm nervous. But I wanna get to work. Boom - let's go!

What are your September goals?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

50 States Goals

So I’ve talked quite a bit about Brooklyn on here – and as stoked as I am to cross off state #9 in the half-marathon-in-all-50-states quest, there’s another new state that comes just 6 days before New York that I haven’t gotten to mention yet! Total fail.

Yeahhhh buddy! For my 30th birthday weekend (!), I’m headed up the Pacific coast to lovely, hippie, green Portland, Oregon. I’ve been to Portland (but it’s been yearssssssssssss) and am super excited for a quick weekend getaway with Doug to celebrate, run, drink, eat, and do all the things that you’re supposed to do in Oregon. Like maybe go find a waterfall.

Totally worth the side trip, am I right?
 I’m serving as an Ambassador for the Portland Marathon. Because I registered late, I actually am registered for the half marathon as a charity runner, which is new to me! Half of my registration cost actually goes to the race’s Going the Distance Foundation, which then in turn sends money out to other local organizations and charities too!). Apparently their half marathon sells out before January of each year – seriously, like ten months in advance, Disney style, so you know this race is coveted and bound to be an amazing event.

Check out the swag – as this race has been voted Best Swag in years past – and I’m not gonna lie.. I’m pretty excited about this tree.

Also, can we talk about how it’s not a space blanket? Takes-up-way-too-much-space-blankets are just annoying and noisy and I’m super excited about actually keeping this post race and using it at other races over the winter!

As of today, I’ve also learned that the race folks are working with a local Portland organizations called Piano! Push! Play!, which is a group that takes donated pianos and puts them in parks all over the city – sometimes with musicians, and sometimes just left out for the public to play and enjoy. There will be two along the course – the first with a musician, the second left open for runners (and spectators!) to stop for a few quick notes. How cool, right? I hope it comes with this cutie patootie puppy along for the ride, too.

My 30th birthday race extravaganza is going to kick start with this amazing race and race-cation and I could NOT be more excited. Want to join me in Race #1 of my birthday celebrations? The full marathon is still open, though only for about a week more! Half marathon charity spaces are still open too, but those are slim so act quick! Use code MEGAN10 to save  $10 on your registration!

Have you ever done a birthday race? I have to wait until at least 2016 for my birthday to be a race day, but this is close enough for now, so I'm excited!

Friday, August 28, 2015

JetBlue Long Beach International Marathon & Half Marathon + Discount Code!

Last year I got to run the Long Beach Half for the first time ever as the start of my Beach Cities Challenge quest. I also got to pace Monica to a super PR and reveled in some of her glory of meeting a new big goal! We've got to get her to sub-2 still but we're working on that... 

But seriously, even after finishing it my first time last October, I knew I'd be back to run Long Beach again. Flat, fast, tons of course support, and donut holes at mile 10? All things to know and love about this race. 

Better yet, this year I've been selected to be one of their inaugural ambassadors! I am way beyond excited, not only to spread some money-saving love (discount code below), but to spread the LB love and tell everyone that if this is the race you want to PR at (at least for the half; I can't speak to the full), this is the place to do it. The last three miles' worth of sidewalks are slathered in people cheering you in, just enough to get you on that last high and to finish your race off strong. The Queen Mary, the lighthouse, the boardwalk, the beach and ocean are all part of your views and minus the one bridge you've gotta run over, it all looks pretty good. 

The city also just finished an extended bike/run path, so it's even wider so all 15,000 of us half-ers can fit and, unlike last year, the dude riding his bike into traffic won't ding his bell at us to move! Serious, that happened.

But any rate, besides the half and full, Long Beach weekend also offers a 5K at the Aquarium of the Pacific (you get to run through the aquarium for the first time ever!) and a few bike races on race morning. To boot, or for that extra motivation, there's also some challenge medals involved! Check out this year's beauties:

I am excited, to say the least, to return to this year's race. JetBlue is the new title sponsor, along with some other amazing folks that represent Long Beach and some of the best that the running community has to offer. You know it's bound to be a good time with these folks on board!

So tell me... will I see you somewhere around Long Beach? You can use code RUNLBAMBMJ for $5 off any of the races - 5K, half, full, bike races... you name it! Let me know if I'll get to see and/or meet you at Long Beach! I'll be super stupid crazy dumb and flying in the night before from Brooklyn (there are a few of us this dumb, don't worry) but either way, I'll be at the half start line come Sunday morning! 

See you at Long Beach?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

5 Ways to Keep On Your Running Game

… especially after you start a new job and your whole (previous) life’s schedule is turned upside down. As you know, I started a new job about 5 months ago that is (currently) 7 am - 5:30 pm demanding and, until I moved at the end of June, was a 40-minute commute. My previous (temporary) gig was substitute teaching, where I was home by 3:30 every afternoon and could run when I pleased. Needless to say, going back to an 8-to-5 was pretty tough and even these few months in, I’m still struggling a little with finding the balance, and sometimes the desire, to make sure I get out the door. Now that I'm past orientation season and those 4-day, 70-hour work weeks, it's time to get my figurative ball moving again. 

I shared this on Carlee's blog a number of weeks ago, but thought I'd share here too. Here’s a few tips, partially by science and partially straight from yours truly, on ways to take advantage of the time you have and the energy you’re given on how to make sure you’re still lacing up to your satisfaction.

11.    Schedule!
I fortunately/unfortunately live by a planner and a to-do list. My summer is swallowed whole by work, so it’s tough for my time to get quickly commandeered by other ‘life’ things. Just like you would write a to-do list of the things you need to get done at work, consider adding your run to your to-do list, too – it’s just one more check-mark to add to your notes! Maybe it also means putting it into your Outlook with a reminder so that you have a regularly scheduled workout time built into your day for you.

2. Runch
If you haven’t heard of the runch, you’re missing out. I mean, check out all these people that do it! Runching asks more of you, especially if you value your lunch hour more than anything, but it’s a great way to combine two loves: getting out of the office and getting your run in! This is hard logistically sometimes, especially if you’re super-sweaty and don’t have access to a shower at your work (lucky for me, I work on a college campus with a gym). I took advantage of this often in Georgia in the winter and spring, and would get a solid 2-3 miles in and time to chow down! Total time maximization.

3.    Incorporate it Into What You Do
Because I work on college campuses, and students are typically super cautious or interested in building a fitness-based lifestyle, it’s often been easy to incorporate running and exercise into what I already do day-to-day. At my last school, I was given the opportunity to coordinate a student trip to a local 5K – many of these students ran/walked their first 5K ever that day! How lucky am I that one of my passions, running, can be easily interwoven into my work life too?

MCU students at the Didi Hirsch Alive and Running 5K, 2013.
4.    Set a Goal
Every time I’ve felt a lull in my motivation to get up and going, I’ve found a new goal or challenge to work for. My downtime in motivation has often come after a big move or job change, and I often found it hard to just run with no goal in sight (I have a different appreciation now of just running for the sake of running). Whether that means you're tackling a summer #RWRunStreak,or have a PR in sight, create a finish line for yourself that will inspire you on the toughest days to keep going. My spring had a good schedule of races on weekends, but the weekdays were tough for me and many thanks to the run streak challenge this summer, I re-found some motivation to get me over that hump. Now that orientation is over, it's time to find it again! 

5.    Cut Yourself Some Slack
This is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned… cut yourself some slack! It doesn’t have to happen every day, nor does it always have to be as long as you want. Keep in mind what you’re working for but listen to your body and what it’s willing to give. A friend of mine posted this article last week and it resonated with me: sometimes it’s okay to sleep in and choose a later alarm over getting in another 2-mile run. Not only are both necessary, but it’s difficult to get healthy doses of one without the other. So know that hitting snooze an extra day or two won’t make or break you… and it’s OKAY!

Orrrr you can just use motivational alarms like this one!

What other tips do you have to keep up on your running when work and life requires so much? Any great things you’ve learned?