Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Team in Training San Francisco Nike Women's Race Giveaway

You can have an impact on cancer.

Join Team In Training (TNT) and run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon (NWHM) in San Francisco on October 19, 2014. You'll be helpingthe Leukemia and Lymphoma society (LLS) fund research to advance life-saving blood cancer treatments.

When I ran Nike DC in its inaugural year last April, I was in sheer AWE at the number of runners that participated through TNT. I vowed that one year, I wanted to work with an organization like that, raise funds for an amazing cause, and still get to run in the process.

After some research and lots of exploring, I've learned a LOT about Team in  Training and the superbly incredible things they do. TNT is the flagship fundraising campaign for LLS, and the NWHM in San Francisco is always sold out. At its 25th anniversary last year, TNT has trained more than 600,000 participants and raised more than $1.4 billion (!!).

While I wish I could say this was my year to run with TNT, I've had to make the difficult decision to let the chance pass me by -- BUT! This means awesome things for you.

You can run with TNT instead!

Yep, you read that right. I am using this opportunity to give away a Nike San Francisco race entry. With TNT, in exchange for raising funds, you’ll train for four months with world-class trainers, have access to clinics on nutrition and injury prevention and race through San Francisco’s iconic landmarks.

Want to learn more about Team in Training? They do not only the Nike races, but races all over the country! Check out more here and help TNT harness the power of physical activity to find cures and improve the quality of life for patients with blood cancer. Join TNT as they take over San Francisco this October!

  • The free registration for Team in Training is ONLY good for the NWM Half Marathon on October 19, 2014, in San Francisco
  • This free registration gets you guaranteed entry to NWMSF, along with a complete training program
  • You are still committed to fundraising through Team in Training - more information here about specific fundraising requirements
  • This program is perfect for runners who want to participate in NWM, train with a team, and fundraise for a good cause. It's also a great option for those who didn't get in through the lottery this year to join such an incredible race!
a Rafflecopter giveaway Giveaway closes July 2, 2014 at 12:00 am PST. All entries will be accounted for and chosen via Rafflecopter. Winner will be emailed to confirm participation and information regarding registration code.

Have you ever trained/run  with TNT? For what race/event?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Road Trip!

I'm off on a little mini road-trip with this guy (not the puppy)...

The start of our last road trip, last summer!
 Doug and I are headed up to the Bay for a quick weekend away. Doug's never driven up the California coast, so we're turning it into a little touristy action fun as well. Suggestions on stops we should make?

Most importantly, looking forward to some wine-ing with this birthday girl! 

HP and me, my birthday weekend!

Looking forward to a fun weekend away, a short vacation and exploring the city some more with Doug. Baseball games to cross off two more stadiums (AT&T Park and O.co Coliseum), city touristing, and a good time out of the Southern California heat for a bit!

What are you up to this weekend?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Gettin' Fit with Fido (or Molly)

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that (especially lately), Molly has become my go-to running buddy. It's good for her, it's good for me to slow down every now and again, and it's been fun having a furry sidekick on some of my #RWrunstreak runs these past few weeks.
Molly's first (and only) 5K - PetFest 5K, San Marcos, TX
Molly's done one 5K with me, ever, and I'd like to get her back up to a point that I can have her tag along again soon. But for now, she's killing these 1- and 2-milers with me, and I think will handle a 5K no problem. Lord knows this 5-year-old furball has enough energy to burn still, so I think it works out for her too!

Pre-run, Molly and I are all about the peanut butter. If I'm headed out on a long run, I usually eat a small PB sandwich, just enough to get the sugar and carbs, and enough in my stomach so I don't bonk halfway through. Molly... well, she's just a PB fiend anyway and will inhale it any chance she gets.

Molly, peanut butter fiend.

DogVacay.com worked with the amazing Julia Chan to create some exercises that are for humans, but are tailored after some natural dog movements - yes, even lifting a leg.

If I'm on a solo run, my favorite way to cool down is to grab the pup and head out for a good walk with her to allow my muscles to cool down enough without freaking out that I've stopped suddenly. If we're on a run together, we stop at least one block from home to walk and cool down and let the girl catch her breath - me, not her!

Do you work out with your pup? How do you cool down?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Race Report: Fontana Days Half Marathon

First off, happy 300th blog post to meeeee!
And what better for 300 than a super-awesome race recap?

Fontana, CA

This race is known as the fastest half marathon in the US, and it's little surprise as to why:

Yeah, you see that? You park at the bottom of the foothills at City Hall, they bus you to the top, and you run back down. Not only that, but it's a long-established race (59 years running is pretty impressive in my book), so you know they know what they're doing.

After scrambling at the beginning of the day to get to the start line to get my bib from Richard, I discovered the address I googled was wrong and that I was not where I was supposed to be at 5:30 am. Rough. What a start to the day! Luckily, my actual destination wasn't even 2 miles away and caught up to the group just as they were about to get on our bus to the top - talk about impeccable (though not on time!) timing. If you've run with me, you know the last thing I need on race morning is to be late. 

One thing that I didn't particularly appreciate was that the last half marathon bus to the top of the course left City Hall at 6:20 am when the half marathon didn't start until 7:30 am. Apparently the website and city hall told a number of folks the race started at 7, but I swear the only email I read mentioned 7:30! Regardless, we also didn't know they essentially do bag check on the bus, so you could have taken your sweatshirt at least on the bus instead of freezing - mind you, we were mostly in tanks and shivering already on our way up into the foothills. So, naturally, we did as runners do: we made friends.

Yep, found some campers and asked if we could borrow their campfire. They even brought us blankets! 
And like that, it was race time. After a last attempt for a real bathroom stop (this is important, people), I got angry at women taking too long and gave up. It was 5 minutes from start time! I knew I'd regret it later. But beyond that, it was start time. Let's go, Fontana... let's go. 

Now, Michael graciously offered to pace me to my dream sub-2 time. I had my watch, but decided that while I'd let it run, I'd turn it over, not pay attention, and rely on Michael to get to the finish. While he suggested an 8:45/8:30 negative split pace, I laughed, but whatever.. this was in his hands to keep me on track! I normally don't do split by split recaps, but frankly, my brain was all over the place. Note that I knew virtually none of these splits (save maybe two) while we were gliding downhill, so to see these after the fact feels a little unreal. Times and corresponding thoughts are unedited for your full enjoyment. ;) 

8:07 - Damn, I feel good. I'm doing it. Let's go. But I need that restroom. Stupid women's line.  
10:22 - Restroom found. Alright, we can focus. 

Michael reminded we definitely had time to make up at this point. Let's go. 

8:02 - Alright, feeling okay. Keep moving, keep moving.
I'm pushing a pace here. I'm not sure how long I can pull this off. This morning is gorgeous, couldn't be more perfect, but the shade feels so much better than sun right now. But hey, feeling good. You got this! 
8:42 - Breathing is overrated. Wow, I suck at paying attention to my breath. Note to self: learn to breathe and run at the same time. It's highly recommended. 
8:43 - Wah. Downhill is catching up with my crappy running posture. I can hear Doug in my head, telling me to straighten up, hips forward, shoulders back. Michael reminds me the same thing. 

10K - 56:xx. That's a 10K PR split too. Holla! Shortly after, Michael stops and tells me to keep my pace, keep pushing forward. We're finally under the cloud coverage that's still hanging in and it feels sooooo good. Thank you, weather, for your cooperation.

9:03 - Michael says we're right on target, pace is perfect. I'm doing it! Keep going girl, keep going. 
8:54 - I'm tired. This sucks. Mile 8? Okay, so like really... 4 more miles. Because if I can run 4, I can run one more, right? I think of this article and realize how true-to-life it just became for me (see #3)... 

Somewhere in mile 8-ish, you end up totally out of the hills. It's nothing but flat asphalt from here to the finish. At that point, running on flat road hurt more than running downhill. My quads felt fine, my hammies were alright, but my back! Posture fail. Michael asks what my 5K PR is (26:12) and tells me that when I get to Mile 10, I have exactly 26:12 to get to the finish. How bad do I want it? 

8:38 - 9 miles. Okay, that's like a 5K left. I'm really grateful I can't do math in my head. But really, my back hurts. And breathing still sucks. 
Michael suggests talking about how much his team (Rangers) is better than the Angels. I laugh, give out a breathless "Yeah, right," and he suggests that I don't do the talking. Insert jabber about the Rangers, blah blah blah, and I can't even reply because I'm short of breath as it is. Stupid running. 

Michael asks if I need a Gu. Yes, that's right, I forgot all fueling necessities at home. I hate Gu. It's vanilla bean. He says it tastes like vanilla frosting. Alright, I like vanilla frosting. Hm, this Gu isn't so bad. Maybe I'm just desperate... 

8:49 - Mile 10! Hey, I can totally finish this. Michael, what's my time? "You're on track. That's all you need to know." Fine. I guess I'll have to take that as an answer. Water stop, thank god. 

I get to walk through the water stop and Michael gives me 10 more seconds beyond that to focus, finish the last water, and get to work. He tells me to straighten up, shoulders back, keep breathing - "Hey! I need one of him!" We pick up another runner, Carly, who is looking to finish at 2:05. We tell her to stick with us and she'll run way better than that. Her half PR is here last year, at 2:11. 

8:43 - Carly's still with us. Someone else who wants this as badly as I do. If she can do it, I can do it. Mile 11. Alright, I can do this for two more miles. Surely... 

Michael tells me it's officially in my court. He's gotten me here, the rest is up to me and as long as I keep moving forward, I've got this. He stops to help a girl whose hip had her practically on the ground in pain. Calry and I keep moving and cheering each other on. 

8:45 - I want to quit. Or at least walk. My back hurts... no! No quitting now. 

I try and give it what I've got a little bit more. Too hard too soon after too long already and my knee cramps and tightens almost instantly. Alright, bad idea. 

Mile 12.5ish. Photo cred: Richard.
It was somewhere after that above photo that it sank it - and it apparently showed. Michael: "Yep, you feel it now, huh? That's what a PR feels like!"

8:57 - Was there even a Mile 13 banner? Why are those balloons so far away? I'm so glad there's people down at this end. 

Finish Line - Holy f%&#!

That's what a sub-2 face looks like. Hot damn, y'all, I did it! It wasn't until  I had crossed, grabbed my medal, stopped MY watch, and finally asked Michael how we ended up...

'Scuse me? Dude paced me even faster than I even thought possible, than I thought I was ready for, and that I didn't think I had in me. Mile 12 and 13 were the two hardest miles I've run pretty much ever. I've never finished a race before with literally nothing left in my tank, and here I was... empty tank. Full heart. I did it.

Official: 1:56:31
Finisher 451/1084 (43%)
Age Group 15/61 (24.6%)

After sitting and shaking out the legs, I went to go find Sandy who had just paced another friend of hers to a sub-2 finish too. What a great day for everyone - this course definitely does that for you! We had some fun with the photo background (hooray free photos!) and called it a day. I headed to breakfast with some fabulous new folks I've met this week and to celebrate. Of the 12 of us or so, I think 11 of us are celebrating new PRs. Holy moly!

Thank you. Whether you texted me, Facebooked, Instagrammed, commented here, or sent me some good luck vibes somewhere else on the interwebz or elsewhere, thank you for your support, encouragement, and love! I can finally call myself a sub-2er and my dream from the last year and a half is finally another check mark on the goals list. I couldn't be more proud, more grateful, and more encouraged than ever. And, of course, a massively huge thank you to Michael for encouraging me, distracting me, and keeping me on track. Thanks for volunteering to run a 'slow'(er) race with me and helping me make this happen!

Eff. I did it, y'all.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Race Day Is Here!

 First, a super huge big birthday to my sister! She's 26 - gettin' old sis!
(I'm the older one, it's okay to say that)

And secondly... ZOMG you guys. Race day. It's here. 
I mean, tomorrow. But still.

I've done the work - it's been a short time span, but I've done it. I've nailed nearly every run I set for myself in the last 6 weeks, and minus the one week I sat out thanks to my knee, I feel good.
If anything, the last 6 weeks have taught me that when I see a goal ahead, I do what it takes to get it done. I've fought the last nine months with apathy, some laziness, a whole lot of excuses, and almost zero motivation. And all of a sudden, after Ragnar, and after Redlands, I found it. Maybe because I finally saw this as a real opportunity to make it happen. I CAN make it happen.

I feel ready.

I feel able.

I'm ready to crush it.

I know I've got this.

Sub-2, I'm coming for you.

Fontana, you will be mine!

I'm hoping Monday's post will be the good news that I did just that. ^^

On NRD, I also set out for a super awesome social run with iRunMB and met a whole bunch of the #sa2lv crazies, like these folks:

Nancy, Jessica, Bill, me, and Michael.
AND, lucky for me, after talking about PRs and my whopping goal for Fontana, Michael volunteered to pace me. He's crazy enough to suggest I run 8:45s the first half and 8:30s the second half, and I'll hit well below that 2-hour mark. I laughed. I'm not so sure about that, dude... but I'm still stoked about whatever he has me do because the first time ever, I've got a pacer. That's gotta count for something... 

Race goals? Just to put it out there.
Run smart. I haven't done that in awhile.

A) Sub-2. I don't care if it's 1:59:59. Just sub-2.

B) 2:01-2:03. That'll tell me that I'm not as far off as I think I am, and that I've got it coming. With my current PR at 2:01 on a flat course, if I can pull off 2:01 on a downhill, I've got work to do, but I've got it coming.
So here it is. 24 hours out and #sub2orbust comes to the fore-front again. Let's go, Fontana. Let's go.

What mantra gets you through a tough race or when you have a big goal ahead? 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Running Day + Daily Deals

Happy National Running Day!

National Running Day is in its sixth year - created in 2009, some of the country's most forefront running organizations and companies, including the Atlanta Track Club, the Bank of American Chicago Marathon, Boston Athletic Association, and many, many more celebrate our sport with thousands of runners pledging miles. Often, local running or track clubs celebrate with social runs, BBQs, and more to bring their local runners out and together. Last year, I got to run with my favorite Athens Road Runners friends and had a potluck celebration afterwards. 
NRD 2013.
Part of the other awesome part of NRD is surely the unbelievable amount of discounts and promotions that pop up all over race, apparel, and magazine sites. It's like Black Friday for runners! Curious about what kind of deals I've found? Here are some of my favorites:

You can also participate in RnR's virtual or hosted runs, including some chances to win sweet prizes - I'm headed up to Manhattan Beach tonight to join in the fun and find some local crazies like myself! See if there's any hosted runs around you here, or sign up for the virtual run!

What other deals have you found today? Share them below!