Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Rock 'n Roll Brooklyn + Giveaways!

Like a lot of crazies out there, I’m on a quest to eventually run a half marathon in all 50 states. For some states, I’ve got some in mind, but had no idea of all the options in New York – and, lo and behold, Rock ‘n Roll read my mind and introduced the inaugural Rock ‘n Roll Brooklyn race this fall! HELLO.

Prospect Park.
My sister lives not far from the race, it’s a new state for me, gets me some heavy medal from RnR, AND it’s the weekend after my birthday. Sounds appropriate to me, right? Right.

And the more I read, the more excited I am to run this inaugural race and check out some of the areas around it (though I’ve been to NYC, I haven’t exactly played around in Brooklyn). The city sounds freaking cool! It is the most populous borough in New York, so that explains a lot, but it really does have a ton to offer.

· Run by the Brooklyn Museum, Prospect Park Zoo, Brooklyn Botanic Gardens and finish in Prospect Park (which alone has a ton of stuff to do!). Brooklyn offers over 700 arts and cultural institutions for you to explore on race weekend!
· Brooklyn was originally its own separate city. It was not until the turn of the nineteenth century that Brooklyn merged with the City of New York. Who knew?!
· Nicknamed “Little Poland”, the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn (where the race expo will be held) has the second largest concentration of Polish immigrants outside of Chicago in the US!
· Post race food? How about a deep fried Twinkie? They were invented in Brooklyn! Count me in. I don’t run 13.1 miles for nothin’.

I’m pretty stoked to head here in October and check out this race… SO stoked, in fact, that my friends at RnR sent me a shirt (because you can never have enough) and a whole bunch more to hand out to you! (T-shirts for men and tanks for women, but you can have either!)

Excited? Me too.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you running RnR Brooklyn this year with me? Prices go up tomorrow (July 1) so register now at its cheapest!

I am part of Rock 'n Roll's Rock 'n Blog team this year, which includes three Rock 'n Roll race registrations. All opinions are my own, however, and my opinion is that I'm seriously stoked about this race. I cannot wait to tell you more! 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Race Report: Fontana Days Half Marathon

About 53 weeks ago, I was dreaming of finally getting rid of the 2 in the front of my half-marathon times. That maybe that elusive sub-2 dream would finally become a reality. And it did! Sub-2 was mine, with a smokin’ 1:56:31, I finally got to check off a major running goal.

I missed Fontana's registration this year, as it sold out faster than before (early April), but thankfully on the same day it closed, Caroline offered her bib to me! Win. She was going to be just coming back from Canada that day, so I bought her bib and ran as a 45-49 year old female. Whatever. 

While I’ve done lots of races since then, I haven’t technically run a sub-2 half since. I ran 2:00:19 at the RnR LA and 2:00:22 at the San Diego Holiday Half race and everything since then has been about a 2:10 average. Fontana is a course that is just about set up for a PR, should you be in shape enough to pull it off. Frankly, I didn’t think I was, even with all the running I’ve been doing as part of this year’s #RWRunStreak… I just had a sub-2 in mind. That was all I wanted.

Saturday morning came, though, and I thought that maybe – just maybe – I’d have a go at a PR. Heck, even if it was a 1:55, a PR is a PR and I’d be happy knowing that I gave it my all to make that happen. I figured I’d put it all out on the line and just see what came of it. I left home about 5:20 and was in Fontana at the start line by 5:45. Because this course is a point-to-point, you park at the finish and are bussed to the top. While hanging around, I found Richard, Jessica and some other folks, all of whom were gunning for that PR.

Last year, we hovered around a campfire for warmth because it was freezing at the top. I was going to find a throwaway shirt or sweatshirt at home, but Richard had the genius idea of a trash bag instead. Lo and behold, tons of folks were rockin' their own plasticware... and it wasn't as cold at the top this year! Fontana is small enough (only 1,000 half marathoners) that there's simply a mat at the start. This year we all commented on, "Look! They at least have flags this year!" to spruce up the start line a little. Simple touches.

After finding all kinds of IERC people, Sandy, and others, we started to hover over towards the start line to get ahead of the crowd. 7:30 came and we still hadn't started... so a few minutes late, but again, the morning was cool enough and the crowd small enough that it doesn't super affect the race. We were just all freaking antsy and ready to get movin'. Finally... 'gun' time!

Sandy and I found each other not even a mile in and talked about our strategy - thankfully it was the same: push it on bulk of the downhill (mile 8ish) so that if we bottomed out once we got into town, it'd be okay and we'd still have time to spare. For some, this is the exact opposite strategy, but what did we have to lose?

We hung together a little ways, but being that this lady is speedier than me, I let her do her thing. I kept her in sight until well past mile 7, so I was happy about that for me - but also because it meant she must've been feeling good! With all her hip and body drama lately, I figured it was the oomph she needed, so fly with it, lady!

The course is far from exciting. Pretty scenery coming out of the foothills, but if you're the type that thrives on course support, this isn't for you. If you need scenic and landmark distractions, also not entirely for you. I flew - flew into mile 7.5 and walked for 10 seconds to get into a Gu and water and keep moving. I PRed my 5K split (by 10 seconds). PRed my 10K split (~4 minutes). And PRed my 15K split (~18 minutes). I felt amazing and though I pushed hard on the super downhill, I wasn't feeling it, I was feeling good! Last year, about mile 9 is where it start to hurt, bad. And I thought I was in better racing shape last year than this year, so that leaves me a little confused on the shape I'm in currently!

We pass the 5K start and then you know it's home from there - I shuffled for a bit through that start line, but once I got into the mile 11 banner, I knew this was it. Mind you, my goal was just a PR (I had 1:55 in my head as a happy point), and this point I was close to enough to hit close to a 1:50? WHAT. 

Photo courtesy Michael

Boom. And that's how it's done apparently. I flew through the finish, egging some guy on who was just sloshing his way to the finish so he passed me and then in the last .2, I pulled out my last kicks and flew by him. Sorry, guy. I found Sandy right at the finish, and was still huffing and puffing when I stammered out that new time - a near 6-minute PR! Holy whoa.

I went and found Michael and Richard (who was just a minute off a PR), hung out for a bit to chat last folks in. I finally got to meet Juliene who was snagging my Galaxy tickets for the night. Tons of IERC folks at the race - it's nice to finally see and meet faces everywhere that I know that are familiar. It makes racing all the more fun!

Oh, right, that time...


Official: 1:50:39
Finisher 290/1058 (27%)
Females 110/591 (18%)

Last year, never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd finally have a half marathon time starting in a 1... and now I've got one with an almost 1:4... holy smokes. I love Fontana. Too bad this PR won't ever be registered under my name. :)

Did you run Fontana? How about PR?

Thursday, June 4, 2015

#notmyshoes: A Rock 'n Roll San Diego Recap

Rock 'n Roll San Diego
May 31, 2015 | San Diego

I know some of you were very closely following the #notmyshoes shenanigans via my Instagram on Sunday morning, so finally… the full story.

I worked all day Saturday, so had my bags packed (at 5 am, mind you) and ready to go to hit the road to San Diego after work. Doug’s sister brought him out my way off the 15 freeway, so we could head straight down the 15 from there. We got checked into the Courtyard Marriott, which was just 1.5 miles from the start line and less than a mile from the finish. I normally cringe at paying such a rate, but for the ease of things, I thought it was well worth it (and, as this story continues, they were well worth it!). We got into San Diego just about 8 pm. I was bummed to have missed the entire expo, but you know… paychecks call. We stayed near the Gaslamp District, so grabbed dinner at the Hard Rock CafĂ©. Funny story: all I had grabbed was my debit card and my phone, but at the last minute tried ordering a drink – because of all the guests in town, they were super strict on checking IDs so the manager came to apologize that he couldn’t give me a drink because I didn’t have my ID with me. #babyfaceproblems He offered dessert instead - I mean, that's still a win in my book.

I was so tired from 13 hours of work that I pretty much passed out once we got back to the hotel, given a 5:20 alarm clock and all. I needed to get up to the start line well before the 6:50 half marathon gun time since I had to pick up my bib still and get situations. I also hoped to find Michael, Carlee, Brian and some of the #WeRunSocial folks so I could say hi to them all!

Alarm goes off… and I slowly get up, get moving, get dressed. I put my socks on and am starting to put my shoes on when I notice they’re laced differently (we had tried this method recently on my current pair of Brooks) – one had come unlaced?! No… I had grabbed TWO LEFT SHOES. I have two pairs of Brooks Pure Connects in the same color, so… I had grabbed two shoes and assumed they were the newest pair. Not correct. “Babe!” I yell. Doug stirs…

BABE!” and he springs up and all I can say is, “I’m not running today…”
“What? Why not?”
*pouts* “I brought two left shoes…”
“Wait, what, how?”
And then I just throw my arms down in total defeat and pout and start to cry a little. I’ve never DNSed a half, and my only DNS ever is a 5K… not now, please not now.

Thankfully, Doug is often the brain for the two of us, so he starts to think… what stores are open at 5:45 am on a Sunday? Walmart… nearest is a mile away, but turns out it’s only a Neighborhood Market. CVS and Rite Aid are around the corner, surely I could find something. CVS has flip flops, Rite Aid is closed. And then I just stand in the middle of the street, trying not to cry as all these runners are walking by, heading up to the start line. I’m supposed to be going in that direction…

Doug asks if I just want to wear my Skechers from work and walk the race. “No, now I’m just over it. I just want to go back to the hotel and go back to sleep, and whatever…” So we walk back around the corner to the hotel and Doug suggests that maybe I should ask the hotel front desk if there’s another store or something nearby. I figure, one last opportunity, so why not – Conor’s working the front desk and I (assuming very pitifully), I go up and ask…

“Hey, what’s the chance that the hotel has a store where someone might buy… running shoes? Or a store nearby?”
“Hm… well, we don’t… but there’s a Ross around the – “
“ – they’re closed.”
“Hm… I don’t know… well, I can call housekeeping and see if they have anything left behind?”

So Conor, as I’m in total awe at the genius idea, calls housekeeping but being that it’s 6 am on a Sunday, there’s no one there. So he turns to behind the front desk, opens a cabinet and pulls out a box of lost and found items. He digs for awhile, as I’m holding my breath, and pulls out a large plastic bag. In it? A women’s running jacket and a pair of size 8 Asics. What size am I? You guessed it.

#notmyshoes : maybe Asics are worth a try!
So I’m trying them on, they fit good enough to call it a win and that I at least can get across the finish line and he laughs and says, “They’ve been here since February…but when you’re done, you’ve gotta return them.” That I can do.

Got to two of them! Richard &
I think I was just totally amazed that a) Conor even thought of this idea and b) that in sheer luck, there was a pair of shoes in (generally) my size. Befuddled and seriously just amazed, I said the biggest thank you ever to Conor, said bye to Doug and then took off. I bolted up 6th Avenue to Balboa Park, grabbed my bib and book up to Corral 2 to try and catch up with some of the crew before we take off. I found them the minute the anthem started, we got a few pictures and boom, like that, I was in corral 2 and off we were! In the hustle of the shoe drama, I left my Garmin in the hotel room. I ran Map My Run, but couldn’t hear a word of it, so I ran as I pleased, walked when I felt like it and had a great freaking time.

I've never gotten do this course and having gone to grad school in San Diego (Go Aztecs!) it was great running in a city I love so much. This course has a ton of amazing course support, great cheer stations and neighborhood love and pretty much everything you could want in a race. The city really comes out in full force to support the runners. Bands were great and certainly pumped me up as much as they could! 

Mile 11 runfie. Duh.
And the shoes? They were awesome. By the end, my toes hurt a little (so maybe I'm an 8.5 in Asics like I am in Brooks) but for what they were, they served their purpose to a tee. 

Doug was waiting at the finish line for me, after he got to knock out a little bit again after the shoe drama, and brought me roses "because I had a rough morning." I'm a lucky girl... and I've never gotten flowers at a finish line (and have always secretly wanted to)! Winner. We hung out for a bit in Petco at the finish line festival but then got hungry, and I needed a nap, before we went on to our afternoon adventures.

And thus... the shoe saga. I can only laugh, as I normally set myself out the night before a race, but honestly I was so tired I probably wouldn't have even noticed then. At least it makes for a good story!

#26 in the books!
Because he's the best ever. <3

Have you ever forgotten your shoes for a race? Or better yet, brought two lefts? 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

National Running Day 2015

It's National Running Day - a day to celebrate lacing up, getting outside (if that's an option), and logging some miles. Maybe just by yourself if it's your daily dose of freedom, maybe with your four-legged running buddy, maybe with your kids! Regardless of how you celebrate, enjoy our sport and the reason we're all better for it.

I've compiled some discounts, events, and other things for you to check out. More added as I find out about 'em! 

Join a National Running Day event. Check out all the locations (nationwide!) and fun here

Score a Rock ‘n’ Roll Discount. The Rock ‘n’ Roll series will has discounts of up to $20 on select races. Note this discount does not “stack” with other promo codes, but you can also use code RUNMEGANRUN for $15 off races, too (except Las Vegas, sorry!). 

Score a Lexus Lace Up Series (Southern California) Discount from Yours Truly. Use code laceupmegan for 15% any of the series locations, any distance (Irvine, Ventura, Palos Verdes, and Riverside). 

Grab Yourself a Sparkly Headband. All 13.1 and 26.2 ROCKSTAR Sparkly Soul headbands are just $5 today (regular $17). Snag one before the day is over!

Run with Road Runner Sports, Fleet Feet, or your local running store. Check with your local store to find out what's happening and when!

Sign up for Womens Running magazine. Just $5 for 6 months! Insane? I think so.

Run for Funds! Use the CharityMiles app to donate your miles to your favorite charity.

Be Safe - for $10 Less! Be safe out there, especially if you run events or run alone. Get your free money (and safety!) with Road ID.

Inspire Someone to Sign Up for a Race. I think one of the great things about celebrating any day (like, you know, National Donut Day which is also conveniently this week) is getting to share it with other people. Maybe someone has been watching you for years and just needs a little push, or a friendy word of motivation and encouragement. Do that today! What better than to share the running love?

Shop at Gone for a Run. Whether you're looking for tees or medal hangers, you can get an extra 50% off on sale items with code RUNDAY15.

How are you celebrating National Running Day?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

{Stitch} Fix My Closet, Please!

After months and months of watching friends collect new fun things for their closet, I finally got to jump on the Stitch Fix train! I told myself that I was allowed to sign up when I finally got a job - and, finally, one paycheck in, I'm in!

If you've been living under a rock, I'll catch you up: Stitch Fix is an online-based personal styling service. For $20 a month, a stylist will choose 5 items of clothing and/or accessories (jewelry, bags, scarves) based on a style profile you fill out about yourself. You can also use your Pinterest board to show your stylist what you're into, any specific things you're looking for (i.e. "I'm going to an outdoor wedding in September on the beach" or "I just got a new job and am looking to re-build an appropriate closet") and they use that as a guide.

As I'm sure you can tell, my first note to my stylist was mostly about building my professional closet up again. I'm very much guilty of "I should really replace this {color} cardigan, but just haven't bought another," or "I really need to buy well-cut slacks..." so I was hoping for some good, business but casual pieces.

My stylist, Vivian, really consulted my Pinterest board and even included 2 tops I'd pinned and asked for specifically. So... what'd I get?

Pixley - Kathy Striped Fit & Flare Dress ($68)

Fit and flare is pretty much what I'm all about. I'm pretty much straight down from the shoulders to my feet, so fit and flare pretty much guarantees me the illusion of a waist. This dress was no exception. I loved the v-neck back, it looks great with a skinny belt... seriously, there was no reason to say no to this dress! Except that I have a tank dress just like it that I already wear to pieces.

Keep it or leave it? Leave it - only because of the one I already have!

41Hawthorn - Milan Lace Print Back Pleat Top ($58)

This was one of the tops I pinned, mostly because I'm obsessed with all things lace and lace-esque and lace-looking. The print on this is so pretty and the shirt material is super light, which means it'd be perfect for Southern California summers but I could still look put together. However, again with the straight-body issue is that despite this being a medium, I think it was a size too big for me and left me feeling very boxy.

Keep it or leave it? Leave it.

Ezra - Sonam Dress ($68)

My stylist noticed that I pinned a ton of lace dresses (fact) so she wanted to throw in one for me that was super easy to take from day to night. It's a gorgeous dark navy color - the front is 'lace' made up of flowers that all connect, while the back is simply navy cotton with a gorgeous big gold zipper up the back. I really did like it - but I think it needed to be a size smaller to give me a little more fit. Otherwise, love, love, love.

Keep it or leave it? Leave it... sadly!

Collective Concepts - Simpson Halter Blouse ($58)

Never mind the closed eyes... thanks mom.
When I got this box on Thursday, I immediately put this one first because I remembered it from my Pinterest board and was super excited Vivian included it in my box. And then I saw it on and was just like... meh. It just hung there, pretty boxy and shapeless for me.  I put it away for the weekend and tried it on again with some skinny jeans and heels (and the blazer, below) and it's really started to grow on me. It's pretty different, but I also like how loose and flowy the fabric is and so, so light - perfect for a heatwave of a summer in the impending future. 

Keep it or leave it? I'm sold! Keeping!

Kensie - Rebekah Contrast Detail Blazer ($88)

I loved this blazer (so light!) and loved even more the polka dot cuff (I had have a major polka dot obsession a few years ago that might still pop up):

Vivian suggested trying the halter under the blazer which I super duper loved. Truth be told, the only reason I wouldn't keep this blazer is because I already have two black ones and an indigo one that need some love... but now I have a great idea of what I can wear on top of the halter to make it a little more work-appropriate!

Keep it or leave it? Leave it... womp.

I was a little disappointed in the success of my first box, but my stylist sent everything I could haved asked for - work appropriate items, two items straight from my Style board, and noted my clear love of lace so went for that, too. She nailed the concepts, they just all didn't necessarily work on me

I've sent so many old pieces of clothing to Goodwill and local thrift stores that I'm excited to buff it up again with some new, classy pieces that I can wear to work, or dress down and wear out. I'm only going to be doing Stitch Fix once per month (you can do more frequently, every 2-3 weeks), and we'll see how long I'm going to fund this closet project for, but I'm excited!

Are you a Stitch Fix-er? How successful was your first box?