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?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

8 Weeks Until Rock 'n Roll Brooklyn

Eeeeeek, RnR Brooklyn is just EIGHT weeks away. Can you say excited? There's been so much coming out about this race in the last few weeks and I've been collecting it all... now I'm just ready to burst at the seems I am so excited!

First and foremost, the course - running through Prospect Park will be amazing and (I imagine) greener than anything Southern California has seen in months. We'll get to run by the Brooklyn Children's Museum, the Prospect Park Zoo, and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.

The second best part for me is the post-concert headliner, which is what Rock 'n Roll is all about (aside from that bling). I'm pretty sure I let out a legit squeal when this e-mail came in a few weeks ago about Nate Ruess being our headliner - I've loved Nate since The Format days certainly, saw him a few times as a part of Fun., and am loving his solo ventures too. Squee! There it is again.

SWAG! This shirt might easily become one of my faves of my running tee collection and I can't wear to rock it after the race on the way home. 

And because, duh,the bling. I love collecting medals from inaugural races so I'm excited this one acknowledges that this is the inagurual half marathon for RnR out this way and hopefully I'll be back to do more in the future!

Wanna run Brooklyn with me? It's still 8 weeks away, you've got time to register! If you're not running Brooklyn, that's okay - come run another Rock 'n Roll race with me and earn those Heavy Medal bad boys. Use code RUNMEGANRUN for $15 off a half or full marathon at any other locations (except Las Vegas). Code unfortunately is not good for Brooklyn or Philly, but they're both still cheap, so get in now!

Will I see you in Brooklyn?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Exploring the New 'Hood + Sparkly News!

During the summer, my campus is closed on Fridays to use as energy conservation days - pretty awesome. So most of campus works 4-10s Monday-Thursday so you're still pumping out a 40-hour work week with the benefits of 3-day weekends each week between commencement in June and the start of school at the end of September. Pretty sweet, right? Never mind the fact that really, I'm working like 60+-hours between Monday and Thursday, but I will very happily take my Fridays to go! 

Last week, I finally got on an outdoor run and got to check out some of the new neighborhood that Doug and I moved to. I've driven around it a lot, but running? Far from it. We're only about .8 miles from the Pacific Electric Trail, which I see all over my Instagram feed from local running friends and was soo excited to finally go run it for myself!

The trail itself is hot - at least in the stretch I ran, no shade, but it's cool that you can either run (or bike) on either the concrete side or a dirt trail. On tired legs, I very happily took that dirt trail that morning! Spanning 21 miles from Claremont to Rialto, the PET is very much a hot-spot for cyclists, runners and folks just out on a morning stroll with their dog. It's good to know you'd pretty much never be alone on  a run out here! 
Sparkly Soul pictured: Satin Confetti Hearts wide.
The PET follows the route of the legendary Pacific Electric Railway, an electrified railway system famous for their "red cars" that came all the way to San Bernardino from the Pacific coast, through Los Angeles. The building of this railway was crucial in the build-up and growth of the Inland Empire, especially for agricultural industries that popped up (citrus, wine!).  The railway ended operation in the 1950s when the freeway system came to be. One of the last remaining railway depots of the San Bernardino line is at Etiwanda, just up the road from where we are and was my first view of the trail! Pretty cool (I think I get my train and history nerdiness from my dad, because he just loved this stuff!) 

You'll notice I also got to rock my newest Sparkly Soul headband too -- stoked to announce that I've been asked to come back as an ambassador for a second year to represent my favorite running accessory company everrrrrr. Who doesn't wanna sparkle on a run?

Tickled pink to be back, too!

I mean... with like 30 of them in my bathroom, you might think I love them just a little bit, right? And to think, there are still colors I don't have in my collection that I want to add soon! Can you say #addicted? I might have to get this one for RnR Brooklyn, too...

Needless to say, I truly believe in their products and am the biggest fan. I love getting to represent them all over the west coast at races and getting to introduce people to the sparkliest, best headbands ever! Hopefully I'll get to again soon!

I am super grateful they've asked me to come back and can't wait to share the Sparkly love some more wherever I go. If you haven't tried them, please feel free to ask! They are velvet-lined, which truly helps the grip on your hair so they're not moving and sliding around everywhere while you work out. I only run in these guys, and will even wear one under a visor, just so I know the sparkle is there, even if no one else can see!

More sparkles coming at you soon! 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Crazy Is as Crazy Does

To say the last five weeks have been crazy would be probably the biggest mis-representation of my life (and I like to exaggerate, so that says something). I haven't gotten to talk about my new job a whole lot, but the jist of it is as such:

At most universities, all freshmen (and new transfer students) are required to attend a new student orientation. At Cal State, it's no different so I have spent the last three weeks (and two more to go) welcoming 425 freshmen at a time at any one of our given 8 sessions. That's not including the six sessions we had with transfer students at 600 students a pop! 13-19 hour days have been brutal, but really, the key part of it is that I love my job.

Selfies with 1/8 of the freshmen class!
 It took (what felt like) forever to get here, but I finally feel like I've got a place that I can settle into for a few years, take it all in and know that some how I've made a difference. My students leaders are amazing, I love getting to work and interact with freshmen, and I feel like I'm beginning form the starts of a community for myself on campus. It's all happy times. 

Photobooth fun at our late night carnival!
Truth be told, though, the struggle has been the exhaustion and the lack of motivation to do anything except work, eat, and sleep. Running has been the last thing on my mind - which, frankly, might not be a bad thing. It's allowed me to focus on work, getting settled and adjusted in learning how our orientation program works - by the time I started in April, the summer's logistics and dates had been long-set and formed, so I really jumped into to a virtually pre-planned program already. Much to learn, still, which keeps me on my toes!

Knowing that I have a pretty good race and pacing schedule set up for fall, having this summer's six weeks of shenanigans is also not a bad thing - a little rest time before I start jumping into these halfs. A number to pace, and a few I'm running for fun and good times. More on that later this week!

That super low number in July kind of scares me, but as of today, I'm only 461 miles shy of my 1,000 goal for the year and 144 days to make that happen still (an average of 3.2 per day). With IERC long runs gearing up (16 miles this coming week), I've got no worry that it's going to happen! And then I can finally earn my IERC 1,000 mile pin - even if it is on December 31. It's happening.

In the middle of all this, I spent 35 hours on the ground in Chattanooga, Tennesse, for my sorority's annual convention. I sit on the national board and go every year, but this year was insanely more hectic than average, given that I took a red eye out Friday night, got to Chatt-town Saturday morning, got back Sunday night and Monday was our first group of freshmen - can you say insane? It's always lovely seeing my sisters but man... that was exhausting.

Pretty city.. but I do NOT miss that Southern humidity!
Soooo that's where I've been. More coming, as I'm finally wrapping up these sessions, getting back into 'real' life and will get caught up on all the blogging finally! I miss y'all!