Thursday, July 12, 2018

Ultra Runner Crate

A few weeks ago, I went on Instagram to see if anyone I knew has tried the Ultra Runner Crate subscription box.  I was intrigued at the idea of a runner box targeted to ultra runners.  No one I knew had tried on, but Ultra Runner Crate reached out and offered to send me a box to try out. Yes, please! And keeping it real—although Ultra Runner Crate sent me the box to try out, all opinions about the items it contained are my own.  

When the box arrived, I felt like a kid waiting to open birthday presents.  That’s the fun thing about subscription boxes- you never know what you’re going to get.  In my box, I received:
-One pair of Goodr sunglasses
-Two Bearded Brothers bars
-Two Clara Cookies
-A reusable bag with Zero Bad Stuff sunscreen & bug repellant and a ShowerPill body wipe

Goodr Sunglasses
I love my Goodr sunglasses so I was super excited when I saw these in the box.  I was even more excited when I saw they were a color I didn’t already have—Phoenix at a Bloody Mary Bar.  Goodr are inexpensive sunglasses made for running- if you haven’t tried them yet, you definitely should!

Bearded Brothers Bars
I have seen Bearded Brother’s bars on social media, but have never tried them.  I was excited to see that they were vegan as well as gluten & soy free.  I received a mega maca chocolate bar and a radical raspberry bar.  Although both had a good taste, I preferred the raspberry one.  I enjoyed it during a day at the beach and I would definitely try it again!

Clara Cookies
Clara Cookies are protein cookies with a purpose—profits from these cookies are donated to adoption grants.  I tried the peanut butter chocolate chip cookie after a long run and it was a delicious treat.  Not only did I get 13 grams of protein, the cookie had a good flavor.  I’ve had protein cookies in the past that didn’t quite taste like a cookie, but this did.  

Zero Bad Stuff Sunscreen & Bug Repellant
I always wear sunscreen when I run and I was excited to try this—it’s made with zero alcohol, parables or oxybenzone.  The first thing I noticed was the pleasant smell it has—like coconuts which is my favorite sunscreen smell.  The next thing I noticed was how thick the sunscreen is—it’s labeled as 20+ protection and it states that it’s dependent on how much you put on.  Although it did seem to provide protection, when I sweated during my run, the sunscreen created a while film on my skin.  It was a little weird.  
The first thing I noticed about the bug repellant was the fragrance—it reminded me of lemon Pledge furniture cleaner.  Like the sunscreen, the bug repellant is made with natural ingredients. The day I tried it, I was running on the roads so I’m not sure how well it will work on the trails, which is where I encounter the most bugs.  Honestly, I don’t know if I will use the bug repellant again—I can’t get past the smell.

ShowerPill Body Wipe
I have seen these and have been wanting to try one for a long time. I used it after a ten mile run which was extremely humid (read—I was extra sweaty).  I had to go to work right after my run so this was the perfect opportunity to try the body wipe.  I was surprised at how well it worked!  It wasn’t exactly like taking a shower, but it was pretty close.  I will definitely be getting more of these!

The Ultra Runner Crate has three subscription options—a monthly rate, a quarterly rate or a one time gift rate.  The rates range from $33-39 a month, with free shipping to the US and Canada.  My box contained approximately $50 worth of items and it was nice having everything together to try out.  I enjoyed being able to try different items at one time (and I’ll definitely be getting some more of a couple of the item), but I honestly don’t know if I enjoyed it enough to get a box every month.  For me, I think one every 3-4 months would be a good time frame.  

Have you ever subscribed to a running gear box?  

Until next time, happy running.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Benefits of Group Runs

I’m a solo runner—there is just something about the solitude of me versus the trail or road that brings a sense of cleansing to my soul.  But I started to notice recently that I’ve been gravitating to more group runs lately and I’ve been loving them!  If you’ve ever thought about going to a group run, here are some of the things I’ve been loving about them:

It’s easy to say you’re going to run four miles after work on a Monday and it’s even easier to talk yourself into running only one when your run time come (or not run at all.)  But when you commit to a group run, you’re more likely to show up. 

Goal Crushers
What’s more motivating than crushing your own goals? Seeing other people work on and crush their goals.  When you go to group runs, you start to know the other runners and their goals, whether it’s training for their next big race or just working on being healthier.  And it’s awesome to see someone cut some time off their mile or run up a hill they couldn’t before.  Not only do I love being a part of their journey, it also gets me excited about my new goals.  

Support System
The runners you meet at group runs often become friends and because you share running in common, they get it.  When you see them at races, they get the pre-race jitters or offer words of congratulations after a hard race finish.  These runners also because a great source of advice and encouragement for whatever it is you might be training for.  

Become a Better Runner
One of the things I love best about group runs is the push it gives me to become a stronger and better runner.  I often find a runner with a stronger pace than mine and try to keep up with them.  I might not be able to stick with them the entire run, but I enjoy the challenge it brings as I try.  

If you’re a San Diego runner, here are some group runs that happen weekly:

Monday : Movin Shoes in Pacific Beach 6:00pm
Monday: San Diego Trail Runners at Mission Trails 6:00pm
Tuesday: Interval Training with Movin Shoes Mission Bay Runner’s Bathroom 6:00pm
Wednesday: Hump Day Run Club at Milestone Running 6:00pm
Friday: #RUN619 with Movin Shoes at Heartwork Coffee Bar 6:19am
Saturday: Lake Hodges with Ultra Buds at 6:30am

There’s a part of me that will always be a solo runner, but I am embracing the balance I’m finding between my solo runs and group runs.  Do you prefer to run solo or in a group?

Until next time, happy running.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Black Mountain 50K Recap

Last month I participate in a local event benefiting Veterans and part of the event was a prize for an entry to the Black Mountain 50K.  When the winner of the prize realized he couldn’t run the event, he generously gifted the entry to me. I had mixed feelings about it as I’m not a huge fan of Black Mountain, but I also love a good challenge so ultimately I was excited to run the event.

Unlike many race events, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to wear, so I created two flat runners. The race was on a Saturday morning so after getting my gear ready, I was off to bed for an early wake up and drive up to Black Mountain.  

Race day packet pick-up was easy.  Once I had my bib and felt ready, I headed over to the start line to say hi to some friends and visit before the race started.  After a few race announcements and the sweetest rendition of the National Anthem, we were off and running.  The race also had a 25K which started 30 minutes later so it was fun to be cheered by a large group of runners as we started.  

The first half mile or so was in a park as we made our way towards Black Mountain.  Then the uphill began. The beginning didn’t feel too bad and we were fortunate to have cloud cover.  Cloud cover that didn’t last and once the sun was out, you could definitely feel it.  I’m not sure what the actual air temperature was but it felt hot—I don’t think I’ve ever sweated so much in a race.  After that, I lost focus on the actual course.  I know that it was hard—it’s a technical trail, with single track section and some wider trails.  Even though they say “what goes up, must come down,” I felt like I was climbing for most of the race.

If you’ve read my other race recaps, you know that I’m a mental runner and this race was no different.  I knew that I wasn’t going to quit, but I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.  Right as I was feeling extremely discouraged, I encountered Maria and Lise. They were going at a similar pace and I was grateful for the company.  We met at around mile seven and stayed together through the rest of the race.  We had some good conversations about running and helped push each other through when it got hard.  Crossing the finish line with these two runners was the best feeling.

During the entire race, I kept thinking to myself that this would be a “one and done” race event for me.  But now that I’ve had time to think about it, I’ll definitely be back next year.  The race itself is well organized from the pre-race communications to race day instructions.  The aid stations were well placed and well stocked—who doesn’t love an Otter Pop at mile 27?! The volunteers were the best and took care of everything we needed. 

 The swag was pretty cool—we got a tank, a Buff, a sticker and our medal is from Elevation Culture.  The other runners out there were amazing, from cheering everyone on to helping runners when they fell.  As hard as the race was, I still had a great experience and I want to go back next year to have an even better experience.

Have you ever changed your mind about a race after you’ve had time to think about it?

Until next time, happy running.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Run Streak: Two Years

Two years, 104 weeks, 730 days.  That’s how long I’ve been running at least a mile everyday.  They say time flies when you’re having fun and that's definitely true!  How has it been two years already?!  When I finished my first year, I didn’t have a plan.  I knew I would keep running, but figured I would stop eventually.  But I haven’t stopped.  I keep running and without a doubt, I wouldn’t have made it through the last year without these things: 

ProCompression Socks

If you follow me on social media, you’ve seen me #KeepItTight with ProCompression on a regular basis.  It’s safe to say we’re exclusive—I wear them when I run, when I travel, when I work and when I’m not running (there are times I even sleep with them!).  Not only do they make all the fun designs, the graduated compression helps me with muscle fatigue and muscle recovery.  I won’t lie and say my legs are never tired—let’s be real, I run every day.  But I know without a doubt, my streak wouldn’t have lasted this long if I didn’t wear my Pros. And it’s a lot more fun to run with all the colors- you know my favorite is #TwoPairDontCare. 


As an athlete for Team Run Far, I am reminded every time I run that I am running for something much bigger than me.  There are days I struggle, when I don’t want to run, when I wonder if the streak will end and I try to find every excuse not to run.  Then I am reminded why I run—each day 22 US Military Veterans take their own life and leave behind loved ones, many times children.  Those children are why I run. By raising awareness for Run Far, I am helping provide scholarships to the children of US Veterans who have taken their own life through the Sergeant Sean Northcutt Scholarship.  So on those days I don’t want to run?  I run for them.  

The Trails

If you follow me on social media, over the past year you have seen me transition from road running to trail running.  When I first started trail running—I was petrified.  What if I fall down a mountain?  What if I get bitten by a snake?  What if I get lost?  But now I embrace all those things I was petrified of. I’ve fallen.  I’ve seen snakes (but by no means want to get bitten by one!) And getting lost? It’s my favorite thing to do!  Being out on the trails gives me a sense of peace I don’t find with road running.  It makes me feel like me, a self that doesn’t need explanation.  The trails are where I find balance when it doesn’t seem possible. I still enjoy a good road run and know they have a place in my training.  But life is definitely better with some dirt beneath my feet. 

The Running Community

I am blessed to know some amazing runners through social media and in real life.  But beyond being amazing runners, they are also amazing people.  They inspire me everyday and their continued encouragement and support is everything.  Not a day goes by that I don’t get a message from one of these people, whether it’s with a silly joke or with a “you’ve got this!” Life came at me pretty hard this past year and I am beyond grateful for the love and support that has surrounded me—words truly can not express how much it has meant to me. 

A run streak isn’t for everyone—I started in 2016 with the plan of running one month and just kept going.  It isn’t always fun, but the fun days out number the un-fun ones.  I still don’t like the amount of laundry it creates but love coming up with new running outfits.  Some days I run the one mile, most days I run more. It’s a balance and now the question is what’s next?  My new goal is 1,000 days- only 270 days to go!

If you’ve ever thought about doing a run streak, go check out Pinkcupcakegirl on Instagram and see how you can be a part of this year’s #StreakingWithTheCoolKids—it starts tomorrow! 

Until next time, happy running!
Jenn 13.1 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

What is Run Far?

"An arrow reaches it's destination only after it's been pulled back"

If you follow me on social media, you’ve seen me rock gear that says “Run Far.”  From bracelets to tank tops to trucker hats, I have Run Far with me on most of my runs.  Recently, I’ve been getting questions like, “So how far do you have to run to be a part of Run Far?” or “So, you’re all Ultra Runners?”  Though it’s true that I am an ultra runner, Run Far is so much more than that.

Run Far has my heart.

So What Is Run Far?

Run Far is a registered 501©(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to provide scholarships to children of US Military Veterans who have taken their own life.  The statistics real—an average of twenty-two Veterans commit suicide each day.  Those Veterans leave behind family, often times children.  Often times when suicide is the cause of death, survivor benefits are voided.  But the financial responsibilities still exist for the families and part of that is education costs.   Run Far strives to make sure those children are not forgotten.  

Who Is Run Far?

Run Far isn't just a group of people who like to run far.  Some of us run 5Ks, some of us run 200 mile races, some of us swim, some of us bike and some of us participate in obstacle course racing.  Some of us run everyday, some of us run once a month.  We all have different backgrounds, different goals and different interests.  But the one thing we all have in common is the desire to make a difference in the lives of those left behind.  Run Far isn't one person-- it's a collective.  It's you.  It's me.  It's us.  We are Run Far.

With Run Far Athlete Missy

The Sergeant Sean Northcutt Scholarship

Earlier this year, Run Far awarded it's first Sergeant Sean Northcutt Scholarship.  Scholarship recipient Hannah Kershner shares her story in the video below.  In February, I had the joy of meeting Hannah.  She is definitely someone who is going to make a difference in this world.

Why Run Far?

I've always believed that things come into our lives for a reason and sometimes it's better not to question the pull you feel towards something.  This is how it was with me for Run Far-- as I first learned about the organization and continued to learn about the organization, I knew I wanted to be involved.  It was just something that felt right.  The cause gives my runs more meaning-- no matter how much I may struggle, I am reminded that the run is for a greater purpose than me.  That purpose gets me through every time I struggle. With Run Far, I have found my why.  I am grateful everyday to be involved in the organization- not only for the support it gives to the families of Veterans but also the support we give each other as a team.  My dream is that one day, there will not be children who need Run Far but until that day, I will continue to Run Far.  

How Can You Help?

There are several ways to help Run Far and it isn't always just about the money. You're continued support and encouragement is everything.  You can also support the organization by rocking gear and spreading the word using the hasgtag #WeAreRunFar.  If you would like to make a financial contribution, you can click here and make a donation. 

Run Far also has a fun virtual race coming up-- run, walk, bike or swim 22 miles in 2 weeks. For $22.00, you get a print at home bib and certificate of completion, a limited edition Run Far shirt, a Run Far bracelet, stickers and a virtual goodie bag.  How awesome is that?! And what's even better-- it's for all abilities!! Registration opens Monday, May 7th! (Don't worry-- I'll make sure y'all see the link to register) 

What gets you to Run Far in your life?

Until next time, happy running!


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Runner's High Herbals Review

Last month, I participated in an Instagram giveaway hosted by Missy and I won!! My prize? A prize pack from Runner’s High Herbals and it was full of so much awesome!  I’ve heard great things about their products and I couldn’t wait to try them. My prize pack included:

  • Super Herb Plus+
  • Chill AF Muscle Rub
  • Bee Healed!
  • Heel the Sole
  • Wildcrafted Pinon Salve
  • Peppermint in the Pines Lip Balm
  • Super Herb Oil Blend
  • Stickers
  • Cinch Bag

The first thingI did when I received the items was open them and smell them.  I am super sensitive to smell – if a product has a smell I don’t like, it is definitely a deal breaker for me, no matter how amazing the product might be.  These all smelled amazing!  I love earthy and natural smells- these products have just that.

Each product is designed to do something different and I gravitated towards using the ones that aide in muscle recovery with anti-inflammatory and pain relief ingredients. My favorite has been the Super Herb Plus+ stick-- I used it post runs on the areas where I sometimes have muscle cramping issues.  Let's be real-- I'm on a run streak and sometimes my legs get tired.  I try to be proactive in maintaining my recovery and remaining injury free.  I'm not a medical professional and can't honestly say if this has medical benefits.  But I can tell you that it's not hurting me and I'm happy to add it to my recovery and training process.

Another one of my favorite products has been the Peppermint in the Pines lip balm.  I love a good lip balm and you can never have too many.  It left my lips feeling hydrated without feeling waxy.  It also passed my "on the run" test-- I've had lip balms melt in my running pack when I'm running and this one didn't do that!  

After one of my long runs, I had a small flare up of the tendonitis in my foot-- I used the Super Herb Oil Blend with my other recovery methods and loved it!  The mix of arnica flowers and turmeric have an amazing smell and it wasn't too oily. It's also easy to use in a convenient roller bottle.  

I can't wait to use the rest of my products when I need them.  I love the simplicity of the Runner's High Herbal packaging but in that packaging comes an amazing product.  Sometimes less is more and that is definitely true with these.  

Have you used Runner's High Herbals products? What do you use to help in your recovery?

Until next time, happy running.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

San Diego Half Marathon Recap

When people ask me what my favorite local race is, I never hesitate to say the San Diego Half Marathon.  So it’s no surprise that I was back to run it for my fourth year in a row.  Because I’ve run this race before and not much has changed about it, I’m going to talk about the things I love about it and a couple things I think can be improved. So what do I love about the San Diego Half Marathon?

#FlatJenn was ready

Legacy Perks
Unlike some races that consider you a legacy runner if you’ve run every year, the San Diego Half considers your legacy status based on consecutive years run.  And you get extra perks from year 3 and up.  Since this was my fourth year, I received a ¾ zip long sleeve tech shirt.  These legacy perks definitely encourage me to come back each year.


Runner Perks
The legacy runners aren’t the only ones who get perks with this race.  Not only does every runner get a tech tee and medal, but this year we also got one ticket a San Diego Padres game and a ticket for the USS Midway Museum.  How awesome is that?!  This year’s medal was a little different than previous years and started a four year series of medals that complete the course map once you earn all four—I know I’ll be back! (each medal is pretty awesome on it’s own too!)  There are also several restaurants around the downtown area that offer $1 pint beers and deals on brunch for runners—it’s a win-win for everyone!


From the time you register to race day, the communication is on point.  Every question is answered before you realized you have it.  I even received a text reminding me to change my clocks since the race always falls on the weekend of Day Light Savings time. 

The Course
The course for the San Diego Half takes us through some of my favorite places to run in San Diego and if I’m being honest, I don’t completely hate the hill at mile 9.  (And how awesome is November Project San Diego who runs runners up the hill, encouraging them and supporting them)  This year’s race brought back something that hasn’t happened since it’s first year and that was the finish inside Petco Park.  I love our local baseball stadium and it was fun to run into the park, shown on the big screen with supporters in the stands cheering for you.  After I finished, I hung out for a bit catching up with friends, taking fun pics and watching other runners finish.

The Aide Stations and Volunteers
I have never run this race and thought afterwards, “I wish they had one or two more aide stations.”  Not only do they have enough aide stations, there are amazing volunteers handing out the electrolytes and water along with words of encouragement.  The best part of the stations—they have signs telling you when the next aide stations and restroom would be available, for example you next water stop might not be for two more miles.  In areas of the course that are a bit harder for spectators to get to, they have local high school cheer groups and bands for entertainment.  It feels like there is someone cheering you on for the entire 13.1 miles.  I also like that they have medical tents as well as Race Guards on the course—after the half I ran last year when I needed medical attention, I am now always grateful to see this.  I hope I never need them again, but I feel better knowing that they’re there. 

The People
Running a race where you live means you’ll usually see a few people you know.  But this race (as well as the Rock n Roll San Diego race in June) seems to bring out so many of my local runner friends.  I love being able to see so many of them in one day, whether they were out running the race, on the course spectating or just happen to be running in the area. 
Runners make the best friends.
With so much that I love about this race, it really is hard for me to come up with things I think need improving.  The only thing that really comes to mind is the expo—in my opinion, it’s a little small and a little chaotic to get to.  Although the location is nice, having to find parking in a touristy part of San Diego can sometimes be difficult.  The long, narrow space of the Broadway Pier makes some of the booths harder to access especially if it’s a busy time at the expo.  For these reasons, I usually grab my bib and shirt, bypassing the booths all together.  But really in the big picture, if the expo is the only thing I don’t love about a race, then it’s a good race. 

Fun photo spots inside Petco Park

Without a doubt, I will be back to run this race next year.  Do you have a race you love running every year?
Until next time, happy running.

Ultra Runner Crate

A few weeks ago, I went on Instagram to see if anyone I knew has tried the Ultra Runner Crate subscription box.  I was intrigued at the idea...