Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Run Streak: One Year

Last year my friend Jen hosted a Running Streak for the month of June—we were to run a mile everyday and at the end of the month everyone who had completed the month would be entered into a drawing for awesome prizes.  I love prizes and had several other friends signing up, so I thought, “Why not?”  Although it officially started on June 1st, I ran on May 31st-- so began my Run Streak with #StreakingWithTheCoolKids.

When I started the streak, I didn’t know if I’d make it through the entire month.  But after the first week, then the next, I though maybe I really can do this.  And sure enough, I made it through June running at least one mile everyday.  And once the month was over, I didn't want to stop.  So I kept running.  My new goal became 50 days and then 100 days.  Once I reached 100, I knew I had a decision to make.  So I kept running.

If you follow my adventures on Instagram, you know what happened next.  I have officially been streaking for one year and seven days.  From May 31, 2016 to May 31, 2017 I ran 1,877 miles. During my streak, I’ve been asked a lot of questions.  Here are some of the more common ones.

When people ask me why, my short answer is “why not?” My long answer is a little more complicated.  I love how the streak has challenged me and how it pushes me to keep doing more.  I love proving to myself that I can. Is a run streak for everyone? No, but right now it’s right for me.

 Do you always feel like running?
There are days when the answer to this is a big NO.  But my desire to keep my run streak going out weighs my desire not to run.  On those days I don’t want to run, I keep the distance to a minimum.  Some days my legs are tired, some days I’m just tired and some days I’m just busy.  But I can always find ten minutes to get a mile in.  

 What’s the threshold for your streak?
I run a minimum of a mile a day and it must be a solid mile before I start on my intervals/hiking.  There times when this fluctuates a little-- I run a lot of trails and there are a few trails where the first mile is a steep, rocky climb so on those runs, my solid mile might come in the middle of the run. 

What do you like least about the run streak?
The laundry! When you're running seven days a week, no matter how many running clothes you have, there always seems to be laundry to be done.  There are some days I run twice so that means even more laundry. 

What do you like most about the run streak?
Hands down, the support and encouragement I get from my friends, family and social media.  From running miles with me, to texts of encouragement and overall support, the people in my life rock.  

What's next?
I'm going to keep running.  Jen is hosting the #StreakingWithTheCoolKids streak again so I'm in for at least the month of June.  My next goal is 500 days, but I honestly can't foresee stopping any time soon. I'm going to run as long as I can.  

Have you every done a run streak?  How long did you run for?

Until next time, happy running.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Inaugural San Diego Beach & Bay Half Marathon

Living in San Diego, I frequently run on the coast exploring the beaches and bays.  When I heard about the Inaugural San Diego Beach & Bay Half Marathon and 5K, I knew I wanted to check it out.  Run somewhere I do a lot of my training runs at and get a medal for it? Sign me up!  I went into the race knowing there might be a few glitches since it was in its first year, but also knew the views would make up for any of those.  With two distance options, I decided to run the half marathon.    

Like all races, I knew there were going to be things I loved and things that I feel can be improved for the next year’s race.  The things I loved about this race were:

Bib Pick-Up

You had two options for bib pick-up, either picking it up the day prior or race day (with no additional charge).  I like to have my bib before going to a race so opted for the day before.  It was scheduled to start at 2:30pm and I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at 2:00pm and it was already in full swing.  It was quick and easy- organized with friendly volunteers and people ready to answer any questions you had.  It had a mini-expo feel to it as there were also vendor booths, free beer samples and discounts available for the running store it was at.   

Race Start Time

The Half Marathon started at 6:30am and as an early runner, I loved it!  It meant waking up super early, especially since I was car pooling with Smitha and we were getting there early.  But it also meant that I had a fantastic nap that afternoon and I never miss an opportunity for a good nap.  

The Course

The beach is one of my favorite places to run and this course did not disappoint. The views were pretty and even the “ugly” parts of the course were pretty.  It even took me through some parts of the bay/beach that I’ve never explored by foot.  It was also clearly marked and there were volunteers to direct us at all the important turns. 

The Volunteers

I know that a big part of races being successful is the volunteers and they were awesome for this event, from bib pick-up to the finish line.  And the big shout out to the volunteer just after mile 3—spirit fingers and high kicks with shouts of encouragement definitely added a little pep to my step.  

The Swag

From the medal to the post race snacks, they took care of us for the half. I also loved that they have a v-neck shirt for the women's shirt-- I appreciate when races have the different shirts as I am not a fan of the any unisex shirts fit me. (You were able to pick your shirt fit/size in case you do prefer a different fit)

Race Guards

I have said it in previous recaps, but it’s worth repeating.  I love races that use Race Guards.  I feel safer on my run knowing that first aid is readily available should I need it.  During the race, I did see a few injured runners and the response from Race Guards was on point.  A big kudos to all the Race Guards who volunteer their time to make sure the runners have a safe race.  

The Post Race Experience

I don’t often hang out after races, but this way too fun to miss.  There were booths with samples, fun picture opportunities, live music, food trucks and a beer garden.  Fun for the whole family!   

The Brew Dr. Kombucha Samples were so good! 

With so many good things about this race, there were just a few things that I think can be improved upon for next year.  

Aide Stations
The weather in San Diego during May is a little unpredictable and when I saw earlier in the week the expected highs for the coast on race day was 80 degrees, I knew it was going to be a hot race.  I kept my fingers crossed for an overcast morning, but that didn’t happen—there wasn't a cloud in sight.  I know the heat is not a controllable factor, but I definitely felt it.  I do carry my own hydration, but also use the hydration on the course to make sure I will have enough for the entire race.  If I didn’t have my own hydration with me, I wouldn’t have had enough with just relying on the race’s aide stations.  In my opinion, there could have been at least one or two more stations on the course.  There were also a couple stations that were set far back off the course and it was a bit congested as people had to walk off the course to get the water and walk back on after getting their water.  I don’t know if I would feel this way if the weather wasn’t as warm as it was, however I would rather err on the side of having too much hydration than not enough.  

The Course

Yes, above I said that I loved the course, but there were a couple things I didn’t love about it.  Other than the portions run on the road, the course was not closed to the public.  This meant that we were sharing the course with other people out running, walking,  or riding their bikes. This caused quite a bit of congestion at the parts where the course narrowed and it was a safety issue a few times when I saw runners almost hit by people on bikes or have to come to a sudden stop when the walkers in front of them suddenly stopped.  There were a few times I saw people cutting the course and I think this might have been in reaction to getting around the other people out there. I’m glad that people are out enjoying the sites of San Diego and quite frequently I am one of those people so I don’t know what the solution is to this.  I imagine it would be hard to get permits to close an entire beach boardwalk or path.  Maybe next year, they can have a few more volunteers dispersed to help with “traffic control.”  

Race Photographers
This is the first half marathon I've run that hasn't had race photographers. At the very least, I thought I'd see one at the finish line- if this was my first half, I'd definitely want a finish line photo.  With so many pretty views, there was definitely great scenery for awesome running shots.    

UPDATE: The race organizers sent out an e-mail to all the runners and the lack of photographers was not due to the race organizers- the contracted photographers did no show up for the event.  I'm looking forward to seeing if there are any photos of me in the ones that will be made available to us and I appreciate the race's candidness about the situation.  

From the email sent out

With this being the Inaugural year of this event, I wasn’t sure what to expect so I went to into with a very open mind.  Overall I had a lot of fun (even if it didn’t feel like it at the time—I am not a fan of hot weather running and my time definitely showed that) Despite the few things that I feel can be improved upon, I would love to run this race again.  It will be fun to see if they do any type of legacy status for the upcoming years of this event.  

Have you ever run an Inaugural race?  Did you run it again?

Until next time, happy running.


Disclaimer: I received my race entry in exchange for promotion of the event, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.  

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Lululemon Test Truck Experience

I don’t own any Lululemon, but I’ve been told by my friends who love the brand that once you try it, you won’t want to wear any other brand. Earlier this year, I heard about their #MoreThanMiles tour that took #TheTestTruck to different cities so that people could do just that- test the Lululemon.  I was excited when I learned it would be coming to San Diego and quickly started following their Facebook page so I could stay up to date on the stops they would be making while they were here.

Setting up the truck.

When a group of friends that run early every Monday morning learned that the truck would be near their normal running spot from 6:00am-8:00am, I decided to join them.  We met up at 4:55am for a short run then came over to the Lululemon Test Truck to get in line.

What is the Test Truck?
It’s exactly what it sounds like—it’s a truck where you get to try out a piece of Lululemon gear.  While you're there, you can also test out a pair of APL shoes which I heard were super comfy and light. (I opted out of the shoe test) 

Source: www.lululemon.com

What Do You Get? 

When we arrived, after getting an brief introduction we were given the options of a short sleeve shirt, a long sleeve shirt, shorts or a pair of crops.  (I don't know if the items change at the various stops)   This is when I had an internal debate with myself-- I couldn't decide between the shorts or the crops.  How do you choose when you've heard great things about both?  After giving it some thought I decided that as much as I want to try their shorts, I know that I'm picky when it comes to my running shorts and decided I would get more use out of the crops. (I still want to try their shorts but today the crops won.)  The person helping us was really great about explaining their sizing since it was all new to me and making sure I would be trying on the right size. One we received our item, there was a portable fitting room for us to change that included cubbies for us to store the clothes we were changing out of.  After you changed, another Lululemon expert made sure the fit was right and sent us on our way to the treadmill.  

The Treadmill

I am not a treadmill runner-- I can't even remember the last time I was on a treadmill so I was convinced I would become one of those memes that shows someone flying off the treadmill.  When we entered the truck we were given the option of "walk, jog or run."  After a brief explanation of where I could adjust my speed, the treadmill was started and I was ready for my two minute test.  During the run, you get to watch an inspirational video featuring runners in Lululemon gear.  The two minutes went by quickly, but it was definitely a fun experience.  I was just excited I didn't fall off! 

The Test

When I first put on the Pace Rival crop on, they were comfortable right away.  My legs are longer and I have a shorter torso so I sometimes have fit issues with the rise in crops.  These were perfect and the fit was good-- snug but not tight, just how they should be.  And the side leg pockets are my new favorite thing!  It's hard to give a full review after two minutes so I decided to do another short run on my way home followed by some stretching exercises.  I love these crops-- they were comfortable and I didn't have any issues with them falling down during my run and stretching.  Now I understand my friends who have told me you won't want to wear other brands after trying Lululemon.

Such a great start to the day!

I had a great experience with the Test Truck and think everyone should definitely check it out.  I scored and awesome pair of crops and everyone was so friendly & helpful.  This was the perfect way to experience my first piece of Lululemon gear and I suspect there will be more added in the future.

If you're in San Diego, they will be here until June 4th.  Follow their Facebook page to stay up to date on the locations.  Not in San Diego?  Check out the rest of their tour stops here.

Have you worn Lululemon?  What's your favorite piece of gear?  Have you been to the Test Truck?

Until next time, happy running.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Xterra Black Mountain 15K Recap

Last month, I won a race entry to the Xterra Black Mountain event from Movin Shoes- I was excited to explore a new to me trail and I have heard great things about Xterra events.  To help get ready for the event, a couple weeks prior  the race I joined Movin Shoes at their Hoppy Trails event to do a preview run of the course.  I’m definitely glad I did the preview run—it helped prepare me for race day.

The pre-race communication was good and frequent—they kept us up to date on all the important information, including weather, parking and directions to the start area.  It was recommended that we arrive early for parking—the lot adjacent to the park was a little small, but a shuttle was also available at a nearby school.  I arrived with plenty of time to spare. Check-in and bib pickup were scheduled to start at 7am, but this actually opened early.  I love that they were not only prepared, but they were ahead of schedule.  After getting my bib and shirt, I headed pack to my car to get race ready.  I still had plenty of time so I headed over to the Movin Shoes booth to hang out before the race.  

The Course
The Xterra Black Mountain event has a 5K which started at 8:30am and a 15K which started at 8:00am.  I was running the 15K.  Thirty minutes prior to the first start time, they made some announcements/reminders and before I knew it, we were ready to run.  Since I had recently run the course, I knew what to expect.  The first mile or so was pretty congested but not overwhelmingly so.  There were about 250 runners in the 15K and 150 runners in the 5K.

On the course, there were three aid stations offering both water and Gatorade.  Although I carry my own hydration, I always take some from the aid stations so I can ration mine as needed.  There was also one street crossing with volunteers stopping traffic and directing us across.  The volunteers were so friendly and encouraging.  

Having run this course prior to the race, I knew that I would be dreading the end.  Although the race communications offerer a “fairly flat and fast course,” there are some pretty intense inclines, especially at the end.  But I pushed through and my time was definitely better than it was at the course preview. 

Once we crossed the finish line and received our medal, there was a the post race area offering different treats.  I enjoyed a vegan breakfast burrito and some oranges, as well as a sample of Naked mango protein shake.  I hung out and watched the award ceremony and it was fun—I usually leave right after a race so it was a nice change to see it all.  Because it’s a smaller race, there was definitely a different vibe.    

Overall, I really enjoyed this race.  Although the course is moderately challenging, it also pushes you to be a stronger runner.  All the recent Southern California rains made the views beautiful—the wild flowers were in full force.  The event was organized and everyone I encountered was so friendly. If you ever have the chance to do an Xterra race, you should check it out.  I know I’ll be looking to see what other Xterra events I can add to my calendar.  

What's the most challenging course you’ve run?  Until next time, happy running.  

Friday, April 7, 2017

CLICK Active Review

Coffee is my friend, so when I was given the opportunity through Sweat Pink to try CLICK Active, a protein mix that has coffee in it, I was was excited.  Although I received the product for review, all opinions are my own.

Coffee and Protein—was it too good to be true?  I start most mornings with a protein shake.  Sometimes I add cold coffee to my shakes to give myself a little boost. So how much coffee are we talking about?  According to their website, CLICK has “150 mg of caffeine from pure, premium espresso coffee to boost alertness, improve performance and decrease recovery time. Natural caffeine from real coffee, not synthetic caffeine or added coffee flavor.”

When I received the canister of CLICK, it also came with a shaker bottle.  Although I have a few of these, I was excited for the purple color of the shaker bottle.  (Purple is my jam!). The canister lists three different ways to prepare the powder and I decided to try all three.

Using the shaker bottle, I added some water, ice and my measured out the CLICK using the scoop in the canister.  I was pleasantly surprised at how fine the powder is—it dissolved nicely and didn’t clump to the bottom as I drank it.  The taste was good, not overly coffee nor overly mocha.  Some protein mixes have a chalky taste and this did not.  I typically don’t like protein mixes in the shaken form but have had it three times this week served this way.  So easy and so good- perfect for those mornings when you're in a hurry!

Because there is coffee in the mix, it makes sense that you could drink this hot.  In order to fairly give my opinion, I decided to try it this way too.  After heating up some water and adding the CLICK, it was a go.  It was okay, but in all honesty, this was my least favorite way to drink the CLICK.  That being said, I am not a huge fan of hot coffee and very seldom drink it.  

The final way that you can prepare the CLICK is to blend it.  The first time I blended it, I just used some ice and water—it reminded me of a blending drink from a local coffee shop.  Yum!  The next couple of times I switched it up, adding frozen fruit and such.  My favorite way was with a frozen banana and a little bit of peanut butter.  So delicious!

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with CLICK Active.  It doesn’t have that power/chalky taste that many protein mixes do.  I’ve been drinking it everyday for almost two weeks and I’ve noticed that I haven’t been having my daily coffee.  The CLICK is giving me the right amount of boost that I need. 

Are you a coffee drinker? If not, how do you get that extra boost?

Until next time, happy running.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon Recap

As I have been progressing in my ultra training, I realized that I had never actually run a trail race.  When Smitha encouraged me to sign up for the Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get my feet wet, so to speak. I’ve also heard great things about the races Keira Henninger puts on and I couldn’t wait to find out for myself.  

#FlatJenn ready to hit the trails!
I have run twenty seven road half marathon and was excited about running my first one on the trails—we headed up on race morning and right from the start, the views promised of great things to come.  

This is the most physically challenging half marathon I have ever run and the slowest I have ever run—by over an hour. And yet I loved it!  The experience was awesome and I can’t wait to run my next trail race.  Here’s a breakdown of what I love about this race:

The Course
I’ve mentioned in previous race recaps that I seldom look at course maps or elevation charts.  It’s probably better that I didn't look it up for this race-- oh the hills!  I struggled with the climbs but the views were gorgeous! The weather was perfect and I just couldn’t get enough of the scenery.  It was fun to see views of downtown Los Angeles, the Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood sign.  The course was also clearly marked for us, with brightly colors markers and signage to indicate if we were going the wrong way.  At crucial turnaround points, a volunteer was there to direct us which made it even better.  As challenging as the course was for me (I definitely need more hill training) I loved every minute of it.    

Foam rolling was my friend after this race!
The Aid  Stations
I run with my own hydration and fuel—I’ve learned in the past to never depend on a race to have what I need or want.  With running road races, I’m accustomed to water, an electrolyte drink and gels.  Occasionally there are spectators with food and the random mimosa.  What a different experience at this race—every aid station not only have water and electrolytes, but so many snacks.  It was nice to have the options and the Coke I had at the third aide station was probably the most delicious Coke I’ve ever had.  But it didn’t stop at the aid stations—after the race, there were more snacks and Subway sandwiches for us.  

The Other Runners
Though there is often support on road races not only from the runners, but also spectators, I went into this race not knowing what to expect since I knew there would more than likely not be spectators on the course.  “Good job,” “Looking Strong,” “Way to go,” and “You’ve got this” were just a few of the cheers I heard on the course.  It seemed no matter who you passed, someone had something nice or encouraging to say.  It was awesome!  And so much inspiration—from runners who looked tired but weren’t giving up to the runners who were pushing 80 years old and still out there doing their thing.  

So much fun running with Smitha and Valerie
The Volunteers
The volunteers are always one of my favorite things about a race and this race was no different.  Anyone willing to give of their time to come out and support us runners has to be an awesome person!  All the volunteers were so friendly and knew exactly what to say just when we needed it.  A big thank you to anyone who was out there!

The Griffith Observatory 
My first trail race experience was amazing!  I ran with Smitha and Valerie the entire time—we had a blast.  I am grateful to have had friends to share the experience with and it was fun to see other running friends out on the course.  I think I might even come back next year and go up to a higher distance- I really want to see the Hollywood sign closer up!   A big congratulations to everyone who finished the half, marathon and 50K.    

Have you every run a trail race?  Which one?

Until next time, happy running!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Valentine's Day Gift Guide for the Runner You Love

Whether you’re someone who loves Valentines’s Day, someone who celebrates Singles Awareness day or someone who thinks it’s just another day, it’s always a good time to get something for that someone special in your life. If you’re shopping for  a significant other, your best friend or even yourself, here’s some things that I think are great for showing some love to the runner in your life.

Source: www.memegenerator.com

73 Threads
Have you seen the tees and tanks made by 73 Threads? Not only are there some great prints, you get to pick your color tee or tank. The hardest part will be deciding which one you like best.  (And a big thank you to my friend Smitha for sharing the love-- use SDMOM to save 10% off your order.) And they aren't just for runners-- they have everyone covered from Triathletes to Sweet Tea drinkers. 

One of my favorites! Source: www.73threads.com

Seems cliché, right?  But I’m not just talking about your normal chocolates.  I’m talking about Vega Protein Smoothie mix.  I actually am not a huge fan of chocolate, but I love my Vega chocolate smoothies.  Add a banana and peanut butter—amazing!  (And the other flavors if Vega are delicious too!)   

Brown bananas make the best smoothies!

Burts Bees Lip Balm
I randomly picky up a tube of this last year and now I can’t get enough.  I carry it with me when I run, have a tube in my purse and use the tinted version when I need to dress in non-running clothes.  There are several flavors and is perfect for any runner or non-runner in your life. 

No, not those kind of flowers.  Did you know that Sparkle Athletic recently debuted capris and check out how cute the floral print is! Complete with a pocket, these capris are definitely the best kind of flowers to receive.  

How pretty! Source: www.sparkleathletic.com

You don't need to be a runner to spend time with someone who runs.  Take some time and go for a walk/hike/run.  If getting outside isn't your thing, spend some time cooking together or anything else that they like to do.  If given the option to run or spend time with a loved one, the time with a loved one wins hands down every time. (And if you're not sure what to do, a quick Google search will give you options. It's one of my favorite ways to discover new places) 

Goodr Sunglasses
For a “free” sport, running can get expensive so I was super excited when I discovered sunglasses that were cute and inexpensive. Goodr sunglasses provide a “no slip, no bounce, all polarized, all fun” experience and can you believe they’re under $30?!  I have the “Flamingos on a Booze Cruise (pink)” and the “Donkey Goggles (orange)” but all the colors are fun.  

"Flamingos on a Booze Cruise"

In keeping with the spirit of love, Goodr has given me a pair of their sunglasses to share with you. Enter the giveaway below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What’s something you’d like to get from that special someone?

Until next time, happy running.

No purchase necessary.  Void where prohibited. 1 winner will be randomly selected via Rafflecopter.
Open to anyone 18 years of age or older. Winner will notified via email (if available) and will have 24 hours to claim prize. If original winner does not claim prize within 24 hours an alternate winner will be selected.
All winning entries will be verified. If a winning entry cannot be verified as completed, a new winner will be drawn.Sunglasses will be mailed to the winner from Jenn13.1, sunglass color is selected by Goodr.   Entries will be received until Friday, February 10, 2017 11:59PM PST.

Run Streak: One Year

Last year my friend Jen hosted a Running Streak for the month of June—we were to run a mile everyday and at the end of the month everyone w...