Monday, August 31, 2015

Race Day Essentials

In a few days, I'll be heading north for the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend. I'm looking forward to miles of magic and fun.  I can't wait to see some of my running friends that I've met at other races. I've made my "packing spreadsheet" and will start the packing tonight. 
When I run races, there are a few products that I consider "Race Day Essentials" and they're the first things that make it into my luggage. 

KT Tape

I have an old foot injury that occasionally flares up when I over-do it.  KT Tape is my go-to for extra support and prevention.  I know the jury is still out on whether KT Tape actually works-- I am not a medical professional and can't say one way or another.  I know for me, it helps remind me to run with the right form, therefore helping prevent the injury from happening again.  I also loves that it comes in so many colors and I can color coordinate it with my "race look."  They even had a tape to go with my Disney look this weekend!



Nuun

My go-to for hydration, pre and post race, is Nuun.  I don't like the taste, or lack of, of water.  Hydration is definitely a big challenge for me.  The subtle flavors of Nuun help.  I've tried some other brands and though there are some good ones out there, Nuun is still my go-to.


Garmin

I've tried 3 different GPS watches and the Forerunner 220 is my favorite.  If I don't have it on when I'm running, I don't feel quite right.  I've even worn it when I've forgotten to charge it, just so I could feel it on my wrist.  I pair it with my Garmin VivoFit 2, which tracks my steps and other activity throughout the day.  I wear my VivoFit 2 all the time and have 12 different bands so I can coordinate with my running clothes and my non-running clothes.  I love that the option of function also has the option of fashion-- that doesn't always happen with fitness gadgets.  When I find a product I like, I tend to be brand loyal.  I have found that with Garmin.  Not only do I love their products, but they are very engaging with their users on social media and to me, that shows their level of appreciation for their consumers.



So those of three of my race day essentials-- what are some of yours?

Until next time, happy running!
Jenn13.1

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Raindrops on Roses, Whiskers on Kittens, Sparkles on Headbands??

My hair has always been a point of contention for me-- I wasn't blessed with the thick, voluminous hair that the other women in my family had.  After a few failed attempts with perms (anyone remember the fun spiral perms of the 90s?!?) I decided to embrace the straight, fine hair that I had.  This meant when I wanted to wear a ponytail, I used 10 or more bobby-pins and so much hairspray and cross my fingers that the ponytail would last more than two hours.  This wasn't a problem before I started running-- I didn't wear my hair up a lot.  But after I started running?  My hair in a ponytail became the norm.

Then something magical happened!  I discovered Sparkly Soul Inc. Headbands!

The First Sparkly Soul Headband I Ordered! 
The first one I purchased was a Satin Wide version-- they debuted it at Rock N Roll San Diego.  I didn't run that race, but I loved the colors and I love San Diego, so I ordered it. It was even prettier in person.  I was impressed from the start-- not only did the company claim that they would stay in place, they did!  After my first run wearing one, I was sold. Whether it's 1 mile or 15, my headbands stay in place.  

Since my first headband, I've ordered countless of others.  Wide, thin, satin, sparkle versions, multi-colors and prints.  Chances are I have a Sparkly Soul Headband to match every running/race outfit I have.  And I often wear them when I'm not running-- need to dress up a ponytail for work? Throw on a little sparkle. I love them all!


Sparkly Soul Headbands Go With Everything!
My friends tease me. "Is that a new headband?"  I am going to the Disneyland Half Marathon expo next weekend and am already making a list of the colors I need to get! (If you're at the expo, be sure to check out their booth! I promise you won't be disappointed.) A few of my friends have tried to get me to try other headbands-- they've finally given up trying because they know. 


Rocking My "Minnie" Headband at Disneyland

Want to see what the magic is all about?  Check out the awesome at their website, http://www.sparklysoul.com/.  

Thanks for reading.  Until next time, happy running!
Jenn13.1



All opinions expressed in this post are purely my own and in no way endorsed or sponsored by any company or organization.  

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

End of Summer 4-Mile Run: Recap

At the beginning of this year, I decided I wanted to run some type of organized run every month.  I tend to focus & train better when I'm signed up for a run and I can't lie-- I really like the medals. 
By the second week of August, I realized I didn't have a run scheduled, so after a short internet search, I stumbled upon the End of Summer 4 Mile Run, which would take me from La Jolla to Pacific Beach. After a few keyboard clicks, I was officially signed up.

Packet Pick-Up at the Backyard Kitchen & Tap, Pacific Beach

Packet pick-up took place on the Saturday before the race at a the Backyard Kitchen & Tap in PB.  Although I'm not a fan of the parking (or lack of) in PB, I made my way down there about an hour into the pick-up.  It was easy to find, clearly set-up and quick-- my favorite kind of packet pick-up.  A big thank you to the volunteers who made that happen.

I woke up the next morning ready to run.  I did all my pre-race rituals and drove to La Jolla to find the start line. I didn't anticipate finding parking as easily as I did and found myself with extra time after I arrived.  I walked around a bit, then hung out close to the starting line, waiting for the run to begin.  I was impressed with the organization of the start line-- from reminding runners about final gear check times to trying to find the runners who lost their D-Tags, everything was on-point.


Race Shirt and Medal

The race itself was just another 4-mile run.  It wasn't bad yet their wasn't anything spectacular about it.  Here are my Pros and Cons for the run:

Pros:

  • I really like to colors of the race shirt - not your typical race shirt color scheme and it's one I would actually wear.
  • The spectators on the course-- parts of the run went through residential areas and it's always fun to have people out there cheering us on.  I appreciate anyone who will wake up early on a Sunday to cheer on people they don't know.
  • The volunteers-- I appreciate the volunteers even more than the spectators.  I hope they know how much every runner appreciates them.
  • The other runners-- at the beginning of the race, one runner fell down. Not a minor fall, a "fell face first, flat on her face" fall.  Everyone around her stopped and helped.  Kudos to their energy and willingness to help another runner.  And kudos to the runner who fell who got back up and kept running.  
  • The medal
And it's a bottle opener!
Cons
  • The sudden stop at the end-- once you crossed the finish line, you were directed into a corral to give them your bib tag and collect your medal.  This brought you to a sudden stop.  If there had been more volunteers for this, it would have gone more smoothly and allowed us to keep moving.
  • The after race festivities were a little unorganized-- I saw people standing in line who had no idea what they were in line for and vendors tearing down their booths, even though the event had barely started.  I also saw runners comment on Facebook about the lack of the promised shuttle.  I was lucky to find the shuttle back to the start line, but only because I followed the crowd.  It wasn't posted and it wasn't easy to find.
Overall, it's a run I'd do again.  It definitely has the potential to be a great race and I can't wait to see if it grows next year.

Thanks for reading.  Until next time, happy running!
Jenn13.1

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