Run Laughlin – It’s Race Week!

Run Laughlin Half Marathon, 10k & 5k is 3 days away! If you haven’t already registered there is still time – and if you use code BIBRAVE20 you will get 20% off registration!

Today, Run Laughlin released their race shirt. T-Shirt Reveal Time! It’s a 50/25/25 Polyester/Cotton/Rayon blend, soft enough to wear to bed but with the moisture wicking quality that you look for in a workout shirt. It also comes in a men and women’s cut.

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If you’re on the fence about registering here are some reasons to run this race:

  • A portion of every Race Registration will help the BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS of the Colorado River.
  • Generous race time limit of four hours – walkers welcome!
  • DOWNHILL COURSE: Net negative 443’ of DOWNHILL elevation loss of Half Marathon.
  • Stunning Scenery including: Brilliant Sunrise over Black Mountains, the Davis Dam, Lake Mohave, Colorado River, Heritage Trail & finish along Casino Row.

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You can read the great reviews of this race HERE. And don’t forget to use code BIBRAVE20 to save on registration!

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Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffel – A Review

Disclaimer: I received an Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffel (60L) as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

This year has been very busy for me – I am always on the go! A typical day for me is: getting in a morning run, fix a quick breakfast, head to work, hurry home for dinner then get to the gym for a class or to shadow (this is for a future post, but yes, I have an apprenticeship at my gym!). Throw in a weekly pet sitting gig, or evening work event and it can get crazy. Pair that with my decision to not race as much this year, but the races I did sign up for were like a mini vacation – like my recent races at San Jose and Monterey. So having a great traveling bag is a must!

The Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffle is PERFECT for a race weekend getaway. I tend to over-pack and I was still able to pack everything needed for race weekend – race day clothing as well as my non-runner essentials. Check out the deets that make this duffle perfect for travel:

  • ULTRA-LIGHT (the 60L weighs only 1 lb 12 oz!!)
  • Made with an extra-durable, water-repellent coated Bi-Tech™ Armor Lite fabric: a fusion of technology that merges max abrasion-resistance with ultra-light carry
  • Bartack reinforcement on all high stress points for maximum schlepping
  • Carry by its removable backpack straps, padded top haul handles, or side grab handle
  • U-shaped lid for easy access to main compartment
  • Sizeable easy-access zippered end pockets for gear organization
  • Six heavy-duty lash points for attaching this bag to a roof rack
  • #10 lockable zippers with storm flap shield zipper from rain
  • Bottom is foam padded to help protect contents against impact

 

One of the best features about this duffle bag is storing it! The bag folds into itself, in a nice little package – smaller than a shoe box!

The Cargo Hauler Duffle Bag has been great for my race weekend mini vacations, and I’ve also loved taking it to the gym; it is much easier than using a tote bag, which is what I was using. It fits every thing I need for the gym, with room to spare. Each side of the duffle has a zippered compartment (gear pockets), along with the main compartment.  I like the side compartments because they are roomy, and are a perfect way of separating my sweaty clothes from my clean clothes.

What I am really looking forward to is some Spring and Summer camping trips where I can really test out the durability of this bag – this thing is made for adventures! But for now, I’ll continue to use it for my race travels & trips to the gym.

 Pros:

  • Versatile – handles, straps or backpack straps allow you to carry it in multiple ways and however is most comfortable for you. The straps are also removable.
  • Durable
  • Super easy storage
  • Padded bottom
  • “No matter what” warranty

Cons:

  • No shoulder sling strap
  • No inner compartment – such as a zippered area

Check out what my fellow BPR’s thought of their Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffle: MattJennaMaiMeridithLauraEmilyFallonVanessaLindseyAmanda, and Ryan

Monterey Bay Half Marathon – A Review 

Disclaimer: I received a free entry into Monterey Bay Half Marathon  as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

This was my second and final half marathon of 2017, and I have to say, I think my favorite half marathon to date. The race was in beautiful Monterey and Pacific Grove, so how could you not love it?! Going in I was a little concerned about the hills because me and hills weren’t really friends last year, even though I love running them.

The course started on Del Monte Ave near Monterey Bay Park. It was a great location to start – easy access to the start line, plenty of space to warm up and it was easy to find your corral. The announcers at the start were great. They got they crowed hyped, make jokes, and created a great race start vibe. We started the race by running around El Estero Lake, and started off with beautiful views right away. I wasn’t 100% sure what my plan for race day was going to be, which isn’t a great strategy at all, but I wanted to see how I felt. The first couple of miles I was conservative, waiting for those hills to see how I’d feel.

Just after mile one we ran through a tunnel and headed towards Pacific Grove and the first hill. The tunnel was a fun experience, there were colored lights & music and a few people in costumes. I love seeing/experiencing things like that, unique aspects of a race that make it stand out. After the tunnel we got to run through Cannery Row, another really cool and unique experience! As you head into PG there were more people out there cheering us on, and ocean views for days!! At mile 3.5ish was the longest and steepest hill of the race. I easily tackled that hill, passing just about everyone (thanks to my weekly hill repeat training!) My only issue was about half way up the hill they had the runners move to the right to let a truck through. I don’t know what was going on but I’m sure there was a good reason for it. I highly doubt a race would do that without a good reason. However, running up a long, steep hill then being told to stop and run around a truck was a disappointment. Had it been the flat part of the course that would have been easier to do. I was just annoyed because I was killing that hill and this incident really slowed me down. But there was a good down hill right after this uphill, so hopefully I made up time there 😉

Near mile 5 I started feeling good so I decided to pick up the pace and see if I could run a 1:48 – it wasn’t likely given my first 5 miles were 8:30-8:20 but I thought I’d try. As long as I ran faster than San Jose (my first half of 2017) I was going to be happy. The half marathons I ran last year ranged from 2:17 – 2:08 so if I could be in the 1:50 range I would consider that a successful race. I picked a good time to pick up my pace because that was the time the elites started running by.  It gave me a boost of energy watching them speed by me! I usually don’t like out and back courses but when you have an impressive elite field and ocean views, an out and back really isn’t a bad course to run. Miles 4 – 11.5ish you are along the coast the whole time. Running in PG was my favorite part of the race – minus the headwind. But I loved having the community out there cheering us on. At the turn around, right before mile 8 is where we had a really large crowd. It as at this point things started to get hard for me.

I had a moment where I thought, maybe I’ll slow back down and just take it easy. I don’t need to try to race…then a man came up to me and told me he had been using me to pace him the whole way. He said I really looked like I knew what I was doing and asked if I ran a lot. I let him know I’d run many races but never this course. He told me this was only his second half and he was running much faster than he thought he’d be able to, then thanked me for that (even though it was mostly his hard work, I’m sure). I told him that was good to hear and he actually just encouraged me not to slow down. So from about mile 8 – 12 we kept passing each other, encouraging each other along the way.  Finally, at the last mile he came up to me and told me his previous half was a 1:57 and he was hoping to get at least a 1:55, and asked if I thought he could do it. We were on pace to hit a 1:49 so I told him go for it, he was definitely going to beat his previous time. I tried to keep up with him but my legs were done. I came in about 20 seconds after he did and he waited for me at the finish. He gave me a high five and thanked me again. I thanked him as well because he pushed me to keep pushing myself – even if it wasn’t intentional.

I usually carry my phone with me but I didn’t at this race and I wished I had it so we could have gotten a photo together. But going through the pictures that my boyfriend took of me at the beginning I found him in one!! He really was with me from the start of the race. This photo was before the first mile.

Miles 10 – 13 were tough for me. I pushed as hard as I could and overall, I ran a pretty decent race for where my running fitness is currently at. The last 3 miles were a little crowded but it wasn’t too hard to squeeze by people. These miles were on a bike path rather than the road. We finished near the wharf and were greeted with our medals, food and smiling volunteers.

I only have one negative thing to say about this race…and it’s less negative than I first thought. By that I mean, I hated the race shirt when I got it. I don’t like the color pink and I especially don’t like it when I have to get something pink because I am a woman. The race shirts and medals for the women were pink. The men got a cool green/yellow color. When I was in line to get my medal the volunteer told me I was in the wrong line and pointed me to the pink medals. But the more I look at the shirt the more I like it, it is actually a decent pink color. I do LOVE the medal – and I’m not even a medal person. They are hand crafted by  local artist, Kathleen Kelly.

Other than that I LOVED this race from start to finish. It was well organized, the volunteers were great, the community was supportive and they had great cheer stations. I also noticed they had sustainability stations (at least that is what I am calling them) and volunteers at each station telling you where to put your trash. They had bottle refill stations on the course, and instead of a bottle of water at the finish they gave you a small cup…because let’s be honest, those water bottle ends up half full in the trash. One of the  sustainability volunteers let me take her photo – such nice volunteers at this race! I love that more and more races are focusing on going green! 

Thank you to the peeps at Big Sur Marathon Events for putting on such a great race! I had a wonderful time and I might make this race a yearly to do race. It was just that good!

You can check out my race review on BibRave.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why you need to Run Laughlin!

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Run Laughlin is celebrating it’s 3rd year on December 2, 2017 and I wanted to share some reasons why it will be a great race to run! Run Laughlin is a half marathon, 10k (new this year!), and 5k in Laughlin, Nevada. Of course it offers the ushe:

  • Tech tee
  • finisher’s medal
  • Chip timing
  • On-course photography
  • Post race party with beer for finishers (21+)

But something that I think is really cool and unique about this race is the fact that you will be running through 2 states and 2 time zones! I mean, how many races can say that? You start in Laughlin, Nevada, and cross over the Colorado River via the Davis Dam, and make your way into Arizona, then eventually back to Nevada.

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Race views! 

Run Laughlin is a net downhill course, and has a 4 hour time limit, so walkers are welcome. An aspect of this race that I really like is that they raise funds for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Colorado River , which helps over 1,000 kids in their community. I really appreciate when races raise funds to support local organizations, people get to run and have a good time and their money goes to a good cause. It’s a win, win situation!

Laughlin also has some great local attractions – from the Colorado River, Black Mountains, Christmas Tree Pass to gold mine tours, you could make a whole weekend full of adventures!

If you’d like to run Run Laughlin use code “BIBRAVE20” to save 20% on your race entry!!

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Monterey Bay Half Marathon – 1 week away!

You guys, the Monterey Bay Half Marathon is 8 days away!!! I cannot wait for this race weekend vacation! Training has been continuing to go well, and I am super excited to run in Monterey – something I’ve never done. Since my last half this year, RNR San Jose, was a 1:51:xx, my goal for Monterey is 1:50. This is a hilly course, and while in the past I’ve done pretty good on hilly courses, I haven’t had a good race on a hilly course in over a year…so we will see how things end up.

The 2017 Monterey Bay Half Marathon Press Kit was recently released and I thought it would be cool, heading into race week, to share some facts & history about this race:

This is the 15th year of the Monterey Bay Half Marathon (previously known as the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay). This was changed to give a more accurate description of the race location. With the name change, also came a new logo.

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What do you think? I love it!

The course goes through all of my favorite parts of Monterey. We’ll be starting (and ending) in historic Downtown Monterey, we’ll run through Cannery Row, along the Pacific Grove shore line and into Downtown Pacific Grove. I always love learning about the history or races so here is a short history of the Monterey Bay MH:

The Monterey Bay Half Marathon was the result of the growth and expansion of the highly successful Big Sur International Marathon, which had reached its capacity on Highway 1.  The first-ever event was held in 2003 and considered an “immediate, overwhelming success.”

In 2006, the prize purse for elite runners was increased to $13,000, attracting world-class runners.  That year, the male course record of 1:02:32 was set by Ian Dobson with Jennifer Rhines establishing a new female record of 1:12:18 (since broken in 2010 by Belainesh Gebre in 1:09:43).

2008 began focusing on ‘greening elements’ and introduced the highly successful “BYOB” or Bring Your Own (Water) Bottle for refilling on course.  Greening programs continued in 2009 with 100% online registration, a virtual goodie bag, and strong recycling and composting efforts resulting Gold Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport. Trash diversion from the landfill has reached as high as 99.9%. (This is AWSOME and something more and more races are doing! If you follow me on IG you may have seen some of my posts about picking up trash, and being a responsible runner – and person in general. Sustainability matters!)

2009 and 2010 saw the introduction of “wave starts” to accommodate the growing field of runners. The course was also slightly altered to showcase more of downtown Pacific Grove.  The walk division of the event was also eliminated.

In 2011, the field was again increased, capping at 8,000 runners. The affiliated 5K (known previously as the Run Forrest Run 5K) was moved fully into Pacific Grove and renamed the Pacific Grove Lighthouse 5K.

The runner field was increased to 9,000 runners in 2012. Several new runner amenities were added including a tracking app, enhanced finish line food and beverage items, pace teams, finishers’ certificates and more.

In 2016 the race began a new Elite Runner program with its largest-ever prize purse of $32,000, making the Monterey Bay Half Marathon the fourth largest prize-money half marathon in the US.

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And  of course, I have to mention the medals! I am not big on race medals; I definitely don’t run races for the medals and I have actually donated all of mine to charity – with the exception of my marathon medals. However, I have a feeling the Monterey HM medal is one I may keep around for a while. They are more than a medal, they are hand crafted pieces of art!

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As we head into race week, I just keep thinking about running along the ocean and being in the beautiful city of Monterey. It has been years since I’ve been so I am looking forward to this little getaway. Check out my Instagram for race updates and lots of fun Monterey pics 😉 and of course, I’ll have a full race review next week!

RNR San Jose Half Marathon – A Review 

Disclaimer: I received a free entry into RNR San Jose as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Last weekend I ran my first half marathon in OVER A YEAR!! This was huge for me because I am used to running multiple halfs in a year, along with 1-2 marathons. Without going into details (if you really wanna know you can search through my old blog posts) 2015 – the beginning of 2017 was not good to me as far as running goes. I’ve taken a break from anything longer than 10 miles and have taken time to heal (physically, and mentally). When I decided I finally wanted to get back to the half marathon distance I chose Rock N Roll San Jose because it is pretty close to where I live, I have never run a race in San Jose before and I had also never run a Rock N Roll race that was longer than a 5k. RNR is known for putting on great races, so all of those factors helped me choose this as my comeback half 😉

I began the weekend working the expo at the San Jose Convention Center. Cool place (bonus that it was across the street from where I was staying), and it was a fun expo. The music was a little loud and I lost my voice by the end of the first day, but it was back for day 2.

Day 2 of the expo I got up early and ran a little shake out run around the city. I have never been to San Jose as and adult and it was nice to check out the area I was staying. I came across the world’s largest permanent Monopoly Board  – I don’t know about you but I thought that was pretty cool.

 

After my shake out run I headed to the expo for the day. It may not seem like a lot of work, but talking to people all day about running can be tiring!! These ladies really helped me out at the expo, and on race day…
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…So, onto race day. My plan was to be pretty conservative since this was my first half in over a year. I was going to break the race up in 4 mile chunks. Miles 1-4, 9:30 pace, miles 5-8, 9:00 pace, 9-12 8:30 pace then mile 13 I was going to run as fast as I could. That plan flew out the window once I met up with my friends at the start. Long story short, their plans also changed and they decided to run a steady 8:30 thorough out the race. I thought, fuck it, I feel good, I’ll hang with them for as long as I can.

The race starts near Hotel De Anza in Downtown San Jose. There was music, a marching band, people with the race handing out water and salt (it was going to be a hot day), photographers…it was a great start. Everything was super organized, and I am happy to say there wasn’t really anyone in our corral that shouldn’t have been – something that is a huge pet peeve of mine (you know, walkers starting out up front when they should be in back). We started in the Downtown are and then headed towards some cute neighborhoods. At mile 1, when my Garmin read 8:32 I thought to myself, “Alright, I’m doing this!” 1 minute faster than I had originally planned, but I thought if I could just hang with my friends and stay positive I could do this in under 2 hours. A sub 2 was my goal because I hadn’t run a half in under 2 hours since October 2016 when I ran a 1:47 at Urban Cow, and hadn’t PR’d a half since October 2015 when I ran a 1:43 at Urban Cow. So a sub 2 was going to be a huge deal for me.

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I am not familiar with San Jose, so all I can recall is running through the city and neighborhoods, but I couldn’t tell you exactly where (if ya really want to know, check out RNR’s website). I LOVED the community support that was out on the course. RNR had their official bands and there were also people out there with their own bands just because they are fucking awesome and wanted to cheer us on. As we got close to mile 6ish we knew we were going to be seeing the leaders of the race pass by, one of them being a local Sacramento runner who placed 4th in Boston this year! As he came speeding by us we all cheered for him, along with the other elites. It was a fun experience watching them run by, it gave us a ton of energy and we realized we needed to slow it down to get back to our goal of holding an 8:30 pace.

As we were heading back to the Downtown area, I was feeling really good and thought we were probably close to mile 7. I looked at my watch and we were at 8.65! I was shocked to see we were almost 2 miles further into the race than I thought. I guess I was just feeling that good. Two of my friends were also feeling really good and they were leading the other three of us most of the way. Around mile 9 or so they sped up, but were still in eyesight. Meanwhile I was hanging with the rest of the group, still at about an 8:30 pace. At mile 10 we all picked it up a bit and I ran an 8:19, mile 11 was 8:15 and mile 12 is where I started to struggle. I ran mile 12 in an 8:21. Still good, but I wanted to keep that trend of picking up my speed towards the end. When I got to mile 13 I pushed as hard as I could. At that point it was getting pretty warm and my legs were starting to get tired. I was getting a little discouraged because I’ve run halfs much faster than this, but I reminded myself this was my first half in over year, and the longest run I’ve had in all of 2017. So I put the negative thoughts aside and pushed the last 1.1 miles, which was my fastest mile of the race! Holding steady for 9 miles then just about negative splits for the last 3 miles is pretty fucking good for my “comeback” race.

I feel like I have to give my friends credit for running such a great race. As soon as I crossed the finish I told them I couldn’t have done it without them. Being the awesome people that they are, they told me I totally could have. Who knows. Maybe I could have, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as fun.

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I had a really great experience at this race. From the expo to the post race party, all of it was a good time. You can read my full race review at BibRave.com – which gets into more of the on course details, and less about the feels I had during the race 😉 

SKINS A400 Women’s Compression Shorts – A Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of SKINS A400 Women’s Compression Shorts as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I always love a good pair of compression pants or socks, but I’ve never had a pair of shorts. On tough workouts (hill repeats, or as of late, prowler thrusters) my quads and hamstrings are always on fire and sore for 1-2 days post workout, so I was excited to try out these shorts. The SKINS A400 compression technology is “…Developed for women on the move, and using dynamic gradient compression, this range is SKINS’ most technologically advanced yet. A400s boost your natural performance by delivering more oxygen and reducing lactic acid in your muscles, so you can up your own intensity without worrying too much about the next-day muscle strain.”

 

Upon putting on the SKINS A400 Compression Shorts I noticed that they fit well (I have a size medium), were breathable, and pretty comfy overall – I really like the wide waist band. I had ZERO chafing during my runs (I may or may not have talked about this on my blog, but I’ve been chafing lately. Not cool). I wore these shorts for long & easy runs, hill repeats, speed work and while training at the gym (deadlifts & squats).  While I can’t say that I noticed a difference between other compression pants I’ve worn vs these particular compression shorts, I can say I noticed a difference in recovery from when I would wear them during my runs/activity vs when I did not.

The ADAPTIVE Technology of SKINS helps to keep you feeling warm when it is cold and cool when it is hot, which I did notice. The weather here in Sacramento is changing, so I was able to see how these shorts perform in hot and cold weather. Thumbs up there!!

If you are not familiar with compression gear for runners, SKINS has much of the common features of compression gear, including gradient compression, moisture wicking, UV protection, and reflectiveness, just to name a few. Some features of SKINS that you won’t find in all compression products include:

  • Strategically placed Memory MX panels for biomechanical function
  • Focused muscle support and stability during activity
  • Seams positioned for ultimate comfort during recovery
  • Precision fit based on 3D body scan research data
  • GLIDER Technology to reduce friction and eliminate chafing
  • Proven 50+ UV protection in all non-mesh areas
  • Flat lock stitching for durability

Testing them out in my garage gym

PROS:

  • Comfortable
  • Stay in place while running
  • I like the ADAPTIVE Technology (keeps you cool when it is warm, warm when it is cool)
  • Reflective
  • Pocket for key, or something small

CONS:

  • Cost (I find it hard to pay $99.99 for a pair of shorts. Although right now they are on sale for $79.99)
  • Thinner than other compression gear I have. Which makes me feel like the quality isn’t as good – you know, the whole perceived value thing.

Even with the “cons” overall, I would recommend these shorts. They are super comfy, I love that they are reflective, and if you’re a runner, you can never have too much compression gear!! If you want to get a pair of SKINS for yourself, use code BIBRAVE20 for 20% off your order through the end of October (full price items only).

See what my fellow BibRave Pros thought of their SKINS A400 products:

Lindsey

Jessica

Mai

Matt

Nicole

Emily

Ryan

Casey