Race Recap: The San Francisco Marathon 2018

One week post-marathon and it already feels like a lifetime ago.

Many of you already know my proposal story at last year’s The San Francisco Marathon. I couldn’t quite top that this year but I still had a blast. I had the pleasure of being a part of the TSFM Ambassador family and it has become one of my favorite running experiences ever. Being a part of the ambassador team allowed me the opportunity to promote an event that I love, while doing something that I love (running, duh) and meeting a group of inspiring individuals who I love.

Events

  • Full Marathon
  • Half Marathon – First Half
  • Half Marathon – Second Half
  • 5k
  • Ultra

Expo

This expo is fun – I highly recommend going on Friday so that you can take your time, walk around and enjoy yourself. Off the Grid – an event with numerous local food trucks – took place on Friday night as well so you could try out some unique local food. Pro tip: If you think that you’ll run the race the following year, make sure to register at the expo for THE LOWEST price + an additional discount.

Starting Line

Make sure to get to the start line with some time to spare. We had to rush a little but it was easy getting through corrals and getting situated where we needed to be. Some of us ambassadors hung out in the VIP area before the race and it was definitely worth it to be indoors and have a place to sit down.

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Course

The full marathon course is awesome – runners start at the Ferry Building, run through Fisherman’s Wharf, across the Golden Gate Bridge, down through Golden Gate Park and through the city passing AT&T Park on the way to the finish line. On top of the course, I couldn’t ask for better weather to run in. Last year got a bit warm towards the end but the weather stayed in the mid to high-50s this year for most of the race. The big news this year was that the course was changed last minute. The marathon route was moved from the road to the sidewalk on the Golden Gate Bridge and the first half marathon route was moved off of the bridge entirely. While I can’t speak for the half marathoners, the course change ended up being fine for the marathon (I still PR’d!). I was initially worried about the sidewalk being too crowded but it was not an issue at all. In my opinion, the course is fun, engaging and overall really pretty. It may seem like a hilly course but all of the hills are completely manageable. In fact, I remember a lot more of the downhill sections than any of the uphills.

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Takeaways

This race went well for me – even though I came away with a four minute PR, my big win was in pacing and nutrition. I focused on my nutrition the week leading up to the race and my fueling during the race, both really paid off. For pacing, I used a pacing wristband that I picked up from the expo. I initially tried to keep up with the pace groups but I quickly backed off when I found that they were going much faster than the pace. Overall, everything went according to plan and it was definitely the first marathon that I finished with a smile on my face and some energy to spare. I can’t wait for CIM in December and then maybe The San Francisco Marathon again in 2019?!

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Race Recap: 2018 Across The Bay 12k & 5k

This is race #2 in the Run the Bay Series Challenge. I have run this race 3 times now and it never fails to disappoint.

Events

You can choose to run the 12k or 5k but I highly recommend choosing the 12k. Even if you need to walk most of it, the 12k takes you over the Golden Gate bridge along a really pretty course.

Bib Pick Up

Runners are able to either mail their bibs or pick them up from Sports Basement – you get 20% when you show your bib at Sports Basement.

Shuttles

This is only applicable for the 12k – the shuttles were extremely organized but I still recommend getting to the line early to avoid the stress of missing the start. There was a slight mishap this year where a couple of the shuttles got lost on their way to the start but my experience was great.

Course

Runners start the race by running across the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco – if you’re lucky, Karl the Fog will take the day off and you’ll have a sunny race day! Then runners run past Crissy Field and through the Marina. Despite a couple of tough hills, this was definitely a fun course with a lot of downhills and flats.

Things that I would do better

Regarding the actual run – nothing. I would maybe try to stick around and enjoy the post-race festivities in the future!

Interested in running the Run The Bay Series Challenge? Register online with code RepresentKH. Remote options are available.

Race Recap: 2018 Flying Pig Marathon

You might not think of Cincinnati when it comes to a destination race but this race needs to be on your bucket list.

Events

Wow, so there are a lot of choices but there is truly something for everyone. I only ran the marathon but see the full list of events below.

  • Full Marathon
  • Half Marathon
  • Relay – Corporate and Open
  • 10k
  • 5k
  • PigAbilities – An option for people of all ages with disabilities, their families and friends who may not wish to participate in a competitive event.
  • Kid’s Marathon – The 26th mile for school-aged children who have completed 25 miles in increments during the months leading up to race weekend.
  • Flying Fur – A dog race?! How awesome is that.
  • Piglet/Diaper Dash – A great event for the young kids!

Expo

This expo was no joke – hands down, one of the best expos that I have been to. While the number of vendors may have seemed overwhelming at times, the convention center had plenty of places to sit and rest your legs when you needed a break. Our group found a couple of couches right in the middle of the expo to hangout and people watch.

Starting Line

FLAMES. There were actually flames at the start line. But in all seriousness, the start line was great in terms of convenience and organization. It was a convenient walk if you were staying in a hotel downtown, which I would highly recommend.

Course

Runners start the race by running across a bridge into Kentucky – pretty cool, two states in one race! Then runners cross two more bridges before they are officially back in Ohio. The crowd support really picks up and stays for the remainder of the race, which was an amazing aspect of this race. There were water stops at every mile along with huge cheer stations for spectators. Some of the cheer stations had bacon and others had hoops where you could stop and shoot a miniature basketball. Aside from the endless entertainment, the actual course was really nice. Most reviews of this race mention the hills but I didn’t find them to be that hard. It definitely is not a flat race but the hills are very do-able.

Things that I would do better

This race was a tough one for me – I finished about 30 minutes slower than my A goal time, 22 minutes slower than my B goal time and 7 minutes slower than my C goal time. I felt confident going into the race but in hindsight, there are some things that I would have done differently. I would probably opt to fly in earlier and avoid taking a red-eye when traveling for a race. And I will definitely practice adjusting to a different time zone next time.

Race Review: 2018 Silicon Valley Half Marathon

ONE WEEKEND. TWO RACES. FOUR MEDALS.

This year Meb Keflezighi teamed up with Represent Running to revive the Silicon Valley Half Marathon. And it was EPIC.

The weekend events included a 5k and sunset yoga on Saturday, and a 10k and half marathon on Sunday. This is definitely a race to put on your calendar for next year, here’s why.

Expo

The expo was more of an outdoor food truck festival – which is AWESOME! There was live music, food trucks and vendors. There was not an overwhelming number of vendors but enough to walk around and check out the tents, if that is your thing. The expo was also held in downtown San Jose so it was nice to check out some of the restaurants and bars in walking distance.

Race: 5k

It was hot, like 80+ degrees in the sun hot. The 5k was at 3:00 pm on Saturday and that is probably the only thing that I would change. The course was flat (it’s San Jose, duh) and ran along the Guadalupe River paved trail. The trail was not crowded at all and I surprisingly came close to a PR. Also, free race photos! #winning

Race: Half Marathon

Similar to the 5k, the half marathon course was flat and fast. Had I not run seven miles before starting the half marathon, I probably would have smashed my PR. I enjoyed the course having grown up in the area and getting to run through downtown San Jose to Santa Clara but I have to admit, it is not the most scenic race. Yet despite it lacking the scenery, the race made up for it with live music along the course and awesome volunteers. And more free race photos!!

Swag

Aside from the free race photos, I brought home a lot of swag from this race. First, 5k runners receive a short sleeve tech shirt and finisher medal. Then half marathon finishers receive a bag, quarter zip long sleeve and medal. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! By completing both the Silicon Valley Half and the San Jose 408k Race to the Row, you receive a challenge medal. And by completing both the 5k and half marathon, you get an additional challenge medal.

It’s a year away but I’m already pretty stoked to run this race again!

Wanderlust Oahu 2018 Recap

When I first began my yoga practice, I never expected to ever attend a yoga festival. I did not even know that yoga festivals existed. After all, I’m not that much of a yogi. Interestingly enough, I decided to attend Wanderlust Oahu a couple weeks ago and I loved every minute of it.

Best Location

For starters, the location speaks for itself – HAWAII?! The festival is held at Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore – it doesn’t get any better than this. When you need a break from the festival, you can go to the beaches, the pool or even leave the resort to explore the rest of what the North Shore has to offer.

Positive Vibes Only

This was honestly one of my favorite parts. What an experience to be surrounded by so many positive and like-minded individuals.

Local Culture

A unique aspect of Wanderlust Oahu is that you have the chance to learn about Hawaiian culture through classes other than yoga.

SUP Yoga

Though it costs a little extra, I highly recommend taking a SUP yoga class because when else are you going to try SUP yoga in Hawaii? It was challenging and it was relaxing in the warm Hawaii water.

Don’t have the chance to attend Wanderlust Oahu? Take a look at the Wanderlust Events List to find an adventure closer to you!

Gear Review: Tabio Trailblazer Socks

Disclaimer: I was one of 100 influencers selected through Fit Approach/Sweat Pink to test these socks out and share my experience (always honest though!).

Make sure you keep reading for details on my giveaway to find out how you can win a pair.

Who is Tabio?

Tabio makes “the highest quality socks in Japan” and are officially sold in the US as of this fall. I should also mention that their socks are used by many elite and Olympic athletes!

So Many Choices!

When it comes to sports socks, Tabio offers five choices. When comparing high-quality sports socks, Tabio definitely has some of the best prices that I’ve seen across the board. (P.S. They also offer really trendy ‘every day’ socks!)

  1. Ultra-light Compression – $30
  2. Ultra-light Compression Knee – $35
  3. Signature Run Toe – $25
  4. Signature Run – $25
  5. Trailblazer – $30

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Review Time

Lucky me, I got to try out a pair of the Trailblazer sock. For starters, the design is SLEEK! I absolutely love the look and feel of this sock – the toes spell out “TRAIL”. There were a couple of features that I was not used to: non-slip grip, toes and thickness. The non-slip grip and toes were pretty cool and although the socks are thicker than most socks that I wear, its two-layer design is worth it when you are running trails. The inside layer is made of wool to wick moisture and outside layer is made of water-resistant polyester/nylon for durability.

Other Important Details

Material

  • Polyester 33
  • Cotton 23%
  • Lyocell 15%
  • Nylon 13%
  • Wool 13%
  • Polyurethane 3%

Extra Ankle Support

  • Yes! If you are like me, you will want the extra support on the trails. The signature elastic shaping keeps your ankle aligned.

Arch Support

  • Another win! I personally like that the sock adds additional support to your arch muscles.

Toe Guard

  • Kind of weird at first but I think I can get used to the extra guard to prevent fraying while running up and down hills.

Stabilizer Heel

  • No more blisters? Designed to prevent your socks from sliding around.

In my opinion, a person can never have too many great-quality socks and this is truly a high-quality sock that is worth a try.

Giveaway

The part we’ve all been waiting for… please visit my Instagram page @_kellinickole to enter the giveaway, details are listed there.

As always, hope you enjoyed the review/giveaway and found it to be helpful. For additional details, please visit the Tabio website!

Race Review: 2017 Berkeley Half Marathon

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What: Berkeley Half Marathon
When: November 19, 2017
Where: Berkeley, CA
Distance: Half marathon

Bib Pickup

Runners were given the option to either pick up bibs in person or pay a small fee to receive bibs in the mail. I chose to go to the expo but would definitely recommend paying for the mail option in the future. Don’t get me wrong, I love going to race expos but the stress of dealing with parking was not worth it. The expo was at the Berkeley Sports Basement where there is unfortunately little to no parking. I drove around the blocks a few times and eventually waited in the parking lot for about 10-15 minutes until someone left.

Pre-Race/Parking

Parking was easier than bib pickup was but make sure to get there early. Berkeley High School charged $20 for parking (yikes!) but hey, you get to park right next to the start line. It was a cold morning but perfect weather for a run. The porta potties were plentiful, the corrals were well-organized and the race started on time – couldn’t have asked for a better race start!

The Race

There were definitely more hills than I planned for, hence my soreness. The good thing was that with every uphill, there was a pretty significant downhill that followed. My legs hate me for going hard on the downhills but I wouldn’t have made the PR if I hadn’t. Other than the hills, the course was cool and you get to experience all of Berkeley.

Post-Race

Earned my race medal AND my challenge medal for running both the San Francisco Marathon and the Berkeley Half Marathon. BLING BLING! I have to say the medals were definitely worth it. I skipped most of the other post-race stuff to cheer on friends instead but definitely made sure to grab my post-race beer!

Pro tip: Berkeley also has a ton of great restaurants so make sure to do your research before hand.

Review: RaceHer Box

I recently had the opportunity to try out and review the October box from RaceHer Box – the subscription box company catered to women runners. Check out my review below for 10% off your first box!

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The Review

I love getting stuff in the mail, especially when it is a surprise. That is what you get with subscription boxes. For $35 plus $6 shipping every other month, you can receive a pretty pink box filled with 4-7 goodies that include run gear, snacks and pampering items.

The October box included a tank from The Gym Swag Shop, Lock Laces, Hammer Nutrition gels, a pumpkin spiced pie CLIF BAR, tea and a bath scrub. I had never tried any of the brands or items in the box so it was a great way to try out some new gear and new snacks! I’ve tried some running subscription boxes in the past but I really enjoyed and appreciated that this one was catered to women runners.

Plus with the holidays coming up, everyone will soon be thinking about holiday gifts. This subscription box is a great gift idea for any female runners in your life, or maybe even a treat for yourself! I should mention that they have a Deluxe Holiday Box coming soon so make sure you check out the website for the latest details and use code RUNHAPPY10 for 10% off any box!

Race Review: 2017 East Bay 510k

Yay, officially completed the Run The Bay Challenge (San Jose 408k, Across the Bay 12k and East Bay 10k)! Check out my review and be sure to mark your calendars for this series in 2018!

What: East Bay 510k
When: September 17, 2017
Where: Berkeley/Emeryville, CA
Distance: 10K or 5K

Bib Pickup

Bib pickup was extremely easy and quick. The pickup locations were hosted at multiple Sports Basement locations around the Bay Area so it was convenient to choose the one closest to you.

Parking/Shuttles

Parking was easier than bib pickup was! The race started at 8:05 AM so we arrived at 7:00 AM and parked in the IKEA garage as the race instructed us to do. There were many parking spaces and we had more than enough time to board the shuttles to the start line.

Pre-Race


We met up with the Represent Running crew at the start line because we had to get our pre-race picture first, duh! But also, if you check out the start line signage behind us in the picture, you’ll notice that it is being designed THAT morning. SO COOL, major props for a totally unique idea!

The Race

Well I can’t say it was the easiest 10K that I’ve ever run, but did you really race if you found it to be easy? The race sets out on a dirt path at first.. careful here since there were many ankles that were rolled. Then you find yourself running next to the bay with views of San Francisco – very cool but windy. Shortly after, you’re running along 880 and then over the freeway into Emeryville. It was my first time running in that area so it was a cool experience. I set the bar too high on my first 10K so while I don’t expect to ever PR for a 10K, I did come in 2nd for my age group so I’ll take the victory.

Post-Race


Can you say photo ops? There were a lot of places for an awesome post-race photo (#forthegram). There weren’t many vendor tents but we did get to go to IKEA for breakfast after the race.. so overall, it was a fantastic Sunday morning.

prAna Fall 2017 Review

You may recall that last October I had the opportunity to try out some prAna clothes for the first time and I loved them. So naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to try out some items from their new 2017 fall line. (Psst.. don’t forget to check out the discount code at the end!).
First and foremost, for those of you who are not familiar with prAna, here is a link to a quick background about the company. Highly recommend giving it a read!

OUR MISSION IS TO INSPIRE HEALTHY, ACTIVE, AND FREE-SPIRITED LIVING.

I love that prAna designs products that are true to their core values – creating clothes that can be worn for every adventure, every day. I had the amazing opportunity to try out the Sway Tank and the Jenna Pant – both are products that I can see myself wearing for almost every occasion!

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Price: $69.00
Review: LOVE it! It’s casual yet made to be active so I can wear it when grabbing coffee on the weekend or to my upcoming yoga class. The fit is extremely flattering as it fits on the looser end while the attached bra also fit well. One thing to note is that since it has an attached bra, you would definitely want to double check the sizing guide.
Jennapant
Price: $89.00
Review: Five stars! The last pair of pants that I tried from prAna ran a little big so I learned from my mistakes and I went down a size (and I’m glad I did!). All you need to know about this pant is that it is flattering and super comfortable with a stretch type of fabric.
I honestly loved the products from the Fall 2017 line and would recommend trying them out! You can even use discount code: FAKH15 for 15% off.