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.

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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.

Review: Mizuno Wave Sky

When it comes to running, I usually like to stick to the things that I know work for me. I have the same exact running shorts in multiple colors.. and sometimes even multiple pairs in the same color. I know that I like to eat a piece of toast before I go on my long run and like to eat the same flavors of gel during those runs. I guess you can say that when it comes to running, I get picky. I have struggled with various injuries over my young running career of the last 8-9 years and because of that, I get even more picky when it comes to my feet.

Long story short, I run in a neutral shoe with a custom orthotic insert and I recently had a cool opportunity to test out Mizuno’s newest neutral shoe – the Mizuno Wave Sky. It is definitely different from the shoes that I tend to run in but I kind of love it.

Design: 

Mizuno describes the shoe as below.

Maximum cushioning meets maximum comfort in the new Wave Sky, built for neutral runners. A full length U4icX midsole works in harmony with new cloudwave® technology for a plush and lively ride.

It is VERY comfortable and there is A LOT of cushioning. (I have not raced in them yet but plan to continue running in them for my easy runs).


Appearance:

The colors are cool – there are currently three options for both men and women. For women, the three colors are:

  • Peacoat/Pink Glo/Ceramic
  • Silver/Pansy/Castlerock
  • Blue/Silver/Safety Yellow

Price:

The shoes are priced at $150 – similar to the Brooks Glycerin 14 that I also wear.

Check out more from Mizuno!

Race Review: Big Sur International Marathon

As of April 30, 2017, my second marathon is in the books! It has been a long month of recovery after Big Sur but now I am happily back to reviewing, blogging and best of all – running.

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Location:
The entire area of Monterey/Carmel/Big Sur is amazing, you can’t go wrong with where you stay. We used VRBO to rent a house in Monterey near Fisherman’s Wharf and the shuttle pick up. Everything was extremely easy! If you’re visiting the area, make sure you leave time for the Monterey Bay Aquarium, downtown Carmel, the 17-mile Drive in Pebble Beach and Point Lobos. There is A LOT more to see but those would be my top recommendations.

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Expo:
Fantastic! It was a little cramped with so many people – I would recommend people to go at less crowded times so you have a chance to look around. The expo had a lot of cool stuff but was still small enough that it was not completely overwhelming. (P.S. I met Bart Yasso!)

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Swag:
Definitely some of my favorite swag!!!! At the expo, runners receive their race shirt and race program. Then the race mails a copy of the local newspaper following the race – the local paper lists all of the finishers and their times! Lastly, I can’t forget to mention the medals. The medals are each hand-crafted and are truly one of a kind.

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Race Day Logistics:
Woke up at 3:00 AM to walk to the shuttle. Although it was early, it was cool to be with all the other runners and to make new friends! The bus ride takes about an hour to the start line, where you then wait with all of the other runners for until the start time. It sounds miserable but it was definitely a sight to see. There is food, coffee and water – I recommend getting in line fast and quickly finding a seat on the ground. As more buses make their way to the start, the ground fills up as runners find a place to sit.

The Race:
Difficult – assume that it is going to be more difficult than everyone says. Beautiful – at the time, I didn’t appreciate the beauty of the race because I felt like I was dying. Looking back, it is easily the most beautiful course that I have ever run. Great support – from the famous grand piano to the Taiko drums to the fresh strawberries, everything was amazing. When I finished the race, I said that I would never do it again… but I would totally do it all again. Plus I still got a PR, so there’s that. 🙂

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Race Review: Not So Normal 3/4 Marathon

1/4 Marathon? 1/2 Marathon? 3/4 Marathon?!

Yes, you read that right. I ran a 3/4 marathon distance (19.65 miles) as a training run for my marathon – placed 6th Overall, 2nd Gender.


 

What: Not So Normal
When: April 2, 2017
Where: Carrboro, NC
Distance: 3/4 Marathon

The best part about running this race is that it is truly local. That being said, you do get the feeling of being part of a community but you don’t get all of the swag and support that you would get from a large for-profit race. The race also supports amazing local non-profits – Orange County Rape Crisis Center, First Pages and TABLE.

I have had the pleasure of volunteering and running this race for the past two years. While it is small, I definitely recommend checking it out if you’re available and in the area!

Gear Review: Clean Bottle

Have you ever looked at the bottom of your reusable water bottle and noticed something gross at the bottom? Well apparently it is mold and it happens to more people than I thought. I thought that I was the only one with this problem.. don’t get me wrong, I wash my water bottles but I could never clean the bottom of a bottle that great. As a result, I’ve gone through many reusable water bottles (a little embarrassing).

And that is how Clean Bottle was born. The bottles are made with a removable bottom for easy cleaning. While it seems like such an easy concept, it is crazy that there isn’t anything else quite like it. The company quickly captured the heart of the cycling world and then appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank!


The Reviewsquare

To be completely honest, I had never heard of Clean Bottle until they reached out to me regarding a product review. I tried the Tritan Square and let me just say, I continue to get compliments all the time. The Tritan Square comes in a unique square shape and seven awesome colors. The bottle is dishwasher-safe, BPA-free and has a lifetime guarantee! The only issue that I have with the bottle is that it doesn’t fit in my car cupholder… BUT I can put it on my passenger seat without it leaking so.. #winning.

Make sure to check out their website for more information. (I believe you can buy 3, get 1 free!).

 

Gear Review: Beats Powerbeats2 Wireless

beatsProduct: Beats Powerbeats2 Wireless
Price: $90-$150*
Review: Image result for 5 stars
Find it here: Best Buy, Target, Amazon, etc.

It was the week before Thanksgiving/Black Friday when my earphones broke while I was running! It was devastating because I run with music 80-90% of the time. Luckily, I knew that I only had to wait about a week for these fancy wireless earphones to go on sale for Black Friday! They went on sale EVERYWHERE so I was really lucky. Beats also released the Powerbeats3  so you can either find these on sale still or try out the newer version.

Everyone had been trying to convince me to go wireless recently. I was not sold on the wireless feature at first because I always stuck with my same basic pair of inexpensive earphones and I didn’t think that I needed anything fancy. Needless to say, these have changed my opinion completely! Below are some of my favorite highlights in my opinion.

  • Easy to use – I don’t like learning new technology but these were surprisingly simple and easy to learn and use!
  • Comfortable – It took a few days to get used to but the fit is good overall and it is very secure.
  • The sound is good but not overbearing – this is important so I can still be aware when I’m running on the roads.
  • Bluetooth connection – I have heard that some people run into issues with their connection cutting out but it has been pretty good for me.
  • Customer service – Beats uses Apple customer service and my experience was seamless! I thought that I had lost my charging cord (which would have been extremely unfortunate) and the representative quickly gave me all the information I needed to know through an easy online chat window.

I am not sure if I would have committed to buying these if they were not on sale, but they were worth the sale price for me!

What are some of your favorite earphones to run with?

Gear Review: Fitletic Hydration Belt

Product: HYDRA 16 oz Hydration Belt
Price: $45.95
Review: Image result for five stars
Find it here: https://fitletic.com/product/hd008-16oz-hydration-belt/

 

Let me start by saying that I was not a fan of running belts until I found this one. I tried almost all of the others that you can find in the running stores but nothing worked for me other than my Nathan hydration vest (which I love equally but use for my runs over 15 miles). I use this belt for my mid-distance runs since it holds 16 ounces.

This has become one of my favorite running accessories because it is super comfortable on my runs and easy to travel with.

A few additional call-outs:

  • Pouch is large enough to fit smart phones – I have a iPhone 6s and I have room to fit more than my phone in the pouch.
  • Silicone grippers keep the belt snug on your hips – no bouncing or riding up!
  • The belt holds two 8 oz bottles – very secure!!
  • There are two loops to hold gels and bib toggles for race day.