Thursday, November 26, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Runners! STOP Doing This!

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! Hubs and I ran the Cox Racing Club Thanksgiving Day 5k this morning at Trinity Park in Fort Worth (aka not the official Fort Worth Turkey Trot). I prefer this race because it is much smaller (less traffic/lines/crowds) and they give a medal for the 5k! I'm a sucker for a race medal. My goal was to finish in less than 30 minutes and according to my TomTom I did it in 29:59! Mission accomplished!

They allow dogs at this race and we were going to bring Ollie but (I apologize in advance for TMI) we couldn't get him to poop before we left! We didn't want to have him stop to take a poop break mid-race, so we left him at home. Also there's that mini-disaster that happened two years ago when I tried to race with him.

I haven't done a Throwback Thursday post in awhile. Throwback Thursday is semi-regular post where I share a blog that you may have missed the first time around. I ran this same race a year ago today and afterwards I was reflecting on something that we runners tend to do when talking about our running accomplishments.

Runners! STOP DOING THIS! Two Words to Banish From Your Running Vocabulary!

I hope you'll click over and check it out. Happy Thanksgiving! I am so grateful for you. Not just today, but every day!

Hubs and his medal

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Three Reasons to Run the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Strip at Night

What happens in Vegas definitely isn't going to stay in least when it comes to runners. You think we're going to run Las Vegas and then not come back and blab all about it? I don't think so. The first rule of running club is you always talk incessantly about running club.

I had the unique opportunity to run the Las Vegas rock 'n' roll half marathon for free because I am a member of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Rock 'n' Blog team. That just means I help them promote their races and they are kind enough to allow me to run a few races with them. I ran the Dallas rock 'n' roll half earlier this year and decided to run Las Vegas because...d'uh it's Vegas...and my lovely and brilliant sister moved there earlier this year.

I've wanted to run this race for years but the timing never seemed right. I never could find a travel and/or running companion who was able or willing to go on a racecation in November, so close to the crazy holiday season. The great thing about rock 'n' blog is that I suddenly had a whole group of running friends going to Las Vegas!

las vegas rock 'n' roll marathon expo
at the rock 'n' roll marathon expo

Check out this awesome 15 second Las Vegas video that the rock 'n' blog team made of me at the expo! When they asked me to dance...I was awkward! No big surprise there.

Three reasons to run the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon strip at night

1. The Strip.
Forget New York. Vegas is the city that never sleeps, with the strip that never closes (except for New Year's Eve and this marathon). The strip is closed down to make way for the runners in the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. It is the only time that you can run up and down the center of the street on the strip (you know, legally and sober). I have to tell you the weather was a little less than desirable this year, it drizzled most of the race, it was much colder than I expected and the wind (oh, the wind!). The last few miles felt like running directly into a wind tunnel...but I honestly barely noticed because I was so distracted by the amazing views.

rock n roll vegas marathon
Vegas, baby.

2. At Night.
Running a race at night has its own challenges. Usually when I run a race it is after a full 7-8 hours of sleep (i.e. not on my feet). By the time I was lining up in my corral at 5pm I had already done Yoga for runners at the Four Seasons with Lululemon (with my blogging friend +Enjoying the Course), watched part of the Kid Rock concert (that guy cracks me up) and walked nearly 20k steps according to my FitBit...all before I set out to run 13.1 miles. I tell you all of that to tell you it was all worth it for the opportunity to run the strip at night. It was such a unique amazing experience and it just wouldn't be the same in the morning. Every time I started to have a negative thought about how tired I felt all I had to do was look up and take in the lights and views to feel re-energized. It's hard to complain when running on the strip at night.

3. The Party.
I'll be the first to admit that my definition of party may vary greatly from the typical weekender in Vegas, but when you finish the race and are spit out of the runner's shoot into the middle of a Vegas post-race party on the strip it's hard to compare to any other experience. Although I was in bed by 10pm (in my defense I was on Dallas time) it sure felt like the whole town was celebrating my 13.1 accomplishment.

Show me the pictures! It was such a whirlwind of a weekend, that I barely remembered to take any pictures, I was too busy soaking it all in, but I got a few that I would like to share with you.

As I mentioned, Sunday morning I attended a free Yoga for runners session at the Four Seasons hosted by Lululemon with my blogger friend Clarinda from Enjoying the Course. It was a little more intense than I expected given we were running a race later, but it was fun! I had sore shoulders a few days later. Clarinda and I have been blogging friends for years and it was amazing to meet her in person. She was as kind and fun as I imagined.

Sunday morning Yoga for Runners at the Four Seasons with Lululemon.
I ate pizza for lunch at New York-New York (carbo load for the win!) and headed back to my hotel to take a nap before the Kid Rock concert. Here I am dressed and ready to run. I'd love to show you the picture that the MarathonFoto people snapped of me before the race, but I couldn't bring myself to drop the $85 they wanted for seven digital downloads, so a hotel mirror selfie will have to do.

Relaxing at the Rid Rock concert before the race. 
Kid Rock: "Y'all are... by far...the healthiest crowd we've ever played for". 

Cold and windy at the start. The sun is setting and I am ready to run!
las vegas elvis rock n roll marathon
You can't run Vegas without an Elvis selfie. Huddle in a little closer Al Bundy...I mean Elvis...It's cold!

Before you think I am officially a bad blogger and send the blogger police to revoke my national blogger membership card because I am about to post the worst photos you've ever seen, I need to explain myself first. Have you ever seen that movie 'Yes Man' with Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel with jogging photography? There is a funny scene when Zooey's character leads a group of people who take blurry pictures (on purpose) while jogging.

This looks like a case of life imitating art because maybe I was inspired by Zooey Deschanel's character in this movie (not just her bangs). I inadvertently tried my own hand at jogging photography while running the Vegas rock 'n roll half marathon. My blurry pictures cracked me up when I looked at them at the end because God forbid I actually stop to take a decent picture....gotta keep moving!

Paris Las Vegas Hotel

New York-New York Las Vegas Hotel and Casino

Hey look! It's the Welcome to Vegas sign (I think). Ha. Yes. I think I'm funny.
If that doesn't let you feel exactly what it is like to run in strip at night in Las Vegas, I don't know what will. My phone battery eventually died and any hope of a decent race picture was gone. I met my sister for a yummy carb-replenishing Vegas buffet and then headed back to my hotel to recharge (literally and figuratively) and unwind before turning in.

three reasons to run the rock n roll vegas strip at night
the medal and the reward
I finished the race in 2:20something. Slow and steady wins the race. Well, technically, it doesn't win the race, but it gets me across the finish line without any injuries!

I went home with chapped lips and a big smile. See you next year, Las Vegas! Will you join me? Registration is open!

Stay tuned for my last race of 2015. I'll be running the San Antonio Rock 'n' Roll half marathon on December 6th.

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Friday, November 13, 2015

Racecation Carry-on Checklist: What to Pack, Vegas Edition

Disclosure: I have partnered with Apera performance bags to bring you this racecation carry-on check list. All opinions are my own. If I hated it, I'd tell you. There are affiliate links in this post.

Happy Friday, friends! Tomorrow I leave for Vegas to run the Rock 'n' Roll half marathon. Vegas, Baby! I am so excited about my upcoming trip that I've started the pre-packing process. I've pulled out the running gear and accessories I will need for my Vegas racecation!

What's a racecation, you ask? Racecation according to Webster's dictionary doesn't exist, but if you have ever gone out of town for the purpose of running a race, you've been on a racecation! It's my favorite reason to travel.

I've teamed up with Apera and their amazing Fast Pack to bring you this racecation carry-on check list. The carry-on is very important for a racecation, because you must pack all your race day essentials in your carry-on in case your checked luggage gets lost. A quick way to ruin a racecation is to show up on race day with no running gear. Without a race it's just another boring vacation.

I am packing my Apera Fast Pack in power berry to use as my carry-on luggage. It is roomy, durable and oh-so fashionable! With built-in antimicrobial product protection it helps prevent the inside of your bag from smelling like a locker room, even after you add your sweaty race clothes on the way home.

What to pack?

1. Running shoes
It's a good idea to wear or pack the running shoes you want to wear during the race in your carry-on bag. One lost checked bag and it's game over. Unless you are one of those barefoot runners, you're gonna need running shoes.

2. Moisture-wicking socks
Do yourself a favor and avoid cotton running socks, instead look for socks made from moisture-wicking material to help prevent blisters. You wouldn't want to ruin a perfectly good racecation with painful blistered feet.

3. Race day outfit/sports bra
Unless you plan to run naked, you're gonna need a race day outfit. Pack it in your carry-on bag just in case. If you're like me and might change your mind ten times about what to wear come race morning, your back up gear can packed in your checked luggage.

4. Light jacket
I'll be packing a light jacket that I can wear if when it gets chilly on the plane or in the evenings.

5. Running belt 
I always pack my FlipBelt to hold my belongings when I race. It's surprisingly roomy to hold all my race day essentials. Now I only have to decide between pink or black for race day.

6. Music/headphones
My iPod is essential for music to avoid awkward conversations with strangers on the plane and for some motivational beats per minute during the race. I have a new rock 'n' roll playlist which will surely include some Jack White, all cued up for the race. Don't forget your headphones.

7. GPS watch
Speaking of running naked, running without my GPS watch might be as uncomfortable as actually running naked. How can I be expected to run a half marathon without knowing each time I've progressed another eighth of a mile?

8. Cell Phone/accessories
Yeah, I know. You don't need a reminder to pack your cell phone, that thing's an extension of your right hand. But don't forget to pack your wall charger and portable charger. If your phone battery is dead you can't take those mid-race selfies (or check for updates on Running with Ollie Blog).

9. Reading material
I like to pack some light reading for the plane since they took away my beloved SkyMall. Where else can I purchase an automatic head massager? Women's Running Magazine and Idea Fitness Journal will have to do, even if they don't offer cool unique items for sale, like indoor dog toilets.

10. Snacks
Last but not least for hungry girls like me, snacks! I'll pack a small arsenal of healthy, non-perishable snacks like pistachios and protein bars for the plane and hotel room, so I don't end up having to pay five bucks for a bag of m&m's out of the hotel mini fridge.

What to pack in your racecation carry-on

Did I miss anything? Seriously, let me know because I leave tomorrow! Thanks to Apera for the trendy and functional Fast Pack. I'll surely be packing my Apera performance duffle as my checked luggage. Vegas isn't the only thing I am excited about for the rest of 2015, check it out to see what else I have going on!

Anyone else racing this weekend? Tell me about it so I can cheer you on!

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Does your running partner have four legs

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Monday, November 9, 2015

Rock Your Run: Ten Songs to Spice Up Your Rock 'n' Roll Playlist

In just six short days I will be heading to Vegas to run the rock 'n' roll half marathon on the strip at night! My love of running, blogging and rock 'n' roll has brought me to this moment. Today I am doing what any good runner would do before a big race, I am putting together my playlist to rock my run in Vegas! 

There is nothing like music to pace my runs. My heart is a beating drum. 

Need to spice up your rock 'n' roll running playlist? Here are my recommendations of ten songs that would make a good addition to any rock playlist. These are the songs that move me a little faster across the miles. You can see my full "Vegas, Baby" playlist below. Some of this music is new, some is older, some of it is slightly left of mainstream. I hope you'll enjoy it and forgive me in advance for my tendency towards Jack White and his bands (it's an obsession a decade in the making). 

10. I Feel Love (Every Million Miles), the Dead Weather

9. That Black Bat Licorice, Jack White

8. Dead Wrong, Hanni El Khatib

7. Sour Cherry, the Kills

6. Cool Out, Jeff the Brotherhood

5. Howlin' For You, The Black Keys

4. Honeybear, Yeah Yeah Yeahs

3. Icky Thump, The White Stripes

2. Farewell my Hell, Millencolin

1. Burn it Down, Awolnation

My "Vegas, Baby" Rock 'n' Roll Playlist

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Four Reasons I am Ridiculously Excited about the Rest of the Year

Happy November. Every time I look at the calendar I get ridiculously excited about the events I have scheduled for the rest of the year. I really try to live in the moment and be grateful and happy about the mundane details of my daily existence, but it can be hard to live in the present when the near future is so dang exciting.

1. The Rock 'n' Roll Vegas half marathon! Wow, how did that happen? The Rock 'n' roll half marathon in Vegas is in nine days. And I actually have been training for this one. I've been running regularly and progressively building the miles of my long runs. (Weird for me, I know.) I ran my last three half marathons on limited training. I am mostly excited about not feeling like I might die as I cross the finish line. Bonus: my sister lives in Vegas now and I get to see her pretty face. 

2. The turkey trot on Thanksgiving day, technically the Thanksgiving Day 5k! I know that in compared to a Vegas half-marathon-sister-reunion, a turkey trot doesn't seem that it would be that big of a deal. I am excited because Russ and Ollie agreed to run it with me. (Well, Ollie was easy to convince.) Russ isn't a big race guy so it means a lot to me when he agrees to run a race with me. Two years ago when I brought Ollie to the turkey trot he literally dragged me off my feet and through the mud in pursuit of his nemesis, the Great Dane. We went home muddy and torn without crossing the finish line or collecting a medal. Redemption is in the works. Bonus: this race gives medals for the 5K. 

3. The San Antonio Rock 'n' Roll half marathon. I am a member of the rock 'n' blog team for the rock 'n' roll marathon series. The rock 'n' blog team is a perfect fit for me given my love of running, blogging and rock 'n' roll. I ran Dallas earlier this year, will run Vegas in nine days (in case I haven't mentioned that yet. ha ha.) and will round out the racing season in San Antonio on December 6th! San Antonio is particularly exciting for me because I am a VIP for race sponsor, Toyota. My husband, my best friend and her boyfriend are all coming along for the ride. We are taking a road trip from Dallas to San Antonio in a Toyota Land Cruiser. Bonus: Toyota is hosting me in San Antonio! Watch for updates with the #landcruiser #letsgoplaces on Instagram.

4. RRCA Coaching Certification Course. On December 10th and 11th I am enrolled to take the Road Runners Club of America Running Coaching certification course. If you have ever attempted to schedule one of these courses, you already know they are difficult to get in because they travel the country and only hit select cities once a year (or less it seems) and sell out very quickly. I have been checking their site for nearly two years waiting for a Dallas course and one day last month I got lucky. I randomly checked their site for upcoming courses and sure enough, there was a course scheduled in Dallas with three openings. Bonus: I never typed my credit card info so quickly. Improving my 10 key skill with every transaction.

I really can't even think about 2016 at this point as my excitement builds for the end of 2015! What do you have planned for the rest of the year?

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Does your running partner have four legs

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