Sunday, June 18, 2017

keeping things casual: xx2i bahamas1 review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of XX2i Bahamas1 to review 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've said it before, and I'll say it again – I'm a sunglass(es?) hoarder. I can't get enough. I need a pair in my car, in my husband's car, in my purse... everywhere. I have extremely sensitive eyes and wear them just about anytime I'm outside. Except for maybe at night, because I'm not cool enough for that ;) haha, but really, I wear them until that sun goes down. Cloudy? Raining? Snowing? You'll still find me wearing sunglasses, otherwise, I'm headed to headache city. And crows eyes from squinting... and no on wants that. I'll also add that my eye doctor told me to always wear sunglasses or a hat when I got outside. I don't know if she tells everyone that, or having blue eyes, or one of my weird eye problems is why, but I wouldn't dare go against doctors orders.

Worked for short runs in the summer. I personally need the performance pairs for longer,
because I sweat so dang much, but I know plenty of folks that could wear these.

This time around, I got to test another XX2i casual style – the Bahamas1. I think this might be my favorite pair, or at least, the best fitting pair (for my smaller face). I wear the Bermuda1 all the time, and you might remember that I lost the Brazil1 in Mexico (when I tried to go into the ocean, but the ocean took me down, while wearing my sunglasses, because I was all 'I'm not going to go all the way in, so I can keep them on'. Womp Womp). Lucky for me, XX2i has AMAZING customer service, and they hooked me up with a new pair.

Waiting for me when I got home from California.


Anyway, I'd say the fit for the Bahamas1 is smaller and more rectangle in the lense area. It can be hard to tell online how they fit and what the difference between them are. Bermuda1 are the largest – bigger lenses, and use up more face real estate. Brazil1 are the next biggest, but a little smaller. I find the Bermuda1 are more round and the Brazil1 have more 'sharp' edges, and then the Bahamas1 are a bit smaller and rectangular vs round. If that all makes sense. It's a little hard to explain, so here are some photos of me wearing them so you can compare. 

Bermuda1

Brazil1.

Bahamas1

Oh, I should also mention my color choice. I went with the black and white frame, since I already have a tortoise (Bermuda1) and crystal black (Brazil1), so figured I'd mix it up. The black matte is a really nice frame option, which is what I originally tested the Brazil1 in, but I personally prefer shiny things haha. The white/black are more matte than glossy/shiny, but don't begrudge me a chance to love on this 'shiny' gif below, and hopefully, that song is now in your head because it's awesome :)

Source.

I've been wearing the Bahamas1 sunglasses for all of my errands, walks, and even a few short runs (4 milers). They are AWESOME. When I go grocery shopping, I tend to leave on my sunglasses when I head inside, because even walking from my car to indoors, I need that protection. Then I just put them on the top of my head and forget about them until I leave. Anyway, a lot of sunglasses will fall off my head if I bent down or tilted my head down to read ingredients or when I'm moving around trying to get everything in my cart onto the conveyor belt. The Bahamas1 do not, and it is amazing. They stay perfectly where I place them, and are ready to go when I walk outside. They don't let in extra light that bothers me, and are 100% UVA/UVB protection for my previous eyeballs.

Out for a walk on a very sunny and hot day.

Color options for the Bahamas1 are: crystal black, matte black, or matte white/black all with polar grey lenses, or tortoise with polar brown lenses.


A little bit of information from XX2i website:
XX2i Bahamas1 Casual Sunglasses comes in White/Black with Polar Grey lenses. Using the same advanced materials as XX2i’s performance models, the Bahamas1 comes standard with polarized lenses that employ 8K optical technology, ensuring the utmost frame durability and lens clarity. 

FEATURES: Lightweight and durable frame. Polarized lenses with 8K optical technology. Glare cutting polarized lens technology - 100% UVA and UVB Protection.

WARRANTY: Lifetime Warranty! No questions asked, you break or scratch them, send them back to be replaced for a nominal shipping and handling fee! 

RETURN POLICY: 365 Days! We know it may take some time to try on and get comfortable with a pair of sunglasses bought online so that's why we give you a full year to do so! That's right, take up to 365 days to determine if you want to keep them and if not, send them back for a full refund less any shipping and handling fee.

Do you see that warranty and return policy? That's the sign of a GREAT company. Seriously, they are amazing. "All XX2i sunglasses come with a no questions asked Lifetime Warranty! No matter if your dog chewed on them (which we hear a lot!) or if you drove over them in your SUV, we'll replace them for a nominal shipping and handling fee of $19.95!" Not too shabby.

Bloody Mary and Bahamas1. Beautiful day to be outside.

I also reviewed a few of their performance line: Australia1 (mine were prescription), USA1, France2, and Hawaii1. I mostly wear the USA1 and France2, but when I can't wear my contacts, the Australia1 are awesome. There was a time I couldn't run if I didn't put in my contacts, because I HAVE to wear sunglasses, and I get too sweaty even if I'm just inside on the treadmill to wear my glasses – they just slide down my face – so it's great to have the option. The Hawaii1 were an awesome frame/lense combo, but the arms were a little too wide-set for my smaller face/head that they felt a tad too loose. I was nice enough to let my husband 'borrow' them aka he always runs with them and they fit him perfectly.


I would recommend ANY XX2i product – it's just up to you which frame/lense/color is your style. Today is YOUR lucky day, because I also have a 50% off discount code to share with you (so there isn't an excuse to not get yourself a pair; that's about $30–$50 for a pair of sunglasses depending on which you choose; an amazing deal for such quality products and amazing customer service.... seriously. Have I said that enough yet? It's just too true not to say it often). The code is: xx2irocks for 50% off your purchase. A little tidbit for you: join #BibChat on Tuesday night at 8pm CT with BibRave and sponsor XX2i and you'll have a chance to win a pair of the Bahamas1

Connect with XX2i:

What the other BibRave Pros had to say:
Tedrick | Meridith | Angie | Vanessa | Nicole

Sunday, June 11, 2017

boost your run: adidas ultraboost x review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Adidas UltraBOOST X to review 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!


Finding the perfect shoe for you and running can be a difficult task, one that might take years. I've found two pairs I rotate through that seem to be working well, but I never stop trying other shoes that I think might work for me. If they do, they are added to the rotation. If they don't, they become walking/errands kind of shoes. 


When the chance to try the new Adidas UltraBOOST X came along, I jumped at the chance to give them a try. What makes these shoes special? Why did they catch my eye?

The Adidas UltraBOOST X is a shoe designed for women only. It does not come in a men's shoe. Why is this? They were designed to fit a woman's foot and to give them the arch support they need more of. Adidas and can speak a bit more clearer about the design than I can - - "Designed to respond to the way your foot moves through each stride, the shoes feature a floating arch and an Adidas Primeknit upper that hugs and adapts to your foot throughout the gait cycle. boost™  delivers maximum energy return, and a stretchy outsole flexes to adapt to the way your foot strikes the ground."



If you follow me on your Instagram, you might have seen my story of the day I went to Dick's Sporting Goods to pick mine up from the Adidas reps. Most DSG stores don't carry this model in store yet, so if you're interested in them, I'd give your local store a call and see if they have them. If not, you can go into the store and they can order them for you, or you can order them online here. They come in six color options right now (when I received mine, there were only three), so I chose the grey ones. I really liked how they looked - spiffy. Current colors are black/blue/orange, black/grey, blue/corral, coral, grey, and pink. They all look nice.

Traveling in comfort.

Anyway, when I went to the store to try them on, my first thoughts were how lightweight they felt and how bouncy the BOOST sole felt. It's hard to tell if a shoe will work well with your running style in the store, but they felt great. I didn't feel like the arch felt super weird, though I know a lot of the other Pros felt this way when initially trying them on.


The Adidas reps I met with were super awesome and helped me get some fun videos/photos with the shoes. They explained a lot of the technology and the special features of the shoes. I wore them for some errands right after I got them and then for a walk to break them in a little bit. I then started to wear them on my 4 milers (my short runs, I often have 3 in a week). 


The first run I did in the Adidas UltraBOOST X, I noticed a bit of arch pain during my walk intervals (felt fine during the run). I wasn't sure if it was my PF flaring up because they weren't used to this new floating arch technology, or if it was just that I needed to wear the shoes some more so they would loosen up a bit. I didn't have this problem once I got to my fourth run, so I think it was just the usual aches from new shoes. I know some people can jump right into using new shoes for running longer distances, but I always need to wear mine for a few walks or short runs before I'm comfortable in them for long ones.



I brought the shoes with me to Disneyland and wore them for both the Neverland 5k and Tinker Bell 10k. They felt great and the photographers even got some fun photos of me including the shoes... and it looks like I'm running! So many photos during races, even if I am running, look awful haha. I also wore them for Soldier Field 10 Mile and Ridge Run 5k + countless training runs (actually, they could be counted, but I didn't really keep track of which runs I wore them on or how many miles they gained. While I like all of that data, after Nike updated their app and I lost all of my shoe info, I stopped keeping track. Now I just got my the treads and feel of the shoe for when they need replacement - aka are my knees starting to hurt? Check the shoes.). I would venture a guess and say they've seen about 100 miles already, and they are holding up nicely. While the treads are worn a bit, which is to be expected, they still feel great. I am interested to see about how many miles/months I can get out of them before they need replacing. My current models are around 300 or so.


I had some of my quickest runs in these shoes – not that I'm super speedy, but I had a 4 miler with a pace under 12minute miles, which is crazy for me. I'm happy if I'm in the 12s or 13s. I honestly think the responsiveness and the lightweight quality, along with the boost™, helps me to go quicker without pain or feeling like I'm putting in way more effort than normal. The soles feel so bouncy in a way, it's like each step is on a cloud or something. Getting back the energy I'm putting in with each step helps reduce the feeling of effort.


For me they were very comfortable and I never had issues with my socks falling down or feeling like the shoe didn't fit right because of them. I always wear Feetures or 2XU, if that helps. While the shoe itself felt a bit like a sock and was knit so moved easily with your foot, I personally would never wear the shoe without a sock. To me that's just asking for blisters.


Some more information on the Adidas UltraBOOST X:


TECHNOLOGY:

  • Energy-returning boost™ technology in the midsole to provide lightweight cushioning

FEATURES:

  • Runner type: neutral
  • adidas Primeknit upper wraps the foot in adaptive support and ultralight comfort
  • boost™ is our most responsive cushioning ever: The more energy you give, the more you get
  • STRETCHWEB rubber outsole flexes underfoot for an energized ride
  • Dynamic arch for adaptive fit; TORSION® SYSTEM between the heel and forefoot for a stable ride
  • Continental™ Rubber outsole for extraordinary grip in wet and dry conditions
  • Weight: 8.3 ounces (size 7)
  • Midsole drop: 10 mm (heel: 29 mm / forefoot: 19 mm)
  • Imported
  • Synthetic midfoot overlay for durability
  • Bootie construction wraps the foot and provides support
video

I am definitely a fan of these shoes and will keep them in my rotation. Current retail price is $179.99. A bit pricier than my usual shoes, but I think with the extra technology involved to make them, that's not an unreasonable price. I'm sure once they are out longer, too, and aren't so new, the price might come down a bit. Head on over to the Dick's Sporting Goods website to check them out.


Two Thumbs Up.

Connect with Adidas:
website | twitter | instagram

Connect with Dick's Sporting Goods:

website | twitter | facebook

Read what the other BibRave Pros thought:

JeannineHeather W. | Amy W. | Jenna | Lindsey Angie

Friday, June 9, 2017

north shore classic half marathon recap

Disclaimer: I received entry for North Shore Classic to review 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!

With good friend and BibRave Pro Frank.

This was my second year taking on the North Shore Classic Half Marathon. I enjoyed it the first year and wanted to run again in 2017. 

RAM Racing often has multiple days and locations for their races, and North Shore Classic was no exception. You can read more about the pre-race logistics in this post or this post. Here is my shorter BibRave review, as you probably know by now that I write lengthy posts haha.


The drive to Highland Park was easy, as it was so early in the morning – there wasn't a ton of traffic out. We arrived at the parking garage around 6:40am. Parking was free and plentiful. I parked at a garage about a block away, but there were closer lots available, I just figured they would be more crowded/full by the time we got there and went with where I parked last year to make it easy. 

In the corral ready to go.

The 5k start time was 7am and 7:30am for the half marathon. We got our gear ready and then went to meet up with my good friend and fellow BibRave Pro Frank. He was nice enough to grab our packets for us (I was able to make it, however, didn't really want to drive two hours for it and he was cool with it). 

Frank was at our meeting place and we chatted with him and our friend Nick for a bit before running back to the car to drop off our packets. When we got back, an online friend Maddie was chatting with Frank, and it was so great to meet her in person! We had been running all of the same races recently, but she's MUCH faster than me, and so finished most races/left before I finished and has to get in her corral earlier than I ever do. It was nice to have so many friends there to chat with pre-race.

I love meeting IG friends in real life! Becka, Maddie, Frank, Nick, me.

It was already pretty warm, though a bit cloudy before the start. It was the humidity really that had me sweating just standing around. Unfortunately, the sun would come out during the race and things were really going to heat up.

There were a good amount of porta-potties, but long lines. I waited until the half started and when lines were basically non-existent I hopped in quick. I was in the last corral, G, and we started at 7:43.

The course seemed a bit more narrow this year, as I don't remember so many streets at the start being open, so there were cones set up to keep you on the right. Didn't matter much, just something I noticed. It was still a wide enough course, most of the time, that congestion wasn't much of an issue. 


The course was well marked and each mile was marked with a flag and a clock. Plenty of cones and signs to make sure you were on the right path. Also, plenty of volunteers and police officers out keeping us safe in the streets at intersections. Not a ton of crowd support, but there were some lovely folks out cheering and some amazing community members that put our their sprinklers/hoses to help cool off the runners. During the span of our run, temps had gone up about 10–15 degrees, and of course the sun decided to make an appearance half way through, and then never go away.

The street had motivational signs on the trees.

The course is a bit hilly, with my Garmin saying elevation gain of about 500 feet give or take. The biggest hill comes right before mile 7, which is steep and long. There's a fantastic downhill right before it, about the same as what you go back up. So it was like, enjoy this downhill running towards Lake Michigan, because it's about to get REAL hard. haha.

This dang hill! They never look so bad in photos...

Right after the big hill though, is an aid station. To me the best one out there – lots of volunteers and they had Munchkins! It might have been hot out, but I took one anyway. I also met someone that was volunteering that recognized me! How fun - she was like 'Heather Runs - I follow you on instagram' haha - loved it. It gave me some extra energy when I was starting to get tired.

Speaking of aid stations – Nuun and water at each one. I don't remember how many there were, but I feel like a good amount and well-stocked with each liquid and peppy volunteers.

Lots of signs around the neighborhood alerting them of the event.

There were also lots of CES pacers out there helping runners keep pace. I was between the 13 and 14 for a while, but the poor 13 pacer was struggling in the heat (as most of us were) so we ended up passing her. The 14 was on pace for most of the race until maybe mile 10? I had seen her a lot while we passed each other, but then I got ahead and didn't see her again... though I know I was not keeping 14 pace at that point. 

I ran with my mom since it was going to be so hot out and she gets nervous running a course she isn't familiar with. We were both struggling by mile 8. The sun had come out, it was in the 80s, high humidity, and not being acclimated at all made it really tough. 

Around mile 9, a volunteer was telling us that the next part was mostly and out and back of 3 miles, and that if we wanted, we could skip it and go straight rather than turn to hit mile 12 and get to the finish sooner due to the heat. Anyone who chose this would still get their medal. I also found out later that they were allowing half marathoners to switch to the 5k the morning of if they wanted.

Tough times.

As tempted as I was to cut the course as was suggested, I knew I would feel bad if I didn't go the distance, so we headed on towards mile 9–12. I regretted it almost immediately. This part of the course had almost no shade at all. My mom was struggling hard, and even though I tried to get her to cut the course, she said no, but right after 9, she hit a wall hard. I told her to turn around and head to the finish, but she decided to stop under one of the few trees and wait for me to meet back up with her. 

I headed forward, saw Nick and we high fived and complained about the heat. I then saw Frank and stopped for a quick photo with him, both of us saying how hard we were struggling in the weather. He also admitted later that maybe he didn't love hot weather running as much as he used to. It was always a fun, playful point of contention with us, as he loved summer running and I preferred winter.

When you're struggling hard, and when a bit of the course is an out and back and you
run by your friend, you stop for a photo and some encouraging words (and complaining haha).

So for about a mile you go straight down a road, then you hit Fort Sheridan and go in a circle around the neighborhood before heading back out. I had tried to run during this portion, but ended up walking most of it. Around mile 10.5 volunteers were handing out towels and bottled water. I grabbed both and proceeded to dump water on the towel and buy head, arms, and legs. It helped cool me off for a minute or two, and I was grateful for a brief relief.

Some IG stories during a tough race haha.

Mom was waiting near the mile 11 marker and we headed on. I guess a lot of people checked on her to make sure she was ok, which I appreciated. She said she wanted to wait for me rather than go back on her own so that her finish time would still be close to what it would be if she had done the whole distance. She thought that was more fair. I told her it didn't really matter, there weren't age group awards or anything, and I doubt that the results were official then since they were allowing the cut. Turns out it didn't matter much since she was the only one in her age group anyway. I was proud of her for listening to her body – she's on the older side, so I'm glad she stopped and took a breather rather than pushed on. I reminded her it's better to take a breath and rest than to push on and leave in an ambulance, like a few others had done. I go by the motto 'Live to run another day'. No race, in my opinion, is worth pushing so hard you go to the hospital for it. I'll never be fast enough that I'm winning anything, so for me it's about running smart and safe. I know my limitations in the heat. I get heat sick all the time, so I know when I need to back off. Not everyone struggles as much in the heat, and that's great for them. Remember to always listen to your body – not try and do what everyone else is doing. Anyway haha...

Post-race photos. Sweat and sun in the eyes leads to a squinty photo. Sorry Frank!

Slowly, we hit mile 12 and then 13. We weren't doing intervals anymore, but once in a while would run to an end point (run to that sign, run to that street) or run down hills. There was a sprinkler around 12 and I just wanted to stand under it for a while. Before mile 13 Frank was walking back to meet us and we chatted a bit, then we were at 13 and we ran, albeit slowly, into the finish. The announcer said our names and we grabbed our medals and bottled water. They also had ice cold wet towels for us. That felt amazing.



Oh, when we finished, there were some other runners there cheering, and one girl congratulated us and asked if we were mother daughter. I said yes and she was like that is so awesome :) Runners are so nice.

We made it! Still upright after a tough race. Great job friends!

We also grabbed our bag of treats which was: a banana, Rice Kripsy treat mini, mini pretzels, a Clif bar, and Soy chocolate milk. After this station were fans and misters. I could have stood there all day, but we went to take our photo with the RAM Racing backdrop. Frank and I chatted a while more, but then had to say our goodbyes. 


Though race weather was far from ideal, I think RAM handled the situation well. They did their best to get runners to the finish if they wanted to take a short cut, there were bicycle aids out monitoring, volunteers checking on everyone, and added extra water and towels around that 10.5 mark. Plus those icy towels at the finish and the misters. I did hear a few had to go to the hospital for dehydration, but I feel like medics were quick to respond and grateful for all of the people out there that day trying to keep us safe – whether it was volunteers, police officers, EMTs, firefighters – every person out there was great. Thank you!


I do enjoy the race and the swag was fun – you don't see tank tops often, and I like the color and the feel of the material. The medal was pretty hefty and cool, too. I plan on coming back again next year. 

Snacks.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

replace the candy bar and the guilt: quest nutrition hero bars


Well, folks. Quest Nutrition has done it again. They've come out with a new Protein Bar called Quest Hero and they are a delight. Forget what you know about protein bars. These things taste like a candy bar! They fulfill my sweet tooth, but I don't have to feel guilty after eating one, because I’m actually getting nutrients my body needs to function well (especially on run days!).

So many Quest products! Love the Quest Hero.
It was hard to try to hold six bars and take photos ha! Had to put three down ;)

There are three flavors of Quest Hero available: Blueberry Cobbler (I tried this one first), Vanilla Caramel, and Chocolate Caramel Pecan. Each bar features a sweet, chocolatey coating, a gooey filling, and has 15–17 grams of protein while maintaining only 4 grams of net carbs. Hello new obsession!

Do you get this excited to eat a protein bar? Maybe it's time to switch to
one that does! Quest Hero my friends!

How can they make such a delicious bar with low net carbs? Quest Hero bars uses allulose, which is a rare sugar that’s found in nature in things like figs and raisins (I love raisins!). It tastes so much like regular sugar, but is virtually calorie free.

Outside packaging of Quest Hero Blueberry Cobbler.

Here’s a breakdown of some Quest Hero nutrition info for each bar:
Quest Hero Blueberry Cobbler: 170 calories, 17g protein, 7g fat, 4g net carbs
Quest Hero Vanilla Caramel: 180 calories, 16g protein, 9g fat, 4g net carbs
Quest Hero Chocolate Caramel Pecan: 200 calories, 15g protein, 11g fat, 4g net carbs

Delicious, chocolately coating!
Who needs a candy bar when you can have Quest Hero?

For me, the reason I dislike so many protein bars is that weird texture they have. Some of them it’s like eating chalk. Quest Hero bars are anything but! It’s honestly like treating yourself to a candy bar. I was nice enough to let my husband have one of my bars and he was blown away at how good it was. He said it tasted like a candy bar and was amazed that it was covered in chocolate.

The inside of Quest Hero Vanilla Caramel.

I can’t even pick a favorite flavor, all three are so good… but I guess if my hands were tied, I’d say Blueberry Cobbler. I bought my Quest Hero at a local Vitamin Shoppe and when I asked where the Quest Hero bars were, the worker took me right to them. I bought two of each flavor (to start off with… I see more of these in my near future haha). Each bar cost $2.50, or you could buy a box of 10 for $24.99. Obviously I had to try each flavor, so I went with the single bars (2 of each). You can also grab them at GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, Vitamin World, Wegmans and your local nutrition shop. 

So hungry after a run all I could think about was eating! I didn't even
bother to take off my hydration pack haha.

My husband and I have been so busy the past two weeks, neither of us have had time to get to the grocery store. This morning I woke up to no breakfast options (ok, there might have been oatmeal, but it’s hot out and to me that’s a winter breakfast or lunch haha). So what did I do? I ate a Quest Hero bar. It was like eating dessert for breakfast, and I felt like I was doing something wrong, but it felt oh so right. 

Quest Hero bars fulfill my sweet tooth cravings, but I don’t have to feel guilty about eating them. I don’t know about you, but sometimes after a run, all I want to do is grab a bag of chips or eat some candy. I get weird cravings, and there’s a little part of you that things, ‘I earned this’. But then you eat it, and the guilt sets in. I ask myself ‘How will you ever lose weight or get more fit if you sabotage your nutrition like that?’. Well, now I can just grab a Quest Hero and the guilt never needs to come my way.

Breakfast of champions. Green tea with honey and a Quest Hero.

Busy day at work? Toss a Quest Hero into your bag for a quick snack, pick me up, or sweet treat. My tip? Always keep one in your bag so you aren't caught off guard. I don't know about you, but I'm always looking to eat a snack during the day. Skip the vending machine. Get some protein. Sounds like a winning combination to me. I need a hero! Thanks to Quest, I found one… in the Quest Hero. Is that song in your head now? Good. I sing it every time I open a Quest Hero haha.


Want to learn more about Quest Hero Bars? Head on over to the website for nutritional info, watch a video from Olympian Gabby Douglas, and order a box (or two, or three) here.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

global running day 2017


Happy Global Running Day friends! I can't believe the day is already here (and practically gone). Where has the year gone?!

I did a few things completely out of my norm today to celebrate. 

Number one was deciding to go on a group run. The Oiselle Illinois Volee team had a few different options for meet ups on this wonderful day, but the one I thought would be best was in the suburbs (Downers Grove) and in the morning – meeting at 5:30am. A lot of other events were happening at 5pm in the city, which I couldn't make in time after work. This would be only my third group run to date. I tend to avoid them because I'm on the slower end and feel bad making people slow down for me. 

Second, by joining the group run, I had to wake up at 4:15am to get there in time. I think most of you know I'm not a morning runner. Usually, the only time I wake up early to run is for a race, and even then it's begrudgingly. My husband didn't believe that I would make it to the meet up, because he knows that I'll often set my alarm early to try run or get my day started with errands, and then just hit snooze a bunch until I turn off my alarm completely. I knew I would make it happen because I made a verbal commitment (sort of, I said I was going to try really hard to make it) and that the idea of meeting with other people would get me up. When it's just me running on my own, I know I don't HAVE to get up and can go later in the day, so I prefer to sleep in.

So, I actually got out of bed and only left 5 minutes later than I intended, but that was leaving early so I could find my way — give myself a little extra time to get lost or find parking. Turns out that was unnecessary, as I found the place no problem and parking was easy.

Before the run.
Photo courtesy of Ali

I introduced myself to Ali, Heather, Beth, and Lena and after some chatting and a photo, we were off for about a 3 mile run. The sun was starting to rise and we felt the humidity pretty quickly. I usually do run/walk intervals, but I figured I would try my best to keep up. I think they ran slower so I didn't fall too far behind, which was very nice of them (they had mentioned going for about 10:30... so they were about a minute slower thanks to me haha).

After about 1.5 miles out, we turned around and headed back. Mile one and two were about 11:24 pace, which is fantastic for me. Heather and I chatted a bit the next mile, and then around mile 2.5 I had some horrible stomach problems and had to walk. She was nice enough to walk with me, since it was her rest day anyway (and because she's clearly super nice). I tried to run a bit more, but the horrible feeling wouldn't go away. You all know it - when you need a bathroom immediately, but have to wait. We've all been there, but didn't make it any less embarrassing. And why do I talk about embarrassing things here? Well, because I like to keep it real haha. But seriously, I was thinking what a great first impression to make. Woof.

At a busy corner the other girls waited for us to cross all together, but then I had to walk again for fear of a disastrous moment. So, we finished up the group run at a walk with 3.45 miles. It was a real bummer that I had tummy issues because I was doing really well the first 2 miles and I wanted to see if I could run all 3+ without a walk break. Also the fact that it's rare for me to have these problems when running. I think it's happened me maybe two or three times over the past six years. Oh well, maybe next time. And like the girls kept reassuring me, it happens to everyone.

We finished at Peet's Coffee and went inside to grab some. I used their bathroom first, of course, then ordered a berry hibiscus lemonade. We went outside to chat and talk about possible future meet ups and parted ways. Overall we were together for about an hour. It was so nice to meet some of my teammates – I've only been on the team for about a month and a half and hadn't had the chance to meet up with anyone yet. Plus, being shy, I often convince myself not to go to these sort of things. They were all so nice, encouraging, and friendly. I'm happy to included with such a strong, empowered group of women and I look forward to more meet ups.

After the run. You can't see just how sweaty I was haha.
Photo courtesy of Heather.

What caused my stomach issues? I honestly thought my body was revolting against me for waking up so early when I didn't get a good sleep haha. In reality, now that I think about it, I believe it might have been the giant salad with fresh organic lettuce and strawberries. I don't think my body is used to such healthy, organic foods! Seriously. That's sad. I've been having issues all day, so I'm pretty sure that's what it comes down to. TMI? Maybe for most... but I think 99% of readers are runners and understand. And there's really no such thing as TMI for most of us ;)

I'm glad I went out of my comfort zone today. Running has helped me push my limits, often going out of my comfort zone, and helped me become more outgoing. Shout out to these lovely ladies for being so nice and welcoming me into the group. I love runners. They never make you feel bad for being slower or if you have any kind of issue like I did today. It's a group of supportive people and it's why I've fallen so in love with the sport.

How did you celebrate this day? Maybe you also want to register for some races or grab yourself some gear? Check out my discounts page to see if anything there strikes your fancy. Any deals you know of that are can't miss?