Come Run Carlsbad!

The Carlsbad Half Marathon will be my first race of 2017! This race is a full and half marathon and is part of the Triple Crown Series. If live in SoCal you know the Triple Crown Series is a HUGE deal! I had no idea this was a thing until I ran America’s Finest City half last year and learned what this race series is all about – “The Half Marathon Triple CrownSM is a fun opportunity to recognize the dedicated half marathoners who enter these three top quality events. With the three races spaced evenly apart; winter, spring and summer, it allows participants the time to train and recover adequately from all three events.” I won’t be living in SoCal much longer, but hey, at least I get to run 2 of the 3 races in this series!

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Just about the entire half marathon and marathon course you will have ocean views, there are  water stations at every couple of miles and great places for family and friends to come and spectate.

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There aren’t any big goals I have with this race, as I have been pretty limited in my running. 2016 ended well, I finished the CIM pain free but a few weeks after that race I began to feel a pain in my hamstring. So I’ve been seeing the doctor and right now the plan is to run this race easy and just have a good time. Which won’t be hard to do with a run along the beach!

If you haven’t yet registered there is still time. Use code BIBRAVE10 to save $20 off either full or half marathon entry!! This is a HUGE discount and super generous of the race peeps at Carlsbad. The swag for this race is pretty great too:

  • Tech fabric 1/4 zip pull over
  • Complimentary Ballast Point beer in the Inaugural Beer Garden
  • Carlsbad Marathon bag
  • Medals (of course)

This year they are also doing something special – the Carlsbad Marathon Golden Ticket! This ticked will be found in select Nom Nom food bags, and redeemable for prizes like a massage from Rehab United (they are AWESEOME! If you win go to Rosie at the Carmel Mountain road location), a pair of Cobain flip flopsGRACEDBYGRIT apparel, race entries, goodie baskets and more!

Click here to register for the race –> 2017 Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Marathon & Half Marathon and don’t forget to use BIBRAVE10 to save $20 on registration!

 

This Body Can – Judi

It has been a few months since I have had a guest post for my This Body Can series. You get busy, life happens and suddenly months go by. However, I knew that I wanted to have a guest post for January 2017. We all know people are making their New Year Resolutions to lose weight, get in shape, tone up, etc. There are weight loss challenges and new year, new you posts popping up all over the place. Not many things drive me more crazy than these silly New Year Resolutions. You don’t need to work on a new you, but you can work on a better you. Focusing on scale numbers shouldn’t be part of your goal, but focusing on getting stronger is a great goal…you get the point. This month’s post is from my friend Judi. I met her in 2014 and I was drawn to her for her honesty and passion for what she believes in. Her post is a bit different from past This Body Can posts, but when she sent it over for me to read I loved it. Her story shares that you can be vulnerable and strong AF at the same time, that movement is so much more about taking care of yourself and others than a number on the scale. Thank you so much Judi for sharing your story, and for the first This Body Can guest post of 2017.

I was a binge drinker, and a good one at that. My “good times” would often start on a Thursday night and last until late Sunday. At the time, I thought this was perfectly normal.

(Everyone parties in their twenties, right?)

(Everyone parties in their thirties, right?)

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But as time marched on, it became more and more difficult to ignore the constant hangovers I found myself battling and the resulting lackluster performance at work, and life in general. Ironically, I was able to maintain a fitness regime in the face of all the unhealthiness in my life. I would climb on a treadmill Monday mornings and spend hours on it in an attempt to punish my body for my weekend shenanigans and sweat out all the alcohol. If that last sentence made you cringe, is should – hungover runs are absolutely awful – but I was caught in a cycle I refused to leave…until I did.

Everything shifted when I met the man that would become my husband. Aaron and I went out on a Friday night in May 2011. I knew he was sober and during our date I didn’t drink because I wanted to remember every single second of my night with this man. I had a great time; a great time unclouded by alcohol. The next night I had plans to go out drinking with friends. I went, but went home early. I decided that night I was done drinking. I had, had a fantastic night with a man the night before sans alcohol and I wanted more of that. That’s where the recovery started, but I wasn’t out of the woods yet. I needed to connect with who I was and the person I wanted to be without alcohol. I decided to take a chance.

Yoga was the main instrument in my liberation from alcohol. I hit a yoga mat only 2 months sober, in a haze. My first class was a heated, power vinyasa class. I wore a sweat shirt, sweat pants, and brought no water. It was humbling to say the least. Something shifted inside of me after that class. I had a taste of what it meant to connect mind, body, and spirit. I knew I wanted more.

Yoga provided me with movement to tap into my strength and the stillness to heal from my past. I began a journey towards becoming a yogi.

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After a few years of diligent practice, I became a yoga assistant because I wanted to try and pass on to others what yoga had been passing to me. I eventually heard about yoga teacher training and I knew I wanted in. But I was terrified. I wasn’t the picture of a “perfect” yogi you see in the trendy magazine articles. I couldn’t flip upside down. I couldn’t do ALL the poses. In spite of that initial insecurity I continued to take a chance and with the encouragement of my husband, I participated in a 200 hour teacher training at Solfire Yoga in Sacramento, California.

I realize this might be cliche, but the experience was life-changing. I unlocked a passion inside of me that I didn’t know existed. Upon the completion of my teaching training I neatly folded my mat up and didn’t audition to be a teacher at the studio where I had just been trained. I just didn’t believe in myself enough…yet, though I never exactly came out and said that. I would make really creative excuses to justify not taking the next chance even though I knew full well that I was totally bullshitting myself. I was just scared, but I finally took the next chance.

My first audition was a little awkward. I remember trying to use a soft, airy fairy voice to mimic what I thought a yoga teacher should sound like. It wasn’t me, but the insecurities that I used to mask with alcohol peeked out during my audition, convincing me that I had to be someone other than myself to succeed as a yoga teacher. That’s the thing with knocking out an addiction. It can surface in other places and sometimes at inopportune times, like during a yoga teacher audition. It wasn’t the worst, but it wasn’t the best. I knew it and they knew it.

With the encouragement of Solfire’s owners, the women who trained me and knew me well, I returned for a second shot six months later. During those six months leading up to my audition, I practiced, taught more with friends, and devoted myself to a meditation and journaling practice. These things became a recipe that I used to not only grow into becoming a yoga teacher, but to become more present and self-aware.

My second yoga teacher audition just felt different – not just because of all the practicing I had done. It was because I was genuinely and unapologetically me. I realized that my confidence didn’t need to come from outsiders thinking I was the best yoga teacher, but from believing I was doing the best job I could as a yoga teacher. This audition ended much differently than the first. I was offered a substitute teacher position that grew into a permanent spot on the Solfire roster.

Before every class I have a ritual. I thank the universe for letting me survive what was a rough recovery. I thank my friends and family for the amazing support they have provided me through the years. And I thank my body, my vessel that has carried me through the darkest of times, pushing forward towards the bright.

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(yoga photos provided by Jewel Photography)

Epsoak – A Review

Disclaimer: I received Epsoak Sport Epsom Salts 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!

As a runner (with multiple marathons this year alone), and someone who loves to lift heavy weights I really enjoy soaking in an epsom salt bath. Over the past few weeks I have been testing out a new (to me) brand of epsom salt – Epsoak. Epsoak is from the San Francisco Salt Company, which has been a leader in the salt industry since 2002. I was interested to learn that their epsom salt brand is the premier choice for float tank therapy across the US – which I have not yet done, but hear great things about float tanks. Epsoak uses quality epsom salts and essential oil blends that create formulas specifically for athletic muscle recovery. Epsoak SPORT is made with premium grade Magnesium Sulfate, a mineral known to minimize muscle cramps, increase recovery rates, and eliminate post-workout slumps.

All of that sounds pretty impressive. However, I will say as much as I love epsom salt baths, especially when they include oils like lavender, eucalyptus and peppermint, there really is no scientific study that has actually proven that they are as beneficial as they say when it comes to recovery. When I first started running I did a lot of “research” (which means I googled ‘benefits of epsom salt baths’) and what I found was the idea behind epsom salt is that it helps to soothe muscle pain, speed recovery, reduce inflammation and detox. I also found many people saying epsom salt baths don’t actually work they way claim, and it is likely just a placebo effect. Whatever your view is about epsom salts, I will say that I enjoy incorporating epsom salt baths into my recovery routine. Personally, I do think they help with recovery and help to make my muscles less sore.

What can’t be denied is the calming effect of a nice warm salt bath. I received the Energizing Epsoak SPORT to review (with eucalyptus & peppermint oils). In their Sport line they also have Soothing (lavender) and Pure Unscented. The peppermint oil used in Epsoak is much stronger than what I am used to, which I very much liked. While taking a bath or soaking my feet I could feel a nice cooling effect because of the peppermint. I would agree that it feels energizing, and the cooling effect feels great when you are soaking your sore muscles. Epsoak recommends using 2-4 scoops (scoop provided) for optimum recovery. 2 scoops is standard and 4 scoops for maximum sports therapy. Personally I didn’t notice a difference between the 2 vs 4 scoops. I used Epsoak after long runs, speed work, squats & deadlifts – basically whenever I worked my legs pretty hard.

Pros:

  • Pleasant scent, or unscented option if that is your thing
  • Helps with my recovery by soothing my sore muscles
  • Comes with scoop and directions (how much epsom salt to use & how long to soak)
  • Great quality
  • Can be used as an exfoliating scrub

Cons:

  • No scientific proof that epsom salt baths actually work as claimed (for athletic recovery)

I’d like to note, that while I didn’t notice a huge difference in recovery between Epsoak vs other brands I have used in the past, I did notice a big difference in the scent. The peppermint and eucalyptus was much stronger and it made my bath more relaxing and enjoyable. The stronger peppermint also made my legs feel a bit more energized during and after my soak.

If you would like to check out Epsoak SPORT use code “RAVE10” for 10% off the 5lb bags in all scents. Join us for #bibchat on Tuesday, January 3rd at 6pm PST and check out what other BibRave Pros thought!

Confessions of an Amateur Athlete

Races and Places with AZSunGoddess

Another Half Please

Trailgaters Anonymous

Kolbe Writes

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You Don’t Have to Love Running 

I love running. A lot of people do. There are also a lot of people that don’t, and yet some of those people force themselves to run. This morning I overheard a few ladies talking about how much they hate running but they “have to do it” – this was while they were running. Why do people feel like they have to run? Based on observations and conversations with friends, acquaintances & strangers I’d say the number 1 reason is to lose weight. That’s not a good reason to run, especially if you are forcing yourself. My trainer recently asked me why I love running. There are a lot of reasons, but I think it comes down to that sense of accomplishment I feel after completing a run, no matter how long. Each run is a reminder of how strong I am and that I can do hard things.

I love running, I have to do it.  I’ve loved it since December 4, 2011. If you know me or read my blog you know the story (it is in the last post I wrote). I wanted to run because I went to watch my friend run a race and the energy of the runners, the spectators and the thought of experiencing crossing a finish line myself is why I decided to run. As corny as it sounds, it was magical; that day changed my life in many ways. I can’t describe the feeling I had, I just knew that I wanted to run. If my choice to run was because of weight loss I know wouldn’t have kept it up. I know this for a fact because in 2008 I started running to lose weight. I ran for a few months, hated it but acted like I liked it and then stopped. I never imagined I would love to run the way I do now.

It is December, we all know what is around the corner. A New Year, and for a lot of people that means, “a New Year and a new you!”. Gym memberships go up, weight loss challenges start happening, and for a few months being active is the thing to do, but often for the wrong reasons. Maybe that describes you. It described me until that day in December. I didn’t know better. I wanted to exercise because I wanted to “be in shape” and by in shape I mean skinny. What I do now, and what I try to encourage others to do is to bring movement into their lives for their health and enjoyment. Because, I believe, if you truly love doing something that is what will make you happy. If you think looking a certain way will make you happy (as I did) I think you’re mistaken. So in this new year don’t fall for the bs advertising that you are going to see. You don’t need to make yourself into something new. You don’t need to do something you hate to look a certain way. Find something you love to do that will make you strong and happy.

Thank you to the ladies that I overheard during my run this morning. They reminded me to be thankful I have movement in my life that I love. I choose to have movement in my life because I know what I could be like if I didn’t. I see people around me slowly wasting away because they don’t have movement in their life that they love – but they would call it “old age”. I share these thoughts with you today because I hope we can STOP focusing so much on how we look, and rather how we feel and what we are capable of – no matter what our age. I hope that we can be thankful that we can move, and stop finding excuses not to. I really hope, in 2017 and beyond that we realize what a gift our lives are and to treat ourselves and others with respect. Treat your body with respect, be useful. 

In honor of running, movement, being thankful, being capable and doing something for others I want to invite everyone to my 3rd Annual Run For Mando. In 2014, on the 10 year anniversary of my uncle’s accident I decided to run for him. On Christmas Eve we will run 6 miles for my uncle – a mile for every year he was unable to move. This event takes place in Sacramento (check the link for details) but it can be done anywhere. If you are in Sacramento, CA and would like to participate please RSVP here.  If you’re out of town you can still participate! If you hate running you can still participate! Run where ever you live, or go skate, do yoga, go climbing…If you’re not running, maybe for 6 minutes during your chosen activity remeber to give thanks that you can be active. For 6 minutes try to think of what it would be like to be confined to a bed or a wheelchair for 6 years of your life. Forcing yourself to run even though you hate it seems kinda stupid now, doesn’t it?

 

California International Marathon 2016  

This past Sunday was my 5th time running the California International Marathon and it was exactly 5 years to the day that I decided to become a runner. Stop me if you’ve heard this story, December 4th 2011 my friend ran the CIM. It was her first marathon and my first time spectating a race. I fell in love – with running, with the community, with the idea that I could be out there crossing the finish line. 5 years later, 5 CIMs later, 8 marathons & a ton of other race distances later and I am still in love with running.

In fact, I love it so much that I volunteer my time to work expos. 27 year old me is like, “who are you?” But I really do enjoy spending my time around a bunch of other runners who are excited to go run 26.2 miles so I worked the info booth for race weekend, I got to hang out with friends and it was so great to be back home in Sacramento.

This year has been a tough one for me as far as running goes. Living away from home, family and friends, working 5 part time jobs, and dealing with stress isn’t a good recipe for big, fast race goals. So my goal for CIM was to have fun. Which is obviously easy to do during a marathon in your hometown. My boyfriend and our friend were at two spots along the course to cheer me on, at mile 23ish there was the Kaia cheer group (as always). I had to run up to my former boss ladies and give them big sweaty hugs, mile 24 is the Sloppy Moose RC cheer group. I think the Humpty Dance was playing when I ran by and that was fucking awesome. I really needed the energy at that point. In your head you think, “cool, only 2 miles” but after 24 miles 2.2 more is hard AF.

But let’s back it up to mile 22. I was thinking about Chewy. She was our family dog, we adopted her when I was a senior in high school. Once I started running my mom and dad always brought her to my races. I have so many post race pictures of me and Chewy and she is wearing my medal. Well, about 3 weeks ago Chewy passed away. She gave this world and our family all that she had. So at mile 22, when I started to think of her and wished she was there for me like every other race, it was then that I saw my dad with a picture of Chew (pictured below). I smiled and waved at him and then started crying. Chewy was the best and I know she was there with me. Just as I was thinking of her, she showed up. I thought of her the rest of the race and finished for her.

The CIM is always a great race. No matter what happens. Luckily this year the weather was pretty perfect, I finished about the time I had in mind and I had my bf there for me at the finish line.

I am really happy that we will be moving back to Sacramento soon. While we’re both thankful to have had to opportunity to call San Diego home, Southern CA just isn’t for us. I mentioned to a few people that training for this race in San Diego was weird. It didn’t feel right. I didn’t have the American River trails to run on, I missed the local races that I would use as training runs, I missed my friends. I am really looking forward to next year and getting back to focusing on my running goals, trying to hit PRs and maybe even that BQ. So get ready to see me running the streets of Sacramento again and yes, I’ll be at CIM 2017!

XX2i Brazil1 – A Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of xx2i Brazil1 sunglasses  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!

It may be November, but is sure doesn’t feel or look like it here in San Diego. Which is unfortunate for me because I love Fall weather, but also a plus because I got to test out some new sunglasses.

These past couple of weeks I’ve been wearing xx2i Brazil1 sunglasses. While these sunglasses are from their casual line, I also tested them out for running. I personally really like “casual” sunglasses for races (and every day use) and not ones specifically designed for racing. Racing/running sunglasses are ugly – in my opinion. So the xx2i Brazil1 seemed right up my alley. I received the sunglasses, a hard case and a soft fabric case – all very nice quality. Here is a breakdown of what you are getting with these sunglasses (via xx2i’s website):

XX2i Brazil1 Casual Sunglasses comes in Matte Black with Polar Grey lenses. Decorated with small silver accents and a keyhole shaped nosepiece, the Brazil1 turns heads with sleek lines and simplicity.  Using the same advanced materials as XX2i’s performance models, the Brazil1 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.

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.

The Brazil1 are really great casual glasses. Days at the beach, lake, river…anywhere you like to relax are pretty much what these sunglasses are made for.
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I even tried them out while exploring the desert/Salton Sea! (Side note: the Salton Sea is so cool, yeah it smells like fish and sulfer, but it wasn’t THAT bad. The Salton Sea has a really interesting history and is beautiful in it’s own way! Check out this episode from 99pi, this is what made me want to go there). As with running, these sunglasses don’t slip off your face when your out exlporing – sure these are “casual” sunglasses, but that doesn’t have to mean inactive.

Here are what I found to be the pros & cons of the Brazil1 sunglasses:

Pros: 

  • Comfortable
  • They look good (even if they are a little big for my small noggin)
  • Colors and design that go with pretty much any outfit
  • They don’t slip while running
  • LIFETIME WARRANTY – I mean, come on, you won’t find a better deal than that
  • You have 365 days to decide if you like them (I am the most indecisive person ever, ask my bf, so I personally LOVE that they give you a year to decide)
  • Durability
  • Good quality

Cons:

  • They are not cheap, $99.99 a pop (but you can use code “BRAZIL1” for 60% these sunglasses now through midnight Tuesday, 11/22!)
  • They are a little too big for my head, even though big sunglasses are in right now
  • Fog up when you are running, but only when you stop
  • Not everyone likes the blue lenses (but I do!)

Overall, I really like these sunglasses. They will definitely make a regular appearance in my rotation, especially while racing because I love that they don’t slip when I run. You can check out what my fellow BibRave Pros thought about their sunglasses and don’t forget to join us for BibChat, Tuesday November 22nd at 6pm PST – xx2i will be our sponsor for the chat!

The Valley Isle Runner

Heather Runs Thirteen Point One

Reason to Play

BrendasRunning

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Legend Compression – A Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Legend Compression socks  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!

Could you ever have too much compression gear? Runners, the answer is no, you cannot. So when I was offered the chance to review a compression brand that was new (their company launched in August 2015) I jumped at the chance.

Get it, me jumping…

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Just kidding. But for realsies, I was looking forward to trying these compression socks after checking out their website. They were designed by John Thomas (President and Founder of Legend Compression). He has 30+ years in the medical industry and has a mission to, “help individuals extend the life of their legs through graduated compression technology”.  When it comes down to it, they seem like a company that truly cares about the people they are providing products to. This was confirmed when I received my socks along with a brochure and letter introducing me to them and their company. As someone who is very active I appreciate that – I want my legs to keep me running until I’m old and wrinkly!

These compression socks are different from any compression socks I have ever worn. Other than not having a left and a right footed sock, the biggest difference and plus for me is they are EASY to get on. Wait, what?! Compression socks that are easy to get on? Don’t believe me – check out my instagram video of me putting on my socks: easy, I swear!

Legend’s whole thing is compression done right aka right not tight! These socks have 15-20 mmHg vs an average 20-30mmHg. Based on their experience in medical compression and understanding of  what athletes need they have created a moderate or theraputic level of compression – which according to them is more effective during exercise. I wanted to test this idea so I ran stair repeats, hill repeats, long runs and speed workouts in these socks. I have to say that I agree. My legs felt better than they usually do with out compression after these runs and better than they usually do with the tighter compression socks I would wear during activity. I felt like I got more out of my workout as well because my legs didn’t feel confined. I don’t usually run in compression socks but Legend has changed that for me.

Today I ran a fartlek then worked on some squats. As I said, I love running in Legend’s compression socks because they are not as tight as normal compression socks.

I also like to lift in these socks. Again, it all has to do with the tightness – or lack of tightness? They are the most comfortable compression socks I’ve ever worn. If you’re new to running and haven’t tried compression gear and aren’t quite sure if it is for you (it is!) here are some benefits of  Legend’s graduated compression socks:

  • Improved athletic performance & recovery
  • Relief of aching, tired, swollen feet and legs
  • Comfort for routine travelers and long distance plane flights
  • Relief of swelling and soreness from prolonged sitting or standing

 In addition to being #rightnottight these socks have an “arch clencher”. In the arch of the foot they place the arch clencher to help stabilize the sock and keep it in place on your foot. I appreciate that they designed the sock this way – nothing is worse than having a sock that doesn’t stay in place while you’re running.

If you are interested in chatting with the peeps at Legend Compression join us for Bibchat on Twitter, Tuesday November 8th at 6pm PST. You can also save 15% on your order (for a limited time) using code “bibsave15”. Also, check out what my fellow BibRave Pros thought of Legend Compression:

This Valley Isle Runner

Beard on the Run Blog

Brie “like the cheese”

Run Jen Run

Run With No Regrets

2 Generations Running