Tag Archives: Half Marathon

How to Treat a Running Injury

For the most part of my 12-year running career, I’ve ran mainly injury free. In this calendar year, I’ve somehow strained my Achilles twice and knee once (that one lasted like three days).

Last Monday, I was out for a run and really pushing the speed. I could feel some pain on the outside of my lower leg but just ignored it. I had felt it the day before when I ran the Women’s Health Run 10 Feed 10 10K and just on my runs throughout the week after the Nike Women’s Half Marathon. But I just kept ignoring it and running out it. About 4 miles in, the pain was bad enough that I had started to limp a little bit. I looked down at my watch and I eventually slowed down two minutes per mile slower than I had started. I got in the shower and could barely put weight on my foot.

I was pretty convinced I had given myself a stress fracture. I had been going to SoulCycle 3-4 times a week lately on top of my runs and running two races back to back. I did two workouts I wasn’t used to the week before, too. As I sat furiously googling “stress fracture” and “Achilles tendinitis” I self-diagnosed myself with tendinitis because that is what I self-diagnosed myself with this winter and somehow healed myself.

Moral of the story – I let a little pain go too far but if I had kept pushing it this past week, I think I would have prolonged the issue. As soon as the pain got really bad, (I’ll say it was an 8 on a scale of 1-10 but I have a low pain tolerance… I think) I stopped running.

How to Treat a Running Injury

  • See a doctor: I’m lazy and didn’t feel like going through all the effort of finding a sports medicine doctor in San Francisco and having them tell me to stop running forever, so I didn’t see a doctor. But I had a terrible injury in high school and saw a doctor and a year and a half of physical therapy later, I was healed.
  • Rest: I don’t do well with rest. I hate resting. I start getting sad when I can’t run and irritable and angry and I’m just not a person you want to be around. But seriously, stop running. At least for a couple days. Go swim or ride the stationary bike or literally rest, but don’t pound the pavement.
  • Ice: “20 minutes on, 20 minutes off” if you want to be specific but I basically just do “until my leg gets too cold and then when I feel like it’s been 20 minutes”.
  • Tape: In my research, I saw that taping the injured area helped. I used to have to tape my shins or ankles in high school for various whatever reasons. I remembered I had KT Tape in my closet from a race swag bag recently and watched a video on how to apply it for Achilles Tendinitis. At this point, I’ve basically become a MD.
  • Keep the muscles loose: This also goes along with swimming, spinning, etc. If you’re not working an injured muscle in some capacity it will get too stiff and not continue to heal. Stretch it out, go to yoga, walk – trust me, it helps.
  • Run: Counter-intiutitive, I know. This winter I ran slowly on my Achilles my first few runs back. Did it hurt at first? Yeah, a little. Then it stopped. Then it felt fine mostly. Just listen to your body. If it starts to feel better – not worse – a half mile or so in, keep on running. If not, stop. But leave the watch at home for this run.
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Life, lately.

If you find yourself consistently getting injured, you probably need to ask yourself a few questions: Am I wearing the right shoes? Am I taking care of my body properly, be it nutrition or stretching or strength training or taking actual rest days? I’m slowly learning that every body is different. Just because an elite runner can log 100 mile weeks and do two workouts a day doesn’t mean my body can. It doesn’t make me any better or worse, it just means I didn’t hit the genetic running lottery. I did hit the genetic humor letter so there’s that. (JK)

Now… what am I going to commit to this November so I can get back into LA Marathon training full-force? Foam rolling + stretching + yoga (I’ve actually been way better about this the past few months), strength training (I really mean it this time) and rest days (a new concept in my life).

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Chat with me:
What other tips do you have for dealing with a running injury? Have you ever been injured? What genetic lottery trait did you win?

Race Recap: Nike Women’s San Francisco Half Marathon 2015

It’s been a marathon and two half marathons since I haven’t run a PR (the marathon was by default, but still) until today (I ran a 1:55, which I guess I should include in this). I don’t know what was up with my race, but I wasn’t there mentally or physically at the Nike Women’s San Francisco Half Marathon 2015.

I wasn’t set up for success for this race. I haven’t been doing very many tempo runs or any track work. My core/strength-training has went down the drain again. Then I made the executive decision to “run by feel” and not look at my watch. Well, I already know I am a person who needs personal accountability and not looking at your pace is a really great way to not hold yourself accountable.

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I aired my frustrations with myself in the group text with my dad and uncles (which is my favorite group text, by the way, because they are all hilarious) and this really resonated with me: “You are repeatedly doing what very few could even do one time.” My dad on the phone later asked my overall place was and when I did the math and still finished in the top 6%, I had to let the shitty feelings go.

Instead of the same sob story of me not putting in the work to get results, I’d like to talk about what this race meant to me. I ran this race last year while in San Francisco looking at apartments (one year ago Sunday, this year’s race day, my dad and I sat at the Intercontinental and decided I should sign the lease for this apartment).

Running has been a huge part of my life for over 12 years. From high school cross country to crossing the line of my first marathon this year, running has defined me for over the past decade. I have days where I love running so much it’s gross and I days where I wish I had never laced up a pair of shoes in my life. Running has been a really integral part of my life in San Francisco. Every inch of this course I have covered on some run in the past year, some parts most days of the week (the final two miles).

Last weekend Chrissy and I did a 13+ loop from our apartments to Golden Gate Park then through the park back to the Marina. I told her it was weird the number of monumental conversations I can acutely real that have happened while running.

So, this race. same course as last year. From Union Square to Alamo Square, where my friend Kitt was cheering on runners after the hill on Mile 2 and who I was so excited to see, down the Panhandle to Golden Gate Park where Emily was with the rest of the San Francisco Road Runners. Golden Gate Park, seeing two of my closest friends in the city and thinking of all the conversations I’ve had in that damn park made me very introspective.

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I was just not feeling it in the Presidio, despite being strangely excited to run the hills in the morning. I run down Lincoln a lot on my runs with San Francisco Road Runners so it felt strange to think about how much I just love killing that downhill. I used to really love running to Baker Beach when I first moved here, too. When I was feeling slow I just kept telling myself “head up, wings out” (my mantra from Emily) and thinking about flying.

I knew in the last two miles I just needed to dig in and finish it strong. I couldn’t let people keep passing me in my neighborhood on my normal route. It also felt weird to me to run down Chrissy Field on the road (I usually run up it on the sidewalk then back down on the sand trail along the beach). I had this weird feeling of hating all these other people on something that is typically so peaceful to me. BUT it was super nice because I know how I feel on my daily runs and how much I had left so I knew to leave everything on the course.

Looking at my mile splits, I was more consistent than I have been – just consistently slower. My slowest mile, which was a mile uphill, was 9:38. I had absolutely zero 7:XX-miles, which is a difference from 3-4 sub-8 miles from my past few races.

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Things that were great: Race swag (the necklace this year was super cute and so was the tank), organization (people want to say this race was run terribly but I’ve run some terrible races and Nike consistently puts on a good race), the course (hard but super scenic… if you’re coming to SF to run this is the best race to run sight-wise, crowd-support (they had Lincoln Blvd and the hill from miles 9.5-11 stacked with cheering people) and finishing four blocks from my apartment.

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Things that could have been better: Communication from Nike (but coming from my background, I know communication is shit when plans aren’t finalized… so there you go), more water stations (!!), finish line things were WAY better last year and at DC… oh, and I miss the “Expotique” but as a marketer, completely get why they wanted to drive traffic into their stores.

Would I do it again? Probably, because I get race FOMO. It’s a little pricey, so hoping by next year some brand wants me to run it on behalf of them (if it’s still in SF, which I’ve heard it’s moving on south to LA).

To end the morning, #brunchedsohard with Kitt and Chrissy at NOPA which is my fave restaurant in the city.

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Chat with me:
What situations make you introspective? What does where you live mean to you? What were you up to this weekend?

Now Trending – Best Links Week of 10.12

Photo credit: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

It’s past my bedtime as I write this… not much exciting going on here this week. I’m running the Nike Women’s Half-Marathon again this weekend then plan on brunch at Nopa, which I haven’t been to in months. Since I need to get to sleep before I have FitBit anxiety over my lack of sleep tomorrow, here are the best links I found this week.

Travel
I want to go on a spa trip with my girl friends… who is in?

Instagram-worthy amenities at hotels… I’d like the Glam Bar, please.

Five Offbeat Vacations That Make You Feel Alive. We all know I’m into the craziest, seediest travel.

I put together a list of San Francisco restaurants you should eat at for Brit + Co.

Lifestyle
I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching on following my passions (aka blogging). But the life of a fashion blogger isn’t all it’s cracked up to be… and I think having to go to 2-3 events a week is taxing.

I’m super concerned I’ve been emotional eating but everyone tells me eating Greek yogurt and peanut butter after dinner if I’m still hungry isn’t emotional eating. I’m still trying to cut it out… theses ways to soothe without food are great.

Do you find yourself going to the same section of the wine list or wine store every time you’re in the mood for some fermented grapes? Me too. Try these four wines to get out of your wine rut.

Food
I haven’t tried making bread with quinoa yet but Lindsay from Cotter Crunch has me thinking I’m going to be baking tomorrow since I have some cooked quinoa left over…

I realized today I’ve made at least five recipes from I Am a Food Blog which is huge for me because I rarely make recipes (whoops). I made this Miso Dijon Green Bean Mushroom Salad for dinner Thursday night… so. good.

Listen
I love the Jess Lively Show podcast which my dear Davida recommended to me about a year ago when I was going through a rough patch. Wednesday and Thursday just weren’t good days for various reasons and she told me to listen to the newest episode with Elizabeth Gilbert because it would resonate with me – and she was right. I need to learn more compassion for myself ASAP.

Chat with me:
Do you ever listen to Jess Lively? Do you have compassion for yourself? What blogs do you find yourself making recipes from frequently?

How to Recover From a Half or Full Marathon

nike women's half marathon dc | almost getting it together

I’ve finally done it. Five plus years of racing half-marathons (okay, two and a half years racing half marathons and the previous three were spent intermittently running halves and more than halfway hating them) and I ran a race, PR-ed, and was basically not sore (just a little stiff) the next day.

SeaWheeze recovery may have been a fluke but nevertheless, after a lot of experimenting, research and practice, I think I have how to recover from a half or full marathon down to a science. Remember though, I’m not a fitness professional so these are the tips that work for me but everybody (and every body!) is different so you may have a couple of trial-and-error periods before you find what works best for you.

How to Recover From a Half or Full Marathon

Kaiser Permanente 2015 San Francisco Half-Marathon| almost getting it together

This is what great post race recovery looks like.

  • Foam Roll and Stretch Immediately After
    I know, you just finished a race (yay!) and want to celebrate/shower/eat everything but please trust me – just spend ten minutes foam rolling and stretching. You’ll thank me the next morning when you can get out of bed. It really helps while your muscles are still warm.
  • Get Protein As Soon As Possible After Finishing
    I carry a Vega blender bottle and Vega Recovery Performance Protein with me in my checked gear bag. If I can get my hands on coconut water or unsweetened almond milk, or think to stick a mini bottle in my bag, I use that – if not, water works, it just isn’t quite as tasty. You make lots of little tears in your muscles running hard and this helps repair them.If you don’t want to drink protein, eat something really protein heavy like eggs on avocado toast, chicken, or just really anything with a lot of protein but the protein shake is just the easiest and best solution I’ve personally found.

    how-to-recover-from-a-long-run-almost-getting-it-together

    My favorite protein shake ingredients.

  • Hydrate
    Just drink water and when you think you’ve drank enough, drink more. This goes without saying.
  • Eat Wholesome, Real Foods
    Okay, you ran 13.1 miles or 26.2 miles and you feel like you want and deserve to eat anything you want – but please don’t. Eat lots of veggies, lean proteins and whole grains. Maybe have dessert, a beer or an extra glass of wine that day. Definitely eat a little extra – but don’t eat processed foods, burgers, pizza, ice cream and everything ever terrible because you burned 1000-2700 calories, not 7000, and your body wants wholesome things to recover – Doritos don’t help rebuild muscle and replenish carb stores.
  • Schedule a Massage
    After my first ever half-marathon, I could barely walk the next day. Then I got a massage and somehow, I could walk a little better once I left. Now, after most races I get a massage. Some races have complimentary massages afterwards (SeaWheeze, Nike Women’s) but do yourself a favor and just schedule a real 60 minute massage.I’ve gotten Swedish, hot stone, deep tissue and sports after races and I’m pretty sure deep tissue does the best for me. If you’re in a major metro area, there are now even apps where a massage therapist will come to your house or apartment with a massage table so you don’t even have to hobble down stairs to get worked out. I’ve used both Zeel (you can save $25 on your massage with code AGIT) and Soothe and both were awesome. You can pick your therapist gender if that matters to you, the type of massage you want and then they come over, have a speaker with spa music, set up the table and work out all the lactic acid.
  • Wear Compression Socks
    It might be the placebo effect, but every time I remember to wear my compression socks after I get out of the shower, I’m less sore the next day. They are really worth the $40 or whatever investment.
  • Go to Yoga
    Yes, in addition to the massage, go to yoga. The massage works all the junk out of your muscles and yoga stretches you back out. There is nothing like half-pigeon the day of or day after a race.
seawheeze 2015 | almost getting it together

Race day yoga at SeaWheeze.

  • Have an Easy Active Recovery Day
    This is my new thing – I don’t take a full recovery day the day after a race. I’ll go to SoulCycle, go on a hike or go on a short, easy run (leave that watch at home!). Every second typically hurts but it gets your muscles loose and moving and really helps with recovery.
  • Get Some Sleep
    Go to bed early the night of your race. If you’re anything like me, you’re typically falling asleep on the couch at 8:30 p.m. Alternatively, I’ve also drank an entire bottle of wine and been up until 1 a.m. and really felt like shit the next day because race hangover + improper recovery + real hangover = the worst.

Chat with me:
What are your half or full marathon recovery tips? What do you do in the hours and days after a race? What are you training for right now?

Lululemon SeaWheeze Half Marathon 2015 Recap

seawheeze 2015 | almost getting it together

A little under a year ago, I hovered my mouse over the “Buy Now” (or whatever) button on the SeaWheeze sign-up page. At the time, I was living in Pittsburgh, no clue where my life was going to be in a year. I had been interviewing up and down the West Coast and it’s no secret I was absolutely frustrated with my life at that point. Committing to a race across the continent a year out seemed like a stretch because I didn’t know where my life would be in one month. Would any friends go with me? It didn’t seem like a trip that would be quite as much fun alone.

I closed out of the browser and went back to doing whatever it was I should have been doing at work, reaching out to bloggers or answering e-mails or paying attention in a meeting. Then in October I moved to San Francisco, met Kay and she invited me to come run SeaWheeze with her in June.

Thursday night I flew in to Vancouver, got in decently late (because I was too impatient to wait for a taxi so I decided to take the train and then service was stopped for a medical emergency and a nice Vancouver resident helped me get on a bus) and pretty much went straight to bed. Since I couldn’t technically go to the SeaWheeze Showcase store when it opened at 8 a.m. since it was runners only and you had to show your ticket with your ID, I slept in (for me, meaning 7 a.m.), went for a little shakeout run and then headed to the race expo to meet Kay and her mom to get the wristband for the race.

In case you aren’t clued in, part of the reason SeaWheeze is so special is the exclusive gear at the Showcase Store. Each year the race has a theme (this year’s was science) and you can buy your favorite Lululemon silhouettes from Pace Shorts to Speed Tights to Scuba Hoodies in exclusive prints that match back to the theme. This is Black Friday for the yuppie crowd. People begin queuing up at 8 p.m. the night before.

By the time I finally made it to the showcase store at 4:30 p.m. or so, most things were sold out. A few good pieces remained in a 2 or 4 (luckily for me) and I scored a new workout bag (instead of using an old Longchamp like a real jerk), a singlet and some socks because I go through them quicker than I do laundry. Uh, also the US Dollar is really strong right now so, okay 30% off Lululemon.

Back to the race expo – it wasn’t crazy when I got over there around 10 a.m. so we walked around, sampled really good kombucha (Rise), 49th Parallel Iced Coffee and goodies from Vega then I waited in a line to get my hair braided because the line didn’t seem too awful to wait in at the time.

seawheeze 2015 | almost getting it together

SeaWheeze Race Expo

By the time I had finished all that, it was nearly noon and I was due to a lunch with the Vega team and a few other influencers at 12:30. I quickly showered and walked to Forage, a Vancouver restaurant that focuses on food sourced locally. I was excited to meet Trevor from the Vega team whom I’ve worked with and is absolutely wonderful to me. The rest of the Vega team was amazing and I also got to meet a few other bloggers, including Angela from Cowgirl Runs! I’ve been reading her blog for years so it was great to meet her in person.

seawheeze 2015 | almost getting it together

Angela from Cowgirl Runs and me at the Vega lunch!

Friday evening Lululemon throws a free yoga class for all participants – and the community – at Jack Poole Plaza. It was really restorative and it felt great to stretch after not doing enough yoga lately/traveling/walking like 13 miles on Friday.

seawheeze 2015 | almost getting it together

Kay and me at the Friday night yoga session.

Saturday morning I woke up at 5:45 a.m., did my pre-race ritual of making peanut butter and banana toast while getting dressed, eating and reading some running blogs and walking to the start. I had a feeling I should over-estimate my pace since I had heard this was a race a lot of beginners run so people often don’t place themselves in the right corral. I found the 1:45-1:55 corral, tried to get close to the front and after the Canadian anthem, we were off pounding the streets.

The first part of the race was so congested but I was actually surprised at how people were actually respectful enough to self-seed correctly in this race. I’ve seen people walking within the first two miles of a sub-2 hour corral group. I’m going to chalk this up to this race being mainly Canadians and them being so polite and respectful.

I had decided I wanted to run for fun and try not to look at my watch too much. The 1:50 pace group was in front of me and I just didn’t want to be around a ton of people and I was feeling good and before I knew it, I hit the first mile at 7:40 (aka not looking at my watch obviously did not work out). Typically in the past this is where I tell myself I have no business running that pace and to slow down but I decided to just see how long I could keep it up.

Since SeaWheeze is in Canada, obviously, the race is marked in kilometers. It’s funny to go from 13.1 to 21.1 (or something along those lines) when thinking about how much of a race is left. I had expected this and also thought not memorizing the distances would force me to not look at my watch (fail).

For the most part, and this is coming from someone who lives in San Francisco, the SeaWheeze course is relatively flat. You run from the Vancouver Civic Centre to Kitsilano, the home of Lululemon, back across the bridge and into Stanley Park where you run along the Seawall and the Pacific Ocean. It was absolutely gorgeous. Lululemon did a great job at having entertainment along points you really needed a booster on the Seawall, including a unicorn on a paddleboard. I really wish I cared less about running good [for me] times and stopped to take a photo.

Another really cool moment of entertainment was riders from Method Cycle (what I guess I would say is Vancouver’s answer to Flywheel), riding on the bridge to Kitsilano.

So, since this is already at like 1000 words – about mile 11 I started hitting the wall, feeling awful, forced through and ran a 1:50:37 – a 5-second PR. Which, you know, I wasn’t unhappy with for not really trying too hard and every little PR is a step closer to 1:45, right?

seawheeze 2015 | almost getting it together

I really need to work on my form when I’m fatigued.

Kay and her mom were cheering me on at the finish line and after I grabbed the Runners’ Brunch (a really tasty liege waffle, grapes, cherries, a strawberry yogurt and an unremarkable quiche), they waited in the massage line with me for about 30 minutes. Saje, a natural wellness brand of essential oils in Canada, was sponsoring the massages. It was fine for a free massage after waiting for 30 minutes – basically she stretched me out – and I really was not sore the next day, so I’m going to say it helped.

The SeaWheeze events culminated in the Sunset Festival where there was a yoga practice led by Alex Mazerolle, a local instructor and studio founder. She was awesome. Really funny and a solid vinyasa practice that was really restorative after running 13 miles that morning. Next time I’m in Vancouver I’m going to have to take one of her classes. There was also food, beer and wine at the festival, a local maker’s market and St. Lucia and Yeasayer preformed. Basically a baby Wanderlust from what I understand.

seawheeze 2015 | almost getting it together

This is me looking snarky in tree pose.

If you want to really get a good feel for the SeaWheeze experience, I suggest watching their video recap. I’ll tell you that I have a reminder set on my phone for September 16th when registration opens for 2016 if you need any more convincing to register.

Stay tuned for a post on what to eat/drink/do in Vancouver once I get around to writing it… I still have a trip to Mexico that I haven’t written about. Eek.

Chat with me:
Have you ever ran SeaWheeze? What race is on your bucket list? What makes or breaks a race for you?

Now Trending – Best Links Week of 8.9

Photo credit: 1 / 2 / 3

I’m currently writing this en route to Vancouver to run SeaWheeze this weekend! I’m so excited and also feeling like I completely forgot something. I think writing this post on things to pack for a destination race helped remind me of a few things (i.e. hat). Plus, if you haven’t entered yet, I’m doing an awesome giveaway with Vega on said destination race post so check that out!

Even though my week was a little busy, luckily for you I had a solid plane ride to find the best links of the week.

Travel
Where you should travel based on your horoscope sign. I know, I’m too California-astrology-weirdo for my own good, but the Pisces one is spot on for me (beach with activities for days because I’m restless + love water).

Traveling together can really make or break a friendship. Here’s what you should look for in a travel buddy.

Lifestyle
So… you want to write a food blog. This satirical post is SPOT ON. If I ever start asking dumb questions at the start of my posts, someone punch me.

I feel like I’m really good at being super positive and upbeat at work for the most part, even though most days it’s kind of stressful. Here’s how you can be happier at work.

Looking for a cool gift sometime soon? Buy something made in your state! I’m 100% surprised WV’s “gift” wasn’t Fiesta Wear.

Uh, I want to throw a pop-up dinner party. I seriously need to plan something for my one year SF-versary/SF Nike Women’s Half.

I really don’t wear my jumpsuit enough… but here are some tips on how to pick the best jumpsuit for you!

Running and Fitness
Want to run your first half marathon? I rounded up a bunch of great half marathons for first timers for Brit + Co. Also if you want to run a Rock n’ Roll race use promo code RUNTOGETHER15 for $15 off!

In honor of Seawheeze this weekend, the Vega team pulled together tips for race day from some of their bloggers (including myself).

Kind of obsessed with this article on what professional athletes eat to perform their best. In another life, I would have been a sports nutritionist.

Susie basically summed up everything I’ve wanted to write lately about when you’re a pacer/coach/whatever, your workout isn’t about you anymore, it’s about them. 

Food
I’m pretty sure I could give up any meal except breakfast. “Not having enough time in the morning” is no excuse to skip the most important – and best – meal. Make one of these 55 (!) Make Ahead Breakfasts from The Athletic Avocado.

I kind of wish I were basic and didn’t care about being a size 0 so I could drink all of these Frappuccinos. I used to kill those in middle school/high school.

Can someone come make these Gluten Free Cinnamon Blueberry Bagels for me? K thanks.

Chat with me:

What to Pack for a Destination Race [+ a Vega Giveaway!]

what-to-pack-for-a-destination-race | almost getting it together

Races are a great excuse to visit a place (Tokyo Marathon is on my running bucket list, personally).  When my good friend Kay offered me the chance to travel to Vancouver to run Seawheeze obviously the only answer was yes, right? I have wanted to visit Vancouver for a while now, I wanted to run Seawheeze but couldn’t pull the trigger on signing up without knowing I would have a friend going with me (says the girl who loves traveling alone) and Kay is one of my favorite people so I couldn’t say no to a weekend of running, yoga and Lululemon.

Besides races in Pittsburgh and San Francisco, I’ve run a few races in other places – DC, Ragnar, and a few in Georgia/Florida/Virginia before I started blogging. I usually write out a list of everything I need for race day since I’m such a basket case about my pre- and post-race routines.

This list is meant for race-essential things. Obviously I hope you know to pack street clothes and other things like that. Also, pack all these things in your carry-on bag. If you put your running essentials in your checked bag when flying to a destination race, you’re asking for trouble.

What to Pack for a Destination Race

what-to-pack-for-a-destination-race | almost getting it together

My Race Day Destination Race Essentials

Race Day:

  • Top: I usually always wear a Nike Dry Fit Tank.
  • Bottoms: Lululemon Speed Shorts, always.
  • Shoes: I race in Mizuno Wave Riders 18. I might wear my Mizuno Wave Enigma 5 this weekend though.
  • Socks: I totally forgot my favorite socks when I ran the Pittsburgh Marathon. Make sure you pack the ones you want.
  • Sports Bra: Typically Lululemon Free to Be or Free to Be Wild (pictured). They leave funny tan lines (warning) and are made for yoga but I’m basically flat chested so… I don’t need much support.
  • Hat/Sunglasses: Self explanatory. I don’t run in sunglasses but I also forgot my hat during Pittsburgh and immediately regretted it. It keeps the sweat out of your eyes.
  • Arm Band
  • Garmin (and charger!): I use a Garmin 10 and it’s the most basic model. It’s perfect for what I need day-to-day – milage, pace, time of day and time running.
  • Hydration Belt/Race Belt (if you wear one): I don’t (anymore)
  • Throwaway Clothes (if the race is going to be cold)
  • Sunscreen: UV protection is no joke.
  • Gels: I’ve used the Vega Endurance Gel (pictured) because it’s all natural… it’s date based, not sucralose or whatever based. I use Gu as well – honestly, whatever sounds good that morning.
  • Pre-Race Food: Lately I’ve been eating gluten-free toast with a banana and peanut butter before a race. I used to eat oatmeal – it’s really whatever I’m feeling that morning, but both work for me. Oatmeal is great because you can pack it and make it in a hotel room with the coffee machine. Justin’s makes individual nut butter packets you can take and uh, if you have to have me tell you where to buy/how to pack a banana there’s bigger issues at hand.
what-to-pack-for-a-destination-race | almost getting it together

Race day essential foods!

Post-Race:
Pack these things in your checked bag

  • Post-Race Recovery Food/Hydration: I always have a shake of coconut water/almond milk/some mixture of the two and Vega Sport Performance Protein after a race/long run. I’m rarely as sore the next day and it helps curb the runger/gives me a ton of protein. I’ll also drink Vega Post-Work Out Recovery Accelerator or Nuun.
  • Compression Socks: Might be the placebo effect but wearing them makes me less sore the next day typically. Especially when flying – my toes turn into Vienna Sausages (ew).
  • Change of clothes (including under things!) and deodorant: Duh.
  • ShowerPillThese basically make you feel like you took a shower. Obsessed.
  • Flip-flops or comfy, open-toed shoes: Forgot these during the San Francisco Half-Marathon and regretted it from the time I realized it at mile 11.

My friends at Vega are helping me celebrate Seawheeze this weekend by giving away a Marathon Training Kit that is worth over $300! It includes two Performance Proteins, Pre-Workout Energizer, Post-Work Out Recovery Accelerator and Hydrator (think calorie free Gatorade or Nuun that you put into your water).

Vega Sport Bundle - Full Marathon | almost getting it together

Win this Vega Sport Bundle – Full Marathon below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you’re looking to win other things this week, head over to Running with SD Mom and Erica Finds for even more giveaways.

This post has affiliate links – thanks for supporting the brands that I love! Vega provided the giveaway but I love the brand and mission so all opinions are my own!

Chat with me:
Have you ever ran a destination race? What are things you must pack? Do you have any race-day rituals?

Race Recap: San Francisco Marathon 2nd Half-Marathon

Originally, I had planned on this being a goal race. I thought running a 1:45 half-marathon was an aggressive, but achievable, goal. I ran a 1:51 in March not really training so I thought if I focused on speed work and was a little brave, I could run sub 8-minute miles.

The San Francisco Marathon is broken into two half-marathons for those who don’t want to take on the whole 26.2 miles. You can run the first half which takes you from the Ferry Building down the Embarcadero, down Fisherman’s Wharf, through the Marina, into the Presidio and across the Golden Gate Bridge, through the Presidio and into the Inner Richmond then into Golden Gate Park where the first half of the marathon ends.

After running the Pittsburgh Marathon, I considered signing up for the full San Fransisco Marathon but realized I wanted to take a break from full marathon training and didn’t really want to run all the hills in the SF Marathon. I heard the 2nd half-marathon was faster, flatter and less crowded. Also it begins at 8:15 a.m. as opposed to 6:00 a.m. and I’m all about two extra hours to sleep.

Friday when I went to pick up my bib I texted Chrissy telling her I had full-marathon FOMO. She told me she had half-marathon FOMO and knowing Kay wasn’t planning on running anymore, I coordinated getting Chrissy to pick up her bib so she could run with me. It also gave us an excuse to eat lots of carbs like acai bowls and sourdough polenta bread and Delarosa pizza together the day before.

San Francisco Marathon 2015 | Almost Getting it Together

This is a margarita pizza with Burrata and it was totally worth it.

Sunday morning Chrissy came over to my place and we took an Uber to the start at Golden Gate Park. We got there really early which was nice. I’m usually at the start line like 5 minutes before the start so it was good to be able to relax, hang out a little bit and not feel rushed and stressed. I got into my corral for Wave 2 (which is actually everyone who is a sub 9-minute mile pace who isn’t a seeded athlete) and saw the 1:45 pace group. I stood with them for a couple moments, looking at the others in the group.

San Francisco Marathon 2015 | Almost Getting it Together

Chrissy and I pre-race.

This is where I get a little real. I’m going to preface the rest of this post with saying I’m really hard on myself. Really hard. Like the fact I ran a PR then cried because it wasn’t good enough for me. I had dinner with my ex a couple weeks ago when he was in town (albeit after he showed up unannounced) and he looked across the table at me and told me to stop being so hard on myself.

I thought about the number I saw on the scale that morning. I thought about how frustrated I’ve been with myself lately – not training hard enough, drinking and eating out more than I would like to, and the fact I’ve gained a couple “San Francisco pounds”. Yeah, all my clothes still fit and I’m still a size zero but I just felt terrible about my ability to run sub 8-minute miles in that moment. So I decided a 1:50 was still a PR and if I felt good after the first eight miles, I would leave that pace group.

The best thing about the 2nd half-marathon is that it is much smaller than the beginning of the full marathon and first half-marathon – around 5,000 runners as opposed to 30,000+. The beginning wasn’t as crowded as the last several races I have ran. You start out and soon after, the full-marathoners are running along side of you.

The course splits right away – the full marathoners stay to the left and the half-marathons stay to the right. I was looking at the signs and trying to get over to the right because I understood why the course was splitting – the full marathoners had already ran 13 miles, were in the zone and the half-marathoners were fresh. Being a respectful runner (post on that coming soon), I tried to get over to the right… and in the process, hit a traffic cone separating the two sides.

Before I knew it, I was on the ground. Both knees, head, left elbow and my right hand all made contact with the pavement. “I guess I’m done” was the first thought that went through my head. The second thought was that I ate pizza for dinner the night before, toast for breakfast that day and I had to run all of that off. I picked myself up, felt my elbow and decided I was just going to keep running. My knee hurt and was a little stiff and I decided I just wasn’t going to look down at it because I didn’t want to know how badly I had scraped it.

I stayed with the 1:50 pace group the first three miles and realized their pace was kind of all over the place, not a steady 8:24. This is where I say my friend Lesley is the best pacer ever. I also asked Emily if I was right in my thinking and that pacers should be running even splits (she agreed). I decided I needed to run my race, not anyone else’s and left them.

I saw one of the pace group leaders from San Francisco Road Runners in Golden Gate Park cheering on the runners. He either told me I looked strong or told me I looked covered in blood (TBD on that one) and in that moment, I really felt like I was home. I struggled all winter and spring to feel like San Francisco was home and I can’t even explain how happy I was to be running in the city in that moment. I rode that high the next few miles.

Around mile 9 or 10 I started to feel vaguely annoyed for a couple of miles. I was disappointed in the San Francisco community for not coming out and cheering on the runners. In Pittsburgh, a city full of obesity and whatever, there are people cheering basically every inch of that course. Yes, there are a few dead zones but for the most part, people are out and cheering and excited. There wasn’t much difference in running during the SF Marathon and running on a Saturday morning.

I was also super annoyed at the water stop volunteers. I know they are volunteers and I am so thankful they gave up their Sunday morning to be there, but they were not concerned with giving people water. They kind of just stood there or were talking and took forever to grab waters off the table. I decided in this moment that I really need to not run a race in SF and volunteer at a race to give back to the community.

A couple notes about this course – it isn’t flat. It’s flat for San Francisco but there’s a hill going into the Haight and then 16th Street has another much more brutal hill that takes you to Potrero Hill. From there, you have another hill that takes you into the Dogwatch and Mission Bay. We ran past my office and lots of people tailgating for the Oakland A’s/Giants game. Nothing like smelling hot dogs during mile 11-12 of a race.

Once we got to my office in Mission Bay, I knew there was about a mile and half left until the Ferry Building. I ran this part of the course a lot during marathon training. I kept telling myself the faster I ran the faster I could get medical attention for my knee. Other thoughts during this time were “my feet hurt and I forgot to put flip-flops in my gear check bag”.

I had been trying not to look at my watch and just run by how I was feeling but looked down and I had a little less than a mile left and my time was 1:43. I had thought I was going to hit sub 1:50 until about that moment. I crossed the finish line at 1:50:42 and the only thing I could think was, “where the f*** is the medical tent?”. I realized as everyone looked at me that I probably looked pretty gnarly and looked down at my leg that was essentially, covered in blood.

I think I have really bad-ass tendencies when it comes to injuries. I used to be a total baby and would cry and have someone patch me up but as I started doing more sports in which I get injured and beat up (surfing, particularly), I started caring way less. The only time I was really upset by falling in recent history was in Nicaragua because it happened 30 seconds into my run, I ripped my headphones and knew salt water was not going to feel good in my wounds and then last spring when I tripped and got a black eye. But I was totally self-concious of my bloody leg. I grabbed a heat blanket to try and cover it up so people wouldn’t look at me or ask what happened. I was just thinking “you finished a race not like some battle this isn’t normal”.

San Francisco Marathon 2015 | Almost Getting it Together

Ferry Building finish line from the Lululemon after party.

Here is another qualm with the organization of the race – the finish chute was long but directly after, people were just congregating. There needs to be a family reunion area like there is in Pittsburgh so runners can actually get out of the chute. Medical tent was still nowhere in sight, I was pissed off by my time and I had a ton of things in my hands (races, please be like Nike and give out bags!) and just wanted someone to clean out my wounds and to call my dad and cry over how disappointed I was in myself.

Finally I found the medical tent after grabbing my bag from gear check. Some nice doctors from UCSF assured me I might not scar and I wasn’t the first person who had fallen running. Some lady who was sitting with her husband asked if I had falling running and I said yes, in the first tenth of a mile and she told me I was strong and brave. YOU’RE RIGHT, I AM. I told her thank you and continued to feel like a bad ass.

Afterwards, I decided to head over to the Lululemon After Party to meet Chrissy. This is where I say I am so lucky to be a part of this community in SF and to be friends with the wonderful Kristine who is killing it in her new role on the Community Team at Lulu. They were doing screen printing at the expo, had a mindful mediation set-up and then an awesome VIP after party right on the Embarcadero, steps from the finish line. I was able to use a real bathroom to clean up and change into my new Lululemon SF Marathon screen printed shirt. They also had a super great swag bag, lots of drinks (including tons of coconut water), food, massages, stretching stations and more. I stretched out for a few and ate some smoked salmon and drank a Vega recovery shake since I knew we were getting brunch with Kay afterwards.

San Francisco Marathon 2015 | Almost Getting it Together

My first ever flash tat at the Lululemon after-party which then turned into a discussion about favorite SoulCycle instructors and eating Blue Barn/Rustic Bakery after.

As the Lululemon party started wrapping up around noon, Chrissy and I decided to walk the 1.5 miles to Huxley, a super small, super talked about restaurant in the Trendyloin. They are known for the avocado toast with uni so I figured no time like after running 13+ miles to make reservations to indulge. The three of us split the housemade yogurt with fruit and granola (amaze), baked eggs and avocado toast with uni (obvi).

San Francisco Marathon 2015 | Almost Getting it Together

Will run for avocado toast.

All in all – this is the first race (other than the Montour Run Half-Marathon) that I’m not sure I would recommend to people. I don’t think it was very organized for a big city marathon. I think I might volunteer next year rather than running either the full or the half.

Overall: 1:50:42 (8:27/min pace – but my watch told me 8:17 and 13.3 miles so….), top 16% overall, top 8% of women (you really realize you’re racing with a lot of guys at this pace), top 10% of my age group. Things I should be proud of, I know, but still, so disappointed because I know if I just get a little bit of guts and a little bit more work ethic, I have faster miles in me. There’s always Seawheeze next month…

San Francisco Marathon 2015 | Almost Getting it Together

Chat with me:
What’s the most badass thing you’ve done recently? Are you too hard on yourself? What races would you recommend/not recommend?

How to Run Farther: Tackling a New Distance

How to Run Farther - Tackling a New Distance | Almost Getting it Together

A couple weekends ago I had the brilliant idea to go look at my high school cross-country times which were embarrassing to say the least. I told Emily about it the other day and she reminded me that we really peek as runners in our early 30s. I’m glad I didn’t peek at 16 but if I could go back 10 years, I would be placing in the top 10 of races instead of last (true story). Sigh.

I bring this up because I never fathomed running more than a few miles. 3.1 miles sounded ridiculous to me 12 years ago… and now I typically don’t leave my house for less than six. How did I learn to run further?

How to Run Farther: Tackling a New Distance

How to Run Farther - Tackling a New Distance | Almost Getting it Together

A very scary sign to see the day before your first marathon.

  • Start with Small Steps
    Not literally, but figuratively. Never increase your milage more than 10% in a week, so if you’re currently running 10 miles a week, add a mile your first week and so on.
  • Cross-Train
    I know there is a serious correlation in my improvement as a runner and the integration of cross-training in my workouts. I used to run 5-6 days a week and never really do much of anything else. Now I run 4 days a week, go to yoga 1-2 times a week, go to SoulCycle once a week and usually hike once a week. Yoga keeps my muscles happy and limber and SoulCycle and hiking moves my body in ways running doesn’t.
  • Be Ready to Go Outside Your Comfort Zone
    Running any distance doesn’t necessarily always feel good. Some numbers are very scary when proceeded with “miles” – 3.1, 6.2, 13.1, or 26.2 to name a few. It’s going to hurt but it’s going to be worth it. Running is 80% mental and anyone who tells you differently is lying.

How to Run Farther - Tackling a New Distance | Almost Getting it Together

  • Strength Train
    If you expect your body to be able to perform longer and harder than it is used to, you need to incorporate strength training. Runners really need to focus on core and back strength because that’s what holds you up when you’re on your feet for hours at a time – and your form is the first thing to go when you’re fatigued.
  • Get the Right Nutrition
    I’m going to let you in on a little secret – running further distances makes you really ravenous, all the time. Basically the only time I’m not hungry is when I’m sad. (I’m always one break-up or stomach flu from my goal weight.)
  • Do Your Research
    There are lots of training plans, nutrition plans, blogs, books, etc. focused on running further distances. I don’t think there is any right one, but set aside some time to do some research and be open to testing out something new.
  • Listen to Your Body
    I know that running any more than four days a week burns me out. If you’re feeling sore, tired and starting to hate running – back off for a few days and take these steps to get out of a running rut.
  • Focus on Recovery
    Recovery is so, so, so important. There’s no point in increasing your distance and pushing yourself if you undo all your hard work by getting injured because you aren’t recovering properly. Foam roll, go to yoga, eat anti-inflammatory foods and follow my other Long Run Recovery Tips.
How to Run Farther - Tackling a New Distance | Almost Getting it Together

Invest in a foam roller if you’re going to start increasing your distance. I love the Rumble Roller.

Resources

Chat with me:
Do you have a new distance you want to run? What tips do you have for runners wanting to increase their distance?

Yoga for Runners – Christine Bullock’s Fave Five Poses for Runners

christine-bullock-womens-health-next-fitness-star

I’m so excited to have another “Cool People Doing Cool Things” feature with a an amazing woman who is originally from Pittsburgh as well, Christine Bullock! Christine is currently living and working in Redondo Beach, California and is competing to be Women’s Health’s Next Fitness Star.

Practicing what she preaches, Christine Bullock has turned her expertise and passion for fitness, nutrition, and beauty into a dynamic lifestyle business. As an accomplished ballerina who started dancing at age three, Bullock has a lifetime’s worth of knowledge and insight into the importance of a consistent athletic routine and ongoing healthy eating habits. Passionate about helping others attain health and happiness, she has spent over 17 years working with health and beauty industry leaders all over the globe and has counseled and trained thousands of people to improve their health and well-being both inside and out. Bullock has certifications in Pilates, Barre, Yoga and Pre & Post-Natal, and is also certified as a Nutrition and Wellness Counselor.

Focusing on functional anatomy and movement science using dynamic movement to rebuild a balanced high performance physique, Christine integrates the most progressive exercise techniques used by world-class athletes into one powerful program designed to help increase strength, torch calories, boost metabolism, increase energy, all while balancing mind and body. Her workouts include functional training, high intensity drills, stability, plyometrics, flexibility, Pilates, yoga and core. Christine also teaches the importance of food quality, quantity, and preparation. She says, “20 minutes a day, no props needed, so no excuses!” The key is no boredom and no burnout. Her workouts are fast, functional and effective.

I asked Christine to create a series of yoga poses that are great recovery stretches for runners – I thought she would be the perfect person since she combines cardio and yoga into many of her workouts! Read on for a note from Christine and

Thank you Cassie for featuring me on Almost Getting it Together and giving me an opportunity to reach out to my hometown crowd while I take on Women’s Health’s Next Fitness Star competition. I am so excited to be one of the five finalists in this national competition! Not only do I get to grace the July/August flip cover of Women’s Health with the other ladies, but most importantly I get to share workouts, my fitness philosophy and more with you all! Please visit http://thenextfitnessstar.com/christine-bullock to join me on this journey, get fit, learn and vote!

I had to go with Steelers colors for my Pittsburgh fam — if you love the look, head to Carbon38.com — use code Christinebul50 for $50 Off First Purchase of $200.

Running is an awesome practice — with nothing more than your body and a pair of sneakers you can build mental and physical endurance, a sleek physique and a strong, healthy heart. I created this short yoga series to help ward off overuse injuries that can often plague runners. These moves will also provide increased flexibility for better form while running and feel-good stretches for relief post-workout.

Cow Face Pose

Christine Bullock Women's Health Next Fitness Star - Yoga for Runners - Cow Face Pose

This is a deep stretch that releases built up tension in the outer hips. Runners will also love the gentle ankle stretch that comes with this pose.

Start in a seated position and begin to cross your legs deeply so that your bent right knee is stacked on top of the bent left knee. Both knees should be in line with your chin. Make sure your heels are equidistant from each hip. Scoot your heels forward to deepen the stretch while keeping both sit bones connected to the ground.  Sit up tall, engage your core and breathe into the stretch. Switch the crossing of your legs and repeat.

Wide Legged Forward Fold

Christine Bullock Women's Health Next Fitness Star - Yoga for Runners - Wide Legged Forward Fold

This is a vital stretch for runners to release tension in the hamstrings. The mild inversion is also a great pre-run energy booster.

Begin in a wide legged stance with feet twice as wide as hip width distance apart and parallel. Engage your abs and extend your arms out to a T.With a flat back, hinge at the hips and fold forward. Allow your head to hang heavy to decompress your spine. Grab onto your calves and gently deepen the fold. Shift your weight forward into the balls of your feet to increase the stretch in your hamstrings.

Downward Dog Calf Stretch

Christine Bullock Women's Health Next Fitness Star - Yoga for Runners - Downward Dog Calf Stretch

This pose is a wonderful mild calf warm up for runners. It gently loosens tension in the calves and wakes up the whole body.

Begin in plank position; arms shoulder distance, feet hip distance and core braced. Keeping the spine and legs long, pike your hips to the sky. This is your downward facing dog. Evenly distribute your weight in your hands and feet and scan your body to ensure that you are engaging throughout. Now cha-cha your knees — bend one knee and push into the ball of that foot while extending the other leg straight and pushing through the heel.

Runner’s Lunge

Christine Bullock Women's Health Next Fitness Star - Yoga for Runners - Runner’s Lunge

The name says it all — this yoga pose allows runners to open up, stretch and relax the quads and hip flexors. Allow your body weight and breath to deepen you into the pose slowly for great results.

Begin in a low lunge with your left leg forward and right leg back. Start with your left knee stacked directly over your left ankle and your right leg extended straight back. Push through the right heel, while pulling the right hip forward and the left hip back. From this position walk your left foot six inches left and six inches forward. Bring your left arm to the inside of your left thigh. Breathe. Alternate sides.

Half Bow Press

Christine Bullock Women's Health Next Fitness Star - Yoga for Runners - Half Bow Press

This deep stretching pose opens up the front line of the body. It is a wonderful stretch for the hipflexors. The pose also gives runners a much needed opportunity to counteract the closed-in chest position that is common while running.

Begin face down on the floor with arms extended to a T, legs hip distance apart and tops of feet resting on the ground. On an inhalation, use your back muscles to lift your chest and prop yourself onto your forearms. Keep the neck relaxed and draw your shoulder blades and elbows back. Then bend your right knee and draw your right arm back to capture your left foot in your hand. Breathe into the pose and use your palm to push your foot close to your glute. Alternate sides.

Head over to the Women’s Health Next Fitness Star page to vote for Christine every day now until August 3rd! 

Chat with me:
Have you voted for Women’s Health’s Next Fitness Star yet? What are your favorite fitness poses? Do you have any questions for Christine?