Holiday Gift Guide for Runners

Just in time for Cyber Monday, I’m sharing a few ideas for the runners in your life .. or for your own wish list ūüôā

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Sharing some gift ideas for runners #runchat #bibchat Click To Tweet
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Source: SPIbelt.com

Let’s start with one of my must haves – SPIbelt. The SPIbelt is the first piece of running gear I ever bought at an expo and I’ve been running with one ever since (that’s 6 yrs and counting!). I love that it’s lightweight, doesn’t bounce, and holds my phone and other essentials.

Use code michelle2016 at checkout and receive a special goody bag!

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If you’ve been around here for any length of time or follow me on Instagram than you know I make no secret of my love of compression sleeves – especially Zensah! These sleeves are a post-run must have, and they’ll also make a big difference on a long car ride or flight ūüôā In fact I’m such a fan of all things Zensah, I recently became a Zensah Ambassador!

Check out Zensah’s site for some great sales going on right now!

roadid_catalog_elitescreenshot-www-roadid-com-2016-11-27-17-30-33Another must have in my book for any runner (or cyclist) is a Road ID. I’m still amazed at how many runners I come across who don’t carry¬†some ID when they run. I recently just chastised my brother for this! A Road ID speaks for you if heaven forbid there’s an accident and you can’t. Use code TAFW2DYPQ83 for $5 off the RoadID Elite.
believejournal_b897a982-0a50-4537-b102-15b07126cd02_1024x1024I think keep a training journal is a great way to help keep you accountable and motivated. And, while I like tracking stats online, nothing for me beats the written word. The Believe Journal (affiliate link alert!) offers a great mix of training log, running advice and inspirational quotes.

screenshot-www-knucklelights-com-2016-11-27-18-03-23Now this last item is high on my own wish list – Knuckle Lights! Being able to see and be seen is critical, especially if you’ve got to log your runs before the sun’s up or long after sunset. I’ve never been a fan of wearing a headlamp, so the on-hand design is perfect. I also love that these lights are rechargeable – cause who’s got time to hunt for batteries! Use code¬†YKAF5544¬†to save 10%.

Of course, I couldn’t put together a runner gift guide and not suggest the gift of a race registration. Since the race gift card doesn’t exist yet (though I don’t know why…hello race directors!!), I can suggest using my Rock’n’Blog code for $15 off a half marathon or marathon registration. I’m psyched to announce that the code is now good for early 2017 Rock ‘n’ Roll races, including Arizona, NOLA, Dallas, Mexico City, DC and Nashville!

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Have you started your holiday shopping?

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My RnR Vegas Recap – #StripAtNight

Last weekend I was on the road once again for a race weekend – this time it was Vegas! Ah and what a weekend! Meeting Meb, Snoop Dogg in concert, some great food (and cocktails), blogger meet-ups, not one but two races, and running the Vegas strip at night – much fun was had for sure…so without further ado…settle in for my recap.

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(Disclosure: As a member of the Rock’n’Blog team, I received a free race entry for the Remix Challenge. As always, all opinions are mine!)

Both my husband and brother were joining me for this trip. We arrived in Vegas by mid morning, got an early check-in at the hotel and grabbed lunch before heading to the expo. Packet pick-up was a breeze and we were quickly wandering the aisles of over 80 expo vendors. There were a lot of good deals, but we didn’t go too crazy. I couldn’t wait to pick up the awesome #Werunsocial t-shirt I had pre-ordered!

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Yes it glows in the dark!

The highlight of the expo was meeting Meb at the Rock’n’Roll booth! We hadn’t heard the announcement that he was going to be there – I spotted him purely by chance. Meeting Meb was awesome! He was so gracious – we chatted about his book (you can check out my review here) and I did my best to not go totally fan-girl on him. A hug, photo and an autographed bib – yeah my race experience was complete and I hadn’t even toed the line yet!

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The rest of the day was spent doing way too much walking taking in the sights of the strip. We capped the day with an amazing dinner at Yardbird Restaurant (definitely worth a visit!).

We took advantage of sleeping in Saturday morning before grabbing brunch and heading up the strip to scout out the 5K location. The race didn’t start until 6 p.m. and the three of us found it a little hard to manage the day and not do too much.¬†The crowds heading up to the race were crazy – we had to let 3 monorails go before we could squeeze our way on one. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people lining up for a 5K! People did not self-seed well and there were way too many walkers up front. My brother and I did what we could to run when we could find open space, but in many places the course narrowed and we were just stuck behind a wall of walkers. We certainly weren’t out there to worry about time so we just went with it ¬†– first half of the Remix Challenge done! Off for another great meal – this time at Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar.

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Sunday morning¬†started with a great brunch at Margaritaville’s roof deck. A perfect spot to watch the closing of the strip and pre-race set up. We hung out and watched football, again trying to lay low and not do too much. I just have to say late day races for me are hard! Finally it was time to head to the race. The guys were doing the 10K so we said our goodbyes at the monorail station and I headed off to hit the Snoop Dogg headliner concert and the We Run Social meet-up.

vegas-blogger-collage There were so many of us for the meet-up we barely all fit in the photo! It was great to meet so many bloggers including Sharon, Kim and Carlee. Snoop Dog played all of his big hits and really had the crowd going.

I was in the Yellow start so I had a fair amount of waiting to do until they called us to the start. The corrals were a hot mess and as I chatted with others waiting to shuffle to the start I reminded myself the goal for this race was simply to have fun – there was no time goal. Running the Vegas Strip was pretty amazing and the energy was great! The only lull was the loop of miles 7 – 9 where we were running through “old Vegas” and some random neighborhoods. You could definitely feel the runner energy drop at this point and I could definitely feel the whirlwind days catching up with me. Luckily we were soon back at the top of the strip and heading towards the finish line.

Final thoughts…

This was one fun race weekend! There is nothing quite like running down the middle of the Vegas Strip at night – definitely one that every runner should experience.

If you do run Vegas, know that this is not the race for a PR. You’ve got to go into it just looking to have fun and enjoy the experience.

If you can tack on an extra day, I would recommend post-race so you can fully celebrate Vegas-style ūüôā

The Vegas pre-sale of just $99 for 2017 is on until midnight tonight…just sayin’ ūüėČ

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I’m linking up once again with Holly & Tricia for the Weekly Wrap!

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RnR Brooklyn Race Recap

On¬†Saturday I completed my eleventh half marathon, running the Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon. I took the train into NYC on Friday morning. Packet pick-up was held at the Penn Pavilion which is directly across the street from Penn Station, so grabbing my bib and race shirt was super easy. The space for the expo itself was small and awkwardly configured so after a very quick peak I headed out. It was great to be back in NYC after such a long time and I enjoyed a leisurely walk before grabbing lunch and heading to my hotel to wait for J and the kids, who were driving down after school.¬†Dinner was some very yummy pizza and I did my best to get to bed at a reasonable hour.

Sleep was erratic at best, and before I knew it my alarm was going off. I had very little appetite but did my best to force down some food {cue the foreboding music}. J and I walked the little over a mile to the start. The security lines were long, but moving. The same could not be said about the porta potty lines. Finally made my way to the corrals and slipped in where I could. We shuffled along and soon we were off.

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The first 5 K felt great! I spotted J on the first out and back and was right on pace. That good feeling was short-lived, cause by mile 5 I started to feel off  Рa headache was brewing.

As it morphed into a full-blown killer headache, I continued to fuel, and tried to press on, focusing on the bands, high-fiving kids, whatever I could do to distract myself…but I was slowing down. When the 2:30 pacer passed me, I was deflated. Now a new mental battle began, and I’ll tell you the internal dialog was not pretty. I could not believe that my race was being derailed by a ¬†f$^&# headache!

The universe sent me just what I needed around mile 8 in the form of Roz and Carla. Roz, a Half Marathon Maniac in the middle of a half marathon double-header, had been encouraging Carla, who was taking on her very first half. Soon we were a threesome – chatting, sharing fueling tips, and most of all supporting and encouraging each other. It was the pick me up I desperately needed.

As we entered Prospect Park and the final hills, I was really hurting РI told Roz and Carla not to wait for me and that I would do what could to keep up with them. They pushed ahead and I just tried to keep them in my sights. I spotted J and he came out to run with me until I had just about a half mile left. I willed myself to the finish and was finally done.

I quickly found Carla and Roz and there were lots of hugs all around. (I truly love how running bonds people!)

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Race swag included a black hoodie for         completing both Philly & Brooklyn!

It¬†was just not my day – this race was not a reflection of my training. So, back to the drawing board I go…

Some final thoughts on the race itself:

  • Overall this was a well organized race, as I’ve come to expect from Rock ‘n’ Roll
  • Bands along the course seemed a little sparse
  • Nice course, especially ending in Prospect Park
  • Post-race food was plentiful
  • Expo was definitely lacking in both layout and vendors
  • Fun medal & race shirt

(Disclosure:¬†As a member of the Rock’n’Blog team, I received a free race entry. As always, all opinions are mine!)

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2016 RnR Philly Race Recap

(Disclosure:¬†As a member of the Rock’n’Blog team, I received a free race entry and VIP upgrade. As always, all opinions are mine!)

On Sunday, I ran¬†the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon – my 10th half marathon!

I’ve been trying to figure out what to say about this race. As you all know, this was my first half marathon after a two year hiatus. This was not a goal race – just a re-introduction to the distance. But, you know I like to keep it real here, so I’ll be honest, this was not the triumphant return I had secretly hoped for. No…I did not have a goal time, but I had wanted (and expected) to run this much faster than I did.

So settle in while I share the good, bad…and downright u-g-l-y of Sunday’s race.

Janelle & I pre-race

The Good….
Blogger meet-ups! Once I arrived at the race, I made a beeline for the VIP tent to meet up with Janelle from Run with No Regrets. It was so nice to finally meet – she’s as nice as she seems from her blog! We got to chat for a bit and soon Kathryn from Dancing to Running joined us. We made our way to the top of the “Rocky steps” to meet up for a “We Run Social” photo, where I finally got to meet Dani from Weight Off My Shoulders. I feel like I’ve known Dani for years – we couldn’t believe we just were finally meeting! It was fun to hangout with everybody and it helped me keep my mind off my nerves.

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VIP Upgrade! While I didn’t take full advantage of the full VIP food spread, it was definitely nice to have food and drinks to readily available. And, porta potties with no lines? Enough said!

Race atmosphere! I love the RnR vibe and this race did not disappoint! I enjoyed the bands and cheer squads along the route, and even had one band’s guitarist come down off the stage to briefly rock out with me ūüôā

The Bad…

While the VIP area was a nice perk, it would have been nice to have a way for non-running family to join at a reduced rate. My husband J couldn’t enter without us purchasing a full price package at the expo – the main reason I skipped returning to the VIP area post-race.

My fueling – I woke up with no appetite and as a result my pre-race fueling was sparse. I forced myself to choke down a banana, but could only manage a bite or two of my GU waffle. The wait in the corrals was long and by the time I was approaching the start my stomach started to growl…not good.

The Ugly…

on-the-courseThe humidity was soul-sucking and proved to be my complete undoing. Despite having run in the soupy muck for most of the summer, I could not find my rhythm. I felt ok through the first 5 miles but could feel a headache forming by mile 6.  By mile 7, I had stopped at a med tent for Tylenol, and by mile 9 I had a front row seat on the struggle bus. Despite my best efforts to stay hydrated and down Clif blocs (with extra salt), the humidity took its toll.  I reminded myself that this was more of a training run than a race for me, but it was hard to not feel defeated. Time to shift my focus РI high-fived every kid along the course, encouraged other runners and started run/walk intervals.

Around mile 9, I was so grateful to come across fellow Rock’n’Blogger Nellie from Brooklyn Active Mama. We had run into each other just before the start and it was great to see her. She was so positive and we kept each other company for a couple of miles. My other saving grace was my amazing husband, who had rented one of those city bikes and was biking all over the course! At last the finish was in sight and I was done.

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So #10 is done and training for Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn continues!

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Sharing some fun stuff

Hey guys, I’ve had some fun stuff come across my inbox lately so I thought I’d share.

Virtual runs are popping up everywhere and Rock ‘n’ Roll is getting in on the act. Now you can enjoy some Rock ‘n’ Roll fun no matter where you are! With Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Making a Band Virtual Runs you can run a 5K wherever you want and earn some great RnR bling!

400x400-guitar-solo-medal1There are 3 races – Guitar Solo, Drum Solo and Lead Singer. You can choose 1 or run all 3 races and earn a 4th bonus medal for “making a band.” ¬†Isn’t this a fun medal?! #RnRVirtualRun

Head over to: http://www.runrocknroll.com/virtual-run/ for details.

And, speaking of RnR, the Rock ‘n’ Bloggers just learned that our discount codes are now valid for Las Vegas! Yes! You know you want to run the #stripatnight

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RnR is also extending our codes into 2017 for Arizona, New Orleans and Mexico City! So let the race shopping begin! (I’d love to make it to NOLA next year).

And, speaking of special codes, you can use my code michelle2016 when you place an order with SPIbelt and receive a bonus goody bag with your purchase!

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Weekly Wrap #17

It’s Monday which means it’s time to wrap-up another week!

Monday:  Strength day.
Tuesday:  3.25 mile run.
Wednesday:  Strength day.
Thursday: ¬†3 mile run. (The group run with BGR didn’t come together but we’re going to try again this week)
Friday:  Spent the day with a friend Рlots of walking.
Saturday:  J decided to join me for a run Р4.25 miles done. Followed by an afternoon of yard/garden work.
Sunday:  Rest day.

Plus daily planking continued!

For the most part it was a pretty routine week around here. Mother Nature continued to show she has a sense of humor – after last week where I was prepared to build an ark, this week she flipped the heat switch! I was so not ready for the 30 degree jump in temps and there may have been some whining while running.

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I did get a nice surprise of winning a pair of Zensah Well Rounded Shorts during Tuesday night’s #BibChat. Zensah is my go-to choice for compression gear so I’m very psyched and cannot wait for them to arrive in the mail! And, speaking of fun things in the mail, I came home Wednesday to find these books waiting for me.

Velo Press Books

As a little perk to the Rock’n’Blog team, we each got to pick a couple of books from a collection of great titles from VeloPress! I started reading¬†Racing Weight last night – review to come soon!

Have you read either of these books? How was your week?

I’m linking up again with Holly and Tricia for the #WeeklyWrap.

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Race Calendar Revisited

So earlier in January, I was still debating so many race options….then this happened….

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Well that just opened a whole new can of worms¬†…options…so many options

I already planned to run RnR Philly in September, and had wanted to add a half marathon in both October and November Рproblem solved!

So now the plan is…

Run to Remember Half — May

Finish at the 50 10K — July (Yes July…I may regret this one!)

RnR Philly Half — September (flat and fast…goal race perhaps?)

RnR Brooklyn Half — October (Perfect way to spend the long weekend in NYC!)

Canton Fall Classic — October (5K and 10K option – TBD)

RnR Las Vegas — November (I was all set to run the #StripAtNight last year, then the surgery happened, so I don’t want to miss a 2nd chance to run this one!)

Now…if I allow myself to dream and the travel gods were to smile on me, RnR Dublin in August¬†would be a fun way to celebrate my birthday, and then there’s RnR San Antonio in December. Let the stalking of airline websites commence!

Want to add an Rock’n’Roll race (or two) to your calendar? As a member of the Rock’n’Blog team, I’m happy to finally be able to share a discount code with you! Use code ROCKATTITUDE and save $15 on domestic half marathons or marathons, and¬†‚ā¨/¬£3 on international races.

 Will I see you at any of these race this year?

rp_Tuesdays-on-the-run-150x150.jpgLinking up with Erika, Marcia and Patty for Tuesdays on the Run

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Ultimate Coffee Date – February ’16

The Ultimate Coffee Date

It’s the first Saturday of the month, which means it’s time again to grab a mug of your favorite hot beverage, and settle in and join our hosts¬†Coco, Lynda and Deborah¬†for this month’s coffee date.

Snow Feb 2016If we were having coffee together, I’d tell you that we had our first snow day yesterday. A storm that was suppose to bring only a couple of inches quickly turned into 9!¬†I figure if the kids are going to miss school, a Friday’s the day to do it, right? I was actually enjoying our winter wonderland – until it was time to shovel…started having flashbacks from last year. And, then we lost power…but just for a couple of hours and that’s what board games are for ūüôā

If we were having coffee together, I would tell you that I’m still grinning from ear to ear over Tuesday’s news that I have been chosen again to be a part of the Rock n Blog team! I’m excited to run some fun races and share some discounts with you all – stay tuned!

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If we were having coffee together, I’d tell you that I started sorting through summer camp options. My oldest is all set to go back to the overnight camp he went to last year, so I’m just trying to figure out my youngest. It’s always surprising to me how fast some things fill up!

If we were having coffee together, I’d tell you that I’ve been enjoying Mar’s 14 Days of Self Challenge – it’s really made me stop and intentionally carve out some time for myself each day. ¬†So important…and yet so easy to overlook.

So what would you tell me over coffee?  

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September’s Ultimate Coffee Date

The Ultimate Coffee Date

Happy Labor Day Weekend! It’s the unofficial last weekend of summer, but I must say it feels a little odd since school’s already started for my youngest son. Then again, it’s a long weekend and that’s always a good thing, right? So I’m taking a little time out this morning to join in with¬†Coco, Lynda and Deborah¬†for this month’s Ultimate Coffee Date.

If we were having coffee together, I’d tell you that believe it or not, my youngest son’s hockey season has already begun! And he’ll be on the ice until at least April.

If we were having coffee together, I’d tell you that meanwhile my oldest son has made me a little giddy by announcing he’s decided to run cross country this fall ūüôā

PatriotsIf we were having coffee together, I’d tell you that I cannot wait for football season to kick off this Thursday night with the raising of another Super Bowl banner! I don’t want to hear another word about the supposed “deflategate.”

WomensRunningIf we were having coffee together, I’d tell you that I came home the other day to a nice surprise from Women’s Running Magazine and the Rock ‘n’ Roll folks – another fun¬†perk as a member of the #RocknBlog team! Women’s Running is also offering all RWA readers a 1-year subscription for just $9.99 – just use code RUNATTITUDE015.

If we were having coffee together, I’d tell you that I’d better get going – we’re celebrating my dad’s 75th birthday and I still have food to prep!

So what would you tell me? What have you got planned for this weekend?

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Fall Racing – A Moving Target

When I saw that this week’s #FridayFive link-up topic was Fall Races, I was tempted to skip posting. Racing has been such a moving target for me, between injury and conflicts with my family schedule, that I’m almost hesitant to count any race¬†as a sure thing at this point. But, if you’ve been around here for a bit then you also know how¬†much I love a fall race….so here’s what I’m hoping for at the moment.

1) #StripAtNight 

RnB15_LasVegas

This is my one and only definite race…well it’s actually two because I’ll be doing the Remix Challenge (5K and Half). My husband and brother are running¬†with me, and I just saw friends yesterday who confirmed they’re in! I’ve been waiting all year to get to a¬†Rock ‘n’ Roll race as part of the Rock’n’Blog team – and, well c’mon it’s Vegas! And, speaking of the Rock’n’Blog team, we were just given special codes for a Vegas discount – use code RUNATTITUDE015LV and you can do either the half or the full for $145!

2) Still Rockin’ — Staying with the Rock ‘n’ Roll theme for a minute, I’m still hoping to get to RnR Philly at the end of October, but family conflicts are starting to crop up from all sides…keep my fingers crossed. But, if schedules don’t work, then I’ll be looking at finishing up my 3-race Tour Pass by heading to San Antonio for #RnRSA the first week of December.

3) Tufts 10K for Women¬†is one of my favorite Boston¬†races. It’s always held on Columbus Day, which means it could potentially come¬†in conflict with the boys’ sports schedules/tournaments – it’s happened before, but if I’m free this is always a great race!

4) Canton Fall Classic is another local favorite – I usually run the 5K and my husband J runs the 10K. My son is thinking about running it this year…so once again as long as schedules don’t collide, this could be a family race.

Jingle+Bell+15) Jingle Bell Run — OK this one may technically be a “winter” race as some years it falls on the weekend before Christmas. As you can see from the picture of my brother and I on race morning, this one’s all for the costumes and post-race beer fest. (And, yes that is a giant ball of mistletoe on his hat!) ūüôā

Do you find your race schedule is pretty well set or is it a moving target?

(As part of the Rock’n’Blog team, I receive a 3-race Tour Pass. If you want to add a RnR race to your fall schedule, don’t forget to use my code on my sidebar for a discount (or the code above for Vegas!)

I’m linking up with Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia – be sure to stop by to check out where they’ll be racing this fall!

 

 

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