Hood to Coast prep: Packing for an overnight relay

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Let the countdown begin! Hood to Coast is coming up this weekend, so I made my list, checked it twice and started prepping early to avoid forgetting any last-minute items.

Because I’m an overnight relay newbie, my due diligence consisted of cross-checking a few different lists to see what people recommend. Here’s a peek at what I’m packing:

  1. Coeur Sports hat for sun protection (day) and warmth (night)
  2. Garmin Forerunner 910XT for tracking mileage during my legs
  3. TriSlide for keeping chafage at bay
  4. Flip flops for letting my feet breathe between legs
  5. A comfy outfit for down-time
  6. CEP compression calf sleeves if I decide I need support
  7. Four different running outfits (we’re down a runner, so I’m doing four legs)
  8. Petzl headlamp for nighttime running
  9. Sunglasses to shield eyes during the day
  10. Bonk Breaker bars to stay fueled
  11. Lacrosse ball to massage out any tight spots
  12. A towel for mopping sweat or drying off post-shower
  13. Lululemon waterproof hoodie, just in case it rains
  14. Bag to transport all my gear
  15. Travel pillow so I can try to catch a few winks
  16. Osmo Active Hydration for Women
  17. S! Caps for electrolytes and salt
  18. Antacid tablets to ward off tummy troubles
  19. Nuun for keeping electrolyte levels in check
  20. Deodorant to help keep me (and the van) from stinking
  21. Sunscreen for during my daytime legs
  22. Backpack to carry additional items
  23. Two pairs of running shoes to swap every leg
  24. Sigvaris performance socks for recovery between legs
  25. Napsack jacket/sleeping bag combo for staying warm while dozing

Not pictured:

  • Waterproof tarp for keeping my sleeping bag dry
  • Knuckle Lights for nighttime running
  • Socks & underwear — five pairs, one for each leg plus a spare set
  • Shower Pill body wipes to help clean up
  • Colgate Wisps disposable toothbrushes to freshen up
  • Misc food to stay fueled — PB&J sandwiches, potato chips, etc.
  • Misc. meds/first aid — Advil, pepto, chapstick, ear plugs, etc.
  • Cell phone and chargers to stay in touch
  • Gallon-sized Ziploc bags to sort outfits and gear

Let’s hope I’m not missing anything! What are your must-have items for overnight relays?

Highlights from last week’s IDEA World BlogFest with SweatPink

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As I sat down to write this post yesterday, I saw that my sister had forwarded me an article from the Detroit Free Press about how a specific group is sparking the nation’s running craze. And what started off as a way to procrastinate for a few minutes to cure my writers’ block actually ended up giving me a clearer perspective on the past few days.

According to the article, Running USA recently released some interesting stats: A record-setting 19 million people finished U.S. running events last year, which is great news because it’s an increase of 300 percent since 1990. But the best part? Women made up 10.8 million, or 57 percent of participants, the highest ever.

Some other fun facts from Running USA: For the first time in 2013, 61 percent of U.S. half marathon finishers were women. Women also competed in record-high numbers in full marathon events, making up 43 percent of finishers.

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So what, exactly, does this have to do with me heading down to Anaheim last week with the SweatGuru/FitApproach team to co-host the first-ever Blogfest with SweatPink? Well, there are a few insights and observations from the event that I thought were worth sharing:

  1. Women are stepping up to the plate and inspiring others to live healthier lives
  2. We truly are redefining the phrase “like a girl” through actions, not just words
  3. Using fitness as a tool, women can empower themselves, as well as each other
  4. Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be an exercise in restraint; it can be fun
  5. Wellness is going social: Being active is “cool,” and workouts are the new “it” activity

That’s why I’m proud to be part of the SweatPink community, and it’s also why we wanted to be a part of the world’s largest fitness conference, IDEA World. Regardless of gender (see top photo with my buddy, Pavement Runner, who knows that real men “sweat pink”), we’re’re all for the thrill of the challenge, for looking great, but feeling even better. And we’re committed to finding our best “fit,” whatever that may be, and making it stick.

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Throughout the past few days we had the chance to connect with bloggers, fit pros and healthy living mavens and exercise enthusiasts. Of course, this all began with a group fun run, which wouldn’t be complete without a few mega-selfies to document our route through downtown Disney.

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Later at the convention kickoff, we heard from some pretty amazing speakers. One particular pair  — Lynne and Augie Nieto — moved the entire audience to tears with their story. Augie is the founder of Life Fitness, a leading fitness equipment company, and was diagnosed with ALS in 2005. Despite a grim prognosis, however, he’s beat the odds and since doubled his life expectancy. His wife Lynne spoke about their project, Augie’s Quest, which strives to drive awareness and raise funds for ALS research.

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And after Diana Nyad was presented with the Jack LaLanne Award, she walked us through her journey of how, at age 62 and after four failed attempts, she finally conquered the 100+ mile swim Cuba to Florida, sans shark cage. She was once challenged to swim as if she couldn’t go a “fingernail’s length faster” in the pool, and it’s clear she lives her life with that very same mission, so she encouraged us to do the same.

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One of BlogFest’s highlights was keynote speaker Jillian Michaels, who shared the story of her fitness journey, along with some many awesome tidbits of advice during her Q&A. Some of my favorite snippets:

  • “Fitness isn’t about building a better body. It’s a tool that helps us build a better life.”
  • “Follow the 80/20 rule for food. Don’t be extreme, eat real food!”
  • “There’s a big difference in singing your own praises versus thinking you’re better than someone else.”
  • “Empower, don’t repress to get kids to eat healthy!”
  • “Regret is the jump we didn’t make, the leap we didn’t take.”
  • “Every failure is an entry point of learning.”
  • “Work with purpose is passion. Work without passion is punishment. What is the WHY?”
  • “I got where I got because I think I DESERVE IT….we are all worth it. We have to work for it.”

Oh, and did I mention that the entire room fell in love with her? She’s not at ALL like the personality portrayed on TV; she’s hilarious, irreverent and real…and the entire room had a #girlcrush on her by the end of the hour. Including me and Bianca.

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Finally, what would a fitness convention be without some amazing workouts? Thanks to Stephanie Ring (yoga), Chalene Johnson (piyo), Tara Stiles (yoga), Shauna Harrison (bootcamp) and Moe & Caroline (bootcamp), we got to break a sweat between the expo and educational sessions. Here we are doing the famous “piyo flip” with Chalene.

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So there you have it — and incredible few days working and working out alongside some of the most passionate people in the business. We were beyond honored to be a part of it, and I hope that seeing the shots of everyone in action inspired you, as well.

I also took with me a renewed commitment to share this passion via my little corner of the Internet here at KineticFix. My hope is to not only hold myself accountable in making healthier choices and redefining my own limits, but also to challenge you to think about how you can find whatever that best “fit” is in your life, as well.

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How will YOU empower yourself to live a healthier life and, in turn, inspire others? 

Detroit Marathon: Week 9 training recap

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This week marked a major milestone: Halfway done with Detroit Marathon training! Although the excitement continues as I try to balance workouts with post-move disorganization (that’s putting it mildly; I can’t find anything in our new apartment at the moment) and business travels to IDEA World and BlogFest in Anaheim (recap with pics to come!).

Note that I said try because it’s been a struggle knowing I can’t do it all. right. now. But I am finding some solace in having the predictability of the training schedule staring me down each week. Otherwise, there’s a decent chance I wouldn’t be able to tell you what day it is.

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When I am “home,” however, Hubby and I are having a blast exploring new running routes = #allthebridges. And I’m pumped to have a brand-spanking-new, ass-kicking running buddy, Katie (above). She just rocked her latest half marathon a few weeks ago and is doing Hood to Coast next week, so we’re motivating each other to get out on our weekly long runs.

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Speaking of motivation…Track Tuesday was a doozy this week. Five repeats of 1000 meters at a 4:36 pace with 400-meter (one lap) recovery jog in between. Not only is it getting more challenging to hold the pace as the distance grows each week, but adding that half lap for each kept throwing me off. Although I suppose having to concentrate helped me plow through.

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And the good news is there’s a track that’s running distance from our apartment. I’m counting the jog to and from as warm-up and cool-down from now on, which will save my sanity by cutting down each track workout by eight laps! It’s the little things…

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Other than that, I’m hitting my paces on tempo and long runs, although the easy ones are probably still a bit speedy for what the program calls for (I’m in the 9:00-9:30 range, as opposed to 9:50-10:30, which just sounds painful). And I’m continuing to care for my bum heel with ice, Advil and rolling with a lacrosse ball, which all seem to be working well (fingers crossed).

So on that note, I’ll leave you with one final marathon-training public service announcement: It’s summer. It’s hot out. Stay hydrated, people. Here’s how Hubby and I prefer to do it after our long runs :)

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Coming next week — finally checking a running-related item off my bucket list — Hood to Coast. Stay tuned! 

It’s official…

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After nearly a decade in the Bay Area, Hubby and I just made the move north to his home state of Oregon. And although we relocated for his job, I’m thrilled be be able to keep mine as we expand SweatGuru into the Northwest. (Got a favorite instructor or studio I should check out? Let me know!)

We’re still in the process of getting unpacked and settled, but I’m already itching to check out new running routes and all the different kinds of exercise options here…along with a healthy helping of VooDoo doughnuts, Stumptown coffee and local beer, I’m sure.

And, yes, I’ll be documenting all of our adventures here…so stay tuned for everything you’ve ever wanted to know — and probably a lot you don’t — about Portland!

Have runs, will run: Tips for easing that race-day anxiety

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“Any runner who denies having fears, nerves, or some other kind of disposition is a bad athlete, or a liar.” – 1950s British Olympian Gordon Pirie

The bad news? Pre-race jitters are inevitable. The good news? It’s a normal part of the process. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran aiming for a new PR, or a rookie concerned about just getting to the finish line, nerves are natural and can add an element of excitement to your race.

But when pre-race fears become more than just nervous energy, it’s important to nip it in the bud before your performance is affected and it starts to take all the fun out of racing. Regardless of whether it’s a string of bad races, a layoff due to injury, or merely a lack of confidence in your level of fitness, here are a few tips to help keep you on track come race day.

Prepare properly

You may not appreciate the importance of setting out your race-day gear the night before the event until you make a critical mistake…and then you never forget.

A few years back, the gun went off at the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco when I realized that I had, in a cloud of nervous forgetfulness, left my timing chip in the hotel room a mile or so away. Without any time to go back, I ended up running the race chip-less, finishing sans official time or record of my participation.

Lesson learned; now I lay out everything the night before and do a double-check before bedtime.

Practice visualization

Walk through every aspect of the race in your mind’s eye, from warming up at the starting line to navigating the course and crossing the finish line triumphantly. Expect a certain amount of discomfort or pain if you’re pushing your limits, but know that you’ve mentally rehearsed it and can handle anything that comes your way.

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When all else fails, imagine your worst-case scenario, and how you’d cope with it. Chances are the reality won’t be half as bad as what you can dream up.

Chew wisely

Race-day nerves can wreak havoc on your digestive system, so tread carefully when it comes to what you ingest in the hours before your event. Skipping a meal is not an option (especially for longer endurance events), so look for foods that are easy to digest and have a mix of nutrients, such as bananas, sports bars, oatmeal or even bagels and toast with peanut butter.

If you’re wary of how something will set, do a trial run during training to work out the kinks in a more controlled environment.

Line up correctly

There’s nothing more unnerving than realizing that you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time on race morning.

Avoid angering the elites or getting stuck behind slower runners by lining up according to your closest predicted finishing time. This way you can start with people who are at a similar pace, which will help you relax and focus on your own performance.

Channel the tortoise

I’ve witnessed all too many nervous runners who shoot across the starting line like jackrabbits when the gun goes off, only to slow to a shuffle 200 yards later when their adrenaline wears off and oxygen debt sets in.

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Regardless of how good you feel, resist that temptation. Hold back a bit in the early stages to find your pace, and once you’ve relaxed into a rhythm, start pushing.

Run your own race

I’d argue that only a small part of the race is physical; the rest is mental. Fight the urge to compare yourself to those around you. Unless you’re a top-ranked elite athlete, there will always be someone faster than you. And on the flip side, there will always be someone slower than you.

So pick your route, stick to your plan and race against the most daunting competitor: Yourself.

Think happy thoughts

Above all, it’s important to focus on what you already have achieved, rather than what you might not. Whether it’s attempting a new distance, making it through a grueling training schedule or just having the guts to step up to the starting line, you’ve got something to celebrate.

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How do you deal with race-day anxiety? 

Reviewing the new Runtastic 24/7 fitness tracker

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Late last month Runtastic — an innovative suite of apps, products and services that track and manage health and fitness data — released their new Runtastic Orbit wearable, which is the latest and greatest in 24-hour tracking devices that allow users to monitor daily movements, fitness activities and sleep cycles.

In a nutshell, the Orbit’s similar to existing trackers such as FitBit and Jawbone Up, but it’s also got a few new bells and whistles I’m pretty excited to check out — namely that it’s waterproof (to an impressive 300 feet), syncs up with ANY of the Runtastic apps, has a proprietary sleep tracker (which I find fascinating), plus a battery life that can last up to a week.

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Specifically, the Orbit tracks Steps, Active Minutes, Calories Burned, Sleep Cycles, Goals and Ambient Lighting. Other features include an OLED Display, Time & Alarm and Bluetooth Smart Technology (which means it syncs to your phone automatically; yay for no cables!).

I’ll be testing it out over the course of the next few weeks, which coincides perfectly with training and racing so I can really put it through the paces. But after just a few days in, though, I can already say I’ve been pleasantly surprised with some of the features.

Stay tuned for my full review with photos; and if you’d like more information on the Orbit in the meantime, visit the website here

Detroit Marathon: Week 8 training recap

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Thought for the week: Running in the Northwest is pretty awesome. You get the best of both worlds: hot summer days, but cool evenings and mornings — i.e. perfect running weather. Ask me again how much I love it here when we’re in the thick of the rainy season, but for now we’re soaking up all the sunny goodness.

This week was the close of what I call the “ramping up” phase of training where, after building mileage in the first few weeks, the addition of speed and tempo workouts are delivering a nice dose of reality. But next week starts the “oh, crap” phase where things like 10 mile tempo runs and mile repeats on the track start to creep into the picture.

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I think my legs are finally starting to adjust to the increased frequency and mileage, though. Although some days are more of a struggle than others when it comes to early-morning workouts, I don’t have as much of that dead-legged feeling that I was dealing with a few weeks ago.

And if we’re being really honest here, the incentive of being able to pluck fresh, ripe blackberries off all the bushes along our run routes may also factor into my motivation for getting out there.

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My love/hate relationship with Tuesday track workouts also continues… It takes a lot of focus to commit to running in a circle for anywhere from six to eight miles total (this week it was six 800’s at a 3:45 pace with 400 recovery in between), but it’s an incredible boost of confidence when you’re able to NAIL the paces.

I’m always a little faster than I’d like out of the gate because it takes some time to settle into a rhythm with the first one, but my next five were in a tight cluster ranging from 3:39-3:42. Of course, the last one or two feel super tough, but by that time you can count on some adrenaline because you know you’re near the end.

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Another one of my goals for the week was to get my plantar fasciitis under control with some self-care techniques until I can get some professional help up in Portland. I’ll go into more detail in an upcoming post, but right now I’m icing with a water bottle, taking Advil for inflammation and using a rubber lacrosse ball to try to loosen up my feet.

I also went in for an impromptu massage this week, and the therapist spent 60 minutes entirely on my legs — from my glutes down to my toes. Some spots are slightly out of whack and I’m compensating for weaknesses in other areas, so I’m planning on doing some kind of combo of gait analysis, massage and preventative physical therapy to keep everything in check.

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But in the meantime, it’s one foot in front of the other. Many thanks for hanging with me through the first two months of training; it’s been awesome connecting through comments, tweets and posts. Eight weeks down, 10 more to go!