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Posted on May 18, 2012 in Dear Diary, Races | 9 comments

Off to the Races!

Greetings from Wachusett! At precisely 10:20 AM this morning I will be kicking off the Reach the Beach relay and starting the most epic, exhausting, challenging, and hopefully fulfilling 30 hours of my life.

The trip up to Boston so far has already been awesome, involving car decorating, teammate bonding, and an awesome tour of the New Balance factory in Lawrence, MA. For the sake of packing light, I left my laptop at home (I’m blogging from my phone and on Ashley’s comandeered computer, hehe) so I won’t be able to upload my “real” pics until I’m back in DC. I have a few phonetastic snapshots of the day’s events though, so enjoy and think good thoughts for me and my team if it’s past 10:20 when you read this! 😀

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Van #1!

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Touring the manufacturing floor at New Balance! (They are the only major athletic footware company who still manufactures shoes in the US. 25% of their products are from here!)

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In the research labs — the “smash room”!

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So. Many. Shoes.

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Trailing behind Van #2 on our way to the hotel.

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My pre-race dinner: STEAK!

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Ashley and me right after our Team Off Balance photoshoot.

See you on the flipside!

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Posted on May 16, 2012 in Dear Diary, Races | 26 comments

Relay

Wellps, it’s here! As Sean can attest from the tear-stained evidence leftover from my completely hysterical breakdown about it last night, I’m off to the Reach the Beach Relay tomorrow! I fly up to Boston tomorrow morning, and it is going to be a packed weekend, full of more than just the relay race itself. It’s unlikely that I’ll get a ton of blogging in over the next few days. There will, however, be lots of Tweeting and Facebook updating though! We’ll be tagging race-related tweets with #rtbrelay, #newbalance, and/or #offbalance, and we even have a new Team Off Balance Twitter handle: @RTBOffBalance. Wheee, social media storm!

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So a big component of preparing for a 30 hour, 200 mile race is making sure you’re packing well. I want to make sure that I’ve got everything I need without OVER-packing (something that I have a rather strong tendency to do). So I’ve been casually gathering things over the past week to make sure that I’m not forgetting anything. Yesterday I packed up most of the things I’m going to need (though I’m sure there will be a few last minute swaps and additions, for sure!) and gave my duffel bag a trial run.

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Since, as mentioned, our all-blogger team is being generously sponsored by New Balance, packing my fitness clothing isn’t much of a challenge. I’ve had a chance to test out all of the running gear that they sent us, and have my three running outfits all picked out. I have three sports bras, three pairs of socks, and three hair bands too. I’m even bringing the extra items that I won’t be running in — like these infamously short run shorts — because while I may not enjoy the chafing, they are super comfortable just to lounge around in.

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New Balance also sent us an awesome secondary package just a day or so ago with some team-branded clothing! So we have a tank, long sleeve technical tee, and running windbreaker all with Off Balance branding! So exciting, and the tank is not only vented with a sweet logo, but it’s super flattering too. Win-win!

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It was actually much more difficult for me to decide what to pack in terms of non-fitness clothing. Ultimately, I figured that things are going to be pretty casual (with the possibility of going to do something slightly nicer Saturday night if we’re not all dead), so I’m packing a couple of cute tees (including my Team Peeta shirt! RAWR!) and one sundress. I’m planning on wearing my jeans on the plane.

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And yes, that is 7 pairs of underwear you’re seeing folded up in the background there. Underwear is the one thing that I believe can NEVER be over-packed! On the side you might also be able to make out a rolled up plastic-lookin’ thing. That’s three huge Ziplock bags for me to put my race outfits in. All of the relay race packing suggestions I’ve read say to pack your three race outfits in separate plastic bags — that way, it’s easy to pull them out when it’s time to change, and you also have a place to put them back when you’re done! I know it probably seems gross to put sweaty clothes in a plastic bag, but consider that I, the Sweatiest Exerciser Ever, am the first runner. That means that there are like 29.5 hours left in the race that my vanmates would have to put up with my stinky clothes if I didn’t seal ’em off, hahaha. What, TMI?

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I do have just a FEW non-clothing things that I’m packing too. Since I’m flying and don’t want to have to check a bag, I’m trying to keep my extras limited. But I want to contribute to the team/my van, too! So I’m bringing baby wipes (for post-run wipe downs, since there won’t be any showers), a roll of TP (just in case!), the Dreamie travel blanket that Ben gave me for my birthday (if I decide to try to catch even a few minutes of shut-eye in the van, haha), and a jar of Peanut Butter & Co. White Chocolate Wonderful (for eating by the spoonful).

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Of course, I can’t forget the most important thing that I’ll need to be bringing — my sneakers! New Balance also sent me this awesome pair of flip flops in my latest package, which I was counting on relaxing in between running legs. Unfortunately one of the support straps broke! I’m really bummed, because they are SO comfortable (they remind me of Rainbows!), but I guess I’ll have to resort to my UnderArmour flippies instead. Le sigh.

So there you have it! Additional things I’ll be bringing that aren’t shown include my camera (duh!), iPhone (duh!), charger (duh! Are you sending a pattern?), a hand towel (suggested by our New Balance contact to wipe down post-run), PJs for Thursday and Saturday nights so that hotel roomie isn’t subjected to THAT (bahaha!), toiletries (including men’s deodorant – this is no time for my usual Dove Cucumber and Green Tea!), and some very minimal makeup.

Any last minute suggestions for what to bring, what to do, or how to survive? General words of encouragement are also welcome, since I’m still mildly freaking out about the running part of this whole shebang… though, as my loving and rational boyfriend reminded me, I’ll only be spending a fraction of the relay (like, what, 2 hours total?) actually running. But still. Think good thoughts for me! 🙂

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Posted on May 7, 2012 in Dear Diary, Working Out | 13 comments

11 Days

That’s right, friends. 11 days until 12 bloggers will be piling into 2 vans for a 200-mile, 24-hour relay race in Massachusetts. Whew, that’s a lot of numbers. Reach the Beach, the countdown has (more than) begun!

I’m so, so excited for this experience… and so, so scared. I’ve been reading recaps on blogs of similar relay-style races (Ragnar, Hood to Coast) and am getting simultaneously pumped up and petrified. It’s an odd feeling, haha. On the one hand, I feel honored just to get to be a part of this whole experience. I mean, it’s going to be awesome, New Balance is generously sponsoring our team, some of my favorite people in the world will be running with me, and I’m going to get to meet a whole slew of new friends, too!

And yet, at the same time, I’m still feeling pretty self-conscious going in because I’m the least runner-y runner in the entire group. It’s hard not to get down on myself for being slower or heavier or less in love with the sport of running than the rest of my super-accomplished teammates, y’know? I’ve definitely had my fair share of moments where I’ve second-guessed the fact that I agreed to be part of the relay team in the first place. I’ll admit, the most powerful driving force behind keeping my doubts at bay has been wrapped up in the fact that I hate being left out of awesome stuff. This relay definitely qualifies as awesome stuff. And I know that if I had said no to this, I would have REALLY regretted it once I started reading the other ladies’ recaps, haha.


Team Off Balance

I mean, let’s be honest: My legs for the race are totally fair (2.8, 4.78, and 3.37 miles), so I really can’t be that worried about running the actual distances. And we’re not running to win (obviously), so I should be able to focus the having fun part, right? Well, that said, I’ve also never had to run more than once a day before, let alone on little to no sleep. Heh.

Despite my best intentions to at least practice a two-a-day run before now, I haven’t done so yet. So this weekend I will DEFINITELY be testing one out — once in the morning and once in the afternoon or evening — just to get an idea of how my body will react. Cognitively, I know that the excitement, adrenaline, and general kick-assery of the relay is going to go a long way in terms of helping me get through the physical part of the race. Still though, you know me. I’m a worrier. So regardless of how prepared I am, I’m sure I’ll be in freak-out mode pretty much from now until my plane lands back in DC nonetheless. (Aren’t my teammates so lucky? Hahaha.)

I don’t usually post a lot of specific information about my workout/training schedules here (since I find it boring to read on other blogs, hahaha), but I figure that it’ll be good for me to line everything up officially (you know, so I actually DO it). So here’s the plan for the next 11 days to get me fully prepared for my cumulative 11.51 miles!

Monday (5/7): 3 mile outdoor run
Tuesday (5/8): Crosstrain – Zumba
Wednesday (5/9): 3.5 mile treadmill run
Thursday (5/10): Crosstrain – Cardio Dance Class
Friday (5/11): Rest
Saturday (5/12: 3 mile AM run, 2 mile PM run
Sunday (5/13): Rest
Monday (5/14): 4 mile outdoor run
Tuesday (5/15): Crosstrain – Zumba
Wednesday (5/16): 2.5 mile outdoor run
Thursday (5/17): Rest/Fly to Boston!

And then Friday (5/18), Reach the Beach begins!

11 days. Here we go!

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Posted on Mar 20, 2012 in Working Out | 43 comments

The Long and Short(s) of It

I know that I have already declared it to be so, but it bears repeating: I hate running. Yesterday’s torturous 3-mile jaunt around the hallowed streets of Falls Church only served to reinforce this fact. But, I did it anyway, since I’m training for the Reach the Beach Relay in May and will need to be able to complete three separate legs of 3 to 4.5 miles each. (Which I know is nothing compared to what the rest of my teammates will be running, but it’s a lot for me!)

So, as mentioned, I took to the streets to take advantage of yesterday’s beautiful weather, and also used it as an opportunity to test out one of the clothing items that New Balance sent me a little while ago. I gave the Prism Run Shorts a try — my first time running in run shorts — and what did I find? I found that I do not, in fact, like running in run shorts.


I really should have taken these photos pre-run, haha.

Yes, having now officially tested the gamut of running legwear, I can officially say that running in shorts is not for me. Maybe things would be different if I had thighs that didn’t touch, shorts that had no way of riding up, and confidence that would stop Giselle in her tracks but alas, that is not the case. I was blessed with Powell thighs, and Powell thighs touch. Good for all that pioneerin’ and baby-makin’. The chafing! I’ll need some serious Astro Glide if I’m to continue running in these puppies! Not to mention the whole thing where they rode up to my chatch and basically made it look like I was running down Broad street in a bikini bottom. I’ve really come around to my legs as a beloved body part, but I’m pretty sure nobody needs to see that.

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I’m willing to give the other pair of running shorts and the running skirt that NB sent me a try, but I’m skeptical as to whether I’ll find them any different. They’re a smidgen looser/longer though, so who knows? As of right now, however, I’m pretty sold on my past capri-lovin’ ways. I don’t really like running tights except for when winter weather necessitates them because I find them too constricting (and they get pulled down more easily as I go along), but capri-length fitness pants are my jam. Despite all of my personal issues with actually running in the shorts, they’re very comfortable. They’re definitely booty shorts, so again, this may simply be stemming from a confidence issue. Regardless, I will absolutely keep them in my arsenal for non-running fitness activities. They’d be perfect for hot yoga!

What is your run wear of choice? Are you a shorts person? Fellow capri lover? Running skirt fanatic?

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Posted on Mar 1, 2012 in Races, Working Out | 22 comments

Holy Swag, New Balance!

As you are all probably aware, given the number of times I’ve freaked out about it so far, I am running the Reach the Beach Relay in May with a team of pretty awesome bloggers. We have been fortunate enough to be sponsored by New Balance, and while I would have been more than happy just not having to pay a registration fee, they upped the ante. Yesterday I came home to a pretty sweet surprise!

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Well, I guess it wasn’t SO much of a surprise, since I had been hearing the digital shrieks from my teammates who had already received theirs all day, haha.

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I was NOT fully prepared for the epicness that awaited me within the walls of that duffel bag, however. Consider my workout wardrobe effectively doubled (or more!) — I think all my UnderArmour gear is going to start jelly hatin’:

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Holy schlamoly. There is pretty much everything that you would possibly need to train for a relay like this in here!

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The list of swag from my bag is as follows:

  • New Balance 890 sneakers (The soles are really more pink than red, despite how the color turned out in the pic.)
  • PDA Running Gloves
  • Tri-Viz Running Cap (With lights on the front and under the rim!)
  • Prism Run Shorts
  • Fun Run Shorts
  • Fun Run Skirt (My first running skirt! There are shorts built into it.)
  • Prism Capri
  • Impact Capri
  • Tempo Tee
  • Icefill Short Sleeve (Love me some moisture-wicking tees)
  • Tonic Crop Sports Bra
  • NRG Bars
  • GPS Runner (I don’t think that links to the same model we got, but it’s all I could find on the website.)
  • Running Socks
  • I didn’t even know that New Balance made a GPS watch, but I am really excited to try it all out! I’m actually most excited about the running hat. The relay is over the course of 24+ hours, which obviously means that some legs are going to be at night (all the relay recaps I’ve read say that the night legs are the best experience though, so hopefully I get (an easy) one, hehe!). It’ll be so nice having a little headlamp on as we’re running through rural Massachusetts at 3 AM, don’t you think?

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    All of this new jank is DEFINITELY getting me hyped up for the race. It’s even — gasp! — making me want to go run to try it all out! Who’d have ever thunk it? 😉 This is gonna be legendary.

    Do you have a “brand” when it comes to running/workout apparel? My sister works for UA, so all of my stuff has been almost exclusively them up until now (my shoes are Brooks though).

    Edit: I forgot to add that New Balance is offering a discount code for our team to distribute! It’s good for 15% off and free shipping at shopnewbalance.com (valid until March 10th). Code: NBRTB1255CB4T

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