My Running Favorites – Nuun Giveaway!

Missed me?  Well I’m back!  I’ve been away running some races, and visiting many grand national parks in the west.  I have a gratuitous amounts of photos to share but first I’ll treat you with a giveaway from one of my all time favorite products!

I’ve been fortunate enough that for the most part I don’t have too many issues with long runs with the exception of one thing.  Hydration!  I’m not really a fan of drinking plain water unless it’s bubbly (not a great combo for running).  Flavored sports drinks like Gatorade make me sick.  I’ve only felt really awful during one race and it was a race I decided to drink Gatorade.  So needless to say when I tested out some Nuun during last year’s 2012 Boston marathon, I was a bit skeptical.

A year later, Nuun has yet to fail me and I probably wouldn’t survive summer running in Boston without it.  Even national park hikers agreed as I was able to quickly find some in the Grand Canyon Market!

Nuun Giveaway

You add a tablet to water, wait two minutes and instead electrolyte hydration ready for you!  The taste is mild, but there’s lot of flavors to pick from.

And now lucky for you, I have either one 4 – pack of any flavor or 1 of each new flavor to giveaway!

Oh, you want to know how to win? Of course you do. It’s easy. You have until Saturday night, May 4th at midnight (EST) to enter, and I will announce a winner Sunday or Monday. U.S. residents only (sorry). Please leave a SEPARATE comment for each entry.  

1 entry – Leave me a comment telling me your favorite nuun flavor. Mine is strawberry lemonade.

2 entries Like my Facebook Page – RunToMunch

1 entry Like Nuun Facebook Page – Nuun Hydration

1 entry Tweet about this giveaway: I want to win nuun from @RunToMunch http://wp.me/p2DNEa-NR

1 entry for following me on Twitter. Follow @RunToMunch 

1 entry for following Nuun on Twitter. Follow @NuunHydration. 

Good Luck!

2013 Salt Lake City Marathon Expo & Race Recap

In a blurry of SkinnyRunner inspiration, I signed up for 2 marathons in one week.  I’ve always wanted to go to Utah (just Google image Utah and you can see why), so months, months I signed up for the SLC Marathon thinking I didn’t really want to do Boston again after feeling pretty miserable about it in 2012.  Then when registration open, I got lost in the excitement and registered for Boston and bam I was signed up for 2 Marathon less than 5 days apart.  At this point as part of a 50 miler training, I’ve run two 20-milers back to back, but this was more difficult than I thought it would be.  Sadly my aspiration of achieving two sub 3:30 marathons in one week did not come true but I still feel fairly proud of myself despite it all.

Anyways from the start.  The multisport event was held Saturday April 20th, 2013 with included:

Bike Tour:  6:00 am
Wheelchair and Hand cycle start:  6:30 am
Marathon start:  7:00 am
Half Marathon start:  7:00 am
Hyundai Hope On Wheels 5K:   7:10 am
Kid’s Marathon:   10:45 am

Tony ran the half and I ran the full marathon.  I don’t remember the exact cost but I believe when we signed up a year ago I paid $60 for full and maybe $40 for half?

SLC Marathon Expo 1

The expo was tiny relatively speaking and I was a little cranky that they did not do race day pick up.  For out of towners, this meant you had to be at SLC on Friday since the race was Saturday at 7AM and that means extra vacay day.  Those days off are precious and I was a little sad to use it for number pick up but flights were cheaper on Friday morning anyways so win some lose some.  Number pick up was easy, the volunteers were friendly, race shirt was cute and you can see Tony loved it enough to wear it for the race.  The vendor booths were small, I saw a running store, Sports Authority, Dick’s sporty goods and very friendly Dannon yogurt people was yummy samples.  We were there around 1PM and most people just got their numbers and bounced.

SLC Marathon Expo 2

The expo and race also had this beautiful banner that SLC runners signed.  I almost choked in tears seeing it.  Sometimes I get cranky in crowds but I really love my running family no matter where they come from!

SLC Marathon Expo 3

Beautiful!

SLC Marathon

Morning was started at 5:30 AM, where we fueled up with peanut butter and bread.  No toaster, so room temperature bread.  Also since we lacked a knife, we refined our skills of using a fork to spread the PB.  Tony was more skilled than me but refused to stay still for the photo.

SLC Marathon 1

Not gonna lie, it was looking pretty grim as the sun has yet to rise and the sky was crying rain.  Also TMI fact but one thing you don’t want to eat the day before a race is sauerkraut no matter how tasty that German restaurant was.  I don’t really regret, but my stomach has had better mornings.

SLC Marathon 3b

The drive to the race was easy.  Since SLC is a long grid and well planned driving city, it was easy to drive over and avoid the closed of streets.  We got there within 15 minutes and chilled in the car.  Parking was literally a 1 minute walk from the starting line.  Pretty impressive on a race that has 5,000 participants.  You could also take the red line light rail train to the start so I think that helped with parking.

SLC Marathon 3c

Bomb squad trucks and helicopters were on petrol at the start and finish lines.  Security was tight but in no way impacted the enjoyed or lack off for my race.  Great job SLC!!

One thing we had trouble finding was corrals but since the race was starting in minutes we poked ourselves into the crowd that happened to be around a 3:45 pace group.  Before the race started, they played Sweet Caroline, which having lived above Fenway park has always made me twitch.  However, I thought it was a beautiful way to honor Boston and their runners.  There was also a 4:09 pace group of Boston Marathoners which I didn’t know until hours after the race; otherwise I would have joined.

SLC Marathon 4

For the first time in ever, Tony and I ran together during a race.  I was still pretty tired from running Boston and my legs felt dead.  Twice between mile 1 and mile 8 I talked about quitting at the half marathon point.  We ran at about 8:12 pace going mostly downhill, probably my slowest starting pace ever.  I think Tony could have run faster but he didn’t want to leave me behind.  At mile 8, the half and full spilt up and as some yelled “Go Boston!” I bit my lip, sucked in my pain and went forward t the road of no return until mile 26.2.

What was holding me back? My hamstrings! I don’t know if it was the heart attack mountains from Boston or the 9 miles of going downhill but my calves and hammies were screaming and threatening to abandon me and leave my quads to fend for themselves.  The cold wet rain was not helping my constricting muscles either.  Finally after mile 10 I took the first of many walk breaks to keep my legs from locking up.

It was also at the moment that it decided to pour!  Before splitting up at mile 8 with Tony, he asked me if I wanted him to take my jacket since I was hot in the beginning and just had it bouncing around my waist.  I did, but after a second though realized I might regret that in the second half of my race when I was going to do some walking.  Yea when the rain got heavier, and I put on my jacket, I was very happy to have it!

SLC Marathon 6

House decorated with ribbons in honor of Boston around the halfway point.  After mile 9 the course got flatter with a few small gradual ups and downs.  The race support and crowd support was great.  The cheering crowd wasn’t as large as say Boston or NY but a lot of residents set up tents and stood outside their homes to cheer.  I expected race support and volunteers to pretty much die down after the half, but the full was treated just as well as the half!  It was raining and cold so who could blame them and when I ran Hyannis, a lot of the aid stations by the time I looped back for the 2nd half was empty.  Almost felt like a trail race.  Each aid table had water, red Powerade (which for some reason in comparison to Gatorade my stomach can tolerate), and a lot of them (maybe all but I’m not sure) had bananas, orange slices, and triberry Gu.  Since I wasn’t running as hard, or maybe I was too cold, I didn’t end up eating anything until I finished, but the triberry Gu did smell really good!

SLC Marathon 7

The last 6-7 miles were a mostly gradual downhill jog to the finish line.  Had it been a clear day, the view of the surrounding mountains would have been gorgeous for the whole race. It was awesome to run and any time someone ran by in Boston Marathon or Boston sports gear, the crowd cheered go Boston! The cops working the traffic and the people STUCK in traffic would honk and cheer and say great job!  It was a great community feel that I don’t think I’ve seen in any other marathon besides Boston.  Also thank goodness, for my legs, but the course did not end up at the same place we started so I did not have to ascend the 9 miles we descended in the beginning.  I would have cried and probably used up the 6.5 hours we had to finish the race, or had Tony pick me up once I got too cold.

SLC Marathon 7b

The food after finishing was lots of yogurts.  Dannon headquarters is located in Utah and they are a huge sponsor.  Also lots of pretzels and bananas and cookies.  I wasn’t really aware of much because I was freezing when I finished but I knew I wanted two bags of cookies because Tony would steal mine.   Tony also told me that after he finished they had delicious ham sandwiches but I didn’t really see any, probably because he must have eaten the whole table.  They had the shiny race blankets but you had to walk over to a tent in the park to get them.

Since the races end at Liberty Park and starts at Legacy Bridge which I think is miles apart, depending on where you park getting to your car can be tricky. From Liberty park there is a shuttle that takes you to a red line station with parking.  From there you can take the red line to Legacy Bridge area, which is what Tony did since he had a while to wait me to finish.  He did say getting back to the car took a while but I think it was worth it to skip the downhill.

SLC Marathon 8

Net Time – 3:56:54

Overall Place – 220/905

Gender Place – 52/370

Tony finished his half in 1:48:47!

Somewhere along mile 20 when I realized it’s all downhill from there I wanted to go for sub 4, I guess whether we run fast or slow, good days or bad, runner’s still have mini goals.  Although there was no one waiting for me at the finish line, my ego was big enough to congratulate myself on my own! Had I skipped Boston and only trained for this course, I would have probably PRed, had the weather been beautiful, I would have PRed more.   I’m not sure when the total lost elevation was since the race doesn’t provide a chart, but all I can say is that what went down, never really came back up.  If I lived within a driving distance, I would definitely run the course again.  It was beautiful and fun even in awful weather.

SLC Marathon Splits

My splits are very inconsistent but then again my Boston ones aren’t any more logical.

I don’t regret running Boston (I ran a 3:26 race), because aside from what happened afterwards, no PR can replace having friends and family you love along the course.  The strangers in SLC were uplifting and got me to run more than walk, but it’s not the same.

2013 Boston Marathon Tragedy – Cash Donations

A lot of friends, family & readers have asked me if I know where they can donate to help the families and individuals killed and injured during Monday’s attack. A lot of the injuries are life altering (emotional and physically) where many of the injured individuals ended up losing a leg if not both.  There has been a ton of organized runs, walks and gatherings organized to show support.  Below I’m listing where you can make monetary contributions to help those who will need it.

One Fund – The city of Boston set up with the purpose of which is to raise money to help those families most affected by the tragic events that unfolded during Monday’s Boston Marathon.  I think most small general fundraisers will end up giving to this fund, so you can skip the middle man and donate directly.

Donations to specific individualsThese are the ones I know, if you know anyone else, please comment or email me and I will add as I can to the list.

Stoneham residents – Marc Fucarile, Jp Norden and Paul have a charity account at TD Bank. You can call, mail, or drop off a donation at any location. The name on the account is Marc, JP, and Paul Marathon Victim Fund. The account number is 8371871647. Donations can be mailed to TD Bank 280 Montvale Ave. Woburn MA 01801. More information from the Stoneham Patch article.

The Richard Family Fund – We’ve all seen the heartbreaking photo of 8 year old Martin holding his peace sign. A fund has been started for his sister and mother who were severely injured.

Celeste and Sydney Corcoran Recovery Fund – Both mother and daughter were severely injured from the bombings and are dealing with numerous surgeries.

The White Family Recovery – Three family members were severely injured and one has lost a limb.

Benefit For Bauman – Jeff was waiting for his girlfriend to cross the finish line. He lost both of his legs, severe burns and suffered vision damage.

There’s other fundraisers where a part of the proceeds will go toward donations. BostonInno put a pretty good list together.

For the past 10 years Boston has been my home and with it so has the Marathon, whether it was drinking by BU, cheering from my office in Back Bay or running it for the past two years.  I love Boston and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

I will post a recap of the race, that will focus on the race and not the tragedy that unfolded afterwards.  I know that running is very insignificant in retrospect of what happened but I do believe that resuming life, and celebrating the achievements of that day is one of the best ways to fight back.  I don’t know who or why or what cause someone to do this, but they will not stop me from running or loving my city and way of life.  I’ll be running Salt Lake City marathon this weekend and Boston’s Run to Remember next month and most importantly, I will be back in 2014 to run the Boston Marathon.

Thank you all for reaching out and having me in your thoughts.  I am so incredibly lucky for everything.  Thankfully, everyone who was waiting for me at the finish line was a few blocks off including myself.  My thoughts are with the injured and their families.

Flying High on Boston – Marathon Goals

To keep up with me tomorrow for the marathon text “Runner” to 345678 and then reply with my Bib Number “11075”

 

I’ve been reading a lot of beautiful and elegant posts on Boston Marathon goals.  I apologize in advance, but this post will be as frantic as the thoughts in my head.

I’ve been getting lost in the excitement of the Boston Marathon.  How lost? I waited on a line for 2 hours to meet Kara & Shalane when in the past I’ve stormed off a 5 minute wait for the new IPhone.

For the first time, I can talk to friends and people around me about running a marathon distance without them looking at me like I’m nuts before reading me a repertoire of running injuries I’m going to get or better yet tell me how if I did cross fit, I’d only have to exercise for 45 minutes.  I don’t run distance for exercise, I run it for happiness.

In a weird way, Boston Marathon makes me feel normal for once about my hobby instead of an outside weirdo who should be more into hair and fashion, than running shoes.

Goals

start-finish

1. To Do Better Than Last Year – I ran/crawled/cried/hallucinated to the finish line in 5 hours and 11 minutes.  Last year I sat in the sun while waiting for the race to start, I ran 10 miles the day before, I relied on race fuel (nasty PowerBar gel that resembles diarrhea at mile 17).  And I wasted a ton of energy trying to break through the awful crowd of starting last.

2. Run on effort but don’t waste it on the start – The first few miles are crowded and messy.  Hopefully, since I’m starting this year with people who ran a 3:24 and not literally the end of the last wave, last corral, things will move a little faster.  I will not waste my energy trying to get past people at the start, I have the other 26 miles to blaze past people or pretend I am.

3. To Finish – I ran 29 miles on a snowy trail three weeks ago. Unless I get hit by the T or miss my bus to Hopkinton, I will finish.

4. To PR Sub 3:24 – I ran a 3:34 less than 2 months ago in the freezing rain and have been focusing on speed the past 4 weeks.  Last year, I ran 3:24 in March after training on a little bit higher mileage per week.  I don’t look nor feel overall fitter than March 2012, but there’s something to be said for having a stronger base and a year of marathon running under your belt.

5. Sub 3:20 – It’s a stretch! My half PR is a pace of 7:30 in slightly windy conditions.  Monday’s weather is expected to be perfect.  Can I train to a sub 3:20? Yes, have I been? Only for the past 3 weeks have I added speed works and targeted tempo runs.  I’ve been doing a good job at hitting targets, but have not incorporated them into my long runs.  To be honest with myself, I’ve had the marathon distance on the back burner and been focusing on 50 miler distance building until a month ago.  To decide last minute that I want to PR to sub 3:20 is a little silly.  I haven’t trained for it and I probably don’t deserve it, but goal A this shall be.  I have a friend helping me for the last 6 miles which are usually my bitch, whine, take walk breaks miles when I’m alone.  Maybe that’ll make the difference.

6. Have fun! This is the only time of year I get to run on a course filled with loved ones!  I will stop and hug every friend who lets me and doesn’t mind sharing my sweat!  Because those moments are more important than a few extra seconds on a PR.  I’m a lucky girl.

❤ ❤ ❤

Meeting Desiree Davila, Shalane Flanagan, Kara Goucher – 2013 Boston Marathon Expo!

Kara & Shalane Meet Up

Speechless! Utterly speechless.  I got to meet for a few seconds the three best female marathoners in the U.S.!! And in 48 hours I get to run in their footsteps. The Nissan people didn’t do a great job controlling the crowd or line or anything but the girls were really great, friendly and patient!  I want to hang out and discuss geeky running things with them and go for a run!

Meeting Desi at Boston

Before meeting Shalane & Kara, I stopped by Brooks booth to see Desi Davila, who unfortunately isn’t running Boston.  She’s still recovering from a femoral stress fracture and I hope she gets better! Desi was second in the 2011 Boston Marathon in 2:22:38, two seconds behind Caroline Kilel of Kenya. I felt like a giant in comparison with her!
Liana Boston Passport

I picked up my number on Friday but had no time to walk around and explore.  This year they did this runner’s passport thing where you get to walk around and feel special.  I got mine sign and wish I thought of the idea when I met Desi but it only came to me when I waited on a 2 hour line to meet Kara & Shalane.  It was 30 degrees outside and like 100 degrees inside, or maybe I was nervous but I got pretty sweaty.  Hope the girls didn’t think I was too stinky!

Jacked Up Boston Marathon

Yea, Jack is ready too.  He can run circles are anyone’s BQ.

2013 Marathon Shirt

This year’s swag bag had a yellow long sleeve.  It will be a nice addition to my blue one that I wear all the time.  I once was running on the Charles and there was a guy running in a yellow BAA shirt and I was pretty jealous.  So glad to have my own!  I thought about buying another one but I decided I’ll reserve my collection for each BQ I earn.

26.2 Bottle Opener

This was also a new addition to the swag bag!  Unfortunately, they cheaped out on adding a magnet, so instead of displaying it proudly on my fridge, it’s in a drawer.

Rocked my way to Boston

I stopped by the RnR Booth and since I BQed on a RnR Race, I got to rock the hat all the way home.  Since it rained on Friday, I appreciated the hair protection.

Boston Expo Swag

Other things gathered for free at the expo is similar to 2012.  Tony was with me and that’s why we have doubles.  Sometimes I hoard free samples but I promise not this time! I probably would have skipped but since I’m going hiking for a week, figured the lara bars are perfect,  Other things that were eaten before I even left was this AHHH Mazing Goji yogurt and frozen Kefir.

Expo purchase

I usually don’t buy things at expos, crowds, my impatience and fear of people usually does that.  However, I’ve been wanting to check out Injini socks everyone loves.  I couldn’t cough up the $40 for the compression socks but these shorties were only $5.  Also Saucony arm sleeves I’ve been wanting for a while and decided it was time to treat myself.  And Nuun because i’m running low and buying them at expos is usually cheaper than stores or online.

Do you ever buy things at expos?