Friday, March 6, 2015

Race Review: Clearwater Halfathon

A quick long weekend getaway to Florida is ALWAYS a good idea coming from a cold D.C. winter.  When we realized there were fairly decent flights to Tampa over MLK weekend, we decided to jump on them.  Being the racing fanatics that we are, we also had to look to see if there were any races being held in the area.  Lo and behold, I found the Clearwater Halfathon and I am so happy I stumbled upon this gem of a race!

We have vacationed in Clearwater a few times and we really like it.  When we looked at the course map online, we knew we had to register...we knew the views would be amazing but we also knew it wouldn't be an easy course.


Price:  We paid $85 each which really isn't that bad for a half marathon. 

Expo/Packet Pick Up:  This was held the day before in the same park that would lend itself to the start and finish.  It was small, but it got done what it needed!  I wasn't a fan of the shirts though.  They did give a choice at packet pick up of a long sleeve cotton tee or a short sleeve tech tee.  I took the long sleeve because the tech was gender neutral and very boxy.  I don't often wear shirts from any race though.

Course:  The course stayed pretty close to the beach for the entire 13.1 miles.  We crossed a pretty steep bridge right away and headed to the beach. 

As we approached this hotel, I thought these were spectators!  Whoops!
Then another bridge brings us over more water and through Sand Key State Park and then into a more residential area for the middle portion of the race.  This was the section with the least amount of views and I just tried to settle in and focus on pace and breath.  After the turn around, I ran with another runner about my pace during this section to keep myself in the game.  Then we hit the bridge again I took off on the uphill and decided to pick up my pace.  We were staying at a hotel right along the course so on the return portion I was able to see my mom and my daughter wave to me on the way past the hotel.  I loved that!  Everything was going well and I was happy about my pace....then I hit the final bridge.  Heading up legs just felt so heavy and I felt so tired.  Final mile though!  Once I reached the top, I tried to open the stride and maximize the downhill but we come off the bridge in a really neat spiral shaped pedestrian bridge, which was really neat but not the best for speed!  Once I reached flat ground I raced the final .2 to the finish line with a smile.  I really enjoyed this race!

Finish Party:  Unlimited Light Beer, Pasta and snacks.  The guy who was the MC for the awards after party was great.  He definitely was some type of radio personality and very lively and funny!  There was nothing like sitting in the warm sun, enjoying a beer after running a hard 13 miles.  I got to meet up with a friend from DC who was in town running too!  So great to see my run bud Melissa who blogs at Eat on the Run.  Her recap of the race here
My husband ended up getting 3rd in his AG.  So proud of him! 

I would definitely do this race again and the hubby and I have already talked about trying to make this an annual MLK weekend escape! 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Oops....I did it again!

Oops....I did it again.  I signed up for another marathon!  After I crossed the finish line of marathon #3 at Marine Corps Marathon I said I wouldn't do one again...or at least for a long while.  But as the days pass, so do the memories of the pain! 

When I saw that there was a marathon that follows a very similar course to one of my favorite destination long runs, plus a one day coupon code...I jumped on it.  I still have that nagging desire in the back of my head telling me that one day I CAN and I WILL qualify for Boston.  But in order to do so, I have to run more marathons....and train really, really hard. 

So, this May I will be hitting the road for Marathon #4 at the Coastal Delaware Running Festival.  I am a bit nervous for the timing...May could potentially be very hot.  This past fall's Marine Corps Marathon was in the 70s and I felt very dehydrated.  So it may not be a BQ, but hopefully it will be fun!

I am have been testing out some new gear this training cycle and have been very happy with the Eddie Bauer Motion Series.  Very comfortable and I am loving the mint green color of my new capris and matching top. 

So until then, I am getting in the training runs as best I can, cross training with spin, yoga and weights and working on speed as I still hope to PR in the half marathon at the Rock n Roll Nations Capitol in March.
Yoga in my Eddie Bauer Motion series tank, capris and trail shoes. 

How are you staying active this winter and what races are you training for this Spring?

Monday, February 9, 2015

ActivMotion Bar Review

I was sent the ActivMotion bar to review.  It is a workout tool that is a four foot long weighted bar with moving weighted balls inside.  When you move the bar one direction, the movement is exaggerated as the weight shifts in the direction of that movement.  

The idea is to engage your core and stabilizing muscles as you constantly trying to regain balance and counteract the bars own movement.    It took a little bit of getting used to and my first few exercises were not very graceful.  The bar feeling like it was moving on it's own was a unique feeling!  But I started to get the hang of it!  

With the bar, I was also sent videos to follow along with.  This was very helpful because I almost wouldn't have known where to start!  I had some ideas in my head as a fitness instructor of how I would use it but the videos gave me even more.   I was up for a challenge, so I jumped right in with the Level 3 video as my first go at it. 

Yes, I know- my workout area of my basement is not glamorous!  The Level 3 video was a 30 minute circuit workout that included floor work, dynamic movements and smaller pulsing moves.  At the end, Derek Mikulski, the creator of ActivMotion bar said if it's too easy it's time to up your game by doing the advanced movements (which I was) or increase the weight of the bar.  I definitely felt like I needed a bit more of a challenge.  I think I need a heavier bar.  I was sent the 6lb bar, but felt I could have upped my weight.  The bar comes in 6lb, 8lb, 10lb, 15lb and 18lb. 
Overall, a good workout that I was able to do from the comfort of my home.  I felt the video was engaging and fun.  It keep my interest! 


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Mamma Chia Organic Energy Beverages Review and Giveaway!

Mamma Chia graciously sent me some of their new Organic Energy beverages to try.  They were delicious.  I love anything chia and I think chia is an amazing little seed!  During winter break, I drank some before most of my runs.  Caffeine and Chia = winning combination. 
Mamma Chia made it possible for me to share goodness!  They are allowing me to give away:
  • One week supply of Mamma Chia Organic Energy beverages
  • One week supply of Chia Squeezes
  • Mamma Chia Camelbak water bottle

  • I love the chia squeezes as well (and so does my daughter!).  They are perfect to have in my bag as a quick snack! 

    You can find hem on Facebook - @MammaChia1 and on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest  – @MammaChia
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    #TakeTheLeap 30 days of Yoga Challenge!

    When I think about yoga, the first thought that comes to mind is strength. Yoga strengthens me and makes me feel grounded.

    That’s why I am SO pumped)to participate in prAna’s Take The Leap 30 days of Yoga Challenge with Sweat Pink. I plan to "wheel" my way to a more flexible and strong 2015!

    For me, the biggest challenge when it comes to yoga is consistency. Taking the Leap with prAna and Sweat Pink is a great way for me to find my year of strong!

    My favorite place to yoga is in a yoga studio because it is so motivating to be around others sharing the same goal.

    Come on y’all, Take the Leap with me!

    Join prAna’s & Sweat Pink’s #TakeTheLeap 30 Days of Yoga Challenge and be eligible for a chance to win $500 worth of new prAna gear from their latest collection as well as gift an additional $500 worth of prAna gear to the person of their choice... because isn’t giving as important as receiving? They just launched their new Spring Collection so you best get on it!

    If I win I would gift the $500 to Kara at because she always inspires me with her running, her yoga, her teaching and her mindful food choices that are healthy for her family, animals and the planet! 

    Join the Take the Leap with prAna and Sweat Pink Facebook group / event which we’ll use for updates, sharing,and inspiration:

    Tuesday, February 3, 2015

    Looking to Add to Your 2015 Race Calendar? 10 Races Not to Be Missed!

    1.  Cherry Blossom Ten Miler.  April 12, 2015.  Not to be missed.  This race is a DC institution and self dubbed "Runner's Rite of Spring".   People travel from all over the US, hoping to get perfect race conditions that line up with peak blooms!  The lottery is over, but they do allow for bib transfers.  People are always selling their bibs as the race gets keep an eye out and put the word out that you are looking! 


    2.  Marine Corps Marathon.  October 25, 2015.  "More Than a Race".  So true.  You will feel such emotion and pride for your country running this one.  You will feel an amazing sense of gratitude for our service members and their families.  You can't beat the amazing 26.2 mile tour of the Washington, DC area...staring at the Pentagon, running past monuments, the Potomac River and ending at the Iwo Jima Memorial.  Entry for this race is also by lottery which opens March 13, 2015.   You can get guaranteed registration by running the 17.75k on March 28, 2015, but of course that will sell out quickly as well.   Registration for this race is on March 11, 2015 and will sell out in a matter of minutes. 

    3. Navy Air Force Half Marathon  Sunday Sept. 20, 2015.  This race is a great PR friendly course - mostly flat, start at the Washington Monument, through the monuments of DC and Rock Creek Park.  It comes in early September at the perfect time when all your hot summer training lends to a PR on the cool race morning!  It's a perfect race too because it hasn't become so popular (YET!) as it's relatively new and so there is no lottery for this one.  But mark my will grow every year!  Registration opened Feb. 2nd and use code COLLEEN at registration to be entered to win a tech tee!  Register here:

    4. Annapolis Running Classic  November 2015 Date TBD based of the Navy Football schedule.  Great race through historic Annapolis.  Not flat and not a PR race, but the after party will make the 13.1 mile jaunt well worth your time.  Lots of micro-brews and unlimited oysters in the party tent.  They always have amazing premiums for the runners as well. 

    5. Smuttynose Half Marathon Great seacoast course and a great medal with the Smuttynose Harbol Seal on the medal!  The beachfront after-party in true New England style is fantastic as well.  Lobster rolls, clam chowder, and Smuttynose Beer! 

    6. Nike Women's Half Marathon San Francisco.  October 2015. With no DC race this year, San Fran is your only US Nike Women's race to get that coveted Tiffany necklace at the finish line.  Entry is through lottery, unless you can prove that you are a college student and get guaranteed entry.  The course is hilly, but should afford you some great views of the city.  Unless it is socked in by fog of course!  But as always SF is a great city and it is a great destination race. 

    7.  New York City Marathon.  Nov. 1, 2015.  Need I say more?  The lottery is open right now 1/15/15-2/15/15.  What are you waiting for? 

    8. Army Ten Miler.  October 11, 2015.  A great racing distance, the 10 miler.  This is also a very popular race and sells out very quickly so you have to stay on top of registration when it opens on May 19, 2015. 

    9. Mountains to Beach Marathon May 24, 2015 A great Boston Qualifier that is slightly downhill the whole way from Ojai to the Beach.  Sponsored by Cliff Bar, you know you will be getting some great fuel along the course! 

    10. Lululemon SeaWheeze Half Marathon. August 15 2015 This race is already sold out for this summer and not sure if they allow bib transfers, but keep your eyes peeled for next year.  You can still attend the Sunset Festival attached to the race as tickets can be purchased separately if you aren't running.  A great waterfront course in Vancouver plus sunset yoga festival and concert.

    11. Thinking Ahead to 2016!  January 2016.  Clearwater Distance Festival!  A beautiful course with great ocean views.  A fantastic beach destination race but not for PRs as you will cross 2 bridges twice each.  Great post race festival with unlimited pasta and beer.     

    Monday, January 26, 2015

    The Color Run- The Happiest 5k on the Planet GIVEAWAY FOR TWO ENTRIES, ANY CITY!

    2015 marks the start of The Color Run Shine Tour...all the color and now glitter!
    Find your city's tour dates here:  They are all over the country!  If you don't see your date yet, sign up for updates and you will be the first to know when the date is released.

    Everyone in 2015 will receive a limited edition Shine Tour Participant Kit, including: custom race tee, gold finisher's medal, tricolor headband w/ silver stitching, brand-new shine packet, and shiny tattoos. Talk about "bling" with benefits!

    They are pumping up the 5k course and finish festival too! Look for a unique Sparkle Zone and killer photo ops on course. At the finish festival, get ready for confetti cannons, shimmering clouds of color, and more!





    The Color Run, also known as the Happiest 5k on the Planet, is a unique paint race that celebrates healthiness, happiness and individuality.
    Now the single largest event series in the world, The Color Run has exploded since our debut event. We have more than tripled our growth, hosting more than 300 events in 50+ countries in 2014.
     You can't beat two free entries into this very cool race.  Have the time of your life! 

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Ends on Feb. 15th, 2015