Posts Tagged ‘nuun’

Friday Five

I’ve never really been a gear-head, and I’m not the kind of person to be beholden to a brand. I like what I like, but I’m always willing to try new things and I’m pretty suggestible. However, since becoming a BibRave Pro in 2015, I’ve been rewarded with the opportunity to experiment with running-related gear that I might never had encountered otherwise. In addition, as I’ve increased my engagement (one of my Themes for 2016) with the running community both locally and on social media, I’ve been exposed to different ways of thinking and innovative products out in the market.

Without further ado, here are five running brands I’m loving right now!

Strava

When I first started running, it was a true struggle. One kilometre had me achy and winded. In those early days, it became clear that tracking my progress was motivating, so I outfitted myself with a Nike+ iPod. My commitment to running grew and technology – combined with social media interaction – became more of a priority. I switched from Nike to Garmin (mostly so I could use GPS without roaming fees!).

Running Brands - Strava

And then came Strava. While it’s not exactly ‘gear’, it is a social media platform and a community of athletes that has developed into a true inspiration. It syncs ‘automagically’ (one of my favourite words) with my Garmin, and I can follow my friends and running buddies all over the world. It has a great app! It’s free!

I welcome you to follow me – I’ll follow you back – right here.

nuun

One of my shortcomings when it comes to training is proper fuelling. My approach is somewhat ad hoc, I make things up as I go. But when I don’t hydrate properly – which nearly knocked me over during the 2014 Scotiabank Half – I suffer for it.

My very first encounter with nuun was at the expo of the Ottawa Half Marathon. These guys were awesome to talk to, and really stood behind their product. And now I do, too!

Running Brands - nuun

nuun comes in effervescent tablet form, and in a range of delectable flavours. Watermelon is my favourite, but lemon-lime is pretty tasty, too. Drop nuun into a glass or bottle of water, and you’re off to the races – or, perhaps, recovering from one! Drink up!

XX2i

Running Brands - xx2i

I’m not going to reiterate too much what I already wrote in my recent review of xx2i Sunglasses. What I can tell you, though, is that I cannot wait until the rainy Vancouver winter turns into a sunny summer, because I will be wearing these things ALL THE TIME. I’m enamoured with xx2i. Enough said – but seriously, go read my review for the real scoop!

BUFF

Oh, Buff – what can I say about you that hasn’t already been said? If there was one running item that gave me the most delight in 2015, it would be Buff. It’s a headband! It’s a neck warmer! It’s a cap! If you happen to have hair – unlike me – it’s a hairband! This multi-functional piece of material has become a staple of both training runs and races, especially since the weather turned a bit chillier.

Running Brands - BUFF

I’m actually wearing TWO Buffs!

Again, I’m not going to give you the full run-down here…so check out my more-thumbs-up-than-I-have review!

SAD FACE: I think I’ve lost my Buff from the Overlander Half Marathon in Yellowknife (pictured above).

*****

Full confession – my fifth ‘brand I love’ is one that I’ve never tried. Let’s call it unrequited love.

Orange Mud

Running Brands - Orange Mud

On its reputation alone, Orange Mud is a product I want to get to know better. Generally speaking, on long runs I’m beholden to:  water stations during races; Coach Carey’s water stop during our Forerunners clinic; or water fountains around town. I cannot and will not wear a water belt – I’ve tried and it was sheer misery.

During a recent #bibchat (Tuesdays at 6pm Pacific!), I heard nothing but positive reviews of the Orange Mud Hydraquiver. It seemed to me that these folks should be hired on a salespeople by Orange Mud, so passionate were their professions of love enthusiasm for this product.

Running Brands - Orange Mud

Since I can’t speak from first-hand experience, I’m going to refer you to a review by fellow BibRave Pro, Chadd Balbi – read his post here.

I may have convinced myself to make Orange Mud my next running purchase!

 

What about you? What’s your favourite running brand?
And what’s on your wish list – that brand you really want to try out?

DC-Trifecta-Friday-Five-linkup

As you might have guessed, the theme of this week’s Friday Five is ‘Favourites’. I’m excited to once again link up with the awesome folks of the DC Trifecta:  Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Mar at Mar on the Run, and Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!

Happy to join Jessica at The Silvah Lining for her #TuesdayTales race recap link up! Share your race recaps!

The Silvah Lining

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I feel like a lot has happened in the past few days – and all of it good! Thinking about how to sum up an amazing weekend in Northern California combined with a world-class half marathon, I’m almost at a loss for words. Almost. Because I’ve still got lots to say!

Signing Up

I’m not exactly sure what put the San Francisco Half Marathon on my radar. But at some point I decided it was going to be on of my 2015 #yearofthehalf races. I checked in with my dear friend, Wendy, who I’ve known since we met in Japan some years back. She and her family live in Marin County, just over the Golden Gate Bridge. Can we visit in July?  I asked way back in February. Confirmed!

So we arrived at SFO late on Friday night. Wendy was there to pick us up, and given that we hadn’t seen each other in 5 years, there was lots of catching up to do!

Expo Day

Despite our late arrival, I had decided to do some Marin County training. We were staying in Mill Valley, hidden amongst the redwoods. I ventured out into town and back, and managed a 5.5km shakeout run while the rest of the gang went to a local cafe. It was beautiful.

Then we were off to the Expo! Wendy said she was expecting a table with bibs – not the huge event that it actually was! Not surprisingly, the place was heaving. With a full marathon, TWO half marathons, a 5k AND an ultra (double) marathon to be run, some 25,000 people had to pick up their race packets.

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In what was arguably some strategic planning, the packet pickup was at the very back of the venue, requiring all participants to walk amongst the vendors and sponsors.

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It took more time to fight through the crowd than it did to get my bib and T-shirt. I grabbed a couple of quick samples – my beloved nuun and some Simply 7 Hummus Chips – but limited my browsing since we had Wendy’s daughter in tow.

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We napped in the afternoon, and then had dinner by the water in Tiburon – with views of Angel Island and San Fran in the distance.

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After dinner, prepped my gear for an early morning…

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Race Day

In order to ensure we were downtown in time for the 5:30am start, the household was up at 3:30am. I had coffee, oatmeal and toast with peanut butter – nothing fancy or unfamiliar, and certainly no smoothie! But despite taking my time before we left, I knew a potty break would be required.

Traffic was light and I was dropped off a block from the start line before 5am. I made a beeline for the toilet lines, which were thankfully short.

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Then I made my way to the starting corral. It was dark, with the lights of the Bay Bridge as a backdrop.

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The San Francisco Marathon is unique. Those running the First Half Marathon (like me) start out with the Full Marathon runners. We follow the same route until the final mile in Golden Gate Park – the half marathoners veer left to the finish, and the full marathoners continue. And at mile 13, the Second Half Marathon runners start their race (around 8am) and follow the remainder of the marathon route.

Long story short, there were both half and full marathon runners with me in the corral. (I wore my Tiux Compression Socks, too!)

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At 5:30, the gun went off and the elites headed out. Our wave started two minutes later.

The Waterfront – The ‘Flat’ Part

The route took us along the Embarcadero, the historic waterfront with all the Piers. Pier 33 – the ferry to Alcatraz. Pier 39 – the Aquarium. Fisherman’s Wharf. I tried to take photos as I was running, but this is all I got:

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I realized within the first mile or so that I shouldn’t have gone to my corral so soon. I should have lined up again for the toilets. I really had to pee.

At the first water stop, I made a decision – it was now or never, stop for a potty break or be miserable for the next 90 minutes. I erred on the side of comfort, and added about 45 seconds to my overall time. But it was my best decision that morning.

Then we met our first hill.

Up and up, up to the top of Fort Mason. A blip on the elevation profile, a chore in real life. Thankfully, with an empty bladder, I was feeling quite spritely and made it to the top without incident. Here we had some pretty remarkable views of the city, but none of my blurry photos do it justice. We wended our way back down to the waterfront.

Past the Palace of Fine Arts, through Crissy Field. And thanks to the generosity of Hoka One One – free race photo number one!

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Through the fog and the brightening sky, the Golden Gate Bridge came into view.

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At Mile 5, the game changed. The hills that San Francisco is renowned for – this was one of them. Not like the Fort Mason hill – a legit hill. We somehow had to get to the bridge, and up was the only option! I was determined not to walk, no matter how slow I was going. The road twisted and curved, and suddenly it was there in front of me (the blurriness evokes some of the ‘feel’ of the run…)

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The Bridge

That’s right folks! My purpose for being here. The reason I chose the First Half. The icon of San Francisco. The Golden Gate Bridge!

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The upper reaches were still shrouded in fog. It was surprisingly quiet. There was a bit of traffic – only the 3 lanes on the east side were for runners. It was windy. It was amazing to be there.

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The bridge deck is about a mile and a half long (over 2,500 metres) – and midway across we encountered the lead runners on their return journey. I was paying more attention to them than to my laboured breathing. It was inspiring. And at some point, we hit the halfway mark.

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At the far side of the bridge, we did a loop around the lookout point – I didn’t stop to take in the view, and I’m pretty sure it was still too foggy to see much. Then we were the ones heading back, and an increasing volume of runners were approaching.

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The toll gates were all flashing SLOW but a sign above clearly stated DON’T STOP – I took this as encouragement, and forged ahead.

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To the Finish

Although running the Golden Gate was the obvious highlight of this race, my truly favourite section followed. We were running Lincoln Boulevard, along the western edge of The Presidio. Nothing but the wild Pacific Ocean spreading out to our right. The crowds had thinned, and even the runners started to spread out a bit – we were heading up again…

At the peak, the sweeping vistas were breathtaking. The photos do not do justice.

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Downhill again.

The final stretch took us through the streets of the city, with some of that awesome San Fran architecture. I did not take photos on the run, but here are a few from the day before…

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Left turn. We’re in Golden Gate Park. A curve. Another left, while the marathoners turn right. Where is the finish line? Another curve and there it is – I speed up for (what I hoped would be) a strong finish.

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They call my name – Wendy, just steps from the announcer, corrects his pronunciation – and he repeats it. This makes me grin like an idiot.

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A medal. A space blanket. Some food AND some Irish coffee! My 7th half marathon of 2015 is complete!

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The Holiday Continues

It’s only 7:30am! The day stretches out ahead of us! We drive back over the Golden Gate Bridge, as runners continue their journey. I’m glad to be done. The day involves:

Brunch!

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A nap!

Late lunch and some errands with the family.

An amazing massage (I got treated!)

Then a relaxing dinner at home.

Monday was a bit more on the sightseeing front:

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An amazing race weekend – and more importantly a fantastic time with good friends. We will be back for another race!!

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Final Results

Chip Time: 1:50:10
Average pace: 8:25 min/mile (5:13 min/km)
Overall: 620/7727
Age Ranking: 99/845

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RACE REPORT

Overall
What a great race! The scenery, the city, the energy, the people, the Bridge! What more can I say?

Packet Pickup/Expo
Crazy busy expo, extremely crowded parking lot. To be fair, they warned us repeatedly to take transit to get there – but we were with a family coming from outside of the city, so it made more sense to drive. I found the flow of people inside a bit challenging. Because the bib/shirt pickup was at the very back of the hall, you had to fight your way through some serious crowds. I prefer it when you can enter, get your stuff, and then wander through the expo.

T-Shirt/Swag
Long-sleeved t-shirt in orange. I didn’t wear it for the race, but I will look forward to wearing it when the weather cools off. Pleased with the design and the colour. The medal is quite lovely, if a bit small. It has a classic feel to it. The unexpected perk was the free race photos sponsored by Hoka One One!

Course
The First Half starts out flat, has a fairly short, steep hill, and then is flat again until you head upwards to the Golden Gate Bridge. The Bridge itself has a gradual, gentle slope. The rest of the course is fairly consistent up and down to the finish. A challenging course with some amazing views. The fog on race day made it a wee bit less scenic, but cooler to run!

Aid Stations
There were several, and I think they all had nuun and water. I grabbed nuun at a couple of them. On the far side of Golden Gate, they were handing out Gu Chew packets. Everything seemed quite efficient.

Post-Race
I believe there were more festivities at the very end – where the Full Marathon and Second Half finished. At the First Half finish line we had bananas, Muscle Milk and a few other items – but most importantly, Irish Coffee! Yum! Also, got nifty space blankets!

Race Management
No flaws in management that I could identify. Good race communication via email and social media, on-time start, and a smooth flow of things. I was pleased. I’ll definitely keep this race in mind for future!!

Have you ever been to San Francisco? What’s your favourite sight?
Have you run any of the San Francisco Marathon races? Would you consider it?