Tanri Outdoors Suncare Products Review

Disclaimer: I received Tanri products to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

I have a confession…I am AWFUL at skincare.

I don’t have a good skincare routine, because I don’t really have a routine at all.

The shame I feel is real.

I knew this is something I needed to fix, sooner rather than later, and that is where Tanri comes in.

I was able to test out four of their amazing products and found that I could easily fit each one into my daily, and running, routine.

The four products were:

SPF 30 Sunscreen

I enjoyed this sunscreen as it didn’t have a distinctive smell and is mineral-based/all-natural. It also didn’t sting as a traditional sunscreen would when it got in my eyes (as sunscreen always seems to do).

The one negative about this product is that it is a little stubborn on application. For example, I didn’t rub it in nearly enough the first couple of uses and it ran off my legs like water after I started to sweat.

That’s ok, though. Tanri is just trying to tell me I need to slow down and spend more time “securing” my skin.

SPF 15 Daily Moisturizer

Again, I’m not the best with skincare, much less daily skincare.

This little pump bottle made it easy, though, and I am happy to report it is a “founding father” of my new routine.

After Sun Restorative Moisturizer

Being (cough, cough) not fast, I can spend a lot of time out in the sun to finish my runs.

That makes this product a “skin-saver”.

I think I will get the most use out of it!

Chai SPF 15 Lip Balm

Last, but certainly not least, was a product I didn’t even think about for suncare.

I mean, I know people use the phrase “sun-kissed”, but do you usually sunscreen your lips?

I know I didn’t…until now.

I LOVED this product.

It was easy to apply, make my lips feel great (and protected), and smelled of chai.

Win-win-win!

Thank you, Tanri, for helping this distant relative of Casper and skincare newb find her way.

If you want to score some of your own Tanri products and improve your skin (routine), use the code BIBRAVE10 for 10% off on tanri.com!

Hurry, though, the code expires on 6/30/21.

Now, go (safely) soak up the sun!

Run to Escape Series: Mission Mt. Olympus

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Run to Escape Series: Mission Mt Olympus to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

I have done a TON of virtual races since I began my running journey in 2013.

HOWEVER, RTE’s Mission Mt. Olympus is something else…it is a virtual experience!

Now, let me explain what I mean by that.

A normal race, virtual or otherwise, is typically for one run or one distance.

RTE’s experience is not.

It is six runs at varying distances and each run comes with it’s own unique challenge.

The overall objective of this series is to help Atalanta (the Greek Goddess of Running) secure a spot in the Pantheon by solving individual puzzles that the other gods have left behind.

Kind of like the challenges from “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” except without the two-faced guy (it does still have a three-headed dog around, though).

You will receive audio clues from the gods themselves through the Runkeeper app and a puzzle to solve after you’ve done your run via e-mail.

BONUS: As part of your registration, you will be entered to win weekly giveaways (i.e. Aftershokz and Knockaround sunglasses)!

Apollo and I in our Knockaround sunnies!

I LOVE puzzles and riddles, so this experience was right up my alley.

I could not wait to get through my run to see what the gods had deemed too hard for a mere mortal to solve. It was extremely motivating but, more importantly, FUN!

Athena thinks she is SO smart but, once I was on the run, it was GAME OVER!

While you don’t get a medal or a t-shirt for this experience, as you would for a virtual race, you get something even better.

You get multiple runs that break up the monotonous training cycle and an invite to the Pantheon Party (I won’t spoil it for you, but it is more, dare I say better, than a free banana).

Just me hanging out on Mt. Olympus!

Moral of the story?

If you are looking for some fun on the run while also challenging your brain, sign up for this experience.

Otherwise, we may just have another Greek tragedy on our hands.

Use the code “BIBRAVE10” for 10% off registration and tell Hermes that I sent you!

God(s)speed!

ROAD iD Wrist iD Product Review

Disclaimer: I received a ROAD iD product to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

Let me start by saying that I have wanted a ROAD iD product for a LONG time.

Well, Christmas came early and I am now the proud owner of a Wrist iD!

So, let me tell you the pros and cons of this product in case you want to customize one of your own, too.

Pros:

  • Safety- sadly, as a (mostly) solo female runner, I often have to think about what I would do if something happened to me out on the road. This little accessory gives me piece of mind. It has all of my emergency contacts on it in case I am unable to provide that information myself.
  • Motivational- while I have been lacking in this area lately, I do love that, when I’m feeling down, all I have to do is to look down at my wrist for a little jolt of encouragement via my favorite running mantra.
  • Adaptability- I mean it goes with everything. Even my craziest running costumes. That’s all I have to say about that!

Cons:

  • Umm…the clasp took me a while to get the hang off. Although, ROAD iD does give you a “how-to”. Instructions are hard.

As you can see, the pros outweigh the cons, or semi-con, so it is safe (haha get it) to say that I highly recommend grabbing this product for your next run.

BONUS: If you want to score some free shipping on a ROAD iD product of your own, use the code SHIP4FREEBRP!

Tell them Meredith sent you!

2020 Virtual Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k- Oklahoma City

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

This week, I participated in a VERY sweet race.

The 2020 Virtual Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k- Oklahoma City through BibRave, to be exact!

First of all, let me get this out of the way.

I would’ve LOVED to do this race “irl” (wouldn’t we all?), but I tried my best to still make this a sweet experience.

First, I planned to run this in a place that I don’t normally run in.

Having treadmill trouble definitely helped with this step and I ended up running in a near-by school playground!

New furry friend I “ran” into on course

Second, I set up “stations” at every mile containing a different element of hot chocolate so that, by the end of the race, I would have everything I needed to build the perfect cuppa!

1 mile means (spooky) marshmallows
2 miles= CHOCOLATE!
Favorite mug to say, “Cheers to 3.1!”

Lastly, I saved my swag until after I’d finished the race as a reward!

SUPER sweet swag!

Moral of the story?

You can make every run a little sweeter with some simple switches.

I can’t wait to run one of these races in person one day (maybe with some of you) but, until then, enjoy this video and STAY SWEET!

Runderwear’s Paris Marathon Sweepstakes–Enter Now!

Disclaimer: I received Runderwear products to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

Last year, I had the extraordinary opportunity to run my first international race…in Paris.

Disneyland Paris that is.

While I spent most of my time with everyone’s favorite mouse, I did have the chance to explore the City of Light a bit.

I ate macarons, sat at an outdoor café, bought a beret, and visited the Eiffel Tower!

Beret or Nay?

Despite getting to do these things, though, I would LOVE to go back and explore this wonderful city even more some day.

This is where you come in.

You see, your someday could be right around the corner, because…

(drumroll)

Runderwear is giving you and a friend a chance to run in France as participants in the 2020 Paris Marathon!

Just so you know, the Paris Marathon starts at the Arc de Triomphe, runs through the Place de la Bastille, AND has views of the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower.

See THIS for yourself!

Talk about a walking running tour!

The sweepstakes includes:

  • Two (2) admissions to the Paris Marathon in April 2020
  • Round-trip airfare for two (2) from the United States to London, England
  • Hotel accommodations for one night in London, England
  • Two (2) Eurostar tickets from London, England to Paris, France
  • Hotel accommodations for three nights in Paris, France
  • A full Runderwear kit
  • Plus, additional partner prizes!

Read all of the details and ENTER NOW at: http://bit.ly/bibraveparis

The 2019 TCS New York City Marathon

I cannot believe that it has been over a month since I took on the Big Apple.

It just hasn’t fully sunk in. Maybe this recap will help with that, though.

So, without further ado, here is my 2019 TCS New York City Marathon experience!

Why New York?:

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always wanted to go to New York.

It has everything I love.

Broadway and movie/TV references and historic landmarks. O my!

Now, as an adult, I found another reason to visit.

New York plays host to one of the six Abbott World Marathon Majors.

Well, this is a no-brainer!

Interesting fact: The New York City Marathon is the largest marathon in the world. This year, 53,627 runners crossed the finish line. Spoiler: I was one of them!

“One bite and all your dreams will come true!”

Entry:

Here are the ways you can get into the New York City Marathon

  • Elite (i.e. super fast people)
  • Celebrity
  • Qualify based on time
  • NYRR’s 9+1 program
  • Competitions (rare)
  • Sponsor organizations (again, rare)
  • Travel agencies with marathon/tour packages (international only)
  • Ballot (lottery drawing of sorts)
  • Charity/Team for Kids
  • New Balance Rewards
  • NYRR Virtual from previous year (limited spots and has rules)
  • Claim a deferred entry
  • 15+ Legacy Program (run 15 NYC Marathons and have guaranteed entry for life)

I did enter the ballot, but did not get in. The odds were not in my favor.

I thought that was it for my chances this year as I did not want to fund raise for two marathons in the same year.

I figured that might be asking too much of my supporters even with the many, many good causes available to support.

So, I looked at running the virtual marathon in hopes of gaining entry into the 2020 anniversary race.

I was so nervous about:

1. Being quick enough to register for one of the guaranteed entry spots (the Internet breaks when these things open), 2. Being able to meet the time requirement, 3. Running the full distance solo (i.e. without race support or any distractions), and 4. Being dependent on weather/a time-keeping app (you only had one weekend, and essentially one run, to get it right).

Then, something amazing happened.

I saw a deal through New Balance Rewards for a bib.

It even waived the race entry fee!

While I didn’t have the 10,000 points needed, there was a person in a Facebook group I had joined for the Majors that was close and wasn’t going to be able to use them.

So, with some trust, some phone calls, and some New Balance items bought to get my new friend’s total to 10,000 (items I would need anyway and that were still less than the race fee), I was in!

O, the power of social media. Don’t underestimate it.

I originally thought I was doing this/in for the 2020 race. The realization that it was for the 2019 race came quickly enough, though. It was just meant to be this year, I guess!

Side note: Thank you to my friend for getting me into this amazing event. I won’t mention your name so you won’t be bombarded, but you know who you are!

Hotel:

I stayed at the Parker New York.

My home away from home

This was a hotel that my sister actually found and it was great!

It was between Central Park and Times Square and, I’d say, 90% of the things I wanted/needed were within a couple of blocks…including race transportation..,but I’m getting ahead of myself.

(Tip: get a MetroCard or budget for taxis/Ubers. A combination of subways and rides saved my legs!)

Bright Lights, Big City

Pre-Race:

I’ve long dreamed of a trip to New York, as I mentioned, so I did have some things in mind that I wanted to do.

Pretty much your typical tourist things.

  • The Statue of Liberty (no, I didn’t go up into the crown…that whole “stairs before a marathon” rule again)
  • The Charging Bull and Fearless Girl
  • The NYSE (that was for my dad)
  • The 9/11 Memorial
  • The Brooklyn Bridge (do not Uber in traffic..yikes)
  • The Central Park Zoo
  • Two Broadway shows (I saw Frozen and The Lion King and I saw other marathoners at each show. It is the perfect pre-race activity as you are sitting for it)

Again, with all the walking I did, I opted not to do the Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K as a shakeout run.

Expo:

I went to the Expo the first day it opened this time.

I’m making progress!

Although, now that I think about it, it was Halloween (I saw a couple of costumes in the airport) and I was coming off a travel day complete with flight delays (we had a bird strike…ya, you read that right).

So, maybe not too much progress.

While I wasn’t there when the doors opened, more like at the end of the day, the crowds did not seem bad at all. Especially considering this is the world’s largest marathon.

I think the venue had a lot to do with that. The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center was a lot bigger than the ExCeL London which gave the whole event a more open and relaxed feel. My nerves and I appreciated that.

This Expo had a unique area where you tried on sample shirts and, then, you picked up your official shirt based on that. I thought this was a great idea to be sure you not only got your size, but that they weren’t out after the race. Then, it was off to the race merchandise, the booths, and the name wall.

Note that New York didn’t have games as London did, but I still enjoyed it.

After getting my bib, shirt, and some pictures and being COMPLETELY spoiled by my family, it was back to the hotel to join the rest of the crew for dinner!

Speaking of dinner, my pre-race dinner was literally around the corner from my hotel. It was called Pazza Notte and was the perfect carb-loading excursion. (Tip: Make a reservation in advance and make it for early evening so that you can rest…or try).

Carbs. ‘Nuff said.

The Race:

Verse chosen for this race

Getting There:

While the option to ride by the Statue of Liberty before the race via the Staten Island Ferry was tempting, I had already toured Lady Liberty.

Therefore, I opted for the charter bus transportation option.

There was less to “mess up” with this option, I think, which is always good for me.

This is where, again, my choice of hotel was ideal.

After a quick “breakfast” stop, my crew and I were able to walk to the New York Public Library with no issues.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

(Tip: get there at least 30 minutes before your bus time. There will be a line)

My coach was the lead bus and must not have known where to go as we made a weird turn and dropped back to follow others.

Let me tell you, you could’ve cut the tension on that bus full of pre-race runners with a (peanut) butter knife!

My “bus buddy”, Kathryn, and I were keeping each other calm. Happy First Marathon to her!

We made it in the end, though, and the coach dropped us all off within walking distance of the security gates. Beyond that were signs directing you to the colored “villages” corresponding to your bib.

Start:

I was in the Green Village, Corral E, Wave 4.

Just call us the “Village People”

It was a cold morning, but my mother had packed other layers ready for me to discard/donate to charity before the race and I had Hot Hands and a mylar blanket.

The start area itself had therapy dogs to pet, free food and drinks (Tip: Try to get a free…and infamous…Dunkin’ Donuts hat as soon as you arrive and attach it to your race belt with a safety pin. Don’t be discouraged if they run out. You will be able to find a discarded one before you start), UPS trucks if you opted to check a bag (I went for the legendary poncho so didn’t use this service), and many, many porta-potties.

Although, there is somehow never enough porta-potties…or toilet paper.

(Tip: BYOTP)

I kept my start village bag with me for a while, had breakfast, petted a couple of the dogs, hopped in line for the bathroom, got a hat, took some pics, and waited.

My new furry friend. I believe her name was Charlotte

Then, they started “corralling” us to our zones.

I did find a porta-potty with TP in it and a kind soul with some hand sanitizer once there. I, also, remembered deodorant this time (see London Marathon post for reference).

So, again, getting a bit better.

Miles 1-26:

It is funny.

I was SO nervous about this race but, as soon as I started, I was instantly filled with joy and peace.

With “New York, New York” playing as we crossed the start line and the views from the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge (yes, the view is still good from the bottom level…and less windy), I don’t know how anyone could be filled with anything less.

Crowd support, like London, was incredible.

People were out on their balconies and their stoops cheering us on.

O, and the city workers (police officers, fire fighters, highway maintenance workers, etc.)?

Fuhgeddaboudit!

To compare major marathons, I have to give the atmosphere advantage to London. I felt like there were more “blank spots” in New York. For instance, the silence of the Hasidic neighborhoods of Williamsburg. Maybe I am, and always will be, partial to my first full marathon, though.

However, I will say, the city of New York embraced the marathon more than any other city I have yet to race in. Definite win there!

Some other “memorable moments” from the race included being cheered on by a spirited chicken, high-fiving a cat, running to a Queen song in Queens, hearing many compliments on my “Sunday dress”, and seeing my “fan section”.

I had a larger fan section this time around.

Now, I had convinced my parents to buy grandstand tickets and to not try to go anywhere else, so I wasn’t worried about seeing them.

I gave my sister and Catherine (who came in the night before the race…a last-minute surprise) rough instructions of where I’d like them to be, but wasn’t expecting much as I knew it was going to be crazy and I didn’t know New York as well as London.

Well, you know what they say about the best-laid plans.

I was able to see my sister and Catherine twice (they saw me three times) and my brother-in-law and nieces once.

What about my parents? Well, we will get to that.

Finish:

All those hills and bridges were leading to this.

The finish line.

If you read my London recap, you will remember that a runner stopped in front of me right in the middle of the finish line. Sadly, I had some finish line drama in the Big Apple as well.

You see, I thought I saw my parents cheering for me in the grandstands and began waving and blowing them kisses in my rush to cross the line.

As it turns out my parents were there, but didn’t see me and were not cheering.

Ever thought someone was one person and waved like mad only to find out they were a stranger?

Mmhmm…did that.

I wasn’t embarrassed, but was SO disappointed.

Not for me, but for my parents. They had come all the way to New York (no small feat for my mother) and didn’t get to see me race.

And they had paid for tickets after being encouraged to do so by me. (Sigh)

My finish line picture, however, wasn’t interrupted.

So, there is that.

I didn’t really get a close-up one of me crossing the line, BUT I did get one right after and it was on the NYC Marathon’s Twitter page!

Here it is!

EEK!

That certainly makes up for my name/time not making the papers, I think.

After that, a lovely volunteer handed me my medal, I took a few more pictures, got a heat sheet with tape, collected my finisher’s goodies, and went to get this poncho I’d been hearing so much about.

When there are no words left…

(Tip: If you choose the poncho option, be prepared for quite the walk. I had to dig deep for that one. It was worth it, though)

Now, that’s a golden apple

Meet-up:

This was, again, a little scattered, but something has to be said for cell phone service/not being international this time.

I walked a bit A LOT to get to where my parents were and had to stop once, but I found them with essentially no problems.

It wasn’t that much further to the hotel at that point and, with my dad taking the very heavy recovery bag off my hands, I was able to walk it.

No wonder it was so heavy!

This turned into a walk I will never forget.

As we walked (I was hobbling at this point) into my hotel’s bar/lounge area, everyone there stood up and started clapping.

I didn’t get emotional on the finish line, but that got my eyes very misty.

Post-Race:

I immediately put my legs up on a wall, took a soak in a tub with a bath bomb, and foam rolled.

Ouch!

In the meantime, my sister was ordering all my requested food (P.J. Clarke’s and Levain Bakery. Both of which I highly recommend) to be delivered to the room.

Did I mention that I love my family?

For this race, I took my own advice and stayed an extra day for “Marathon Monday”.

(Tip: Be sure to get up early the day after the race to secure a New York Times. You may just be in it!)

Since I was dressed as Audrey Hepburn à la Breakfast at Tiffany’s for the race, I decided to “run” with the Tiffany’s theme once again by going to see Fred (Lebow), visiting Holly Golightly’s apartment, going to the Blue Box Café (Tip: be available the minute the reservations come live and make a special request, if you are getting the celebration cake. Also, note that each person has to order a full meal. You can’t just get dessert…which was my original plan), and getting something from the Tiffany’s marathon collection (Thanks Mom and Dad!).

I also went to a brunch with some other marathoners, saw the elite winners in Central Park, got a recovery massage (yes, I mentioned I had just completed a marathon the day before), went to Ellen’s Stardust Diner, and ventured to the Top of the Rock. I was going to go to the New York Giants game, as they were playing the Dallas Cowboys, with my dad and brother-in-law, but I was a little tired from the day’s activities.

Side note: Thanks to the cat for bringing the ‘Boys some luck!

I can go on and on about my first trip to New York…and I have. Thanks for sticking with me!

Please leave me a comment below if you have any questions.

YouTube New York City Marathon Video:

Star #2 is through!

Next up: TBD

The 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon

Since I will be leaving for New York in mere days (DAYS!) for the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon, I thought I’d take a look back at my first 26.2-mile run.

The 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon.

Why London?:

I chose to run my first marathon in jolly old England, because it was a place that held great significance for me.

I studied abroad there in 2011, I started talking to my now-husband there (he, having lived there once upon a time, was giving me recommendations), and I absolutely fell in love with the city and its history.

London is, also, one of the six Abbott World Marathon Majors.

Completing all six, Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City, would put me in a very special group of runners called Six Star Finishers.

To put it into perspective, there are currently only 6,401 Six Star Finishers in the world.

With my study abroad class at Tower Bridge. I would run across it 8 years later. Life is funny!

Entry:

You can get into the London Marathon a few ways.

  • Elite (i.e. super fast people)
  • Celebrity
  • Good for Age (U.K. residents only)
  • Running clubs (U.K. only)
  • Competitions (rare)
  • Sponsor organizations (again, rare)
  • Travel agencies with marathon/tour packages
  • Ballot (lottery drawing of sorts)
  • Charity

I did not enter the ballot but, instead, opted to go straight for the charity route. Which is not to be taken lightly.

Fundraising is hard.

Interesting fact: The London Marathon holds the Guinness world record as the largest annual fundraising event in the world. That means A LOT of people run for charity!

After a look at all of the awesome charities, I applied for three that spoke to me.

I got invited to join two but, ultimately, went with the first one to accept me. It was “Get Kids Going!” (https://www.getkidsgoing.com/aboutus.htm).

Get Kids Going is a U.K.-based charity that gives disabled children and young people the opportunity to participate in sports by providing them with specially built sports’ wheelchairs.

“Fancy Dress”/World Record:

The London and Berlin Marathons have a special incentive for runners wanting to run in costume or “fancy dress”.

These two majors have teamed up with Guinness World Records to wave the application fee and have an adjudicator onsite to validate your attempt.

Because running my first full while completing my MBA didn’t seem like enough, I decided to go for this. I wanted something distinctly British, that went with a “kids in sports” theme for my charity and, most importantly, that hadn’t been done before.

I didn’t want the added pressure of trying to beat a specific time on my first time out.

Thus, the Golden Snitch was born.

The Golden Snitch is one of the balls in the game of Quidditch played by school-age witches and wizards. Quidditch was introduced in a little book series by British author J.K. Rowling called Harry Potter. You may have heard of it.

While I later found that I didn’t qualify for a record, I do not regret my choice of “fancy dress”!

Hotel:

I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express London-City. This was a race partner hotel. It was about halfway between the start and the finish, but everything I wanted was an Underground ride away (Tip: get an Oyster card) and I got an early breakfast and coach ticket as part of their marathon package.

More on that later!

The world, or London, is your oyster with this card
View from my room. Is the ambulance a bad sign?
Provided coach ticket with some back-up breakfast options

Pre-Race:

I studied abroad in London, as I mentioned, so I didn’t do some of the traditional tourist sites.

Since I was dressing as the Golden Snitch, I decided to “run” with the Harry Potter theme by going to the play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” and the Warner Bros. Studio Tour (Tip: get the Butterbeer ice cream).

Neither of these were available when I was last there and were brilliant (pardon my British!).

I had considered a trip to St. Paul’s Cathedral, but I decided the stairs you have to climb to get the prized view of the city were not pre-marathon friendly.

In fact, with all the walking I was doing (probably too much), I opted not to do a shakeout run.

The Palace Theatre
Off to Hogwarts!

If you had never been to London before and wanted to fit in a couple of sites that wouldn’t be too taxing on the tootsies, I would recommend taking in a tea time (I, personally, loved tea at The Orangery) and a double-decker bus tour.

Pinkies up! It is only proper.

Expo:

I went to the Expo the day before the race.

I know, I know, not smart.

However, that was the only time that really worked in my schedule. We were there as the doors opened, though, and it wasn’t too bad crowd-wise until we were about ready to leave.

Crowds are to be expected, though, with over 40,000 runners in the race!

The Expo had race-day merchandise (you run the risk of this running out if you go too late), vendors, local race booths, a café, multiple speakers (including Martin Yelling who hosted extremely helpful pre-race Q&A sessions via Facebook), race charities, a race wall to sign, and games.

That’s right. Games!

These were so much fun and you could win money for your charity.

Win-win!

I highly recommend taking a bit of time and trying these out.

After playing a few, getting my bib and some pictures, stopping by my charity’s booth, buying a bear, mug and, of course, race-branded clothing, it was off to relax a bit before dinner!

Meeting Martin Yelling
Sending all my supporters some love
Shirley and I at Get Kids Going charity booth!

Speaking of dinner, I met up with a group at Limoncello and would recommend it…plenty of carbs!

That’s a lot of carbs…
BRING IT ON!

The Race:

Getting There:

While the Tube was free for runners that day, I preferred not to fight the masses or worry about connections.

Especially with a costume.

This is where my choice of hotel came into play. We were given a coach bus to the start. It was very calming and one less thing to worry with on the day. The coach dropped us within walking distance of each of the colored starts.

I put a bible verse on all my “major race” costumes. This was the “Verse of the Day”

Start:

I was in the Red Start, Zone 7.

It was a bit cold and breezy that morning, but I had a blanket from the airplane and some other layers ready to discard before the race. The start area had screens showing the other areas and the race, entertainment, some food and drinks (I think…I was too busy trying not to lose what I’d already eaten), lines and lines of “lorries” (gear bag trucks), and even more port-a-potties.

I kept my bag with me for a while then hopped in the bathroom line.

Going to the bathroom in a Golden Snitch was an interesting experience.

Then, they started “corralling” us to our zones. This is where I had discovered that, despite all of my Body Glide applications and bathroom visits, I had forgotten to put on deodorant…oops!

Red means “go” today!
Loo lines
All smiles, no deodorant

Miles 1-26:

I loved (almost) every second as I ran by the infamous Rhinos, the Big Pink Dress, and over Tower Bridge.

The course support was amazing with lots of water and “loos” available starting after mile three and continuing to the end.

The atmosphere was nothing short of electric with people cheering everywhere (other than a tunnel they weren’t allowed in at Mile 15…that was a definite walk break for me).

Luckily, I was able to see Catherine, the person that inspired me to start running in the first place and my roomie for the week, a few times on course! O, and I was “caught” by a spectating “Seeker”. Wish I would’ve gotten a picture of that, but I will always remember it. Always.               

Sweaty hugs! Get your sweaty hugs here!
My cheer section

Finish:

Aw, the moment I had dreamed about for months and months.

The finish line.

Turning by Buckingham Palace to the Union Jack-lined street was truly a sight to behold.

I was ready for my moment and my picture. However, there was a guy in front of me that “camped out” on the mat which took away a bit from that last part (Tip: don’t be like that guy).

Nothing could take away from this fact, though.

I was a marathoner!

After that, a lovely volunteer handed me my medal, I took a few more pictures, collected my finisher’s shirt and goodies (They were out of my size by the time I got there, but they were fielding exchanges a few days later), and went to collect my gear bag. All of this was seamless and very well organized.

Flying to the finish line
He is a happy camper!
First marathon, First star

Meet-up:

This is was where I got lost.

I am not sure if it was the signs or my “marathon mind”, but I could not figure out where the Overseas Runners meet-up area (where Catherine and I had agreed to meet) was.

I walked a bit and had to sit down. I couldn’t call her as I didn’t have a cellular plan…I had been doing everything over free Wi-Fi…and after a bit (and asking a local to borrow her phone only to hand it right back remembering that an international call would cost her) decided to go back to the hotel.

I figured, even if she didn’t go back, I could use the room’s phone (they had a cell phone for free use) to get in touch with her.

We eventually reunited and, while it took us a while to find a place that was still serving food, I got my celebratory fish and chips!

Finisher’s shirt

Post-Race:

I immediately put my legs up on a wall, showered, foam rolled, and napped.

After dinner, mentioned above, I packed for the flight home and slept in a pair of compression socks.

Once home I was right back to studying for my finals. However, pictures came in from MarathonFoto (I had pre-ordered their package and am so happy that I did) over the next couple of weeks keeping the marathon excitement alive.

I was fortunate to have quite a few, but still had to search for a couple that had been added later.

Bonus Tips: Stay an extra day after the marathon, if possible, as some places have deals (wish I had! Do as I say, not as I did) and grab a free paper in the airport as a souvenir!

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Well, I think that about covers it. Please comment below if you have any questions!

YouTube London Marathon Video:

Go Find Your Awesome London Marathon Podcast:

Part 1- https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/go-find-your-awesome-podcast/e/61707876

Part 2- https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/go-find-your-awesome-podcast/e/61736078

Star #1 Done!

Next up: The 2019 TCS New York City Marathon

How To Become A Runner

I thought, for the first post on my site, that it was fitting for me to start all the way back at the beginning.

So move over, Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, because I’m about to tell you how to become a runner.

Make A Decision

We’ve all heard the adage, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. Well, the first step to becoming a runner is to choose to start. Made your choice? Ok, first hurdle cleared. For some, this can be the toughest step. You won’t regret it, though,…other than regretting not making it sooner!

Set A Goal

Once you’ve decided to start your journey you need to decide where you want it to take you. 1 mile? A 5k? Disney World? Whatever your goal may be, make sure it is big enough to scare you a bit. That is right. I said scare. Because that means it is going to challenge you. If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. You, also, want a goal that will motivate you and that won’t be easy to back out of (i.e. paying that high race entry fee or announcing it to a lot of people).

Make A Plan

I’m the type of person that loves a good plan. Color-coordinated and with Post-its. Or stickers. Or Post-its and stickers. Even for the less office supply-obsessed person, a plan is essential to running. You wouldn’t go to a foreign country without any sort of directions, would you? Well, maybe you would, but this “new territory” needs to be charted. Why? So you can get to your destination healthy and prepared.

Now, there are many routes you can take (are you loving all my navigational references?). There are Coach-to-5k apps, custom plans from personal trainers, or free online plans for specific events (i.e. Jeff Galloway’s famous run/walk strategy for runDisney events). You can, also, have routes that show you the entire plan at once so you can prepare yourself for what’s to come or week-by-week plans so you aren’t overwhelmed by looking ahead. Find what works for you and get your highlighters ready…for me?

P.S. Take a note from the Eagles and “Take It Easy”. Yes, I know you are excited. You made the decision, you have your goal, and you are raring to go. However, if you go out too fast, you are risking three things. Injury, burnout, and not reaching your goal. Consistency is key over speed. Remember our friend the turtle? Good things take time, so take your time. Start out by walking a few days a week. Then, start jogging a bit. Then, start walking a bit less and jogging a bit more. Finally, slowly, build up your mileage towards your goal. Voilà! The perfect plan!

Find Your Fit

Cinderella was never my favorite princess, but she does stand as proof of this fact…a pair of shoes can change your life. Seriously, the right (or wrong) pair of shoes can determine whether your running journey takes off or fizzles as soon as it starts. Go to a reputable running store in your area and get evaluated and fitted for the shoes that are best for you. It may not be the brand you were expecting and it can cost pretty penny, but it will be what your feet need to go the distance.

Don’t Compare

Everyone is different. Everyone has their own pace. Don’t get frustrated if it may take you more time, because guess what? It is about reaching your goals, not someone else’s. Remember, comparison is the thief of joy. Therefore, unless you are Eliud Kipchoge, you will get robbed often if you compare your running journey to another’s. So, don’t compare yourself…unless you want to compare yourself to what you were yesterday.

Find Your Happy Place

Running is uncomfortable and while someone told me once that when you’re uncomfortable, you’re growing, you don’t want to be miserably uncomfortable. If you are, you won’t be able to sustain running for the long-term. So, if you need a buddy to run with, join a running group. If gyms and varying outdoor temperatures make you cringe (like me), maybe invest in a treadmill. Create a playlist or find a podcast that keeps you moving or get yourself some fun running outfits. Whatever it is that will keep the excuses and skipped run days at bay, works!

Keep Records

“Knowing where you are is by knowing where you’ve been”. Yes, more Disney, ok? Journal, use a tracking website like Strava, and/or take those ‘Gram pics. By doing this you will be able to see how far you’ve come as well as what worked, and didn’t work, for you.

Along with keeping records comes the opportunity to celebrate your victories. Ran your first mile with stopping? Victory. Finished your first training run over 6 miles? Victory. Got out of a nice, warm bed to go for a run? VICTORY! Document these landmarks and celebrate your victories!

Almost done, I promise, but I saved the hardest step for last.

Are you ready for it?

Believe You Can

Yup, it sounds simple but, believe me, it is not. It is like the quote from “Little Giants” says, running is “80% mental and 40% physical”. Your mind is a powerful thing and can be your biggest workout weapon. Your body achieves what your mind believes, so BELIEVE IT! Imagine yourself reaching your goal with each step and training run and you will get there. I, for one, cannot wait to see what finish lines you will cross when you master this step.

*Bonus: If you are aiming to jump distances (i.e. from 5k to 10k or from half marathon to the full 26.2), these rules still apply. Just add in some Body Glide and motivating books to prepare yourself for the extra mileage. O, and trim the toenails you want to keep!

I hope you all enjoyed this how to! Please comment if you are currently a runner and there is any advice you’d like to add. Also comment with a song that gets you moving. Let’s make a playlist! For those starting out, congratulations on your choice! I will be addressing some more specific questions I received from a friend beginning his journey over on my YouTube channel. Feel free to check that out or comment below with any questions.

Now, go take that step.

-Meredith