Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Part 2 of ???: Hood to Coast Relay Recap -- Our Support Crew

The Nuun-Hood to Coast teams would never in million years been possible if it weren't for the tireless crew at Nuun. Before I can even begin to delve into the weekend, I want to use a post to highlight all the people who gave up their personal hours, sweat, tears -- oh, and a whole lot of time alongside their daily job duties -- to make this happen.

Kimberly was my original contact at Nuun. She's in charge of the Ambassador program I am a part of, and she and I have been in touch for a long time. It was so nice to finally get to meet her in person, see her in action, and get to know the personality behind her name. This lady is hardcore and pushes herself to unimaginable limits... perhaps not always in the best of ways. ;)

Mason is Nuun's new president and was the driver of AfterNUUN Delight Van 1. He hopped out of the van and ran with many of his own runners (running something like, what, 17 miles in a row himself??) just to cheer them on and offer his support. He has a great set of ears and was so eager and willing to hear about our experiences. Having him listen to us meant so, so much.

Kim may just be the sweetest, most accommodating, gracious lady I have met. She's an accomplished runner and an asset to the running industry, and I think we all count ourselves lucky for having shook her hand (or in some of our cases, stay at her house, drink her beer, AND let her do our dirty laundry!). Kim excludes class and grace off-road, but she knows how to let herself go when it comes to pounding the pavement.

Casey, Nuun's CFO, never stops smiling. No really. He never stops smiling. Even when he's sleep deprived, hungry, and being driven crazy by a bunch of stinky ladies (sorry, Nuun Platuun Van 2), he's still optimistic and happy -- and he doesn't even take caffeine! He gave up his weekend from his wife and family to hang out with us in a less-than-glamorous capacity. As the driver, he not only provided his runners with what they needed from the vehicle, he even jumped out and joined them when the going got tough.

Alex was my personal chauffeur and my Nuun Platuun Van 1 driver. I will never be able to speak enough praise about how essential he was to our team. Heck, without Alex, we wouldn't have even had a team. The weather in Oregon was brutally hot, and Alex would ensure that all of us had what we needed. If we were out on the course and needed water, he would jump out and pass off bottles while running alongside us. At one point in a traffic jam, he took off running toward the van exchange to let Van 2 know we were coming. Alex never once had a single complaint about being trapped with crazy women (really, not even once!) and as a volunteer for Seattle's Search & Rescue, we couldn't have been in better hands.

Caitlin might just be the cutest person ever. Her energy and smile is SO contagious, and while she claims she's not a runner, she took a spot in my van, Nuun Platuun Van 1, and ran some hardcore legs at an incredible speed without training. She is so spunky, peppy, and optimistic, and having her sleep-deprived hallucinations in our van made for a riotous good time. Everyone needs a Caitlin in their life.


I don't know much about Ken other than he's Nuun's killer graphic designer and he looks like he's 12. I wasn't sure he was legally able to drive, but he apparently did... and since everyone came out of AfterNUUN Delight Van 2 alive, it looks like he did it well.

Jen was a (super speedy!) runner for AfterNUUN Delight, and she was a constant source of smiles and boundless energy.

Not only did Nuun provide us so much during the race, they lent us their space before AND after Hood to Coast!

They hosted a pizza & beer party for us in their company's swanky loft-like headquarters.

This seat is made out of cardboard, I think? Some sort of filter? Either way, it was really cool and surprisingly comfy, and a really nice addition to their office.

They gave us allllll the Nuun we could imagine! I totally stocked up on Banana while I had the chance. (I tear up thinking this flavor will be discontinued...)

Not a bad view outside their office, either.

And as for after the race? Kim was kind enough to let us stay at her house so we could save some big bucks instead of getting a hotel! Thank you, Kim, for feeding us, providing us tasty beverages, letting us crash in your living room, AND doing our stinky laundry! :)

Kim, Susan, Lauren, and me taking over Kim's condo.

Aside from the unbelievable support from the Nuun staff, we had many other sponsors who stepped in to provide us with so many goods for the race. Thank you to all the companies who provided us with a Christmas-like morning; we fully utilized all your donations during Hood to Coast!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Part 1 of ???: Hood to Coast Relay Recap -- An Intro

I'm back in San Francisco with a 1,000,001 thoughts spinning in my head on what exactly happened in Oregon.

Even if I had the rest of my life to dissect, analyze, and write about everything that happened this weekend physically, mentally, and emotionally, I don't think that would be enough time. So for now, while I gather my thoughts and opinions and try to construct ways to put my experience into a blog post (or posts), I'll leave you with this:

The 200-mile Hood to Coast Relay race had everything from the good, to the bad, to the ugly. While the mass majority of the race was good, there were frustrations and missed opportunities that left me feeling a bit like the race didn't match the potential that maybe I had expected from it.

But moving onto a very brief note that needs to be the emphasis for now: The staff at Nuun went above and beyond to make us feel welcomed, accommodated, fed, fueled, hydrated, and taken care of physically. They were a positive group of fun individuals, and they sacrificed a lot -- both in their work and in their personal lives -- to afford us this amazing opportunity. Not only are they great people, they make up a great company.

Thank you, Nuun, from the bottom of my heart, for giving me and 19 other bloggers the chance to run the relay of a lifetime. I am so grateful for the chance to be a part of Hood to Coast's 30th anniversary, I feel blessed to have met the ladies I did and to have walked away with new friendships, and I'm honored that I was selected to represent Nuun at this race.

Thank you, thank you. And then thank you again.

Me at the start of our teams' relay, halfway up Mount Hood.

A small part of something so epic.

Finishing at the largest beach party in the world, 200 miles later.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Giant Race Winner!

A big congrats goes to Audrey of Run Audrey Run for winning the Giant Race bib giveaway through Refuel by Chocolate Milk!

Audrey is running the Akron Marathon in just 5 weeks -- this will be a perfect way to fit in 13.1 miles of her long training run this weekend. Best of luck, Audrey! Please enjoy everything this half marathon has to offer!

Also, a massive "good luck & have fun!" to everyone else who is racing this weekend -- it's another big weekend for athletes (10ks, halfs, Ironmans, relays, you name it!). I can't wait to hear/read how everyone does!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll be gone/mostly offline for the next few days, because I'll be, oh, you know, running down a mountain and through the forests of Oregon. :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

24-Hour Giveaway: Giant Race by Refuel with Chocolate Milk!

Once upon a time I was registered to run the Giant Race Half Marathon this coming weekend. I mean, what could be better than getting a Tim Lincecum bobble head for running a race? Oh, running IN AT&T PARK did you say? Yeah, pretty amazing! Then another teeny-tiny little (okay, no, TOTALLY EPIC) race came up that took over the same weekend, and I needed to surrender my race bib. Boo. :(

Well, what do you know? I have another bib to giveaway for the Giant Race Half Marathon!
The got milk? campaign will be in San Francisco this weekend promoting their Refuel with Chocolate Milk event, where they be talking about the importance of post-exercise recovery. They were also kind enough to give me a bib into the Giants Race this Saturday, August 27th!

I personally don't drink milk, but I DO drink chocolate soymilk after long runs and races. A few of my friends, however, drink chocolate milk and they say the sugars and proteins help their muscles tremendously. The Refuel with Chocolate Milk campaign says something similar:

"Lowfat chocolate milk naturally has many of the nutrients most commercial recovery drinks have to add in the lab – including high-quality protein and key electrolytes like calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium."

Refuel with Chocolate Milk is traveling around the country, stopping at marathons, triathlons, soccer camps, and the like, setting up "Fuel Zones" to help athletes with their recoveries. They will be at the Giants Race this weekend handing out samples, manning a photo booth, giving out free massages, and distributing materials on post-exercise recovery. You can learn more about their campaign by visiting their website, Facebook, or Twitter, or just stop by their booth from 6am to 2pm this weekend!

Because the race is just a few days away, this giveaway is only going to be a 24-hour giveaway. Let's hope you're trained & ready to go!

Here's what you have to do:

1. Leave me a comment telling me what you do to recover from hard workouts!

THAT'S IT! Feel free to spread the word via Twitter or your blogs... I may have extra entries for people who share the love. :)

I will be contacting the winner tomorrow night, so don't delay! GOOD LUCK & have a great race!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Runday

I just love running with my friends.

This morning, all thanks to Layla & Karin's planning, a few of the Bay Area bloggers headed up to Tiburon to run anywhere from 6 to 16 miles. A change of scenery is always nice, but running with friends is definitely the highlight of these weekend runs.

I decided to keep the pace super casual since I've been feeling some peculiar cardiovascular exhaustion lately (let's hope that's what it is, anyway), and so I ran the first 3 miles with Naomi, RoadBunner, and my Hood to Coast teammate, XLMIC.

Sweet waterfront views

A fake horse out in the field...?
XLMIC and I decided to finish up with about 6 miles for the day, so we ran our remaining 3 miles back with Layla, Courtney, and Karin, who had already run a bunch of miles before we even got there.

They built this lookout point to the Golden Gate Bridge around a rock...?

And not just anyone gets to use that rock-centered lookout point.

Weeee! Proof it happened!
Me, Karin, Courtney, Layla, & XLMIC

This is how hard it is for women to take a group photo. Good lord.

ALL RIGHT! We are finally all present & looking! (And now the quality is miserable.)

Back: Courtney, Karin, Layla, Alisyn, Naomi, & RoadBunner
Front: me, XLMIC, & Katie

Such a fun morning, ladies! I'm really glad we we are all able to catch up & can't wait to do this again soon.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Just for you, XLMIC.

Once again, time has completely slipped away from me, and there are a few things I should probably brush up on.

Next Wednesday, I'm heading up to the gorgeous Pacific Northwest to run the Boston Marathon of Relays, Hood to Coast. If it's not overly apparently by now, I'm running with a really kick-ass group of women. I feel like our team has been promoted endlessly on Twitter, Facebook, Nuun's blog, the blog world, gossip magazines, the national news (okay, no.), pretty much everywhere, so I assume everyone knows about this. But perhaps you don't.

Well, I'm running Hood to Coast with a bunch of blogging celebs, all under the name of Nuun. And here are the profiles of the three legs I'll be running next week.

Leg 2: 5.67 miles with a difficulty rating of Hard.

The HTC time predictor tells me I'll be running my first left at a 7:04 min/mile pace, which is HILARIOUS, because even though it's downhill, I'll never run that fast and expect to make it through the remaining legs. Not even downhill. And certainly not for 5.67 miles.

Leg 14: 6.08 miles with a difficulty rating of Moderate.

My second leg will be conveniently run at night. Conveniently? Yes. So when I piss my pants because I think I'm being chased by a wild animal, the people in my van won't see it, but instead they'll smell it & I can claim it was a sleeping team member. The HTC time predictor has guestimated I'll be running this leg at an 8:20 min/mile pace which is definitely doable, especially if I'm being chased by bears. Maybe this leg will help me make up for all the time I know I won't hit on my first leg.

Leg 26: 5.77 miles with a difficulty rating of Hard.

My third leg will be run the following morning -- so, yes, three runs in about 20 hours for this marathon burn-out -- and they have me predicted to run a 8:27 min/mile pace. Again, completely possible, but I think they forgot to factor in the whole "OH YEAH, I PROBABLY WILL BE EXHAUSTED BECAUSE I DIDN'T SLEEP" thing.

Up until recently, running up hills in preparation for the San Francisco Marathon was the focus of my training and my time. Now that it's over and I'm still not recovered and feel completely fatigued (and I realized I haven't practiced any massive downhills), I've had a hard time getting pumped about Hood to Coast. Well, wait. That came out wrong.

I know this is an amazing opportunity and I canNOT wait to do it, but my legs and my lungs have not been in my workouts lately. I've been a bit worried about being "the one" that brings the team down.


Earlier this week, Capt. Underpants (aka Margot) of my van let me know she was going to be in San Francisco for a work conference. I immediately demanded we get together for some non-running adventures, and we invited the one and only Commando (aka XLMIC) to dine (and drive us around), too.

Of course I brought them to Genki. Come on, would I take anyone anywhere else?

Let's just say I'm 100% certifiably excited for Hood to Coast after putting personalities to the names of some teammates! These two ladies were so infectiously hilarious, totally charming and inspiring, and I just know we are going to have grand adventures ahead. XLMIC really drove some awesome points home for me: This isn't about speed, this isn't about pace, this isn't about us winning a division medal. (Damn it.)

This is about having fun.

This is about promoting Nuun.

This is about being on the team that everyone wants to be a part of (or do they...?).

I'm just going to have to kill XLMIC when she takes videos of me being a super cranky pants because I arrive back at the van half-eaten by a moose.

(Just remember, XLMIC, you're running the very last leg & I will have breadcrumbs.)

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Rest of SFM

So what else happened the weekend of the San Francisco Marathon? Allow me to share.

My best running friend, Rad, came into town.

We high-fived at the SFM expo.

We met up with Katie to run some pre-marathon miles at the Lululemon shake-out run.

I had a random bathroom encounter with Sesa, who happened to win my GU giveaway a few months ago. Random, but totally cool! Thanks for introducing yourself, Sesa! SO NICE to meet you in person! :)

I met my fellow Nuun/Hood to Coast teammate, Tonia! Can't wait to see you again in a few weeks, Tonia. I hope our van driver at HTC is as crazy as Katie. ;)

We all glowed with amazingness at the Lululemon shake-out run.
Back: Kristin, Courtney, Erica, Tonia, Jessica, & Page

Front: Kerry, me, Katie, & Aron

Rad gave me the coolest item to grace the planet. I wish these came in a tech material so I could wear them while running, but my mind might explode if that happened.

Rad & I ate too much pizza, watched silly British comedies, and then became pumpkins at 9pm.

I ran my 4th marathon.

(I had a random encounter with Kim in the port-o-potty line the start of SFM, but it was too early of me to think about taking a picture. Damn it. Thanks, Kim, for saying something to me -- I hope you had a great time in SF!
Note to self: It's really cool meeting people in bathrooms. Spend more time there.)

Rad & I snarfed post-race vegan donuts from Pebbles.

I drank beer with 20+ other fellow running bloggers after the race. I felt totally loved and realized I really do have the coolest friends on the planet.

Proof? Layla & I accidentally dressed like twins.

Rad & I also dressed like twins, but that was a little more intentional.

We got pedicures & it was heaven.

My roommate & her girlfriend left me the best gift ever once I finally made it back to my house. This picture is missing the three other donuts that were on the plate. (I ate 5 vegan donuts in about 48 hours.)

The end.