Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Grand Slam baby!!!!!

ahhh me and my Angie <3
It's always so hard to put into words just how great the Runner's World Festival weekend in Bethlehem is.  Saying it's awesome and amazing just doesn't do it justice.  It's one of those things that you really just have to experience to see what I mean.  Being there this year with a new group of influencers and my #BRF Angie all who have never attended before, and seeing their reactions to the weekend made it even just that much better.  Watching them take it all in for the first time, just made me even more certain it has to be one of the best running events out there.  I thought maybe I was the crazy one going through a post Runner's World depression until I saw all of them posting about how they wanted to go back and were so sad to see it end.  I'll try to keep my word recap to a minimum and just show my experience through my one million pictures (YES FREE RACE PHOTOS!).
some of my loot as influencer.  LOVE Balega socks!

more great stuff!

My Runner's World experience started Thursday around 5.  I was for the second year asked to be an influencer for the festival, huge honor.  We had dinner at Runner's World HQ with Bart and David and all the editors.  All of my Altra friends were there which was awesome catching up especially Tiffany since she left me for Utah :-(  We played some silly games, had our tour and then it was time to go.

Very shortly after arriving back at my hotel, my #brf Angie and her husband Josh arrived.  I've probably said this a million times, but Angie is one of my best friends even though she lives in Iowa.  We seriously talk all day everyday but I hardly ever get to see her in person, so 3 days at Runner's World was a very special treat (BTW we are going to the Key West Half Marathon together in January!!!).

get out of our picture Josh!
Friday morning we were up and at 'em super early.  I was out the door running to the Artsquest/steelstacks with the influencer group at 6am.
running through Bethlehem early in the morn
It was very exciting to be doing my first November Project workout especially since it was being led by the founder Brogan Graham however I came into this weekend seriously exhausted from crewing/pacing Emir at OC100 the weekend before and I had no chance to catch up on any rest since he left right away for Trailfest in Utah.
so hard to get myself going!
Needless to say it was a rough go for me but it was still a fun experience especially since the workout was open to everyone and Angie and Josh came too.
After trashing our legs during November Project we had a full day of influencer activities.  We sat down with Brogan for Q& A, then we had sessions with Golden from Altra, Colleen from Icon fitness, Becca from ifit and lunch with Dean Karnazes.  It was a great day but I was totally done by the time the trail race came around.  This year they had Golden do his trail clinic before the race started which was a great idea and tons of people were there for it.

I went out hard for the trail race but after about a 1.5 miles I was done.  Just too tired.  I eased up and I still finished with a solid time.  But like last year I kept sneezing non stop and coughing.  There must be something at that trail that bothers me.  So weird.
My Tiffany!  She won the Trail race, badass!

Fellow Altra Ambassador Chris!

Next up was hitting up a place with Angie, Josh and fellow Bibrave Pro Chadd for some beers and maybe some balls ;-)

Saturday morning was the 5K and 10K.
Influencers Jess and Ryan, two new running friends!
 It was a little chilly but felt good once we started running.  I had decided after how I felt Friday that I would take these two races easy and put in a harder effort on Sunday for the half.  Now I always say that and never stick to it.  Thankfully I had Angie with me.  We started much further in the back than I normally would which helps to go slower especially in the beginning, it's pretty congested.  Once I was in that "easy" pace mode, I didn't have the urge to go any faster.  I had the best time with Angie during both races.  We chatted, we posed for cameras, stalked Bart and just enjoyed the beautiful morning in Bethlehem.  It really was awesome!

Chadd had set up a tent near the visitors center so we had a Bibrave meetup kind of thing.  Jess co-founder of Bibrave arrived with our awesome banner.  We had a great time hanging out.

Needless to say now I was REALLY tired.  Since this is my 5th year at Runner's World, I have attended most of the seminars and as an influencer I already had my time with Golden, Bart and Dean which are the ones I would have wanted to attend.  So while the seminars are WONDERFUL and I love them, I didn't feel like there were any for me personally so I opted for a nap which was amazing.

When I woke up I went to happy hour with the RW Editors, David Wiley bought me a beer and I had some personal convo with him, and an overall nice time chatting it up with the intimate crowd that was there.  We followed that with the pasta dinner which was all dishes from Shalane's cookbook, yum!  It was extra special because this is Runner's World's 50th birthday.  I felt very honored to be a part of their celebration and also celebrated their 5th year for the Festival.
Altra's best booth yet

This year's influencers were such an inspiring group of people!  We even had an Olympian in our group!
Sunday morning was the Half Marathon.  I felt more rested than I had all weekend but still not so great.  I still decided to give it a good hard effort and just see what happens.  The best thing about my #brf is she is ok with whatever I want to do.  We had so much fun Saturday but she did not care or get offended at all that Sunday I wanted to do my own thing.  That's why I LOVE her! (sorry Josh, get over it).  While using the potty and warming up a bit, I saw local friends who are super fast and of course she ended up winning the half marathon AGAIN, amazing!  I also saw my best work friend Becky in the corral.  We started together but I wanted to try to keep up with the 1:45 group.  I stayed with them for 2 miles but the pacer was going a bit faster than I wanted even for 1:45.  I knew it's because he was banking time for the hills later in the race but still I just didn't have that extra little bit in me to keep up.  I changed gears and took it back a notch.  Around mile 3 is when hills start and they literally just killed me.  My hammys were on fire and it was SO HARD to run up these hills.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized I literally haven't "run" a hill in forever.  I've been only running ultras this year mainly and I power hike all the hills all the time even in training.  Oops.  At some point during mile 3 my co-worker caught back up to me.  As it turned out, this was a really good thing.  I was getting in the mindset of giving up completely and really really slowing down.  She said to me"If I'm bothering you to run with, I'll go"  I said "If I'm going too slow, you can leave me but you aren't bothering me at all"  She said "Let's work together.  I want to be under 2 hours"  So it was settled.  We ran the entire rest of the race together.

We chatted on and off and just enjoyed each other's company.  Definitely without her I would have been SO MUCH slower.  We finished in 1:51 which is only about 5 minutes off my PR on this course.  Considering the junk on my legs going into this race, that was an outstanding time and a really good solid effort.  I was happy and she was thrilled as that was a lot faster than she thought she could go right now as well.  We hugged and gloated about how great we did together.

I had some time before Angie would finish so I went inside to say goodbye to all my Altra friends.  It's always so great to see them.  Next thing I know, Angie was texting me from the beer garden.  I never usually get to hang out too long after races but I knew I just needed to get to soccer a few minutes before 1 so that left me some time to play.  We had the best time drinking our beer and dancing and watching fellow runners finish.  It's no surprise that a running festival put on by Runner's World would realize having the beer garden right by the finish is a great idea.  And that's just it.  The whole weekend is for runners put on by runners so there's a ton of thought and purpose behind everything that goes on during the weekend.  It really doesn't get much better than that.
4 races in 3 days!

I know I didn't blab as much as usual but I just honestly can't find the words to do it justice.  Just look at the pictures and you will see what I mean.  You can also check out my posts from past years (2015, 2014, 2013) and all the Bibrave Reviews if you want even more info.  Every single year has been amazing!
Love these guys! (yes even you Josh)