I picked myself back up, hold my head up high
I was not built to break
I didn’t know my own strength
These lyrics helped me through a difficult time five years ago. I remember listening to those words on repeat. As Whitney sang “I got to know my own strength”….I did in fact found it and I emerged stronger and more determined than ever before. Somehow this song found its way from the deep corners of my mind and helped me through my first official race this past week. The self-proclaimed non-runner, with the support of family and friends, did the unthinkable (in her mind) and ran her official timed race. And yes, she deemed herself worthy of the Runner’s World Half and Festival race.
Armed with NO music, my 10K training (that I only got 2/3 of the way through), and the promise of my sons and husband at the finish line, I embarked on my first official timed race.
But hold up a minute. Let me take you though the days leading up to the Runner’s World Half and Festival.
Earlier in the week, I was contacted by Runner’s World publicist Laura Beachy (who is awesome and amazing in her own kickass fitness and professional lives) after she saw a tweet to Dani (Weight Off My Shoulders) that I would be participating in my first race. I had her to blame because I had did Dani’s virtual 5K a few weeks earlier and this planted the seeds that my non-runner self could quite possibly do the impossible and RUN.
And I DO enjoy my runs. I can listen to my metal. My 90s hip-hip. My electronica. Without thinking to lower the music from the curse words because my sons may be listening. I connect with nature during my runs and it truly is “me” time. I switch my runs up–sometimes at the gym, the park and my neighborhood. Change was good and it was perfect to break up my stressful work days or the perfect way to begin one. Why hadn’t I discovered running earlier?
Laura invited me to be one of the digital influencer for an experience leading up to the race. I am talking about heavy hitter runners that blog, Instagram, tweet, etc in addition to be moms, business owners, etc. This would my first rodeo and these were seasoned runners. I had my insecurities joining such a group but I could not pass on this opportunity to learn, connect, and be a part of the Runner’s World family so I finagled my schedule to attend.
The online influencers that attended th blogger experience (I “lifted” this list from Lauren, The Foodie Runner!) included:
- Katie – Ms Fit Runner
- Kristen – Fit Bottomed Girls
- Sarah – Picky Runner
- Ali – Ali on the Run
- Beth – Shut Up And Run
- Matt – No Meat Athlete
- Doug – Rock Creek Runner
- Presley – Run Pretty
- Dani – Weight Off My Shoulders
- Katie – Runs for Cookies
- Jamie – Couch to Ironwoman
- Charlene – FAB Running
- Dick – Better Cheaper Slower
- Lauren – The Foodie Runner
- Erika – Black Girls’ Guide to Weightloss
Yes, so I was definitely amongst the BEST of company. Incredible women and men that are just doing the DARN thang in running, fitness, and bettering their communities.
On Thursday, we were invited to Runner’s World headquarters in Emmaus for a tour and BBQ. I live about an hour away and heard fantastic things about the campus but had never visited so I was excited. I chowed down a great salad and a tasty grass-fed hamburger while we introduced to staff. And of course, the newbie to running that I am is seated across from Amby Burfoot and his lovely wife. While we spoke, I wish I would have known he was the winner of the 1968 BOSTON MARATHON (for goodness sakes!). He was also Editor in Chief at Runner’s World, an author, and serves as Editor-at-Large. I would have asked him pointers and guidance. He was so low-key…heck I would be still wearing a BOSTON MARATHON tee shirt and medal. You think I’m joking?!!
Getting the real deal from Bart Yasso was incredible. He is a living legend. Again, I joke but I can barely run on the one continent I am on and Bart has ran on all seven continents! I know quite a few runners locally including my friend Abby (yes, that Abby) that have run with him. Like Amby, Bart is easy-going as a Sunday morning and so approachable. Notice how I’m on a first-name basis now?
Touring the Runner’s World offices was a real treat. Since I work in PR/digital marketing I like to do desk-sides and be in a media environment. In another life I wanted to be a journalist. Yup, in my yearbook I proclaimed that I would be a writer for three mainstream publications and I still plan to do so. For now I’m on the other side. But I digress…
Enjoying s’mores with new blogger friends and Bart Yasso. I need to work at Rodale…just putting it into the universe! #rwhalf A photo posted by Get Fit Diva (@getfitdiva) on
The night ended with s’mores and small talk by the fire. I drove back home to sleep in my own bed and see my sons because I was at an event in NYC earlier in the day. Seven hours driving left me exhausted. On Friday, we had a day of learning about running, practiced yoga, and were introduced to the sponsors’ products and brands.
Golden Harper and Brian Beckstead from Altra Running were incredible. I had never heard of Altra running sneakers. Altra is a real life “David & Goliath” story in the multi-billion running shoe industry and it was cool to hear the brand’s background. I am so glad I was introduced to this brand as my last two longish (well, for me) runs I wore my new Altra running shoes. The founders even discussed trail running, which I would like to get more into and I know my clearance-bin unremarkable trail shoes are NOT the business. Check out the shoes-glorious-shoes:
Learning about Altra and running…this new runner is soaking it all in! #run #altra #rwhalf #zerolimits #running #5k #10k #fitmom #fitfluential #sweatpink A photo posted by Get Fit Diva (@getfitdiva) on
I also tested out the iFit treadmill. I had an iFit treadmill eons ago…it was probably the first ever made. I remember purchasing it after watching it demo on QVC or HSN. However, the new hotness is amazing. The new iFit treadmills have built-in web-enabled tablets and that allows the treadmills to connect to the internet – to any site you want. You can even use iFit.com, use the Google Map tool to draw a map anywhere in the world and download one of the 2500+ maps that are already drawn. As you run or walk, iFit technology lets you watch Google Street View of the route you’ve drawn, and iFit automatically adjusts the speed and incline of the treadmill to match the map. I love the idea of virtual training for races!
Learning about @iFit technology! I miss my ProFirm treadmill. May have to hint to my husband about this! #FitnessConnected #rwhalf #fitness #health #getfitdiva A photo posted by Get Fit Diva (@getfitdiva) on
Since I was latecomer for the influencers’ experience, I did not receive an iFit Active Band to implement in my running training. However, I am excited to review one and have a special surprise for my Get Fit Diva readers courtesy of iFit. After learning about iFit technology and Altra, we went outside to discuss running techniques. I asked what two things should I focus on technique-wise and he said keep my arms close and quick steps. Sounded simple and effective enough (in theory)! Before lunch, we practiced yoga. NOW we are in my element! We received recovery tools for runners like a Weider massage stick, Lotus Yoga folding mat, and Gold’s Gym multi-band.
Lunch was DELICIOUS. Menu: (all food is featured in the Runner’s World Cookbook)
- Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Seed Salad
- Simple Green Salad with 2 dressing options
- Mustard and Cumin Vinaigrette: pg 85
- Nutty Olive Oil Dressing: pg 86
- Mushroom Tacos al Pastor (gluten free): pg 220
- White Chili with Toppings: pg 112
- Banana Oat Energy Bars: pg 47
During lunch, we learned more about Zelle from Elizabeth Comeau, Women’s Editor for RWZelle.com. Zelle is a new women’s channel powered by Runner’s World. The site is so breath-taking, fresh, and has so many different points of view on women’s running that I encourage you to visit, share, and contribute to the site.
After lunch, we listened to an interesting and insightful talk from Sean MacMillen. After 12 years in the U.S. Army – including three deployments to Afghanistan – this respected battalion executive officer left the service – and not by choice. “My life was in shambles,” he says, “and I was in a very dark place.” We learned how running, and his involvement with Team RWB – an organization that enriches the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them with their communities through social and physical activity – helped Sean take back control from alcohol abuse, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Recap via Instagram:
A few shots of an incredible day! Thank you @runnersworldmag for an amazing experience for my first race! Connected with so many incredible bloggers and motivated/focused/excited for tomorrow! I loved the passionate sponsors @altrarunning @ifit @nordictrack @proform And Lotus Yoga. What a much needed yoga session! And yes, I will be pitching the new @rwzelle! #rwhalf #enbracethespace #fitnessconnected #keepmovingkeephappy A photo posted by Get Fit Diva (@getfitdiva) on
I had an incredible time pre-race and was excited and invigorated (read: scared) for Saturday’s race!