Marathon training is in full effect. Since I’ve been running longer distances listening to podcasts helps me kill the boredom on a long run. The new AfterShokz Trekz Air were just what I needed for marathon training and beyond.
AfterShokz Trekz Air are use bone conduction technology to that allows you to listen to music with out an ear but in your ear. AfterShokz make it so that you can hear on coming traffic while you run and still enjoy your music or podcasts. They also come with a zipper carrying case and a two year warranty!
My favorite things about Trekz Air is the ease of use and the long battery life. When I opened the box and turned the Trekz Air on they were instantly recognized my my iPhone. I haven’t had any problems connecting to them since. The battery life on these is AMAZING. They can last for up to 6 hours which means they will last for an entire long run, regardless of how fast you run.
They also work great in all weather or sweaty conditions. I ran Big Sur 21 Miler with my pair and they held up great with all of my sweat and the brief rain shower around mile 14. I also was able to stay aware of my surrounding on the race course. Since the course was so busy with other racers and volunteers it was great to hear course instructions and listed to podcasts to keep me running. They are so lightweight, I barely noticed I was wearing them during my race.
Overall, I highly recommend any distance runner buy a pair of AfterShokz Trekz Air. They are so easy to use and comfortable to wear that the investment is worth it. If you want to buy yourself a pair, use this link and save $30 on your purchase!
Disclaimer: I received a free entry to 2018 Big Sur 21 Miler 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!
After a very long week at work I can finally sit down and write about my Big Sur experience. I will say I had a few hiccups in my training with getting sick a few weeks ago but I will say I finished one very very hard and scenic race.
We flew into San Jose and then drove to Carmel super late on Friday. We managed to wake up early enough to make it to the expo by 9:30am on Saturday. Bib pickup was super quick and even though there was a sign saying no transfer and all distances sold out, my boyfriend was able to register for the 5k! We went back to the expo hall and got our shirts and gear bags. I love the shirt I got, the heather purple is great! The 5k shirt was a super soft cotton, by boyfriend will definitely wear it.
The expo is small but there was plenty to do. Hoka One One had a huge booth and I learned more about shoes and what I should try next. The local lululemon was there screenprinting shirts. I love mine and it was worth the wait! The Big Sur merchandise was awesome. I got a custom BOCO Gear beanie, socks, and an enamel pin. I will say all the volunteers at the expo were stellar. During bib pick up they gave us directions and advice on where to park on race day, which was super helpful.
We left around 11:30am, drove to lululemon Monterrey to see what the surprise was if you showed your Big Sur bib. Both me and my boyfriend got pint glasses and a free beer after the race at a local brewery. We headed back to the hotel for a nap and some exploring in Carmel. Before dinner we explored Carmel Beach and downtown Carmel. We headed to bed around 9pm since we had an early morning ahead of us.
I did not sleep well the night before the race. The elevation and the distance freaked me out. I woke up a few times which meant the 3:15am wake up was brutal. I did eat something as we headed off to the parking lot to drop me off.
The buses were a bit disorganized, they finally arrived at 4:25am and we took off. My bus along with a few others passed the 21 Miler start line and kept going to Big Sur. This was terrifying since none of us on the bus had cell phone reception and kept telling the driver to turn around and go back. We finally made it to the start around 5:40am. Luckily for me there was no line for the port-a-potties and I grabbed a cup of coffee to stay warm. Thankfully, we started right at 6:30am and had to walk up a steep hill before we reached the timing mat. The weather was perfect, 55 degrees and overcast. I was still a bit cold but we started running up a hill right from the start so I warmed up pretty quick.
The first five miles were long rolling hills that had amazing views of the coast. I was feeling good and knew that Hurricane Point was coming up and needed to save energy. The view leading up to Hurricane Point was gorgeous! Even though the next 2.5 miles of hill were visible in the distance, the view was well worth it for the run downhill into the valley.
By the time, I got to Hurricane Point I decided I was going to speed walk up much of hill. Since I’ve started tail running I’m used to ‘hiking’ up long steep inclines at a consistent pace. Hiking this section of the course allowed me to take in the view and keep my heart rate down so I could conserve energy.
There were taiko drummers at the base of the climb which was great entertainment and kept me going into the first part of the climb. Another fun feature of was the mile markers. Every mile of Big Sur has a cartoon mile marker and the ones up Hurricane Point here funny. “Hang in there” was the theme of the three and they made me laugh and take my mind off the hill. About a half mile from the top I was passed by a bunch of official marathon vehicles and then the lead pack of marathoners. Major props to them for racing one very hilly course.
Running downhill after the 2.5 miles of Hurricane Point felt amazing and the view of Bixby Bridge was also a welcome sight. The Piano Player right after the bridge is the halfway mark of the full marathon which mean there were 13.1 long miles ahead of me. I took a few photos and kept my run/walk going up and down the ‘rolling hills’.
Around mile 14 I took a quick pit stop and as I was exiting it started to rain. It wasn’t that much rain but the rain caused my entire body to get cold and cramp over the course of the next mile and the last 6.2 miles were painful. Running up hills were almost impossible entering the Carmel Highlands. I kept telling myself I was going to finish and that walking up each hill was ok as long as I ran the descents.
The Carmel Highlands are beautiful! I was not bored at all run/walking the last 4 miles and there were plenty of locals and volunteers cheering too. There was a local group that every year gives out fresh strawberries around mile 24 of the marathon and that was the fuel I needed to finish the race.
The last big hill is at mile 25 and this year Hoka One One had their huge arch up and pump-up music blasting. A few of the Big Sur International Marathon employees were out cheering and saying congrats to all of the runners. Even though Monastery Beach was beautiful – that last hill sucked. I was so happy to see the last downhill and the finish line even though I was barely running at the finish.
The finish chute was very organized, I was not a huge of the Marathonfoto photographers who kept pulling me aside for a photo. If anything it made it harder for me to enjoy all of the amazing volunteers and food at the finish line. The post-race food was perfect- local produce, a cookie (it was AMAZING!), chips, Dole juice, gummy bears and a banana. I was given a heat sheet and finally found my boyfriend and was ready for a shower.
After a shower, we explored Monterrey. Grabbed brunch at Alvarado Street Brewery and walked around cannery row. I was happy I could walk even though my quads and calves were very unhappy. I did survive the car ride back to San Jose and the flight home to Seattle.
While we were waiting for our flight home, I was able to jump on Athlinks.com and claim my race results. You can check out how I did it here, and while you’re at it, jump on and make an account too. Don’t forget to add me as a friend so we can go head-to-head in future races!
I am not going to lie – Big Sur 21 Miler was the hardest race I’ve ever run. The views and the volunteers made every mile worth it. If you’ve never run in Northern California and are looking for a bucket list race, Big Sur is well worth it. Both Carmel and Monterrey are beautiful and are worth the visit.
Over the last few weeks I had the pleasure of testing out the new Orange Mud 2L Gear Vest!
Version 2.0 of the Orange Mud Gear Vest offers a 1L hydration bladder and 1L of gear space with plenty of pockets. The Gear Vest comes in two colors, white and black. It’s machine washable in delicate and dries quickly. The fabric is also breathable which is a huge bonus for hot long runs.
One of the best features of the vest is the upper front pockets. They are perfect for gels and other fuel and have a handy Velcro flap that is super easy to access while you run. I also found that the contents of the upper pockets didn’t bounce which was great.
Want an Orange Mud Gear Vest for yourself? Use code “BRGV15” for 15% off on the Orange Mud website.
My other favorite part of the vest is the front strapping system. The elastic straps are super lightweight and adjustable. I barely felt them while I ran. This minimized bounce and made for a comfortable run.
The small reservoir is easy to adjust on your back. I didn’t have too many issues with the weight higher up in my back. The extra liter of storage is great for a lightweight jacket.
There is one downside for me, I have a very large chest. Due to the front strap placement, I can’t wear a tank top or shirt sleeve shirt because of the chaffing on my arms and sports bra. To make sure it was my chest size causing the chaffing, my boyfriend tried it on for a run and he had no chaffing issues.
I highly recommend the OrangeMud Gear Vest for any runner who’s looking for hydration vest for mid to long runs and doesn’t need to haul too much gear. The quality of this vest makes it worst the investment. Want an Orange Mud Gear Vest for yourself? Use code “BRGV15” for 15% off on the Orange Mud website.
Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Rock ‘N’ Roll San Francisco half marathon 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 past weekend I ran the Rock ‘N’ Roll San Francisco half marathon with my fellow BibRave Pro Jeannine. It was a lot of fun and well worth the trip.
Even though I got in super late (12:30am), we headed to the expo first thing in the morning. We took MUNI from our hotel to the Embarcadero, got Philz Coffee and walked down to Pier 35.
There was a small line but once the doors opened it took us less than five minutes to get our bibs. Right after bib and t-shirt pickup there was the official merchandise section. One of the coolest things Rock ‘N’ Roll does is put participant names on the shirt. There was a life-size banner where you could find your name which was fun.
The rest of the expo was small but it made it a lot more manageable. Toyota was there and was giving away a portable battery to Toyota owners and you could play games for more prizes. I played against Jeannine in a run in place challenge. There was a how much can you fit into corolla game too. The title sponsor United Airlines was giving away headbands/neck warmers and free Illy espresso. Illy espresso is now served on all United Airlines flights. We stopped by St. Jude, Rock ‘N’ Roll, a few other booths before we headed out for a full day of sight seeing in San Francisco.
We walked down to Pier 39 saw the sea loins, Boudin bakery, and then took the cable car back to our hotel near Union Square. It was super fun hanging off the cable car and taking in the city. Jeannine took some awesome photos. We dropped our bibs off at the room and then headed out to the Mission District to go see all of the amazing murals. Found some artisan s’mores, more art, and then some beer at Anchorship Public Taps. Dinner was yummy Japanese food then we went to bed super early since we had a 6:15am start for the race.
After an early wake up call we got a Lyft to the start line. It was freezing, I should have brought throwaway clothing with me. We found my friend Kristie and then headed into Pier 39 to stay warm and out of the wind. The race however did not start on time. We waited at least 10-15 minutes before we started, they never specified what was the delay.
The race course was an abbreviated out and back starting at Pier 39 and ending at Ghirardelli Square with the turnaround at the end of the Golden Gate Bridge. In total we run about 4 miles on the Golden Gate Bridge, 4 miles on city streets, and the rest on the paved tails of the Presidio.
Once we were off we ran along the water and up a few hills to get to the Presidio. Coming from Seattle the hills were steep but nothing I wasn’t used to. The weather was a bit chilly until we hit mile 4. Once we got onto the bridge the weather cleared and it was BEAUTIFUL! Since we weren’t running for time we stopped and took photos along the bridge and I am so happy we did. Running the downhill turnaround was fun since it was trail with a huge hill. I ended up hiking it to save my energy for the last few hills we had left. I will say, we did not run on the actual car lanes, we ran on the pedestrian/bike path that was quite narrow. There were a few points where I did run into other runners and it wasn’t avoidable. But the views were well worth the narrow course.
After the bridge we turned onto the Presidio paths and got up close and personal with the waves which was fun. It was a bit boring running along the path since the Golden Gate Bridge was behind us so there wasn’t much view. I started to not feel so great around mile 11 even though I ate almost all of my fuel. With Kristie’s help I was able to persevere and getup the hill near Fort Mason at mile 12.5 and then down a hill to the finish.
The finishers chute was short and highly organized. I was able to get my medal, water, electrolytes and Ghirardelli chocolate quickly. Where the finish line was located made it easy for us call and Lyft.
When I got back to the hotel after the race, I was able to jump on Athlinks.com and claim my race results. You can check out how I did it here, and while you’re at it, jump on and make an account too. Don’t forget to add me as a friend so we can go head-to-head in future races!
We had more time to sightsee so we grabbed bottomless dim sum brunch at Chubby Noodle to celebrate then explored Chinatown before we headed to the airport.
Overall race thoughts
Overall, this was a great race weekend. If you haven’t been to San Francisco or it’s been a while since your last visit, it is well worth a trip. Rock ‘N’ Roll puts on a great race that’s well worth it!
Disclaimer: I reviewed Athlinks 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!
One of the biggest problems I run into is trying to keep track of all of my race results. Even though I have a good idea of what my PR is in a particular distance it’s nice to all in one place. That’s where Athlinks comes in!
Athlinks keeps your race results in one place. It makes is easy to track to your race performance over time and see how you compare to other runners. Your profile page gives you an overview of all of your PRs and claimed results.
How to use Athlinks
Creating an account is simple. You can sign up with your email or Facebook account. Once registered, you can start claiming results. There are filters to help you find the correct events based on location and your age.
One of the best features of Athlinks is the Start List. To add yourself, simply search for a race, select the year, distance and your goal time. The cool part of the start list is you can see who else has the same goals, where they’re from, and see their previous race times. Since I’m not the fastest runner is interesting to see other runner’s goal times and previous races.
You can also follow your friends and see where they are running. In some cases the people you follow will be your rivals. A rival is a runner who you follow who ran the same race as you. It’s fun to have some friendly competition.
Another nice feature of Athlinks is the search. Want to run all 50 states? You can easily search and find races based on location and distance to start planning your next runcation. I’ve found a few local 10ks through Athlinks and even some bigger bucket list races (Iceland, anyone?) just by searching.
Athlinks is great if you run a lot of races and love seeing stats. I recommend Athlinks to any runner that has big goals and wants to keep a race diary of your progress over time.
Follow me and my fellow BibRavePros on Athlinks here. Maybe you’ll be my next rival?