AfterShokz Trekz Air & #GiveGoodVibes

Disclaimer: I received AfterShokz Trekz Air and Trekz Titanium 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!

The only downside I’ve found to Aftershokz is that other people don’t know how awesome they are, so they don’t know they can still talk to me! 😂😭

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They also are comfy to just wear around your neck!

I never use to use headphones while running or really life in general. I don’t know if my ears are a weird shaped or what, but almost all earbuds fall out of or hurt my ears. I love that I don’t have to worry about this factor at all with Aftershokz since they just sit on the side of your head. It also allows them to still be comfy when wearing ear warmers or a hat as they aren’t being shoved into your ears. I was able to wear them comfortably on a run with an ear warmer headband, a face mask (pulled up), and head lamp.

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You couldn’t even tell I was wearing them

I also really don’t like being unaware of my surroundings (while running and overall). This is definitely part of the reason I never really used to wear headphones. Even my gaming headset is one I purchased specifically because it allows you to hear outside noises. But since I also don’t like blasting my music through speakers so everyone around me has to listen with me, I pretty much only listened to music in my car. I love that Aftershokz allow me to hear what’s going on around me (on my run, at work, while doing chores) just like playing music through speakers, without everyone else hearing it too! When I gifted a pair to my mom she couldn’t believe how you didn’t hear them at all if you aren’t the one wearing them with how clearly you do when you are the wearer. They are also SUPER light and really well shaped so you don’t really feel them and get more of the effect of feeling like you’re just listening to speakers.

I’m also very impressed with the battery life and even more impressed with the charge time. I think I’ve only had to charge them once or twice, but can’t even remember the exact amount with how quickly they charge. That’s an important factor in gear choice for me because I am forgetful and can’t have high maintenance gear, but also HATE when I can’t use what I had planned.

I have now given a pair of Trekz Titaniums to both my mom and boyfriend as gifts because I really feel like Aftershokz are a product for everyone. I originally gifted both sets for during physical activity, but both of them told me they also love using them in their offices at work to be sure they don’t miss visitors’ knocking as well. I feel better that my mom now can hear her surroundings when she goes for walks by herself. And I love that my boyfriend can have his music motivation when running with me but can also still talk with me without having to leave one earbud out.

I even tried wearing mine to my first race of the year! It was great to get to listen to my podcast during the spectator-less sections of the race, but then cheer and be cheered during the more populated parts. Like I stated at the beginning, the only issue was some people thought I had regular headphones on and didn’t talk to me when they seemed like they wanted to. Oh and one guy shout-talked to me “so I could hear”. 😂

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New Year’s Race!!

Here are the links to both if you want to check them out for yourself!

Trekz Air

Trekz Titanium

Training & Updates 12/17 – 12/23

So I may have had a mini crisis over 2018 after thinking the year over the other day (I’ll go into detail in another post once the year actually closes out) and decided to step up my game for the last little bit of the year. I’ve always wanted to do a streak and a few of the reasons for my crisis could have been helped via run streak, so I decided to start a 2019 goal early! I actually started the 16th, but am happy to report I ran 2 miles or more everyday this past week! Since my previous mileage had been super spotty I took it nice and easy on most of the days, which is fine because the goal is just to get out there consistently. My week ended up looking like:

Monday – 4.01 miles / 11:09 pace

Tuesday – 2.70 miles / 9:02 pace

Wednesday – 2.30 miles / 10:58 pace

Thursday – 6.54 miles / 9:51 pace

Friday – 2.04 miles / unknown

Saturday – 3.36 miles / 8:27 pace

Sunday – 2.01 miles / 10:58 pace

Total – 22.96 miles

Weirdly, I ran on a treadmill everyday except one. Normally I avoid treadmills like the plague but I’ve also been too lazy to put in the extra effort it takes to stay super alert while running at night. Tuesday was another Zwift run, which was super fun! But unfortunately the WiFi at my gym won’t let me make every treadmill run a Zwift one. It’s making me thoroughly debate finally getting my own treadmill. I definitely felt a bit of tired and achiness in my legs/feet toward the end of the week when standing at my desk (this was also the first week I had my standing desk ❤️) but doing less Friday and Saturday fixed that by Sunday.

In other news:

I am a Tiux Ambassador again for 2019! Feel free to use the code SAMRTIUX for 20% off purchases from their site.

I am also a Rhode Races Newport Ambassador this year! I’m super excited since I love the Rhode Races series and their Newport race is my absolute favorite half marathon! If you’re a 50 stater I’d definitely recommend this race for Rhode Island and if you have any questions feel free to ask me 🙂 I don’t have a discount code yet, but keep an eye open for that soon!

BUFF DryFlx Neckwarmer and Headband

Disclaimer: I received the BUFF DryFlx Neckwarmer and Headband 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!

While I love Winter running, I generally hate Winter gear. The gear that is supposed to keep me warm smothers me and causes me to sweat so much I become drenched and even more susceptible to freezing. I’ve had gloves and buffs get so wet they froze solid later in the run.

After trying the New Original BUFF earlier this year, I was excited to get to test their new DryFlx fabric to see if it was just as magical and could solve my cold gear problems. Turns out, it is and did!

I was able to keep warm using both my headband and neck warmer on a variety of runs without them causing me to sweat! One of my biggest dilemmas at the start of Winter is whether or not to wear ear warmers. I hate the wind and cold air blowing in my ears, but also hate the inevitable ring of sweat headbands will leave around my head. I threw on my BUFF headband on a warmer, windier day to see how much it would cause me to sweat and was extremely happily surprised to find out it didn’t at all! It’s honestly really cool how well the fabric keeps you warm and protected from wind while still managing to let your skin breathe. I wore both on a below freezing run as well and didn’t get a single chill. It also felt easier to breathe through than other buffs when in face-mask mode.

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Another feature I really liked was they added elastic to the ends of both product. It’s on the inside so it doesn’t catch on your hair, but gives a slightly snugger fit. I am super picky with ear warmers because I refuse to have to keep pulling them back over my ears every 5 minutes the entire run. There is elastic on one side of the headband that’s perfect for securing it over your ears. The neck warmer also has elastic, of slightly different sizes on each end. (My guess would be for different sized heads/faces.) This elastic was a huge game changer when I wore it as a face-mask. Normally I have a very difficult time keeping a buff up on my face, but I didn’t have to fix the DryFlx BUFF once!

Lastly, as you may know, I’m all about COLOR, reflectiveness, and really anything to make gear more crazy (and safe, I guess). Well the DryFlx comes in THE MOST NEON GREEN (and BLUE and some boring colors 😜) AND has a reflective design!!

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I was told I looked very ninja turtle and I love it!

If you want to check them out for yourself:

BUFF DryFlx Headband

BUFF DryFlx Neckwarmer

They also have a hat version!

BUFF DryFlx Hat

Sabre – Runner Pepper Gel with Adjustable Hand Strap

Disclaimer: I received Sabre – Runner Pepper Gel with Adjustable Hand Strap 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!

Shortly after I started running at night a lot, I also found out you no longer needed a permit to carry pepper spray in MA so I went out and bought myself some. I had been recommended it tons of times before, but didn’t really know much about it. It was only after buying it that I was told if you carry pepper spray you should spray yourself with it to get a feel for it since you most likely will get hit with some upon using it..

When I heard about Sabre’s pepper gel and it’s ability to cut down on blow back I was very excited to try it out! While I still haven’t sprayed normal pepper spray to be able to compare the two, I tested the pepper gel and had no issue at all! It shoots a small laser-like stream only in the direction of your choosing! It kind of reminded me of silly string 😂 It also is colored red so you can easily see the stream and “tag” the threat. I find this particularly comforting since I am terrible with faces. I can barely describe the stranger I just had a full out conversation with, never mind identify someone after a situation like being attacked.

I only had time to test mine in the dark after work so check out the awesome picture by my fellow BibRave Pro below!

I was happy to find Sabre’s pepper gel didn’t take a ton of force to spray. It didn’t take too little either, but the cap has an easy twist to lock/unlock system for added safety.

The hand strap was also a really nice feature which I didn’t originally think much of. You don’t realize how much effort it is to hold something your whole run until you don’t have to hold it. My old spray just expected you to hold it, but Sabre’s holder keeps it snugly in your hand without you actively having to hold it so you honestly could forget it’s there.

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Overall I’m really happy I made the switch so I can confidently use my safety product instead of having to worry about a safety product making me possibly more unsafe, like normal pepper spray.

Check it out for yourself on their website: https://www.sabrered.com/pepper-spray/runner-pepper-gel-adjustable-hand-strap

Silver Falls Trail 50K & My First Ultra!

I had originally signed up for this race forever ago. After helping my friend move to Oregon I had seen a REALLY pretty picture of a park there on Instagram and shared it with her only to find out it was just over 30 minutes from her house! She went on a recon mission and told me I HAD to go there next time I visited. Honestly I don’t remember if I even waited to see the place for myself (We went for a walk there during my next visit.) or just immediately checked if they had any races and signed up for the Silver Falls Trail 50K.

Unfortunately at the beginning of the October I did something to one of my already bad knees at Ragnar Wawayanda so I hadn’t really been able to train basically at all for the rest of the month. In the last few days leading up to the race I had kind of come to accept my fate of simply going for a walk in a really pretty park and cheering on the friend I had managed to sucker into joining me 😜

The cramped legroom on my flights there didn’t really bother my knees like I thought it would. If anything, it was only my neck that was bothering me slightly at the race the next day due to the flights. I even got to talk to a fellow runner and past Oregonian on my first flight since he pegged me as a runner when he saw I was reading Eat & Run. I landed around 4 PM, got picked up by my friend, and headed to packet pickup. Between talking to that guy on the flight and the people at packet pickup I got a bit more amped to attempt to run tomorrow and packed my hydration pack that night as though I was going to complete the whole race.

Race Day
We got there “bright and early” (really dark and early) on race day and I was glad my friend had thought to bring two headlamps (so I was able to borrow one). By the time the race started most people had taken theirs off and I probably could have managed without, but it was nice to have that extra little light when you’re as clumsy as me. I wish I had thought to bring my SPIbeam visor because it would have been PERFECT.

Mile 0-15
I started the race near the back of the line, and made sure to take off really slowly so hopefully my knee would have time to warm up and not hurt. It worked like a charm and the first 15 miles were AMAZING! Since tripping was definitely part of my downfall at Ragnar, I put most of my focus on the ground and watching my step, but also took it slow so I could look at the BEAUTIFUL forest I was running through. I talked to some people, stopped to take some pictures (but not because I felt terrible and had to!), cruised up some hills, and just overall had a blast! I had my hydration vest filled with water because I like to be able to take tiny sips at my own pace. And for fuel and electrolytes I had my Skratch chews and salt pills, which were working well. I did try some potato chips and an actual baked potato dipped in some salt at an aid station because they sounded good so I figured maybe my body wanted something they contained. I’m super lucky and my stomach is relatively hard to upset so I wasn’t too concerned trying “new stuff” to running (long as it wasn’t new to my normal diet I knew it would be fine).

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SO PRETTY.

Mile 16-19
It was a little after mile 15 that my knee suddenly decided it had had enough. I had kind of assumed this would happen and didn’t really want to take the chance of hurting my knee further by pushing on past this point of pain. I was honestly just really happy that I had run a virtually pain free 15 miles and wasn’t upset about having to quit at all. The only issue was I had run 15 miles and my runner’s brain didn’t think about the possibility of turning back. So instead of going about 1 mile back to the last aid station, I saw hobbling 4 miles to the next as the only option. These next 4 miles felt like the longest miles of my life. I felt like my knee had never hurt this much before. Being the excellent planner I am, I didn’t even actually know exactly where the next aid station was. I only knew the cutoff from what they had announced at the start line and began trying to calculate if I’d make it from the times and distances I vaguely thought I remembered them saying. It was all useless anyway though because as soon as I start running I can’t add 2+2. I saw NO ONE. I entered the dark place. I assumed I must be dead last. Did they have a sweeper or would I just be left alone in the woods? Would the aid station even be there by the time I got to it’s location? Finally after what felt like FOREVER I saw the aid station. I asked about taking their truck back with them, and they said this station could only transport a few people so it was reserved for emergencies, but the next aid station could help me. I honestly almost cried at the thought of having to go another 5 miles. With how awful I felt during those last miles I felt I should be considered a medical emergency. Distraught and unsure what to do next I decided stuffing my face with m&m’s was clearly the best decision. In the 10 minutes I sat there debating my fate, 20-40 runners came by. All INSANELY cheery. Half taking shots of Fireball before running off into the woods screaming. Where had they all been before when I was completely alone in the woods? The sugar rush started to hit me, along with now knowing I wasn’t alone, and I suddenly felt like the last few miles had never happened. As the next person left the station, I decided to follow suit and that I officially was going to complete this race.

Mile 20-24
My knee still wasn’t feeling great, but it was manageable. I did a decent amount of galloping (like when you pretended to be a horse as a kid) 😂 This time I saw people the whole time and did a lot of trading spots back and forth with them. We started running through the parts of the park where I had actually been before (the parts with the waterfalls). I could feel the sugar rush fading toward the end, but at least I knew what to do to make myself feel better this time. I got to the aid station at mile 24 right before the cutoff time. At this point I had come to far to quit. I took all my planned nutrition and gear from in the front pouches of my hydration vest and shoved them in the back. I then filled one front pocket completely with m&m’s and the other with potato chips, and took a handful of potato chips for good measure. I was getting hungry for real food and that was as close as I was getting. I had also heard on the Training for Ultra Podcast that potato chips are one of the highest calorie snacks.

Mile 24-31
It felt like you weaved around the falls for forever. I was glad I had been there before to take pictures because I was too worried about time to be able to stop and take any. I jog, shuffle, hopped along as fast as I could eating my feast of potato chips and m&m’s. There were some actual stairs to climb at one point, but I had already walked them and knew what to expect. The only other specific thing I remember was right before the finish. At packet pickup a volunteer had warned us you will be able to hear the finish when you’ve still got a ways to go and they were right. They also mentioned one last hill in that section. The uphill wasn’t bad for me, but it goes right back down at the same steepness which was just about the final straw for my knee. I came insanely close to rolling down the hill both by choice and accident. I finally reached the finish with only a little over 15 minutes left, in 7:43:45.

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While this wasn’t exactly how I wanted my first ultra to go I am still insanely happy that I ran it. It feels good knowing that I was able to complete the distance without any real issues besides my knee without much training. It confirmed my thoughts that I have a decent fueling plan down since I never felt sick, but also was a learning experience that some sugar can do wonders for my attitude and chips are great for once you start wanting real food. Also I was super glad I started wearing a long sleeve shirt since it seems when I am out there for so long (even though I’m usually someone who runs warm) I end up going through phases of getting chills.

I can’t wait to actually be able to train for and run my next ultra! I plan to do a “local” one since I think the flights honestly hurt more than the ultra itself. My neck was definitely a bit sore during the race from the flight there and the flight back was not only physically rough, but I also caught a sinus infection (or awful cold?) that I am STILL trying to fully get over. In the end, still TOTALLY worth it though!

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We’re ultramarathoners now!!!

Join me for the Illinois Marathon 2019!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Illinois 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!

A little while back I decided I think I want to be one of those crazies who tries to run a half and full marathon in every state. I think it will be really fun traveling around seeing different people and places! So as a start to that I have officially signed up for the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon in 2019!

This race offers many distances: marathon, half marathon, wheelchair half marathon, 10K, 5K, and a youth run (1K). It also offers two types of combos: the I-Challenges (5k+ full, 5K + relay, 5K + half, and 5K +10K) and the Illini-Badger Half Marathon Challenge (finish both the Illinois Half and Madison Mini-Marathon), both for extra bling. Not going to lie, I’m kinda thinking about doing the Illini-Badger for the extra bling and state!

The course looks to be a very flat one with lots of entertainment along the way! And swag includes a finisher shirt, and my favorite, free race photos! ❤️

This race also has an ambassador program that runs through November 15th! When you register for the marathon distance, any friend (who didn’t run the race in 2017 or 2018) who lists your name as their referrer will cause both of you to receive a $30-off gift code to Body n’ Sole when you spend $100.

Want to join me in checking Illinois off your race list? Use the code “bibraveillinois2019” for $5 off registration and feel free to list “Samantha Roderigues” as your referrer to get the $30-off gift code!

OOFOS OOrginal Sport Sandal

Disclaimer: I received OOFOS 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 had heard a lot about OOFOS before but kind of always assumed they were over-hyped.. That is, until I borrowed a friend’s. It was literally just for a minute so I could run outside to my car since flip flops are quicker to throw on than sneakers, but I immediately new the hype was real.

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I have never been a sandal person, especially not flip flops, and almost exclusively wear Converse sneakers when I’m not in my running sneakers (so much so I am known as the “Converse girl” to some people). Since getting my own pair of OOFOS OOriginals though, I have probably worn them more than all my non-Converse shoes combined. Flip flops normally rub my feet in the wrong spots, but I have worn OOFOS on many walks and even a mildly technical hike with no such issues. It’s great to finally have a comfy shoe that allows my feet to breathe as well.

Everyone’s main claim is how soft and cushy OOFOS are and I have to say it’s kind of hard to believe until you try them for yourself. The best I can come up with is it feels like walking barefoot on soft dirt and the cushiness gives them a bounce that almost helps you walk and makes your legs feel fresher (which is clutch after a tough race).

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My OOFOS have become a staple piece of my race recovery gear

If you are like I was and haven’t tried OOFOS thinking people are just talking them up too much, I would definitely recommend you reconsider and give them a try! I think your feet will thank you 😋

SPIbeam Visor

Disclaimer: I received the SPIbeam visor 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!

When I first heard about the SPIbeam visor (and hat) I honestly couldn’t believe no one had thought of it before! One of my biggest running gear issues is trying to wear a hat and headlamp at the same time in a comfortable and still functional way. With SPIbeam you get the functionality of both with the comfort of just a hat!

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I didn’t realize how often I would slack on safety due to the discomfort of a headlamp. They are large, clunky, and look plain silly if you start your run in the daylight already wearing one. Since receiving the SPIbeam I no longer debate whether I should wear a headlamp and night safety gear or run without in questionable conditions. It is so comfy it’s an easy choice to increase your safety and without the lights on it looks just like a normal visor. I like that it can protect your eyes from the sun at the start of a sunset run and then light your way through the end.

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Not only does it provide the safety of lighting your path and front, but the SPIbeam has a red taillight so you can be seen from behind as well, allowing it to replace yet another piece of my night running gear.

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You can see the taillight’s reflection in this picture!

If you want to try out this extremely versatile piece of running gear use the code “BIBRAVE” for 20% off any SPIBelt item (valid through 11/12)!

Luvo Bundles

Disclaimer: I received Luvo Bundles 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!

As someone who is generally pretty busy and hates cooking I have tried my share of frozen meals. After trying the Luvo Gluten Free Essentials Bundle, here are a few things that stood out and would make me choose Luvo again:

  1. They provide a variety of different types of foods. With Thai style green curry, Hawaiian rice, Chorizo chili, or just plain mac & cheese, there’s something for everyone!

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    The Gluten Free Bundle

  2. Luvo does not provide only one gluten free meal, but an entire gluten free bundle! They also have Vegan and Vegitarian bundles as well. It was really nice to have so many different options available. I also later found out they have at least one more gluten free bowl that couldn’t fit in the bundle.
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    I found out they also had gf mac & cheese when I spotted Luvo in my local supermarket!
  3. Flavor. Luvo bowls are extremely flavorful and have that home-cooked feel. Many of the other frozen meals that offer gluten free options tend to be health or diet meals. This is fine, until the companies seem to forget that the gluten free and dieters out there still need the food to have taste. Luvo bowls are both healthy and tasty!

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    Shared this meal with my boyfriend who said he would have never guessed it was gluten free

  4. Correct Portions. Like I said, I have tried many frozen meals before and at this point I generally buy two frozen meals per meal I plan to eat since the portions are so tiny. I was very impressed with not only the amount of food in the Luvo bowls, but also the ratio of things. I hate buying a “chicken” meal to find it contains only two bites of chicken in a sea of rice. With Luvo, you don’t have to worry about this.

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    So good I ate half before I remembered to take a picture

Reebok 10k for Women 2018

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Reebok Boston 10k for Women 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!

The second half of my all-running-weekend extravaganza was the Reebok 10k for Women! I had already been super pumped about the event schedule, but after the beating I took at Ragnar Wawayanda I was even more excited for the pre-race activities. There was to be one meditation session, two yoga sessions, and two pump up cardio sessions! I was hoping the yoga plus just overall gentle ramp-up to racing would make it less stressful on my already exhausted body. (It did!)

Since the race was at the Boston Commons (and the parking lot would be closed) I stayed at my friends’ house in the area the night before and then took a Lyft to the race. This was my first time using Lyft but it went super smoothly and I got there nice and early. I had already gone to packet pickup the day before at the Reebok store so I walked around looking at what booths were there.

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Everything was 50% off at packet pick up so I did some shopping too!

Soon it was 9 and the meditation session got underway! Luckily for me they provided yoga mats because I don’t own one. I really dug the first instructor, who instructed both the meditation and first yoga session. She took things really slowly and explained everything for anyone who had no idea what they were doing like myself. Both were really relaxing and calming.

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The second yoga session was supposed to take it up a notch, which it did, but I don’t think I was super ready for that level of yoga. The second instructor was also great, she just expected you to know more to be able to increase the pace. I did like that it had a tiny bit of core in the middle!

The first cardio session was really nice too. It was a lot of running in place and jumping jack type moves. Not crazy hard, but a nice warm up.

I missed the second cardio session because I found some friends I hadn’t known were running the race! We dropped our bags at bag check and ran a 2 mile warm up around the city, which was really nice. Like I said before, I’m not a city person, but Boston is a different kind of city. It’s not quite as chaotic so you can still run around it without feeling like you are in literally everyone’s way. Also the architecture is too pretty!

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We got back just in time to line up for the start! It was nice they marked off where different pace groups should line up instead of just having a free for all. The race began and we literally took over the streets of Boston! It was really cool to see the streets completely closed off and FULL of women. It was also interesting because it was in the city so there were lots of other runners going on training runs on the sidewalks along the race. The bridge crossing and running along the water was really pretty and nice! I found it interesting there was so little cheering when so much of the course went by runners going the other way. Maybe it was just because it was a much sorter race than I’m used to and so every breath counts. I don’t remember really noticing any amount of elevation. What I did notice though were the CRAZY amount of photographers! There were definitely multiple per mile. I ended up with 20 race pictures!

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Peep my Reebok scrunchie!

I think you go around 3 sides of the commons at the end so it’s a bit deceiving that you can hear the final announcer for like a mile. (I’m not sure the actual distance because I forgot my Garmin. They did have clocks and signs at every mile to help me, but I’m really good at forgetting what the sign read 10 seconds after going by it.) I was really surprised with the amount of people running that they were still announcing everyone’s finish individually.

There was tons of different food at the end so even though it was around lunch time I didn’t feel the need to rush home to eat. They had instant results so I checked that out and then grabbed my bag and headed over for post-race yoga, which was really chill.

It started drizzling after that so I decided to head out. Since the race was around the commons some sides were really traffic-y, but it wasn’t crazy hard to work out getting picked up on a non-traffic filled side by my Lyft driver. I was glad that I didn’t have to walk into the actual city to avoid the traffic/road closings (because I’m so bad at navigating).

Overall it was a really fun time and I honestly wish more races did all the pre-race warm ups to get you ready!

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Also how much do you love the race shirt?!

You can check out my results for this race on Athlinks and make sure if you ran it too you add me as a rival!!