July 21 Recap

While June was an awesome month, July not quite so much.  This emotional roller coaster I’ve been on for the past year is continuing to derail me but I’ve made some decisions to start making some changes to get off this coaster so hopefully August will come with some clarity & peace.

July kicked off with the Crown City Classic 12k on July 3.  The first race back in San Diego since early 2020.  It was nice to see my Arete teammates & cheer them on.  I had a decent race considering how little I have been running.  It was about a minute slower per mile than last time I ran this race, but considering, I’m happy.

I tried a new pair of shoes for this and the San Diego Half that I ran later in the month.  I have really been liking New Balance lately and got a pair of the New Balance RC Elite 2 which I really like!  To me, they feel a little stiff as you are putting them on but once you stand up, they are like little clouds on your feet.

After the race we went home and got ready to drive up to Bishop so we could hike White Mountain & then hit up Death Valley NPS so Sean could do an hour or so of training in the heat.

White Mountain – well – it’s a very easy hike outside the altitude – the part that makes it the most challenging is the drive to the trail head.  16 miles of super sharp, rocky trail.  My friend Catra told us to drive very carefully because a lot of people get flats which made me quite nervous because my new Crosstrek has run-flat tires which are expensive to replace LOL.  So each way it took us over 90 min to get to/from the trailhead to the main road.

The nice things about White Mountain are 1) you don’t need a permit, 2) it’s a pretty easy trail to actually hike outside the elevation & 3) because of the crazy drive there weren’t too many people there.

Cons: It is a really long drive & there is a potential to get a flat so make sure you have a spare, etc. because there is minimal cell service.  It’s also beautiful but there is a lot of cover so you are exposed the whole time unlike when we went to San Gorgonio and were in the forest a good portion of the time.

I did not go to the summit. I went up to about 13,000ish feet and then decided I was done.  I’m not sure why I quit, maybe it was the slight headache I had, maybe it was that I’m not in my best physical or mental shape right now, I don’t actually know, but I was done and after a few minutes of pouting I turned around and headed back while Sean went to the top.

The next day we went to Death Valley so Sean could 1) get an idea of the course and 2) so he could do a run in the heat as prep for Badwater 135.

Back home again, we hit up Cowles Mountain for a few hikes the next week, I went to Phoenix for work and I decided that I wasn’t going to crew Sean at Badwater.

I ran the San Diego Half Marathon, which is normally in March, while Sean was gone and had a fun time even though it was really hot out!

Now for my July stats:

Running – I did 2 races, the 12k and the half and this was a good portion of the running I did last month.  I think I came in at around 40ish miles for the month?

Peloton – I biked more last month than I ran – 29 rides for 122 miles including a 2021 PR in Kendall’s Gwen Stefani ride.

Strength – I probably say this every month but it’s really the only thing I’m consistent on right now.  I think I missed 2 days due to work because it is really hard to do anything on the days when I’m getting up super early & am on all day long.

Campaigns – I probably have never shared why I do a lot of ads on here and on my IG, but I honestly love trying new things and sharing with you all.  Some things are more athlete driven, others are food related, because I love food and some are for things that I just want to try.  I do get paid to post about some products, others it’s just a product exchange, but I do try my best to share my personal thoughts but also keep in mind that just because something doesn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t work for someone else.

So that being said in July I shared posts about Silk Oat Milk, which is super yummy!! Ultima Replenisher’s new Mocktini flavors.  I gave away some products from Sideaway Foods, I also gave away a super cool Rumpl x All Trails blanket.  I shared Oofos Woodland Camo sandals that are perfect for post run/hike.  And the FlexTemp™️ Hot & Cold Joint Wrap from Sunbeam.

I’ve got a few new projects coming up in August and we have a few trips planned which will be really nice.  Also, NYC Marathon training kicks off.

How was your July?

June 2021 Check-In

I wrote my May check-in and then for some reason never posted it but May was a rough month & June was much, much better so let’s just start there.

Kicked off June with a with a bright, shiny new Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid which was a nice surprise.  We went in just to take a look but found the perfect car and took it home with us.

We celebrated National Running Day by running 8 miles down by the San Diego Harbor.  It was a little cloudy but it was so nice to be down there and wow, I could still run 8 miles with minimal pain.

I took my first plane & work trip since Feb 2020 to Miami.  It was fun to see all my co-workers and be back at an event, I hadn’t talked that much in over a year and it was awesome!  I would say that I am an extroverted introvert and while I am fine being by myself, I love being around people and talking to everyone.

When I got back from Miami, Sean & I headed to LA for a pre-birthday weekend.  I splurged using my Marriott points and we stayed at the Ritz Carlton downtown where they upgraded us to an incredible suite with an incredible waterfall shower & huge tub.  We hiked around the Hollywood Sign & got donuts from Donut Friend.

We got our infrared sauna built and started heat training for Badwater.  I’m loving the sauna, it’s so nice.  I will say though that I don’t need to go over 135 or so, last night I went up to 145 and even though I was hydrating like a boss I didn’t feel good all night so I think I’ll stick to the slightly lower temps.

We went up to San Gorgonio and did a hike halfway up – I haven’t been running a ton so I wasn’t prepared to go the  whole way up but it is an absolutely gorgeous trail and we had a great time.

I’ve been running with my run group, the San Diego Arete team and it’s been so nice to run with other people again. I’m looking forward to seeing them at my first race this weekend.

So now on to the stats portion of this recap:

Running: 67 miles which doesn’t seem like a lot but I’ve been doing some decent length runs and I am feeling stronger and happier about running.

Hiking: 12 miles including the 10.25 up & down Gorgornio.

Peloton: 117 miles which is low for me but I finally feel like in the last few weeks I’ve turned a corner & I’m not feeling any pain  on the bike so that’s a huge plus!  My Team Wilpers bike fitter checked in with me last week and when I told him it took about a month to feel better with the new settings he said that he was the same way and that it took him more than just a week to acclimate to new settings.

Strength Training: Again, this is one area I feel like I’m really nailing.  I’ve been working with Nicole from Heart and Sole Running since March and it’s really helping.  I’m really feeling like I’m getting stronger & this month, adding in some more running & biking seems to going to well.

Stretching: This is one that I fell off the wagon on so I’m starting over and boy do I need it!  I’m really tight, especially in my hips so goal for July is to do 45 stretch classes.

Campaigns: I worked with a lot of companies this month & gave away a bunch of products, like a Garmin Enduro like I have, RXBAR  Plant Bars & a Sunbeam heating pad.

I shared how RXBAR now has Plant Based bars, Quorn Foods vegan options, started & ended the month with CLIF Builders Minis, Jaybird Sport gifted me a pair of their new Vista 2 headphones, I teamed up with Aleve to share their new AleveX™ Pain Relieving Massaging Stainless Steel Roll-On, I got to try the new JustEgg Breakfast Sandwich at Peets and I shared how I use my Sunbeam GoHeat™️ USB Powered Heating Pad while out and about.

June was a good month!  Here’s to an even better July!  What did you all accomplish/do in June?

#RethinkRelief This Summer with Sunbeam GoHeat™️USB Powered Heating Pad

This post is sponsored by Sunbeam. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I’m super excited about the new Sunbeam GoHeat™️USB Powered Heating Pad. It’s perfect for taking on any trip for all my aches and pains.

Because it is USB Powered the heating pad is able to be used in any USB device, like in your car, on your computer or a power block, since the power source isn’t included, you can use whatever USB power device you would like. It measures 12.5×7.5 inches and is made with a super flexible & luxurious (machine washable) Micromink material that is able to be rolled and can fit easily into almost any bag including my purse.

This summer we have a lot of road & camping trips on the agenda, I’m looking forward to being able to use my GoHeat™️USB Powered Heating Pad while out camping.

At the Beach

Relaxing after a long hike

The adjustable strap makes it easy to keep the heating pad in place on your back, arms, legs or shoulders. It has 3 heat settings that you can see with different colors Green (low), Yellow (medium) & Red (high). And in case you forget it’s on, it has a 2 hour auto shut-off too.
It comes with a 58in extension cord so you can reach different USB plugs without having to be stuck by an outlet.
I’m looking forward to using my GoHeat™️USB Powered Heating Pad all summer long no matter where I am. Where will you #RethinkRelief this summer?
Want a Sunbeam heating pad for yourself? Head over to my Instagram post click here for a chance to win one for yourself! Don’t want to wait? You can get one today on Amazon.

Team Wilpers Bike Fitting – My Experience

If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably heard me talking about how my Peloton, which I love so much, has been giving me some problems this year. I got my bike on May 27, 2020 & took my first ride that same day, without cleats because I ordered the wrong size, oops.

I, then spent the summer & fall crushing it on the bike, going after PRs, hitting milestones that were huge to me like 10 miles in a 30 min ride, 5 miles in 15 minutes, etc. 2020 was a good year on the bike. Then it’s almost as if a switch flipped in 2021 and I was working hard, but not seeing results.

I was pushing myself but yet I didn’t feel like I was getting any power on the bike, like I could only get high cadence sitting straight up moving my arms like I was running. And my body was feeling it too, shin splint type pain, which I haven’t had since I was in high school & I’ve worked really hard to stay away from as a runner. My left knee which had been bothering me off and on seemed to hurt more too when I would bike. I was frustrated and demoralized. The bike I loved was hurting & depressing me.

So I tried moving my settings, I watched the FaceBook bike fitting video that Christine has on her page, I moved my seat up, then down, back then forward. I changed my cleats, all the way forward, all the way back and nothing really worked 100%.

A few friends mentioned getting a bike fitting. I was hoping to wait to go visit the Peloton Store, but waiting until vaccination day was a long way off. And while they are great in the store, I’m sure, are they experienced bike fitters? I’m thinking probably not so when multiple friends mentioned Team Wilpers, I finally got online and started doing some research. One thing I noticed was that every review I read was overwhelmingly positive. I have yet to see a review that had anything negative in it.

So after a day of waffling, I decided to pull the trigger. The website was super easy to navigate, I clicked the button to schedule a fitting. I picked any available fitter and then was able to pick a day & time that fit with my schedule. The fitter bios are listed on the reservation page so if you know that you want a specific person, male/female, the same fitter as a friend, you can pick that person but I didn’t know any of them and was more concerned with being able to pick a time that worked for me seeing as it appeared that the majority of the fitters were on the east coast & I’m obviously on the west. So I picked my day & time, paid my $149 fee and then waited until it was time to have my fitting.

The Team Wilpers team was super good about sending reminder messages, especially since you can cancel & get a refund as long as you do so outside 24 hours of your scheduled appointment. They sent at least 2-3 emails the week of my appointment.

From what I’ve read, it was recommended to have a space where the fitter could see you on the floor & of course on your bike so I spent a little time getting camera angles correct and then set up a mat & had my allen wrench for the cleats ready too. I took photos of my original settings as well so I knew where I was starting.



My appointment was with Anthony Costa, who has been bike fitting since 2014. He was super nice & was cool when my zoom sound wouldn’t work & I had to switch over to my phone.

My appointment started out with a quick overview of what my issues on the bike were & then a short assessment off the bike. Anthony had me lay down, do a few stability exercises like side plank with a leg lift, glute bridge, leg lifts. We did a few other exercises standing up, like a one leg squat. He explained that the fittings are specific to each of us, because we are all different. This isn’t a cookie cutter fitting. The process however was the same as I had previously read.

After that I moved my camera to show the bike and we started working on the cleats. One thing that he mentioned was that the Peloton bike is super narrow so the positioning of the cleats can really make a difference. So all that time when I was moving my cleats up and down, I actually should have been moving them from side to side. We determined where my cleats should be, I tightened them up and then hopped on the bike. First thing I noticed was that my knees felt like they were tracking normally & I didn’t notice the pain in the inner side of knee like I normally do. I did notice a discomfort in the front of the knee though like under the patella and I mentioned that, which resulted in moving the bike seat height up just a tinsy bit.

My seat was actually not too far off what it should be, I only had to do 2 small adjustments to it. We made the seat a little higher than what I had previously and then pushed the seat back one notch.

Then he watched me ride some more and asked about my grip on the handle bars. I normally start off nice & light and then by the end of rides I’m handing on for dear life with super tight shoulders up by my ears LOL. So we moved the handle bars down 2 notches, then another notch & then another. During that time, Anthony was telling me that he could tell that my shoulders were physically dropping.

Throughout the entire process, he explained why we were making the changes and what the purpose of them was, which I found really cool.

But I still had a little bit of knee pain so??? Well with everything we did, Anthony mentioned that it was possible to have a little residual pain so I chalked it up to that and we said good-bye.

The next day I got an email with all the details of our appointment along with a few tips/tricks. He had told me during the appointment that it could take a few rides to really feel the difference and if I still was having pain a week or so later to send him a message and we could discuss further.

So it’s been a week and how do I feel?

First ride post fitting felt Amazing! It was an exciting ride too because it was my 400th ride. My shoulders were down, my core was activated. I was on a high so I rode really well.

I did a bunch of rides on Sunday, I decided to start the find your power zones program so after a low impact ride, I did the first 2 PZ classes & a cool down. I could feel minor twinges in my right shin, but it wasn’t anything too bad. The knee wasn’t really a problem.

On Tuesday, I did the FTP warm up & a 20 min FTP test, as I did the test, the pain in my shin got worse & worse. I felt minor twinges in my knee but nothing major. The shin pain last into Wednesday.

Today, I did the next 30 min ride in the series & was almost in tears by the end with sharp pain on the outside of both knees that got worse as the ride went on. I can still feel minor shin pain 30 mins later as I write this. So I’ve reached out to Anthony to get some tips on how I should tweak things so that I can ride pain free, which is ultimately my goal.

I want to have power & be faster/stronger but pain free is more important. So that being said I have to think that since the majority of people have nothing but positive things to say about their fittings that I’m a random case.

Which is not surprising as I do tend to get the weird issues that no one else has.

Do I think that getting fitted it worth it? It is expensive but I definitely learned a lot, I think that if I had a normal body (not the overly flexible one that I have that can compensate by using the wrong muscles) that the results would have made a huge difference.

I think I personally need to make more tweaks to get to the right spot which may or may not be where strong, powerful & pain-free cycling align. So time will tell. I’ll update this post when I have heard back & made additional tweaks.

5/21: UPDATE 1: I spoke with Anthony and he suggested that I do the following things.  First I redid my cleats.  I removed all the screws, set them where we determined they should go and tightened them up.  He mentioned that maybe they weren’t as tight as they should be and got moved when I un-clipped. Second,  I raised my seat by 2 clicks.  I did the next ride in the Discover Your Power Zones program, it was a 20 min recovery ride.  I didn’t feel the knee pain today but can still feel the shin on and off the  bike. I’ll give it another week at these settings and then update this post again.

Update 2: I should have updated a while ago, but I forgot.  It took me about 4-5 weeks to settle into my new settings.  When I mentioned this to Anthony he mentioned that it can take him a few extra weeks to settle in as well.  For now, I feel like I’m doing better on the bike, not back to 2020 speeds yet but I have been dealing with a lot of stress this year and that is definitely playing a role in how I’m riding the bike these days.

April 2021 Check-In

Well here we are again!  How is it already MAY!?!

March ended with me in a weird place yet again so we started the month out with a short trip up the coast to Marina del Rey & spent some time on the beach & trails in Malibu.   I splurged and used some of my Marriott points and we stayed at the Ritz Carlton, our first hotel stay outside 2 nights in October when we stayed in hotels on our Moab roadtrip.  It was a nice getaway and I was pleasantly surprised to see that people in this area were serious about staying safe.  95% of the people we encountered wore masks, even when walking by themselves, coming out of their homes, etc.

We got takeout from some yummy vegan restaurants & donuts from one of my fav places Blue Star on the way home.

Oatmilk lattes from the Hive.  Drunk Cauliflower & Saint Louis No 2 Vegan Shrimp Poboys from Variable Cafe – we had a small issue with delivery and our order was delivered about an hour after we ordered.  The cauliflower was amazing but the poboy was quite soggy because it had been sitting for a while.  I’m sure it’s amazing when it’s hot & fresh.

Breakfast was from Marigold Cafe, we both got the breakfast sammy which  had scrambled just egg, mushrooms, green onion, vegan cheese, vegan mayo, vegan bacon & everything seasoning.  It was super yum!

When I checked in at the hotel, the front desk agent recommended a place called The Butcher’s Daughter for dinner so we tried that out.  Funny name for a vegetarian/vegan restaurant but we had an amazing burger!

We got the Impossible burgers & they were topped with red-wine caramelized onions, arugula, fig mustard,  harissa mayo & on a vegan brioche bun. The Rosemary potato wedges left something to be desired but that could have been due to the take out aspect.

Anyways, I always get caught up with food LOL but let’s get to what I did this month.

Running: Well running & I are still not 100% seeing eye to eye.  I had a few really good runs.  Like the 7 miles we did by the water in Marina del Rey at the beginning of the month & the 8 mile run the Sunday after I got my first vaccine shot, but the rest of the month?  Hit or miss due to knee pain, shin pain & just overall lack of motivation.  I also don’t love our old treadmill, the new one had a problem and we were waiting on a replacement so we were using the older one that’s super loud.  I ended the month with maybe 55 miles?

Peloton: Due to the knee pain I was feeling, I took a 10 day break from the bike to see if that was an issue.  I ended up with around a 100 miles for the month, way down from the past few months but 10 days off will do that.

Overall, I’ve determined that if I do a little glute activation, it’s better but I still think I need to get a professional fitting because it’s still not perfect. A few people have mentioned Team Wilpers (PZ Instructor Matt Wilper’s coaching group) as a place to go for that & I might try and schedule an appointment to do so in May.

Strength Training: This is the only piece of my exercise routine that I have been 100% consistent with.  I’ve been working with Nicole @heartndsolerunning since March & I feel like this has really been helping me to get stronger.

Knee: I have been dealing with a knee issue for  while now, there’s been a sharp pain by the top bone on the inside of my left knee and after sitting &/or tough climbs the back of my knee feels really stiff & tight.  So after dealing with this off and on for a little over a year, I finally went to get it looked at.  X-rays showed that my bones were perfect & I had plenty of cartilage between my bones.  But an MRI showed that there were some microtears in the cartilage and that the stiffness in the back of the knee was actually swelling from the front of the knee that’s being pushed back.  Official diagnosis Chondromalacia aka Runners Knee.  So I’ll start a few weeks of PT in mid May and once I figure out my real areas of weakness, I’ll be able to incorporate more exercises into  my strength workouts to help correct those imbalances & hopefully get rid of this pain before I start training for actual races.

I said this year was going to be all about recovery & I’ve been serious about doing more about recovery so I’ll just keep that going as the year progresses!

We got our first vaccine shots!! That made me soooo happy – we’ll get our second Pfizer shots in early May and be fully vaccinated by the end of the month!  Which is good because we have a lot of fun outdoor activities planned for this summer!!

Campaigns: This month was shock full of fun campaigns that I got to work on.

I worked with iwi to share an awesome vegan omega 3 product.  I tried out and gave away $100 of Thorlos’s socks to a lucky IG follower. I tried and shared No Cow Protein Powder (my verdict as someone who doesn’t really enjoy protein powder? the bars are better).  I did a fun review of rabbit’s new trail line (this wasn’t sponsored but I wanted to share).  I got to try some new lounge style outfits from Tasc Performance. PS the crop is absolutely incredible!!  I tried out some of Coola’s new SPF skincare products.  I shared more about how much I love Sunbeam‘s GoHeat™ Cordless Heating Pad .  I’ll be sharing a new product in May!!  I partnered with AllTrails to share the Rumpl National Parks Collection of blankets & the Leave No Trace shirts that they created with The Landmark Project.  I have an AllTrails giveaway coming up in May so get ready!  And we kicked off the Dick’s Sporting Goods National Runner’s Month this week!  I’m super excited about this challenge and look forward to sharing with you all.

I also got to work on a super cool product that I can’t quite share yet but I can’t wait to show you guys!

I shared the thoughts of others & then myself regarding race swag.

Oh and I almost forgot but we did a Road Trip to Joshua Tree National Park & celebrated National Parks Week there!  This was my first time to Joshua Tree and while it’s a beautiful park & so different from what I was expecting, the attractions were all super short & it was somewhat crowded which mean that we didn’t get to go to all the spots we wanted to see.  We did check another National Park off our list though.

Wow!! Going through all this, I’m like WOW – April was busy!!

My Runner Swag Survey Answers

Last week I shared the results of my Runner Swag survey.  You can see what other people think here.

Here are my answers with a little elaboration ;).

Question 1/2: Where are you from? and if US, what city, state do you live in?
US, I was born in Pennsylvania, moved to Indiana when I was 11, went to IU Bloomington for college, studied at Universita di Bologna in Bologna, Italy my senior year at IU, moved to Florida after college, Phoenix, AZ in 2011 and then San Diego, CA in 2015.

Question 3: How long have you been running?
This question is a bit complicated. I remember running my first race, the 100 yard dash on a cinder track at a school event when I was maybe in first grade when I lived in Harrisburg, PA. I ran track from grades 6 – 12. Didn’t really run in college and then started running consistently again in 2009. I tore my hamstring doing something not run related, I slipped on wet rose petals at a wedding I was working, it took 7 months to heal and I started running with the Orlando Track Shack Galloway group in fall 2010. I ran my first half in Feb 2011, the Disney Princess Half at Walt Disney World.

Question 4: What is the longest distance you have run?
100k or 63 miles (trail miles are +/- the actual distance LOL) I’ve finished 2 100ks. Cuyamaca 100k in 2017 & Javelina 100k in 2019.

Question 5: How many races do you do in a normal (non Covid) year?
Typically at least 20 – 30

Question 6: How many races have you done in your lifetime?
Over a 100
63 Half Marathons
32 Marathons
21 Ultras
And a bunch of other races of various distances

Question 7: Do you run more road or trail?
Half & Half – I love trail but I have road goals too

Question 8: Do you like receiving finisher medals?
Yes, I like medals, it’s a small way for me to remember what races I’ve run.

Question 9: Do you want to receive a finishers medal?
Yes but see next question

Question 10: If you like medals what distances should get them?
For me, I want a medal for Half Marathon and up. I don’t need them for under the half marathon distance, but that being said, I know that for some people running a distance under a half is a huge accomplishment and that might be as long as they go so I’m say, if getting a medal motivates people to get out and run, then bring it on!

Question 11: For my ultra runners, what distances should get a buckle?
Personally, I’m good with a medal or some sort of souvenir (not a glass because I just don’t have room for them) for under 100 miles. I’m good with only getting a buckle for 100 miles or over.

Question 12/13: Do you like finisher/participant shirts? If no, why not?
For me personally, I don’t like most of them, they rarely fit properly, either too high of a neck which is an issue for me, weird tech fabric, sizing is weird or just plain uncomfortable. I only ever wear them for a post race photos and then I end up donating them. But if it is a shirt made from a company like rabbit, a really nice cotton shirt or from a big race I’m good with it.

Question 14: if a race gave you option to add on a shirt for an additional fee would that be appealing?
For me, yes. I would rather not get a shirt the majority of time. I would pay for an upgrade if it was a rabbit, lululemon or a shirt that I knew I would wear.

Question 15: If a race gave you the opportunity to choose your own swag from a list of a few items, what would you want?
I like Hats, goodr sunglasses like Revel did a few years back, running socks, maybe a tote or backpack if it was nice but just getting free photos would be cool. I run a lot of races & just don’t have a need or room for so much stuff.

Question 16: Should races offer free photos?
I would love to get free photos for all races but I know not all races can afford to pay the photographer who relies on participants purchasing to make a living.

Question 17/18: Do you purchase photos from races that offer them for a fee?
Yes, I do, if they are good high quality photos, mostly to remember a race &/or post on social media

Question 19: What is the most you will pay for a photo?
I prefer the photos that are free or cost $5 – 10 but I have purchased the pre-race specials for some bigger races.

Question 20/21: Does your opinion of swag change if you are running a road race vs a trail race?
In my experience, trail races have really nice swag – while I haven’t run a 100 + mile race, I’ve seen some of the cool stuff Sean has gotten and it’s way better than most road race swag. They also tend to have some more sustainable swag too, we’ve gotten bamboo silverware, nice winter hats, arm warmers, jackets, & bags.

Question 22: How do you pick races you participate in?
We look for races that are in cool destinations, that have good courses and are in places we want to visit.

Question 23: Do you pick races based off the swag?
Honestly, sometimes yes. Because I’ve run so many races, if I see a cool medal, I might choose that race. But normally no.

Question 24: Do you think swag is important to runners?
Yes & no – I think most runners want something but I think they want something they can actually use.

Question 25: Why do you run races? Question 26: What motivates you to run a race vs just running the distance by yourself/with friends?
I love the community, being able to run long with out having to support myself, for that feeling of crossing the finish line, seeing new places.

Overall, swag isn’t the reason I run races but it can be a nice plus and a way to remember different places we’ve been.

What are your thoughts on race swag?

2021 Runner Swag Survey Results

A few weeks ago, I saw a tweet from an elite runner that said something to the effect that medals and race shirts should be eliminated so I  thought it would be cool to do my own survey and see what my followers thought.

Huge thank you to the 83 people who answered my 27 question survey!  I know it was long, I just kept thinking of more and more questions LOL. In this post, I’m going to share the answers from those who answered the survey & then I’ll do a 2nd post next week to share my personal thoughts.

Here we go:

Question 1: Where are you from?
US – 78
Canada – 3
UK – 1
The Netherlands – 1

Question 2: If US, what City & State do you live in?
California: Sacramento – 3, San Diego – 3, Santa Cruz – 3, San Francisco – 3, Los Angeles – 2  Other CA cities: Vacaville, Elk Grove, Aromas, Rohnert Park, Carmichael, San Jose, Citrus Heights, Palo Alto, Los Alamitos, Carpinteria, Orangevale, Stockton, Alameda, Livermore, Carlsbad, Santa Rosa & 4 who didn’t list a city
Philadelphia, PA – 3
Gilbert, AZ – 2
New York City, NY – 2
Arlington & Charlottesville, VA, Fargo, ND, Miami, FL, Georgetown & Houston, TX, Takoma Park, MD, Mabelton, GA, Dayton & Cincinnati, OH, North Carolina, St. Louis, MO, St. Paul, NM, Rochester Hills, MI, Bend, OR, Wahiawa, HI, Pittsburgh, PA, New Boston, NH, Colorado Springs, CO, Rogers, AR and Kodiak, Fairbanks & Anchorage, Alaska, Utah

Question 3:


Question 4:

Other answers: 5k, 10k, 10, 17, 18, 20 miles

Question 5: How many races do you do in a normal (non Covid) year?
None – 2 ppl
1 – 5 races – 46 ppl
5 – 10 races – 17 ppl
10 + races – 12 ppl
20 + races – 4 ppl
30 + races – 1

Question 6: How many races have you done in your lifetime?
0 – 10 races – 4ppl
10 – 20 races – 7 ppl
20 – 30 races – 7 ppl
30 – 40 races – 3 ppl
40 – 50 races – 3 ppl
50+ races – 13 ppl
75+ races – 1 person
100+ races – 5 ppl
Not sure – 7 ppl
Too many to count – 12 ppl

Question 7:

Question 8:

Other responses: 5 ppl Indifferent, 2 ppl if they are high quality & nice design, depends on distance, for major or special races, for goal races, depends, I like them but can live without, Doesn’t have to be a medal but I like a souvenir form the race.

Question 9:

Question 10:

Other answers: Any but have as upgrade, All distances

Question 11:

Other answers: Any distance but as upgrade, not sure, respect the buckle 🙂

Question 12:

Question 13: If no, Why not?
The majority of responses were because:
They don’t fit well
Cheaply made
I never wear them because I wear other clothes
Don’t come in my size
Some people prefer cotton over tech and then others prefer tech over cotton

Question 13:
Yes – 21 ppl
No – 13 ppl
Maybe – would depend on shirt/race – 42 ppl
No I want it to be included in race fee
No, shirts are implied
I love when races have you opt in for shirts
Only if it was cotton
I like when you can save some money by not taking the shirt
If shirts weren’t included I would buy one I like them more than medals
if it’s a technical shirt – not basic cotton

Question 14: If a race gave you the opportunity to choose your own swag from a list of a few items, what would you want?
Answers included:
Mugs, Pint Glasses, Wine Glasses, Water bottles
Hat, Visor, headbands
Running socks
Different types of clothing like tank tops, long sleeves, half zips, jackets
Reusable Tote Bags or backpacks
Bottle Openers
Finisher souvenir
Beach Towel
Free Photos
Money, Free Future Race Entries

Question 15:

Question 16:

Question 17:

Other answers: Rarely, only if it’s epic, only at Boston

Question 18: If yes, why do you purchase photos?
Answers included:
If they are good
Memories withou a watermark
I don’t always have a crew
Special races
For Instagram
Commemorate big adventues
If it was a big PR
To post ressponsibly
Some are really good & photographer needs to eat as well
To support race or company
Photo Quality

Question 19:

39% $5- 10
28% Nothing – I only want free photos
20.7% $10 – 20
4.9% over $20
Other single answers – someone has to pay photograher, $5 each or $25 for bunch, I’ve never liked mine, $5 – 10 but like to buy the whole series, depends on race, $20 – 30 for digital download

Question 20:

Question 21: Why?
Trail races are more special so I value swag differently
Trail races provide different challenge
Swag from Trail races is different
More burly
If it’s my first I want awesome swag, but I also want a nice jacket from a well know road race
Trail races are more thoughtful & considerate with sustainable swag
Trail swag is better
Trail races are typically more low key
Run by individuals/small companies with smaller budgets
They can do wonky things – including giving winners rubber chickens

Question 22:

Question 23:

Question 24:

Question 25: Why do you run races? Answers included the following:
Self Competition
Achieve Goals
See new places
The community
Water Stations – not have to run long self supported
Runners High
Bragging Rights
Seeing what I can do
Health & fitness

Question 26: What motivates you to run a race vs just running the distance by yourself/with friends? Answers included:
Paying money makes me more motivated to train
Fun & safe environment
Destinations, seeing new places
Excitement of racing
Running somewhere different
Crossing the finish line feels different; Runners High
Chasing a PR
Runing with friends at a race
Official times
Community feel

Question 27: Anything swag/race related you would like to add?
Have race swag be an add on
No more leaflets in goody bags
Offer tanks tops for ladies
better graphics/designs
Option to upgrade shirts
Something unique & specific to races
Consumable goodies, ie. Soap, candy, candles
Shirts optional
Swag other than shifts
Options to donate swag to others less fortunate
Swag as an extra to have lower priced events
No swag vs cheap wasteful products
Better post run food vs swag
Discount to a future race vs swag
It’s mostly junk

A few of my personal thoughts about these responses:

  1. Interestingly the majority of the people who responded have been running for at least 5 years so I have to wonder if that influenced their answers because they have received more swag/medals over the years.
  2. It appeared that people like shirts over medals which really surprised me.
  3. Swag doesn’t really influence the majority of people who responsed
  4. More of the respondents are road runners vs trail runners

And that’s a wrap!  Thank you again to all those who participated & feel free to comment and tell me about your opinions on runner swag!


Better Living from Within with iwi

This post is sponsored by iwi. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

As a vegan, I am very picky about supplements, and it’s not always easy to find 100% vegan options. I am really excited to be partnering up with iwi to share their vegan Omega-3 & Cholesterol supplements.

So let’s start with why Omega-3s are important in general.

They promote healthy hearts & arteries
They can soothe your nervous system
Can help maintain the amount of calcium & support healthy joints & bones
They can improve eye health
Can fight anxiety and depression
They can help fight inflammation
Can improve symptoms of mental disorders
And can help reduce fat in your liver

Omega-3s from iwi are made with their unique and proprietary form of algae, Almega®PL. There are independent clinical studies that show that iwi Omega-3 absorbed at least 50% more than products made from other sources.

iwi algae farms are found on previously unused land in the desert of West Texas & Southern New Mexico and have been turned into thriving algae farms that have the potential to feed & nourish millions of people. These farms are able to help to preserve our oceans by leaving key ecosystems right where they belong.

The algae crop from iwi’s farms do not require precious freshwater or an abundance of rich soil – all they need is sunshine, desert land and saltwater to produce our nutrient-dense algae. And 97% of the salt water used is recycled back into the harvesting system – the remaining 3% is due to evaporation, making this a very sustainable & earth-friendly product!

I’ve been looking for a vegan Omega-3 for a while now, and these soft gels are super easy to swallow. You take just one a day (and don’t need to take with food or water). I’ve been taking them for a few weeks now, and while I haven’t felt any physical changes, I do feel good taking them since I don’t eat a lot of the vegan sources of Omega-3s – like Chia & Flax Seeds and Walnuts & Brussel Sprouts, among others.

iwi Omega-3s contains DHA and the world’s only EPA that is naturally bound to glycolipids and phospholipids. It’s also packed with nutrients: chlorophyll, phytosterols, Omega-7, carotenoids and other antioxidants (from the iwi website).

I was also sent a second bottle of Cholesterol soft gels. The cholesterol supplement is different from the Omega-3 in that it is strictly for helping to decrease cholesterol numbers and is an EPA only supplement. I personally have not tried this one and won’t until I have my cholesterol numbers tested to see if it’s necessary for me.

From iwi’s clinical trial of 104 healthy participants, they found that using the Cholesterol product on a daily basis reduced total cholesterol numbers & reduced VLDL (bad cholesterol) by 25%.

I’m excited to see what happens as I continue to use iwi Omega-3 soft gels, and I’m hoping that they will not only help me to maintain optimum cholesterol numbers, but also help with my eye health, anxiety & inflammation from all the exercise.

In the market for a 100% vegan, Non-GMO certified, & Gluten Free Omega-3 or Cholesterol product? Use code RUNNYLEGS30 to save 30% on your first order www.iwilife.com. Plus if you subscribe you’ll save an additional 20%. #betterlivingbeginswithin #iwilife

Mar 2021 Check-In

I think I’ll try to do these every month to give you a little recap on what I’ve been up to.  March started out great and then I struggled as the month went on.  Without any races on the schedule yet, my relationship with running has been complicated.  I like to run, but I really like it when I’m training for something & have lots of races on the schedule.

Again, I started April off in a funk – we are soooo close to being able to be get vaccinated and then hopefully able to move forward with some actual plans.  This whole year I’ve struggled with nothing to look forward to, to not having a real goal and just in general.  I have tried to keep myself busy, but a slight issue with my knee that just keeps getting worse has cut my running & biking down a little more.  Fortunately I have a dr. appt on Tuesday to get that looked at.

So what did I accomplish in March.

Strength Training: I started working with a trainer for strength training after my issue with my back last month & I have consistently done strength training all but one day of my plan.  That’s a huge thing for me, I have rarely if ever done a consistent strength plan.

As we move into April, I’ll  be upping the weights and doing some new to me exercises so that’s exciting.

Running: I was doing so good with running at the beginning of the month, hitting all my workouts, running hills, etc. then I started to get some shin & knee issues and I started not enjoying it as much.  I’ll say it again miss having races to train for & run.  There’s nothing like being out there on course with other people and running in beautiful places.

I think I ended the month at 55 miles running which isn’t a lot but better than nothing.  I did do a fun survey about race swag that I’ll be posting next week that was exciting.  I really enjoyed hearing about what people think.

Peloton: I was slightly down on my bike rides for March, I think I ended the month at around 167 miles which is a bit down from the 191 I did in February.  Part of that was because I actually followed my plan and did one complete rest day a week so I didn’t add on the extra sessions like I have been.

I am struggling with the fit of my bike, I moved the seat down, but now I am getting shin pain when I ride at higher than 40 resistance.  I need to get fitted for my bike because this is getting ridiculous & I’m getting really frustrated and then don’t enjoy riding.

Hiking: We went out every weekend this month & did at least a few miles.  We got to play in the snow, be out on the PCT a few times, go to Mt. Laguna Meadows for the first time in a while & climbed Cuyamaca Peak for the most beautiful of views, with no fog/smog for the first time!!

I think I ended up with about 30 miles of hiking for the month.  I’m contemplating a long hike over the summer.  I would love to be able to go to Chamonix & do the Tour du Monte Blanc but that won’t be happening this year so maybe TRT or Wonderland Trail?  I have to think on that  but I’d love to go to a really cool spot and just hang out in the wilderness for a few days.

Kitchen Update: We finally got the new tile backsplash up and it looks incredible.  We have one step left to do & that’s seal it up but I’m really excited with how awesome it looks.  Next up, do the tiling behind the stove & put up the hood.

Campaigns: I announced a really exciting collaboration with Garmin Outdoors as one of their newest ambassadors.  I’m testing and using the new Enduro watch which gets up to 80 hours (with solar) of GPS/HR for long distance runs, hikes.  It’s pretty amazing!

I shared more about why I love the Sunbeam GoHeat portable heating pad.  Sean has ‘borrowed’ it and literally uses it every day!

I started using and shared a great vegan Omega 3 supplement from iwi.  I’ll have a blog post up next week to share more about it.

I shared a new product from Luna bar, their new prebiotic bars in two super yummy flavors, Wild Cherry & Zesty Tangerine.

Lots of fun stuff coming up in April including a few reviews, some new to me products, Earth Day, a giveaway & a running challenge that I’m excited to share with you guys.

We’ll be eligible to get the vaccine on Apr 15 so I’m looking forward to that as well.  I am hoping that we can get out on some different trails this month, maybe plan a trip or two and I’ll be looking at my relationship with running to see what I really want out of it (well outside of races coming back;)).

What were you up to in March?  And what are you looking forward to in April?

#Rethink Relief – Heat Therapy with Sunbeam

This post is sponsored by Sunbeam.

I’ve always been a fan of heat therapy for pain & discomfort from taking hot baths after long runs & races to using my products like the Sunbeam GoHeat™ Cordless Heating Pad to get relief vs taking ice baths & using over the counter medications.  Heat has always been my go-to.

As a Sunbeam Ambassador, I will be sharing information on heat therapy throughout the year and some of the products that Sunbeam has to help us “Rethink Relief”.

You might already know that heat is a natural, drug-free form of pain relief.  But you might not know that it increases blood flow which can relax sore muscles, accelerate tissue healing & relieve pain associated with muscle tension & stress.

I use heat therapy to help with my low & mid back issues as well as minor issues in my hips & knee on occasion.  It can also be used to help with cramps & menstrual pain, on your neck & shoulders.

The GoHeat™ Cordless Heating Pad is a perfect fit for people like myself who are always moving.  The long lasting battery pack fits perfectly into the side pocket and allows me to be able to do whatever I need to do.  From standing while working, cooking, working in the back yard, on our kitchen remodel, or coming back from a run in the mountains, I love that I don’t have to worry being plugged in.

It’s super easy to use, just charge the battery unit, plug it in using the small cord in the heating pad, press the button with the thermometer on it, once for low, twice for medium & three times for high and then put in the pocket & you’re good to go.

The rechargeable lithium-ion battery can give you up to 4 hours of relief in one charge on the low setting.  The flexible pad stays in place with an adjustable strap that can fit up to 55 inches around.  I found it to be quite comfortable.  It is a soft, micromink material and is machine washable.

You can feel the heat, even on the low setting within 30 seconds & there are 3 different settings so you can customize your relief.  Please note that the 4 hours of battery life is only for the lowest setting, when you move to the medium or high setting the battery life is lower.

Being able to use my GoHeat™ Cordless Heating Pad pretty much anywhere has been a game changer for me.  I no longer have to be by a plug or sitting on the couch.  I can be doing the things I need to do and still be getting relief.

You can find the GoHeat™ Cordless Heating Pad & other Sunbeam heating products on Amazon. (link here).