Wednesday, October 25, 2017

November is National Running Safety Month

Almost overnight the temperatures have dropped and the leaves started changing color from their summer green to their fall reds, oranges, and yellows.  As summer fades and fall begins, tank tops and shorts are packed away and the long sleeve shirts, pants, gloves, and hats come out.  If you are like me, you don’t adjust the time that you run just because it is now dark at that time. You have races scheduled, and you still need to fit in the mileage every week.  Instead, you purchase reflective gear and lights to make you more visible during your runs.  Some of the gear I own, I purchased when I first started running before dawn when I lived in Washington, DC.  The streets were always well-lit and most drivers were used to runners and pedestrians.  

Where I live now in St. Louis County, the streets aren’t as brightly lit and seeing runners out before dawn or after dusk isn’t as frequent of an occurrence, so I needed different gear to adjust to my new surroundings.  November is National Running Safety Month and as our days grow shorter, I wanted to share my nighttime running gear recommendations with you.

My first purchase back in 2009 was this Nathan reflective vest, which once contained an LED light strip in the front pocket.  It was worth the money since I still use it today.

I picked up these flashing LED light clips for FREE at race expos.

At some point I purchased these Nathan LED light clips.  They have multiple flashing speeds to choose from. Like the clips above, you can clip these to your shirt, pants, or shoes.

These reflective slap bracelets can go on your wrists or ankles.

My new Amphipod fuel belt and my new Fitletic arm band both have reflective strips near the zipper.

Through the years, I have purchased several headlamps but just couldn't find one that I liked to run with.  Through a fellow runner, I found an amazing product to light my running path and they are called the Night Runner 270 LED shoe lights.  They are basically headlights for your shoes, have multiple settings, are rechargeable, and I LOVE them!

I accumulated all of my nighttime running gear over the course of many years but these days, runners can purchase an entire running safety kit with a few clicks.  This running safety kit includes many of the items I listed above, but for far less than what I paid!

In addition to gear I wear or add, I also ALWAYS carry my driver's license and medical insurance card.  I know many other runners who love Road ID.  I carry my phone in my arm band and only use it for music when running with a group.  I also always let my husband know where I am running, especially when I change my mind at the last minute.

The websites below also have great information and tips about winter and night running safety:

Speaking of nighttime running, the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas races are November 11 - 12! Distances include a full marathon, half marathon, 10K, and 5K with all races starting  in the late afternoon or early evening.  This race has been on my bucket list ever since I ran the Walt Disney World Wine & Dine Half Marathon, which used to be run at night.  Now night races, especially races this scenic, are difficult to come by.  They actually shut down the strip for runners.  I can only imagine how amazing of an experience that must be and one day, we are going to pack our bags and I am going to run that half marathon!  The runner perks are pretty spectacular and make me want to sign up even more, but you can also check out this website for information on great package deals and this website for information about shows and other things to do once you get there. 

I have a few runner friends who have either run the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll races or are running it this year and I am truly jealous!  You won't need the nighttime running gear I listed above to run the races in Las Vegas, but you should consider investing in reflective gear or LED lights if you plan to run pre-dawn or after dusk this fall and winter.  Your safety is so important if you want to keep running for years to come!  Be safe, and good luck to everyone running the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll races next month.  #VegasStrong

Thursday, October 12, 2017

MO' Cowbell Half Marathon Recap

On October 1st I ran half marathon #45, the MO' Cowbell Half Marathon in beautiful St. Charles, MO.  I am a MO' Bassador for this race, so it is always great to see all the planning and hard work behind the scenes turn into an amazing expo and race experience for our runners.

Why you should run this race:
  • Many distances available including a 5k, half marathon relay, half marathon, and the marathon
  • Virtual race option
  • Medals and 1/4 zip pullover for all distances

  • Option to have packet mailed (for a fee)
  • Large expo with ample parking, variety of vendors indoors and outdoors, and free health and fitness classes

  • Great pre-race communication via email and social media
  • Start/finish is just off of Interstate 70
  • Several hotels close to the start/finish line
  • Don't Fear the Reaper plays at 7:20 a.m. for you to ring your cowbell to
  • Plenty of parking in downtown St. Charles near the start/finish line
  • Amazing volunteers throughout the course
  • Scenery varied between urban and country and the roads were well-maintained
  • Runner tracking available via three methods - text message updates, GPS tracking via the Athlinks race day app (android users only), on-site and online results via the website
  • Post race food included cookies, granola bars, pretzels, bananas, chocolate milk, and water 
  • Runners' Village filled with vendors and games, just past the post-race food
  • Large PR bell to ring loud and proud

My experience at the race:
I walked this half marathon, which gave me plenty of time to take the course and the scenery in and snap photos along the way.  The last time I completed the MO' Cowbell half marathon was in 2013 and last year I ran the 5k, so it has been a while since I have been on the half course.  There were parts of the course that seemed different from 2013, but I can't say for sure.

I enjoyed the variety of scenery between historic downtown St. Charles, Frenchtown, local parks, country fields, the streets of New Town, the never-ending MO-tivational Mile, the steep downhill back to Frenchtown, and the finish in Frontier Park.  The volunteers along the way were great!  Quite a few even danced as we passed and remember we were walking the half, so they had to have been dancing and cheering for the thousand-some runners before us.

The weather was perfect and the support along the course was great.  This race is just always a great way to start your fall running season.  I will be back next year and I hope to see you on the course!

Strolling through New Town

Bubble Bus

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

#WellnessWednesday - CycleBar Chesterfield Groupon

Back in July, you read the post about my first experience at the CycleBar Chesterfield studio during their grand opening.  Several months have now passed, and they are offering a deal on Groupon where you can purchase four classes for just $40!!!!  I purchased this Groupon because it was such a steal and I finally completed the four classes.  You can read my original post about the layout of the studio, class format, and the little luxuries that are included with your CycleBar experience by clicking here.  My experience with using the Groupon warranted a quick post because it was such a great experience!

I used my Groupon classes very sporadically, so I stood out from the regulars in every class.  At each of the four classes, the CycleStar instructor sought me out and introduced themselves.  As I left each class, they told me "good job" or gave me a high five.  There were also cold, wet towels waiting on the other side of the studio doors after class, which is exactly what you need after a great class!

You can choose between a wide-variety of themed or classic rides: Confidence Boost, Throwback Thursday, Wine Down Wednesday (yes, there was wine waiting after class), and Dance Party were the four that I took.  No matter what the theme is, the song when you work with the arm bars will always be my favorite part of class!

I had a few issues while trying to book my Groupon classes using the app, but management responded quickly to my emails and were able to resolve the issue on their end.  So easy!

As I finished my last Groupon class I received an email with a link to special Groupon Extension pricing, which offeres six rides for only $60!  This is a great deal considering the drop-in rate for a class is $20.

I am not sure how much longer the Groupon will be available but if you were on the fence, I hope that this will sway you to click the purchase button.  It's a great workout!!!