Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Seawheeze 2015: Training + Music

Hello! If you missed my Seawheeze post last night be sure to hop back and check it out. This is part two- I wanted to talk a bit more about my training, the course, and the music I listened to during the race.

To give a bit of background, I've always been a runner thanks to the sports I played growing up. But although I've always enjoyed it, I've never been someone who wanted to run over 6 miles at most. I just wasn't interested. A few years back I shared a bit about Hank running his first half marathon, and how emotional it was for me to watch all of the half and full marathon runners cross the finish line. I must have cried 20x as all of those amazing people completed the race. I knew it was something I wanted to do sometime in my life, but still, running over 10 miles seemed a little crazy and out of reach to me.

So when I impulsively signed up for Seawheeze 2015 I didn't feel terribly nervous, but at the same time I wasn't looking forward to the running part of the weekend at all. I started "training" soon after registering, but even then I was just running 6-7 miles here and there- nothing out of my comfort zone. The fall and winter flew by, and when spring approached I knew I had to get semi-serious. I started running a tiny bit more, 6ish miles here and there but still nothing regular, just more frequently, so I still didn't really feel "ready." When June hit though and we traveled the East Coast throughout the month I upped my mileage to 8. At that point I was running 6 miles 2x a week, and then one 8 miler about once a week, but only every other week. When we got home I started to get that dreaded feeling of "oh shit I'm running out of time here," but because I apparently like to live on the edge I only did one or two more long runs and just hoped for the best.

Race day came and I actually felt pretty good going into it. Even though I didn't follow a major running plan over the previous few months, I still worked out daily in some way, and at the end of the day, I really do think that so much of it is mental.

So there I was, waiting for my wave to start, and I made two promises to myself- 1) no negative self talk at all and 2) no walking or stopping. And off we went! The course itself isn't too bad- I live at a high elevation so being at sea level was a treat, and over the two hours I ran I never once thought that I wanted to stop or felt uncomfortable. It was almost shocking how great I felt! I had started in the 2:30 wave, and I ended up finishing a little over 2 hours, which is a huge jump. I can remember passing the Pace Beavers (yes, beavers! haha) for the times ahead of my original time and feeling SO motivated. I didn't wear a watch or take my phone out at all, so those were my only real markers of how I was doing and it was really exciting and surprising to find myself running past them.

One thing to note is that the course is incredibly beautiful and scenic. So many times I found myself looking around as I was running, taking it all in. It was neat to never have been in parts of the course- it was all new to me and kept my brain poised on what was next. I love the description from the Seawheeze site: "Over 11 km of the route is next to the Pacific Ocean – that means breathtaking views and inspiring ion-charged breezes. The rest of the race course showcases the beauty and vibrancy of Vancouver. Elevations keep you on your toes, hills test your resilience and plenty of downhill terrain brings out your inner speed demon. From the downtown Vancouver start line to the Seawall in Stanley Park this is a route for every runner’s must-do list!"

Looking back now I do wish I would have trained harder. I'm so happy with my finish and the accomplishment in and of itself (and keeping the two promises I made to myself!), but of course because I'm so competitive with myself I want to do it again and train in a much more organized manner and see what happens!

Here's my official time for the race:

And MUSIC! Oh, the music. Sometimes I prefer to run with silence and just take it all in, and there were parts of the half where I took my headphones off and just enjoyed the cheering and energy...but overall music is a BIG motivator for me. This particular playlist really kept me going too. I just put it on shuffle and went for it, and the entire time I felt like the music worked well with my pace and mood. Some of these are silly, some are really really silly, but most of all they all inspire me and pump me up a bit.

I hope this helps- I've gotten so many questions on what music I like to run to, training, etc. I'm no expert at all (hello, first half marathon!) but I do love sharing my own experience in the hopes someone will be able to take something from it. Sign up for next year is in a couple of weeks and I'm really excited but also nervous I won't get in! It sold out quickly last year so you better believe I'm setting an alarm and making this happen. Cross your fingers for me!

Happy running, and as always thanks for reading! xoxo

*all photos courtesy of

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Seawheeze 2015

About a year ago Alana texted our group text (made up of my college best friends) in a flurry- "Seawheeze tickets go on sale in 30! Who's in?!" I knew from her previous experience with this Lululemon event that they sold out very quickly, and I also knew from her experience that this was something I did not want to miss! Over the last couple of years Hank and I have adopted a bit of "say yes now, figure it out later" policy when it comes to spontaneous travel, so my reply to Alana was "I'm in!" Brenda also decided to commit so there we were, me sitting in front of my computer, fingers poised above the keys waiting for 10am to hit, and Brenda, at work trying to register from her phone.

Luckily we all were able to register and just like that, I was signed up for my first half-marathon. Fast forward to a year later (the quickest year ever, I think), and Alana and I were boarding a plane for Seattle to meet Brenda, and drive up to Whistler to start our trip. We decided to do it this way so we could make a mini-road trip out of it, and it was a really good choice. The drive was beautiful, and we stopped many times along the way to just take it all in. REALLY gorgeous.

Brenda found us a hotel right in downtown Whistler- the Pinnacle- and after we checked in we spent that first night walking around and exploring. We went to bed fairly early, because we knew we wanted to get one more run in in the AM before we focused on resting before the half on Saturday. We woke up early-ish Thursday morning and headed out- we did about 4 miles through some of Whistler's trails, then ended with some breakfast on some cute place's patio (for the life of me I can't remember the name) and watched all of the commotion as an extreme sports festival began to take over for the weekend. Our original plan was to do some stand up paddle boarding at a nearby lake, but after talking to our server so suggested we instead make the drive up to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park to hike the trails. And I will forever be grateful for that sweet server for ultimately sending us to THE most beautiful place I've ever been in my life!

The drive up to Joffre was insanely gorgeous in itself, but even so, we still didn't know what to expect when we arrived at the park. And hollllllly, were we in for a treat! We quickly arrived at the first lake and couldn't believe the color of the water- so blue! A fellow hiker told us that "we hadn't seen nothing yet" and urged us to keep going to the second and third if we had time. We had to drive all the way back down to Vancouver that evening, so we booked it to the second lake and whoa, whoa, whoa, talk about amazing! Really and truly breathtaking. I had seen photos of the area before but nothing did it justice- it was just such a treat to be in such natural beauty, and if you are ever in this area please do yourself a favor and visit this park.

We spent a bit of time exploring (and walking out on a log!) then halfway ran back down the mountain to make it to our car to head down to Vancouver. I don't remember how long the drive took, maybe a few hours, but it went quickly and like I said above, the excursion up north was absolutely worth it. When it was all said and done, that day and hike was one of the major highlights of the trip for me.

I had visited Vancouver just a couple weeks prior for work, but even so, driving into the city as the sun was starting to set was magical. Between that first trip and this one, Vancouver totally stole my heart- it's just such a special place and I wanted to cry as we began to enter the city again just from feeling so lucky and grateful to be there again.

We checked into our Airbnb (get $20 off your first booking here), got settled, showered the long day away, and got ready to head out for the night. We met up with some friends and had the most delicious dinner at Cactus Club. I think it's a rule that all wine and food taste a hundred times better after lots of physical exertion. I think between the run and hike we totaled about 11 miles for the day so everything was extra delicious. Brenda and I got a few things off of the appetizer menu, then also split a big salad and the butter fish. It was all excellent. Afterward we visited a few bars in Yaletown, but still called it pretty early with the half looming over us. At that point I was having a tiny bit of race anxiety and feeling nervous- in my ideal world I would have gone to bed every night at 9pm in the week leading up to Seawheeze, but obviously that wasn't happening and I was starting to feel a tiny bit stressed. But I managed to quiet my brain and finally get some sleep, even with the excitement of Seawheeze Day 1 starting the next morning.

The next day (Friday) we woke up super early and headed down to get our race packets. Brenda and I initially wanted to wait in line to get into the Lululemon Runner Store but after waiting for a bit decided to skip out and go explore the city. We ended up randomly walking into The Elbow Room Cafe and unfortunately we did NOT read the rules beforehand. If you've been there before you'll know exactly what I'm talking about and our server eventually had to say "Ladies, have you been here before?!" with a wink on the side. We worked it out, got a delicious meal, and happily went on our way. ;)

The rest of the day went by so quickly, fueled by nerves. Although I knew I would do just fine the next morning my stomach was still in knots thinking about the race. When I used to run track and play soccer competitively I would feel the same way- and even though being nervous isn't always fun, I kind of liked it this time around because how often are we as adults able to really experience these types of emotions? Pretty neat. We capped the night off with yoga at the convention center and it was one of the best yoga experiences I've ever, ever had. Reno from Dharma Yoga Vancouver led hundreds of us in one big yoga/meditation practice, and it was incredibly powerful. Alana, Bren and I were all moved emotionally in one way or another. It's hard to find the words to describe it- but it was really, really awesome. So post-yoga we headed to bed around 10pm, prepared to wake up EARLY the next morning...and we attempted to get some rest.

When our alarms went off at 5am we all hopped out of bed- adrenaline was already pumping. I had a some Ezekial toast and almond butter with a banana on top, and the girls and I headed down to catch a cab to the Convention Center, where the race would start. When we arrived the energy was palpable- there was a huge warm up being led outside and there were athletes stretching in every corner of the place, inside and out. Time flew by and suddenly, Alana and I were lined up in our wave, Brennie up at hers. I thought I would run it in 2 hours 30 minutes, so that's the pace we chose (I'll talk more about this in tomorrow's post). Each wave before us went, and then we were up! The music was pumping, people were cheering...3, 2, 1, GO!

The entire 13.1 miles went by quickly. I cannot say enough great things about the course itself. People cheering, encouraging you, runners high fiving each other, it was THE most positive athletic experience I've ever been a part of. And so much fun, you guys. I cried a few times while running, just thinking about how thankful I was that my body was able to do something like this, that my family was able to make this happen for me through helping out with the boys, and that I was there, in Vancouver, with two of my best friends doing something so so rad. It was truly overwhelming.

I finished the race in record time for myself- 2:02:32. About 30 minutes faster than I estimated, which was both exhilarating and shocking. I felt great the entire time and I think that's why I was so emotional when I finished- I never doubted I could do it, but when I CRUSHED my goal and did it feeling so so positive and good about it- that was just the best feeling in the world. When the girl at the finish line put that adorable carrot medal around my neck I could have kissed her! I was SO excited and happily overwhelmed.

Once the girls and I found each other, did a little victory dance, high fiving and hugging, we got in line for the post-run massage. One of the neatest things about the entire Seawheeze experience was all of the details Lulu put into everything. From the little "Runner's Reward" from Saje to Sunset Yoga to things like post-run massages and chiro tune-ups, there were surprises every single day of the event. And oh my gosh, was the massage GOOD!

For our post-run meal we went and had Pho (my first time trying it) and it was the perfect way to cap off the afternoon. We followed it up with some rest, showers and got ready for what turned out to be one of the best parts of the whole weekend- the Sunset Festival!

Seawheeze's motto is "Run. Yoga. Party" and that's exactly what you do. Run your heart out, yoga a ton, and then end it all with a concert in Stanley Park with 10,000 new, likeminded friends on a perfect Vancouver summer night. This year the Sunset Festival began with a yoga session led by Alex Mazerolle, followed by three bands: Bear Mountain, Yeasayer, and St. Lucia. Such a great lineup. We ate, we drank, we danced all night...the perfect end to an unbelievable weekend.

To wrap up this incredibly long post I just have to say what an EXPERIENCE Seawheeze was. I feel like I could go on and on about it, and there were so many things I didn't even mention. But all in all, this was a transformative weekend where I left feeling on top of the world and that feeling has seeped into every aspect of my life. What a beautiful thing to have a goal and achieve it, with your friends right alongside you. I feel so so thankful.

And before we get to the photos, be sure to check out the video below- isn't it AMAZING? This really gives you a feel for what an incredible experience it was. Sign up for next year is September 16th. We're going to try to run it again, if we're able to register...and I hope you'll join us!

Also, tomorrow I'll be sharing my playlist I listened to throughout the run, as well as more on the course and my training in general, so stay tuned for that! xoxo

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Fall Wishlist

I've received quite a few requests to make another Fall Wishlist, so I thought I would put together a 2015 list of some of my favorite Fall Must-Haves! Or at least Wish-I-Hads! I'm trying to be more intentinal in what I bring into my closet, especially since I just cleaned out about 75% of it, and I'm attempting to rebuild it with staples I can rewear again and again. However even with that said, I still really love shopping at places like Forever 21 (Forever 33?) so this list will include a round up from four of my favorite places to shop online, from cheaper prices like F21 to more pricey items at say, Anthropologie. I also have to tell you guys that this is the fourth time I've attempted to sit down and do this post, and I've been totally unmotivated thinking about collecting the photos of each item, Photoshopping them into a collage, etc. So for the sake of actually getting around to sharing this post I'm just going to use text links. Lazy Bloggers Unite. It all ends in the same place, it just might not be as pretty. Take a look, have fun, and let me know your favorites! I'm thinking I need to do this again soon and include my other spots I love to shop- Nordstrom, Madewell, Free People, and Zara. Let me know if you're interested in that as well!

Forever 21

This tank has been my go-to for nights out lately. It's super flattering and because it's on the shorter side it's perfect paired with high waisted denim. I see myself wearing this as a layering piece a lot this Fall.

Some classic basics: this tee, this sweater (I'd definitely size up in this so it's a bit baggy), and this button up.

I'm loving these dresses: one, two, three, and four.

And this striped t-shirt dress too! I would size up in this and pair with a green army-type jacket and white Converse.


This dress is such a perfect summer to fall dress. I love the contrasting patterns and like all of Ace & Jig's clothing it will last forever.

Free People dresses are my very favorite and look amazing with ankle boots come cooler weather.

So last year I wore Birks and socks a few times and friends, I'll be doing it again. Another item I'm in the market for is a new pair of the Arizona Birkenstocks. They come in a ton of colors but I'm leaning towards the deep brown.

What are your thoughts on Bell-Bottom jeans? I feel like I want a pair for Fall but I've tried on two different pairs and struck out. There are a ton of great options here- maybe I'll try once more.

And another question. Frye boots? Have you ever owned a pair? My Mom swears by them (as do many of my girlfriends) but I've yet to take the plunge. Maybe this is the year! Which one pair would you choose?

I love this bucket bag, in wine or black!

I feel like every year I search for the perfect denim jacket to no avail. I've heard Blank Denim is great- I need to give them a try.

Urban Outfitters

This scarf is a MUST HAVE! Isn't it gorgeous?! Just looking at it makes me feel like drinking a hot tea on a bench outside somewhere while colored leaves are falling all around me. I'm serious! haha. ;)

This tank is perfect for layering, and I love the mustard color. Very Autumn-y.

Some tops I'm enjoying: one, two, and three. The last one is my very favorite.

I feel like Urban always has really good basics, and that's what I need more of. Just simple, everyday things I can throw on and go. I love this top, this top, and this layering dress.

I own a couple of these bralettes and they're my favorite- very comfortable and cute.

I JUST ordered these for myself. I've had the same pair of brown ankle boots for three years and they've finally kicked the bucket. I'm hoping these will be the perfect replacement.


This is such a pretty pullover. It would be great with super dark denim and brown boots. I really love the color.

The perfect everyday tank. And the perfect everyday thermal!

I'm super into these joggers. Comfortable, casual, and cute. Add a white tee and some sneakers and you're good.

This cardigan is pricey but doesn't it look so cozy? I bet it feels like a dream.

Love, love, love this dress!

That's it for today...happy shopping! xoxo

Monday, August 24, 2015

Back to School!

I remember being a kid and back to school meant that our New Jersey weather was just starting to cool off with the arrival of September and Fall. It's still a little weird to me that Arizona starts school in July/August, but at least we get out in May, right? Either way it's back to school for us this year, for Henry at least! I'm so happy that he's not starting kindergarten for another 12 months- he only goes to a few half days during the week and I cherish all of the together time we get. And next year when both boys are in school (preschool for Charlie and Kindergarten for Henry), I don't know what I'll do! It makes me sad to think about it, but of course excited for them too. Ah, motherhood.

So, Rack Room Shoes reached out to me this summer to partner up for a Back to School post with the boys. Dressing the boys is second nature to me now but in the beginning days I felt like it was a struggle to find cute things- or at least even figure out what I thought was cute! Boy stuff was so out of my comfort zone, but now its obviously our everyday. Henry and Charlie typically wear the same kind of outfit all the time- a tee of some kind (with a hoodie or flannel when it gets chilly), a cute pair of jeans or shorts, and comfy shoes. I'm not big on having a million pairs of shoes for the boys- they typically have 1-2 pairs at a time and when they outgrow them we move on/pass them down if they're salvageable. That's why I really love both Nike and Converse (featured below). They LAST.

With a huge big selection for the whole family, Rack Room Shoes is a great option for back to school shopping, and I when picking the boys' shoes out I learned all about their "Buy One Get One 50% Off" promotion on all styles, everyday. Although these shoes were gifted to us you can bet that when we need new shoes I'll be buying from Rack Room- it just makes sense, especially if I'm buying a pair for each of us.

Another neat thing I wanted to share is their Shoes That Fit Donation program, where Rack Room Shoes provides new shoes to at-risk children to start the school year. Shoppers can register upon check out in-store, or online, and 100% of the donations will be distributed in the local area where the shoes were purchased. Local school liaisons will identify children needing new footwear in the area and supply them with new shoes- so all of the donations benefit students right where you live, in your own community. To amplify the impact of customer donations, Rack Room Shoes has committed to match 100% of all donations raised, up to $300,000. Over the last two years, Rack Room Shoes has donated more than $1 million to Shoes That Fit through the annual fundraiser. SO cool right?

Before you scroll down to the photos, here are the shoes we chose for each of the boys:

For Henry:
Nike Flex 2015 Run
Converse Chuck Taylor AllStar Street Mid 

For Charlie:
Converse All Star Lo
Nike Flex 2015 Run

Let me know if you end up picking up any shoes from Rack Room. Happy shopping...and happy back-to-school! xo

This post is in partnership with Rack Room Shoes.
As specified above, all four pairs of shoes were gifted to us from Rack Room Shoes as well.
Thanks so much for reading!
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