Don’t roll the dice – run safe!

This weekend, thousands of runners will be descending on Las Vegas to run the Strip at night for the Las Vegas Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon. I ran this half in 2013 with Team Challenge and had a blast!

Finisher photo hi res

Vegas.com asked if I had any tips for being active and staying safe while visiting the Strip. In honor of November being National Running Safety Month, I shared with them 7 safety tips for working out while traveling whether it’s for a race, vacation, or work.

  1. Double down: Run with a buddy 
    Besides the safety benefits, running with a friend can be a lot of fun! If you can’t run with a buddy, tell someone where you’re going and about how long you’ll be gone.
  2. See and be seen: Wear bright colors, reflective gear and/or a headlight
    As the days get shorter, we have more darkness than daylight to contend with. Make sure people can see you by wearing gear that have reflective elements built in, buying a reflective vest, and/or wearing a headlight.
  3. Cut the cards…and the headphones
    Even if you love rock ‘n roll, leave the headphones behind so you can stay alert to your surroundings.
  4. Drink up: Stay hydrated
    It can be easy to get dehydrated while traveling, so make sure to keep drinking water — especially if you’re drinking some other beverages as well. 😉
  5. Stay connected: Bring your phone
    If you get injured or just don’t feel safe, having your phone handy will allow you to make a quick call for help. It can also be nice for snapping a quick picture as you explore a new area!
  6. Have a game plan: Map out your route 
    Especially in an unfamiliar area, know where you plan to run ahead of time. And if you follow tip #5, you can always check a map on your phone if you make a wrong turn.
  7. Stay in: Hit the hotel gym
    It’s an easy, safe, convenient way to get in a workout while traveling.

lv blvd

Now go out, have fun (check out these Las Vegas deals), and run safe!

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Seattle/Vancouver Weekend

It was a couple of weeks ago that I was out west for the Vancouver Half, but I wanted to share more about my trip! It was a jam-packed few days.

Friday

I flew out to Seattle early on Friday morning and met up with my friend Anna. Our first order of business was brunch. We grabbed some delicious biscuits and gravy at a cute little restaurant. Then we headed to her place to drop my luggage and regroup. We headed out so she could show me some of Seattle. Of course, we had to walk around Pike Place Market.

 

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We walked around a bunch of the shops and restaurants. So many fruits, veggies, fresh flowers, and other goodies in the buzzing market.

We wandered past the market and headed down to the sculpture garden and then made our way back. We were wearing our running clothes so we could do a shake-out run in West Seattle. To get there, we took a water taxi! It’s a big boat that gets you across the lake in about 5 minutes. A little different from the ferries, but pretty slick!

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There’s a nice path along the water right where the taxi drops off, so we did a 3 mile run along the water with a view of downtown.

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We lucked out with our timing and the taxi was just getting ready to leave when we got back, so we jumped on really quick to head back to the car. As soon as we got in the car, it started to rain – perfect timing!

We cleaned up and headed to dinner. When we got back we were both pretty tired, so we headed to bed fairly early.

Saturday

We spent the morning getting packed and ready to head to Vancouver. We grabbed brunch and did a couple of quick errands before hitting the highway to head north.

This was one of the craziest and most amazing things I have ever seen…a tiny dog in a carrier attached to the back of a motorcycle. And he was wearing goggles!

I can't even!
I can’t even!

Soon, we were in Canada and made our way to the hotel. After checking in and dropping our luggage, we headed to the race expo to get our bibs. It was about 4 p.m. and the expo closed at 5 p.m. Luckily, it was just a few blocks from our hotel, so an easy walk. There was hardly anyone at the expo by the time we got there, and it was actually pretty small. I was a little surprised, but ok with it because I hate fighting my way through a busy expo.

We explored the harbor area and took in the pretty views after grabbing our stuff.

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We both loved this orca statue! It looks like it’s made of giant leggos.

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In the evening, we headed to a delicious pasta dinner at Lupo. Complete with a roasted beet salad and handmade ravioli stuffed with braised short rib. So good! After finally getting back to the hotel (we had to wait a while for a cab), we relaxed for a bit and went to bed early so we’d be ready for our race.

Sunday

Having our hotel a block from the start line was amazing for an easy, low stress race morning. The race was great, and we were both ready to celebrate our PRs with some food after we got cleaned up!

We walked over to the Gastown neighborhood and found a restaurant that was still serving brunch. After stuffing our faces (hey, we ran 13.1 miles!) we explored the neighborhood a little. It’s a cute area with lots of shops and restaurants, cobblestone streets and some pieces of history.

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We stopped in a tourist store and picked up some maple candy and fun Canada souvenirs — including mugs with a plaid moose on them. 🙂

On our way back to the hotel, we grabbed an afternoon treat at Tim Hortons because, donuts!

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We ended up just lounging for a bit in the afternoon watching Happy Gilmore. We both felt funny not exploring the city more, but we were exhausted.

After getting our second wind, we set out to get some dinner back in Gastown and then stopped at a restaurant along the harbor for the free beer we got with the race. The end of the Seattle Seahawks game happened to be on, so we got to watch that as we drank our beer.

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Evening harbor views
Nighttime harbor views

Monday

We grabbed breakfast at a restaurant along the harbor before checking out of the hotel and heading back to Seattle. We rolled in around 2 p.m. and had a little time to kill before I had to be at the airport. We walked around the Fremont neighborhood and saw the troll under the bridge.

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I got another view of the water and skyline, too.

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Soon, it was time to head to the airport and say good-bye.

It was a fantastic weekend! I was so happy to explore two new cities and spend some quality time with a great friend.

I know that I can travel and explore new places anytime, but I love how running has become a part of those adventures. A “runcation” or “destination race” has become one of my favorite ways to travel. One of the best ways to see a city can be on foot during a race! Need to figure out where I want to go next!

What are your favorite destination races?

Vancouver Half Marathon Race Recap

Third time’s a charm! The Vancouver Half Marathon was my third half of the year and *spoiler alert* it was a great one!

On race morning, my friend Anna and I got up around 6:45 a.m. to start getting ready. We were both agonizing over what to wear and going through our outfit options. The air temp was cool and there was a little bit of rain falling, but it looked like the rain would move through by the start of the race. I went with capris, a t-shirt, arm warmers, and a hat.

Our hotel was just a block away from the start line, so we didn’t have to head outside until about 15 minutes before the race started — amazing!

We hopped in our corral and waited for the race to start.

Pre-race selfie!
Pre-race selfie!

I turned on my Garmin watch and hit the button for it find me, but it was taking FOREVER! Not sure what the issue was, but I had to cross the start line as it was still searching for me. A little ways into the race, my watch beeped that it had found me. Anna’s watch had been working fine and she said we were about .3 miles into the course. I mainly wanted my watch for pace anyway, so I wasn’t as concerned about the distance being off. My goal was a sub 2:05 half, so I needed about a 9:30/mile pace.

The first mile or so of the course went through some cute neighborhood streets with shops and restaurants. We both said we needed to head back there after the race! The next couple of miles were a little less scenic through a more industrial area, but around mile 4-5 we ran through Chinatown and then passed Rogers Arena (where the Vancouver Canucks play). At this point of the race, I was feeling a little sluggish, but then we hit a small downhill and I got a second wind to pick things up a little.

The miles/kilometers ticked by. Anna and I hung together until about 12.5 kilometers and then we split up. We had been keeping a pace around 9:30, but I picked up my pace a bit for the second half of the race. I was feeling good even with a few hills in there where I had to slow down.

A good portion of the second half of the course was either along the water or through Stanley Park, so it had nice views. I kept seeing the kilometer signs go by and was feeling good. I actually liked seeing the kilometer markers instead of mile markers, there are more of them (21.1K in a half), but they come more frequently, so it actually felt like the race went by fast for me.

Since my watch was off from the beginning of the race, I was pretty sure I was on pace for a PR, but I wasn’t totally sure. I just tried to keep up my pace as long as I felt strong in the last few kilometers. We rounded a few corners and then the finish line was in sight. I felt great going across the line, and crossed my fingers for a sub 2:05 time!

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I grabbed my water, banana and other race goodies and waited for Anna to finish just a few minutes after me. We hung out at the finish line festivities for a little bit before heading back to the hotel to warm up and shower. When we got back, I checked the live race results and my time was posted as 2:02:35!! New PR!

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Felt great to get my 3rd PR of the year in my 3rd half of the year and my 1st international race!

I don’t have much left on my racing schedule for 2016 — just a fun 5K in a couple of weeks and a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, but nothing planned for over the winter right now. I’ve already started thinking about my races for 2017, though. Getting excited for another year and more new challenges!

Have you ever done an international race? What’s on your winter running schedule?