Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What the Runner's World Half and Festival Taught Me

Did you miss my race recap and the "Amazing Shakeout Race"? Check them out, here and here!

I learned SO MUCH during the Runner's World Half & Festival! The events that Runner's World set up for the bloggers were amazing and the seminars during the festival were just as interesting. I thought I would share a few of the tidbits that I learned over the weekend!

How to run better

Budd Coates, the author of  "Running on Air: The Revolutionary Way to Run Better by Breathing Smarter" (which I received a free copy of, amazing!), taught us that indeed "belly breathing" is the right way to breathe while running. He mentioned that a lot of runners will breathe in their chest, which isn't right. He gave us a really short demonstration and talked briefly about rhythmic breathing (and being aware of your breathing in general) and why it is important for running and I can't wait to learn more from his book!

 Learning how to run, photo courtesy of David Tratner

Altra founder, Golden Harper, taught us the four principles of good running form: proud posture, arms back, bent (or soft, I can't really remember) knees and quick steps. He also said that what we THINK we look like while we run and how we ACTUALLY look, are often very different.

Altra is a company you should get to know

While I have not actually worn the pair of shoes that I recieved from Altra (disclaimer: at no cost to me and as a part of the RW Half blogger program), I learned a lot about how the company was formed and the people behind it. Their shoes are pretty amazing, and even though I am loyal to Saucony when it comes to shoes, I could see myself adding the 3-Sum into my triathlon routine every once in awhile.

 Golden Harper, probably talking about how he put a pair of shoes in the microwave

I learned that zero-drop doesn't mean no cushion, it means zero-drop from heel to toe but with varying amounts of cushion depending on what shoe you choose. And that transitioning from a different drop isn't what matters, it is the amount of cushioning. In addition, Altra is the only shoe that uses a FootShaped toebox, so your toes aren't crammed into an unnatural shape!

In addition to their shoes, the people behind the company are amazing. Golden Harper ran sub-3 hour marathons when he was 11, 12 and 13 years old and hasn't run that distance since (but has run ultras). Brian (who was on team "Wombat") has run seven 100 milers, including Mt. Fuji.

I should probably do more yoga

 Cute yoga equipment

After our shakeout "race", we were treated to some amazing yoga tips from Lotus (affiliated with iFit - which also has some pretty amazing things, like fitness trackers, treadmills that you can program with any route all over the world, even this treadmill hater was intrigued by that!). We were given a yoga mat, a block, a fitness band, a foam roller and massage stick to try during our session (and bring home!) Mike and I have done some yoga before, but after learning some warrior poses and going through the session with the band and block, I know I need to do more! (The day after, I wondered why my upper body was sore. Then I remembered, strength and yoga, duh!)

Getting ready for some yoga!

Hurts so good

I need Runner's World to make me food all the time

We were spoiled when it came to food this past weekend. The bloggers were treated to two meals that were almost completely made from The Runner's World Cookbook (that I also recieved a copy of) and all of the food was delicious! Our lunch included mushroom tacos (if you like mushrooms you will like these), white chili, cornbread, energy bars, etc. So good!

The dinner, that Mike was able to come to, was equally delicious. All kinds of pasta with three different sauces, feta turkey meatballs (and a beef version) and really yummy fig cupcakes (that even Mike liked!)

Seminars aren't boring, at least at a Runner's World event

On Saturday we didn't have a lot of scheduled events for bloggers. I was maybe one of the only ones who didn't race on Saturday so after Mike and I took the opportunity to drive the half course, we decided that we would go to a few of the seminars.

  Remy, talking about ebola or maybe running articles

Since Mike was with me, I picked two seminars that I knew would be funny and that he would like. We went to Mark Remy's seminar called "Remy's World: Live!" and he walked us through the steps on creating an online column. We laughed, and learned, a lot.

I laughed so much!

Can you find me and Mike? Photo courtesy of Bart Yasso

We also went to Bart Yasso's seminar called "My Life on the Run". So much fun! Bart Yasso is hilarious and has incredible stories about all of his running adventures over the years. While he is not able to run as much as he used to (he has Lyme Disease), he is still an active part of the running community. Some of his stories included a nude race, a race with a burro, a trial run of a race that never came to fruition because of the dangers on the race course, and more. I want to read his book now!

Speaking of Bart Yasso, he's the man!

Bart Yasso is so down to earth that sometimes you forget he is a legend in the running community. He talked to all of us like we were people (because, we are) and he tries to make every runner at his races feel special.

 Talking to all of us on Friday morning

Bart Yasso eats food too!

At dinner on Saturday night, he sat down at our table! He told us more stories and made us all feel welcome. Mike was even in awe of how amazing he was, which says a lot!

Mike is the person I am meant to be with

 I love that guy in the back!

Ok, I already knew this but this weekend solidified it. Mike knows that I have been struggling with my emotions after our Ironman and some personal things, so to have him be so supportive of this weekend and of me meant the world. He wasn't able to come to all of the events but he kept himself busy on Friday (he had to buy some energy gels) and he willingly came to the seminars (even though at first he wasn't so sure), the comedian (Liz Miele is HILARIOUS - she was the entertainment on Saturday night and her running/health, cat lady and dating jokes were the best way to take our minds off of what we were doing the next day) and did whatever I wanted to do all weekend. He is the best!

Runner's World does events right

 "Welcome" is an understatement

While I am not that social, Mike even said I am not a typical blogger since I wasn't always with everyone else and in my own little world, I had an amazing time this past weekend. Runner's World, all of the editors, sponsors and special guests made us feel so welcome! I am truly grateful to have been able to have this opportunity, and even if it never happens again, I will always have a special place for the Runner's World Half & Festival in my heart!

Disclaimer: I was provided free entry into the half marathon, free lodging and any other items mentioned in this post as part of the Runner's World bloggers' program. I was not compensated in any other way and the opinions expressed in this post are, as always, my own.


  1. It sounds like an amazing event, and I've loved reading all of the recaps! I actually have a pair of Altra shoes (they were given to me as a a ZOOMA ambassador), and while I haven't really run in them, I walk in them all of the time, and I absolutely love them!

  2. Okay this is awesome! How did you become part of the blogger's program? I would love to do this someday! I'm planning on doing the Hat Trick at some point (I did the 10k last year).

    1. I was contacted by Rodale to be a blogger for the event. I'm still not really sure why they contacted me, but I'm happy that they did!

  3. Sounds like such an amazing weekend.

  4. Sounds like a terrific event overall. I'm somewhat jealous!