*Nuun Life*

What is Nuun Life exactly?

It is a culture. A community. It’s bigger than the amazing little flavored tabs that help hydrate and replenish athletes so that they can keep giving 110% to everything they do whether it’s training for the Olympics, the Boston Marathon, Ironman, or a hometown 5k. Nuun Life, at its core, is a group of passionate people striving to achieve greater athletic performance, optimal health, and a cleaner planet by way of revolutionary hydration products while inspiring others in the process.

It has been an incredible honor over the past few years to be a part of Team Nuun and witness the company’s evolution while staying true to their mission.

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In the spirit of constantly striving to move forward, Nuun has revamped their website and can now be found at www.nuunlife.com. And, they’ve give me and my fellow teammates permission to offer a special friends and family discount to YOU! Check out their new website, maybe swing by my athlete profile (which is slightly outdated), and use the code fallhydration at checkout to save 30% off your order! The offer is good through September 30th.

Happy autumn and hydrating!

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*Leap of faith*

I had a shitty week. Which you already know if you follow me on Instagram because within five minutes of leaving work yesterday evening, I was on a bar stool at a restaurant just a few doors down…

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There have been multiple reasons for my gloomy disposition but one of them, I realized yesterday, is how much I’m missing community. In every sense of the word.

Moving away from the small town where I grew up, started my family, and where much of our family still lives has been an interesting change. It’s been a good change, don’t get me wrong, but city life has, at times, left me feeling a bit alienated. I’ve found myself missing things I took for granted such as calling my child’s school and being greeted by someone who knows me by first name and takes the time to ask how my parents are doing.

What I have missed most, though, is my real-life running community. (I love the online running community too, fyi!) Running with others who share your love of the sport is one of the reasons I love running. It was the reason I co-founded a running club and for a solid couple of years spent every possible Saturday morning in rain, snow, freezing temps, and sometimes, if lucky, sunshine, to lead a small group of kindred runners on a short course with an optional post-run coffee stop at Starbucks.

I guess, to be honest, I haven’t tried very hard.

When we began making plans to move, I remember sitting at my computer one night doing an online search for running stores in hopes that I would find one nearby that offered group runs. I vowed that as soon as possible, I’d attend and become an active participant in such groups. After we settled where we are, I discovered that there are two specialty running stores within four miles of where I live and at least one other group that meets weekly at a pizza place about a mile away. Beyond that, there are probably another 20 groups that meet around the greater Los Angeles area each week. (I will note that the primary reason I have not attended any of the offered group runs is because the majority of them are held later in the evening and I’m not much of an evening runner.)

Then, last week, in an attempt to clean my handheld water bottle, I damaged the seal that keeps the contents inside. During my 14-mile run last Sunday I’m certain I wore more watermelon flavored Nuun than I drank. Time for a new bottle! While I was researching my options yesterday, I discovered that one of the two nearby running stores offers Saturday morning group runs! Even better is that they finish at a Starbucks a few blocks from the store!

I started thinking about going and then kind of forgot about it until I woke up this morning. Then I remembered that I still needed a new bottle and would have to go at some point today anyway. I tried talking myself out of it at least three times with a variety of excuses… I might not have enough time to get ready… I might get there too late and they’ve already left… I might be the only one that shows up…

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When I arrived, I was greeted by a small group of runners and the owner of the Fleet Feet Burbank store hosting the run who asked me if I was the person that had called yesterday. I replied “No. I took a leap of faith and just showed up.”

I took a leap of faith this morning and after a nice 3-mile run, I was sitting at a table at Starbucks with community. If felt really, really good!

P.S.  I’m the proud owner of a new water bottle. (And a new Oiselle tank. Shh…)

P.P.S  I used Uber to get home.

*Griffith Park 8k Trail Race recap*

The runner’s high I got from the Griffith Park 8k Trail Race I ran this morning hasn’t quite dissipated yet. Although physically I feel like I ran a hard race (I’m exhausted this afternoon!), the rest of me just feels really content and happy that it was everything I didn’t expect it to be.

As I wrote about in a post a few days ago, I went in with little expectations other than to appreciate the early start before the heat of the day, be well fueled, enjoy being among running community, and just have fun within the experience regardless of performance.

Check, check, check, and check!!!!

The event that I ran was the sister race to a larger trail marathon relay made up of teams of five people. Each team member runs the same 5.25 mile loop. The route was mostly packed dirt and fire lane roads nestled into the canyons of Griffith Park. Within the first two miles the elevation gain is roughly 500 feet. The event I ran today was the inaugural 8k and followed the same course as the relay with the only difference being that we started about 10 minutes before the relays teams, about 90 of them, took off.

The 8k started a few minutes later than planned and there was some slight confusion at the start as to where we were suppose to line up – and which direction we were going – but that was the only fault I found with the entire event.

Teams set up camp on a large grassy slope that is known as the old Los Angeles Zoo, right next to ruins of what used to house caged animals on exhibit. Also, a good place to take pictures if you don’t get creeped out easily… there are stories about the caverns being haunted…

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My adoptive Team Nuun Family (minus one) for the morning. Photo credit: www.crossmyheartfitness.com

I was invited to hang out with some Team Nuun teammates from around the area who had a relay team participating. I really enjoyed meeting some new people and reconnecting with the few that I’d met before. I love running, training, and racing for so many reasons but connecting with people who share my love of the sport is truly a highlight!

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After a 7-month racing hiatus, pinning on my bib felt so good!

As far as my actual “race” went, I felt good. I felt strong! There was a pretty challenging climb the first two miles and I was proud that I didn’t succumb to walking. I sure as heck wasn’t moving very fast but I felt that maintaining some sort of momentum would payoff. I felt like I was flying after I reached the summit and the trail leveled and then dropped. I smiled. A lot. It’s been a while since I’ve experienced that kind of mental ease – like, “Hey! I’m just here to have fun!”

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The classic *stopping the Garmin at the finish line* picture.

Apparently, I was the 8th overall female to finish with a time of 45:26. As far as I could tell, they didn’t do a gender/age category breakdown but I’m guessing that I probably finished in a decent spot. Doesn’t matter though. It was a fun day and great reminder of why I love running and racing!

*Ten tips for growing your running tribe*

Running has provided me with so many amazing opportunities over the past few years… I’ve qualified for, and ran, the Boston Marathon, I’ve been an ambassador for a few races including the Vancouver USA Marathon and the Portland Marathon, and products such as Nuun Hydration and Left Coast Raw, I’ve been able to travel to Las Vegas and Utah to run Ragnar relays, and most of all, I’ve met so many incredible people and athletes through various running groups and affiliations which has quenched my thirst for connecting with kindred spirits who love running as much as I do.

I remember several months ago, before my family moved to Los Angeles, researching running groups and clubs in the area with hopes that I’d find a place to connect with other runners. At the time, it seemed a little sparse and I worried that there weren’t the same kind of numbers of runners here as there is in the Pacific Northwest.

I’m pleased to report that my assumption was absolutely false. And thank goodness! Not only is there a thriving running community here but several trail and ultra running groups too. Given the size of the region, everything is pretty spread out here but it is still reassuring to know that they’re out there.

Because I am more introverted than extroverted (surprising but true!), making these connections is still, and will continue to be, a work in progress. I haven’t made much effort either, aside from going to the November Project somewhat consistently, since I’ve been settling into our digs, getting acclimated to the neighborhood, and adjusting to a new job.

That all said, I’ve begun strategizing a plan to expand my circle and thought it would be worth sharing. (Not to mention hold me accountable!)

  • Find a running club or group. (Or several!) This might take some research but they’re out there. Most of them have a Facebook group page. I’ve been joining every group that I find within about 20 miles.
  • Join a membership-based group. Honestly, I slightly struggle with the ethics of this. There are a few brands that I absolutely adore (Oiselle, Territory Run Co.) but in order to join, you have to pay a fee. They benefit by free marketing when you blast your social media accounts with pictures of you racing in their singlet while you maybe get a 10% discount on orders. Regardless, I’ve seen the impact of the community that Oiselle has created and I SO WANT IN!
  • The best place to start is with a local specialty running store. Most of them offer some form of a weekly group run. There is a Road Runner Sports store a little over two miles away that meets weekly and I swear, one of these evenings I’ll actually go!
  • Running stores aren’t the only hosts of group runs! There is a pizza franchise that hosts weekly meetups. I believe a bar down the road too. Do some homework (aka Google) and see what you come up with.
  • Start your own group. I have yet to find something closer to my own neighborhood and have considered starting my own. As a co-founder of a running group back in Oregon, I’ll say that it has crossed my mind more than a few times and it’s really not that difficult.
  • Look beyond “running” clubs. I’ve mentioned several times recently that I’ve been attending the November Project. It’s chock-full of runners! How about your local gym? Or yoga studio? There are runners there too!
  • The number of virtual running friends I have, by far, exceeds the number of running friends I have in real life. Thanks to social media, I can connect to runners across the globe. But, I can also connect to runners in my own neck of the woods (er, city) using the same practices.
  • Use your affiliations to find your tribe. I owe so, so much to Nuun Hydration for a number of friendships that I have thanks to their vision that is Team Nuun. I am so fortunate to know so many incredible athletes that, like me, are members of the team. True story: I think it was my second time attending the November Project and in the crowd, I spotted a woman wearing a hoodie with the Nuun logo embossed on the back. I approached her and struck up a conversation. Boom! Another team member and recent transplant to LA, like myself. We are now friends on Facebook, follow each other on Instagram, and are planning to run the same 8k next month so the commonality creates an opportunity to connect.
  • Volunteer at an event. I have yet to do this but I will. If you’re not racing, the next best thing is to support the runners that are and who knows, perhaps you’ll befriend the person you’re manning the aid station with.
  • Just show up. It’s the November Project motto (by way of hashtag) and it’s true. I can talk, and/or plan, until I’m blue in the face but unless I actually show up, I’m on my own and that translates to not meeting people.

BONUS TIP: Don’t forget that the best running partner might be your life partner!

Without a doubt, I know that I’ve overlooked an idea or two so please feel free to comment and share your ideas on how to meet like-minded runners obsessed with the sport as much as you are!

*First race of 2016*

After lamenting for the past few months about not having any upcoming races on my calendar, I remedied that last night by officially registering for my first trail race! It’s also my first race of 2016!

I will note that I have technically done a trail race (Ragnar Zion) but it was a relay and the event was cancelled before I got to run my third leg due to snow.

I’m fairly certain I won’t need to worry about snow this time around because the race I’m doing is in the heart of Los Angeles in the middle of July. And it’s practically in my backyard! The Griffith Park Trail Marathon Relay and 8k is on Sunday, July 17th. The main race is actually a five-member team marathon relay but they are also offering an inaugural 8k trail race which is what I signed up for. I think it’s a good place to start and get my bearings since I haven’t been running a ton of trail as of late.

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Nuun is a sponsor and I know of a couple of Team Nuun members that will be participating too.

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Trail at Griffith Park.

The route is described as being an “intermediate” and “very challenging” course so I better get my rear in gear and get some solid training in over the next three weeks!!!

Also, while I’m thinking about July, my friends at Left Coast Raw are offering free shipping on domestic orders through the end of July. And, they’ve recently launched a new flavor! Cocoa Motive offers 22 grams of organic, plant-based protein from whole food ingredients, per 10 oz. serving. Check out their website for more information about their superior plant-based shakes!

*Celebrity sightings, hydration game, and showing up*

Earlier today while out for a run with Mr. WJTWT, I joked that perhaps on Tuesdays, following my Monday Weekly Mileage post, I could follow it up with a Celebrity Sightings Report.

That is a joke. However, now that I live in Los Angeles, very much possible. In actuality, it took my 7 weeks to see a celebrity for the first time and it wasn’t someone I would recognize without being told who it was. We’ve turned it into a game of sorts and the rules are simple. I have to recognize them as a celebrity for the sighting to count. (Sorry, Dave Grohl. Even though I like both the Foo Fighters and Nirvana, I would never have known it was you when you were out with your daughter buying hamburgers!)

Today I had my first real celebrity sighting though and it’s actually quite ironic for two reasons. While running the same canyon trail as last week, we passed Carrie Brownstein, of Portlandia fame, walking her dogs. (And I totally made eye contact with her!)

The two reasons I thought it was ironic though is that 1. even though she doesn’t live in Portland, I would have figured the odds of running into her there, before we moved, would have been higher than in Studio City, CA. on a random Tuesday morning and 2. because I recently, less than two weeks ago, in fact, shared a Portlandia video where they spoof the Portland Marathon.

I’m truly not the starstruck type and I would never approach someone one or gush over them unless it was in an appropriate setting and all. Since Mr. WJTWT has worked in the film industry for a number of years, the whole “celebrity” thing just doesn’t really do anything for me but it’s still fun to catch a glimpse of someone that is well recognized for their work.

In other news, with summer right around the corner, now would be a good time to get your hydration game strategy in order. So the timing of Nuun offering 25% off orders now until May 24th is perfect! You can stock up and be ready for whatever summer adventures you have planned!

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Use code: NUUNLOVE25 to save!

Speaking of adventures… tomorrow morning, if all goes according to plan (meaning I don’t chicken out), I’m going to attend my first ever November Project workout. Eek! I’ve been a fan of the grassroots movement since I first heard about it but wasn’t in a locale where it was offered. Until now. And they meet about 10 minutes from where I live so I don’t really have an excuse… except the chickening out thing which is why I’m sharing this. Accountability, baby. As they say, “just show up.” So I’m going to. I’ll report back on my findings!

*Portlandia runs the Portland Marathon*

Happy Cinco de Mayo and National Enchilada Day!

(Guess what I’m having for dinner? hehe)

I’ve run, no pun intended, across a couple of fun things this week that I thought I’d pass along. A little bit of Thursday afternoon randomness. Ole!

Shall we start with something amusing?

Even though I’m a native Portlander (sort of), I’m sometimes perplexed by the series Portlandia. It has its moments. But while I’d not exactly call this funny, I dig the connection to the Portland Marathon.

Speaking of the Portland Marathon, it is filling up pretty quickly. If you are looking for a really fantastic autumn marathon, check it out! I can also offer you $10 off your registration if you use the discount code: HYLA16.

Also on my radar, a couple of cool things from my friends at Nuun! They are currently running a flash sale on the original Nuun Energy.

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A sweet deal on Nuun Energy!

If you had planned ahead, you’d be well-stocked to help prevent a Margarita hangover! I kid. ; )

Short and sweet. Cheers!