Thursday, October 31, 2013

Marathon #3 is in the Books!

On October 20th I lined up with 30,000 like minded women to run the 10th Anniversary of the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco. I have been looking forward to this race since the 2012 race ended last year. One of the best parts of the Nike Women's Marathon is the camaraderie of all the women involved and all the friends I get to see while I am there. I loved meeting up with Tiara and Elizabeth from last year's Sisters In Nike Crew and meeting new friends I have been talking with on Instagram and Twitter. 

The expo was amazing as always and had a lot going on. With previews of the new Nike winter collection, photo opportunities, a social media wall showcasing photos and tweets from women running the race, Nike+ member benefits booth and various fun booths from sponsors like Paul Mitchell, Nuun Hydration, Team in Training, and Whole Foods, the expo was the place to be. One of my favorite parts were the live #NTC workouts - free commemorative towel ladies! - and meeting Olympic athletes and celebrities. 

I also had an amazing time meeting some awesome girls I have been interacting with on social media! We got together for lunch on Friday and hung out at different times throughout the weekend. Fun times!

As always, I found my name on the wall at NikeTown San Francisco listing all the names of the participants in the Nike Women's Marathon. And of course, I did some shopping! Everything was so fun in the store and the Tiffany Blue gear was definitely a hot item! 

I finally got to meet Asheton, aka - Smasheton! She was super fun to hang out with and I know she has big things in her future with running and triathlon. She was kind enough to show me the wonders of KT Tape and help keep my IT Band flare ups at bay. Wish this girl was closer so we could train together and pursue our dreams of working with Nike and in events together. Big things...that's all I'm saying!

Met more awesome friends each day at the expo. Samantha was working the expo for some fun new kicks and Becca and Sabrina hung out with me Saturday at the expo. They helped keep my pre race jitters at bay! Thanks ladies!

Saturday I had the privilege of meeting Joan Benoit Samuelson at Panera Bread. Guess we like the same foods. Yum! Pre race fueling with an Olympic champ, can't argue with that!

At the expo it was fun to hear from celebrities and professional surfer Lakey Peterson on their journey to running the Nike Women's Half Marathon. Inspiration came from all these athletes and stars throughout the weekend. 

I also got to see Marie Purvis, the mastermind behind the #NTC workouts, at the expo and my trainer for last year's Nike Women's Marathon. She coached me to a personal best. She has the best training plan for running 26.2 and gives great advice. Always a pleasure to see her at Nike events. 

The highlight of the weekend was meeting Kara Goucher! She is my favorite long distance runner and my motivation for running 26.2. miles. She was so sweet to have her photo taken with me and wish me luck on the race! 

Tiara and I got a photo near the WE RUN sign at the expo the day before the race. Yes, we do run! She and I had an awesome time chilling the day before the race and keeping each others nerves in check.

We also snuck a photo with Jay Blahnik, international trainer and the host of the expo. He kept the event running smoothly and interviewed athletes during the expo. 

Sunday morning race time came early and Tiara and I were at the start line at 5:45am! I haven't purchased my race photos yet, but I'll do another post as soon as they come! We were ready to rock the race in style! 

My race didn't go as planned, as I had to pace myself slower because of my IT Band flare-up and the final 13 miles were freezing cold. However, even though I ran my slowest race in my third attempt (5:04 in comparison to a 4:29 last year, I had a great time and met a lot of great friends who I hope to see again soon. 

I'm looking forward to some time away from training for 26.2 miles and focusing on speed. I can't wait for next year in SF and hopefully I can find a way to get to Washington, DC in April for the second straight year. I need to find a way to JUST DO IT!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

EspnW Summit - An Amazing Experience

Life has been moving at the speed of light lately and I literally haven't had a spare moment to write this post. Between moving to a new house, the espnW Summit, heading to San Francisco to run my third Nike Women's Marathon and multiple visits from family members, I have barely had time to sleep. But finally, I am going to share with you what I learned at the espnW Women + Sports Summit. 

Let's start with day one. I posted a very brief post at the summit, but now you are in for the long haul! I arrived at the summit about an hour late due to flight delays, but that wasn't too much of a problem. I checked in at the registration table and picked up my credentials. EspnW sure knows how to make someone feel like a VIP! 

Following check-in I headed to the conference room for the opening remarks and to have dinner. Due to rain, the summit began indoors. Michelle Kwan, Olympic Silver Medalist in figure skating, was giving an opening keynote and I was really impressed with what she had to say. She is helping with the 2015 World Games - Special Olympics in LA. It's inspiring to see and hear how what these athletes have accomplished and to see an Olympian giving back and continuing to grow her legacy.

Michelle Kwan and my wonderful new friends and seat-mates for dinner.

The evening program had a large focus on the 2015 World Games and inspired me to see what I can do to get involved. I would love to go down to LA to help out. We'll see where I am at closer to 2015 and maybe I can make that dream a reality.

That evening we also enjoyed one of the film's in espnW's "Nine for Nine" series featuring incredible athletes in women's sports. Julie Foudy and Mia Hamm were on hand to talk about and answer questions about their amazing soccer season in 1999 and the film Foudy directed "The 99ers" was shown. These women did so much for soccer and women in sports and are continuing today. INSPIRING!

Under Armour Swag Bag

What is a women's sports conference without a great sponsor like Under Armour to provide the ladies attending with great new gear? They had an entire gifting suite where we could go and pick out items to wear for the weekend for our sports activities. Yes, there were also many opportunities to do different sports classes. I took full advantage! 

I went on a run with the New York Road Runners, where I met and ran with Alana Golab, from Digital Royalty, she is super sweet by the way! I also did yoga with Under Armour's own trainer, Shauna Harrison and tried SURFSET Fitness - which is basically indoor surfing. The surfboard lays atop balance balls and is tethered, but makes you feel like you are surfing. Super fun and super tough!

An amazing artist putting the speakers words into art during the summit

During the entire summit espnW had an artist depicting the speakers words into pictures and short quotes. I thought this was an amazing way to show what we were learning in a new and fun way. Wish I could take sweet notes like these! I'm a sports girl, not an artist, but I can appreciate true talent when I see it. Props to our great artist!

Amy Jo Martin giving a presentation on Personal Branding with Alana Golab

I had the pleasure of meeting Amy Jo Martin, the founder of Digital Royalty. It was great to meet her in person. She has definitely helped me to expand my personal brand on social media and actually is one of the reasons that I ended up getting an invite to this summit. I was able to come because of the power of social media and I am grateful for being given such a chance. I have taken some of her Digital Royalty University classes and have benefitted from her experience and insight. 

The Summit Evening Session - Gorgeous!

I also had the pleasure of meeting Heidi Burgett who works in communications for Nike. I had been interacting with her via social media for a while and it was great to finally meet! Of course, I asked her for advice on how to get to work for Nike and she said (I'm paraphrasing): Be the best at what you do and someone will find you. Great advice and what drives me to do what I do in the social world and at my job.

 Summit Action Plan - My favorite runner, Allyson Felix, gave the closing remarks

The closing remarks were given by Allyson Felix and some up and coming female athletes, Taylor Townsend, Sydney Leroux, Lakey Peterson and Victoria Arlen. It's exciting to see and hear what these talented ladies are doing in their sports and to give back to sport. The summit ended with an action plan that sparked a desire in me to really go out and focus on getting more women active and promoting the growth of female sports!

Post Summit Golf at the St. Regis Monarch Beach

After the summit I took a golf lesson at the St. Regis Monarch as one of the benefits of attending the summit and gained some much needed tips for improving my golf game. It was only my second time playing, so I thought I did pretty well. The course was beautiful as well, right along the ocean!

In conclusion, the conference was the best experience ever! I learned so much and was inspired to do so much more and seek out opportunities. I wish I could relay every moment to you, but that would be a very long post! If you want to learn more check out the highlights at Be inspired.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Beginning of Something Great

The espnW Women + Sports Summit kicked off last night at 5pm. Due to multiple delays on my flight, I arrived around 6:30pm. I have been excited about attending this event and couldn't be more  pleased with how the event is going so far. I have heard from amazing female athletes, influencers and women in the sports industry and have met many new role models and friends.

Michelle Kwan giving the opening keynote

When I arrived, Michelle Kwan had just begun to give her opening keynote. I remember watching her skate when I was growing up and it was awesome to hear what she is doing for sports. She is also involved with the Special Olympics. The games will be held in Los Angeles in 2015 and there was a great discussion about bringing awareness to these amazing athletes. 

Following their talk there was a fabulous dinner and a Power Talk from the amazing Sarah Reinertsen. Who spoke about helping those with disabilities and how we can get them involved in sports. She spoke about those who had lost legs during the Boston bombings and I had never realized just how expensive a prosthetic running leg is - $30,000. The need to empower everyone through sport is so important and Sarah is an amazing advocate for sports and changing lives through fitness and movement.

The final panel featured amazing Olympic athletes: Tina Charles, Lindsey Jacobellis, Sanya Richards Ross and Janet Evans. They discussed the balance between sports and life. We all have to learn to find balance and at the elite level this is even more important. Through family time, a business, charity work, these ladies all have something to keep them balanced outside of sports. 

For the final event of the evening there was a screening of "The 99ers," the documentary showcasing the 1999 Women's Soccer Team's journey to their World Cup victory. The Q & A before hand with Julie Foudy and Mia Hamm was very inspiring. They showed how such a great team can come together and how hard work and a little fun can pay off. 

With so much more to write - stay tuned for upcoming posts about the inspiring women of the espnW Summit!


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Life is a Collection of Moments

Life is a collection of moments. We live for the moments when everything is going our way. When we feel happiness, elation, success and accomplishment. We choose to remember the good times in photos, Facebook posts, Instagram updates, and Tweets. My Klout profile alerts me when I have a "moment" on one of my social sites that brings a lot of interactions. 

This year so far is a collection of quite a few moments. I have had my share of highs and lows, successes and failures. My favorite moments have to do with trips I have taken and the people I have met along the way. Visiting New York, participating in the Nike Women's Half Marathon in DC, meeting the espnW staff, running Hood to Coast with Nuun Hydration and interacting with fans on my blog are all moments that I treasure. 

This month brings about three very important moments. First - my husband and I are closing on our first house, which means I get an office and a workout room! Second - I am heading to the espnW Women+Sports Summit to learn about what I love and interact with other amazing women. Third - I am running my third marathon in San Francisco at the 10th Anniversary of the Nike Women's Marathon. October is going to be one amazing month.

I'm learning to appreciate the moments that happen, rather than things. Moments are truly what matters and they are what you make of them. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't try to find a way to enjoy life and make a moment that matters. Right now my day to day moments seem to revolve around running. I really feel alive and in control of my life when I run. It's not always about the speed or the distance for me. It's often just about enjoying the run and getting away from the computer and back to nature. Running is the reason I blog, has lifted me up when I am low and has given me more confidence in achieving my dreams. Running and the digital world have collided recently and given me a chance to interact with other runners on a global level. I truly believe that running can cross oceans, ages, time, and unite people together. I have never met a runner that doesn't cheer me on or provide encouragement. No matter how fast or how slow, runners know it's about something bigger than winning a race. Running gives us moments to celebrate. 

The next few weeks I'll be traveling, learning, and challenging myself. I hope you'll join me for the ride and share the moment.