#RWHalf: Inspiration Abounds

by tinareale on October 24, 2012

I hope you’re not over these recaps yet. I know I’m not! I still have the rest of the wonderful weekend’s events to share with you today and then the RACE recap tomorrow. Lots of good stuff going on today! I think you’ll want to stick around.

So where were we? Oh, yes! After Runner’s World rolled out the red carpet for us and we learned a ton from ICON health and fitness, we did what anyone does on a Friday afternoon.

Hung out with Shalane Flanagan! For those of you who don’t know her, she is a three time Olympic marathoner and ran the marathon in the most recent Olympics. I was up at the crack of dawn that day rooting her on, so it felt pretty surreal to be sitting less than 10 feet away from her just a couple months later.

Just like everyone else, she was such a sweet person and spent a good amount of time talking to us, answering training questions (my favorite was talk about mental strength), and even getting to know us a little bit by asking questions in return during photos and autographs.


Following our chat with Shalane we met up with one of the social media directors at Runner’s World and editor Jen van Allen who leads up the Runner’s World Challenge. My announcement may just have something to do with that, which has me stoked.

Things didn’t calm down any more from there. Not by a longshot. We had lunch, then got showered and changed to head back for the expo and dinner out that night.

The expo, while on the smaller side, featured many great sponsors. Many of us strolled the expo making sure to talk with the different companies.




My favorites?

  • Sweaty Bands – wore one of the two I received all weekend and they really do NOT slip!
  • Running Skirts – incredibly cute gear. Can’t wait to bust out my new skirt I received.
  • Swiftwick – socks featuring natural fibers and a special 200 needle crafting that make them durable, non-stinky (did you catch me smelling Larisa’s foot in the VLOG?), and comfortable
  • The Stick – let’s just say I’m already addicted and it’s the best foam roller type device I’ve tried!
  • Altra Zero Drop shoes – still can’t wait to officially try these on a run!

Plus, I got put on the cover of next month’s magazine. Be on the lookout. Winking smile


After the expo fun, it was time to eat! A local restaurant called Bethlehem Brew Works in the adorable downtown area of Bethlehem graciously hosted our large and raucous FitFluential crew.


thank you Katherine for the photo!

We all sat and chatted for a good couple of hours. I really enjoyed getting to know Erin, Amanda, Sara, and Alec better during the dinner. Almost as much as I enjoyed my pumpkin beer (hey, I wasn’t racing the next day!) and some spicy fish tacos.


You know I can’t resist a good fish taco.

By the end of the night we were all wiped! We needed to get some beauty sleep in order to carry on with this insane (in the best of ways!) weekend Saturday. Lots of us would be racing, after all!

The Runner’s World Half & Festival offered a 5K and 10K race on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday. Many of the FitFluential crew participating in the weekend opted for the “hat trick” (all 3 races), but I knew my body would better handle doing solely the half marathon.

Instead, I made sure I cheered on my FitFluential pals on Saturday.



while rocking my Altra shoes, Swiftwick socks, Sweaty Band, and Mondetta Perfomance Gear tank and capris

The race energy was so high! I loved watching my friends cross the finish line.

Carly, Jill, Katie, Ashley, and Harold (SUCH a fun guy!)

some of the same awesome ladies as above plus Larisa, Kristin, Katherine, and Sara

a large group of us with ultra marathon man Dean Karnazes and Bart Yasso

Larisa had a great piece of advice for those who are interested in running or getting started with fitness, but unsure of if they can or how to get motivated. Go watch a race. Seriously! Just watch. Feeling that energy and watching people of all shapes, sizes, ages, fitness levels, etc achieve reaching that finish line? Well, you get the idea. It will inspire you to go for it, too! I know it got me amped up for my race the next day!

When the races concluded a lot of us considered hanging around for the many events the Runner’s World Half & Festival offered to all attendees, but when it came down to it, we knew we needed some rest. So a large group of us headed back to the hotel to grab lunch from a Panera and then relax for a couple of hours before the night’s festivities.


Hanging out with these ladies never got old!

The afternoon passed in a flash and before we knew it we were headed back over to The Steel Stacks for another epic night of events. Staring with a pre-race pasta dinner.

I have never done the pre-race dinners like this, but I’m thinking maybe I should from now on. YUM!


I’m thinking future experiences may be a let down though. I’m guessing I won’t be dining with the likes of FitFluential team members, well known editor John Atwood, and the super wonderful David and Laura who put the whole shindig together. Or that you have author Matt Long come up and hang out with you.


Yep. Doubt any future pre-race pasta dinner will come close.

When the dinner finished, we grabbed some seats to hear Matt Long’s inspirational speech. Matt Long is a former NYC firefighter who has been through a lot. He was there at 9/11 and dealt with some emotional repercussions of that. From there, he got motivated to run marathons and IronMans. He accomplished some big goals, only to get hit by a bus while riding his bike one day. He had a 1% (ONE!) chance of survival…but he survived. Which, at first, he wished he hadn’t. Instead, he turned his life around and had the will to move on – doing marathons and an IronMan again while also starting up the I Will Foundation. I highly suggest his book. I’ve read it from the library before, but had to buy a copy and get this man’s autograph.


And then? Well, then it was done. All the pre-race festivities and events were over. All that I had left was to rest up and run my fourth half-marathon…but more on that tomorrow.

Your Turn – What is your favorite part about race weekends (expos, pre-race dinners, meeting inspirations at seminars/events)? Did you watch the marathon in the Olympics this past year?

Disclaimer:  I participated in the Runner’s World Half & Festival weekend as a FitFluential Ambassador. I received a free entry to the race and participation in the events. All opinions expressed are my own. 


1 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey October 24, 2012 at 6:56 am

Wow! They sure kept you guys busy! Looks like a fun time – now can we get to your race?! I want to hear all about it!

2 Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie October 24, 2012 at 6:57 am

Love the recap!! Those fish tacos did look pretty good! haha It was so much fun hanging out with you!

3 Marcia October 24, 2012 at 7:05 am

What a fabulous weekend! SO bummed I missed it.

4 Amanda @RunToTheFinish October 24, 2012 at 7:13 am

sigh i want to go back. I feel like as much as I did I missed so much!! It seems like the group got a little split sometimes and i enjoyed where I was, but always wanted to also be elsewhere :)

5 molly @ heart, sole & cereal October 24, 2012 at 7:20 am

this weekend keeps getting better and better. thanks for letting us live vicariously through you! i’ve been debating getting a headband so it’s good to know there are definitely good options for ones that don’t slip.

my favorite part of a pre-race is usually the expo…especially if my dad is with me because he is never more generous than when he is at an expo. i have some awesome gear due to his generosity :)

6 misszippy October 24, 2012 at 7:29 am

I’m certainly not sick of the posts yet–can’t get enough! You do such a great job with the recaps and pictures. So excited for you and your RW relationship!

7 Cindy October 24, 2012 at 7:31 am

I just read Matt’s book less than a month ago for the first time. So so inspiring. Especially from.a physical therapist point of view!! Can’t believe I hadn’t read it before!! I can’t wait to read your review of the Altra shoes. I read another review today (from someone who was also there) and I have to admit, I am intrigued. Amazing considering I just blabbed to you about how long I have Bern wearing the same shoes injury free! I wear Brooks Adrenaline now, but I am a midfoot striker by nature, so they might be just fine for me. Although I am a big believer in “if its not broken don’t fix it”…
Maybe after Disney. ;)

8 tinareale October 24, 2012 at 7:54 am

I’ve been trying out all sorts of things and actually the best ones for me have been every time I make a switch to more neutral or lower heel drop. So I’m intrigued to see how these do. I went to the Saucony Rides with 8 mm drop and neutral and they have been doing great. Also been using Brooks PureFlows with 4 mm drop and they feel even better than the Sauconys. Just haven’t gotten my body adapted to them for longer runs just yet. Plan on rotating in the Altras for lower mileage at some point and let my body keep adjusting to this type of shoe becuase its been really working and helping me so far. Then, stick with what isn’t broken wherever I fall and my body is happy along this line of trying out shoes. ;)

9 Cindy October 24, 2012 at 8:20 am

The Brooks line is the other shoe that intrigues me, especially since they have one that compliments the Adrenaline. Plus its pink. ;) but trying new shoes just aren’t in my budget, so unless I win some (or the lottery!) I guess I am stuck with mine!! But a new adrenaline model is coming out in Jan, which means my current model will go on sale at the end of the year. Yay for a sale!!

10 Linz @ Itz Linz October 24, 2012 at 7:35 am

I love reading everyone’s recap!! Makes me wanna do it all again!!

11 allison October 24, 2012 at 7:45 am

Looks like such a fun time!! And your totally right, I love watching people workout since it inspires me to go get moving:)

12 Julie @ Sweetly Balanced October 24, 2012 at 7:54 am

I’ve never really participated in the events that go along with races, but this looks like so much fun I might have to start!!!

13 Lee October 24, 2012 at 8:15 am

It sounds like an amazing weekend. I love all parts of race weekend – the expo, the start line, the energy from the crowd and most of all, the finish line.

Can’t wait to see you tonight! Hopefully we won’t get caught in a torrential downpour after dinner this time.

14 Tracy @ The Runners Palate October 24, 2012 at 8:18 am

Great recap! It was nice to meet you!!!

15 Lauren October 24, 2012 at 8:26 am

What a fantastic recap of your weekend race adventures!! So glad you got to experience the whole aspect of this race and not just the running part. Looks like it was a blast!!

16 [email protected] October 24, 2012 at 9:26 am

Such a wonderful weekend and well run event. The RW people did a great job and it looks like so much fun to meet so many people.

17 Laura @ Mommy Run Fast October 24, 2012 at 9:56 am

Just amazing. I love reading all these recaps! Those RW cover photos are hilarious- how fun!

18 tinareale October 24, 2012 at 2:45 pm

The best part is the “I Did It” area pointing right at the crotch in most pictures. haha!

19 Bethany @ Accidental Intentions October 24, 2012 at 10:29 am

Expos are my fave. I seriously would go to a race expo every weekend if I could. I just wander around expos and am like, “All you people understand me!” Hahaha.

20 Elle October 24, 2012 at 10:42 am

I love race expos too… so much excitement and fun stuff to see and try!

21 Leonor @FoodFaithFitness October 24, 2012 at 10:46 am

Wow! Looks like an amazing weekend!

22 [email protected] October 24, 2012 at 12:13 pm

What a fab weekend!! I love that you’re on the magazine :)

23 Michele @ Nycrunningmama October 24, 2012 at 12:27 pm

OMG. This recap is amazing. You captured so many of the awesome moments and events we got to experience!! And I agree – RW rolled out the red carpet for us – it was insane =)
Can’t wait to read the recap and hear (again!) the good news that you have to share!! So happy for YOU!

24 Jess October 24, 2012 at 12:54 pm

WOW. This must have been an incredible experience for you — JAM PACKED — but oh so worth it I can just tell! I’d love to hear more about what Shalane had to say about mental strength!

25 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats October 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm

What an amazing race! And Shalane Flanagan!?!?! SO JEALOUS!!!!

26 Heather @ Better With Veggies October 24, 2012 at 2:53 pm

I am loving these recaps – I can’t believe all the fun you guys had! And I can vouch for swiftwick socks, I switched to those earlier this year and LOVE them! :)

27 Pavement Runner October 24, 2012 at 7:54 pm

I love everything about this post! You got to meet so many amazing people.. FFA and elite runners. Love your cover of RW — can we expect that issue soon?

28 Tempie @ The Texas Peach October 24, 2012 at 8:03 pm

What an incredible experience! I LOVE that running skirt in the pic above. Matt Long’s story does sound very inspiring! I’ll have to see if our library has his book.

29 Kierston October 24, 2012 at 9:45 pm

What a great experience!!! Love your 26.2 shirt..maybe one day I’ll earn
one! :)

30 Melissa @ Fit 'N' Well Mommy October 25, 2012 at 12:23 am

It looks like you had a really fun weekend! I just came across your blog and I’m excited to read more of your posts. Though, I am not a runner, I certainly appreciate it! I’m an avid CrossFitter and compete regularly, but I’m not sure I could even do half marathon!

31 STUFT Mama October 25, 2012 at 1:14 am

You do a much better job recapping than I do. Man, I talk a lot. Ha ha. Can’t wait to hear the race recap and your big announcement. :) Miss ya already friend!

32 Miz October 25, 2012 at 5:57 am

Im so so so enjoying the recaps!!

33 Kim October 25, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Haha I was so confused about the RW cover with the You Did It arrow to crotch! Hilarious. Also, love the advice about watching a race to get pumped for racing–so simple, but I’ve never thought of that. :) Can’t wait to hear how your race went!!

34 Bek @ Crave October 26, 2012 at 8:12 am

how bloody exciting! You’re a cover girl ;) Sounds like you’re living the dream haha, and good job listening to your body and not doing the hat trick! Thanks for sharing as always :)

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