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.
- 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.
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.
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.