Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Urban Running Girl Shrug

Note - I was not compensated in any way for this post. I just wanted to share a new product I found, that I bought myself, that I think you might like too.

While googling race recaps for my latest half marathon (doesn't everyone do that?), I came across one by Urban Running Girl. I read her recap and also came across a product she makes and sells - the running shrug. I was intrigued.

Urban Running Girl Shrug

This shrug is made of lightweight tech fabric, it's really functional and comes in a bunch of colors. I warm up very quickly during a race, but waiting around for the race to start I am usually cold. The Niagara Falls half was no exception. Usually I wear arm sleeves, but this shrug offers a little more coverage. It also has cuffs that fold over your hands to keep your fingers toasty. I was definitely very glad I had this shrug while waiting for an hour at the start.

I was wearing a short sleeve shirt and it fit over the top nicely.
After freezing for an hour, I was anxious to start the race.

The nice thing was that after two miles I took it off quickly during my walk break and tied it around my waist tightly. There's not a lot to it like there is for a jacket so it was basically like tying a belt or scarf around my waist. I never worried that it was going to fall off.

The shrug is made in Canada, but they do ship to the US. There's a sale right now for $20 Canadian plus shipping. Deb was super responsive on Twitter to my question on shipping and when I placed my order, she sent it out the very next morning. I will say it takes about a week to actually get the package due to the international shipping.

The card I got with my shrug, lots of ways to use it.

I was very happy with my purchase and wanted to share with my friends. I plan to use this shrug for my marathon. I am going to wear a tank top so it will be nice to have a little more something on to cover up at 4 am. And when I warm up after a few miles, I could even tuck it into the pocket of my Sparkle Skirt.

How do you stay warm waiting for a race to start?

Monday, November 3, 2014

2014 Niagara Falls International Half Marathon Recap

Last weekend, I ran the Niagara Falls International Half Marathon. My family lives in Buffalo and I thought it would be nice to go for a visit and get a race in. As you know I am training for the marathon in January, so a half was a good distance at this point in my training.

It was really neat to do an international race. The entire course was in Canada. The runners who ran the full actually started in Buffalo and ran across the Peace Bridge into Canada finishing the same place we did. I will give a piece of advice for running in Canada - don't try to cross the border the morning of the race. Save yourself some race day anxiety and just stay in Canada. I thought a half hour drive from my parents house to Niagara Falls would be no big deal. Well, the Canadian border only had one booth open at 7:30 am. So it took 30 minutes to get into Canada. I was sitting there staring at the parking garage where I needed to park and the buses I needed to be on to get to the start of the half. It was a little nerve wracking. Thankfully, I left early and that allowed me the hour I needed to get there on time.

It's a point to point race, running along the Niagara River. It was actually really peaceful and nice. There were hardly any spectators, a few cheer groups came out. It was a bit chilly waiting for the race to start. I was glad to have long sleeves. Thankfully it wasn't as windy running along the water as I thought it would be. And it really wasn't that cold either - 50 degrees and overcast.  I shed my long sleeves after 2 miles. 
Brrrr. It was cold out there at the start!

My view all 13.1 miles. It was very scenic.

This is the first half where I actively checked my Garmin to see what my pace was while running. I used it keep pushing myself. I tried to stay around 11:00 mph when running. In the beginning I was cruising! My walk breaks are every mile for anywhere from 10-60 seconds depending on if it's a water stop. I found my pace was getting to be around 12:00 toward the end. I was doing the math and trying to push myself even more since I knew a PR was possible.

I had a stretch goal of finishing the half before the winner of the marathon passed me. No such luck. At mile 12.75 that speedy guy came rushing past. So close!

I ended up finishing at 2:28:39 which is a minute slower than my PR. Not too shabby!

I will say that I am not a fan at all of the medal. I saw it on social media a few days before the race and thought it was ugly. You would think a race at Niagara Falls would feature the Falls in a nice graphic of some sort or a nice work of art. I am also really not a fan of a sponsor plastered all over my medal. But, it's bling so whatever. It hangs with all the other medals.

I might go out and buy a Hyundai because it's on my medal. Riiiiight.

I also wasn't a fan of the finish line location. It was at the upper rapids that lead into the Falls. It was quite a walk to actually get to the Falls themselves from where we were.

This was from the finish. You can see the mist from the Falls in the distance.

With all that being said, I am glad I did the race but probably won't be back. It was cool to add an international race to my repertoire. 

13th half marathon complete!