#NaBloPoMo 01/30: National Blog Posting Month [My First!]

In an attempt to get back into blogging, I’ve decided to participate in NaBloPoMo! You can find information regarding November NaBloPoMo right here….

Saturdays and Sundays are “freebies,” which means today doesn’t have any prompt whatsoever.

With that said, I’m going to leave you with some pictures from the Zombie Runner Halloween Half Marathon that I ran with my parents yesterday! It is my first trail run and I had a lot of fun. 🙂

Harley Quinn & Russell from Up

Dad didn’t dress up :O

Here’s to a brand new month of goals and blogging!! -Lianna

Product Review: FlipBelt

A couple of weeks ago during a team training run, I realized that the running belt that I was using just wasn’t satisfying my needs anymore. Granted, I only used it to carry my PowerBar gels and car keys, but it suddenly felt too small and seemingly bounced and shifted a little too much. I started researching other belts that might work out for me. I needed a belt that would (1) hold all my little necessities: keys, 2 PowerBar gels, iPhone (occasionally, as I also have an arm band that I prefer), license/debit card and (2) not bounce or ride up my body.

Enter the FlipBelt.

The FlipBelt

I’m a few years late to the game with this product, but I am so glad to have purchased it. I had watched the videos on the official FlipBelt website, so I already had an idea of what to expect when I purchased mine.

The design of the FlipBelt is unlike most running belts you see out there. The FlipBelt ditches the buckle clips and instead, it is a tube that looks like a wide waistband from a pair of running pants. Putting on the belt is just like putting on a pair of pants. This may or not be convenient depending on what type of activities you’re doing for the day. It’s all personal preference. But even from the get-go, this belt is slim-lined and less-bulky than the belt I’d always used.

I love the feel of this belt!

Filling the belt with all my necessary running goods was quick and easy. There are four access openings on either side of the FlipBelt, and you can always rotate the belt around your body to access what you need.  If you feel the need for more security, you can flip the belt so that the access points are facing your body, hence the name. 🙂

There are four access openings. Two are shown above at front, the other two are on the back.

I used my FlipBelt both at the gym on the treadmill and on some outdoor runs. I probably didn’t have to “test” it out for as long as I did because I instantly loved my FlipBelt! At the gym, it was convenient to have everything in my FlipBelt as I went around the machines to lift weights and use the treadmill. I didn’t once have to worry about if I left my keys at the machine because they were on me the entire time! There is a dedicated little key ring hook that you can use to attach your keys to, which is nice for that added extra security.

Keep your keys safe!

As for use with the treadmill and outdoor running, I had absolutely no bouncing and nothing riding up my body! It almost felt as if there was nothing there… At one point, I really thought that maybe I lost something, but I felt around my belt and sure enough, everything was locked and secure.

Pros of the FlipBelt:
– There are a variety of colors to choose from
– Inside the tube is a key ring clip
– There is absolutely no bounce/riding up
– The snug fit, it doesn’t dig into my wide hips to create a “muffin top” effect
– The secure “locking” mechanism; because it’s so snug against your body, nothing moves when the openings are flipped in towards your body!
– Perfect for times you want to carry light and have your hands free still

Cons of the FlipBelt (based on my personal preferences/needs):
– No bib toggles. I would love to use this for a race but the belt would spend a lot of time under my shirt and mostly hidden so I would have to resort to pinning my bibs on
– The FlipBelt is probably not something I would use on a triathlon race due to the above con, and also because I don’t want to be fumbling in transition trying to put it on.

**Again, these cons are just my own personal preferences and luckily they are little things.

The verdict: The FlipBelt is now my favorite accessory in my fitness/running camaraderie of accessories. 🙂

The best thing about the FlipBelt is that it’s not just for running, working out or biking. It would be great for traveling, a day outing, or for any situation where you need to have your hands free. I also love that there are so many colors…. I think I might need to purchase all of them!

Disclosure: I purchased the FlipBelt with my own personal finances and have decided to honestly review the product without any compensation. I am happy to have added this product to my comraderie of running products and will continue to use it. The links above are not affiliated with any referral programs. If you click it, I will not receive any credit for it.

Hello, 2015

I can’t believe 2015 is already here. I hope you all had a great time ringing in the new year. (I spent my NYE at the Happiest Place on Earth, and luckily, did not get measles.)

With the new year comes making a list of goals. I do not make resolutions. Resolutions sound unattainable. I make goals, particularly goals with a date attached to them. That’s what gets my engines going is knowing that there’s a time limit to achieving my goals.

For some, that might work. For others, maybe not. To each their own.

My goals for 2015 have been set since November 1, 2014. That was when I decided to jump on the band wagon and register for Vineman 70.3. Since then, I’ve been base building and cross training to get myself in shape for when the actual training comes along.

The half Ironman is my first goal. My second goal is to redeem myself on a marathon. I haven’t picked one out yet, but there are a couple of contenders on my list. (Any suggestions for a marathon in the months after July would be great!) At the moment, I’m really focused on Vineman to worry about what comes after it.

Unfortunately, I’m stuck with a cold right now, so my week of training has been put on hold. I will be coaching a couple of my teammates with their swimming tomorrow, but I won’t actually be getting into the pool with them for fear of spreading more germs or never getting better. This is my first time coaching and being able to share my knowledge of triathlon with others. It’s a lot different than being coached, but it’s cool to see the other side of things!

How’s everyone been doing? Life is good? Reaching goals? I should probably make it a goal to blog more often. It’s hard to blog without everything sounding repetitive and boring though. 😛

Have a happy Wednesday everyone!

December Updates

My poor little blog- I’ve neglected you! I am sorry!

December is known as my “slump” month, and the slump also hangs on over to January. Typically, I am done with my season by Thanksgiving, with December and January being my “off-season.” However, this year, that is not the case.

Our 2015 training season officially kicked off on December 7.

And since joining the Bangarang Runners last November, I’ve been on a roll with the training and racing. Granted, I am done with races for the 2014 season, but I have been more motivated than ever to continue working out and training this month. My training regime isn’t heavy, and on some days, I don’t train at all, but I’ve been getting a lot more done in the month of December than I have before! I’m feeling pretty proud of myself. To keep myself more motivated through the winter months, I’ve already signed up for a couple of 2015 races….

I guess with that being said, I can announce that I will be taking on my first 70.3 triathlon next July! Back on November 1, I sat anxiously at my computer waiting for registration to open up for the Ironman 70.3 Vineman event. My parents were waiting around as well… At 9AM on the dot, I yelled, “GO GO GO!” so that we could try to get our registration going. I was in within about 10-15 minutes of registration opening, as well as both of my parents. (Vineman, watch out! This family is coming through!)

My heart was beating that I actually signed up for a half Ironman distance race. I don’t know what I was thinking then and I still don’t know what I’m thinking now! Hah! But I am so ready to take on this race. Every time I’ve gone up to watch my parents race at Vineman, the little triathlete in me wanted to be out there SO BADLY. The only person holding me back was ultimately myself.

I actually spoke with my boyfriend about committing to this race and he kept urging me to just register and do it. Even he knew how badly I wanted this race when I was doubting myself.

Training will take a nice change of pace when the Spring months come along. I do plan on taking on the Wildflower Olympic Triathlon again next May, which will probably be one of the last “short” distance triathlons I’ll do before Vineman.

I really want to be stronger and faster on both the swim and bike, so I will be shifting my focus to those two disciplines. Actually, I’ve been doing a lot of swimming lately, mixed with running. The cycling is a little slow because I really don’t like being on the indoor trainer; I prefer cycling outdoors.

Other than that, life in general has been pretty good! I picked up Disney Infinity 2.0 over the Thanksgiving weekend, so when I get free time I try to play…. I might even get some playing time today as work was cancelled due to the Bay Area storm that’s going on!

2015

I know, I know. It’s October, so why bother thinking about 2015?

I’m the type of athlete that plans their year around races. Yes, I am that athlete. My life revolves around a race schedule, whether I am in training or not. I will admit that even though I don’t train all the time, having a race on schedule keeps me decently motivated.

On top of that, I am very lucky to have a family that also participates in the sport so we’re always encouraging to one another and we keep each other accountable. (This makes balancing out family and training/racing so much easier!) A lot of time, we’re all out there doing our own thing anyway, so it’s always great to come back and talk about our training days/adventures! (Mine are usually not as exciting as everyone else’s, though…haha!)

ANYWAY. So it’s about that time of year that I start looking into what races I want to do next year. Surprisingly, I didn’t race as much as I thought I would this year. Hopefully that changes next year!

I’ve ultimately decided to do a 70.3 in 2015. (This goal is on par with the stupid but possibly attainable goal of doing an Ironman when I turn 30.) And I think I’m going to aim for the race that I’ve been eyeing for these last few months.

Now it’s a matter of planning around that particular date. I know I need to schedule in a couple of Olympic triathlons before this half Ironman distance. I would also love to do some running events, but we’ll see how many of those I can get in. If possible, I’d love to attempt a marathon but it would have to be after July. I wanted marathon redemption this year but injury/illness caught me at the start of my training, and also, Wildflower was my A-race.

Do you like to plan your race schedule out ahead, or prefer to ‘wing it’ as races come along?

Losing Momentum

Nike Women’s Half Marathon is in 13 days. THIRTEEN DAYS, GUYS.

I stopped following my training plan about two weeks ago. Well, mostly all of the weekly runs. But I managed to keep up with the long weekend runs up until yesterday. Meh.

I know I can finish and since this is my first time running NWHM, I am definitely not shooting for a sub-2:25 PR. Then again, I said that at Disneyland and look what happened. I’m just going to enjoy the race, since there’s 10 of us Bangarang Runners (along with my mom and aunt) running this.

Typically, I finish my season around Labor Day, with the exception of the 10k Turkey Trot that my family and I do on Thanksgiving Day. So I think that’s what is killing me right now. I really need to get my butt back into gear because I have one more half marathon after Nike….

On top of losing my current training momentum and trying to find my way back to life, I’m stuck with the life-or-death question: Do I hop on the bandwagon and register for 70.3 or no? I’ve been tossing up the idea in my head lately. Registration for the particular race I was looking into opens up at 9am on November 1. Less than a month to decide. And I know that even if I get put on the waiting list, I will most likely get into the race anyway.

Despite not having a definite answer, I’ve already researched some training plans and have considered which ones would work with my ever-changing work schedule.

I hope everyone is doing well… Will try to get back into blogging once my training schedule picks up again, if that ever happens!

Race Recap: The Disneyland Half Marathon

Bangarang Runners // 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend

I was given the chance to run this race again, thanks to Team Up! with Autism Speaks. I surpassed my $1250 fundraising goal by an additional $200 hundred dollars. Not bad for my first time fundraising for a race! I also dedicated my run (and will be giving my medal) to my cousin, Kyle, who has Autism.

I figured this year, the Disneyland Half Marathon was either going to redeem itself into a weekend that I would enjoy, or further my conclusion that I hate this race. Last year was just “meh,” but this year, I was traveling to Anaheim with my team, the Bangarang Runners. I thought that maybe, just maybe this would be a great weekend.

Long story short: It WAS a great weekend!

Saturday, August 30 – Day before Race
I actually skipped out on all the crazy expo festivities. (Which I was very lucky for, because I hate crowded expos.) My teammates were nice enough to pick up my race stuff, as I still had to work from 9a to 12p the day before the race.

Once I was done with work, I made my way to the airport for my 2:35p flight. The flight down wasn’t so bad; the guy sitting in my row really enjoyed talking. I honestly wanted to sleep but didn’t want to be rude. lol Nice gentleman though. He was older, and he was explaining how he lived in both the Bay and LA. Nice.

I got to LA around 4p and hopped on my shuttle to Anaheim. I met up with my team (including me, there were 5 of us total!) and was able to drop my stuff off at the room before we went to the GardenWalk for dinner. We decided on California Pizza Kitchen, and we all ordered pasta. We brought our food back to the hotel grounds, and had dinner at the pool. It was really chill.

It also dawned on me that I had a race the next day. 😛 The last few years when I went down for the Disneyland Half, I would arrive around Friday afternoon and have time to gallivant before the race. Not this year! I chose to work as late as possible before heading down…..

After our poolside pasta dinner, we all went back up to the room and got our stuff ready. I think we were all in bed by 10p.

Sunday, August 31 – Race Day
As with all runDisney races, the alarm went off really early in the morning. I forgot what time we were up, probably around 3:30a or something. Since we didn’t have a car, we walked to our starting corrals.

My ultimate goal was to try and PR the course. I didn’t need an overall half marathon PR, just PR the course. I knew that goal was decently attainable because I’d been busting my butt off the last month with Nike Women’s Half Marathon training.

Anyway, so the race starts. I went out really fast, somewhere at a 10:30-pace. Luckily, the pace was enough to get me through the first mile and hoards of people. I slowed it down to about an 11:20-pace once the course took runners back into the Disney parks.

I was feeling really good, and kept up a pace somewhere between 10:45 and 11:30. It was a nice range of pace to be in. I have a really bad habit of looking at my watch, it’s something I need to break eventually, but it helped me see what kind of pace I was holding as I was getting those miles in.

The weather was overcast, and not really as hot as I thought it would be. But I still needed to beat the sun, because once that sun comes out, I would’ve been done. I do not do well in heat, despite doing my training runs in the middle of the day. (Thank you, work schedule!)

By mile 8, I knew I was going to hit not only a course PR, but an overall half marathon PR. With 5 miles left in the game, I tried not to get too cocky about it. I simply kept on running. The only time I walked was during the water stops, and yes, I hit every single water stop on the course. 😛 I’m the kind of runner that will feel every ache and pain if I stop running to walk for a long period of time. So with that in mind, I kept the walking to only the water stops.

I finished strong, and when I looked at my watch, I saw my (unofficial) time: 2 hours and 25 minutes! HOLY MOLY! That was a whole 21 minutes off of my previous half marathon PR of 2:46. Not only did I hit my goal of a course PR, I hit an overall half marathon PR, at the Disneyland Half Marathon, nonetheless!

In terms of my half marathon goals overall, I originally was aiming for a sub-2:45. And once I had hit that, my goal was to hit a sub-2:30. I killed both of those goals in one day.

It goes to show that consistent training along with speedwork really does pay off. I’m lucky to finally have a big group of friends who share the same passion for running (and triing) as I do. The Bangarang Runners have helped keep me grounded and accountable for the training. I’m looking forward to our next race, which will be the Nike Women’s Half Marathon next month in San Francisco. Woot!

With the redemption of the Disneyland Half Marathon this year, it’s hard to say if I’ll be back next year. If my team decides on it, I think I’ll go back. I had a lot more fun this year than last year!

Again, thanks to Team Up! with Autism Speaks for giving me the chance to fundraise and run this race. It was an awesome experience!