This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending the Runner’s World Half & Festival Weekend. FitFluential, Runner’s World, and ICON fitness invited 25 bloggers to the RW Half & Festival in Bethlehem, PA, in order to meet editors and running experts, run one (or more) of the races, and get some exposure out about the race and weekend.
I had no intentions of running a race so soon after my son was born, but I also knew that this was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. My attending (and running one of the races) would be based on when my son was born – I would only attend if he was 4-5 weeks old – old enough to be out and about for a few days but young enough where he was still super portable and not really on any sort of schedule. Well, he cooperated and was born within the small window necessary for us to attend (it’s clearly a sign he wants to be a runner!).
When we first got to the hotel, we were given a welcome bag that had some awesome goodies: RW Big Book of Marathon & Half Marathon Training, a Running Skirt, Mediterranean Snacks, Swiftwick socks, Sweaty Bands, and The Stick.
The weekend activities kicked off with a BBQ at Runner’s World Headquarters. I arrived about 10-15 min before the bus with the bloggers did (I needed to drive since I had the little guy) and quickly found myself surrounded by David Willey (Editor-in-Chief), Bart Yasso (Chief Running Officer), and Tish Hamilton (Senior Editor). It was surreal. I should have taken out my camera, but was so overtaken with excitement that I wasn’t thinking clearly. One of the coolest parts of the weekend was that both Bart and David remembered meeting me last year when I participated in the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge in the NYC Marathon. I think any running geek could understand just how happy this made me!
The bus arrived and it was as if I was seeing old friends again (despite never having met any of the bloggers before). I’ve been following a lot of these ladies (and Harold) for close to a year now and it was amazing to finally meet them all in person. Honestly, as amazing as the rest of the weekend was, the highlight for me was getting to spend time with and get to know some of the other bloggers!
Larissa is an amazing mom of 3 (!!) who was SO sweet and wonderful to me and the little guy all weekend. Jess is an unbelievable runner and cross-fitter. When I think of a strong, beautiful athlete, she is who comes to mind. I love everything about Amanda – I’ve learned SO much from her – both in running and blogging. And Kristin is a mom of twin boys who runs sub 1:31 half marathons, makes yummy food, teaches fitness classes, and still has time to blog. My hero. They are my new BFFs!
After meeting everyone, we were taken inside for a delicious BBQ. We got to sit with and talk to senior editors and staffers from RW and representatives from Altra (the main sponsor of the RW Half & Festival). The reps from Altra were present to fit us for our (free) pair of running shoes! Kristin and I ended up sitting next to the founder and CEO of Altra, Golden Harper. It. Was. Awesome.
Once dinner and the shoe fitting were over, Bart led us on a tour of RW headquarters.
Friday morning started off bright and early with a run on the race course led by Bart Yasso. I still feel that my son is a bit young for the running stroller, so I hung out in the race expo tent while everyone else got a little workout (and a LOT wet!).
After the run, we all got some free gear from Free Motion which was awesome for everyone who ran and was soaking wet! Plus, we ended up matching for the remainder of the day!
I’ve already tried out a running skirt from Free Motion that I came home with – it was my first time running in a skirt – and LOVED it!
After everyone was changed and warm, Golden gave us the background of how Altra was created. Did you know that he is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest marathon for a 12 year old with a time of 2:45!?!? Insane. Note: I plan to do a whole post on the concept of zero drop shoes (that was coined by Altra) as well as a review of the shoes I received after I log some miles in them.
We also were given an extremely informative clinic on running form and technique (which I will also cover in the post).
I fell in love with two things that day: a ProForm TDF (Tour de France) cycling bike
AND a NordicTrack Interactive treadmill (works with iFit). iFit allows you to basically run a route anywhere in the world – you get a bird’s eye view of the street as you run and the treadmill accounts for any changes in terrain. Want to run the Boston or NYC Marathon course ahead of time? Want to run the route you ran while you were vacationing in the Bahamas? No problem.
I’m already scheming on how I can somehow get one of these two pieces of workout equipment.
We then made our way over to the Arts Center for a private Q&A session with Shalane Flanagan, Olympian and US-record holder.
That ended the blogger events for the weekend. We still had most of Friday afternoon and all day Friday to attend the expo, sit in on some seminars and meet and greet with other editors that we didn’t have a chance to meet on Thursday.
I am so grateful to FitFluential, Runner’s World, and Icon Sports for the unbelievable opportunity they provided me this past weekend. It was an extremely warm, inviting atmosphere from start to finish and I’m grateful for how accommodating everyone was to me for having a one-month old with me. A special thank you to David and Beachy for organizing all of the events for us (and answering my many phone calls!).
***Today is the last day to enter my MIZUNO shoe giveaway***
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