15 Reasons I’m Excited to be on Team Nuun in 2015

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/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/3be/30897521/files/2014/12/img_9847.jpg1. I’m obsessed with being well-hydrated, when I’m running or not. Nuun helps me achieve that goal.
2. My favorite flavors: Tropical, Strawberry Lemonade, Fruit Punch.
3. They have the cutest packaging ever.
4. Licking a Nuun tablet before I put it in my water is kind of like the grown up version of Pop Rocks.
5. It is the only way Kara Goucher and I will ever be on the same team.
6. On days I’m not feeling the workout, I remind myself that if I do, I get to drink Nuun.
7. Nuun Energy—they added Caffeine and Vitamins, people! I can’t wait to race using that!
8. I am excited to wear this snazzy singlet in my post-baby races./home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/3be/30897521/files/2014/12/img_9074.jpg
9. Running Hood to Coast on the Nuun team was one of the greatest experiences of my running life, and I’m proud to be associated with a brand that treats its biggest fans the way they treated us.
10. It works, people. It works. Trust the force, Luke.
11. No gummy, gunky, sugary energy drink mouth—even after 26.2 miles.
12. The athletes I’ve met both in real life and online who also love Nuun inspire and encourage me every day.
13. They got my sense of humor when I sent them this video:


14. They’ve made me a hydration authority among my network of people. Now I get to help people reach their goals—that’s an awesome thing.
15. I get to rebuild a lot of things in 2015 after injury and baby. Knowing that both Nuun the company and Nuun the product has my back motivates me to do my best.

Here’s to 2015, Nuun!

The State of My Running

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The State of My Running

Hello, blog. It’s been awhile. So here’s the deal, I’m not going to try to recap everything that’s happened with me in great detail or I will never start blogging again. The important stuff, I figure, will come out in posts. Here are the highlights, in no particular order:

–Grew a baby, lifted and ran very short distances up until Baby H was born in June.
–Moved to a different area of Atlanta—it’s a great area to run in and I saw more runners in my first two runs here than I saw in 4 years of running in my old ‘hood.
–Started back ‘running’ at 6 weeks postpartum. Used Couch to 5k and was really happy to have a plan to both motivate me and keep my goals from getting overblown.
–But it was really hard. The injury from June 2013 is still not fully healed and coupled with stress and occasional co-sleeping with baby, my right IT Band and hip flexors are still very tight. BOO. Currently I’m running about 3-4 times a week, usually for no longer than 35 minutes.
–Started back lifting weights at 16 weeks postpartum. Lifting about 3 times a week right now because, with my husband gone from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.,  the play center at the gym is my only real break from caregiving. Despite the baby’s fussiness, they always give me at least 45 minutes to workout. I’ve been a fervent BodyPumper since 2010, but can’t make a class right now. I’ve also been doing the exact opposite of BodyPump— lifting heavy weights with fewer reps, which—did you know—triggers the greatest endorphin release after running? It’s working for me right now.
–Core work is my friend. All that co-sleeping and baby holding was really taking a toll on my back until I started back doing core work. Strengthening my front really helps my back to not take over and hurt.

All in all, things are not bad. To be honest, I had entertained dreams of being back to half-marathon shape by now. And I’m sad that I’m not even in 10k or solid 5k shape, really. But I’ve been a parent long enough to know that you have to roll with things, and that time really does fly. I know that if I stay dedicated to it, the stronger runs and longer distance will come. In a few months I’ll likely look back and see this as a time that served to get me to whatever stronger shape I’ll be in then. And since I was pretty tardy to the fitness party to begin with, I remind myself that high school Lindsay, college Lindsay, and even first-time parent Lindsay would be in awe of Current Lindsay’s fitness levels. And that ain’t bad for six months after baby.

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Anxiously awaiting my return from a morning run

 

 

My Dangerous Flirtation with Being Sedentary

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Today marks week 20 of my pregnancy. Halfway there. The time has both flown and dragged by so slowly, and it has not at all been what I imagined it would be. This was to be my first truly active pregnancy. With my first two, I walked a lot, but that was about it. This was my first pregnancy as a runner, and I confess I harbored some dreams about documenting all the fabulous running I’d be doing while growing this child.

But my body, and my life, had other plans. I got pregnant pretty fresh off Hood to Coast, when I was badly injured and did little more than hobble from exchange to exchange. I then decided to rest the injury as much as possible before Ragnar Tennessee, and even then ran the fewest number of miles possible. I made it through, and just under the wire of first trimester feel-good time. I was juuuuuust starting to get tired but hadn’t started feeling nauseous yet–which was awesome given my usual relay insomnia, and the fact that my stomach was not yet turning when I was stuck in a van with a large number of sweaty people.

The next six weeks brought some pretty major upheaval in my home life as a series of events prompted us to, quite suddenly, decide to put our house on the market. I consciously forewent school, friends, and exercise to pack up a good deal of the house and move it into storage. Then came the deep cleaning and then, Thanksgiving and eight days of family in from out of town. Even if I had not been in the first trimester of pregnancy, I think I’d have still been exhausted. I tried to run a time or two, but my IT band was still horribly cranky, and I could not work up the energy to get myself out of the house and to BodyPump. I told myself this was a time to rest, to give up the old routines, and that if I needed to start back at zero after the baby, it would be fine–especially if my IT band would heal.

Then, mid-December, the perfect storm of stressful events hit. We got a contract on the house. I spent several days house-shopping so we’d be prepared to make an offer on a new place. Found one house, one beautiful, perfect house, where I could practically see my children growing up and coming back to visit, where envisioned high schoolers packed in for Bible studies, where I imagined my parents and in-laws coming for joyous holidays. With all the house-shopping and preparing for the holidays, I again made the choice to let the exercise, for the most part, go. I knew I was feeling a little more blue than normal, and a little heavier, but I told myself it was nothing I couldn’t deal with.

Three days before Christmas, the couple buying our house pulled out of the deal. We mourned the loss, celebrated the holiday with family in from out-of-town, and then a week after the house deal fell through, my brother-in-law, who is like a brother to me, ended up in the ER and then the ICU 350 miles away from where I live. I went up the day after New Year’s to help him and my sister.

That’s when my body piped up with a very serious message for me: NOT KEEPING MY BODY STRONG IS NOT OKAY. The day after I arrived I developed a near-constant, and nearly debilitating, ache in the right side of my upper back. It hurt to sit. It hurt to stand. The only relief came when I was lying down, and even then only truly felt better if I could sleep and fully relax. I haven’t had back pain like that since I was working full-time in TV, producing hour-long shows in an extremely stressful shop–when I was also heavier and not putting in any time to speak of on working and strengthening my back and my core.

YET STILL. My first instinct was not to go back to working out. I was out of the habit by this time, and frankly, I had already forgotten the good emotional feelings you get when your physical body is working. I was intimidated, ashamed, and worried that I couldn’t handle how much my fitness had surely declined. So I went and got a massage instead. And in the discussion during that session, my personal-trainer-turned-massage-therapist and I decided that the main culprit was my neglect of my core, and the only way to rid myself of this knot (which was, the massage therapist said, bigger than Stone Mountain) was to get rid of my new gym-fear and get back to working out.

Monday, January 13, I took a deep breath and opened the door to the gym. I went four times in the next five days. I couldn’t lift as much, I couldn’t run as far, and all of it was painful. But by the weekend, my back only spoke out at the end of the day, when I was tired anyway. I kept going, focusing on my abs and my back for strength, and running to give me the endorphins and motivation to want to keep going back. Within two weeks, the pain was virtually gone, and now, at almost three weeks back, I am once again in the habit.

So, lesson learned: I am a person who, probably due to the scoliosis, would be a chronic pain case within weeks of not staying in shape. And with that pain would come irritability, impatience, and a loss of many of the good qualities I work hard to cultivate. And yet within just days of making the very conscious decision to take charge again, experienced a complete turn around in my wellness, both physically and mentally. Health and fitness maintenance is not a luxury. It is essential to maintain any sort of quality of life. The fact that I let myself get into such a fog, denying that reality, is shocking to me. I’m grateful that I got in and out of it relatively quickly. I’m writing all of this down because I don’t ever want to go to that place again. I may look bizarre when I’m even further along in this pregnancy and lifting weights or working my core, but whoever wants to judge can go right ahead. I’ll be too happy at being pain-free to notice.

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Unexcused Absence

“Where have you been?” Came the message from a Twitter follower, with a little sad face after it. This, after I actually posted something from Instagram this week. The answer is longer than 140 characters, so here’s a bit about where I’ve been:

 

  1. In grief. I had a dear friend die in September and between the news that she was ill, her death, and the sadness following, I just haven’t felt compelled to write about running.
  2. Not running (as much). Another reason I didn’t write much is because I just wasn’t running as much. I took another big chunk of time off after Hood to Coast because everything—EVERYTHING—that had hurt before, hurt again. I’m just not going to bore everyone with that. You’re welcome.😉
  3. Tending to family and friend needs. There have been a lot, not the least of which was starting our homeschool year, celebrating the birthdays of the kids and myself (ours all fall within 13 days of each other) and an unplanned trip to Chicago after my father had emergency surgery.
  4. Starting another blog. I have always found running to be deeply spiritual, and have learned so much about the Biblical analogies to running in my own time on the roads. But I had not yet been moved to write online about spiritual matters (I have been working on a book based on such for quite some time, privately). Well, I finally bit the bullet and started a site that I feel more adequately fills in the picture or the entirety of my thoughts. It’s called Lindsay’s Lens, and you can find it here.

 

I am thankful to report that today I will go running for the 5th time in 6 days. I have lost a lot of speed and fitness since June 7, but I’m no longer in pain. I am trying to responsibly build back up to some semblance of the runner I was pre-injury, but the reality is that it will take a while. I have no plans to do any races (other than Ragnar Tennessee next week, in which I running what my teammates call ‘the pansy leg’ that completes just 10 miles total) until I feel confident I can train without reinjuring my IT Band, Piriformis, hamstring, or hip. Whew! That’s a lot of places to take care of. I have my eye on the Berry Half Marathon in the spring, but we will see. Right now, I’m just running to enjoy the run.

I’m All Shook Up: Hood to Coast Leg 2

Read about the pre-race fun here, Leg 1 here, and my love letter to Nuun here.

After we grabbed Devon from Exchange 12, we headed out for food. It was late at night but we found ample nourishment at some Portland place. We did not order this as there would be no DNF in the cards for us. Heh.

No Did Not Finish meals for us.

No Did Not Finish meals for us.

Team Lemonade Van 2 joined us for the latter part of the meal so it was great to see them. My foam roller had it’s own seat at the table and why yes, I did get down on teh floor and foam roll (and I wasn’t the only one who did!). We also did that food-gamble thing you do after Leg 1: How much is enough to power your next run, but not enough so that you see it on the side of the road or suffer a Code Brown on Leg 2? Always a fun risk to take.  I got chicken & fries. And pickles.

Obligatory pickles-in-the-middle-of-the-night relay pic.

Obligatory pickles-in-the-middle-of-the-night relay pic.

Still messing with Holly.

Still messing with Holly in the kids’ section of the restaurant. Because I am 10 years old.

"You are Beautiful" painted backwards on wall so the mirror reflection tells you how it is.

What a women’s team does a lot of during a relay: wait in line in the bathroom. I love this, though: “You are Beautiful” painted backwards on wall so the mirror reflection tells you how it is.

After dinner we headed to Exchange 18 for sleep. Hands down this was the most sleep I’ve ever gotten in a relay, but it was also the most uncomfortable. In every other relay I’ve been with guys who are totally up for either sleeping in a field or whatever area has been made available for sleeping. But no one wanted to get out of the van and sleep outside this time–least of all me! So instead of having my usual choice of benches, I was looking at sleeping sitting up or hunched over against a window. No dice. I crawled in the back of the van, pushed all the luggage out of the way, and cuddled up with the Nuun cooler made myself a nest on the floor. Then, since I didn’t have to run for a long time even after we started again, I claimed a bench when our first runners went back out. I managed two hours of sleep, which is LUXURY during a relay.

My nest in the back of the van.

My nest in the back of the van.

Foam Roller: doing double duty as a pillow

You can see my feet for scale on the size of the space. And my foam roller: doing double duty as a pillow. I love you, foam roller.

Oh, those night runs were surely lonely. This area was extremely rural, so no illumination of any kind beyond headlamps and headlights. There were hills on hills, and it was dusty. But the other gals powered through like champs, and posted some pretty awesome times despite the weirdness that always comes with a night run. (also, no cell service for 8-10 hours. Can I tell you what that does to a group of bloggers? It is a wonder we are still alive, people. TORTURE.)

I have no idea which exchange or runner this is.

I have no idea which exchange or runner this is. Possibly Megan handing to Laura. DARK.

Soon enough, Lisa was out and I was up. It was first light, and I was excited to have the sunrise leg, though with the Oregon clouds there would be no real sunrise. They must sell loads of Vitamin D supplements there.

Speaking of pills, guess who forgot to take any Advil during the night? THIS GIRL. So when it came time to run, Laura graciously went back to the van to get me some, but it didn’t really kick in until it was too late.

This one hurt from the first step. The van passed me shortly after I began and I faked a big smile and a peace sign as they went by. Then I settled in to just get the miles under my feet. I honestly haven’t had the heart to even look at my Garmin from this trip, and I doubt I ever will. The runner I was on this trip is not the runner I have worked to become, and not the runner I will be once I am healed, so why torture myself?

I got passed. Passed by a man from Atlanta, passed by spry woman after spry woman, passed by ELVIS. Yes, passed even by a man dressed like The King. For future reference, please know that the coverage offered by an ill-fitting Elvis suit is minimal. Oh, if my eyes could un-see…

Then finally I got straight in my head. It was sunrise. We’d made it through the night. I was on the course of the Mother of All Relays, an experience that in all probability I will never have again. I needed to enjoy this. I turned off my pump-up music, which at this point was only weighing on me. I could be mentally pumped up as any person out there, but my body was not going to respond. So I put on music that I really like (Coldplay), and decided to just enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

I was on the side of a mountain. Huge conifers towered overhead. There was a swift-moving creek beside me. The lush, Oregon summer spoke of the beauty of God in ways that I’d never had the privilege to see before in person. The road was a small two-lane, but pretty much empty due to the hour and how very isolated this place is. I passed what I think must have been an athletic training lodge, and thought how perfect this place is for that. I enjoyed the weather, which is so nice for August as compared to Atlanta’s blanked of heat that lingers in to September. IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL.

Yes, part of me wished I’d blazed through this run without noticing all that. But the larger part of me is glad for the pain, because in it, I saw glorious things, and I’m so thankful that I was there.

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“The sky above proclaims His handiwork,” perhaps nowhere more so than in Oregon.

Up next: I stalk an HTC celeb, and the Lewis and Clark Trail of Tears.

Food Truckin’: Hood to Coast Leg 1

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Need to catch up? Find the Hood to Coast Pre-Party Here. And my giant kissfest with Nuun & Co. here.

We Watermelons piled into Van 2 and headed out of Seattle around noon. We didn’t anticipate starting running until about 6 p.m., and as Runner 11, I likely wouldn’t be on the course until 9. Cue a very leisurely ride to Sandy, OR. Let’s use this time to introduce you to my van-mates.

View from the van on the drive to Oregon.

View from the van on the drive to Oregon.

Runner 7 was the little powerhouse Meghan B. She is from Jersey, she is young (23!), she is confident. Speed honed in youth aside, If her constant smile and can-do attitude is what running competitively in high school and college does for you, then I really hope my daughters continue to run.

Runner 8 was Megan H., also a young’un, also a speedy East-coaster, she writes for Runner’s World and loves the sport. She puts together a lot of the motivational quotes for the RW site, and for good reason–she was very encouraging along the way.

Playing the unfortunate role of Runner 9 was Laura T., a Nuun employee from here in the Atlanta area. She is a rock–a solid runner who attacked all three of her difficult legs and never uttered a word of complaint. She is also so kind and thoughtful–great qualities in a van-mate.

Handing off to me was Runner 10, Lisa M. She is very transparent online so I knew from our Twitter conversations and her blog that she is a genuine, caring person. She also has some knowledge of chronic pain and of injury so for me, she was particularly good to have around as I struggled through the mental and physical strain of doing this race injured.

Runner 11: Yours truly

Our anchor was Devon M., who is just an all-around awesome lady. She is collected and even, and has her head on straight. She is a solid runner, and completely drama-free. Not to mention adorable. I’d like to have a Devon dolly to keep in my pocket just to cheer me up sometimes.🙂

And let us not forget the fearless Warrior Behind the Wheel: Casey. Nuun CFO and devoted Huskies fan. He drove that 15-passenger van like it was a Miata, and only took out two curbs that we know of.

All the sparkle, none of the drama!

All the sparkle, none of the drama!

 

Can I just say how nice it is to have a drama-free van? I’ve been fortunate to have very little van-drama in most of the relays I’ve done, and frankly, I don’t know why anyone would want to create drama. The race hands you enough true, drama–save your energy for that.

About the worst thing that happened along the way was our first trip to Safeway, in which we were denied on our quest to invite Stacy into our van. It’s a relay essential, y’all, and we very nearly did not get them. Luckily all was righted at our next stop and we were pretty much Powered by Stacy for the rest of the relay.

All the Stacy's

All the Stacy’s

The Nuun bar. All the electrolytes you could desire.

The Nuun bar. All the electrolytes you could desire.

 

So, here’s the part that tells you how yes, I have a little bit of the sad over being in Van 2. See, Van 2 does not get to go up Mt. Hood. Hence, like half of all Hood-to-Coast-ers, I have no awesome jumping-with-the-mountain-behind-me pics. I get why that is, with traffic going up and down a big ole mountain but if you’ll allow me a moment… *Whine.*

Okay, all done.

We made it to Exchange 6, which was in the parking lot of a Safeway in Sandy. We all got waaaaaay too excited about seeing the Dead Jocks van as we were pulling in. Also, we were cutting it pretty close so we got Meghan all safety-geared up and sent her out on the course to take the slap bracelet baton from Catey.

Look closely and you can see the Dead Jocks van!

Look closely and you can see the Dead Jocks van!

Afterward, we gathered everyone who was still there from the Nuun teams together for a picture. Team Lemonade had arrived, all of Watermelon, minus Meghan, was there, and even parts of Nuun’s competitive Team Cherry Limeade were still on site. What I did not realize was that the person who was gathering us for the picture had nothing to do with the teams… except that he is a race director wants a certain member of Team Lemonade to help him promote his race in Oregon. And so, after he’d taken the picture he loudly exulted “Yeah! It’s HOLLY ROBERTS TEAM!!!” and got on the phone to… tell someone he’d been successful in finding her? Who knows, but it was funny. Holly told us what was going on and we giggled and giggled. Since she was so mortified, and since I am just that mean, I pretty much took immediately decided that the #teamhollyroberts needed to became a thing. And so a joke was born. Holly, it was an honor to be on Team Holly Roberts. May it happen again.🙂

Team Holly Roberts.

Team Holly Roberts.

Soon after we needed to get on the road to make the next exchange. The two Meg(h)ans are speedy and were on fresh legs. The slap bracelet went from Meghan to Megan to Laura to Lisa and soon I was up. We were pushing it coming into Exchange 10. Dark was coming on, and we stumbled to the exchange not long before Lisa came in.

Lit up for my night run. How cute is the pink Amphipod flower and vest?!?

Lit up for my night run. How cute is the pink Amphipod flower and vest?!?

I was nervous going into this run. Like, nervous to the point that I’d had to really work hard to enjoy the trip up to this point. I will tell you that getting on the plane to Seattle was pretty much one of the most selfish things I’ve ever done. I flat didn’t know if I’d be able to run. I said that know matter what I’d finish the legs–I was not going to let anyone run for me as I’d had to do during Ragnar Chicago. But I didn’t know what price that would come at: Either what I might injure or re-injure, or how much time I’d cost the team. I’d been in a lot of pain during and after Thursday’s Green Lake run. My IT Band is pretty much well, but other parts of my body have been doing a lot of compensating. But my left glute and hamstring were so tight and they were hurting a lot. The top of my right hip has also been acting up, in the form of sharp pain. This is an injury that I’d struggled with in 2012, but which had disappeared after I switched shoes last fall, had suddenly returned about a week before. That said, I do not advocate using a ton of NSAID’s, especially during running. But for this, I took Advil prior to the run, and it got me through. Kisses for you, Advil.

Leg 11 takes you on a paved trail through parts of Portland;  mostly industrial. I’m not a huge fan of paved walking trails, as they tend to attract backpack-carrying Hoodie wearers, which is all well and good but who tend to look creepy after dark. Sorry, backpack-carrying hoodie wearers of the world. But there also were several cyclists out there and a lot of runners so it wasn’t too creepy, even though the area was so very industrial. Looking at the satellite of it now, I’m a) glad I didn’t look at the satellite imagery of the area earlier and b) glad I was running it at night or else I’d have been bored looking at the warehouses. The path was traffic-free except where it crossed streets (and the volunteers were pushing the light-change buttons for us) and great to run on, save one thing: The path went by some sort of Food Truck Extravaganza. And yes, it was 9 p.m. and we hadn’t yet eaten dinner. No, I did not stop. Yes, I wanted to.

 

This run was the best of the three for me, and that ain’t saying much. Everything hurt but I was so, so happy to be out there, and running, and numbed enough by Advil that I could ignore the pain. I came into the exchange happy to be there, happy to be done, and happy to be sending Devon off to finish up our first legs.

Up next in my Leg Two Recap: Don’t Be Cruel, and A Seat at the Table for my Foam Roller.

Uff Da: The Hood to Coast Pre-Party

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Before we can get to the actual Running of the Nuunies, we must get to the getting there–that is half the fun, right? My parents in Illinois were to act as child care while I was in the PNW, so the kids and I went to the Midwest a week beforehand to make a vacay of it. On Wednesday before the race, my ever-loving father took me to O’Hare to catch my flight to Seattle.

I had packed…and repacked… and re-repacked, and even re-re-re-packed before I left. I wanted to carry on my bags, and they were stuffed, but I got everything on. Then the flight was delayed, but the folks next to me were already conked out. These people took their sleep VERY seriously. I finally nudged them and went to the bathroom to… stretch? Sure, why not. You can get a really good glute stretch going on in the plane. Just FYI.

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Ready to fly: Team Watermelon nails, coffee, wings. Let’s do this.

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See? Glute stretch in the bathroom.

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I don’t think we’re in Georgia anymore, Toto.

Flight was uneventful, except for… MOUNTAINS!!! I haven’t been to the Northwest ever, so it was incredible to see the mountains from the air. Almost worth having to poke The Sleepers every time I needed to stretch my glutes go to the bathroom.

Upon arrival, Sarah, Meghan, Mallory, Kristen, Karen had all arrived and were nestled near baggage claim, and the awesome Megan was arriving in the Big White Van to take us to Nuun HQ. We got in and were whisked to the Mother Ship, where we met Jolene, Catey and Leslie. Megan told us we had 3 hours to explore Seattle and I immediately rattled off my list of Things I Had to Do. Luckily no one ran screaming from the Highstrung Type A girl, and we headed to Pike Place. Once there, Jolene and I split off from the group to head toward Seattle Center. First we had to stop at the original Starbucks.

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Oh wait, that’s not the first Starbucks you say? That’s the Starbucks at First and Pike, you say? Yeah, yeah, yeah, we figured that out later. I’m sure they had a full-on “Code Tourist” snicker about it. Sigh. Visiting Seattle Tip #1: If you ever want to go, I recommend you Google “Original Starbucks Seattle” NOT “First Starbucks Seattle.” Ahem. That problem will be resolved later in our story.

Here’s Westlake Center, where my fictional boyfriend Lloyd Dobler had his ‘controversial first date’ with Diane Court (at least, this was the mall pictured in the movie when Lloyd drove by in the rain).IMG_4358 It’s also where we caught the monorail to Seattle Center, home of the Space Needle, the Experience Music Project (EMP), and the Chihuly Garden. Jolene was on a mission to see Buffy’s Mr. Pointy Stake, and I can’t resist a Nirvana exhibit, so EMP won our time first. We made a beeline for Mr. Pointy, then broke the Scream Booth (sorry EMP), then weaved through the Nirvana exhibit. In and out in far too little time; if you are a pop culture fan, it’s definitely worth a lot more than what we gave it.IMG_4361IMG_4363We souvenir shopped at the Space Needle but were running short on time so decided to see the Chihuly Garden instead. I’ve been a fan since he did an installation at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens years ago, and I’ve seen another piece of his in Milwaukee, but this place has just so many pieces of his incredible glass. It was amazing. I find his work to be both breathtaking and accessible, and am awed by the skill it takes to produce it. So pretty.IMG_4364IMG_4366

Jolene and I were having a ball, but running late-ish so we cabbed it back to Nuun and then got to partake in an apparent HQ ritual: A bell is run and it is declared Plank Time! Forearm plank, side plank, other side plank, big plank. Boom and done. If I could just point out that they do this several times a day, and that they don’t make it a competition. It’s just Team Building through Fitness. I really, really, like this company, y’all.

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Plank it out.

We were quickly spirited away to The Garage, for some Bowling and food. I was getting pretty tired at this point, and meeting lots and lots of people. I settled in to prove that I am the Master of Being Last at Bowling, and bowled an impressively low 38. No, you may not have my autograph.

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Bowling. Talking.

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More bowling. More talking. Probably some social media stuff happening there, too.

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The next morning I was up for coffee and stretching before we invaded Oiselle headquarters. I was beyond stoked to go to The Nest and see where they all their birdie magic happens. But there was to be a run, and this little bird had butterflies in her tummy. I had said several times I wouldn’t take part in the Green Lake run, but c’mon, it’s GREEN LAKE. They name hoodies after this place! So off we went. My hurts started hurting immediately and I was slow and achy. Seriously, running like an un-spry 80 year old. I want to give slurpy kisses to Zoe, who was in the unenviable position of keeping this from being a no-drop run. Thanks for not dropping me, Zoe. Your gentleness kept me from despair!

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Atlantans ready to go to Oiselle. @runladylike and me, smiley.

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Sally. Passionate about women in running.

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My happy place!

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Hands up, wings out?!?

We re-caffeinated with Starbucks and then went back to Oiselle to hear from Sally, the founder of Oiselle, who seems pretty intent on changing the game in women’s running. She’s brilliant. I also got to meet the object of my biggest blog crush, Sarah “Mac” Robinson, who is unlike me in that she is very, very, very fast, but like me in that she writes candidly about injury–a runner after my own heart. Also got to chat some with Dr. Lesko and Kristen Metcalf, so this little runner was a happy girl.

After we basked in the running-fashion goodness, we were on our own for lunch. I’ll let Jolene tell you about what happened there, but it was sobering, and I’m so glad that she was there.

After that: time to Ride the Ducks. This was just… fun. A tour of Seattle and Lake Union aboard an amphibious WWII era vehicle. With a witty driver and tons to see. FUN. As our guide had us say at each and every Starbucks we passed… “Uff da!”

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You have to do this when you ride the ducks. It’s like, a law.

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Fishermen on a roof.

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Pioneer Square.

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Need a kilt? I’ve got a lead on some good ones…

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Elephant=Car Wash

 

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…and we’re in the water…

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Little brown house: the one from Sleepless in Seattle

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The other part of #nuunhtc trying to out-dance us. As if.

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Holly goofin’ with the Cap’n

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The good stuff: Gifties!

Post-duck, we went to Nuun HQ and ate dinner and were presented with a massive amount of fun swag to wear, try, and love. It was like a visit from Nuunta Claus. Nuun bottles, hats, visors. Shirts and jackets from Oiselle. Sunscreen from Naawk, socks from Swiftwick, skirts from Sparkle Athletic, and a Tiger Tail. President and CEO Mason innovative approach to marketing and their commitment to bring athletes together. Yay Nuun! *cheerleader jump*

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The Even Better Stuff: Mason Reay addresses the happy runners.

Outside, six shiny white vans awaited us. We markered those suckers up into lean, mean, Team Watermelon, Lemonade, and Cherry Limeade machines. Uff da!

All that fun-having wore me out, so it was off to bed pretty early.

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@endurotwerd AKA Meghan M. made all the teams flavor-specific cupcakes and dropped them off for us. Thanks Meghan!

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Meghan shows off her seed-drawing skillz.

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Team Watermelon, Van 2: Meghan B., Nuun CFO/Driver Extraordinaire Casey, Devon, Megan H., Moi, Lisa M., Laura T. Van Decorated, Legs Ready!

The next morning, I got up to tell the other Watermelons goodbye. Only Van 1s go to the top of Mount Hood, which grieves me greatly. I get it, that would be literally twice the amount of traffic up the mountain, but this little Runner #11 surely did miss the team time at the start line. But, I waved goodbye as they loaded up and started on their adventure.

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Bye… Sniff….

Then I had three hours to kill, so I got a shuttle from the hotel and went back to Pike Place to make things right with the original Starbucks. This time, success! Coffee there, then I explored the market as it woke up to a beautiful summer morning. After gawking at the flowers and fish, I got an espresso and a fancy-pants croissant from a French bakery across the street.

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Ah. Yes. That’s more like it. The other one did seem anti-climatic.

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Uff da!

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So unassuming…

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Feeeeeesh.

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Les fleurs.

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More les fleurs.

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Les carbs.

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Jitters, coming right up.

I was nearly done with the caffeine-shakes by the time the shuttle dropped me back to the hotel. I rushed around and got myself ready just in time to get in the van and hit the road.

Next stop: Beautiful Sandy, Oregon!

To Nuun Hood to Coast, With Gratitude

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It’s Monday morning, and I am far from Oregon and Hood to Coast, but they are in my heart, along with an overflowing serving of gratitude.

The majority of the #nuunhtc crew: Teams Watermelon, Lemonade, Cherry Limeade, and our drivers

The majority of the #nuunhtc crew: Teams Watermelon, Lemonade, Cherry Limeade, and our drivers

First, to Nuun:

Thank you. Thank you for the most amazing four days of fun. Thank you for showing me and the other Hood to Coast team members the time of our lives. Thank you for getting it–for understanding that endurance athletes want a great experience, and delivering it. First, in making a product that makes achieving our goals easier and more enjoyable by giving us a tasty way to hydrate. And more importantly, for getting that the greatest gift you could give the biggest fans of your product is an unforgettable, amazing experience with other people who feel likewise. We don’t need to see your product in a magazine or billboard.. But we love tasting it at the end of a race, and drinking it with another sweaty athlete, and sharing the Nuun love with others who haven’t experienced it yet.

Thank you for hiring great people who love what they do–people who don’t blink an eye at giving up time and effort to make sure a bunch of us can participate in an epic race like Hood to Coast, people who are willing to give up dinner to make sure that your rungry guests can pig out, people who are thoughtful and kind. Thank you for building relationships with businesses like Oiselle, Amphipod, Endorphin Warrior, Swiftwick, Tiger Tail and Naawk, and then letting us reap the benefit by filling our suitcases with swag.

Mason, thank you for your generosity and hospitality. You made us feel like we belonged there with Nuun, and that is an incredible thing to do for 30+ far-flung strangers.
Megan, thank you for the countless hours you put into communicating with us, organizing complicated itineraries, and making sure we were so well taken care of. I’m sure I don’t know the half of what you did, but I do know that you did it all well, and with a smile on your face. I can’t thank you enough.
Jay, Vishal, Jeantel, and Jeff, who all drove vans, thank you for foregoing sleep to make sure your vans only had to worry about running, not fighting traffic.

Casey, (who drove my van) thank you for being a rock for Team Watermelon Van 2. Your experience and confident know-how helped us make each exchange with ease and kept us free from drama and too many curb roadkills.
Zoe, thank you for always smiling big and encouraging us big, too. You rock.
Laura, you repeatedly gave up your own comfort for all of us on W2. You ran long and hard, and still played the role of host with a smile. You are a helper and I am grateful for you.
Lauren, you were a fearless leader and laugh-generator for Team Lemonade. Thank you.

Team Watermelon, you dominated Hood to Coast. Thanks for letting me in on the fun.

Megan, Thank you for always being positive and upbeat, and for being a total track nerd. You are a mermaid.

Meghan, Thank you for showing me what running as a teenager does for a young woman. You inspire me to make sure my daughters run.
Lisa, There are no words. I couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you for caring.
Devon, Thank you for being a model of drive and responsibility. You are steady and strong and I appreciate you!

Mallory, you are a fierce warrior. Thank you for being your own person.
Kara, your zest for life is contagious. Thanks for bringing the fun.
Hannah, thank you for your positivity and your obvious run love.
Sarah, thank you for choosing to do hard things. You are a powerhouse, and just incredible.
Catey, thank you for showing us how a hardcore mother runner gets it done–with a smile every time.

Team Lemonade, thanks for being the faithful compadres of Team Watermelon. Every time we got to see you, it made the race that much more special.

Leslie, thank you for making us all laugh and for keeping things real as well. Also, for your encouragement you’ve always given on blog posts and Twitter.
Lisa, thank you are for being so warm and kind. I enjoyed every encounter, and wished for more.
Jolene, you are an amazing woman. Steely. Yet your openness and warmth and willingness to help care for everyone around you were a gift to us all.
Andrea, thank you for always having a smile on your face and a funny remark.
Kristen, thank you for being a bright, sunny encouragement both online and IRL.
Kimberly, thank you for speaking my language–your self-deprecating sarcasm gets an A+ in my book.
Karen, thank you for being calm and steady and determined.
Jesica, thank you for inspiring me and so many others to overcome challenges and run longer and stronger. So glad we can have mini-reNuunions in ATL.
Holly B., thank you for being a sweet, kind spirit.
Holly R, thank you for being such a great ambassador for the sport of running, and for allowing me to bask in the glory of #TeamHollyRoberts.

Team Cherry Limeade, you ladies ran fast and worked so very hard and I know you inspired people on the teams and out on the course. Dorothy, Robyn, Katie, Jenny, Julia, Sara, Paige, Emily, Tanaya, Alison, Tere, Jen, thanks for using your athletic prowess to spread the Nuun love.

There is so much more to share and say, but I wanted to start with the most important part. THANK YOU NUUN, for an incredible weekend. Thank you all.