Nothing I write will do this weekend justice. I’m going to attempt to recap as much as I can but I also don’t want to drag it out into too many posts. Today I’ll talk about Thursday and Friday, and then I’ll recap the races/rest of the weekend tomorrow and Wednesday. There’s so much to say, but I also know that too many recaps might not be interesting to people who weren’t there. I have a feeling this is going to turn into more of a photo dump because who doesn’t love looking at a million pictures?
I left work around 1:30 on Thursday and drove the 3 hours to Bethlehem, PA. We stayed at the Comfort Suites which was about a half mile from all of the festivities. I would absolutely recommend that hotel and I’d stay there again in a heartbeat. I shared a room with Lauren who had already checked us in when I got there and we caught up for a few minutes before it was time to board the limo-bus to Runner’s World headquarters!
When we arrived at the headquarters we were greeted by Bart Yasso and all of the Runner’s World editors. The food they prepared was all local and a lot of it came from the gardens at Rodale. I had a burger and salad and a few “healthified” cookies. So good. As soon as dinner was over we took a tour of the headquarters.
After the tour we went outside to make s’mores! It was starting to rain but that didn’t stop us. I had 1 real s’more and then 2-3 toasted marshmallows, because we all know I’m obsessed with anything marshmallow.
Lauren and I called it an early night when we got back to the hotel. We had to be downstairs at 7am for the “Amazing Shakeout Race.” We were split into 4 teams (Mine was “Team Domination”) with 4 bloggers and 1-2 Altra employees on each team. We started with a race sponsored by Running Skirts and as soon as we finished outfitting our entire team, we received the first clue. My team ran in costume. We had to take a group selfie at each location where we received the next clue. Our last stop was the Sands Casino where we got in trouble with the security guards for running. Once we received the final clue to meet at the location where we would be eating breakfast, we had to complete a crossword puzzle. My team was the first to finish (Team Domination, duh) and we all received gift cards to Altra Running.
After all of the teams had finished we had breakfast- muffins, yogurt, and fruit (no yogurt for me) while we started listening to various presentations. First up was a breathing seminar from the author of Running on Air, Budd Coates. It was crazy to see how you’re supposed to breathe versus what feels natural to me. Budd recommended breathing in for 3 steps and breathing out for 2 during a normal run, and breathing in for 2 and out for 1 during a tempo run. When we put our hands on our stomach to practice breathing in and out at the right time it felt really counterintuitive, but if it’s going to keep me injury free, it might be worth a shot!
After Budd was finished speaking, we heard several speakers from Altra speak. They were the primary sponsor for the weekend and I absolutely loved hearing Golden Harper, one of the founders of Altra, tell his story. Golden grew up working for his family’s running store and they began cutting heels off of traditional running shoes, melting them in a toaster, and creating a “zero drop” effect. Injured runners began coming in looking for these modified shoes and noticed a huge difference. It was fascinating hearing how much thought went into everything from the drop of the shoe to the shape (he made sure to mention that the toe box isn’t “wide,” it’s “foot-shaped”).
Next up was a presentation by the marketing team at iFit, who are actually owned by the same parent company as Altra. I may not love running on treadmills, but if I could put in a course I run in Rhode Island via google maps, I might have second thoughts.
Next up was a running form clinic with Golden. There are 4 main steps to having good form: 1) proud posture, 2) compact arms, 3) bent knee, and 4) cadence. I won’t go into all of the details because this post is already getting too long, but we were all laughing as we practiced some of the ways to make sure we were holding ourselves correctly.
After the running clinic, we headed to a different building for yoga. We were given yoga mats, resistance bands, bags, foam roller, and massage stick, all from various icon fitness brands. I haven’t done yoga in far too long, so it was great to stretch while learning how to incorporate our new gear into our routines.
Then we had lunch with Bart Yasso and company! All food was from the Runner’s World cookbook. I ate cornbread and salad… picky eater problems. But it was really good cornbread!
Sean from Team RWB came and gave a really inspirational speech about battling addiction with running after being in the army for years. It was definitely one of the most serious moments of the weekend.
We had a few hours after lunch to head back to the hotel and regroup before the expo, so we were finally able to get out of our sweaty clothes. We headed to the expo before dinner to pick up our bibs and watch the kids races!
Around 5 my boyfriend (yes, boyfriend) joined us and we all headed to dinner at Mama Nina’s with some of the other bloggers. I had plain pasta and the BEST garlic rolls. By the time we finished dinner it was almost 9 so we called it an early night again since we had to be up early.
Look out for part 2 tomorrow!
Disclosure: Runner’s World sponsored my involvement with the race (hotel, meals, seminars, swag bags, races, etc), but all opinions are my own. I had planned on running these races before I was invited back.
Have you ever been to a blog conference/race?
What’s your go-to pre-race meal?