June 2015


Welcome to the Run Where I Live tour!

The San Francisco Bay Area is a runner’s paradise. The City itself is filled with so many places to run. Like big hills? I don’t. But if you pick any street with a cable car, such as Powell, you are guaranteed to run up a major hill. (If you’ve got some free time and want even bigger hills, drive over to Tiburon and run through the neighborhoods.) Prefer a flat course? Run The Embarcadero. You can start at the Ferry Building (a major landmark) and head East, running past and around AT&T Park, home of the Giants. I particularly like this stretch at night when there is a ballgame, or just to see the East Bay Bridge lit up at night. The Embarcadero is a popular spot, so you’re sure to run past other runners. Another popular spot to run is the trail through Chrissy Field and Fort Mason; it is connected to the path up and through The Presidio and up to the Golden Gate Bridge. You can opt for a flatter run through Chrissy Field, or take the hills through The Presidio and Fort Mason. You can park at or near Sports Basement, which hosts a number of running groups (check the calendar) and is an excellent source for running supplies from socks to fuel to shoes and everything in between.

Running is very popular in the Presidio, Chrissy Field, and oh yeah, we have a bridge. (Picture of the starting line for Run 10 Feed 10 2014)
Running is very popular in the Presidio, Chrissy Field, and oh yeah, we have a bridge. (Picture of the starting line for Run 10 Feed 10 2014)

The San Francisco Bay Trail is a project that aims to connect a loop all the way around the Bay. It’s not there yet, but it does provide 500 miles of gorgeous views from relatively flat trails. You can download maps, narratives, and more information than you ever wanted to know by visiting the official website. While you can buy maps at various locations, your smart phone should be more than sufficient to get you where you need to go—and if you plan to do an out-and-back, you don’t need more than directions to the starting point–or you can just check out the map of the whole trail. The parts that are NOT in San Francisco are pretty amazing.

Alameda: Bay Farm Island

Since I live in Alameda, I’m partial to the Alameda portion of the trail. The easiest place to find parking is probably near the Alameda ferry terminal; if you’re taking public transit to Alameda, the ferry is the only direct connection to San Francisco. (I don’t park there, so use your favorite mapping app to find it.) Since I work at the Harbor Bay Club, I tend to park near the dead end of Packet Landing Road and walk the few feet from the dead end to the trail; if I go for a run after I teach 6 a.m. Monday yoga, I share the trail with some cyclists, a few other runners, some walkers, and locals walking their dogs. (To get to Packing Landing Road from 880, exit High Street towards Alameda—that’s right if you are going South, and left if you are head North. After you cross the bridge into Alameda, BEWARE! The speed limit is 25!! Continue on High Street until Otis Drive, then turn left onto Otis Drive. Follow Otis as it curves around to the right, and cross the bridge to Bay Farm Island. Take the very first right available after you cross the bridge, to Island Drive. Turn right at the first light, onto Robert Davey Jr. and then turn right again (there’s a light) onto Packet Landing Road.)

Packet Landing is a dead end street. I park in the road, walk to the end of Packet Landing until I hit the trail, then I head to the left, which gives me a view of both San Francisco and Oakland as the sun rises behind me. You’ll run past little parklets and inlets, through to the ferry landing and parking lot. If you run this in the morning you should pack sunglasses—the sun will be in your face as you run back to Packet Landing Road.

View of the city (and Karl The Fog) from the Bay Trail, Bay Farm Island, Alameda
View of the city (and Karl The Fog) from the Bay Trail, Bay Farm Island, Alameda

You can also opt to run right from the end of Packet Landing, as the Bay Trail stretches in both directions. As you come to the bridge from Bay Farm Island (where Packet Landing Road is) to Alameda’s original island, you can choose to either run over the bridge (there’s a separate pedestrian/bike bridge) or continue around Bay Farm Island. I like to run around Bay Farm, as the trail starts to get a little tiny bit hillier, through protected parkland filled with chirpy birds, and eventually to the model airplane field. If you choose to take the bridge, bear left after you cross (crossing the street with care and WITH the light) to stay on the Bay Trail.

Standing at the end of Packet Landing Road, looking down the trail towards the bridge between Alameda and Bay Farm Island.
Standing at the end of Packet Landing Road, looking down the trail towards the bridge between Alameda and Bay Farm Island.


Another option is to start on Shoreline Drive, on the main island of Alameda. This is where I live, so I tend to start here and then choose to either run to Bay Farm and back, or to run into the sunset until the sun is gone and then turn around and go home. You can run through Crown Memorial Regional Shoreline, and along the edge of the commercial South Shore Center. There is a ton of (free) on-street parking in this area as well. I live about a mile away, and I love to do evening runs on this path so I can watch the sun set over San Francisco.

Alameda has a long history as a Victorian-era vacation spot. While the spas and amusement parks are gone, and trolleys no longer bring in city vacationers, much of the architecture remains. You can take a run to follow this walking tour from the SF Chronicle, or you can pick up the local American Volkssport Association club’s map and directions for a 10k featuring Victorian Alameda at Cafe au Lait (3215 Encinal Avenue).


Oakland lives in San Francisco’s shadow. If you’re from outside of California, you probably only hear about Oakland in a negative context. Oakland is, however, a really cool town. It boasts two huge half marathon events–Run The Town and The Oakland Running Festival–and has one of the best simple and flat runs: Lake Merritt.

Fall colors in the park surrounding the Lake Merritt loop
Fall colors in the park surrounding the Lake Merritt loop

Get to Lake Merritt from San Francisco via BART, exiting Lake Merritt station or 19th Street Oakland station (both are a similar walk from the path around the lake). One loop around Lake Merritt is 5k. This is now a popular spot for runners in the evenings, now that there are strings of lights all the way around the lake. If you’re looking for a timed loop or two, come out to the Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders’ Fourth Sunday Run. Bibs and timed results for just five bucks.


Recently I found a gorgeous section of the Bay Trail in Emeryville (where I used to live). Emeryville makes a nice start for a run because there are so many options for post-run refreshment, including my favorite, Rotten City Pizza. (Did you know that Earl Warren, future Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, once called little ol’ Emeryville “the rottenest city”? True story!) But run first, pizza later. To get to a gorgeous section of the Bay Trail, you can drive to Powell Street and towards the marina area (use Trader Vic’s for an address, but park along Powell Street after you cross under the freeway). You can choose to run towards San Francisco or Berkeley marina–both provide flat, paved trails and gorgeous views of the Bay.

If you are looking for a group run (or workout) in Emeryville, check the calendar for Athleta in the Bay Street shopping complex. They often host a Saturday morning group run. If you start from Athleta, you can park in the Bay Street parking garages, and run from there, towards IKEA, and on to the new span of the East Bay bridge. This route is largely unshaded and has no water sources, so please take water if you run in the summer.

Group Runs

Prefer to run as part of a group? Check out the following options:

  • A Runner’s Mind is a fantastic local running store, owned and operated by people who love running more than I love pizza. (Which is to say: A LOT LOT LOT.) Locations in Burlingame (near South San Francisco and SFO) and San Francisco (on California Street). They have group runs (and do hill repeats, if you’re into that sort of thing). A Runner’s Mind also hosts other run events, call them to find out what’s going on this week–there’s probably at least one thing not listed on the website.
  • Marathon Matt’s Run Club has evening runs and track workouts during the week, with long runs on the weekends. While these are part of a paid seasonal series–a bargain, at 50 workouts/runs for $150–I bet you could join in for just a few bucks, and meet the funnest bunch of runners in San Francisco. Contact him at marathonmatt2 @ hotmail (.com)
  • Road Runner Sports Berkeley hosts the Thursday night monthly Adventure Run series. It is also the starting point for the local Team Red White and Blue runs. Call the store, as the Team RWB events are not listed in the online calendar. (Road Runner is also a good home-base location for a run around Berkeley. Ask the friendly staff for recommendations. After your run, treat yourself to coffee from Philz or a Farm Burger, both of which are just around the block.)
  • Dolphin South End Runners is a club that sponsors Thursday evening races all over the city during the summer. Check the instructions; Thursday races are cash-only so please bring exact change.
  • See Jane Run has stores in both San Francisco and Oakland. Check their calendar for weekly runs and workouts, then check out their gear.
  • Nike Run Club (and Nike Training Club) launch from both of the San Francisco stores. If you’re staying near Union Square, go eat some hills with this crew.

The Run Where I Live Tour

Next tour stop, Australia! Your run-tour guide will be Erin Runs Around. You can find a list of all of the tour stops at Live Run Grow.

After the race, I decided to camp out in Starbucks and write my recap. (Yes, I know I still haven’t written about Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego. Patience, grasshopper.) As I started to type, I could see marathoners still plugging away (first start for elites was at 7:00; last corral started about 8:00). This meant those folks had been out there for 5.5 hours and were just passing by mile 24. If you’ve never tried to walk for 5.5 hours (at any speed) you have no idea how much dedication that takes! About 15 minutes later I saw the very last marathon runner go by, a Team in Training coach by her side, and the official police escort and course sweeper vehicles right behind her. I’m thankful that Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series leaves the course open long enough to make the marathon distance less intimidating for those who are new to marathons, or slower runners/walkers. I don’t know who that last finisher is, but if you know her, please tell her she is a Rock Star in my book and I am very proud of her.

Hey, I'm in Seattle. Don't judge!
Hey, I’m in Seattle. Don’t judge!

Sometimes, the chaos produces awesome. I was very lucky to experience that this weekend!

My planning for this race was an epic FAIL. First, I originally bought tickets to fly into Sea-Tac Saturday morning, landing at 7:20. Thankfully another blogger pointed out that the race was on Saturday, starting at 7:00 a.m.! Southwest doesn’t charge a change fee (and they have my undying LUV), so I just had to pay the difference between my old ticket and the new one. (Let’s think of that as a stupid-tax, shall we?)  Second, I’d planned to stay at the Seattle HI, since staying there for Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego worked out so well. But I got distracted and didn’t make a reservation on Tuesday when there were many spots, and when I got back to it on Thursday it was booked solid. Thankfully all the crazy travel I did for work helped me accumulate a load of Marriott points, and I was able to score a room with them at the Courtyard, one of the host hotels. Third, the various running groups I’m involved in didn’t make solid plans for Friday so I thought I’d be wandering Seattle alone, but then Briana of Mat Miles Medals let me know she was coming in early Friday, and things worked out perfectly.

Friday’s flight in was uneventful. (Other than the flight attendant singing an awesome song about Seattle, which was fun!). It was easy to hop on the Link light rail from the airport to Pioneer Square, and walk the few blocks to the Courtyard. My double-queen room was enormous and gorgeous, and I was a wee bit sad when I arrived because it would have been fun to stay more than one night.  (I’ve got plans to stay with a friend from…sixth grade? No, fifth grade!) Briana met me at the hotel and kept her luggage in the room during the day, so she wouldn’t have to tote it around until she met up with her h0st for the weekend. We hit up The Pike Brewing Company for lunch, which is what I did when I ran this race in 2013. It’s hard to go wrong with any of the vegetarian options there, and they had a delicious apricot cider on tap!

Then it was time to hit the Expo. Briana introduced me to the proper, non-annoying (or at least not in anyone’s way, and in zero danger of hitting a person, a thing, or a Disney ride) use of the selfie-stick.

Train With Bain and Mat Miles Medals converge!
Train With Bain and Mat Miles Medals converge!
I'm not sure that's actually a salmon...
I’m not sure that’s actually a salmon…


I intended to take a bunch of pictures like I usually do, but wasn’t really inspired. So here’s a picture of me with a big fish. (I had other plans for this photo, until I realize the fish was safety-pinned to the mannequin. While I understand why, I think it’s sad to think anyone would steal the fish!) Per usual there was a ton of cute Brooks stuff that I petted but did not buy. To be fair, I think half my running shirts and jackets and pullovers are from Brooks, and my main running shoes are Brooks Pure Cadence (and yes I currently own three pair), so they probably were not too upset.

Once again Toyota kinda stole the expo with their display. This time it included the interactive vehicles, the SpongeBob car (which I think had the cameras installed to take groupies), and SpongeBob-themed swag for the kiddos to win (including one of those crane machines).

Why yes, that is a giant, spinning disco ball. Didn't you see one at your last race expo?
Why yes, that is a giant, spinning disco ball. Didn’t you see one at your last race expo?



We each had a few errands to run at the expo, and also wanted to see what was new.  Briana had just been named an ambassador for Sparkly Soul headbands (congratulations!), so we headed there first. The Rock ‘n’ Roll expos do tend to have the same race sponsor spaces and some of the same vendors, but each also features some regional flavors. Speaking of regional, Nuun is headquartered in Seattle so they were at the expo with a great special (two tubes and a bottle for $10). Since I’m a Nuunbassador, and totally in love with the tropical flavor for workplace hydration, I had to stock up. There’s definitely a Nuun giveaway in this blog’s near future. Anyway, after romping around the Expo (and wondering where PowerBar was??) we headed over to Pyramid Alehouse so one of my Seattlite friends could pick me up for dinner.

I carb-loaded with Indian Food. Oh yummy, delicious, vegetarian, Indian food. Specifically, we went to Maharaja, which is at 105 1st Avenue S, Seattle. I’m not sure why it wasn’t packed, because the food was good and so was the price–the vegetarian feast for one was $20 and came with a samosa, rice, choice of two vegetarian dishes (I picked chana masala and malai kofta), a side of dal, raita, and rice pudding for dessert. Delicious!

After dinner I took a soothing bubble bath and then went to bed. Early. But before I went to bed, I had to take the obligatory “flat me” picture. I’m not sure who started this, but every time I see one I think of the book Flat Stanley. (In the original, the bulletin board over Stanley’s bed falls on him and flattens him out. He has various adventures, and gets mailed to visit relatives, etc.) Anyway, here’s Flat Bain in all her glory.

Flat Bain
Flat Bain


I slept like a rock. Except for waking up once because I’d thrown both of the duvets on top of me (I like a lot of covers) because that was too hot. Then when I woke up I didn’t want to get out of bed because I thought the room felt too cold (it was 67). When I checked the weather app on my phone it told me that it was in the 50s outside, and predicted 50s until after I thought I’d finish running. That led to a slight panic–and no further motivation to get out of bed–as I didn’t pack any toss clothing and didn’t have a garbage bag. The hotel’s laundry bags were too tiny. Eventually I managed to convince myself that I HAD TO GET OUT OF BED and just put on some clothes and go. I made a cup of coffee to console myself, and then swallowed some EnergyBits (with water, not coffee!).

The hotel was a fair walk from the start. It took me about 30 minutes to schlep over there, during which time I started to feel a little warmer. The sun was already out and there were zero clouds, which made me glad I’d slathered on some sunscreen. In case you’re wondering, your glow-in-the-dark-white runner started with a thick coat of the Hawaiian Tropic SPF 30 lotion, which sinks right in and has a dry sort of finish, and then added a layer of Neutrogena sunblock stick in SPF 70. (Why yes, I did get sunburned the last time I did Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle. How did you know?) I tried to stay in the sun, lest I start to freeze over again.

Non-elites wait to take the field, er road
Non-elites wait to take the field, er road

Of course I was too slow on the draw with my camera as the fireworks went off to start the elite corral. This year they had fireworks launch from the Space Needle, which was kind of cool. I did manage to snap a shot of the elites running.

Elite athletes off to a running start
Elite athletes off to a running start
The Brooks Guy
The Brooks Guy


I didn’t take nearly as many pictures along this course as I usually do, because (surprise!) I was actually really focused on the running. I started out with a mile run, then switched to 1:1 intervals, which I kept until I hit the nasty hill up to the highway at mile nine.  Brooks had the usual Brooks guy inflatable, but also a boat-float on the lake!


Run Happy boat
Run Happy boat!

Seattle is really green and gorgeous this time of year, reminding me of just how much I miss the verdant Pacific Northwest. The course along the lake and the park were really incredible.

Military Mile
Military Mile

One of the unique features of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle course is a mile staffed by, and dedicated to, U.S. military servicemen and women. The first section had photos of those who gave their lives, with their names and ranks and dates. The aid stations? This section of flags? Held by military, former military, and members of Wear Blue Run to Remember. (There is a great video up on the website right now for Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle.) The first year I saw this mile, I cried. To me, it is one more testament to the power of how running can change a life, create community, and change the world. It came on a lovely piece of the course, just before the marathon and half marathon split.

The last few miles of the half course are both interesting and annoying. On the one hand, I find it really fun to run through tunnels usually reserved for the highway. Maybe I’m too much of a goody-two-shoes, but it feels like I’m doing something wrong! On the other hand, running on sloped concrete is tough. Aside from the tunnel, the last few miles also run the road (highway?) right across/above the water’s edge. There are people cheering from the road above on the right, and the open water and the ferris wheel on the other side. I love running with the water at my side.

My favorite sign
My favorite sign

Every race has creative signs held by the cheering squads. Currently in the popular rotation are:

  • Run Like You Stole Something
  • I trained for months to hold this sign
  • If Brittany can survive 2002, you can survive this
  • Never trust a fart

Run now, beer lateAs I rounded one of the final corners, I saw my new favorite sign. Simple message, easy to read, colorful, and held up by a person high-fiving and actively cheering every runner that went by. I don’t think the spectators understand just how important they are to the race.

After crossing the finish line and collecting my medal, I slowly walked through the runner-food. While carrying three bottles (water, gatorade, chocolate milk) proved cumbersome, I was happy my skirt had pockets to hold most of the other snacks. The sun was out and it was a gorgeous day, so I laid down on the grass to collapse for a short period of time before collecting my Six String and starting the walk back to the hotel.

Active Recovery
Active Recovery

I was pleased to see an active recovery area sponsored by Gaiam. When I travel for a race, I can only bring one recovery tool since I try to stick to a carry-on. It’s either The Grid roller or The Roll8. Maybe if I don’t have to pack warm clothes I can also fit in a yoga mat. It’s tough, because all runners know you’re supposed to do some self-maintenance after a long run–maybe stretching, or yoga, some foam rolling, work with Yoga Tune Up balls, or something else. Also, with a concert going on and a city to explore, it can be hard to make time to recover properly. But when you cross the finish line and find an area complete with tools, yoga mats, and people to help, you’re more likely to jump in and do at least a little.

Space, mats, tools, and more
Space, mats, tools, and more

Gaiam was also giving away DVDs (yoga for runners, and a foam roller instructional DVD) to those who entered a raffle. Hopefully a bunch of those runners used those DVDs at home. Seriously, running is SO MUCH BETTER who you do a little self-care and body maintenance.

After a shower, I settled in at Starbucks to start writing this blog entry and caffeinate. From there I meandered over to the Sounders shop–can’t go to a game without a scarf!–then settled into the pub for a cider or two before meeting up with a friend for the game.

Naturally I have a picture of the Sounders band, but not the actual team
Naturally I have a picture of the Sounders band, but not the actual team

I got to see my first Sounders game and they won! Great way to wind up the day.

I wrapped up the weekend by spending Saturday night and Sunday with a friend I’ve known since 5th grade. Her cats were relatively indifferent, but her son (he’s 4) decided I’m the coolest and was not happy when I left Sunday night. Apparently I must go back to Seattle immediately so we can play more.

Want to read more about this year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle? Here’s the link to another Rock ‘n’ Blog team review: Pretty Little Grub. Here’s a photo essay by another team member: photos by Andrew Rich.

Did you run Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle? (What was the marathon course like?)

Be honest!

Seriously, when? As I thought about it yesterday morning, I realized that I had not bought a new bra in three years. Yikes! “A bra should never see a birthday” is one of the little bits of wisdom I learned at the preview for Title Nine’s FitFest event.

A few supportive styles
A few supportive styles

If your bra has had too many birthdays, read on, my friend. (If it’s old enough to vote, RUN to your nearest Title Nine RIGHT NOW.) Not only is Title Nine hosting events across the country where YOU can find your new chest-friend, but they are also sponsoring a giveaway! Enter to win include a personalized fitting (either at one of the 23 Title Nine stores or by phone, depending on where you live) and one bra.

Not only has it been that long since I bought a bra, it’s been even longer since I was measured and fitted. How long? It was at Victoria’s Secret, back when the entire store was done in dark wood, the London Symphony Orchestra provided the music, and the sales associates wore relatively conservative suits; it was before PINK, before Victoria’s Secret had a fashion show, before they sold make-up, and before the bags were pink striped and had hearts.

If I've been wearing the wrong and super-old bra, I wonder what I need to learn about swimsuits!?
If I’ve been wearing the wrong and super-old bra, I wonder what I need to learn about swimsuits!?

Anyway, I was thrilled to be asked to attend the Title Nine preview party, even if I wasn’t so sure about getting fitted for a bra. (Prior to the above-mentioned time, I think I was fitted by someone’s great-grandmother at JC Penney. Not a comforting experience.) Fortunately there was wine, and suddenly all the girls were talking about the girls.

Party treats!
Party treats!

For example, nobody is the same size in every brand and flavor of bra, and not every style is going to fit every woman, much less flatter. “If the girls are in the same zip code and they are neighbors, you’re going to need a different bra than if the girls are in the same zip code and live a few houses apart,” one bravangelist explained. (Think about it–it makes so much sense!)

Oh and before I forget–Title Nine has sports bras, “regular” bras, and work-to-workout bras. If you’ve never seen the ((bounce)) catalogue, you’re missing out. So you probably want to go to FitFest. FitFest includes personalized bra fitting advice from a “bravangelist” expert and an expanded assortment of bras (more than what your local store usually carries–like a trunk show). I came in with an agenda to choose a new everyday bra, since I’d recently tried to wear a thinner white t-shirt and realized every bra I own is visible through it. Ugh.

Sporty bras in all sizes
Sporty bras in all sizes

I explained to Amy, my bravangelist, what I wanted, she measured me, and we were off!  One thing about these Title Nine bra people, they know what they are doing! First, Amy brought me four bras: “I brought you two you asked for, and two you didn’t” Second, as I was trying them on, I noticed that the different styles had different sizes on them. It wasn’t a mistake, either–you know how some brands just have their own weird or different sizing? Well Amy did!

I'd never have picked a racerback. With lace?? It closes in the front??
I’d never have picked a racerback. With lace?? It closes in the front??

I was surprised to learn that the bras Title Nine carries include both their own brands AND many other brands. There are A to DDD+ sizes, and contoured cups that are shaped, but not stiff; there are bras for no impact, low impact, and high impact. One fun feature of FitFest is the “Bounce-ath-a-lon” area, for those who want to put Title Nine’s bras to the test. Seriously, do you need an excuse to get on a hippity hop?

Strong comes in many shapes and sizes. Don't be judge-y.
Strong comes in many shapes and sizes. Don’t be judge-y.

If you’re looking for a new bra, RSVP for FitFest at your local Title Nine store. Check out for a full list of cities and more information. If you happen to be in the San Francisco Bay Area, here are a few of the upcoming events:

• June 17-18, 10am- 7pm
Title Nine Los Gatos
218 N. Santa Cruz Avenue, Los Gatos
• June 24-25, 10am-7pm
Title Nine Palo Alto
208 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto
• July 15-16, 10am-6pm
Title Nine Walnut Creek
1637 Mt. Diablo Blvd, Walnut Creek

The evening ended with many happy bloggers. Actually it was hard to leave, I was having way too much fun talking to the Title Nine staff and other bloggers. (I learned a lot about triathlons. I still don’t want to do one. Yet.) I went home with three bras, two of the everyday kind (one in hot pink!) and one completely bounce-proof yet 100% flattering (non-uniboob) sports bra. I wore the beige one to work today with one of those t-shirts, and it was perfect. It sounds stupid and sappy, but I cannot remember the last time I liked a bra this much. (Usually I race home and tear it off as soon as I can.)

Bag of goodies! Adorable blinky light on the cute makeup bag from Moving Comfort.
Bag of goodies! Adorable blinky light on the cute makeup bag from Moving Comfort.

Okay now, time to win a new bra!

Disclosure: Title Nine invited me to a sweet Blogger FitFest and provided me with an expert bra fitting, bra, and treat bag. (Oh, and some wine.) All opinions are my own.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you are a blogger and you write about anything related to health, fitness, exercise, running, or sports, then you NEED to be at IDEA BlogFest 2015 (EDIT: THIS YEAR. Not next year. 2015.) hosted by Sweat Pink. Fortunately for you, I have tickets and you can win them!

BlogFest includes two days of blogger-specific education, with lots of time for networking. It also includes ALL of IDEA World, with special access to presenters and brands. It is four days of bloggy goodness, and enough ideas and content to keep you writing all year long. Sweaty inspiration, new friendships, brand access, and swag. You can read all about the schedule by clicking HERE.

IDEA is the world’s largest association for health and fitness professionals.  I joined as soon as I had my first license (Zumba–which I earned at IDEA World!) and continued my membership as I took on group ex certification with AFAA and then ACE. If you’ve never heard of IDEA, you owe it to yourself to check out what IDEA has to offer: continuing education for fitness professionals, a trade journal, social media posting, conferences, insurance, and much more.

IDEA World's opening session included awards and inspiration.
IDEA World’s opening session included awards and inspiration.

IDEA World is a gathering of 12,000 amazing health and exercise-focused individuals from all over the world. There are literally hundreds of different workshops, lectures, and workouts. It starts with pre-conference sessions where you can get become a certified Schwinn Cycling Instructor, or take a workshop  with Stott Pilates, Balanced Body, NASM, or TRX, among others. (Pre-conference sessions are not included in BlogFest, but as long as you’re going to fly out, you might as well check one out.)

Thursday and Friday, you’ll spend at BlogFest. There’s a fresh agenda for 2016, including Gabrielle Reese, one of my favorite athletes, and Zumba founder Beto Perez,  but here are a few glimpses of last year.

BlogFest exclusive 2015: PiYo with Chalene Johnson
BlogFest exclusive 2015: PiYo with Chalene Johnson
Tara Stiles led one of the showcase workouts and BlogFest attendees got their yoga on--complete with mats from Reebok
Tara Stiles led one of the showcase workouts and BlogFest attendees got their yoga on–complete with mats from Reebok

In addition to the workout with Tara Stiles  and Chalene Johnson, BlogFest 2014  featured Jillian Michaels (I swear I took a  picture but I can’t find it!) and a  presentation by Under Armour with one of  my new favorite women, Shuana Harrison.  Sponsored athlete  and she has a PhD?  What’s not to love?



BlogFest attendees  had their choice of Saturday and Sunday  workshops (which included workouts). Last  year also featured a pre-event unofficial run  sponsored by RunGo. BlogFest attendees  could also chose from sponsored sessions  early morning and at lunch. I tried Fluidity bar early one morning (it kicked my butt), and then took a  lunchtime session with Vibram and Bosu (and experienced more about my feet than I ever had before).

Gotta stay hydrated! I loved guzzling Gerolsteiner all weekend.
Gotta stay hydrated! I loved guzzling Gerolsteiner all weekend.
Breakfast by Gerolsteiner

During BlogFest, some of the tweet breaks included snacks by BlogFest sponsors. Dannon, also an IDEA World sponsor, presented one tweet break with snacks and a presentation by an RD specific to sports nutrition for women. Dannon also gave each of us a jumpdrive loaded with information about yogurt.

I also attended a gorgeous breakfast sponsored by Gerolsteiner, and learned more about regulation of water, bottled water, and mineral water.

Why yes, I did a lot of eating! Did I mention there are also snacks in the Expo? I’m woefully short on snaps, but there were EAS smoothies, Kelloggs products, Go Veggie! vegan cheese, a new pasta made from beans, and Beyond Meat’s new line of protein products.

Yeah, it might be all about the snacks
Yeah, it might be all about the snacks


The Expo had more than just snacks though. This year  there are over 600 exhibitors. There  were exhibits  with EVERYTHING related to fitness.  NASM, ACE,  and AFAA all had booths where you  could learn about  their certifications and exams.  Merrithew-Stott had  tons of products to try out,  including mini-classes, as  well as consultants about  their educational programs.  BlogFest sponsor Lorna  Jane debuted a boutique of  gorgeous workout wear, as  did Blogilates with her  new line of clothes and fitness  journals. You could try  out Zumba or a towel-fitness  class, learn about fitness  classes for you and your dog,  test disinfecting wipes  for use at the gym, and do a million other things.

Sponsor Reebok had a workout floor
Sponsor Reebok had a workout floor


Sometimes, a dance party broke out. Or a crossfit class. The Expo hall was a pretty great place to pick up blog-fodder. Everyone was eager to put a product in your hand, talk to you about new developments, demonstrate the moves, or offer you some literature to read later.



Comfy swag from Reebok included shoes for the pre-registered
Comfy swag from Reebok included shoes for the pre-registered


BlogFest attendees get a special swag-bag with freebies, products, and special offers. I don’t remember everything that was in it, but I remember a pre-release copy of Leslie Sansone’s newest  “Walk off the Pounds,” a year subscription to a streaming fitness service, a certificate redeemable for a free Under Armour heart rate monitor, and stacks of other goodies.




Merrithew-Stott sponsored one of our tweet breaks, complete with moves using the magic circle
Merrithew-Stott sponsored one of our tweet breaks, complete with moves using the magic circle


The sponsors of BlogFest also handed out goodies  during the course of the event. Surprises around every  corner! Lorna Jane gave each attendee a cute tank  with fitness inspiration, a visor, a stretchy hair-taming  headband, and also hosted a raffle at the closing  party.

During the BlogFest sessions, we covered a bunch of  topics. Some topics were very broad, like how to turn  your blog into a brand, or legal advice for bloggers,  while others were more targeted, such as taking good  food pictures and learning a little SEO. Attendees  were a mix of experienced and professional bloggers,  and newer bloggers from those not-yet-blogging on up.

Ahnu shoes booth
Ahnu shoes booth


In addition to the brands sponsoring BlogFest, all of which expressed interest in working with bloggers, there were also brands at the Expo looking for social media contacts or brand ambassadors.

Sometimes, you’ve just gotta selfie.

This year’s BlogFest presentations cover blogging topics such as how to increase readership and market your message, building a following on Instagram, busting nutrition myths, and the future of blogging. (Seriously, check out the schedule and look who is presenting! I’m so excited to learn from Kasey Arena, Katy Widrick, Melissa Burton, and the other bloggers and celebrity guests.)

The private BlogFest reception included dinner by Subway, including a visit from Jarod
The private BlogFest reception included dinner by Subway, including a visit from Jarod and insulated Subway messenger bags


Sponsor for BlogFest 2015 [EDIT: why did I keep typing 2016? Do I think I am living in the future?] include Siggi’s (seriously, I cannot wait for you to taste skyr!), Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition by General Mills, Merrithew (Stott Pilates, Zenga, Core, Total Barre), MorningStar Farms, Propel, and Reebok.







A tiny section of the Expo
A tiny section of the Expo

I can’t think of a better place to make connections with bloggers and brands, learn about the style and substance of  blogging (and the mechanics–I need all the  help I can get!), and try out the latest  trends in fitness and food and fashion.




If you’d like to join me at IDEA World’s BlogFest 2015 with Sweat Pink, save July 15-19 on your calendar and book a plane ticket to Los Angeles. Then cross your fingers, and enter to win a ticket to BlogFest using the widget below.

(Ticket to BlogFest includes admission badge for BlogFest and IDEA World. It does not include airfare, room and board, pre- and post-con sessions, your passport renewal, boarding for your cat, or that cute new top from Eleven by Venus that you just have to have. Legal disclaimer, blah blah blah.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Confession: I’m a sock junkie. I have two full dresser drawers of socks. One drawer has thin socks, holiday-themed socks, novelty socks, over-the-knee socks, solid colors. The other has six pairs of cheap and thinning white men’s sweatsocks, wooly socks for winters and wet days, fuzzy wuzzy socks, socks with sticky dots for barre and Pilates, running socks, workout socks, and a few randoms that don’t have a category. The right socks make life that much better.

This is not a sponsored post–though if any of my favorites wanted to throw me some socks or make me a sock-bassador I wouldn’t turn them down!–just a piece in praise of socks. Also, I foresee a part two coming…

Wright’s Double Layer Socks

Find them: @wrightsock on Twitter;; /wrightsock on Facebook

These are the most amazing running socks ever made. There is no comparably excellent product out there. I love these socks so freakishly much that I contacted them to suggest they should start an ambassador program just so I could apply to be in it. I wear my Wrights until they wear out (which takes years, but I’ve successfully killed a few pair). Since I’ve discovered them, they are the only socks I wear to run. Why mess with perfection?

Just a few of my Wrights
Just a few of my Wrights

As the name says, each sock has two layers made from a mix of polyester, nylon, and lycra. The inner layer hugs your foot, the outer layer hugs the inner layer. Together the two wick away sweat, which keeps your feet cool and dry. The layers also protect your feet from friction, to give you a blissfully blister-free run.  Seams over the toes are completely flat and frictionless, so you do not feel them when you run and they don’t mess with the fit of your shoe. They come in thin, midweight, and thicker varieties so you can find the perfect fit and feel for your feet.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWright’s Double Layer socks are made in the United States by Wrightenberry Mills, Inc. which is a family-owned company. They are proud to keep their production jobs in the USA. They stand behind their product with a 100% blister-free guarantee: if you’re unsatisfied, send the socks and the receipt back to them for a refund. (Or just send them to me, in size large–especially if they are the cute, new striped ones!)


Find them: @bombas on Twitter; (this is an affiliate link) /bombassocks on Facebook

ClassPass introduced me to Bombas by gifting me a pair in their birthday party swag bag. You know those old men’s sweat socks I mentioned? They are destined to become polishing cloths and cleaning rags, as I am SO replacing them with Bombas. I’m almost sad that sandal season is here because I love mine so much.

I thought they were Bombas because they are the bomb...
I thought they were Bombas because they are the bomb…

Bombas are cotton socks with a cute design that initially look a lot like your average sweat sock, but they have a little shape so they fit in a happy hug on your arch and do not fall down (if you choose the crew-length “calf” version). The heels are heel-shaped, not formless like tube socks, and the toes lack those annoying lumpy seams. They are also available as ankle socks, which other sock styles call no-show, and those have a little cushion over the back so your shoe won’t rub on your Achilles and blister it. The cotton is long staple Peruvian cotton and super soft. The footbed–the sock part that covers the sole–is reinforced and feels like walking on an itty-bitty pillow. The company motto, “Bee Better” is stitched inside each pair (the name bombas is taken from the Latin word for bees).

Bombas is also a company with a mission. For each pair of socks sold, they donate a pair. (Bet you didn’t know that clean, new socks are among the most-needed item at emergency shelters, homeless services agencies, and other charities.)  You can read about how and why the donated socks have a slightly different design on their website. Bombas also has a 100% satisfaction guarantee.  Also, if you want to buy some Bombas and you use this URL  you will score 25% off and I will get a free pair of socks. (C’mon, you KNOW you want to!)

My Soxy Feet

Find them: @MySoxyFeet on Twitter;; /mysoxyfeet on Facebook

The newest addition to my sock drawers is a bright and shiny pair of My Soxy Feet. I love how the socks are a pair–they clearly go together–but are not identical. They have a nice, thick footbed which given them a luxurious feel. (Makes me want to keep my floors cleaner so I can pad around the house in these instead of wearing slippers.)  The band around the ankles has a different level of stretch than the socks, so it will remain securely in place.

Keep Moving
Keep Moving (pardon the lighting, these are YELLOW, not green)

My Soxy Feet are made in the USA of CoolMax Ecomade, nylon, and lycra. You can read the blog and find out just what inspired Melissa to start a sock company (because that’s what every mother does when her kids no longer need mom at home, right?).

Each of the designs currently available–it looks like they change from time to time–supports a different cause. The “Heart & Sole” are inspired by Rhoda, who lost her life to breast cancer; “Keep Moving” is dedicated to Tim (and a portion of the sales are donated to MS Run the US); “Dream Big” supports the Epilepsy Service Foundation; “United” helps Team RWB. You get the idea. Those are the women’s sized designs–if only I had tiny kid feet, I could get monkeys! They have a 30 day refund or exchange policy, just in case you bought the wrong size–I cannot imagine why you’d want to return them!

What are your favorite socks? Tell me what’s missing from my drawers!


National Running Day is June 3. I’ve collected up a few things you can do to celebrate, beyond the obvious (just go run, any time, anywhere, with or without anyone). Find more events and join the fun on twitter by searching #NationalRunningDay, calling up your local running store, or searching on Event Brite.

Please feel free to comment with additional event information. Let me know where YOU are running!

NationWide and Multi-City

Run the Nuun and Motigo virtual run. Download the iPhone app, or follow the alternate instructions for Android. It’s free. Details here: Nuun Virtual Run with Motigo

Score a Rock ‘n’ Roll Discount. I don’t have the details (yet!) but the Rock ‘n’ Roll series will have discounts of up to $20 on select races. Here’s the Scoop!  Today only most Rock ‘n’ Roll events have a discount up to $20. (A few exceptions…No discount: Las Vegas, Brooklyn, San Francisco, San Diego; ; Closed Event: Portland.) Open for one day only–TODAY!!–Carlsbad5000, Country Music Marathon (Nashville), Dallas, Raleigh, Mexico. Note this discount does not “stack” with other promo codes. (Remember you can save some $ on any race but Vegas every day by using code TRAINWITHBAIN.)

Review a race on You could win some yummy stuff! During the day, tweet a link to your favorite review on, tag @bibrave and @justins, and you could score some Justin’s nut butters!

Apply to be a BibRave Pro. BibRave ambassadors get all the good stuff, and it turns out the team really needs more West Coast runners. (I’m lonely out here!)  Apply online HERE, and let them know I referred you. (‘Cause if you get picked, I might get a shirt or something.)

Enter to win Ortholite with Neon Is My Color. It’s a National Running Day and you should visit the blog of Neon Is My Color to learn how to win with Ortholite.

Join Black Girls Run for a 5k. It’s a virtual event with real bling. Details at Black Girls Run.

Run with Road Runner Sports, Fleet Feet, or your local running store. Check with your local store to find out what is going down and when. (If you’re in CA, the free raffle-prize-loaded Adventure Run at Road Runner in San Carlos is on Thursday!)

Run for funds. Use the CharityMiles app to donate your miles to your favorite charity.

Get the hook up from Dean Rauschenberg (and others). Be safe out there, especially if you run events or run alone.  Hook up with Road ID.

Keep an eye on your favorite running brands on social media. I’m betting there are surprises in store. Personally, I’ve got my eye on Brooks.

Win stuff from Skora. Rafflecopter giveaway with shoes, a Garmin, and Nuun! Entry form here.

Win shoes from ASICS.  “ASICS America will be giving away a free pair for shoes to a random winner for every 100 tweets that use the #GoRunItJune3 hashtag on Twitter.” You can also grab a badge and get more deets at their website.

Try Everlast’s new VEGAN protein! Go to the Everlast website, and use code TRAINWITHBAIN to save. No expiration, starts today for National Running Day and the code is good pretty much forever.

Go green with EnergyBits! Go to the EnergyBits website, and use code BAIN to save 25% on any kind of Bits. Organic, non-GMO, pure algae. Green goodness to keep your run on! This isn’t National Running Day specific, but it is a great source of fuel for runners.

Show your GameFace. “In honor of National Running Day, we’re honoring your achievements! Are you ready to show off your best photos and win some cash? Post your best Gameface photograph on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook to be entered to win a $250 Visa Gift Card. The winner will be picked Friday afternoon, announced on our Facebook page and contacted by Gameface. All you need to do is dig out that picture of you crossing the finish line, conquering that obstacle course, or just having fun enjoying the sport you love. Use #rungameface and tag Gameface Media on Facebook, Twitter (@gameface_media), or Instagram (@gamefacemedia) to ensure we catch your entry! Good luck and keep up the good work.”

Save (others) with socks. Bombas socks are having a special today, ALL sales proceeds go to Back on My Feet. (You can also help Back on My Feet by signing up for the Los Angeles area Foothill 5k Challenge! Use code BIBRAVE when you register to save 15%.)

Sparkle a little. Sparkly Soul 26.2 and 13.1 headbands are marked down to $5 all day. No code necessary, just go shop. Then enter to win one: “Enter to win 1 of 10 surprise headbands by telling us why you run, your plans to celebrate National Running Day or post a picture of you running with hashtag #irunandsparkle and tag @sparklysoulinc on any social media! Enter through Thursday June 4th at 11:59pm PST – 10 winners chosen at random from all social media on Friday June 5th!  Be sure to follow us on the social media you enter on to win!”

Share the love?

San Francisco and California-related

Party (and Run!) with Marathon Matt at A Runner’s Mind (3575 Sacramento Street, San Francisco) during the National Running Day Soiree!  The event includes a 4-5mile run with treats and prizes, such as Michelob Ultra sponsored by Rock ‘n’ Roll San Francisco, Mamma Chia, Hint Water, and more. Details and RSVP here: National Running Day Soiree

Run in Oakland! Project Sport, the group behind The Town’s Half Marathon, is hosting a National Running Day event at Lake Merritt. Meet at 6 p.m. at 599 El Embarcadero for a loop or two around the lake. Run, register for The Town’s Half, join your fellow runners for a post-run beverage. Can’t wait until Wednesday? Run Tuesday! Meet at Athleta Bay Street, Emeryville at 6 p.m. and run part of The Bay Trail.

Run in Oakland! The Oakland Running Festival producers, CSE, have two deals for you. One, stop by their office at 1001 Broadway (on 11th Street across from Faz) during your run between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to get water, Gu, a vintage ORF shirt and a discount off a future CSE event. Two, if you can’t stop by the office–like me, I’ll be working in Stockton tomorrow–Use NRD at checkout to save 10% off any CSE West Coast Race (the code is only valid on June 3rd). Upcoming events include the Sunnyvale 10-Miler/5k on June 28th; the Raiders Back to Football Run on Sept. 12th; Broads Run Broadway on October 10th; Hellaween Costume Run on October 24th; and Oakland Running Festival on March 20, 2016. Check out ORF online.

Run with See Jane Run. Meet at the SF and Oakland See Jane Run stores at 6:00 for a 5k run, raffle, door prizes, and other goodies. Plus for every ten people who attend, See Jane Run will donate shoes to Girls Run Roosevelt.

Run with Team Luna Chix. The weekly run with the SF group is at 7:00 at Sports Basement in the Presidio. Find them on to RSVP.

Enter to win a free entry to the 33rd annual California International Marathon. (It’s easy–print the form, fill it in, snap a selfie, and tag it!) Click to read the instructions.

Register for the Dana Point Turkey Trot. The early bird gets the gravy, right? Registration opens on National Running Day. Details here.

Golden State Half Series. Register today on their website. IF you register for all three TODAY, you get a free VIP upgrade at one race. Register to run the Livermore Half (Code ROLLBACK saves you $5), The Town’s Half, or the Golden Gate Half.

Los Angeles area (Glendale): Register to run the Foothill 5k Challenge, benefitting Back on My Feet (a sweet charity that helps people experiencing homelessness through running programs). The challenge is that there is a 1,000′ elevation gain! I’ll join you in running it on July 19. Register here with code BibRave to save 15%.

Napa to Sonoma. If you tried to register and didn’t get in through the lottery, go check your email. They’ve released a few spots, but they are ONLY available to those who tried to get in via the lottery.

Avocado Half Marathon. Hit up the website between now and June 8 and save $10 with code NATRUN15.

Zooma Napa Valley. Register today at the website, and save 10% with code LASTCHANCE. Then join them for a training run on Saturday. Free training  run (10 miles or 5 miles) with the ZNV Ambassadors. Athleta will open early to host our runners and will raffle off a $50 gift card. Details: Saturday, June 67:00am; Athleta-Corte Madera, 215 Corte Madera Town Center, Corte Madera, CA

Events & Deals in Not-California Places

This is an incomplete list, of course…you can also look at the Facebook page for National Running Day.

Angel Fire, NM: Register for the 4th of July Angel Fire Adventure  half marathon, marathon, or 5k. Use code AFABIB20 to save 20% when you register here.

Arizona: Score a discount on the 12ks of Christmas by using code NATIONAL RUNNINGDAY. Details here at the 12ks of Christmas.

Atlanta: Kick off the Summer Stride series with West Stride. Click for details on the Summer Stride Series in general, or click to the facebook page for the National Running Day Event.

Chicago: Register to run the Terrapin 5k using code BibRaveShoes, and be entered to win a year of free shoes! Register here.

Cleveland: Join @djstephfloss for a downtown run. Follow @runwiththewinners for more details.

Dallas: Register for the Back on My Feet for the Peace Love Run in July. Use code BibRave to save 15%. Details here.

Durham, NC: Join Bull City Running for a 7 a.m. run. According to the event page not only will there be donuts, but the chance to win free shoes.

Meridian, Idaho: Pick a treadmill or a stationary bike to join a 24-hour run and ride with FitOne, and score a $15 race registration. Details here.

New York: Of course the New York Road Runners have the event hookup! Click here for NYRR’s event listings.  I’m sure you are not surprised that there are a million and one other runs in New York City.


P.S. check out my friends’ suggestions for National Run Day! Take a look at Confessions of an Amateur Athlete and You Signed Up For What for more celebratory discount announcements and Races and Rescues for a glimpse into one runner’s “why I run.”