Disclaimer: I received a complimentary entry to the Runner’s World Half & Festival. All thoughts are my own.
What. A. Weekend! If you were following along on the journey this past weekend, then you know that I was one of 20 bloggers that was sent to enjoy and experience the Runner’s World Half & Festival, presented by Altra. So, what does that mean exactly? That means we all flew to the charming town of Bethlehem, PA and spent 4 days learning, laughing, running, and networking. I couldn’t figure out how I was going to wrap my arms around such a massive recap of the weekend…because there was just so much to talk about. But, I landed on just breaking it up in pieces. It’s not only easier to digest. It is easier to read. I’m always thinking about you!
I landed in Pennsylvania on Thursday afternoon. I flew into Philadelphia which is an hour away from Bethlehem. We were due to meet as a group at 5:00 pm for our first meeting. By the time I arrived at the hotel I had 30 minutes to check-in, throw my bags in the room, and take two deep breaths before we were on our way. I was lucky enough to have David (@RunningBecause)…you may know him from #RunChat! We chatted and caught up and made our way to meet the rest of the group. This was all a blur for me. It was all happening so fast. Before I knew it we were on our charter bus heading to Rodale headquarters. Rodale is the parent company to Runner’s World. They catered a delicious dinner with meals from their cookbook Meals on the Run. We had several meals from this book over the weekend…every single one was a winner. You know I don’t play when it comes to food.
After we ate, Golden the co-owner from Altra fitted us with our very own specially selected pair of Altra running shoes. I opted for a pair of trail shoes, and was given the Lone Peaks! The lugs on these bad boys aren’t a game. Since this weekend included a trail run, I knew this would be the perfect time to try them out. After we got fitted in our kicks, my best friend Bart Yasso gave us a tour of the Rodale offices where they construct Runner’s World. That was a lot of fun. Then we had s’mores outside! After our dinner, tour, and shoe extravaganza we headed back to the hotel…and of course we went to the bar and had cocktails…we call this networking.
We woke up and threw ourselves out of bed pretty early. We had a jam packed day of events! It started with a trail run tour of the course we would be racing later in the day with Bart Yasso. The awesome folks at Altra were also there to show up some cool new products and give some advice to those who may not be as familiar with trail running. I liked to call this forest running because it was so dense. Beautiful. Nature is so awesome. After we worked really hard and rewarded ourselves with some Starbucks, Bart Yasso invited us invade his house since we had a little extra time. Bart is very eclectic and has pieces from all over the world in his house. It really tells a story about how legendary this guy is. And his Tree of Bikes…we were all geeking out.
We arrived at the ArtsQuest building which is where the expo for race weekend is held. We spent the morning talking with the guys from Altra about why they do what they do and why their shoe design works. They also talked about some new innovating things they are getting ready on unveil to the world. We also got to talk to Budd Coates who talked to us about proper breathing techniques for running. One thing that really struck home for me was the conversation about the diaphragm and how when it becomes stressed because your breathing isn’t regulated it can cause side stitches! *MIND BLOWN* We even got the chance to work with Golden on his running form clinic. Just a morning full of action and fun. After this we had lunch (YAY)…and our special guest was fellow ASICS teammate (yes I can call her that) Deena Kastor! A week after her domination in Chicago she came to the festival to encourage, spectate, and just be her awesome self. This was one of the highlights of the weekend for me. Deena is SO REAL. She talked about how words have power and how having a positive outlook and positive focus on your goals is so important. Leading up to New York Marathon…these were words I needed to hear.
And then we got to take pictures with Deena. Did I mention how nice she is!?
You thought the day was over? HA! We were just getting started. We made our way back to the trails we hiked that morning and got ourselves checked in for the newest race to this weekend series. The 3.8 mile trail run. The course whips and turns and winds all through the woods and is quite technical in spots…so thank goodness for the Altra Lone Peaks I had because I would of ate it like Charlie Brown.and I ran around and took pictures and got our heads into the zone. We didn’t really have a strategy for the day just to go out and have some fun. I would call this course intermediate in difficulty only due to the amount of technical points on it. It rolls, it climbs, it drops…in true Bart fashion since he designed it ha ha. We had a blast and supported one another.
MAN! Friday was a crazy day haha. And the next morning we had TWO races on deck. I’ll tell you about those tomorrow.