Tag Archives: half marathon training

Amphipod Hydraform: The First Handheld Bottle I Like!

Disclaimer: I received a Amphipod Handheld to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

If you have been reading my blog for sometime, you know that somehow I managed to survive half marathon training last summer without a good hydration strategy. I tried a hydration belt & didn’t like the bounce. I desperately wanted to use a handheld water bottle, but I didn’t like the feel for long distances. This winter, I found hydration packs, which I love; however sometimes you don’t need a pack, but you still want to bring water on your runs. Enter Amphipod Hydraform – the first handheld that I love! IMG_4868

Amphipod Hydraform

The Amphipod hydraform is the first handheld water bottle that I like to use. The other handheld water bottles that I tried were awkward and uncomfortable to carry and didn’t have any storage. The Amphipod bottles are ergonomically shaped, which makes it very comfortable to carry for short to long distances. The design allows it to fit better in your hand and the thumb/hand strap is very comfortable. You won’t get a hand cramp carrying this bottle! IMG_4903
The water bottle cover has a huge pocket that holds my iPhone 6 with enough room for keys, a snack & some tissue. I tried putting a iPhone 6 Plus in the pocket and it fit too! I love all the storage the bottle has. You can take this on your run and not have to bring anything else with you. I love that I can take this water bottle with me & leave my running belt at home. I stay hydrated & can carry all my running essentials. 

How I use it

I have taken this water bottle with me on short 3 mile runs, middle distance 5 to 7 mile runs, and I even ran a half marathon with it!

crossing finish at half marathon!
crossing finish at half marathon!
It was so pleasant to use during the half. I carried fuel, my phone, keys & Ultima (electrolyte powder) along with my ID and some cash. So convenient and easy! I was glad I had the handheld with me that race as there were not as many aid stations as I would have liked. IMG_4984

Why Iā€™m in love! 

  •  Extremely comfortable to hold & run with
  • Insulated sleeve, keeps water colder longer
  • Huge, expandable pocket to hold phone and other running necessities 
  • Squeeze & squirt cap makes for easy drinking while running! No need to open or close the bottle to get a drink. 
  • Very easy to carry despite size & storage. Holds 20oz of H20!
  • BPA free bottle (no chemicals leaching into water)
  • Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
  • Wide opening on bottle for easy filling + adding ice
  • Lots of storage!
  • BONUS: they are made in Seattle!!!

Hands down, this is the best handheld water bottle I have ever used. There is enough room for storage & plenty of water. IMG_5086

Where to Buy

Amphipod makes several different sizes of handheld water bottles. The one that I have is the Hydraform Ergo-Lite Ultra. It holds 20oz of water and has the extra large pocket. They also make a 16oz bottle – the pocket is still supposed to be able to hold a iPhone 6. 

super easy and comfy grip!

They have plenty of other water bottle options available on their website as well. Check them out HERE or use the store locator to find them at a running store near you!

How I Became “a Runner”

The subject of running has been coming up quite a bit lately. In conversations, social media and at get togethers. Because I have kept running, and enjoy it, I have now been classified as “a runner”.

994871_425146534266985_317336452_nThe races I have been signing up for have been longer distances, at least longer than 5K (3 miles). This leads people to believe that I have been running for a long time and that I have always loved running, but the complete opposite is true! This time last year I had just signed up for my first race that I planned on running, and I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to run the whole thing! 
That race is really what started it all.

To hear my whole story on how this “running thing” started, check out my video. I tell the whole story from why I even wanted to sign up for my first race and how that turned into running a half marathon. I even share a bit from my past and where I am now. It’s about 6 mins long, I hope you will watch it šŸ™‚ If you don’t feel like watching  video, it’s cool. Keep reading…

Finally, check out this screen shot from my Nike+ app — this was my VERY first run with the app! 

  That 4.83 mile run was the longest I had ever run and that was the first race I actually ran. Running 9:49/mile felt amazing to me! The run on the bottom on 5/13 was my first run ever! 

Here are my stats now in this May:  
If you want to start running, or anything for that matter, just start. You aren’t going to be perfect at first, but you will improve and get better. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, your journey and experience will be unique. Since last May I’ve had plenty of runs that were not fun and many that were not perfect. There will be days like that and you just have to keep on being consistent and you will reach your goals!!!

Stay sweet


Success is in the preparation [Half Marathon Recap – Part 1]

Success is in the preparation. Preparation requires dedication. Dedication requires discipline.  

Those 3 things I learned on my journey to running the half marathon. It was quite the learning experience, not only in never giving up, but also in perseverance and looking at the big picture. I trained for 3 months to get ready for this race. I had to put in the work early on and then got to watch it all unfold during the race. It was pretty cool.

I have told some of this story here before, but I have not always been a runner. I actually just started running in May 2014, that was 5 months ago! (watch the end of this video below where I talk about how I got into running & my anticipation of the half marathon – its like 10 minutes long FYI)





I ran the Portland half marathon. I chose this race because it gave me enough time to train, they had some sweet finisher swag and it has been voted the best race to run in Fall. šŸ™‚  We drove down on Saturday morning and went straight to the Expo so I could pick up my race bib and packet.

Photo Oct 04-5
says “entering Portland” – it was SO sunny the WHOLE weekend
Photo Oct 04-2
officially in Oregon!

The city was READY for the marathon, see the below pic, they had all these posters on the light poles…. it made it that much more real!

Photo Oct 05-3
heading into the packet pick-up – I was ready to explore Portland for the day with my beach babe cooler haha šŸ™‚

When we got to the packet pick up I was so intimated because there was barely any half marathon bibs, there were WAY more people running the full marathon! I was like “I’m over here trying to run 13.1 miles and these peeps can run 26.2!??” – woah just woah. Very inspiring to be around so many dedicated athletes and runners considering I have only been at this for 5 months. 

I realized quickly that I had never been part of such a big race. Not only mileage but also number of people. There were like 12,000 people who ran on Sunday!! Once I picked up my bib, I was like “OMG THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING!” 

Photo Oct 05-2

The expo itself was not huge, there were several running companies there and some other random stuff. I was worried that my finishers shirt was gonna be too big (my shirt size has changed since I registered for the half way back when) so I bought a cute pink Portland Marathon shirt as a memory of the weekend. I was so overwhelmed by everything I didn’t take as many pics as I wanted šŸ™

 We looked around the expo briefly and then headed over to the Portland Saturday Market. I was really excited for this as I had heard so much about it. 

Photo Oct 04
ended up in front of Voodoo Donuts and didn’t even realize it until we saw the line haha

We got to the area where the market was and ended up in front of Voodoo donuts. The line was insane. We didn’t have any donuts. We did stop at Stumptown Coffee though…. OMG YUM. You have not had good cold brew until you try the Stumptown Cold Brew šŸ˜€

Photo Oct 04-4
they had these Mexican coffee beans, I wish I would have bought some as you don’t see coffee beans from Mexico very often… oh well next time.

Photo Oct 04-3

I wore my “I Hate Running” shirt around Portland all day on Saturday. Most people got the joke, but others were like “really you hate running?” or “you are brave for wearing that on marathon weekend” –  I was like come on people! šŸ˜› The funny thing as you guys know, I haven’t always liked running, but now I do like it – so this shirt just seemed appropriate for the day. As my sister pointed out, many people were looking at it or laughing about it thru out the day. 

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 6.29.48 PM
this is what the tank looks like. Unfortunately it isn’t available from VS Pink anymore šŸ™

 I was filled with nerves… as the day passed I started getting more and more nervous. I thought to myself “why are you so nervous, you know how hard you worked to prepare for this”…. I think the nerves came from having no idea what to expect. This was something I had NEVER done before, that is intimidating! 

After exploring the Saturday Market, we went to get something for dinner.  My sister and her BF went to his BBQ place, I didn’t see anything on the menu that seemed like something that would sit well with my stomach. So we headed over to whole foods to get some grub from their salad bar and hot food section. YUM! 

Photo Oct 05-6
my outfit, ready to go! complete with skittles for #beastmode (seahawks fans will understand)

I set like 10 alarms because I didn’t want to feel like I was rushing in the morning. Well I kept waking up all night haha. So I got up at 445am and ate GF pumpkin protein pancakes, some almond butter and an oatmeal for breakfast (carbs anyone? haha). I downed a black coffee (my favorite pre-workout) and met up with my sister at 6am. 

Photo Oct 05-5
part of my breakfast

It was HILARIOUS because we did not talk about what we were going to wear or anything and we ended up basically matching! Obviously we are sisters!  We did our shopping separately and ended up with the exact same running shoes – model AND color! HAHA. We also both ended up wearing a Nike burn out tank in pink and black bottoms. It was so ironic and funny. I loved it! 

Photo Oct 09
matching and not even on purpose! Obviously sisters!

I started this tradition back in May that when I run a race I like to wear a BOLD lipstick – like HOT pink or red. At first she made fun of me but now my sister shares this tradition with me. It adds a little boost of confidence, try it out! For the half marathon we wore “Girl About Town” by MAC. So not only did we have matching outfits on accident, we also had matching lipstick! haha.

our matching shoes! haha

  We walked over to the starting area…. it was still dark outside!  We were in separate starting corrals (due to different mile times) so we took one last pic together and parted ways… 


 I was in corral E, the 5th group to start the race. There were a total of 8 corrals. You put in your estimated time when you registered. Since I was still new to running, I was pretty generous with the time. I could have been a faster group, but you were not allowed to move up. I wasn’t too worried about it, but later on in the race I was wishing I had been with faster runners. I will explain why later. 

Photo Oct 05
waiting to start!

As we approached the starting line, I was like OMG THIS IS HAPPENING! I was so excited I could barely stand it!

Photo Oct 05
my Nike app ready to go! waiting for the start

Our group started the race and crossed the starting line at 7:10am… 

Photo Oct 05-4
about to cross the starting line!

Tomorrow I will finish my recap of the race & tell you how the race went and what my finishing time was! Stay tuned! 


How I plan to CELEBRATE completing 13.1 miles

keep-calm-it-s-only-a-half-marathon-2Today I am driving down to Portland. I considered going down yesterday (Friday), but it was too complicated with other stuff that was going on – so I decided that going on Saturday would be the best option. 

I have had plenty of time over the past 2 days (it’s amazing how much time those runs started to take up – I didn’t really realize until I had 2 days in a row with no work outs!) to contemplate the race, should I do this, do that…. BLAH! While I am slightly nervous because I have no idea what to expect, I am SO EXCITED! 

What I HAVE been thinking about is how I am going to CELEBRATE finishing the half marathon. I have mentioned this before: it is SO important to celebrate an accomplishment, no matter how big or how small. I prefer to celebrate without food! (free download about it)

Here are some of the things I am contemplating…. 

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 12.20.48 PM
Ivanka Trump ‘Sirraly’ Pointy Toe Bootie

 I have been wanting to add a pair of booties to my wardrobe for sometime, I just hadn’t found a pair that matched my style and what I was looking for. These seem pretty perfect…

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 12.21.04 PM
a pair of wedge high-top sneakers

I think a pair of wedge high-top sneakers would add the perfect style touch to my Lorna Jane workout clothes when I go from the gym to the street… what do you guys think? Again, I have been looking for a pair for a long time, but hadn’t found a color/style that didn’t make me feel all “ghetto fab”.  I like that these ones are mostly black.. and they are on sale (even better)!!!

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 12.26.11 PM
Pair of personalized Nike Frees — possible color combo. Nike ID is way too much fun to play with!
Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 12.26.35 PM
loved this color combo too!!! so many other possibilities šŸ™‚

 A pair of personalized Nikes…. did you know you can go to Nike iD and personalize a pair of shoes??!  They have almost every shoe model available. I love Nike Free for almost anything, weight lifting, general lifestyle wear, a casual walk or short run… the list goes on. I had WAY too much fun playing with color combos… talk about a hard decision. You can also put words on the tongue of the shoe….it can say whatever you want…ahhhhh so many ideas!

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 12.25.23 PMAn iPad air….. I don’t think I need to explain this haha. Sometimes you just need something in between your phone and your computer. Due to the price point I would probably count it as a partial Christmas gift too… 

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 12.27.43 PM
iPad case!!!!!!! <3 Kate Spade

This iPad case has my name ALL over it! Gold sparkles!?! Pink accents?!? (insert heart eyed emoji here) Obviously this would be if I got an iPad or iPad mini… but seriously, how cute is this case??

 You know what makes this even better, is since the half-martathon is in Portland, there is NO sales tax! hehe. I will have plenty of time on Sunday after the race to peruse and figure out what I will purchase… 

awesome image from pintrest!

I plan on crushing the WHOLE 13.1 miles and seriously celebrating afterwords. I do not wish to celebrate using food because I personally find non-food rewards much more satisfying. They live on longer than the moment you eat…they serve as a memory of the accomplishment and are, in my opinion, much more exciting to look forward to.  (check out my free download on non-food rewards here)

Be SURE to check back here on Monday because I will have a whole recap of the race, Portland visit and of course I will let you know which of the things listed here I chose for myself! 

Stay sweet!

In it for the Long Run….

Yesterday marked the final day of my peak week for half marathon training. I ran the longest I have ever run in my life: 10 miles. At the beginning of training when I looked over the plan I thought “OMG 10 miles?!” I dreaded the thought. I worked my way thru the training plan and made to 10 miles yesterday…


I survived the run(thank God). Some things happened on the run that made it interesting, but I made it and I feel ready for 13.1 miles this coming Sunday. 

  1. my phone died at the end of my run…I was at 8.5 miles and then BAM my phone just turned off šŸ˜ it was a solitary final 1.5 miles with no music. Thankful I know roughly where the mileage marks are so I was able to finish and know I ran the full 10 miles – this happening made me feel like I needed a running watch, that may be my next purchase. 
  2. I finally reached over 200 miles on my running app (woohoo!!) I only use this when I run, not when I walk or do any other exercise so these are all running miles. I never thought I’d reach 200 and here I am šŸ˜€
  3. It was a beautiful fall afternoon. I loved it – perfect running weather. I need to check the forecast for next weekend, but I hope it is similar because it was awesome.  The shoes passed the test, I think. They were really comfy. I’m still slower bc of my hip but it’s getting improved thankfully.
  4. I did something everyone says not to do – I tried new things the week before the race. I experimented with GU Gel and took my new running shoes out for a spin. I had to get new shoes, the Nike’s I was wearing are awesome for shorter runs, but as I was getting into the longer distances, I needed something for the “long run”. I got a pair of Brooks Ghost 7s. They seemed okay yesterday, I am going to try them tomorrow too and see if they can really win me over. 
  5. I took the GU gel with me on the run intending to use it only if I felt I needed it. Well, I ended up eating the gel – the taste was interesting, not horrible, just interesting. I was worried it was gonna make my mouth all slimy and it didn’t thankfully. It did help me power thru the end of my run but I’m gonna have to find something that isn’t gel. My peeps on Instagram suggested blocks and some other products. I am going to look into that because I want to have something for the race just in case I need it. I am not a huge fan of the ingredients in some of the products, so once I make up my mind I’ll be sure to let you know what I decide. 
Photo Sep 28
overview of my run

SO – my “peak week” of half marathon training is over, and this week I get to taper off to the actual race. Tomorrow is 4 miles, then 3 miles, 2 miles, 2 rest days and then the race on Sunday! Right now I am feeling confident, I’m sure the nerves will build as the week goes on. 


Have you ever run a race (any length)? What were your feelings before it? Let me know in the comments below!

Stay Sweet!

Next Week – Sugar Series & Running

I am super excited to announce that next week on my blog I am going to be featuring a “sugar series” here on my blog. We will talk about sugar, its effects, why you should consume it wisely, nutritional tips and some of my reflections on my history with sugar. I will be featuring content from my fellow #fitfriend and blogger, Kylie (LittleMsFitness) – get excited!

My (first) half marathon is coming up NEXT weekend, so I will be reflecting on that as well and talking about running.  You can expect a few recipes to be sprinkled in too (pumpkin related possibly?) šŸ˜€

I hope that you will join me for this feature week! You will not want to miss a post!
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Happy Weekend! 

sugar series week-2