Monday, August 29, 2016

From Fat to Finish Line Movie Review




I ran across the From Fat to Finish Line movie on Facebook and was really interested in finding out more about it.  I reached out to them and was given the opportunity to watch the movie before the initial release.  It has taken a while to write the review, but here it is.  

From Fat to Finish Line is a support community for, and made up by, people of all shapes and sizes.  They promote an active, healthy lifestyle and help with training for reaching your goals.  They have different forums from blog posts, to motivating stories that help to inspire and inform people whether you are just starting to lost weight or if you have lost weight and want to keep it off.  They are working on an app that will be ready for release shortly.  You can follow them on Facebook or join their free Facebook Support Group by clicking the links.

Jen Roe and Angela Lee met in 1994 when they worked for a daytime talk-show.  The two went their separate ways, but reunited in 2009 to form a production company.  They were both overweight.  Angela had been running since 1994 and inspired Jen to sign up for a half marathon after Jen saw Angela finish the Surf City Half Marathon.  Jen began to blog about her running journey and Angela was her biggest supporter.  They continued to run together and one day, Katie Foster from the blog Runs For Cookies, invited Jen to do a Ragnar Relay race along with 11 other people who had all lost significant weight.  That is how the documentary began.

From Fat to Finish Line started as a documentary film that follows those 12 people who had all lost an average of 100 pounds each.  The film documents their journey throughout the 200 mile Ragnar Relay Race.  The film was released this month and you can buy it on iTunes for $12.99.  Amazon also has it to rent for $4.99 or buy from $12.99. Here is the trailer.


What I can say is that I was extremely touched by this documentary.  I started to cry because of how inspirational the stories were and that was only 3 minutes into the film.  The race was from Miami to Key West, Florida and took over 30 hours to complete.  It was amazing to hear about the transformations of each runner, what drove them to lose the weight , and how they found a passion in running.  Here is a breakdown of each member.

Katie - 125 lbs. lost - “Running helped me be a better mom to my boys.”

Meredith – 101 lbs. lost - “Running Helped my to start living my life instead of watching life pass me by.”

Lealah – 130 lbs. lost - “Running helped me realize that I am capable of achieving whatever I choose to attempt.”

Andrea – On the Oprah Weight Loss Finale Show of The Biggest Loser in 2011 - “Running helped me lose the weight that was holding me back from becoming the me I always wanted to be.”

Ada Runner-up on Season 10 of the Biggest Loser, 100 lbs. lost - Running allowed me to be able to do the simple fin things that normal people get to do.”

Rik – 90 lbs. lost - “Running has changed my thinking from ‘I can’t to ‘I can and I will.’”

Linda - 40 pounds lost - “Running has given me the chance to live a happier, healthier, disease-free life.”

Jen – 100 lbs. lost - “Running helped me discover an inner drive, determination and strength I had never known; it also gave me a sense of accomplishment that had been missing my entire life.”

Allison “Running introduced me to a healthier, happier more positive me I never knew existed.”

Carly – over 100 lbs. lost - “Running made me believe in myself.”

John “Running didn’t change me. It just helped the real me find my way out.”

Jennifer - 100 lbs. lost - “Running helped me conquer depression.”

Each story is inspiring and can be used to motivate you in your own journey, whether it is losing weight, starting to run, conquering a new distance, or eating healthier.  I cannot recommend this documentary enough and would love to hear your comments once you have watched it.  Please go to their Facebook or Facebook Support Group if you think that it could help you out.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

2016 SoFi Golden Gate Half Marathon Preview



* I received a free entry to for the SoFi Golden Gate Half Marathon 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!

So you may have seen that I am a brand ambassador for the 2016 SoFi Golden Gate Half Marathon in San Francisco on November 6, 2016.  This has been one of my bucket list races since I first heard about the race a few years back.  This used to be called the US Half Marathon.  The idea of running across the Golden Gate Bridge sounds amazing and there is no way that the amazing scenery couldn’t motivate you when your legs get tired.  I also perform better in colder races so I am hoping for a really good showing, especially since it is about one month before I race the California International Marathon in Sacramento on December 4th.  

I want to share some details about the race itself and don’t miss the coupon code I will post at the bottom to save you 10% off your registration. 

Sponsors

SoFi and Muscle Milk

Course

You start the race at the Muni Pier in Aquatic Park.  You can get some great pre-race pictures with the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz in the background. The race starts out by taking you through the marina and Presidio on your way to the Golden Gate Bridge.  You cross the bridge on the eastern walkway toward Vista Point and then you head back toward San Francisco on the western walkway.  While on the bridge, you can take in the amazing views of the ocean, Baker Beach, and the beautiful skyline of San Francisco.  Once over the bridge, you head down to Fort Point and back through the Marina to the Great Meadow at Fort Mason where the finish line and your awesome medal will be waiting for you.

Expo and Packet Pickup

The expo will be held the day before the race (Saturday, November 5th) from 10:00 AM-6:00 PM.  The location will be announced shortly.  You will have to attend the expo to pick up your race bib and event tee.  There are some options which will allow you to either get the bib and timing chip mailed to you or you can pick it up on race day (both options have an additional fee associated with them). 

Swag

Included in your registration is a commemorative, reusable water bottle, gender specific tech tee, really cool finisher’s medal, free admission into the post-race RunSF Festival and more.  There will also be a virtual gift bag with more goodies.

Price and Discount

The cost of the Golden Gate Half Marathon is currently $94 for the half marathon. If you cannot make it to the expo (like me) you can pay $35 and pick everything up on the morning of the race.  I remember reading that you have access to special bathrooms as part of that fee.  If you want your race bib and timing chip mailed to you instead, it will cost $25, but I don’t think you get access to the special bathrooms and will still have to pick up your shirt and water bottle on race day.  You can register at http://po.st/bibravegg and be sure to use the code “BIBRAVEGG” to get 10% off.  

Top Reasons to run the 2016 SoFi Golden Gate Half Marathon

1)      Amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Baker Beach and more
2)      An awesome finishers medal and reusable water bottle
3)      The experience of running across the Golden Gate Bridge
4)      Mostly flat and fast course
5)      Limited registrations to make the race more personal (last year was limited to 3,700 runners)
6)      Usually great temperature (Average low: 52 degrees, Average high 66 degrees)
7)      Several places to park within about ½ mile of the start/finish line (pay by the hour parking structures)

My Training Plan

Since my goal race of the year is the California International Marathon (CIM), I will follow the Run Less Run Faster training plan for that race.  I will be running the Urban Cow Half Marathon in Sacramento on October 2nd, the Granite Head Ales and Trails race on October 15th in addition to the Golden Gate Half Marathon (GGHM) on November 6th.  I will use the hills on the GGHM to help me prepare for the rolling hills of the CIM.  

I love the Run Less Run Faster (RLRF) plans because you run 3 days a week, with 2-3 days of cross training.  I will be biking 1-2 days a week and swimming one day a week. The runs are at specific paces and is broken down into one interval/speed run, one tempo run, and one long run.  I used the RLRF half marathon plan earlier this year.  It really worked for me as I was able beat my best half marathon PR by almost 6 minutes during a training run.  The reduced mileage and elimination of “junk miles” helps to reduce the amount of injuries from the author’s claims.  I can see the logic behind it, but since I am not a doctor or physical therapist, I cannot confirm those claims.  You can find the book on Amazon for about $10.  If you are interested in specific information about my plan, please drop me a comment and I would be more than happy to share it with you.

I can’t wait to mark this race off my bucket list.  If you are planning on attending and want to meet up before the race, please let me know.  Also, be sure to go to BibRave and read reviews of this and other races.  Help other people find great races by adding your reviews as well.  I love finding great races and avoiding not so good ones based on what I read on BibRave.   I hope to see you at the race.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Proviz REFLECT360 Running Jacket Review



You should never expect for cars to see you.  I always run defensively because you never know when there will be someone texting instead of looking where they are driving.  I reviewed the Proviz REFLECT360 Gillet (vest) in January.  It is extremely visible and I could tell that the drivers saw me.  I finished the review and Proviz told me that they were just coming out with a jacket for runners and asked if I would like to review it as well.

Proviz was started in London by two brothers who worked corporate jobs and commuted by bicycle.  They used equipment to help them be more visible but realized that there was a void in the market that they wanted to fill. The first device they invented was an electroluminescent light pack.  The company’s most popular products are in the REFLECT360 series which was introduced in 2014.  It is unique because it uses 100% reflective materials, which look grey in the daytime, but is highly reflective at night.  The REFLECT360 series includes jackets, gilets, vests, backpacks, helmet covers and more. 

The REFLECT360 Running Jacket uses most of the same materials that I really liked in the Gillet.   The reflective material covers the front of the jacket as well as the arms.  There is a soft mesh material under the arms and on the back to allow heat to escape.  One of the main things that Proviz was looking to do was to keep the weight of the jacket down.  The total weight of the jacket is just under 6 ounces.   I have included pictures with my flash on and off so you can see the difference.  The zipper sits under a zipper guard when fully zipped up so it doesn’t chafe your neck.  There is elastic around the waist so it doesn’t ride up. 


I found the REFLECT360 Running Jacket to be extremely comfortable and fairly breathable.  I did test it when the temperature outside wasn’t very cold so I did overheat a little.  To be honest, I probably didn’t even need a jacket, I just wanted the reflectivity.  I found all of the features from the mesh, to the elastic waist, to the awesome reflective material to be of the best quality and it makes for a great product. 

Pros:
Light weight and breathable
Makes you very visible to traffic
Comfortable materials

Cons:
It is a little on the pricey side, but well worth it.

Proviz’s Media Links:

This REFLECT360 Running Jacket is comfortable, looks good, and most importantly it makes you extremely visible.  While you should still make sure to be a defensive runner and always pay attention to oncoming traffic, this is one product that could really help you to be safer.  You can pick yours up at the Proviz website.  If the $139 price tag is too much, look into the gillet or last years running jacket on amazon.  While it is missing some of the upgraded features of this year’s jacket, it is better than nothing.  Have fun and run safe my friends.

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.