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This year's race was somewhat of a milestone for me, because it was my fifth year running the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.  I first ran it in 2014 (no recap for that one since I hadn't started blogging yet), 2016, 2017 (part 1, part 2), and of course 2018.  Except for the first year I ran the race, I have volunteered to get in every year.  In 2015 and 2018 I chauffeured elite runners to the airport.  In 2016, 2017 and this year I helped with packet pick up right as it opened.  I definitely prefer helping with packet pick up because you get volunteering done before race weekend even really gets going.  I volunteer for this race because you get guaranteed entry to the following year's race, and it's also really fun.  I've enjoyed both my volunteer jobs though for sure!  (My first year I took Aliphine from NAZ Elite to the airport before she ran her first marathon and she was running for New Balance at the time.)

After volunteering you get a code to be able to sign up the following December and there are all kinds of add ons.  Generally I get the cotton race t-shirt, and a medal.  This year I got the enhanced medal, meaning after the race I would receive a little plate engraved with my time and placement.  I was feeling pretty confident that I could do well enough to PR this race again after being able to for the previous two years.

Since my volunteer shift was early enough in the day I decided to buy parking ahead of time using Spot Hero and drive into DC.  (It was SO easy and I was so glad I did it.)  After finishing my volunteer shift, my Dad and I had fun exploring the expo.  It was a lot of the same vendors.  Got a few free snacks--cheese (from Cabot), quinoa thin stacker cakes and baked grain bites (from Lundberg Family Farms) and had some 26.2 brew.  After killing some time listening to some of the speakers, we went to the volunteer dinner to eat and drove home.  (Since it was well after rush hour, I hit barely any traffic on the way home!)

For the first time since I started running this race, it looked like it would be legitimately warm.  Like, would need to wear shorts and potentially a hydration vest warm.  Going into the race, I really had no idea what to expect.  After running the Shamrock Half my IT band had a flare up and was really angry.  I was really just planning on finishing.  If I PR'd, that'd be great but I decided wouldn't beat myself up if I didn't.  (But let's face it, it would be hard not to do that.)  I talked with a Volee teammate and she was having a similar issue and it flared up at the exact same time and she ran Shamrock as well.  (My theory is that it was from the elevation being too flat, and then going back to hills pretty much right afterwards.)  She and I decided to try and meet up at the race, we would both wear our hydration vests and run the race together as much as we could.  The night before the race I looked up my picture from when I had my IT band taped up for the Marine Corps Marathon and tried to copy what my sports massage therapist had done.  (Sure there's no scientific evidence that taping an injury helps, but it also doesn't show that it can hurt either!)  I also planned on slipping on a compression sleeve for added stability.


On race morning, my Dad and I drove into DC (since Metro doesn't open early for this race anymore I bought parking ahead of time again) and walked over to the start.  We checked out the post race food since it was a table in the middle of the field.  We just walked up to a table and a volunteer reprimanded us saying the food was for AFTER the race.  Once her back was turned I grabbed a Honey Stinger waffle out of spite and because I knew if I didn't, I probably wouldn't see them again.  Since by that point it was getting close to gun time we lined up in our respective corrals and I told my Dad to text me when he was through the chute.  My friend and I were in the same corral and since I was there first I texted her where I was so she could find me.  We were both nervous and our IT bands were feeling a little angry still, and discussed our last minute strategies as we waited to start.  Generally for this race, I run for at least the first mile or two (or even the first half) until the crowds begin to break up and then start doing run/walk breaks as needed.  But again with my IT band, all bets were off.   I was just wanting to finish.

I managed to keep up with my friend for the majority of the race and it was a lot of fun to be able to point out some of the landmarks since it was her first time running.  After running past the watergate, I started seeing random friends also running.  So I thought "You know what?  This is like a giant party where I know I have friends around somewhere but just need to find them!  I want to make this a giant party for the rest of this race."  So I did just that.  I ran into friends I hadn't seen in ages and some others who I knew were running for the first time and really struggling so I ran with them for a little while and gave them a pep talk and distracted them with random DC landmarks.  And I had the best time.

By the time I crossed the finish line, I was had so much fun I didn't even care if I had PR'd.  But when I looked down at my watch, I knew it would be very close.


My Volee teammate and I finished very close together and we walked through the runner's chute super proud of ourselves (it was a PR for her!) and got our waters and actually turned down the mylar blanket.  (It was THAT warm and the sun had started to come out.)  We walked over and got our post race snacks.  At that point, there were still bananas and granola bars but they were running dangerously low on Honey Stinger waffles and it didn't help that the volunteers were hoarding them.  I grabbed another one for my Dad and ate the one I had grabbed earlier.  My friend and I saw runners taking entire boxes of canned Peet's Coffee that was offered, and we asked a couple random people with full boxes if we could have one and were ignored.  So then I took things into my own hands and walked up behind a volunteer that had the last of the cans and grabbed two coffees from behind her and handed one to my friend.  Afterwards my friend and I went our separate ways so she could find her husband and I could get my medal and meet up with my Dad again.

This has been one of my consistent pieces of feedback for this race.  The organizers have ample time to set up food within the runner's chute and I know this as someone who has worked in the running event industry.  And they already put stacks of cases of water in there, why not the tables with food?  There is absolutely no reason to have it out in the open so runners (and random people) can come up and grab whatever whenever they want.  The food should be in the chute so you only have access immediately following the race and once you leave the chute you can't come back and get more.  It was downright disgusting to see how greedy the other participants were.  I just wanted enough of each thing for myself, my friend and my Dad who had no chance at even seeing one of the waffles.  (I didn't bother getting him coffee because I knew he wouldn't like it.)  Sure, keep medals in a tent off to the side.  They have that system down because generally people aren't going to try and get multiple medals and bibs are marked showing that they've been paid for and picked up.  Food needs to be more secured so everyone gets a fair chance at getting a little bit of everything that's offered.  Once my Dad texted me he had finished, I met up with him and all that was left were bananas and granola bars so I handed him my extra waffle.

As my Dad and I walked back to the car we talked about our races.  Despite the ugliness at the post race food, I really had a good time during the volunteer shift and then during the race itself.  I would recommend the race for people who haven't done it before and for out of towners because of all the DC landmarks you get to see up close.  I'll probably do the race and volunteer to get into the 2021 race, but I'm also getting to the point where I kind of want to see what other races are out there that same weekend.

Once my Dad and I got back to my parents house, I opened my laptop and checked my spreadsheet of all my finishing times.  (I highly recommend doing this--it has all my split times and shows all the statistics that is offered by race organizers.)  I had in fact PR'd by 7 whole seconds!  I know it doesn't sound like a lot, but considering the conditions (my IT band and it was the warmest year I've run this race) I'm pretty darn happy with it.
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Hope everyone had a great 4th of July!  Mine was super chill--workout in the morning followed by a run so I could get my total mileage in for the day.  I usually go out thrift shopping on Thursdays, but since it was a holiday I chose to avoid the crowds instead.  

Sometimes going for a run in a skirt can be fun, and the shorts on these have silicone grip so they're less likely to creep up while I'm out. 
(ICYMI:  I have a tutorial on how to add it to compression shorts!) 
Lululemon Circuit Breaker Skirt:  Originally $68, paid $8

I really don't understand why Athleta discontinued this style of pants.  They came in full length, capri and even lined (with super soft jersey knit) for cooler months.  The capris have an elastic band on the bottom so I can pull them up on my calf and they don't move.  And as an added bonus, the fabric for the unlined versions is so lightweight I can even wear them when it's oppressively hot outside!
Athleta Viva La Vida Capri: Originally $79, paid $7

Water resistant hiking pants that are the perfect length and dry super fast?  Sold!
Athleta Dipper Pants:  Originally $89, paid $6

Trying to find good pants for travelling on planes in the summer is no easy task.  I have a long plane trip coming up and I don't like wearing shorts on planes since I get cold easily, but at the same time I want something lightweight so I don't overheat the second I step outside.  These seem like they could work very well, at the very least for the plane.  And as someone who's short, I'm very happy that there's elastic around the bottom so the hem doesn't drag on the ground.
UA Slim Air Woven Cargo Pants:  Originally $100, paid $7

I've found the tank top version of this exact short sleeved shirt in the past, so I was super excited to find this one.  This line of tops from Athleta has little dots of silicone in the bottom hem so they don't creep up.  It's not perfect, but the silicone definitely helps!  
(And this is another awesome line that Athleta discontinued.)  
Athleta Fast Track Short Sleeve:  Originally $49, paid $5

Any good races coming up?  Or how about any good thrifting finds?  Leave a comment below!
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I swear spring is way too short.  It feels like it lasts maybe 2 weeks--there's that short, glorious time when you can wear a light jacket or even just short sleeves, enjoy a beverage in the hammock outside comfortably then before you know it you're hating life because it's just too hot to do anything outside besides swim.  (Or maybe it's just a Baltimore/DC thing because the humidity is terrible for about 90% of the summer.  That sweet 10% is right after the rain evaporates after a thunderstorm.)  That being said, I'm still shopping for cool weather clothing because Fall will be here eventually and I miss it. 

I have mad respect for Crossfitters.  I love watching the Crossfit games qualifiers and then the finals in August.  (Last year they did a marathon row.  Yes, 26.2 miles of rowing.  It was fascinating to watch and had it on in the background.  The slowest time was around 4 hours.)  I came across this when I was thrifting and immediately had to get it.  It's my favorite color, lightweight and shows my respect for Crossfit.  
Crossfit Activechill Tank:  Originally $45, paid $6

I grew up in the 90s.  Therefore, Lisa Frank anything was a must (especially the stickers.)  I still love the bright, fun designs!  The Lisa Frank line put out by Rage On is definitely pricey, but when I found this while out thrifting I couldn't resist!
RageOn Lisa Frank Majesty Shirt:  Originally $40 (currently on sale for $29) paid $3.

I'm always on the lookout for fun printed leggings that I could potentially wear for a late October race (even though lately it's been so hot leggings are out of the question.)  But I can still wear them when I go to the gym! And since they're high waist you can fold the top over for a lower rise and to make it fit a little more snuggly around the hips.
Constantly Varied Gear Sugar Skull Leggings:  Originally $60, currently $49.99, paid $10

I found this pair right next to the sugar skull pair!  The only difference is that these have pockets, which lets face it--athletic gear can never have enough.
Constantly Varied Gear Mermaid Leggings:  Originally $65, currently $39.99, paid $10

I love wearing super bright colors when I workout and run.  This tank from Athleta is awesome because the back also has venting in the back which makes it versatile so I can wear it comfortably in the gym or outside if I dare to run when it's hot outside.  
Athleta Kettlebella Tank: Originally $49, paid $2.50

Found a great somewhat retro print cropped leggings from Victoria's Secret Sport.  These have held up very well and are only a couple of years old too!
Victoria's Secret Sport Crop Leggings:  Originally $54.50, paid $8

Anyone racing this weekend?  Have any good thrifting finds? Post a comment below!
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I can't believe spring race season is almost over!  I ran my last race for the season this past Sunday and after the few hints of summer (and hammock time) I'm getting so excited for the warmer weather!

I'm pretty sure I'm at the point where I've bought more of these used than new.  But you would never be able to tell when I wear it because they just don't show wear!
Athleta Fast Track Space Dye Tank:  Originally $44, paid $6

These tanks are super comfy to the point where I wear them as sleepwear.  At a thrift store price point, why not?
Lululemon Power Y Tank:  Originally $52, paid $5

I don't like working out in white, but I would totally wear this casually!
Lululemon Cool Racerback:  Originally $42, paid $5

It might be May, but the temperatures are still going crazy so a light jacket like this one is perfect!  It's made with a light, breathable windbreaker-type material so it'll be great if its slightly chilly, or even drizzly.
Patagonia Traverse Jacket:  Originally $129, Currently $70 (in used condition), paid $10
Columbia makes a lot of their clothing with a fabric they call omni-shield.  It's water repellent, overs UV protection, just a little stretchy and super comfy!  
Columbia Global Adventure Shorts:  Originally $50, paid $8

Any good thrifting finds?  Any good races coming up?  Leave a comment below!
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The weather has finally started to warm up, the cherry blossoms are in bloom and one of my favorite races is on Sunday!!  So happy it's finally Spring and now I can start wearing some of my lighter weight thrift store finds.

I got really excited when I saw these Lulu track pants.  Some of Lulu's track pants generally have more shape to them than most out on the market.  These are great because they're a relaxed fit, have elastic at the hem and have more pockets than most track pants.  And of course, the price was right.
Lululemon &go City Jogger:  Originally $128, paid $5

We're getting to the time of year where it can be below freezing one day, in the 70s the next but always at least a little chilly in the morning and evening.  It's the perfect time of year for a lightweight wool cardigan like this one!
Icebreaker Villa Wrap Cardigan:  Originally $119, paid $5

Lately I've been seeing this brand pop up while thrift shopping, and I'm super excited.  The price point is higher than Lululemon, but the quality is a little higher.  These leggings are a little weird because the company is upfront with them being a little see through if you bend over.  For this price point and the positive reviews on the website, I figured they were worth trying!
Sweaty Betty Zero Gravity Run Leggings:  Originally $135, paid $8

This is another great layer because it's lightweight and a cowl neck.  (ICYMI:  I chopped off all my hair, so being able to cover the back of my neck on chilly days is definitely nice.)  
Athleta Batwing and Robin Cowl Neck Sweatshirt:  Originally $89, paid $8

SmartWool tops are amazing.  They're lightweight and not scratchy.  And make for a great layer under a sweatshirt since it also offers a little bit of warmth too.
SmartWool Base Layer Short Sleeve: Originally $75, paid $5

So this shirt was interesting because I'm positive it was a sample for a company that potentially wanted to buy it to print logos on it.  (This one is blank, and a really nice, thick French terry material.)  So I couldn't get a definite answer on the price because it was a range of pricing depending on the company you bought it from.  My guess is a company requested a sample of this, decided against using it and donated it.  I'm okay with that.
Roots 73 Riverrock Henley:  Originally $49-74, paid $5

These hoodies are amazing.  They hold up beautifully and are so thick and warm!  This one is a really pretty green, white and blue space dye.  It's a little faded, but otherwise it's in great shape.  It was a little more than I'd usually pay for a used hoodie but to me it's worth it.
Lululemon Scuba Hoodie:  Originally $108, paid $15

Anyone have any good thrifting finds?  Any good races this weekend besides Cherry Blossom?  Leave a comment below!
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It's starting to seem like winter will NEVER end.  Here it is March 7th, and we're about to have another snow storm.  (Thankfully it's the kind where it's pretty to look at, but won't mess up the roads!)  You might notice a little bit of a theme with this month's finds because I wanted all the warm stuff when I went out thrift shopping.

Thick wool sweater, brand new with tags?  Yes, please!
Prana Lucia Sweater:  Originally $169, paid $15

Another wool sweater, but this one is open front and has all kinds of different stitches!  
Madewell Panelstitch Open Cardigan:  Originally $118, paid $8

This one isn't quite as warm as the wool sweaters, but still super comfy.  I can't wait for it to warm up enough that I can actually wear it. 
White House Black Market Open Front Drape Neck Sweater:  Originally $99, paid $10

Long sleeved workout shirts are a must when layering for outside runs!  
Helly Handsen VTR Core Long Sleeve:  Originally $40, paid $3

I don't usually wear button down shirts, but this was a fun color and the buttons only go halfway down the front so less paranoia about gapping.  (And a stretchy fabric too!)
Marmot Allie Long Sleeve:  Originally $65, paid $6

Wool sweatpants + pockets?  ABSOLUTELY!  I don't usually rush to put clothes into the washing machine when I get home.  When I got my hands on these I couldn't get them into the washer fast enough.  SO comfy and shocked someone would get rid of such amazing pants.
Brooks Joyride Pants:  Originally $95, paid $7

Anyone have any great thrifting finds this month?  Any races coming up?  I'm cowbelling at the 11.5 mile mark for Rock n Roll DC this weekend, then next weekend is Shamrock in VA Beach where I'll be doing the dolphin challenge.  (Which means I'll be running an 8k on Saturday, a half marathon on Sunday.)  I'm so excited since it'll be my first race in that part of Virginia AND it'll be a big weekend with the Oiselle Volee!  
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