Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Apera Bag review


**Apera sent me this bag complimentary to review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

I think every athlete wants the perfect bag to carry their necessities in, whether it be a runner, a yogi, a cross fitter, a swimmer, or another sport.  I hadn’t heard of them until I saw some of my fellow blogger friends writing up reviews.  I was intrigued and super excited when Stacy contacted me and offered to send me a bag to review!

Never heard of Apera before?  They launched in 2012 and the designers were looking to come up with a bag that would allow the user to be better organized and, what may surprise you, more healthy.  What do I mean by that?

Most gym bags today are unhealthy – meaning they don’t protect the athlete or their belongings inside from odor and bacteria.  Apera bags are made from a groundbreaking antimicrobial product that helps to resist the growth of bacterial odor both on the inside and outside of the bag. 

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They have ample ventilated compartments and the linings are wipeable, allowing for easy cleaning after that trail run or cross fit competition.  There is also a washable insert for your wet clothes to keep them separate from the rest of the bag.  All of these factors help keep your bag clean!

I also love that they support the Special Olympics.  For every three bags they sell, Apera donates one of their Sprint Pack bags to a Special Olympic athlete, which I know means the world to these extraordinary people.

I chose the Tech Pack bag.

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When I first received the bag I was impressed by how much room was in it!  One of the best things about the bag is the two pockets in the front for your shoes.  For a girl who has big feet, even my size 12 Brooks running shoes fit in it!

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Most any runner will tell you that you don’t want to check your running shoes with your suitcase on a flight, just in case it gets lost.  This bag is fantastic for that as it has the extra compartments for your shoes so you can easily carry them on with you!  If you’re going on a short weekend trip or just hitting the gym after work, it keeps them away from your clothes and the rest of the bag.  The pockets are also ventilated so it doesn’t trap the smell inside.

It also comes with a padded pocket at the top of the bag, perfect for any delicate items that you wouldn’t want to get banged up, like glasses, your cell phone, or an iPod.  I also like to keep my Shuffle and headphones here for easy access.  And, although orange isn’t my favorite color, it’s nice to have a light colored fabric so it makes looking for items a little easier. :)

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There is so much room in the second large pocket for clothing.  My husband and I were able to pack both of our clothes and toiletries in the bag for an overnight trip to the North Georgia Mountains.  You can also see the zipper compartment inside the bag, which is perfect for phone chargers, keys, business cards and other smaller items that you may not need immediate access to.

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While I haven’t had the opportunity to use the washable insert yet, I know it will be perfect to put my socks, unmentionables, and other accessories I use for running that tend to get drenched in sweat after a run.  It’s plenty big enough for a swimsuit as well.

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I love that the bag is a backpack, but if you do get tired of carrying it on your back, there’s the option on sliding it onto your suitcase handle.  You can also see how the straps are ventilated as well and how nicely padded the back of the pack is, making it more comfortable.

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It comes with a large pocket on both sides, perfect for a water bottle.  I also used it as somewhere to carry my yoga mat!

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What drew me to this bag was that it also had a separate pocket for a laptop and/or Ipad, which makes it fantastic for traveling, whether you’re flying on a plane or in a car.

There’s another small pocket in the front where I store my Nuun, a small hairbrush, and headbands for the gym.  The bag also has a small strap you can buckle across your chest for added stability.

There’s a video posted on the Tech Pack’s page that you can check out as well!

I absolutely LOVE this bag, and while the price point may seem a little high ($124) it is definitely worth it for the quality of the product.  It has already gotten a good bit of use from me and I know it will get more as the year goes on and I keep training for my fall races.

Right now Apera is having some fantastic deals going on!  First off, their anniversary sale!  Now through July 31st, you can get 20% off all bags (excluding all blue bags and Duffel Pack colors) using the coupon code SUMMER2014 at check out.

All of their blue bags AND Duffel Packs are on sale for 40% off as well (discount is taken automatically).

As if that wasn’t enough, Apera is also giving you the chance to WIN a bag!  Just by subscribing to their newsletter you’ll automatically be entered to win.  July’s giveaway will be an Apera Sprint Pack.

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I highly recommend that you check them out.  They have many other styles of bags, both backpack style as well as a sling bag style.  There’s definitely something for everyone!  Thank you, Apera, for giving me the chance to check out your bag and for introducing me to something I’ll be using for years to come.

Until next time,

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Weekly Workouts – July 6-13

This week was the start of my training for the runDisney Wine and Dine half marathon!  I am so incredibly excited to run this race as it’s been at the top of my bucket list, and hubby was nice enough to give me the trip for Christmas last year. :)

I do have 2 half marathons and a 10 miler race on the calendar before I get to Disney World, but I’ve played around with my race schedule and they should fit in nicely with a few changes.

So my workouts from this week -

Sunday, July 6
Came back from my parents cabin late so no workout

Monday, July 7
Rest

Tuesday, July 8
30 minute run
7.8.2014

Wednesday, July 9
rest

Thursday, July 10
30 minute run
7.10.2014

Friday, July 11
rest

Saturday, July 12
rest

Sunday, July 13
3 mile run at the greenway
7.12.2014

I got in all my scheduled training runs last week…yay!  This week I’m planning to hit the gym again for some cross training as well.  :)

What race are you training for?

Until next time,

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

2014 Peachtree Road Race expo and race recap

It’s one of my favorite races of all time – the Peachtree Road Race!!

Thursday after work I drove down to the expo to pick up my bib and do a little shopping.

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After picking up my bib as well as Sharon’s, I met up with Jill and baby Isabel to walk around the expo for a bit.  I had to stop at the Sparkly Soul booth and pick up a few new headbands (I even managed to wear all of them last weekend).  We continued on to the Atlanta Track Club’s booth where I picked up the commemorative Peachtree Road Race medal that I ordered and signed up for the Triple Peach!

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In order to complete the Triple Peach, you must finish the Peachtree Road Race, the Atlanta 10 miler, and the Atlanta half marathon.  After each race you receive a magnetic plate for that race that goes onto the medal.  I’m excited about taking on this challenge!

After Jill left I continued to skim through the booths and was a bit underwhelmed by this year’s expo.  It could have just been me but there weren’t many vendors there that I was super interested in.  I was, however, excited to meet the owner of Huma Gel, my go to fuel during races!  He told me they’re coming out with some new flavors and I cannot wait to try them out!  I also had to stop by the Georgia Beef booth and say hi to my friend Dane from See Dane Run.  I met Dane last year at the Publix half marathon expo and he’s such an inspiring (and funny) guy to talk to.  Check out his blog and read his recap of his first Peachtree Road Race!

I left the expo and headed home to lay out my clothes for the next day and get some rest.  My BRF, Brandi, and I came up with some super cute costumes for this year’s race -

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“From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere!” – Dr. Seuss

I heard the fireworks from our city going off, so Guinness and I went to the front of our neighborhood to watch (he’s not afraid of fireworks so I can take him outside without him flipping out)

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After the show was over, it was time to head to bed.  I had an early wake up call in the morning!

Thankfully I didn’t oversleep (always one of my biggest fears).  I got ready and Sharon met me at my house to ride with me to MARTA.  We headed down and got on the first train that came to the station…and sat there…and sat…and sat…I think 98% of the train were race participants…didn’t they know we had somewhere to be??  FINALLY we were off and headed to the race!

The walk to the corrals from MARTA seemed a LOT longer this year.  I think they routed us a different direction.  I heard someone yell out “Jen!” and saw Amy from Mom’s Magical Miles run up to me.  We all chatted on the way to the corrals as she was meeting someone in K and I was headed to M.  I made it there and found my Thing 2 :)

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It feels like we had a mini photo shoot in the corral with Brandi’s friends and family, which was fine by me! :)

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If you’re not familiar with the Peachtree Road Race, it takes about 2 hours for all the waves to cross the start line, and we were pretty much right in the middle.  The first runners left at around 7:30 and we were set to start at 8:23.  We had abnormally cool weather for July…lows were in the 60s and I think the high for the day was somewhere in the low 80s…PERFECT running weather!

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As we were waiting we heard our names – Marie and her brother had found us…a selfie was needed :)  The Peachtree was Marie’s comeback race after having her beautiful baby boy and I know she rocked it!

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And finally…we were off!  Brandi and I had three main goals for the race : 1) to have as much fun as possible, 2) to beat our time from last year, and 3) to beat Meb!

Meb was the male winner of the Boston marathon this year.  I had the honor of meeting him at an Atlanta Track Club event in January and he is one of the most humble and inspiring people I’ve ever met.  He was approached by the ATC to raise money for Kilometer Kids, their program to get children into running.  He would be the very last starter of the Peachtree Road Race, and for ever person he passed money would be donated to Kilometer Kids.  His goal was 22,000 runners!

Okay back to our race :)  Unfortunately I didn’t take a ton of pictures this year, but Brandi took a few and graciously allowed me to post them here (thanks BRF!)  The spectators this year were fantastic, as last year the threat of rainy weather kept a lot of them away. 

Mile 1 was pretty normal…we had a decent pace going.  During Mile 2 we passed the Episcopal Cathedral where they sprayed holy water on you.  And, in case you missed that, their priest was standing on the side of the road sprinkling water and blessings on the runners.  It’s always fun to see him!

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The first three miles of the race are on a nice consistent downhill…but as we all know…when you go downhill you’re more than likely going to have to come back up.  I was having some inner knee pain and stopped to stretch before heading up Cardiac Hill.  This is probably one of the toughest parts of the race, but also one of my favorites, as you run by the Shepherd Center, one of the nation’s top 10 rehabilitation hospitals.  They specialize in spinal cord and traumatic brain injury rehabilitation.  It’s a very humbling part of the course because some of the patients and their families are out there cheering for the runners.  It’s amazing to run by, getting and giving high fives and fist bumps to these strong men and women.  After running by Brandi turned to me and said “How does your knee feel now??”  I know no matter what kind of pain I’m in, it doesn’t compare to what the patients and their families are going through, and I pressed on.

We kept running up on Brandi’s parents and had to take a mid-race selfie (or two) with them :)

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Along the way we saw tons of people handing out water, beer, pizza, watermelon, cheese puffs…it’s like a 6.2 mile long buffet!  We didn’t partake in any of the food this year, but when we saw people handing out sodas, we were all over it like white on rice!

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O.M.G. They were so cold and so refreshing!!  Although I will admit I was a little burpy the rest of the race…a small price to pay for a little sugar rush :)

Last year we were soooo upset at Marathon Foto because they got absolutely no pictures of us together…hello!  Two girls both wearing inflatable ducks running side by side and you don’t think they’re together?? Thank goodness that didn’t happen this year!  I don’t think there was any doubt we were together -

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Soon after the “fake finish” came the real finish.  We started to run and about 10 seconds later I said “okay walking”, just to get a little rise out of Brandi.  She shot me a “WTF” look and I had to make sure she knew I was kidding :)  We crossed the finish line and realized that we beat our time from last year and…WE BEAT MEB!!!  (Once the results were posted we found out that he finished about 3 minutes after us and exceeded his goal by passing 22,780 people!  He’s a beast!)

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We headed down to the finisher’s chute to get our coveted Peachtree Road Race finisher shirt.  Every year people submit possible designs for the shirt and the public gets to vote on the top 5 finalists.  The winning shirt isn’t revealed until runners cross the finish line and get the shirt.  Often times runners will hold the shirt up along the course so those who haven’t finished yet see it.  After getting our shirts, we headed to the ATC tent to meet up with Brandi’s parents and to get our “gift” from the ATC – a picture, and I must say, ours turned out super cute!  (I’m not sure what the camera did to the color of our visors and ribbons though…they show more blue than turquoise…oh well, it’s still a good picture!)

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Ramona was waiting for us outside the ATC tent, so we met up with her.  On our way out I ran into my friend, Zoila, and her hubby and brother, who had all just finished their first Peachtree Road Race and did a great job!  They’re also doing the Triple Peach :)

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Brandi’s mom was getting hungry so we headed down to the post race food tents that Publix was sponsoring and it.was.insane.  I was able to grab Sharon a banana and get us both a small bag of pretzels, but that was it!  We saw runners walking around with bags full of peaches, cookies, and other snacks, and later found out that they were pretty much out of everything by the time the race was finished.  You can read more about the ‘hoarding’ on Amy’s blog here (it was BAD!)

Of course pictures were a must :)

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Brandi and I went over to grab our Triple Peach medals and I met back up with Sharon, who had a fantastic race!  We all stood around chatting and then decided to head to MARTA.  On the way out Blue Bell was handing out popsicles and Sharon snagged one for us.

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The walk to MARTA from Piedmont Park is not a short one…but King of Pops very strategically placed a couple of their carts on the walk, and I definitely caved and bought a Raspberry Lime popsicle…it was sooooo good and hit the spot! (No picture of that as I inhaled it as fast as I could).

Sharon and I parted ways with Ramona and headed back to my car and then home. 

Oh…you wanted to see the shirt design?  Here it is!

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I really liked this year’s shirt and look forward to wearing it a lot in years to come.

And I tucked this beauty away, only to be pulled out in October to add the 10 miler plate to it and in November when I complete the Triple Peach – I’m a believer that you don’t wear something until it’s earned.

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All in all, this year’s race was another for the books.  We met our goals but most importantly, we had fun doing it.  Now we have to wait another 359 days to do it all over again :)

I highly recommend this race to anyone!  It’s affordable for a 10k and it’s the world’s largest!  Who’s joining us next year??

Do you have a race you always run every year?

Until next time,

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Weekly Workouts – June 29-July 6

Sorry this is late…like 2 weeks late. 

Some days I feel crappy before I don’t post as often as I would like to / as I should.  But hopefully that will all be changing soon as I officially start my Wine and Dine half marathon training tomorrow (or today, depending on when you read this post).

Since I have 2 half marathons before Wine and Dine I had to modify the training plan a little but at least I have something to follow…I tend to do better when I have a plan.

As for my workouts for the week -

June 29
2.20 super hot miles…this is what I get for sleeping in…

July 4
My BRF Brandi and I ran the 45th annual Peachtree Road Race 10k!  I’ll be writing and posting about it later this week.

Yep…this all I did last week.  This week and the weeks to come should be much better.  I have a goal in mind that I am determined to hit by the end of year, and I refuse to post it as I don’t want to jinx myself. :)

I hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th, and look for more posts from me in the future! (I promise)

Until next time,

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Foodie Friday – Food Trucks!

There is a reason I didn’t have a Weekly Workout post this week – I didn’t work out.

Plain and simple.

On June 6th hubby and I spent 4 hours at the pool, and my smart self did not put on sunscreen.  I.Was.Torched.

It hurt to have clothes on…it hurt to move.  So I did not run or go the gym all week.

This week my back has been bothering me, but I hope to get a run in this weekend as I have the Peachtree Road Race in 2 weeks!

So this week for Foodie Friday I’m serving up something different…food trucks!

They seem to be popping up in major cities, and I, for one, love them.

It’s such a fun way to try new things and it makes for a fun night out!  Thursday nights are the “food truck” night in a city close by and that’s where we head.  I lovingly call it “Food Truck Thursday” :)  We went both last week and this week with some friends and had a great time.

This week I totally forgot to take pictures of our food, but trust me, it was tasty!

Each week they post on their Facebook page what food trucks will be there that week.  Generally there are around 7-8 trucks along with 2-3 dessert stands. 

Last week we had empanadas from On Tapa the World…they were soooo good!

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The one on the top is chicken and on the bottom is beef.  The beef was definitely the favorite with my hubby and I.  The chicken could have used more seasoning, and the green sauce was so good to dip them in!  Next time I want to try to Broccoli and Cheddar empanada.  They make them fresh to order so they were piping hot when we got them.  I’m ready for them to come back!

We also got some food from the WOW Truck.  This truck was voted #1 best food truck in Atlanta, and it also had a little cameo in the movie “What To Expect When You’re Expecting”.

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They have a large hearty menu, but hubby got the Kwanzaa Bowl, which had smoked pork on a bed of potatoes, topped with shredded cheese, their “kicky” sauce, and BACON

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Our friends got the Smoky Bowl – smoke pork on a bed of roasted potatoes, cheddar cheese, their house made barbecue sauce, and chipotle cream.  They gave it two thumbs up!

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I got two of their arepas, which are griddled corn cakes stuffed with something :)  I got one stuffed with brisket and the other with tomato, basil, and mozzarella.  The brisket was lacking of seasoning but the TBM was very good!

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This week hubby and I shared a bowl of BBQ mac and cheese from the Mac the Cheese truck.  We were a little underwhelmed by the type of cheese sauce they used.  Next time I want to try their Spinach and Artichoke mac and cheese…it sounds delish!

We also had a pork taco, beef taco, and sesame fries from the Yumbii truck.  We tried this truck out last year and really enjoyed it, and they didn’t disappoint this year.  The fries are super good with the sesame oil on them.

If you live in the Atlanta area, check out where these awesome food trucks are and have a family outing.  The Alpharetta Food Truck Alley happens every Thursday night from 5-9 p.m.  I know we’ll be going back many times this summer with our friends.

Do you have food trucks where you live?  What’s been your favorite item you’ve had from a food truck?

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Until next time,

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