Thanks for the Memories 2018

2018 was another wild ride! I logged a total of 45.7 race miles, not as many miles as I hoped due to a year packed with four yoga teacher training sessions, limited funds, and an unexpected foot injury, BUT I am still very proud of what I did accomplish! I have lots of gratitude for the unwavering support from you my loyal followers, friends, community members, and my sponsors Westfields Dental, Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute, Essence of Om, and Downs and Associates Insurance!

Highlights of the year included achieving two personal milestones. I participated in my first Ragnar Relay, running the furthest I ever had so far. The day before I flew out for the race in Mt. Zion, Utah, I was in the emergency room until after midnight for minor internal bleeding that I first discovered during the Race for Hope. The ER doctor and nurses respectfully thought I was crazy for going through with my Ragnar plans, but gave me their blessing after I explained my passion for persistence and that it would be my first time as a team leader, and I didn’t want to let my teammates down. I went on to complete the relay faster then I expected!

My second milestone of 2018 was competing in my first half marathon, Seawheeze in Vancouver, BC. Overall, this trip was one of the best experiences of my life, which is why I am doing it again in 2019 (spoiler alert 😉). My Airbnb host was terrific, having two daughters of his own who are marathon racers, he made sure that I had all of the necessities I needed pre and post race. It rained relentlessly the whole time I was in Vancouver, so I joined a local yoga studio called YYOGA to keep up my fitness schedule. I ended up befriending a wonderful local woman named Patricia in one of the classes. She and I instantly hit it off as if we had been friends for years. I had a stellar training schedule to follow, thanks to the valuable booklet Lululemon sent all the racers, but I did not prepare as I should have due to being immersed in yoga teacher training. My body wasn’t accustomed to the impact of street running, and as a result, I ended the half marathon with a stress fracture in my left foot. I am proud of my race completion time despite the circumstances. Lesson learned, NEVER blow off your training schedule that prepares your body for a race or fitness challenge of any kind!

A trusted wise friend told me that she foresaw 2019 as being a transitive year for me. I am intrigued by what lies ahead. I learned some valuable lessons in 2018, but I am ready to move on. I hope that you continue to find inspiration in my life journey, and forge a fearless path of your own in healthy ways that fulfill your spirit and soul!

DATE EVENT LOCATION
May Wonder Woman Run Fairfax, VA
May Race for Hope Washington, DC
May Ragnar Trail Relay Zion, UT
June DC Pride Run Washington, DC
July Ragnar Chase the Moon Fairfax, VA
September SeaWheeze Half Marathon + Yoga Festival Vancouver, BC

Race Season 2018: Sponsors

And so it begins, race season 2018! This year my schedule organically evolved into a theme of running, the sport most outside of my comfort zone. I am very appreciative to have secured three company sponsors so far…

Westfields Dental

Westfields Dental in Fairfax, a woman-owned dental practice using the latest technology in their field and very community focused. This is Dr. Whitney Jarrell and her awesome team’s second year supporting me. Westfields Dental is special to me because they have believed in me and supported me from the start, and for that, I will always be grateful.

Downs and Associates

Downs & Associates (who recently merged with HRI Associates) located in downtown Herndon are new advocates of mine. They are an insurance company who don’t typically support individuals but were impressed with my future goal for starting a foundation based of off Gal on the Go. Bonus surprise, their office manager Lana heard about my blog and plight to encourage girls and women to lead fearless healthy lives and sent me a personal check.

Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute

Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute in Fairfax and Manassas is another new sponsor of mine. They donated a laser treatment/injectables package for me to auction off and Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute goodies for my #galotgo bags. Their life-changing team consists of Dr. George Bitar, an award-winning board-certified cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon and member of the prestigious American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS), Dr. Larry Lickstein, and a highly skilled crew.

Thank you, advocates, for backing a member of your community who is striving to make a positive difference in the world in her own small way.

I am still in need of additional sponsors, so if you are interested in supporting my goal to have a positive healthy influence on the lives of girls and women everywhere, please give me a shout at galotgo@gmail.com!

SIDE NOTE: Workers recently entered my apartment to conduct an annual dryer vent cleaning. I was at work and had my camera on because as a female living solo you protect yourself the best you can. I have all my race medals and bibs hanging on a wall. One of the guys touched the medals and said, “wow, that’s a lot for a girl!” Another guy looked at the medals and said, “that’s too much exercise for me.” I am sure they meant well but listen up guys, the women of today are a fierce new breed!

Challenge Races: Athletic Gear + Backpack Tips

I have been asked many times for advice on how to dress for challenge races and what to bring, so I figured why not share the info in a post. Enjoy Spartans, Tough Mudders, Trail Ragnarians and others!

CLOTHING:

Note: I am basing this on average race weather, not winter conditions.

  • Dress in sportswear that is made from quality fabrics, has some compression and is comfortable, BUT not so expensive that you will be upset if your clothes are torn up from obstacles and getting down and dirty on a race course.
  • Breathable, lightweight fabric is the best so that if you become soaked by water features or Mother Nature you will not be weighed down.
  • Coverage is a key factor often overlooked. If you are going through several water features or it’s raining I would stay away from long-sleeve tops, ankle-length leggings, and loose fabrics that could weigh you down or get caught on objects. To that same point, I wouldn’t recommend wearing tiny shorts that offer little to no protection. I have found that Capri leggings are the best length because they offer mid-range coverage and protect your knees during crawling maneuvers.

GLOVES:

Bring fitness gloves you can wear to help protect your hands and provide you with a good grip on the obstacles. Again, I wouldn’t recommend buying expensive ones because they may get torn up. When I reach water obstacles I typically remove my gloves and stash them in my waistband to try and keep them dry.

SNEAKERS:

The importance of your feet being comfortable is commonly taken for granted and can make a huge difference in your race experience. I strongly advise not waiting until race day to break in new sneakers. Your sneakers should have good tread and ankle support to handle slippery surfaces, wooded and rocky terrain, especially for races that last more than three hours. Wearing lightweight sneakers and tying them securely is also a benefit if they become wet or heavy covered in mud. I cannot tell you how many random sneaker casualties I see along race courses. Be prepared to have to spray down (or power-wash 😉) your sneakers at the end of a race. If they are old and/or destroyed at the end, many races offer you the option to throw your sneakers in a donation pile.

BACKPACK ESSENTIALS:

Note: I like items that aren’t bulky and serve multiple purposes.

  1. Emergency Phone Charger
  2. Phone – place in a waterproof pouch if you use it during a race, I usually leave my phone in my backpack for fear it will get broken
  3. Photo ID + Insurance Card + $20 Cash (in small bills) – place together inside a small ziplock baggie or a waterproof pouch
  4. Keys
  5. Sunglasses
  6. Hand Sanitizer Gel – can be used for your hands or first-aid
  7. Small Bar Soap – like the kind from a hotel
  8. Lip Sunscreen
  9. Body Sunscreen
  10. Bug Spray
  11. Q-Tips
  12. Nail Clippers – can double as scissors if needed
  13. Standard Garbage Bag – can be used for garbage or as a rain poncho
  14. Pack of Mini Tissues
  15. Small Travel First-Aid Kit
  16. Flashlight or Two Glow Sticks
  17. Spare Pair of Socks
  18. Spare Pair of Underwear
  19. Light Packable Jacket or Sweatshirt shout-out for GORE-TEX® SHAKEDRY™ Jackets – breathable, lightweight, waterproof and reflective, totally worth the money, #GOREWear
  20. Black Sharpie for writing your race number on the body part of your choice, filling out forms and more
  21. Duct Tape – rip and roll up a small section from a large role; useful for covering blisters, patching holes and more
  22. Water Bottle + Carabiner Clip
  23. Electrolyte Tablets #nuun tablets are great because they come in a small waterproof container (based on a lake incident I had) and they are versatile; you can pop a tablet in your water bottle or the mini paper cups of water
  24. Protein Bars
  25. Energy Gels
  26. Microfiber Towel – perfect for use at the end of a race on your body or to protect your car seat

Now go out and crush your race goals!!!!!

If you have any tips you would like to share, write them in the Comments section or send an email to galotgo@gmail.com and I will add them to this post.

Sneak Peek: 2018 Healthy Adventures

“When unforeseen obstacles arise, change your plans for how you will reach your goals, never give up on your goals or yourself.” – Gal on the Go

My healthy adventures schedule may appear tame now, but you never know what’s going to come up, and that’s part of the fun!  😉

DATE EVENT LOCATION
May 6 Race for Hope 5K
http://www.teambt.org/
Washington, DC
May 11 & 12 Ragnar Trail Relay
(Team: All the Good Names are Taken)
Zion, UT
June 2 Bay Bridge Paddle Annapolis, MD
September 22 SeaWheeze Vancouver, BC