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5 Unique gifts every Runner NEEDS!

I asked my 5 year old for her perspective this morning, “Sadie, what does mommy need to go on a run?” She replied, “Don’t forget to breathe mom, that’s all you need”. Did I mention I LOVE her?! I love the simplicity of a child’s mind, in her eyes all I need to remember to bring is my breath. 🙂 However, over the past seven years I’ve picked up a few items that have completely changed my running experience and now I never leave the house without them! Here are the 5 Unique things every Runner NEEDS:

1. Pepper Spray

No joke. If there’s any one thing I could use this running blog to promote, it’s safety! Truth be told, while running I’m just about as ignorant as they come when it comes to observing my surroundings. I definitely notice how tall the pine trees are around me, and how nice the wind feels blowing in my face as I enjoy my run at my pace…. but did I notice that bear track on my nature trail? or worse, that article in the news this morning of a woman gone missing on her morning jog? My husband has given me a whole new appreciation of safety, and along with increased observations, I sincerely hope you will bring pepper spray with you to protect yourself in any situation!

2. Smartphone photo lens

If you’re going to be running a lot of miles, you’re going to cover a lot of ground! That’s the blissful part of going on a run, to see the beauty in the world all around us! OK, maybe that was a bit too much, but not far from the truth. I always run with my phone (just in case of an emergency) so to have this protective case on allows me to capture some great photos as I run around the States. There are several case options, but this one includes a fisheye lens, wide eye angle lens, macro lens and CPL carbon fiber. Here are a few photos I’ve taken along the way using my Ztylus Revolver lens.

Monterey, CA
Hakone, Japan

3. Flip belt or Fanny Pack

Ok, so now I have you carrying your smartphone with a photo lens case, pepper spray, and of course your car key. I don’t know about you, but I like to be hands free on a run so I travel with either a Flip Belt, for my shorter runs or my Nike Fanny pack on a longer one so I can carry water. Both of them are lightweight and yes, Fanny Packs are perfectly acceptable in the running community, even if we’re not living in the 1980’s.

4. Bose headphones

Have you ever wondered what it would sound like if your run had a soundtrack? Meaning you watch a 3 minute time lapse video of you running a half marathon from an outside view but feel completely immersed in your environment. Of course I always imagine my run would have a really cool song like Midnight City from M83, but if you’re looking for a headphone to distract you from the aches and pains along your run- you have got to try Bose. These headphones were probably my biggest running investment, but I love every single run with them.

5. Hands Free dog leash

As soon as I put on my running shoes, my Golden Retriever Tucker knows what’s up. And as much as I love to let him run free, most places require your dog to be leashed at ALL times! (especially in California). This hands free dog leash has been a lifesaver because I hate, hate, hate holding onto a leash that’s being pulled on, but love, love, love having Tucker help speed up my pace from my waist, haha! This wonderful leash was the best solution for Tucker to run his very first half marathon with me last year 🙂

There you have it, 5 unique things every runner needs that I’ll bet you didn’t even consider before today. It doesn’t matter the distance, or how much time it takes you, but I encourage you to go outdoors and get moving! ….Go on. 🙂

These items are essentials for all of my runs, and I’m so excited to share them with you! But for complete transparency, As an Amazon Associate I may earn from qualifying purchases, now go out and enjoy!

Running Through the Neon lights of Las Vegas Half marathon

‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!’ Except when it comes to sharing all the deets on running a half marathon along the strip at night! Rock n’ Roll series is the only race that shuts down Las Vegas boulevard to put on a spectacular run to experience all the lights and magic that Sin city holds. 

 I made SOOOO many mistakes on this run, so I feel this Nevada run is my most informative blog. I hope that you can successfully complete your run and enjoy the night life after!

The Run- Rock n’ Roll Las Vegas

This race takes place in mid-November each year and hosts more than 40,000 runners! As naive as I am, I assumed that since the run was in the Nevada desert, it would therefore be HOT! So I came to the race in a cute tank top and little booty shorts. Well, long behold, it is (more often than I realized) cold in Las Vegas, and in November 2014 I stood outside in tiny little runner clothes while the clouds spit out snow (mistake #1). Luckily I found a long sleeve shirt.


Rock n’ Roll half marathon series holds true to it’s name and puts on quite a pre-run entertainment show! This year Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at the start line on Las Vegas Blvd between Harmon and Park avenue. However, before we get to the main event, you have to actually GET to the venue (mistake #2). We stayed at Caesar’s Palace (as it was closest to the finish line) which is a 1.1 mile walk to the start. I learned after the fact that there is a monorail that can get you closer to the venue. However we heard this was also quite packed full of runners, so plan ahead.

We had also planned on eating a big, carb-loaded lunch at the venue once we got there, so we passed many opportunities to eat along the way (mistake #3). Well there is NO food at the venue. so we started our half marathon at 5 pm with only eating half a bagel for the entire day!


Again, duh, right?! But I had never practiced running a long run at night, despite signing up for “run the strip at night”! It never occurred to me that running 13.1 miles at 5pm would be any different than running 13.1 miles at 7am (mistake #4). Well it is a LOT different depending on the time of day, so train your body accordingly.

This brings us to the start of the race, the corrals. This was my least favorite part of this grand event. Hosting 40,000 people, I’ll admit the rock n roll series does a fantastic job organizing that many runners; but that will never take away the fact you honestly feel like cattle. It took 35 minutes shuffling along, just to START the race!! The only benefit of these corrals was the warmth that they provided in the surrounding freezing weather. To be completely honest, I was already physically and mentally drained before I even started the run.

The run itself was quite incredible; it truly is amazing to run the infamous Las Vegas strip with all the lights, with you being the main attraction.

But remember the strip is only a couple miles long, the rest of the run is through residential (slightly sketchy) neighborhoods. There were many times during this long run that I was ready to quit and call a taxi back to the hotel, but I was forced to finish due to the fact that no street traffic was allowed so I couldn’t get a car and Jenn would not let me quit.

It finally came time to cross the finish line. I was overwhelmed with feeling proud that I actually accomplished this run (5 months postpartum and still breastfeeding I may add), and joy that it was FINALLY over! My legs seriously ached and all I wanted to do was to sit down, yet as we crossed the finish line there was no exit for another half mile!! (1.1 + 13.1 + .5= at least a million miles that day). We were again corralled to where we could finally exit and I nearly wanted to cry as we limped back to our hotel and crawled into bed. Needless to say, we ordered room service dinner and did not get to experience the night life of Vegas. Our husband’s joked that next morning, that was the most sober they had ever left the Las Vegas airport!


Being that this was my husband and my first trip away from our 5 month old daughter, we had planned a fun ‘grown up only’ dinner, dancing and gambling in fabulous Las Vegas. Well I was quite disappointed when I couldn’t fathom getting out of the warm bed and went straight to sleep at 8.

The Lodging, Nightlife and Food

I.e. The REAL reason we came to Vegas!! Although I did not get to experience many of these on this trip, I have a few recommendations that are definitely worth mentioning.

Lodging: Stay on the strip! There are many off the main strip, discounted hotels that are worth the savings with a quick taxi away, however I recommend actually staying on the strip- it’s worth the experience.

Nightlife: The Foundation room on top of the Mandalay Bay. A cocktail, dancing and spectacular views! This lounge was nothing short of incredible.

Food: There are SOOO many great restaurants in Las Vegas, which I will share on my next adventure. But if you make the trip, there’s one stop you cannot miss. M&M world! FYI: Running a half marathon burns at least 337 M&M’s 🙂

Overall Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon, Las Vegas is a once in a lifetime experience! And by once, I truly mean that will be the one and only time I will participate in a race that large! But hopefully you’ve learned from my mistakes and enjoy running the strip at night!

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