I didn’t run at our first ever EMPOWER Race last weekend, even though I committed to doing the 10K. There are lots of reasons I didn’t run—lack of training being one of them—but also because, as anyone who has organized an event knows, keeping all trains running on track can be all consuming.
That said, it didn’t even matter that I didn’t run, because I still got to enjoy the whole point of the event: community.
I got to reconnect with friends I’d just seen at BlogFest two weeks before; I got to meet some internet friends in real life for the first time (oh hey Christa!).
The event was jam-packed of yoga, running, and SNACKS. Oh, the snacks. We started out with packet pickup at Sports Basement in Berkeley, where Jamie led a pre-race yoga class that focused on stretching out our hamstrings and hips in preparation for the race.
We shared Brew Dr. Kombucha, Harvest Harmless coconut water, and gimME seaweed snacks with participants—the wasabi flavor was the crowd favorite—and played around with our beautiful new Loving it Forward yoga block (look at this handprinted beauty!).
We were so honored and excited by this sweet gift from the moms & daughters behind Loving it Forward.
After packet pickup, Nic, Liz, Jamie and I headed to Whole Foods for, you guessed it, more snacks, and cold brew, because our morning was scheduled to start before any coffee shops opened. Yikes.
At the charming hour of 4am, our alarms collectively buzzed and we collectively groaned, then got to work on our cold brew. Early morning in the Bay Area is cold, especially in summer, AKA our winter, but on the bright side, it’s just about the only time of day with zero traffic, so we made it to the beautiful Craneway Pavilion in record time, and got to hustling setting up for registration and sunrise yoga.
The turnout for 6am yoga, before a race, on a cold and windy morning, was nothing short of spectacular. It was so inspiring to see all those early morning smiling faces up and at ‘em before the race began, and Jamie’s flow was a perfect wake-up and get warmed up for the race start to the day.
Or so I heard – I spent that time at registration, hastily stuffing the last of the swag bags and bossing around the army of amazing volunteers who came out to help with set up.
My favorite part of registration was meeting a mom & daughter pair who run 5Ks together; it was her daughter’s 8th 5K, and I’d guess she’s around seven years old. So inspiring and adorable—#parentinggoals.
After the runners were off, I headed upstairs and watched some incredible athletes trying out HIIT & Flow for the first time.
Thanks to Liz’s efforts I’m pretty confident everyone walked away from that class AWAKE and SORE. I also got to chat with some of our sponsors: with the Loving it Forward ladies, who are the nicest people on the planet, and whose artwork definitely inspires me to dig deeper in my yoga practice, and with Athleta, where I had to summon every last reserve of willpower to not purchase every single item they brought to show off. #IHaveAnAthleisure problem.
Meanwhile, at the finish line…
There’s something so magical about finish lines: the energy, the sense of accomplishment, the sheer joy, the occasional drama…
I loved seeing all these happy accomplished faces cross the finish line. Over the course of the 5K or 10K, runners transformed from “yikes! it’s cold out here!” to “this is perfect running weather!”
Runners came in happy and raving about the views along the course, which despite the omnipresent San Francisco fog were still spectacular.
Next up was an UrbanKick with Shane: one of my favorite group ex instructors of all time. She always brings the energy and the fun, and this class was no exception. She miraculously inspired people who had just finished their race to get up, get moving, and keep working out, post-race.
Last off all, Nicci led a slow-down flow to help runners stretch out and chill out after the race.
Once again, the turnout was amazing, especially after finishing a race, and this was the one class I got to jump into for a few minutes and enjoy right along with the community.
And then it was 11am and we were done. It was hard to believe the event was already over – it had been a crazy nutso go-go-go 24 hours and there we were, done.
We broke down the event, said goodbye to the last few runners and yogis, and headed home for a much-needed shower and quick rest.
The rest didn’t happen right away, though: one of our sponsors, Lorna Jane, missed the event due to delayed flights (sob) but she decided to fly in anyway, and bring us the outfits we were supposed to be wearing that day.
We met her at Philz in Berkeley and it was like Christmas in August: LJ outfits AND mint mojitos.
Everything was right in the world.
I want to give a big shout out to our amazing sponsors for keeping everyone at the event fueled, fashionable, and well supported: Athleta, Lorna Jane, Loving it Forward, gimME seaweed snacks, Bai, Hint Water, Columbia, YogaWorks, UrbanKick, Sports Basement, Harmless Harvest, and Brew Dr.