The race week that rocked my world (and taste buds).

There’s nothing like travel to take you out of your everyday life – to explore and adventure, to try new foods and meet new people. There’s also nothing like travel to throw you off so much that you can’t get to writing a blog post about said travel until 2 weeks later…

Today, I’m playing catch-up to recap what the EMPOWER Race + Yoga Festival meant for me, plus our road trip getting there and, of course, the food and friends along the way. I’m a sucker for routine and travel is anything but. That said, it’s always healthy for me to shake things up, and this week of travel and hosting our first race did just that.

On the road.

A few Tuesdays ago, the Sweat Pink crew, including myself, hopped in the car to travel down from Portland to the Bay Area for our first ever EMPOWER Race + Yoga Festival.

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(PC: Liz Wilson)

We started with a 5-hour drive to Ashland, snuggling hard the whole way down. Abbie the Vizsla was much less gassy on this road trip. Much appreciated, Abbie.

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It wouldn’t be a road trip without coffee and snacks and I managed to combine the two right before we left town. I whipped up a batch of chocolate-espresso peanut butter using Pic’s PB – a new fave of mine from BlogFest. Paired with dates and pretzels, we were buzzing hard from this PB.

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(PC: Liz Wilson)

Stopping in Ashland (or anywhere, really) meant finding the good wine and food in this quaint town.  The Alchemy at the Winchester Inn, a modern bar and restaurant at the bottom of an old Victorian style home, provided the perfect outdoor setting for the 4 of us to sit some more – this time with wine, empanadas, and veggie chicharrones.

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We made our Ashland stay short so we could head down to Tahoe and spend a few days with Alyse at her house on Lake Tahoe. That view, though…

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Of course, it wouldn’t be a #sweatpink road trip if Jamie didn’t find a mountain for us to run up. All I can say is hills, heat, and altitude.

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After all the running, I do all the sitting. And in this case, I got to lounge on the dock…

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And lounge some more on this magical unicorn floaty. Yes, that’s a cider in a pineapple floaty resting on my chest.

The Bay, bae.

We finally made our way to the Bay Area the day before the race.

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(PC: Liz Wilson)

After setting our roots in this magical home for a few days,

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we set up for packet pickup at Sports Basement Berkeley,

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(PC: Liz Wilson)

did some yoga (thank you, Jamie!) and called it a night for our 4 am wakeup call. 

Empower Race + Yoga Festival

And then it was ON. Sunrise yoga with Jamie at 6 am woke everyone up with a sweaty bang. While Liz and Jamie held down the yoga room, Alyse and I set up for race day packet pickup, preparing ourselves for the mad rush that was to ensue. We got our rhythm of passing out bibs, shirts, and swag bags to runners and got everyone on their way to the starting line. The room was buzzing, or maybe that was me? Two cold brews before 8 am will do that to a person.

The runners were certainly buzzed on pre-race jitters and the chilly East Bay air. I ran to the finish line once we cleared out packet pickup to catch the 5K runners finish, followed by the 10k runners.

While runners got after it outside, Liz showed yogis what our signature HIIT & Flow is all about. They definitely heated up the room for Urban Kick, the high energy workout that followed. Post-race, we all came together again for one last slow flow yoga class to stretch out all the muscles.

The impact.

The EMPOWER Race + Yoga Festival was a true Sweat Pink event, in the sense we experienced a community of people come together over a shared love for sweat, friendship, trying new things, and fun. And even though our team didn’t run the race, we felt the noise, the excitement, the friendships, the love of running and yoga. 

Nothing invigorates and inspires me in my own sweaty endeavors more than watching others take risks and push themselves harder than ever before.

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Women of all ages joined together for a morning of 4 yoga and fitness classes, a 5K, 10K, and/or 1 mile race. 

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Standing at the finish line, waiting for the 5K and 10K runners to finish, I didn’t expect to feel so emotional as runners flew through the finish line with huge smiles on their faces – it truly felt like everyone was a winner that day and I’ll never forget it. 

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I also got to see some #sweatpink faces like Jenny, hey yoga pants and bra twin; Susie, my running inspiration, and we share a love for joggers; Katie, who is always up for any adventure, like prepping to summit Kilimanjaro as we speak; Jocelyn, who I met for the first time at BlogFest and now I want to hang out and explore all the SF restaurants with; Sara, also a new friend from BlogFest, who is ready to run all the miles; and Tiffany, #sweatpink sister and super inspiring trainer. 

All of this between the hours of 5am and 11am – what a Saturday morning! 

And then we rocked our taste buds…

Our heads were spinning after the festival, but the Bay was calling – mostly the food was calling me.

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SF has the best bread, hands down. I would move to SF just to live on sourdough bread. This heirloom tomato and mozzarella sando with some crazy, delicious aioli from Southie was the perfect way to get my SF bread fill.

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(PC: Liz Wilson)

MUA: Drinks, small plates of polenta, shishito peppers, tofu, cheese balls, cute bartender chick, the list goes on. It was the perfect place to hang with the #sweatpink crew on Saturday night.

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Off the Grid. It felt a little more special than the typical food cart pods in PDX since it only happens a few times a week in different locations – the people, food, and booze are plentiful – making it feel like a special event. Empanadas, samosas, and churros were definitely my highlights. Now I know, when in SF, it’s very important to hit up the Latin and Indian food carts.

I also got the chance to meet up with PDX, UGA, and SF friends – hey Abbey, CJ, Robyn, Ravi, and Sara!

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And finally, a solo adventure to find wifi led me to Workshop Cafe – the perfect place to set up shop and GSD since my plane was delayed for over 4 hours. I wasn’t mad about it – this avo toast with capers and cucumbers and a soft baked egg on the side made my life complete.

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I look at this trip as a great balance of work and play, and I have my #sweatpink team, Jamie, Alyse + Liz, as well as the whole community, to thank for reminding me of the importance to take the yoga class, run the miles, drink the wine, eat the cheese and bread, explore the city, and take in every single one of these moments with friends.

Want to get your #sweatpink on?

Next on the #sweatpink calendar is EMPOWER Vancouver – an influencer retreat in Vancouver, B.C. with Lorna Jane where you’ll sweat in style, connect with fellow fitness and health influencers, and even meet with amazing brands. The friendships, swag and experience are going to be unreal – check it out!


 

Soon, I’ll be adding some recipes, yoga tips, stylin’ things and events to the blog, so stay tuned. Until next time, lovelies, stay inspired, hungry and sweaty.

XO,

Nic

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