Kara Goucher Joins the Nuun Team

Most people know Kara as a two-time Olympian and perhaps the most influential runner in the US. But at Nuun, we know her as much more than that.  Kara is a mom, a wife, an advocate of health, and she shares the same mission that we do here at Hydration Headquarters; to work hard to continue to be the best that you can be.

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Our partnership with Kara has been a long time coming, and we’re ecstatic to announce to the world that she’s now officially part of the Nuun family! As Kara continues to strive for athletic excellence, we’re looking forward to both keeping her hydrated and being her biggest cheerleaders along the way.

To welcome Kara to #teamnuun we’ll be doing an exclusive signing with her in the Nuun Booth (Booth #2019) this Sunday, April 20th at 11:00am-12:00pm at the Boston Marathon expo located in the John B. Hynes Convention Center.

Post Boston stay tuned for more opportunities to get to know our favorite runner, both online and in person!

Solo Challenge, Family Fun at Nike Women’s Half Marathon: Q & A with Cristina Goyanes

Cristina Goyanes will be part of the Nuun team at the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington, D.C. on April 27. A freelance editor and writer for publications such as Women’s Health, Self, and Shape, New York City resident Goyanes will run her first half marathon that day; her parents, who’ll be celebrating their 40th anniversary that day, will be there to cheer her on. Nuun is the official electrolyte sponsor of the Nike Women’s half marathon and marathon series.

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What’s your motivation to do this half marathon compared to the many other ones you could do?

I never dreamed of running a half. I’m a cyclist—riding my bike for long distances is my passion. Running is something I did as part of a triathlon back when I was into multisport racing between 2005 to 2009. I haven’t done a competitive run since then, nor have I raced farther than 10K in my life.

What made me change my mind about running this year is that I took off all winter from all sports, with the exception of a Bikram yoga class here and there. After being holed up in my tiny apartment throughout the seemingly endless polar vortex, I felt desperate to get back in shape. So when the opportunity came up to do the Nike Women’s Half, I saw it as a great excuse to get the fitness ball rolling, especially since the weather was still too cold and windy to go out for bike rides.

As for choosing this particular race, I know the environment will be welcoming and full of energy and fun. I know it won’t be intimidating, but quite the opposite, which is what I need to gently ease myself  into the world of endurance running. Also, I’m really excited to receive my Tiffany’s necklace from a handsome man at the finish line.

Given that women now make up more than 60% of half marathon fields, what’s your take on the role of women-only races in 2014?

I love them! My first triathlon, in 2005, was the women-only Danskin sprint at Sandy Hook in New Jersey. My first multiday cycling trip, in October 2012, was the mostly-women Tour de Pink, a three-day, 200-mile ride for breast cancer. I think whenever women are venturing into something new and scary, it’s really wonderful to have this strong, supportive community to help guide you through it.

That’s not to say men aren’t supportive, but female energy is so different. It’s welcoming, compassionate, encouraging, empowering and more. I can’t tell you how many times I heard “You go, girl!” or “Looking good, looking good!” from strangers and fellow participants on each course. When you add men to the mix, it changes things—makes it more competitive and about the individual more than the group. If more women-only races mean that more women will sign up to challenge themselves physically and mentally, then I think it’s brilliant.

What has been most enjoyable in your ramp-up from no running to being ready to run a half? What’s been most challenging?

I’m surprised how much I look forward to my runs. I don’t really enjoy them in the moment, because they are hard, but the before- and after-run feelings are pretty addictive. I actually think I’ll miss running three times a week after the half. I might have to sign up for another half just to give myself the excuse to keep going.

The hardest part has been getting my body to settle into the movement. Endurance isn’t my issue as much as the actual motion of running and how uncomfortable it feels. My lungs and heart have always been able to go the distance. It’s everything else, like my feet, hips and knees, that have made it harder. I wouldn’t say that I’m running in pain, but definitely discomfort.

Why will this be the first race in a decade your family will be at? Anything special planned to mark the occasion?

To my parents and friends, my adventures are ongoing and nothing special. So when I say to them, I’m biking from San Francisco to Los Angeles, as I did last June, my parents’ general attitude is, “OK, just be careful.” They are so desensitized to my crazy antics because there have been so many.

This time, I think it’s different because the race falls on their 40th wedding anniversary. When I realized the dates coincided, I told them that I would drop out of the race to be able to spend the day with them. But then they surprised me by offering to come down (they live in Queens, New York) with me and celebrate after my run. I was so touched. It made me want to work harder to really make it worthwhile for me. The pressure is on!

Of the four types of Nuun tablets now available, what’s your favorite, and why?

I couldn’t tell you which flavor I like best—they are all so good. I prefer the non-caffeinated ones.

Nuun Ambassadors’ Best and Worst Advice

You probably get lots of training advice. The thing is, you often only realize what’s good or bad advice after trial and error. If it’s bad advice, you’ve at least wasted time, and perhaps moved away from rather than toward meeting your goals.

So take our advice: Learn from others who are experienced and accomplished in their fields. Below, Nuun ambassadors from a variety of sports answer two simple questions. First, what’s the best advice you ever got that’s applicable to most people in your sport? Second, what’s the worst advice you ever got, and why wouldn’t you want others to follow it?

Regardless of your sport, you’ll want to read through all the answers. They contain wisdom that applies not only to many activities, but in some cases to life.

John Jarrell

Cody Jarrell, Tennis, Strasburg, Virginia

Best advice: Strive to play 25% of the time with players above your ability, 25% of the time with players below your ability, and 50% of the time with players right at your level.

Worst advice: A family member asked me why I continued tennis into college, and told me I should stop playing because I would never make money doing that. Ten years later, I’m head professional of one of the most prestigious facilities on the East Coast. You can make any sport or activity a lifestyle or even a career; it’s simply a matter of commitment.

Christine Kenney

Christine Kenney, Triathlon, New York, New York

Best advice: I work a very demanding, time-consuming job, so finding time to log long training hours is difficult, especially when training for an Ironman. Once someone told me to focus on the quality of my workouts and not quantity, things really clicked.

Worst advice: I have not really received any bad advice. I have been very selective in who I choose to take advice and listen to. So maybe that is what I would suggest: Be selective in who you take your advice from!

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Jesse Coombs, Kayak, Corvallis, Oregon

Best advice: Do it because you love it. Not because of some sense of requirement, or peer pressure, or competitive insecurity. Simply do it because it puts a smile on your face and makes you happy. The rest will come naturally.

Worst advice: “You have to go now because the camera is rolling and the lighting is just right.” You should learn at a progression that is comfortable and right for you. And you should embark on an activity or sport only when it feels right to you, regardless of external pressures.

Elizabeth Allen, Cycling, Danielson, Connecticut

Best advice: Have fun and ride loose. Bicycling is the best sport ever. You learn how to do it as a kid and you can do it pretty much forever. However, the fun can be easily sucked out of it if you aren’t careful. New riders in particular tend to grip their handlebars way too hard and then wonder why they’re tired.

Worst advice: “You should never ride in the ‘granny gear.’” That’s bad advice especially for new riders. Hills are a struggle when you first start, and given the choice between someone using those few easy gears or walking, I want them to keep pedaling, even if they could almost walk up faster. It’s a mental thing—you feel better knowing that you’re riding even if you’re going nowhere fast.

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Grayson Giboney, Golf, Des Moines, Washington

Best advice: Have fun and enjoy golf.

Worst advice: Go ahead and cheat when nobody is looking.

The Thrill of Repeat Racing: Q & A with Sheila Monaghan

Nuun is fielding a team of fitness editors for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington, D.C. on April 27. One of our team members, Sheila Monaghan, will tackle the half six days after running the Boston Marathon. Monaghan is executive editor of Equinox’s Q blog and an accomplished runner, duathlete and triathlete based in New York City.

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What’s your motivation to do the Nike half six days after running Boston? What do you hope to run at both?

I ran the Nike Women’s Half in San Francisco back in 2009 and loved the experience—it was my first major women-only race, and I’ve wanted to do another ever since. Plus, I love D.C.; I lived there for some time after I graduated college, so I’m so excited to experience the feeling of racing in that city. The half marathon is my favorite distance, too. It’s long enough to require endurance but you can also run hard, so I find it really gratifying.

Boston is extremely special to me this year. I was at the race last year but, thankfully, had left the finish line area about three minutes before the bombs exploded. It’s been on my mind and in my heart ever since.

I knew I was going to come back to Boston no matter what, but in the weeks that followed last year’s race, I decided I wanted to try to break my PR of 3:11:38, so I’ve been training hard in the hopes of making that happen. If not, of course, there will be other races. But I’d love to come to the Nike Half with a new PR in hand, and run as well or better than my March NYC Half time of 1:26:00, if possible. It’s a tall order, but I’m going to go for it! That’s the fun and joy of racing, to me: Setting a goal and challenging myself.

Have you done such quick turnarounds before? 

I have. My first back-to-back was Boston to Big Sur, six days apart, in 2011. I was terrified at the prospect, especially with the challenging hills in Big Sur. But it was magical – the scenery was so beautiful and I felt great. Later that same year I did the NYC and Philly marathons two weeks apart, and I set my PR at Philly, so I am a fan of the back-to-back. One training calendar, two chances to race! Last year, I competed in the duathlon world championships two weeks after I completed my first Ironman, so I’ve experienced the multisport two-fer as well.

Will you do things differently in the immediate aftermath of Boston than if you weren’t running the half the following Sunday?

There will be considerably less pizza and beer than there would have been without a race the following week. I will be focusing on maximizing my recovery those days immediately after Boston with ice baths, foam rolling, hydration and sleep. And then I’ll introduce some light running later in the week just to keep the legs fresh and ready to turn around in D.C.

Is it difficult for you to be so running-centric for a little while given your experience as a multisport athlete?

I feel little pangs watching cyclists in the park or seeing my triathlete friends post about their swim workouts, for sure. But I made a conscious decision to focus this first half of the year on improving my running times, and I knew that to do that, I’d have to turn off my multisport brain for a bit. I made a similar agreement with myself last year while training for my Ironman, that was my big goal and the other races couldn’t become priorities.

This year, I chose multisport races that take place in the late summer and early fall so I’d have time to catch up with my swimming and cycling after Boston and D.C. I’ve had people tell me that to hit my ceiling as either a runner or a multisport athlete I’d have to eventually choose one path, but I enjoy them each too much to do that right now!

Given that women now make up more than 60% of half marathon finishers, what’s your take on the role of women-only races in 2014?

I think women-only races are awesome, and I expect there will be even more of them in the coming years. They have such a great energy and vibe. Nothing against the guys! But I think these races give women runners a much-deserved platform, a place to both compete and to shine.

What’s your favorite Nuun product, and why?

I am bona fide obsessed with Cherry Limeade Active! It is my jam, and it got me through my Ironman training last year. The tabs are great for cyclists because you can pack them in your bike bag and refill your bottles when you’re out on the road (or at the 56-mile mark of an Ironman) instead of lugging around three or four water bottles.

Cherry Limeade has been my go-to for long runs this training cycle as well. I don’t do well with a lot of fluids or gels while I’m running—I have a sensitive stomach—and Nuun gives me the energy I need without making me feel like I’m drinking a heavy, syrupy sports drink. I repeat: I’m obsessed.