March Run All the Races: Carlsbad 5000

And here we are, the last of our 5 races in March.  The shortest & the fastest, the Carlsbad 5000.

It’s been a few years since we ran this one, we ran back in 2016, last year we just came over to see some friends and watch the elites.

We don’t run a lot of 5ks, mostly because they are so expensive for only 3.1 miles.  This year, I believe we registered on National Running Day for about $25, which is a lot more reasonable than the $50 they charge if you wait until a month or so before the race.

Carlsbad 5000 is unique in that they have different races for different age groups.  They have Masters Men, Masters Women, 30 – 39 and then 20 – 29 and walkers.  There are also men & women’s elite races too.

This year I was in a new age group, Masters Women so my race time was 7:55a.  Sean was in the next group, 30 – 39 at 9:15a.  I really wanted to run in my own age group so I made him get up early to drive up to Carlsbad around 6:15am.  It takes approx. 45 minutes to get to Carlsbad & then you have to find parking, etc.

We were running a touch late so Sean dropped me off near the finish.  I left my bag with him but still had on my track pants and sweatshirt.  I found the race bibs, note that they are not next to the shirts, but instead near the start line.

I got my bib, used the bathroom and then waited for Sean.  I ran into Mick, from #Run619, we chatted for a bit and then I found Smitha & Kristina.  We got a few photos, saw a few other friends and then Sean got there so I could give him my clothes.

My goal was to try and PR.  My previous official 5k PR was 26:45 and I knew I could beat that. By how much would remain to be seen.  I always start out way too fast in 5ks.  You would think I would learn but most likely since I run approx. one 5k every two years, I always forget, lol.

Anyways, Kristina & I were going to start together and see what happened.  Neither of us had any idea what our bodies were capable of at that point.

The tough part about this race is that they just line everyone up together, it’s an honor start so you just pick a mile pace and then line up.  I spent a good portion of the first quarter mile weaving in and out of other runners.

I finally settled in and just was giving it all I had.  I made the first turn and was just trying to keep my breathing even.  Smitha yelled out to me & I waved back.  All I kept thinking is my new mantra, I believe in you, I can do this and just kept chugging along.

We made the last turn & I remember looking at my watch, I could do an 11 minute mile and still PR, of course I didn’t want to slow down that much, but I struggled that last mile.  Just get to the Carlsbad sign & then you’re in the home stretch I kept thinking.

Finally I made it to the Carlsbad sign & made the turn towards to the finish.  I saw a photographer over by the rail road tracks, I tried to smile but I was breathing too hard.

By the time I saw Sean, I was giving it all I had to get to that finish line.  And there it was!  I crossed the line in an unofficial 24:55! a PR by almost 1m50s!

And then Kristina was just a few seconds behind me, having run a much smarter, negative split race.

We caught our breath, got some water and some photos.  A few of our friends came up so we got more photos and then it was time for me to get changed so we could wait for Sean to start.

Sean had a fantastic race, he finished in a blazing 20:32, pretty amazing considering he has been nursing a foot injury and not doing much in the way of speed work.

We got some coffee & then went to watch the elites.  Interestingly, they started in the same spot as us this year, after doing a different loop course for the last few years.  Doing the same course as us, isn’t quite as exciting for the fans because you don’t get to see them as often.

I felt like we had an interesting mix this year.  Both the fields were very small, under 10 people in each race and there were no Africans in either race. I’m not sure if they were running other events or if they changed how the elite program worked now that Ironman bought Rock ‘n Roll but it was interesting & somehow not quite as exciting.

While 5ks aren’t really on our radar often, it is fun to do one every now and again to test yourself.  Seeing as I’ve now gone under 25 minutes, I’d really like to try and see what I could do if I really put my mind to it.

We hit up one of our favorite vegan restaurants, Trilogy in La Jolla, to fuel up after the race & had a great day!  It’s funny, after all the longer runs, it felt weird to not be tired & sore after the race, lol.

 

March Run All The Races: Ramblas Run Half Marathon

Sorry for the delay on getting this up, I actually wrote this blog weeks ago & just never got around to adding the photos & actually posting, #blogfail.

We finished up March with a double race weekend!  First up was the Ramblas Run Half Marathon.  We ran this race last year and came back for the 2nd year.

This is a fun, but very challenging race in the hills of San Juan Capistrano.  They offer a few distances, 5k, 10k & half marathon (it is a touch short, but like all trail races it’s either long or short depending on your watch ;)).  The half marathon was $75 and included a bunch of swag.

We got nice light zippered long sleeve hoodies for the ladies, a medal & a logo’d glass.

The best part about this race is that it starts a little later, 8:45am, because it’s in a neighborhood.  You aren’t even supposed to arrive until 8:10am so we didn’t have to leave San Diego until around 7am, which after the 2:30am wake-up for LA Marathon was amazing!

I got up, made some oatmeal in the instant pot, got ready and we were out the door by about 7:15a.  There was no traffic on the way up so even with a last minute potty break we got to the start by 8:25ish.

We got our shirts & bibs.  The bibs kind of matched the medals, they were a 3 color bib, which was cool even if it didn’t say the name of the event :).

I didn’t want to run back to the car to put the shirts inside so I just put them on the back of my pack.  They were pretty light so it wasn’t a big deal.

We got in the line for the porta potties, which went pretty quick.  We chatted with some friends while waiting which probably helped.  My only complaint was that the spot where the bathrooms were was on downhill so went I got in, I really felt like it was going to flip backwards.  It was a really uneasy feeling.

We ran into Tam while waiting in line.

It only took about 2 more minutes and then we were ready to start.  I know that the beginning of this race is pretty hilly & my legs were still pretty tired from all the races + 80 Day Obsession so I just took it easy.

The first mile or so went by really quick.  I saw Kristina & Kat at the first aid station, I quickly gave them hugs before continuing on.  We were almost to the single track which is a lot of fun!  I was following this guy who was crushing it on the uphills!  I was having to work really hard to keep up with him and by the time we got back to the aid station (it’s a little loop) I was breathing way too hard.

I took a quick stop to get an orange slice and then kept moving.  Michelle asked me how I was doing and I responded I can’t get my heart rate down.  Between the hills & the light humidity, I needed a little more time to get my breathing under control.

Kat got this photo of me coming into the 2nd aid 🙂

I hiked up the next hill and finally got my breathing under control and was able to run again.  I came down a hill and saw Sean speeding down heading into the next section of the course.

As I was going around up to the flag pole, I was trying to get some water out of my gear vest.  I had filled it that morning & could feel the liquid inside.  I was getting a little concerned because it was brand new & I wasn’t able to get any liquid out.  I didn’t want to stop so I kept moving until I got to the top by the flag pole.  Then I took my pack off, and found that it was user error.  I thought I had pushed the hose all the way into the bladder but it wasn’t all the way in.  Finally I was able to get water out!

I took the next mile or so with a few other runners and then we started to climb so I just took this time to hike and run when I could.  I felt a bit stronger than last year, but this section felt a lot longer than I remembered.

Finally we were heading down the hill to the turn around aid station.  I saw Inna & her kids down there, got a few orange slices & a touch more water and then headed up.  I hiked the whole way up.  I could see my friend Helen ahead of me as I was heading up.  I just kept her in my sights and did my thing.

I could definitely feel all the race miles & glute work as we were climbing, more & more. But I felt like I was able to run more of this section than I did last year.

Finally we were coming up on the final aid station.  I grabbed an orange slice & just power hiked the last hill, ran, hiked, and finally we were coming into the finish.  I was right behind Helen now and as I was coming up to her I was like come on, let’s finish this! So for the second year in a row, we finished the race together, this year about 3 minutes faster than last year ;).

After the race, we grabbed little acai bowl samples, water, our medals, chatted with Sarah, the race director & Kristina.  We got a few photos and then it was time to drive home.  Which is the worst part of the whole day, it took us just over an hour to get there but almost 3 to get home :(.

But traffic aside, this is one of my favorite SoCal half marathons.  It’s fun, it’s challenging, it’s relatively short, we see loads of friends and Sarah does an amazing job.

I would definitely recommend this race & I look forward to going back again in 2019.  Maybe Helen & I will make our photo finish a tradition ;).

March Run All The Races: LA Marathon 2018

Third in line this month was one of my favorite marathons, the Los Angeles Marathon!  This was my 4th year running it and Sean’s 7th so we were both #LALoyal!

Since this is my 4th year running LA, I’ve recapped this race a lot.  If you are interested in reading all about LA, you can read 2015, 2016 and 2017‘s recaps.

But let’s get to this year.

We left for the expo a little later than I would have liked around 10:30/11am, stopped at Plant Power in Encinitas for lunch and finally got to the expo around 2pm.  We walked around for a short time, got some photos, etc.

LA Marathon started a new program called LA Loyal which means that if you have run the race at least one time and continue to run the race in consecutive years, you become a part of their legacy program.

If you were in the between year 2 – 4 you got a special LA Loyal Bib, if you were between 5 – 9 years, you got a special LA Loyal T-shirt & a mug (although they ran out of mugs by the time we got to the expo).  If were 10 or more you got all of these things plus more & a special medal that looks like the first LA Marathon medal at the finish.

I like loyalty programs and I think this is a nice addition to the race.

Another thing I did this year was pre-purchase the marathonfoto bundle.  They had a sale for $20 off for LA Marathon and then because it was St. Patrick’s Day weekend, I was able to get an additional 20% off so it ended up being around $42, less than the normal cost of 2 photos.

We stayed with Sean’s sister again for the race so we didn’t have to get a hotel. We had a pre-race meal at True Food, Sean & I split a rice bowl & a vegan pizza. Yummy!

We headed back to their house, got our clothes set up, with a 4:00am shuttle to Dodger’s stadium, we were going to have to get up early.  I like to do Flat Jenny’s not necessarily for the photo but because it means I’ve got everything set for the race & then I don’t have to search for anything early in the morning.

I bought us parking in Santa Monica again for $20 & we signed up for the 4:00am shuttle.  This year, the shuttles were 100% better than last year.  They had everything organized and the volunteers were on point!

We got to Dodger’s stadium pretty quickly and it was freezing!!!  We didn’t have any issues with our shuttle getting to the stadium. Although, Sean was wishing we had a blanket like some of the other runners, lol.

After about an hour, give or take, in the stadium we headed out to hit up the port-a-potties.  There were bathrooms in the ball park, but the lines were ridiculous & I didn’t want to miss getting to drop my finish line bag.  They said the bags had to be dropped by 6:30am.

We headed out towards bag drop and got in line for the port-a-potties, by this time the lines were pretty long and after waiting in a line that never moved, it was almost 6:30.  I told Sean that I was going to the gear check and then headed over.  The gear check lines were soooo long.  For next year, this would be something that they need to work on. I saw lines that were 2/3x longer than the port-a-pottie lines.  I don’t know exactly what was going on with them.

After I dropped by bag, I ended up not being able to find Sean again before the race started.  He was in Corral A & I was in Corral E.

But I did run into my friend Almi, who went on to crush it and run a sub 4 hour race! So proud of her!

Anyways, I made it to my corral & never got a chance to use the bathroom, I wish they had port-a-potties inside the corrals, but unfortunately they don’t.

A few minutes after I got there they sent the Elite women off and then all the corrals got pushed up.  I’m not sure why I forgot this from the last 4 years, but basically there was so much room in the corrals that I was up with the C corral folks by the time I started the race.

I headed out, just wanting to survive this race.  After the last 2 weeks of half marathons and starting 80 Day Obsession, my butt was a little sore, although I wasn’t upset about that because it meant that my glutes were finally firing! and my legs were tired.

I did have to hit up the first set of port-a-potties since I missed the pre-race bathroom stop.  Fortunately there wasn’t too long of a line so I didn’t lose much time.  After this I just worked on keeping my breathing & heart rate under control and just cruised along through Chinatown and up to the Disney Concert Hall.  My favorite band of the whole race are the Japanese drummers, I always walk up this hill, I’d like to say just to listen to them, but it’s a pretty steep hill ;).

We made our way over towards the Chili Dog Station, which is so fun.  I don’t think that they have a vegan version, lol, and it’s still way too early in the race, but I always love seeing them out there.  I did see another Orange Mud ambassador & his friend out there eating one while running!

When I got to Mann’s Chinese Theater I was struggling a little with tummy troubles, but we still had over half the race to go so a minute or two of walking and then I was running again.

Right as we were approaching Beverly Hills around mile 16 the 4:15 pace group caught up with me.  I was trying to stick with them for as long as I could, which would be through BH.  I could see them through mile 20 and then they took off up the hill lol.

I did my best to run as much as possible during this race & I really succeeded.  I pushed as hard as I could and while towards the end, I really struggled with a lack of calories, I got to that finish line and managed to be within seconds of my PR.  At the time I really thought I had PR’d but after looking at the official results I was just over.

The last three miles, which are normally some of the funnest for me because we are going downhill & almost to the finish, where a serious struggle this year.  Due to my lack of calories and probably the first week of 80 day obession, my calves were really cramping and my fingers were starting to tingle again.

I pushed so hard to get to that finish line.  The last 3 miles, which were not fast, but I managed to run pretty much every step.  I was so close to a PR, I had to try for it.

I finally got there hands up, smile on my face, sorry to the girl behind me for blocking your face, I had no idea you were right there.  And as soon as I stopped running, the hurt set in.

I was in a lot of discomfort immediately after the race.  I was hungry & sore but you have to keep moving.  I got my medal, put it on for a photo and then immediately took it off.  I love the LA Marathon medals, but they are super heavy and after a race, I can’t always handle having it around my neck.

I started getting texts from Sean & made my way over to him.  Grabbing a few snacks on the way.  I think I mentioned this last race, but being vegan, you have to really look at the post race food options.  This race has always been someone lacking in my opinion in post race food, with fish pretzels, animal crackers, bagels & bananas.  I grabbed a banana & some animal crackers & made my way to find Sean.

I found him & we got my gear bag.  We made our way to the port-a-potties to get changed and then made our way to the Santa Monica pier where we got some french fries & a coke to refuel before some photos.

All in all, it was a great race, my fastest time on this course, beautiful, runable weather, awesome spectator support & volunteers.

We’ll be back next year!

 

RunAllTheRaces: San Diego Half Marathon

San Diego Half Marathon, my favorite San Diego race. It’s fast, it’s mostly flat, it’s typically pretty cool out and they have great race swag.

This is my 3rd year running San Diego Half.  I signed up on the day registration opened.  They have a legacy program that is pretty nice, you can start at any time and I hit 3 years this year, which meant I got a 2nd race shirt.  For year 4 you get a 1/4 zip and year 5 a nice looking jacket.

If you want to read my recaps from 2016 & 2017 you can do so here and here.

This year, well, it’s been going pretty good, outside my 2 weeks of the sickness in February so I wanted to try for a sub 2 hour time. I even thought I had a change to PR, the majority of the race is pretty flat; but we’ll get to that later.

The expo like in other years was at the Broadway Pier.  I went over on Friday early afternoon to meet up with Smitha (@runningwithSD) to take a walk & to get our packets.  Unfortunately I didn’t look at the times and we got to the expo 2 hours too early, lol.  We chatted with another friend for a little bit, took some photos and then I headed back to work.

The next day, Sean & I headed back over to the expo to get our packets.  It ended up being a very rainy, ugly day, which worried me because I am not a fan of running in the rain, especially starting in the rain.  But we got our packets & got some lunch at the Loving Hut and then headed home to just relax and stay out of the rain.

The expo, isn’t anything too special, there are vendors but nothing too major.  This year because we were finishing in Petco & the park had rules about what could be distributed after the race.  They gave us some snacks in our drop bags before the race and did explain this in an email/race info before the race as well.

San Diego Half always is the weekend the time change, like last year they sent those of us who signed up for text alerts a message to make sure we changed our clocks to spring forward.

Since the start isn’t too far from our house we were able to sleep in just a touch, leaving the house at 6:00am.  We managed to find some street parking, YAY for not having to pay to park! We chilled out in the car for a bit because the race didn’t start until 7:30a and we were there about 6:20a.  We finally made our way down to the start area around 6:45a.

There were a few changes to this years race.  The start line was still in the same place, but the finish line moved back to Petco Park, where I guess it was the first year. In both 2016 & 17 the finish line was in Gas Lamp.  They moved the drop bag location to accommodate for that.

We saw where the drop bags were and then bee-lined it to the porta potties over by the start.  Everyone was waiting in a huge line by the drop bags while there were no lines by the start.  We saw a few friends and then headed back to drop off my finish line bag.

Side note: I am a huge proponent of having a finish line bag at a road race (except NYC Marathon, where the ponchos are awesome). Why?  I sweat a lot, it’s super  and I hate wearing super wet, sweaty clothes after I finish running the race. So I always put the race shirt, a new sports bra & a new pair of shorts into my bag, along with a sweatshirt/jacket and a pair of track pants if it’s cold.

Anyways, it wasn’t nearly as cold as it was the week before, when we ran Encinitas Half Marathon. I was fine in a tank top & shorts.

I ran into a few friends as we walked to the start line. I was in wave 4 and Sean in wave 1.  Last year we ran together but this year we were both running our own races.  Sean to see how his injured foot was going to hold up and me just doing my thing.  The 2 hour pace group was in my wave, the 1:55 was in the wave ahead of me.

Unlike at Encinitas, there was about a 5 minute break between waves here at San Diego.  I was at the front of my wave and because we were about 5 minutes after the prior wave, when I started I felt like I was in the lead of the race, haha.  It was kind of exciting, but my legs were also telling me don’t go too fast at the start, you still have 13 miles to go.

I’ve talked about this before, but it was very evident this time because I was in the front of my wave, people jump into waves that they don’t belong because the race doesn’t really keep track of who is running in what wave.  Now, I have nothing against walking, I walk in almost every race myself, but not in the first mile.  After about a 1/2 mile, my wave was catching up with wave 3 and passing walkers, and again, I have nothing against walkers, my problem in this instance was that when the course narrowed they were walking 3 across or some people even stopped right in the middle of the road.

As a Galloway runner, I have always tried to stay to the side when I needed to walk & I try to look around if I need to walk in an area that seemed congested.  If it’s too congested, I’ll try to keep pushing until I get to an area where there is more space so I’m not in anyone’s way when I walk.

But anyways, now that I’m off my soap box.  I started the race feeling like I was working a bit too hard, I tried to back off a little so my breathing was under control.  I was feeling a twinge in my hamstring, but more in the middle of the leg by the IT band.  It was kind of sharp but I figured it might disappear after I warmed up a little.

I just kept moving, around mile 3, I took a few seconds to walk through the aid station and when I started running again my leg felt a little better. By mile 4, near the Sheraton Bay Front, I was telling myself to get to the half way point before I took a walk break.  We made the turn onto Harbor Drive past the airport and I was still wondering about the hamstring pain. We made our way up the overpass to Liberty Station and past the relay station.

I realized as we came out of Liberty Station that I had only taken one sip out of my bottle, which was probably a bit of my issue.  I hadn’t been taking in any calories.  So I took a few sips, put my head down & kept running.   Around mile 7 I started to feel a little off, but I know it was because I was sweating like crazy and not drinking enough.

We made our way up to the first hill & mile 8 when the 2 hour pace group passed me :(, lol. I knew the next 2 miles were going to be rough because they have a few hills in them.  I hiked up the first & steeper hill.  And then jogged, walked, ran up the looong Washington Street hill.  My lack of hill training was really evident during mile 10.  But I did drink a lot more of my Skratch Labs & ate a few chews before starting to run again at the top.

From there I ran into my friends from the Friday morning #run619 group.  They all screamed my name and it really gave me a boost.

I knew I only had about a 5k to go and this section of the race went through Mission Hills into Hill Crest and by Balboa Park, where I saw another #run619 friend.  From there we get a nice downhill and we were almost there!

When I made the turn towards Balboa Park, there was an aid station that said 10.7 miles, I was at 10.88 and the guy next to me said that he was at 10.83 so apparently we were not following the tangents.

I was heading down 6th Ave, moving pretty fast, I saw that there were signs coming out to tell us about the trolley crossing.  I was like NOOOOO! I am going to keep moving and I am not getting stopped by the trolley.

This next part was a little different from what we normally do, we finished on the third baseline of Petco Park. I was moving as fast as I could and I looked at my watch at 13.1 and it was at 1:58 and change, but when I finished, .3 miles later, I was at 2:00:40. So close but yet so far lol.

I know that miles 9 – 10 were my problem and I know next year I really need to concentrate on the hill portion of this race.  I know that I can do the rest of the race, it’s the hills I need to conquer.

Back to the race, I liked the finish in Petco, but I can see that it would get really congested if you were in a section where there were a lot of runners.  Instead of finishing in the middle of the field like we did at Pasadena Half, we finished on the 3rd baseline and they had the field roped off.  The baseline isn’t that wide so it could definitely get full.

I got my medal, it’s the first of 4 in a series.  I actually don’t mind this set, I’m not normally a big fan of race medals that are a set because so many races do a those ridiculous triangles that if you are only able to do 1 race look ridiculous.  These are rectangular and this one show the first 3 miles of the course.  Over the next 3 years, we’ll get the next 10 miles of the course.

I saw Sean waiting for me after I finished, we got a few photos and then got our goodie bags.  There was only some Dole fruit inside, but these SD Half reusable bags are the best!  They are perfect for grocery shopping and carting around all our gear.

We ran into a few ultra friends who had run as well and then I had to get changed, I was soaked from all the humidity, my shorts were dripping down my legs, ugh so gross & uncomfortable.  And exactly why I bring extra clothes for after the race!

After we got changed, we headed over to Cafe Gratitude for breakfast.  I really like the food, we’ve gone before, but it’s sooo expensive and the portions are sooo small.  I got the french toast, which was really yummy but 1 1/2 pieces of toast? Really?  Not going to work after a half marathon.

Back to the race, I’ll definitely be back next year, this was my 3rd year and each year I’ve gotten faster, next year is my year, I will run a sub 2 on this course & conquer the Washington St hill!

MarchRunAllTheRaces: Encinitas Half Marathon

I know, I haven’t blogged in forever! I keep thinking, I’m going to do better but then I get distracted and then it’s been way to long and I feel like I’ve missed my chance :).  I am going to try to do better & at least get my race recaps up.

After being sick most of February and missing out on my big race, Black Canyon 100k, Sean & I decided to pile on all the races for March.  I saw a 20% off code from Lululemon San Diego YAY! and we signed up the week of the race.

We went up to Moonlight State Beach to pick up our packets the day before, there was an option to pick up your packet day of, but it was an additional $15 per person.  They really made sure you were aware of this fee, it was on the website & then put it front & center in every email notice that went out.

Race swag was decent with a nice tech shirt, a bag full of Beanitos, a Kashi bar, a Larabar, Bare Republic sunscreen & a travel size bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap.  The next day we would also get a coffee mug.

We did a quick shake-out run, had a late lunch/early dinner at Veggie Grille with our favorite Pressed Juicery Freezes for dessert & then just headed home to chill.

The race was about 35 minutes from our house and the race started at 7:30a so I think we left the house just after 6am.  We managed to get to a great parking spot, were able to chill for a bit before walking over to the start.

It was cold out when we were getting ready to start and I wasn’t really thinking, I should have taken off my long sleeve or worn my arm sleeves instead but alas I did not.

We got over to the start line, after a surprisingly quick wait for the porta potties.  It was a little confusing at first because they had start on both sides of the banner so it wasn’t clear which side you were supposed to be on until they finally announced that we needed to be on the other side.

The course was interesting, we went down a pretty steep hill right after the start and then we headed down towards Leucadia on Hwy 101.  It nice and flat.  I felt like I was struggling from the get-go.  My nose was running and I just didn’t feel like I could breath right.  I just decided to relax and not worry about any time goals.  After having been sick for a good portion of February, I didn’t really run much so that might have been part of my issue, along with the fact that I probably still had a touch of the cough/cold going on.

We did a turn around at mile 2 and headed back towards the start line – as we headed up a steep hill, I took off my long sleeve and kept chugging along.

Around mile 5 we headed towards the water, I saw a booth with Otter Pops so I grabbed one, I love otter pops at ultras! Ok, so it wasn’t quite warm enough to merit a Popsicle but they are always nice!  But, and this cracked me up, they forgot to open them!  So it took me a few moments to get mine open.

The best part about this race is the view during this stretch.  We had 7ish miles of ocean views.  There were a few minor hills but nothing like Carlsbad.

Since it was an out and back, I spent the time looking for Sean & some of my other friends.  That took my mind off the fact that I couldn’t walk on the flat areas 😉 and that my nose was still dripping like crazy.

I finally got to the second turn around at mile 9ish, at Solana Beach.  I remember some of the shops from the time we had run with a few friends from Fletcher Cove.

As I was heading into mile 12, one of my running buddies from the #run619 group said Hi as he passed me.  And like all these races, there are always hills at the end of the race, lol.   After getting up that last hill, I ran into fellow Altra & OM ambassador Steve who was working as a race guard at the race.  He got this photo of us while I was heading into the last .1 of the race.

I finally saw the finish line and tried to move as fast as I could, my legs felt dead but I was almost there!  I honestly didn’t check my watch at all after about mile 3 so I had no idea what my time was.  Even though I didn’t feel amazing, I managed a 2:04 and change.  For me this is actually quite good.  And I did all but 2 miles under 10mins/mi.

Paces were 8:51, 8:42, 8:58, 9:15, 9:46 (I took off my long sleeve during this mile), 9:35, 9:01, 9:36, 10:09, 9:15, 9:55, 10:03, 9:48.

I got my medal, saw my friend Jenn, got some water, they had that Boxed Water, got a few texts from Sean congratulating me, grabbed my coffee cup and a packet of Barney butter almond butter and headed out to meet Sean.

We got a few photos before heading back to the car so I could change and we could get breakfast.  We went to the super yummy Eve Encinitas, a vegan place I’d been wanting to try.

Overall, even though my body didn’t cooperate fully, I really enjoyed this race and would go back.  I liked this race more than Carlsbad ;).

Pros: Good race swag, beautiful course, the run-through photo booth

Now for the cons: Photos took forever to be finished, over a week, and they are expensive! The run-through photo booth photos, they told me when I ran through they would be at the finish line, but they were in the beer garden/post party.  I didn’t have my ID with me so I couldn’t get mine, they did put it up on line, but it would have been nice to get it at the finish line.  I guess all my cons are related to photos, haha.

#IAMLIMITLESS Movement & Thoughts on what’s to come in 2018

I’m partnering up with FitApproach & Gixofit to kick off the #IAMLIMITLESS movement for 2018.  This is a sponsored post.

After a rough 2017, I was totally looking forward to a clean slate and starting 2018 on a very positive note.  When FitApproach asked me to be a part of the #IAMLIMITLESS campaign, it was at the perfect time.  I had been floundering at the end of 2017, stuck in a rut where, like I mentioned in my Resolution Run recap, I was sitting on the couch being sucked into iPhone games when I wasn’t working.

I had gone from being incredibly motivated to being lazy, not able to motivate myself to do anything but eat & sleep when I wasn’t working or traveling.  But as Sean & I were hiking up the boulders on New Year’s Eve, I realized that I was giving into my fears.  Somewhere along the way last year, I got sucked into all the drama I was seeing on Facebook and scared myself out of leaving my house.  How did that happen?

As I was climbing up those boulders, some of which were significantly bigger than I was, I knew that I had to push past my fears if I wanted to reach my goals.  One of my biggest fears, the one that most likely let all the Facebook drama win, failure. But fail at what? Running.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now why would I say I’m afraid to fail at running.  I’ve done 42 half marathons, 17 marathons, 7 50ks, 2 50 milers & a 100k.  I’ve DNF’d at 4 races so obviously I’m not afraid of not finishing.  But what if I actually worked really hard & I failed?  I was putting all this pressure on myself before I even started.

It was time to put all that and all the baggage from 2017 behind me and push past these limits I put on myself.  Let’s see what happens then.  I’ve already seen that at the end of a long week of running I can almost beat my half marathon PR, with little training, so what could I do if I actually trained.

After seeing Billy Yang’s newest film, The Why, it was important to share my Why (re: Running) with you, my friends and followers.  It was something I’ve been pondering for months, since I got injured.  Why do I want to do this?

Why? Why do we choose to run 13.1, 26.2, 50 or even a 100 miles? (Long post alert 😉) . . Last night @ultrarunnersd & I went to see @billyyangfilms new movie The Why, about his 100 mile journey at Leadville 100. You’ll definitely want to check it out on YouTube. . . It made me ask the question to myself. And honestly I probably ask myself that exact question during almost every race. Why do we do this? . . I don’t have a grand story of where I started running because I was overweight, drinking too much or doing drugs (I’ve never touched them), I wasn’t abused & I didn’t have a horrible childhood or any of those things that are so common to hear about. I’ve run off and on my whole life. I guess I started endurance running, honestly because maybe I gained 5-10 lbs & didn’t like the way my stomach looked in photos, I was modeling at the time (I still don’t like my stomach in photos but I digress). Then it was the challenge, I’d never gone over 3 miles, could I get to 5, 6, 10 & then 13.1. Then it was could I go 26.2. If I hadn’t met Sean I’d probably have stayed with the marathon, not really knowing much about ultras. . . The Why for me has changed in the 8 years I’ve been running endurance events. At first it was to see if I could do it, then it was to see if I could go faster. When I got injured last year, I lost my Why, I honestly didn’t know why I was doing this. I don’t enjoy the lows, like a lot of people do. Was I doing it because that’s what I always did or because Sean does? I didn’t know. . . After a lot of pondering this question over the last year, I’ve come up with a few reasons. First, no matter how slow it is, there is something magical about crossing that finishline. Knowing that you did it. Second, the places you get to see, explore & adventure in. And finally, the people. Runners, especially ultra runners are such an inclusive, welcoming, supportive group of people. . . What is your why?

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My biggest goals for 2018? Explore, adventure, try new things and enjoy every minute.

Now that I’ve seen that I can almost beat my half PR, I definitely want to crush that.  I’d love to go under 4 hours in the marathon, get a Western States qualifier & do my first 100 miler.  I want to find a group of people to run & to train with (when we are in town).

I have a bunch of races on the schedule for the first half of the year.  I’m looking forward to doing a mix of shorter distances along with ultras as well.  We are working on our summer/fall schedule now that the lotteries are pretty much finished, with hopefully a few new races on the schedule.

I’m also looking forward to visiting some new places while revisiting places we’ve been before.  We have been traveling a lot & we have a tendency to revisit places quite often so we decided to kick off the year with a trip to a new to us destination, Borrego Springs on the edge of San Diego County & home to one of the largest state park in California, Anza Borrego Desert State Park.  If the wives tale saying what you do on New Year’s is what you do all year is true, if we visit somewhere new hopefully we’ll visit a lot of new places ;).

And on that note, we’ve already booked our first trip to visit Yosemite in May.  I’m so excited to finally get to visit!

I’ve been dealing with a lot of digestive distress, so I’m transitioning to a vegan diet and completely eliminated dairy & eggs.  I’m looking forward to fixing my gut & getting back to feeling better in that area.

Some of this years goals are more broad than I’ve done in the past but as the year goes on, I’ll flesh them out as I push past my limits.

Have you ever imposed limits on yourself?  How did you push past them?

San Diego Resolution Run Half Marathon Race Recap

And just like that, I’m BACK!!

First off, I need to thank Sandy Feet Events and the San Diego Resolution Run for the entry to their race this past Sunday. Yes, they did give me an entry but like always, all thoughts and opinions, good or bad are my own.

As we already know, 2017 was a rough year. Honestly I think I ran 65 miles in December, 21ish of which were at Ray Miller. I was not motivated to get out the door and I honestly spent waaaay too much time playing games on my phone.

While I know you can start going after your goals at any time, I really needed that change of date to push me to get out the door. I needed to put 2017 and my year of injury behind me.

Sean & I went to Borrego Springs for New Years to go somewhere new and I changed my attitude. With 2 halfs & a 52 miler in January, the time for being lazy was over! Last week including the half marathon, I ran almost 35 miles! That’s over half of what I ran in December!

Anyways, now that all that’s out of the way, let’s get to the race.  Like I said I got my entry for free, however the race was reasonably priced, ranging from $69 – $99 depending on when you registered.  They also offered a 5k & 15k distance.  This was the first year for the half marathon.

We got a number of emails from the race in the week before the race.  They sent over our race numbers, info on parking, expo, etc.  We decided to pick up our bibs at Road Runner on Saturday to save time.  Interestingly, at this race they had decided to only give shirts to the half marathoners.  The other interesting thing was that they had reusable timing chips that we had to put on our shoes, that were collected after the race.

On Sunday, we drove over to Mission Bay where the race was being held.  The Half Marathon started at 7:15am so we wanted to have some time to settle in and not have to search too hard for parking.

We got there with plenty of time, they had a decent number of port-a-potties, we went early enough that there was barely a line.  Smitha (@runningwithsd) was parked right behind us so we walked over to the start together &  got a few photos. We were all #runmatchy, which was totally not planned at all.

The start line was really low key, barely anyone was there at 7:10, when eventually the announcer arrived and said a few words, announced that the wheel chairs were heading out.  Then about 30 seconds later it was like and Go.  It was a bit odd but it’s a really small race.

So off we went, down the parking lot to Fiesta Island where we would run all the way around the Island.  It’s really nice running the island when there are no cars and very few bikes ;).  The weather was really nice, humid, but the fog burnt off quickly.

I felt decent but I kept thinking, I’m running too fast, I need to slow down.  I’ve barely run more than 10 miles in months & the last week of runs was really rough, but my legs felt good so I just kept moving.

Eventually around 5 miles in we finished the Fiesta Island loop and headed over towards the SeaWorld parking lot.

As I was entering this part of the course, I saw Sean on his way back.  I’ve actually run parts of the course and this part was an out and back.  The turn around was the only part of the course that I really disliked.  They had us go down to the boat dock and do a really tight turn around on small sidewalk ramp.  Fortunately there weren’t a ton of people because it would have seriously bottle necked if there had been.

Once we got back towards the finish line, we were running near the 5k finishers and then starting to see 15k runners.  The second part of the course was an out and back on the sidewalk by the water.

I felt decent until about mile 8 when I took a short walk break.  I took a second break when I saw Smitha ahead of me so we could get a quick photo & we saw Sean heading for us.  I took a quick photo of him and then got moving again.

I felt pretty good, but I was getting tired.  I had Skratch in my bottle but I didn’t have any carbopro so I wasn’t high on calories.  I looked at my watch around mile 10 and realized that if I could finish the next 3.1 miles in less than 30 minutes I could sub2 so I pushed.  At mile 11 I had to walk for a bit at the aid station, I was so tired, but I ate a few Skratch Labs chews and felt a little better.

All I had to do was make it to the finish line.  I passed a few people, I don’t know if they were 15k or half runners, I saw my friend Robin from #run619 and just kept pushing.   And then there was the turn to the finish line and my watch was slightly short, dang it! But I was under 2 hours! which was the fastest half marathon I’ve run since November 2014 – that’s huge!

After I finished, I got my medal, which is cool, it’s a little chalkboard where you can write your 2018 goal.  I saw Sean & asked him how he did, he was way up there and I knew he probably placed in his age group.  They had computers at the finish line so you could check your results.  We checked Sean’s, he was 1st in his age group, 7th male and 9th overall.  My results weren’t up immediately but when I did look again, I was 2nd in my age group! WOW, so exciting!  Silly I know, but I’m not going to place in a big race so it was kind of exciting to know I placed in a race.

They gave us medals for our age group wins.  We also got a little goodie bag with snacks, since going vegan I can’t eat most of the stuff they put in these bags so I just had a mini smoothie from Jamba Juice & grabbed a juice from Suja.

We were drenched so we headed out pretty quickly, but there was a nice post race environment with lots of vendors.

Overall, I would definitely recommend the Resolution Run & if we are in town again next year, I will be putting this race on my calendar :).

2017 Recap

It’s been months since I’ve even come on here.  2017 was an interesting year.  It started out continuing on the high from 2016 and then my hamstring tendonitis brought my year to a halt.  After taking a little break, I lost my run motivation and got into a bit of a funk.

I wanted to recap how things went as far as my goals for the year.  Most of them were put to the wayside with my injury, but I’m interested to see if I achieved any of the others.

  1. Drinking more water is always a goal, I think I did ok on this but it’s always a work in progress.
  2. Strength Training – I did work on this a lot this year and with the help of Crystal Seaver I think I really did well on this one, once I got the go ahead from PT.
  3. Hill Training – This one didn’t really happen.  My injury meant that it was painful climbing so I didn’t do nearly as much as I would have liked.
  4. Speed work – Again, my injury was aggravated by speed so that kind of went to the way side as well.  I have done a few speedier workouts in the last month or so and felt decent.
  5. Run streak – That was dropped around 140 days and it might work for Sean and other runner streakers, but running every day doesn’t work for me or my hamstrings.  I won’t be starting another one.
  6. Mileage: I wanted to run 2,000 miles in 2017 and I fell very short, I only got about 1,150 for 2017.  With my injury and my lack of motivation, I had a hard time getting myself out the door.
  7. Long Run Nutrition – Still a work in progress.  I have found that I really like a mix of Skratch Labs & Carbo Pro.  I’m still working on this and since I didn’t do a lot of long runs this year, I didn’t really have much time to practice ;).
  8. Eat smaller meals – I don’t know that I succeeded at this, but after a lot of bloating and stomach pain this year, I finally in November made the decision that something needed to change.  I’ve been transitioning to a vegan diet, specifically eliminating all dairy & eggs from my diet.  It’s been helping a lot and I’m looking forward to keeping it up in 2018.
  9. Eat More Vegetables – This I did work on a lot. I still don’t love salad, but I’m working on it.
  10. A speedy marathon – Yeah, this didn’t happen, although I am really happy that I had 2 decent races at SF Marathon & then in Chicago with barely any training.  Not recommended but it worked for me.

Even though 2017 didn’t go exactly as planned, it wasn’t all bad.  I still managed to run or walk 15 races, a 10k, a 30k, a 35k, 5 Half Marathons, 4 Marathons & 3 50ks.  I volunteered at a bunch of races in the spring & summer.

I supported Sean at a bunch of races this summer including his “perfect” race at Tahoe 200 that resulted in a course record & huge course PR for him.

I went to Maine, on my first trip to the Northeast, for a fabulous retreat & met a bunch of amazing women.  We adventured around Vancouver & Kauai and spent a lot of time out on trails. All in all, even though it wasn’t the year I wanted, it was a pretty incredible year.

What were the highlights of your 2017?  Did you achieve your goals?

Prana Fall Style, a discount code & What I’ve been up to

I’ve been fortunate to participate in prAna‘s fall and spring style campaigns for the past few seasons and have reviewed several of their pieces.  This season I’m super excited because I’ve have the opportunity to try out some pieces that fit into my athleisure/athletic fashion style ;).  I was sent product to test out, but as always all thoughts and opinions are my own.

This season, I tested out the Roxanne Printed Legging in Indigo Garden, a pretty mix of blues, grey and purple.  I had a lot of tops that matched nicely in my wardrobe already so these colors were a perfect fit.

On top, I tried out the Sway Tank Top with a built in bra in Heather Grey.  Interestingly the bra matches another color of the Roxanne printed leggings.

This summer has been a bit of of struggle for me running (& blogging) wise, I’ve lacked motivation and continued to struggle with lingering pain in my hamstrings.  I have taken more time off running than I have in years but in the interim, I’ve incorporated more strength training, HIIT & yoga.

I’ll be honest, I am wearing the Roxanne leggings way more than the Sway Tank.  The leggings are so comfortable.  I’ve worn them for HIIT, yoga, hiking & even a short run (I don’t recommend them for running, but in a pinch they will work).

This year in Tahoe it was a little cooler than it has been in the past the first day, it even HAILED!  I wore the Roxanne leggings the whole first day, alone and then under my Lululemon camp pants when it got colder at night.

One of the things I love about prAna is how much they care about the environment and protecting it.  They use a lot of recycled materials for their products, the Roxanne leggings are no exception made from 87% recycled polyester and are bluesign certified.  I talked a bit about bluesign in a previous post, but it’s a way to create vibrant colors without polluting our oceans & rivers.

Now onto the Sway Tank.  I got a size small and it fit me perfectly in the bra, I found the back of the shirt to look a little off on me unless I really finagled with it.  I love that it too is made recycled polyester (88% for the shirt part/90% for the bra) but I wasn’t a huge fan of the feel of the shirt material.  It was a little rough & honestly I felt like it would show a lot of sweat.  I have been wearing it casually and it’s fine, but I don’t know if I would work out in it.

That being said, if I could separate the bra from the rest of the shirt, I would totally wear that all the time, it was so soft & comfortable.

Have you ever tried prAna?  What are some of your favorite pieces?

Want to try prAna or get some new pieces?  Use code FAJN15 to save 15%.

SeaWheeze 2017 Race Recap

SeaWheeze…I’ve had the opportunity to run SeaWheeze 3 times.  I was one of the lucky people to run in the inaugural year & then I went back and got those amazing plaid shorts in 2013 (still one of my favorite pairs). In case you don’t know, SeaWheeze is put on by Lululemon and takes place in the beautiful city of Vancouver, British Columbia.  It was my first international race back in 2012 and is a great event.

I was one of the lucky people to get a photo on Facebook at the first race, they don’t do many photos at this race so I was pretty excited :).

That being said, it is different from other races. What do I mean by that? Well read on to find out :).

Registration: I’m going to be honest here, registration for this race is super stressful. Lululemon uses Eventbright for their registration and unfortunately it’s not able to handle 10,000+ people registering at the same time so there have been a lot of problems over the years.  Personally and I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but this is my opinion, it’s time to go to a lottery system.  It will eliminate the issues with the server not being able to handle the demand.  Obviously we got in, but it was a mess and I know a LOT of people who got stuck in the dreaded waiting room forever.

Race Shorts:  Instead of a finisher participant shirt, Lululemon does a special SeaWheeze specific short.  They send the shorts in May so that we can train with them and to ramp up the excitement for the race.  This year’s shorts initially were underwhelming compared to years past, but in the end I found that I really like them.  I picked the speed shorts but they also had the tracker shorts for women (I heard that they ran small). The black & white is quite easy to match with every color under the sun and I don’t even notice the faces, lips, eyes, etc. that are on the ladies shorts.

Pre-Race Communications: Lululemon did a great job of keeping us informed, they send out multiple emails discussing the fact that the air quality wasn’t as good as normal due to fires in Northern BC. They also sent out multiple emails regarding the procedures on getting into the showcase store.

Pre-Race Showcase Store: For the first time ever, Lululemon announced that they would be giving us a sneak peak & selling some of the special SeaWheeze gear online about 2 weeks before the race.  They announced it on social media and sent an email.  You were allowed to buy 2 pieces and only 2 pieces.  They were very clear that if you tried to buy more than 2 pieces your order would not go through.  I was one of the lucky people to get the speed shorts and I also got a new bra.

Showcase Store: In another first, Lululemon gave us a full sneak peak of all the gear that would be for sale at the showcase store.

The store is an interesting thing… A lot of the hype around the race is about the showcase store.  It’s where you can get special edition SeaWheeze product that you can’t get anywhere else.  It’s gotten to the point where people line up on Wednesday & camp out in anticipation of the 7am Friday opening.  Seeing as this was Sean’s first time in Vancouver and I really didn’t have any desire to sleep on the street, I got in line at 3:30am.

I think I was about 500 people back from the front and I was in and out of the store by 7:30ish.  While I love Lululemon and this is a fun part of the event, this year I was slightly underwhelmed.  I normally love to get the speed shorts, this year, there were several solid colors and maybe 2 patterns, neither of which really jumped out at me.  I did get 2 new swiftlys (short sleeve & tank) & an Energy Bra.  I didn’t see a theme in the gear like they’ve had in the past although the colors & patterns did go together. Honestly I thought the gear this year was boring and with the exception of a few things the rest you could find in the stores.

Expo: After going through the store, I was going to get by packet but decided to wait for Sean. I went out to the expo to see what was going on there.  I got in line for a cute mountain tattoo from the Clearly CA sunglasses booth.

I got a bottle of water from the Flow table & had a smoothie from Vega.  The test truck was there but it wasn’t open that early & I don’t know if they were giving out product or not.  There was a booth where you could see some of Lulu’s innovation and coming products & give product feedback.  They also had yoga classes and other activities going on throughout the day.

Packet Pick-up: I went back to our hotel to wake Sean up.  We eventually made our way to the convention center to get our packets.  When we got there the line was really long so we decided to come back later in the day, you could pick up your packet until 8pm.

Race Swag: Once we picked up our packets, we got a nice drawstring backpack that you could use for gear check, a water bottle, a container of Nuun and Sean got a free drink from JJ Bean, I didn’t have one in my backpack.  Instead of a race bib, they give you a wristband to wear which gets you into the festival and race. The first 2 years I did the race they gave us chips for our shoes that had the founder Chip’s face on them.  This year it was the normal D-Tag like Rock n’ Roll uses for it’s races.  That is the only thing that showed we were even in a race.

Race Day: We raced over to the convention center to meet up with the ProCompression Ambassadors & I was so surprised to see a sea of black & white socks.  It was pretty awesome.

Once the photos were done, Sean & I headed to the start line, it can be really crowded and he should be near the front so we were lucky to get to the corrals early before they were packed.

They had pacers, I lined up behind the 2:05 pacer and Sean made his way to the front, he would run a 1:35!!  I heard from others after the race that it was very difficult to get into the corrals and I saw a ton of people on the sidewalk waiting to get into the under 2 hour corral.

As usual, instead of starting the race at 7:00am, they started talking at 7:00am and I think we started the actual race about 10 minutes later.  Which is actually a big improvement on year 2 when we started over 30 minutes late.

Course: The course was different from what I had run back in 2013.  There were a few hills at the beginning as we made our way through the city and then we were by the water for a good portion of the course.  We went over the bridge into Kitsilano where the first Lulu store is.  This is the only out and back section of the course.  Once we got back over the bridge, we headed towards the Seawall.  The seawall isn’t very wide so there is some weaving in and out around runners.  I was fortunate to be in a section where the runners were somewhat spread out and I didn’t have to jockey for position.  I heard that it was really crowded at some points.

The seawall is my favorite part of the course, it’s really beautiful.  There were a lot of groups out supporting the race, from the fire fighters, the WestVanRun group (incidentally one of the very first accounts to follow me), the hippies, the mermaids, etc. etc. there was enough to keep us entertained.

The finish was also different this year, we kept going on the seawall, past our hotel, towards the convention center, where the finish line was on the water!  The first 2 years, I remember having to go back up to the street where we had to climb a hill to the finish line, this was much better in my opinion ;). I ended up with 13.03 miles, not sure if the course was short or it was the way I took the tangents but I was a little shy of the normal 13.1.

I was happy to see that they had more mile markers this year in addition to the km markers.  The first 2 years I think they only had one at the 10 or 12 mile mark.

Medal: SeaWheeze always does a unique medal, this year it was a super heavy, medal Cairn.  I was shocked at how heavy it was and thought it was really nice.

Post Race: After we finished the race, we made our way up to Jack Poole Plaza to get some treats.  They handed out bottles for Flow water, they were letting us grab multiple bottles, got a wet washcloth to clean up and then a pair of finisher sunglasses.

We were lucky to not have to wait on the ramp for too long to get brunch, which this year was a box of snacks.  I actually really like this idea because it takes so much less time than a buffet.  The snacks were all healthy and they were designed to help us recover faster.  My favorite was the chia pudding, super yum!

After eating our treats, we made our way down to the expo area where we had more Vega smoothies and got our runners reward from Saje Wellness.

Sunset Festival: Initially I didn’t think we would go to the sunset festival, but we were kind of lazy after the race, I was exhausted and after a super yummy brunch from Ritual we just hung out.

Sean & I eventually walked over to Stanley Park where the festival was going on.  What a fabulous location for a party!  Thank you to Pavement Runner for the photo.

There was a lot of food options, we had sushi, a veggie burger and fries and toasted marshmallows.  We stood in line to get into the gear tent which didn’t have anything I was super interested in.  There was a huge yoga class and then 2 bands.  We chatted with our friends from social media and actually had a really good time.

Overall thoughts: SeaWheeze is a great event, but it’s focus isn’t necessarily on the race.  I think that the race is the catalyst to get everyone to Vancouver but it’s more just one facet of the experience more than the focus.  If you are looking for a competitive race, this is probably not the race for you, I’d recommend the BMO Vancouver Marathon for that.

Would I come back? Definitely! I enjoyed the whole weekend, Vancouver is a beautiful city and everyone is so nice. That being said, will we come back? I don’t know, I know that Sean wants to run Squamish 50/50 and Fat Dog 120 so we might have to make a choice.  Time will tell.

Did you run SeaWheeze? Do you want to run SeaWheeze?