Carlsbad 5000 2019 Race Recap

For a while it looked like Carlsbad 5000 might disappear.  Competitor Group sold the Rock n Roll series to Ironman and last year, Carlsbad 5000 was interesting, especially in regards to the elite races.

But after what seemed like forever, it was announced that Meb & a group of local San Diego investors had purchased Carlsbad 5000 and in December they opened up registration to the race.  We immediately signed up only to realize that Leona Divide was the day before.  For some reason I had my dates wrong and thought it was later in the month.

In any case, we decided we would still run, especially since the Arete ladies were doing a big meet-up where we would get to meet one of the founders, Mary before the race.

So when I left off on my Leona Divide recap, Sean had finished and we were high-tailing it out of Green Valley.  Well it got dark not too long after that and I don’t enjoy driving in the dark, especially when I’m tired. Plus getting out of Green Valley/Palmdale requires driving on a very stressful two lane road with a ton of traffic.  We finally made it to San Bernardino and found a place to have dinner.  By this point I was so exhausted I couldn’t drive the 2 hours home so we got a hotel near the airport in Ontario and decided to drive to Carlsbad in the morning.

Sean’s wave started at 6:53a and mine at 7:55a.  We decided to shoot for my wave and left the hotel around 6am I think.  The sun was just starting to come up when we left the hotel.

It was a pretty easy drive, we ended up on a toll road that was so incredibly beautiful, unfortunately no photos, I was driving, but it was almost empty and I kept thinking how lucky we were to get to see these beautiful mountains.

Eventually we made it to the 5 and then made our way south to Carlsbad.  I was starting to stress out, would we find a parking spot, get our bibs & hit the port-o-potties and be there in time to start the race?

We found a parking spot, jogged over to the starting area, I picked up the bibs for Sean & I, he was jogging just a touch slower than me ;), understandably so after finishing a 100k less than 12 hours before.

We then jogged over to the start area, where we immediately saw Kristina & Josh, we said a quick hello & headed immediately to the bathrooms.  We made it & even were there in time to hear the National Anthem.

Last year Kristina & I were racing around this course trying to get PRs or close to them.  I managed to go under 25 minutes for the first time last year.  This year we were both like, I don’t know how this is going to go.  I told her I might not be able to keep up and she said the same thing lol.

But off we went.  I started out really easy at least compared to last year, lol, when I was weaving in and out of all sorts of other runners.  This year I didn’t have a real goal but just wanted to do my best.

The first section has a few little bumps that feel like hills and then you make the turn.  I was feeling pretty good as I made my way down to the turnaround.

I hit the first mile then made the turn to go back the way I just came around 1.4 miles.  I missed the aid station, I was pretty thirsty, but it was only 3 miles so I just kept moving.

I started to feel like my legs were really tired so I know I started slowing down around the 2 mile mark.  We eventually started seeing the leaders and I was just saying to myself, keep moving, it’s only 3 miles, don’t walk.  I was waiting for the next turn, where was it? Finally we came up to the turn.  I made it and felt like I was going soooo slow, willing myself to keep running, not much longer now, less than a mile.

Then I heard Sean call my name! I turned, thinking I probably looked like death & Sean took my photo.  I thought these photos were going to reflect how I felt, but they actually didn’t look too bad, lol.

Seeing Sean gave me a little boost and I continued moving towards the Carlsbad sign and the final turn.  I hit the turn and did my best to speed up, it was tough, let me tell you.  I don’t believe I’m smiling in the photos at the finish lol, which was a shame because they had free photos!!

But I did managed to hang on to get a 8:31 avg pace which for these days was a significant effort. I was about 3 minutes faster than the LA Big 5k so that was a good sign.

For the second year in a row, Kristina finished just behind me.  I kept thinking she would pass me, but she was hanging on just like I was, lol.

Sean finished a few minutes later, I was able to wait for him & see a few other friends in the meantime.

We got a quick snack, some coffee & then headed to meet the Arete ladies by the packet pick-up.  Most of them were running in either the 30 – 39 or  2o – 29 age groups.  I think I was the only one who ran in the masters group this race.

We got a few photos & then they took off for a quick warm-up run.  We headed to the finish area to wait to watch the next race.

It’s pretty exciting and we would have loved to have stayed to watch the elites but we were exhausted so we said good-bye to all our friends and headed to Plant Power for some lunch before heading home.

Some of the cool things about this years race, free photos, Meb was taking photos with runners at the finish.  I wish I had know there were free photos because I would have gotten a pic but I didn’t really want to pay for them.  We didn’t pick up our shirts, although they were  a nice design, we just have so many race shirts we don’t wear.

Leona Divide 30k 2019 Recap

Leona Divide was my first ultra back in 2015 when I ran the 50k with Sean.  This race holds a special place in our hearts because of that.  Sean ran his first ultra, the 50mile in 2013 & then I did the 50k 2 years later.  You can read my past recaps here & here.

When Sean O’Brien was cancelled due to the fires last year, Sean was given the opportunity to run a special one time 100k race at Leona.  He decided to take it and so I asked Keira if I could run the 50k at Leona vs the Verduga 50k in February.  This was a good call since I wasn’t feeling well in February.

If you’ve read any of my other recent recaps you would know that I have run/walked a lot of races lately.  I was planning to do the 50k up until the day before the race.

As we were driving up to Palmdale, where we would stay the night before, the thought of being out there doing the 50k started to feel like a really long day especially since I would need to drive us home to run Carlsbad that night.

So I started thinking that from a training perspective I should probably drop down to the 30k and see if I could run the majority of it.  The idea started percolating in my head and it actually excited me.

So the next morning, I decided to officially drop down. I saw Sean off at 6am, went back to the car to drop off my extra clothes, chatted with my friend Missy for a few minutes and then we were off at 6:30a.

The first mile or so is a decent uphill on the road.  It was still pretty chilly when we started, my legs felt really heavy along and my breathing needed to acclimate.

I ran/walked the road section, then walked the steep section on the trail.  I didn’t go too fast on the downhill, we had a way to go at that point.  It’s amazing how different the trails look when they are all green, it’s been 3 years since the last time I ran Leona & the first section seemed different.

But then we turned on to the PCT & it all came back.  This section is really pretty and since we were doing the 30k relatively early in the day, there was still a lot of shade.  I kept my long sleeve on for the majority of the race until the last few miles when it got really warm.

I ran/walked the first section, my legs were still feeling heavy, it probably took about 4-5 miles for them to loosen up. I met a lady named Summer from Pine Valley & another lady named Michelle, who was an absolute beast on the uphill, she was from nearby & had run this section not too long before.  We ran together for a bit until Michelle left us in the dust.

We finally made it to the final downhill into the San Fransquito aid station which is the turn around.  I had on my dirtbag runners hat, which I really liked & my sunglasses and apparently my head was steaming lol.  I wish I had gotten a photo!  I refilled my water, had a few oranges & then headed up the hill.  I saw Summer up ahead and tried to catch up.  I eventually caught her just as Rob Krar came flying down the hill.  It was really funny because everyone who passed us for a bit was like did you see Rob Krar?

As we made our way up the hill, Michelle caught up with us towards the top, Rob also caught up with us right as we made it to the top. Haha.

At this point, I started running and I ended up passing Summer and doing my own thing.  Michelle was so strong on the uphills, some of which I ran, some that I walked that I could see her in the distance but didn’t catch her until right before the final aid station.

This year, there was an actual waterfall on the course, you can’t really see it in my photo but there was running water.  I’ve never seen anything like it on this course because it’s almost always super dry.

She ended up leaving first but I passed her again, I was feeling pretty good and we only had a few miles left.  At this point I was pretty much by myself.  I saw Uly from Paksit Photos as I was climbing up the hill & then another one of his photographers just as I was heading down the last section of trail.

It was actually really funny because I was smiling for the photos and then a bug hit my lip & I think I ended up swallowing it.  I was still smiling but after I passed her I spit and she was like did you swallow a bug, yep, I did, lol.

I hit the road & started the descent to the finish line.  This road section felt so much longer than it did when we climbed up. I passed one lady and was just concentrating on not getting hit by cars, there was one SUV that the lady did not car we were on the road, she literally did not move one inch from her path to accommodate me, not cool.

I made a turn and then I started to hear footsteps behind me.  I just concentrated on continuing to move, I remember saying to myself, don’t look back, don’t look back, just keep moving forward.  And I did.  Finally after what felt like forever, Jesse Haynes & another guy passed me and flew down the hill.

It wasn’t too much longer & then I was making the turn into the finish line. I finished around 4:10 with 19.65miles on my Garmin. I was pretty happy, that was probably one of the best avg pace trail runs I’ve had in a long while.  While not super fast, it was a solid run that I felt really good on and that was a success.

I finished, got some snacks, they had veggie subway sandwiches & chips.  I spent the rest of the day hanging out with Missy and some of our other friends watching the rest of the runners come in.

Once Sean came in, having a solid race and finishing before dark.  I collected his drop bags and we high tailed it out of there because we were going to run Carlsbad 5000 the next day.

Leona is one of our favs & we will definitely be back.  As always Keira Henninger & her crew does an amazing job.

 

**Running photos are from Paksit Photos.  All other photos are my own.**

Spring 2019 Favorite Things

It’s been a while since I’ve shared some of my favorite things.  I’ve had the opportunity to try some new stuff lately and I wanted to share with you all.

1) The Altra Running Escalante Racers are my fav road shoes but I just got the new Kayentas and wow are they amazing.  I had the opportunity to try them out last December when I did a photo shoot with Altra and I thought they were amazing then, now that I’ve actually had the opportunity to run in them for real, they are a new fav.  They fit a little more snuggly with a sock like liner and they have a slightly stiffer mid sole from the Max LT vs the Altra EGO™ with InnerFlex™ in the racer.

2) Runderwear, not something we talk about often, but when I had the opportunity to test out a few of their products, I was actually really excited.  I have been wearing tights or tight shorts lately that don’t have the built in underwear & it’s so hard to find underwear that don’t move around when you run or spin.  I got to try 2 pairs of underwear & one of Runderwear’s Support Running Bras.  I loved the Anti VPL Low Rise Hipster, super comfy, never moved, I wore them when I ran from the finish line to mile 16 in the rain the morning of the Boston Marathon and never noticed them at all.

I put the Support Running Bra through it’s paces as well, I wore it all day on Friday including on the plane when we were red eying to Boston.  I barely noticed I had it on.  I also ran in it twice this past weekend, including Monday when it rained.  I notice that while it did not dry immediately, it didn’t take a long time to, especially after the first run which wasn’t in the rain.  I’ve probably mentioned it before but I hate the whole wet sports bra thing and I didn’t feel like that about this one.  I’m looking forward to testing it out on the trails soon.

3) After I was diagnosed with hyperthyroid, which you can read about here, I was a little, ok a lot, scared to run so I started going to Soul Cycle.  At first I did it because they had Warrior week & I wanted the Drunk Elephant kit, but it became a habit & now unless I am out of town, I go to class twice a week.  I love it, I sweat like crazy, I get a great workout and get to be around some amazing people.  Want to come too? You can sign up here.  San Diego now has two locations, one at UTC in La Jolla & another in Del Mar.

4) I got to try a few new things at Lululemon and I am in love with the Fast and Free Tight II 25in.  I wasn’t sure at first if I would like these, but OMG, they are amazing, they literally feel like a second skin.  I’ve worn them for spin & I ran in them before the Boston Marathon in the rain and they were so comfortable.

I’ve also been loving the Breeze by Muscle Crop.  I never really wore crops before but the Muscle Crop is nice & loose and long enough that it covers the part of my tummy I’m not in love with 😉 lol.

5) I was gifted a product that is very unique and I was skeptical at first but it’s now one of my favorite things.  The Fasciawear Patented Active Form-Support for Athletes is a unique body suit style outfit that I feel like is a full body compression suit, where I felt like cat woman, but I wore it for a few hours this morning and I instantly felt like I had better posture.

From the Fasciawear website: Fasciawear has built-in Power-Strips that stimulate the fascia network in the human body. The patented Active From-Support mechanism improves body awareness, body posture and guides proper hip-knee-ankle alignment during exercise. 

6) The goodr x rabbit kit. What an awesome collab! I love the shorts & the tank with the rabbit & flamingo mesh, so cute! And in Boston we met the guy from goodr who helped create the kit with rabbit, such a small world.  This is a limited edition collab so if you are interested, you want to get a set ASAP.

I haven’t always been the most adventurous when it comes to trying new things and new products but I am really happy I stepped outside the box to try these things.

What’s something new that you have tried recently?

 

This post contains affiliate links & if you make a purchase I might earn a small commission.

Encinitas Half Marathon 2019 Recap

This is the second time we have run the Encinitas Half.  I decided to sign Sean & I up in early February.

We enjoyed last years race but this year they made a few changes including running the course backwards and eliminating the crazy steep hill that we went up and down last year.

Sean had to do trail work on the Saturday before the race for AC100 so I went up to Carlsbad, did a fun silent Orange Theory workout with the Carlsbad Lululemon.  It was a blast! I had so much fun.

Afterwards I headed over to pick up our packets.  They moved the packet pick-up to a new location, a community center.  There was definitely more parking so that was nice but I personally preferred the outdoor expo we went to last year.  There were maybe a half dozen vendors? Nothing that interested me so I just grabbed our bibs & swag.  They allow you to pick up for other runners with their bib number & a photo of their ID.

You could also pick up your packet on race morning but they charge you an extra $20 for that so, we didn’t do that.

Sean didn’t get home until pretty late on Saturday night so we got our gear out & then headed to bed.

The next morning we got up pretty early because the race started at 7:30a and we had at least a 45 min drive.  We started up to the race and hit a dead stop on the freeway about 10 minutes later.  Not a good sign but fortunately it cleared up pretty quickly & we were on our way again.

We got up to the race area & headed to the dirt lot we parked in last year.  There was a car in front of us that decided to turn around after starting up so I got out of the car and guided Sean up around the rutted areas & my little Prius C made it ;).  It’s been in quite a few tricky spots over the years lol.

Behind us was our friend Jonathan so we chatted with him and his wife for a while before heading over to the start.  It was a little chilly out but we didn’t know if they were doing drop bags or not so we didn’t want to run with extra stuff if there weren’t drop bags.

We got over to the port-a-potties, which was a bit of a cluster, but we managed to get in pretty quickly and then realized that Sean forgot his bib because I had it on my side of the car.  So I walked back to get it for him.

By this time it was time to get into our corrals.  It was a bit more disorganized than I remember from last year.  With both the 5k & 1/2 marathon starting around the same time there were a lot of runners hanging out.  I tried to make my way to what I thought was the 2nd wave, but there were no wave signs just pace groups which seemed to help a little but it was really crowded.  I jumped in and just stayed put.

They started the National Anthem but it was really low so there were a lot of people talking.  Then they started the runners off! The first wave went and since they didn’t have anyone separating the waves, people just kept moving until finally one of the announcers, Rudy, started yelling no more runners, no more runners just Team Hoyt! It was crazy!  I was still a bit of a way back from the front so I was just chilling.

We finally got started and it was quite crowded, in fact the whole race felt a lot more crowded than I remembered from last year.  But I settled in and just ran.  I was enjoying the beautiful views, this course runs next to the ocean for a good portion of the course.  We cheered on the lead runners, I watched for friends and cheered them on.  It was a beautiful day and it started getting hot pretty quickly.

I just took it pretty easy and did my best to keep running up and down the hills, I took a few walk breaks but not many.

I finally got up the final hill and on to the final out and back.  It went up by Sean’s uncle’s house so even thought I didn’t think he would be around, I looked for him ;).  I saw a fellow radrabbit, one of my fellow run Arete teammates, Jonathan & then Sean.  Another friend saw me & I waved back.

I hit the turn around and headed back to the finish.  As we were running back, I see a guy bend down and stop to pick a poppy from the median, I yelled don’t pick the poppies but it was too late, he had headphones in and didn’t hear me.  Not cool dude, not cool.

We ran under the Encinitas sign and then headed to the finish.  I was getting kind of hungry by this point so I just tried to get in as quick as I could.  I heard Sean call my name and then it was over!

Half marathon 56 complete! I think I did about 2:08 which was 2 minutes faster than San Diego Half so that was a good thing.  I felt tired but good the majority of the race.

After the race I ate a half of a banana, got a bottle or box of water & we had a kombucha sample before we headed back to the car.

The medal was pretty, although I thought it was interesting that it seemed like the 5k got the same size medal.

We didn’t stick around for any of the post race activities this year, we headed to Plant Power for lunch and then on to The Carlsbad Flower Fields to check them out.

I liked the reverse course, but honestly it didn’t really matter to me, I just liked that we didn’t have to run up/down the super steep hill.

I did feel like the course was a lot tighter this year though, people seemed to be a lot closer together on the course and the turn-arounds were quite tight.

All in all, it’s a beautiful course & depending on our schedule I’d probably run it again.

Do you run races that you don’t have to travel for?

LA Marathon 2019 – 5 in a Row!

I was given a free entry to the LA Marathon in exchange for sharing my experience over the last 5 years.  All thoughts and opinions on the race are mine & mine alone.

Sean & I have run LA every year since we’ve met.  My first was back in 2015, which was LA’s 30th Anniversary.  Outside of LA & Tahoe 200 we don’t really have many races that we do each and every year so we have decided LA is the one that we will continue to run year after year.  And it’s a great one to repeat!

I’ve shared my past recaps before but if you are interested in looking back on my previous races you can find them by clicking on the following years. 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018.

I mentioned in a post I wrote earlier in the year that I had originally wanted to try and go sub 4 this year. Unfortunately with my thyroid issues I had to throw that goal out the window and I decided to ask my friend Laurie if she wanted to run together.  We ran San Diego Rock n Roll together last year and had a blast so I figured we would have a blast doing this too.  I didn’t want to stress my body too much, plus there is always this point at LA where I just hit that proverbial wall and then I’m walking/running by myself wishing I had a friend for company.

So we agreed we would run together, Laurie gave me a out many times but I committed to running with her and I honestly wanted to.  That being said, I haven’t ever run with anyone in the marathon except one time with Sean at RnR LV and the time I met up with a girl at Mountains 2 Beach when we were both having a hard time.

I was excited and we planned it out to wear the same outfit, we both had the 2012 Lululemon SeaWheeze shorts and then grabbed a Sunday Runday shirt from Miles & Pace (a local SD shop) for a super steal using our friend Jenn’s code JENN20 for 20% off.

Anyways, back to the race.  Sean & I headed over the expo after the 5k that morning.  We were able to check into our hotel really early, got the car charged up and then had breakfast on the 26th floor of the hotel in the Club Lounge.  I have elite status with Marriott so it comes with perks at some hotels.  It was nice, we couldn’t eat a lot just oatmeal, hashbrowns & fruit but it tided us over until we could have lunch.

We were staying downtown so we were able to walk to the expo.  We saw a super cool set of wings by the Grammy Museum by Colette Miller so of course I had to get a photo & then we made our way into the expo.

It was in a slightly different spot in the convention center than it has been the last few year and I found it a little smaller than the past, but I might be mistaken.

We got our bibs in minutes, this year they sent us QR codes to have scanned and then we met up with my contact, Carleigh, who works for Conqur Endurance to finally meet in person.  We chatted for a few minutes & she gave us stickers so we could go to the VIP Bungalow a the start & finish of the race.

We walked around for a little bit but just ended up stopping at the LA Loyal booth before hitting up the Lululemon booth so I could get a shirt with the cool logo they had made up for the race with the coordinates of the race.

Last year, a new program was created called, LA Loyal.  It rewards you for running 2, 5 & 10 years in a row. This year was my fifth consecutive year running LA.  In every other race I’ve ever had loyalty at, you get your loyalty award the year you hit the number of races.  So for example, this year was my 4th year running San Diego half marathon, they gave me the 4 year loyalty award. At LA that’s not the way it works. You have to complete 5 years & then sign up for the 6th race in order to get your 5 year award.  I get it but it’s really confusing & most races giving you your reward the year you do your loyalty race, so it was frustrating to me.  I plan to run next year so I guess I’ll get my 5 year award then.  I just hope that I don’t go next year and they say, sorry, you should have gotten it last year.

Anyways, moving on after that we walked over to an amazing place called Backyard Bowls and had the first of 2 lunches.  We had an Acai bowl that is definitely in my top 3 favorite.  I keep thinking about it even a few weeks later.

We headed back to the hotel & got changed before going to meet Ari, our SoCal Altra rep, for a mid afternoon lunch.  We went to a yummy vegan place called Beelman‘s.

After Beelman’s we hit up this amazing vegan ice cream placed called Divine Dips & the lady who was working was amazing, she let us try as many flavors as we wanted and pushed us to taste flavors we wouldn’t normally gravitate to.  I ended up with a cone of New York Cheesecake, which honestly I wouldn’t normally pick but it was amazing!

After ice cream we headed back to the hotel to relax, we were going to have an early morning!

We got up around 4:30a or so and then got on the bus to Dodger’s Stadium.  They had the buses set up in a new way this year.  There were 3 lines of buses so they could drop off more people at the same time.  They only downside was that we had to wait for buses to go through before walking to the start area.

We hit up the port-o-potties, never pass up empty ones at a huge race like this, then we made our way into the stadium.  No one seemed to know where our VIP Bungalow room was but eventually we found it and it was awesome.

We saw our friend Eric, who also ran the run4kids 24 hour the weekend before, got some nice private bathrooms, bottles of water & they had snacks, but I just ate my cliff bar.

The best part was that they took our bags so we could pick them up at the end of the race & not need to worry about going to drop them off at the normal gear check.

Sean & I made our way into the corrals, I had managed to secure a B bib because of my race at Mt. Hood last year, Laurie had an E bib so I met her over by the E corral and we pushed our way into the corral.  I don’t know if it just wasn’t clear or if people just didn’t pay attention but so many people in the open corral were trying to get into the lettered corrals.

We finally got in, took a photo, listened to the announcements, the speakers near us cut out as the Mayor of Los Angeles was speaking, poor guy, and then started moving towards the start.

Since we were wearing the same outfit, we ended up making it onto the news, I had a few people mention it to me & one sent me a quick screen shot.  Too funny how we are both looking down starting our watches.

Off we went, running out of Dodgers Stadium on our way to Santa Monica.  We were doing great, got to the first aid station in Chinatown.  We saw a bunch of legacy runners, who had run all 34 races.

We were run/walking, taking some photos here and there.  I saw this cool Audrey Hepburn street art about 3ish miles in.

We saw the Disney Concert Hall shimmering in the sun, looking beautiful.  This year, there was a screaming guy talking about religion as we ran up the hill.

The Japanese drums are my favorite musical group of the race.  They are always at the top of the hill by the Disney Concert Hall.

As we turned the corner, Laurie saw Justin Turner & had to get a photo so I took a few for her.  We kept moving, running the downhills, run/walking the uphills & some of the flats.

We saw our friend Pretty, we went back and forth with her for a bit until we lost her on a hill.

We were doing great, moving decently, we hit 5 miles in under an hour & then 10 miles in just around 2 hours. We saw some more cool street art.

We passed the chili dog station.  This is something I look forward to seeing each year.  I don’t eat them, but they are so sweet to come out and support us like this.

Then we had a short break while Laurie grabbed a donut from California Donuts.  While she was getting her sugar fix, I had a lady insist that she was going to be DQ’d because she left the course, she literally went 50 feet to the shop to grab a donut, not a mile or 2 off course.  The lady was so convinced that Laurie’s chip was going to turn off and she would be DQ’d.  Ok, then.

We headed onto the Hollywood Walk of Fame, by Mann’s Chinese Theater.  We were looking for Jimmy Fallon’s crew, but never saw them.  I always seem to get the best photos in this area of the course & this year was no exception :).

I love seeing the Hollywood sign.  The first few years I ran the race, I didn’t see it, this year we saw it a few times.

We hit the first of the Clif Bar aid stations, this guy’s costume is sooo cute.  I don’t normally dress up for Halloween, but this would totally be an awesome costume.

We hit the half marathon just after this in about 2:40 or so.  The sun was shining, we were doing good.  Running through the city, we came up on our friend Briana who was running her first marathon! She was struggling a little but moving really well.  She was excited to see her parents at one of the LA Leggers aid stations.  I saw Josh Holmes, from RunItFast, out with his kids.

We ran down an awesome downhill around mile 16ish, turned the corner saw the drag queens and kept moving.  By this point I was just a little bit ahead of Laurie.  I was trying to keep with her but I felt like I was always a few feet or more ahead of her. These miles, 16 – 18 are always tough, they aren’t the most exciting, although there are a lot of tents set up & spectators.

Eventually we headed into Beverly Hills & saw the We Run Social group, Ivie & AJ & a few others.  By this point, Laurie was having a short low point & so Ivie ran with us for a few minutes, she gave Laurie a birthday gift, one of her Cozy Cone Crafts.  She put it on her arm & I told her it was her power up.

We turned on to the section of the course where they have the USC/UCLA cheer groups.  I turned back to make sure Laurie was behind me.  She had her head down & I thought she was hurt or sick.  She was just in the zone.  We walked & ran & eventually caught up to Briana again.  Briana wasn’t having the best day, she started feeling a little light headed earlier in the race so she was walking. We walked with her for a bit.

By this point we had slowed down a bit, but we were still moving well.  I know Laurie was struggling a bit and it was getting hotter.  I was trying to keep her motivated.  She was doing so great & I was so proud of her.

We finally made it to the final downhill & headed down to the beach.  We were almost there!  This part of the race is a challenge, you can see the finish line, but it seems so far away! This year it was absolutely beautiful! Bright blue skies, sun shining, the spectators were out in full force.

Closer & Closer we were almost there & then we made it!!

I was so proud of Laurie! She pushed the whole way, running while I was walking next to her, running up hills, downhills, when she probably didn’t want to ;), for staying in our positivity bubble & keeping her head up high.

We might not have had the fastest time, could I have run faster on my own? Probably.  But then I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to see someone dig so deep & finish.  I wouldn’t have changed my experience at LA for anything.  I just hope that I was able to be motivating and not annoying.

We finished up, Sean had been hanging out in the VIP Bungalow learning all about the race, seeing the winners & Meb while we were out there running.  He and Carleigh were there when we finished & Sean gave me my medal!

That was such an awesome surprise. And we even had some paparazzi taking photos LOL.

Laurie & I got our challenge medals, I got the double-play for doing both the 5k & the marathon & she got that & the season challenge medal for doing 3 races Santa Monica 5k/10k, Pasadena Half & LA Marathon.

We got a photo with Carleigh & then went our separate ways. The race was over.

Sean & I got to hang out in the Bungalow for a few minutes before we headed back to the buses to get back downtown.

The buses, well I guess it’s been a few years since we have stayed downtown.  We haven’t had to take one in a while since we have parked in Santa Monica for the last few years.  This was probably the most frustrating part of the whole race and not the fault of the race necessarily, but as we walked up, a bus left & then we had to wait for over 45 minutes until we had a full bus to leave.  Everyone got up and talked to the drivers & honestly they didn’t care.  So we sat & waited and waited some more.  Eventually we headed out but that was an exercise in patience for sure.

I have run 26 marathons now & this was probably one of the most rewarding.  I am so happy that I had the opportunity to share it with one of my friends. Laurie, you inspire me!

Have you ever run a race with a friend?

 

 

 

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Big 5k Race Recap

Here’s the nitty gritty, I received a free entry to the Big 5k from Conquer Endurance Group in exchange for posting a photo on Instagram. That being said as usual, all thoughts & opinions are my own.

As you probably are already aware, Sean & I have run LA Marathon many times, but this was the first time we have done the Big 5 5k the day before.

We drove up to stay with Sean’s sister the night before after work.  We had a pretty quick trip considering it was Friday night and a beautiful sunset.  This was also our first long(ish) trip with Sean’s new electric car, we did really good but would need to get it charged after the race.

Saturday morning, we got up pretty early, I think we got up around 5:40am.  We were in Manhattan Beach so it would take about 30 minutes to get to Dodger Stadium.

I think we left around 6:15/20a which was good because it’s not easy to get in and out of the stadium.  We got there early enough that we didn’t have to wait too long to get in.  We got parked, got our bibs & shirts.

There were a few fun photo ops.  I got my photo with Dumbo & the finish line.  Unfortunately I was still in my warm-up gear but it’s all good.

We used the port-o-potties and then when back to the car to drop off our gear.  I wore a new to me Lululemon style shirt called the Breeze Bay short sleeve.  It had all the holes in it that are so popular these days on the trails :).  It matched a pair of shorts from last years SeaWheeze and was super cute.  I know they say don’t wear anything new on race day, but I’m at a point where I do, plus I’ve been wearing Lululemon for years, how different could it be ;).

Anyways back to the race.  We ran into some friends before heading into the corrals.

We haven’t run a 5k since Carlsbad 5000 last year.  I always forget how low key 5ks are.  Plus I wasn’t planning to run fast so I had no pressure.

When I was told about this race, I was told, it’s kind of hilly so I was expecting a lot of hills.  There were some but it wasn’t as hilly as I was expecting so that was a plus.  I pretty much just ran/walked.  I had to stop to get water around the 1.5 mile mark & take my pill, I’ve been really good at taking my thyroid meds at about the same time every day & I didn’t want to forget so I took it mid race.

We got a nice downhill and then we climbed back up for the start of the final mile.  It was really funny, I heard this guy next to me say what I thought was Jenny we are on the 3rd mile, I turned around as was like how did you know my name, turns out I’m apparently bad at hearing because he said Jay, not Jenny, but it was funny and kept me amused as I climbed the hill!

It didn’t take long after that until we hit the finish and I managed to get in just under 30 minutes.  Which was fantastic to me, my legs were definitely not feeling it the first mile so it took a little bit for them to warm up before I felt relatively decent.

We got a cute medal and then Sean & I headed over to our hotel, we needed to get some breakfast, get his car charged and then hit up the expo before meeting our Altra rep for lunch.  We had a busy day!

All in all if I had the opportunity to run the race again, I would.  It was pretty low key and they had nice swag.  It is a little pricey for a 5k at $50 a person which is why we probably one of the reasons we haven’t done it but it was nice to get the shake-out run out of the way early.

 

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Run4Kids 24 Hour Run Race Recap

Two weekends ago, Sean & I drove up to Corona, CA to run a 24 hour race.  After Across the Years in December, we said never again to one of these races but one of the founders reached out to Sean because he has the same last name and we found ourselves registering to run the Run4Kids 24 hour race that benefits the 100 mile club.

On the way up, we saw the poppy superbloom which was so beautiful! When I posted this in my instagram stories I got a bunch of comments about not walking on, laying on or doing anything other than staying on trail. Please, please don’t go off trail, the poppies are very fragile & if you walk on them, you aren’t just killing this years bloom but also future blooms.

Now back to the race, Sean registered for the 100 mile & me for the 24 hour.  I was a little uneasy about the Friday 7pm start time because I had to work all day but it is what it is.  I figured I’d go as far as I could and then call it a day when Sean finished.

What is Run4Kids & the 100 mile club? For 26 years, 100 Mile Club has been the program leading the effort in the prevention of childhood inactivity and obesity across the nation. Click on the link above to get a lot more information on the 100 mile club & Run4Kids.

We got to Corona relatively early, especially for us ;).  I had to work all day and had an extremely stressful day & week. I was ready to get out there and start running but I was also exhausted.  I did a blood draw earlier in the day and also wasn’t sure how that was going to affect me.

We weren’t paying attention and missed the pre-race runner meeting where they awarded people for their fundraising & told some stories, oops.

One of the many nice things about running at a school was that we had real bathrooms to use. It’s amazing how much of a difference that makes lol.

7pm was getting closer, the sun was setting and it was super pretty.  I got a quick pre-race photo and then we were heading up to the start for the National Anthem.  About 2 minutes later we were off!

The loop was approximately 1/2 a mile and it was a true loop.  Interestingly, it was a lot easier to do this loop over and over again that some of the other loop courses I’ve done.  I thought it was going to be really challenging since it was only a 1/2 a mile but that really wasn’t my challenge.

I started the race talking to a guy, Jamie who knew me from Instagram.  He totally crushed it at his first 24 hour race getting 104 miles!  I ran with him for maybe 2-3 laps before I got a work phone call that I had to deal with.  That took me almost 2 laps to deal with and kind of got me off my game.

I did maybe 11 miles and then had to take a nap, I was literally so exhausted that I was sleep walking and not able to walk in a straight line.  I had my Orange Mud transition wraps and my rumpl blanket, 2 jackets and my hat and so I slept on the ground for a good 1 1/2 hours.  I felt better after that so around 11:45 I started up again.  I got in another 9 miles or so & had to take another nap.  I did another 5 miles after that & slept for about another hour.

It was the weirdest thing, but I guess because it was only a 1/2 mile loop and there was a lot of light on one side of the loop, most people did their loops without headlamps.  I used mine for a good portion of the race, but did do about a half dozen laps in the dark.

Around 5am I got up and walked for the next 6 1/2 – 7 hours.

I managed to hit 50k before 7am so that was a nice goal.  After that I took a short break, ate my picky oats, I brought a container from home ;).  Since we have gone vegan, you never know what you are going to get at the aid station. But they did have Oreo’s lol so I ate a bunch of them too.

I kept moving and then my friend Andy started his race.  I ran into him and we walked, talked & finished up my 50 miles.

At 9am they started the 5k & 6 hour run for the kids & their parents.  There were 100s of kids and their families out on the track.  I happened to be heading by when the kids started so it was a little crazy. But it was so cool to see the kids all in their shirts marking how far along they were in their 100 mile journeys.

I had to take a quick break at mile 44.5 to get changed, it got hot, fast!  I was wearing my SeaWheeze reflective crops, which Sean really liked & said he could see them across the loop.

I had to take another quick break around mile 48, I needed to get some salt & a quick nap.  It was warm outside but I was starting to feel chilled so I knew it was time to take a few minutes.

Finally I finished my last 4 loops!  It took quite a while but I was pretty happy to have finished.

I got a sno cone for me & Sean and then settled in to wait for Sean to finish.

He had about 10 miles left to 100.  He ended up winning the 100 mile distance in 19:25.  It was so cool because some of the kids ran with him on his last lap.

It was a really cool event.  I probably would prefer to just run the 12 hour in the morning if I was to do this again because running through the night, starting in after work wasn’t very easy for me.

The Run4Kids is truly a special event that I would recommend to anyone though.  I was amazed at how much fun I had.

 

Recovery Run: 2019 San Diego Half

This is my 4th time running San Diego Half Marathon. It’s a fun & fast race in downtown San Diego.  You can check out my previous recaps here.  2016, 2017, 2018

I signed up back in August of last year & I had high hopes for a big PR here. As we know, that didn’t happen due to the hyperthyroid/Graves diagnosis & the subsequent lack of real  training since Javelina. But that’s ok, I’ll get there.

So I honestly wasn’t sure how this race was going to go. I haven’t run anything over 4 miles in weeks, since Surf City Half so my bigger concern was how would my body handle the jump in miles.

This past week I’ve run more than I have in a week (outside a race) in a long time.  It might not seem like a lot but I ran 9 miles this week before the race.  In February, I ran a total of 49 miles with Surf City Half & about 20 of that pacing Sean at Franklins, which means I “ran” 16 miles the rest of the month.  I also took up riding at Soul Cycle and in the last 2 weeks I’ve racked up 6 rides & plan to continue on with 2 rides a week for the foreseeable future.

Now back to the race. Sean & I picked up our packets on Saturday at the expo.  It’s still in the same place on the harbor.  It was a touch cool & cloudy but no rain.  SD Half does their bibs in order of when you register and since I registered the first day, I had a very low bib number.  I also was surprised to see I was in Wave 2.  I normally am in Wave 4 so I don’t recall what I put as my projected finish time. Maybe 1:50?

We grabbed our race shirts & legacy gifts.  This is our 4th consecutive year of running so we got half zips as our bonus gift.  Unfortunately they were all out of men’s smalls so they told Sean he could get a different size.  Since we know he’ll probably never wear the shirt, we passed & the poor volunteers didn’t know what to do. You are supposed to get 2 shirts lol.

The expo as usual is pretty small so we didn’t really stick around, instead heading to get lunch, some yummy acai bowls from Everbowl.

The race always takes place on the time change weekend so if you enable text messaging they will send you a reminder text to change your clocks to spring forward.  That’s a nice touch.

Race morning! We got up a little later than last year, around 5:30ish, I was already up, but Sean’s alarm hadn’t gone off yet.  We left the house at 6:08a & were downtown by 6:15a which was probably the fastest we’ve ever gotten down there.  Hitting all green lights & having barely any traffic really helps!

We walked down to the starting area.  As per usual they start the race right in front of the convention center.  I needed to meet the Arete ladies for a quick photo & meet-up so we did that first before dropping off our bags & heading to the corrals & port-a-potties.  It was a beautiful morning, no marine layer and we got to see a great sunrise.

It was nice to meet some of the other ladies in the group, since I’ve been off I haven’t gone to many of the meet-ups since I joined the group in January.  Side note, I was so excited to join this group & to really work on my speed & goal to BQ & then I had all these issues pop up just as the group was getting started.

And I’ll be honest, knowing how fast all these ladies are, was really intimidating. I feel like I’m kind of the weak-link in this group even if I wasn’t dealing with medical things.  They all finished within minutes of each other & I was about 30 minutes back.  But I can’t be too hard on myself, I went from barely running to running a half averaging just under 10 min pace with the last 3 miles being the fastest of the whole race. At Surf City, I could barely breath & I averaged 11:45 pace.  Again, I digress.

Sean & I headed back to gear check to drop off our clothes.  I’ve said this before, but I’ll reiterate it, I always bring a set of fresh clothes to change into after the race, I hate being all wet after the race.  And sports bras take forever to dry so I had lots of warm, dry clothes in my drop bag.

We headed back to the start, hit up the port-a-potties.  This year they had it done right so that there weren’t lines on both sides of them.  There was a porto in the middle of each section so that you could only enter from the sidewalk.  Finally!! In the past it was total chaos with people lining up on both sides.

I got a quick selfie of Sean & I and then we headed to our respective corrals. It was shaping up to be a beautiful morning with the sun peaking out & for once, no marine layer!  Normally this race is so humid, but it felt really nice, in the mid 50s.

I was a little nervous before we got started not knowing how I was going to feel but once we got started I got into a grove.  For once I didn’t feel like I started out too fast, I just kind of followed the other runners & didn’t weave in and out too much.

One of my favorite parts of this race is the first 3 miles running by the harbor.  We pass the Midway, there was a Disney Cruise Liner in port that morning.  As we head over to Harbor Island you can see my favorite view of the city & it was spectacular that morning with the sun behind it.

I ran the first 3 miles with no issues, I stopped for water at the mile 3 aid station & then from there I started run/walking.  I ran to mile 4, took a short walk and then tried to do mile repeats with a short walk in between.

We run down to Liberty Station, which I always enjoy as well.  By now it started to get cloudy but it wasn’t humid.  I remember thinking how I was sweating but my shorts weren’t soaked & sticking to me like they normally are, lol.

I made it to the 10k in just over an hour which I was happy about.  From there I just kept chugging along, mile 7 came up fast, then we did a quick climb on mile 8.  I started getting a cramp in my oblique around this point so I walked to stretch it out a little at the mile 8 aid station.

I was getting a little tired by this point,  but I kept moving.  I walked the short steep hill, ran to Washington Street & ran/walked the big hill.  One day I will conquer this hill, this year wasn’t it.

There were a bunch of Milestone Running & November Project people who were running up and down the hill with runners which was so cool.  The only bad part was that they were all running down right where we were running & I like to run on the very far left so I had to keep moving over to let them run back down.

In any case I finally made it to the top, in a lot less time than it seems like I normally take (11:45 for that mile & in the past I think I’ve taken 13/14 minutes).  The next section I have run many times with the #run619 group & I always think about them when we run through this section past the Hillcrest sign down to 6th Ave next to Balboa Park.

The last 3 miles are mostly downhill & I knew that Kari @grrrlrunner was going to be near Balboa so I was looking for her.  She was with her son & got this photo of me running by!  So nice of her to wait to see me!

From there I was starting to get a small cramp in my right quad, a place I’ve never felt any issues before, maybe all the spin? and I was getting hungry.  I didn’t have any CarboPro in my pack so I didn’t really have any calories on this run except one muir energy around mile 11 which was really too late to start eating.  I’m the worst when it comes to fueling, which is why I normally just use carbopro so I can drink my calories.  I drink a lot so it works good for me.

In any case, I had to get to the finish so I powered on. I was getting closer to the spot where they can stop you for the Trolley to pass.  I saw 2 Trolley’s stopped & waiting and was hoping I could run fast enough to miss them.  And phew, I was the last runner they let go by before stopping runners.  I have been lucky, I think I’ve only been stopped once in the 4 years I’ve run this race.

I just kept pushing, and then finally I could see Petco Park .  At this point I was following a lady in a Oiselle team shirt and I wasn’t sure if I could pass her or not.  I followed her down to the turn off into the park.  We went through the tunnel & then I was like time to finish strong & while I expected her to push to the finish, I must have pushed harder because I passed her after we got on to the baseline.

I finished!  It wasn’t fast, but it wasn’t super slow either!  24 minutes faster than Surf City & I felt 100x better.  I can only get stronger from here!

So overall, I like this race.  I’ve done it 4 years in a row, it’s pretty fun, it’s fast, it has a cool finish line where you finish inside Petco Park.  They give out nice gift bags at the end, we use our reusable bags year after year.  This year we got a friar bobble-head & a book about one of the Padres players that made to the Hall of Fame.

The medal was really nice this year, a huge softball size medal with the Gaslamp sign on it.  They abandoned the idea to do the 4 part series medal they started last year after hearing that people didn’t like that idea.

We’ll be back, but maybe not next year, I really want to run Antelope Canyon so it might be time to change it up :).

Passion Fit Review

I received an outfit from Passion Fit to test & review for this post through my association with FitApproach.  As always my opinions are my own.

Follow your passions, be fit and the rest will follow…

This is the motto of Passion Fit, the brain child of fellow Sweat Pink Ambassador, Reena Vokoun.  Her lifelong passion for health, wellness & fitness along with the desire to help others pushed her to give up her corporate job to create this company.

In addition to selling her own Passion Fit line, she also has work-life balances courses, teaches fitness classes in the Bay Area & does wellness consulting amount other things.

I have been testing out the Passion Fit capri leggings and fitted workout tank for the last few weeks.  I’ve put them through the paces between short runs, playing in the snow & spin class.

I picked the capri’s to try because I loved the patterns.  This pink & turquoise paint splotch print was a perfect fit.  I picked the matching turquoise workout tank to match, because um, matchy, matchy right?

The capri’s are a touch more high waisted then I normally wear but they were very comfortable.  I picked the size small, which was definitely the right size, for reference I’m typically a size 6 in other exercise gear.

The four way stretch fabric for both pieces is supportive & feels really silky.  It feels good even when sweaty.  Each piece is custom made so they patterns may vary slightly but it’s kind of cool, a made to order clothing.

The tank has a dipped hem which means that it’s slightly longer in the back than the front.  I didn’t notice this much at all but one thing I did notice is that it never moved.  There was no riding up when I ran.  It has a nice snug fit which I like & has a full back.

In addition to capris and the fitted workout tanks, Passion Fit has sports bras, full length tights, hoodies & quoted racerback tanks.

“Check out the new Passion Fit online boutique for stylish, comfortable, affordable and high-quality activewear and accessories! Receive free shipping and 10% off until March 20, 2019 when you shop online at passionfit.com/shop and enter the promo code: PASSIONFITSWEATPINK.

 

Listening to my body

This post is going to be a bit different than my normal race recap or product review.  I want to share my experience with listening to my body & how it helped me these last few months.

I started noticing something was off after I was sick in November.  I did Javelina 100k at the end of October, ran the Los Coyotes Ragnar Trail with Team SweatPink and then was sick for a few weeks (including a trip to the super smoky Bay Area).  I thought it was just a normal cold & it seemed to be.

In December I had some issues with breathing while running, I was chalking it up to being out of shape after being sick.  But it was starting to get worse.  I could run as much as 3 miles straight but on the longer runs, I felt like I was breathing through a straw.  My neck and shoulders were so tight & I was having trouble catching my breath while just sitting on the couch.

I was starting to get nervous which of course increased the anxiety I was already feeling. Towards the end of December I finally made an appointment to see my doctor but I couldn’t get in until late February so I waited & things started to get worse.

I was feeling fine for the most part, except for my heart would race occasionally when I was just sitting down, the neck & shoulder pain was getting worse & I was still having issues with my breathing, mostly when running but sometimes at rest as well.  I would have to think about breathing something I should not have to do.

Finally after one of my runs, where it was really bad, I said something on Instagram and some people offered up some explanations, iron deficiency, too much sugar, gluten intolerance &/or other allergies.  So in early January I reached out to my doctor via email & asked if we could do some blood tests because it was still over 6 weeks until my office appointment.  She agreed that was too long to wait and I went into the lab to get some blood work.

What came back was that I was slightly anemic but that wasn’t my doctors biggest concern.  The bigger issue was that my thyroid levels were way off.  I got 3 calls from the doctors office that day and an appointment to see an endocrinologist.

I went back to get more blood drawn to do more thyroid specific tests.  I was googling everything, initially I couldn’t tell if it was hyper or hypo thyroid but as the test results came back, I was able to determine it was most likely more hyper.

So what is hyperthyroidism?  It occurs when your thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine.

Symptoms can include:

  • Unintentional weight loss, even when your appetite and food intake stay the same or increase
  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) — commonly more than 100 beats a minute
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Pounding of your heart (palpitations)
  • Increased appetite
  • Nervousness, anxiety and irritability
  • Tremor — usually a fine trembling in your hands and fingers
  • Sweating
  • Changes in menstrual patterns
  • Increased sensitivity to heat
  • Changes in bowel patterns, especially more frequent bowel movements
  • An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), which may appear as a swelling at the base of your neck
  • Fatigue, muscle weakness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Skin thinning
  • Fine, brittle hair

I had some of these symptoms, the racing heart, the anxiety & nervousness (this had been going on for a while, I literally had to lay back in the front seat any time I drove with Sean because of anxiety that we were going to get into an accident.) and a slight tremor in my hands.

When I saw the endocrinologist, she said that you didn’t have to have all the symptoms but that by the results of my tests & what I was telling her, she was pretty sure that I had a hyper thyroid & more specifically Graves Disease.

Graves Disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid. With this disease, your immune system attacks the thyroid and causes it to make more thyroid hormone than your body needs.  It is unknown why it occurs, but it is very common, with more than 3 million cases every year in the US. It is treatable & I’m pretty sure that I caught my issues pretty early in the process.

My doctor ordered a few more blood tests to confirm her diagnosis but she put me on a pill called methIMAzole immediately to help with the symptoms.  She said there were a few side affects to watch out for, specifically a rash but I seem to be ok and I’ve been on the medication for 3 weeks now and feel so much better!

The endocrinologist was shocked that I had done Surf City a few weeks prior to my appointment.  She was like most people wouldn’t have been able to finish.  Well as Sean said, I’m not most people.  And in talking with my primary care doc she agreed. Most of the people that they see are not exercising & they have to tell them to vs someone like myself that has a long history of endurance training.

I’ll be honest, running was scary during that time, but I didn’t completely stop.  I cut back but still kept moving.  Before my appointment with the specialist I googled hyper thyroid & running what seemed like a million times. I found maybe 2 -3 posts that did not have info that I wanted to hear.  It took me a year to get back to running, I lost 10 pounds in a week (I didn’t lose any weight during the 2 months I was dealing with these issues),  I couldn’t even run a 5k.

I had just gotten into OCC in Chamonix & the Vermont 100k.  I had a bunch of races already on the schedule and I was super nervous I wouldn’t be able to run them.  But I could walk forever & feel good so I knew I might have to go slower, but I could still go.

It’s been 3 weeks since my diagnosis & I have 7 races in the next 5 weeks on my schedule.  I might not be super fast, but I will finish each and every one!

I wanted to write this blog to share my experience, which was very different from the very few blog posts I was able to find about running with hyperthyroidism & /or Graves.  I don’t know the background on the 2 ladies who shared their experience, where they like me with lots and lots of races of all distances on their resumes or where they beginners?  I don’t know.

Now, this is is my personal experience, I have continued to run/walk/hike/spin, etc. throughout this whole experience.  I have my doctor’s blessing to run/walk LA Marathon which she thinks will be a good indicator to see where I am after 5 weeks on meds.  I didn’t tell her I was doing a 24 hour race the week before, oops! LOL

If you experience anything similar to what I did, I fully recommend visiting your doctor to discuss and do tests if necessary.  I am grateful that my doctor listened to me & gave me the opportunity to have testing done without an office visit.  I really believe that if I had waited things could have been a lot worse.

If you have or had Graves/Hyperthyroid, I would love to hear your experience.