Running towards my Goals: Weekly Recap V1

After 45 miles last weekend between the Old West 50k, Hot Chocolate 15k and a nice walk with Sean to finish up the weekend, this week was all about recovery.

So what did that mean?

Monday – 4 miles at the Harbor with Smitha (@runningwithSD)

Tuesday – some core work and a run rest day

Wednesday – Another run at the Harbor with Smitha & Jenn (@jenn13.1)

San Diego, Harbor, Running, Runners make the best friends, altra running, lululemon

Thursday – another run rest day

Friday – I had the day off so I spent the day at Coronado on the beach & then did 5 date night miles on the trails with Sean.  Although I did walk a bunch of this because stupid me ate Chipolte too soon before my run, oops, but we got to experience the most beautiful sunset.

Trail Run, los penasquitos, date night, runner girl, sunset run, altra running, running 4 those who can't

Saturday – We spent most of the day (over 6 hours) in the backyard trimming trees and then a short 2.25 mile sunset run at Mission Bay

Sunset run, mission bay, san diego, beach run, sunset

Sunday – 11.5 miles out on the PCT (Pacific Coast Trail) with Sean

Runner, PCT, Pacific Coast Trail, run happy, altra running, lululemon, running 4 those who can't

I also spent the week contemplating some future distance goals, i.e. attempting a 50 mile or 100k distance race.  I’m still debating if I want to and which race would be a good choice (possibly Cuyamaca 100k or Javelina 100k with a sub 17 hour goal) but in the interim I’ve registered on the waitlist for Tahoe Rim Trail 55k in July where Sean will be running the 100 for the third time in a row.

Goals for this week?

  • Start back up on my core routine
  • Some speedier miles
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – I’ve got the Carlsbad 5000 on Sunday and I want to be well hydrated.
  • Weights at least 2x this week.

Have you run a 50 mile or 100k distance race? If so, which ones do you recommend for a semi slow trail runner?

Race Recap: Old West 50k

This past weekend was a big one for me.  I not sure what possessed me to sign up for not one but 2 races for a total of 40.4 miles or 65k.

Our friend, Matt is one of the race directors for the Old West 50k so we decided to sign up for the race about a month ago.  It’s out in Julian, CA, although it’s quite a bit further out than we were expecting, but more on that later.

They have 2 race distances and after looking at the price, it seemed like a better deal to run the 50k vs the 30k and using runner logic, I would be getting more bang for my buck lol.

I found out that Jenn @solehealth & Vanessa @runvanessawrun would also be running the 50k so I sent a message to Jenn to see if I could run with them.  They seem to be in the same pace range as I am and we’ve run together before so it seemed like a perfect fit.

Fast forward to race week and I’m in Phoenix for the full week for work, coming back to San Diego on Friday evening.  I decided to try something different and I got a ton of juices & water to really hydrate on Friday.  I drank 3 bottles of Blueprint Juice, a bottle of GT’s Raspberry Chia Kombucha and all but a little of a 1.5 liter bottle of water before I flew home.

blue print cleanse, cashew milk, momentum jewelry, run happy, garmin, garmin fitness

Once I landed we did a short run down at the harbor before heading to Islands for dinner.  I had a Turkey Burger and french fries and more water.  I was fully hydrated when I started the race, probably for the first time ever.
San Diego, Harbor, USS Midway, Altra Running, Shakeout Run

After dinner we realized we didn’t really know where we were going for the race so we looked it up and found that it was about 1.5 hours from our house, which is a little further than some of the other races in the Julian/Lake Cuyamaca area.

So I got my gear together, I didn’t do a flat Jenny because I was too tired and set my alarm for 3:45am.

The plan was to leave at 4:30am, but I think we left the house around 4:45a and then had to get gas so we finally got on the road about 4:55a.  Fortunately it didn’t take too too long, we finally arrived around 6:20am.

When we got to Stagecoach Trails, we missed the turn because there weren’t any signs telling us to turn.  We did a quick U-Turn and got in though.  Once inside the campground, again there weren’t really any signs, maybe one small 8×11 piece of paper telling us where to go.  We finally saw a few people directing traffic including one of our friends, Todd.

We got lucky and had a spot pretty close to the packet pick-up and the start line.  We went inside, got our bibs and packets only to have Kat tell us she was worried we weren’t going to be there on time, lol.  She said that Jenn & Vanessa had checked in earlier and she told them I wasn’t there yet.

Kat & I at the start

We hit up the bathrooms, real bathrooms which were really nice since most races you have to use port-a-potties.  Then got our gear together and headed to the start line.

Selfie with Sean

I saw Jenn & Vanessa, we got a few photos and showed off our Olympus 2.0s since all 4 of us were wearing them.  Sean went up to find our friend Jeff and then we were off.  It was kind of a nonchalant Go as it is with most smaller ultras.

Old West 50k, Trail Running, Ultra, Desert Run, Dirty Girl Gaitors, Altra Running, Olympus 2.0

It was a little chilly when we started off, I decided to wear my arm sleeves instead of a long sleeve shirt, which was a good plan.  I think I took off my sleeves around mile 5 or so.

Old West 50k, ultra running, trail run, desert run, we run social, ultimate direction, xx2i, running4thosewhocant

I decided to run with my Ultimate Direction pack because it can hold more bottles than my Orange Mud VP1.  I had 2 bottles, both with 1.5 scoops of Lemon Tailwind and a packet of Grape Ultima Replenisher.  I was really glad to have the extra bottle later in the race.

Our friend Josh, @sdultrarunner was at the start and got a few photos of the start.  Now you see that guy to my right, No. 567, he finished an hour after us but he’s 76 years old!  #runninggoals

Old West 50k, Start Line

Once we got under way and got semi used to the sand, we ran most of the first 8 miles, with a nice downhill from miles 6 – 8, unfortunately we soon found out that we would have to go back up the downhill so it wasn’t nearly as exciting then.

Old West 50k, ultra running, trail run, desert run

I kept looking for Sean after we started seeing the leaders heading back  and never saw him.  I was wondering if maybe he had an issue with his knee or something and had to stop.  But when we got to the aid station we didn’t see him.  Matt happened to be there and I asked him if he knew where Sean was – he said that he just got there but he’d check his race number and he got there at 8:04a.  So somewhere between there and us he got off trail or something.

We got our bottles filled up.  At this station, I just filled a bottle with water and added a packet of Ultima to it.  I ate a bunch of orange slices and when the girls were ready we all started hiking up the hill.

There were some really cool areas as we headed up, some areas where we were almost completely surrounded by rocks.

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And there was a spot where it wasn’t entirely clear which way to go if you weren’t really looking.  Come to find out this was where Sean had gotten lost.  He went straight or left instead of right.  The markings weren’t super clear, in fact I’m pretty sure I asked the girls if we were sure that was the way until we saw the chalk up a ways from the turn.

Once we finally got back up, we started running down the hill we hiked up before and just kept running.  By this point I was getting really hot & I could feel my heart beating in my head so I knew I needed more walk breaks.  So I would walk for a bit, run to catch up with the girls and just kept doing this until we hit the next aid station at 13.6 miles (or around this point).  We filled up with more water & got some ice this go around.

It was about this point when I started telling them that if they wanted to go ahead it was ok, but they told me they would stick with me.

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We ran/walked to the next aid station at mile 15ish.  Here we all filled up with ice in our bottles, I’m pretty sure I got some in my hat here and ate a bunch of orange slices & watermelon.  As we were getting our bottles filled, this young girl who was there to spectate fainted and everyone was trying to help her.  She was in all black and didn’t have any water and it was already getting pretty hot. *Jenn asked about her when we came back through and she was ok.

From here we hiked/ran up the hill and then did a run/walk for a bit.  By this point it was getting really hot.  We finally got to the next aid station and Kat & Todd were there cheering for us.  We got lots of ice, I filled both my bottles, added tailwind to one and got my hat filled with ice.  Kat poured ice down my sports bra too so I was nice and cool.  We got some snacks, oranges for me and then headed out.  We would have another 3.3 miles until the next aid station.  Somehow we got mixed up because one of the volunteers at the last aid station told us it was 12 miles until we were back and it really was closer to 14.

Old West 50k, desert running, trail run, ultra

All the smiles at mile 19ish because Sean was on his way back.  Kat caught a few photos of us before the girls and I headed out again.

Old West 50k, ultra running, trail running, desert

It was at this point we were running a bit and then all of a sudden a car came out of nowhere.  From this point on we would see a number of cars.  We were pretty much walking because it was so hot and Vanessa had bronchitis the week before so she was still having some issues breathing, as an asthmatic, I know all about that.  Fortunately for me since it was so dry I didn’t have any breathing issues.

Old West 50k, ultra running, trail run, desert run

We finally made it to the aid station, got iced up again, ate more watermelon (they had the best watermelon there) and oranges and set off.  At this point we had about 9.something miles to go so we started powerhiking up the hills.  I was checking my watch & I knew if we could keep it up I could get a 50k distance PR.

We got back to the aid station where Kat & Todd were – got more water & ice and headed out.  At this point we were about a 10k from the finish and a bit of it was downhill.  We hiked up a small portion and I was in the lead, saying let’s start running at this tree and then walking when it got too hot.  We did this all the way until we got to a nice downhill portion which we ran down all the way to the last aid station.

Old West 50k, ultra running, trail running, desert

Again, we got a bit more water & ice and a few nibbles before finishing off the run.  And with me in the lead again, we continued through the sand with our run/walk for the last 2.5 miles.  When we were about a 1/2 mile from the finish, I saw Sean coming towards us.  He came out to take some photos and make sure we were all ok.

Old West 50k, ultra running, trail running, desert

We finally got back to the road, crossed it and then we were almost there.  It felt like the last part took forever.  I kept seeing orange ribbons and we kept going and going. You can see in this photo I’m like when is this going to end, lol.

Old West 50k, ultra running, trail running, desert

Finally we made the turn and saw the finish line.  Vanessa was a little bit behind us so I told Jen we should wait for her so we could all finish together.  And so we did.  And in a 22 minute PR for me, we finished in 7:47:49(ish).

Old West 50k, ultra running, trail running, desert

Old West 50k, ultra running, trail running, desert
Photo of Sean & I at the finish by Josh @sdultrarunner

We got our membership medals inducting us in as official members of the Old West Trails Posse 😉

Old West 50k, ultra running, trail running, desert

We took a few photos, including some with Sean & Larry (Geezer), one of the race directors.  And then headed inside for some food.

Old West 50k, trail running, ultra, desert, finish line

They had a lot of grub for us, including 2 different kinds of soup (chicken noodle & potato), pasta, salad, nachos with cheese & chili, bread, cake & a jello casserole.  I got a bowl of Potato Soup and then a few chips with cheese.  By this point I was getting a little cold, my calves felt tight and my feet were done.  Sean brought me my flip flops so I could take off my shoes.  My feet felt ok except for an tiny issue with both of my second toes feeling a bit tender.

We all traded photos for a few minutes and then Sean & I decided to head back home.  We had a long drive ahead of us.

All in all I felt pretty good – my legs were sore but nothing crazy, mostly tightness in the hips and calves.  I was just going to rest and get ready for the next race on Sunday.

Now for some pros and cons for this race.

Pros:
*Awesome people volunteering & running the race
*Aid Stations were fully stocked with lots and lots of ice & water
*Cute T-Shirt in a women’s style
*Decent cut-offs
*Real Bathrooms (this is a big deal) & Port-a-potties at all the aid station.
*Awesome post-race meal

Cons:
* It’s a long drive
* Not a lot of signage to get to the start
* While the trail was pretty obvious in most spots, there were places were I thought there should be a lot more ribbons/chalk/signs to make sure that you were aware of where to go. Especially in the place were Sean got lost.
* Cars on the majority of the 2nd loop. I don’t recall reading anything about having to worry about cars, but the trails weren’t super wide with a car & us so we did have to stop a few times to let them pass.
*Sand, sand and more sand 😉

It was unfortunately that it was so hot out because I think that it could have been a course that I could have done a lot better on. With the heat though and feeling my heart beat in my head, I made the smart decision to walk a lot more than I would have it the temps had been a bit lower or if there had been significant cloud coverage.

Huge thanks to Jenn & Vanessa for a fun day on the trails and sticking with me to the finish. xoxo

WIRW: Mission Bay

This week’s edition of WIRW (Where I’ve Run Wednesday) showcasing Mission Bay here in San Diego is going to be a lot more picture heavy.

Mission Bay, San Diego, Runner, Sail Boats, Beach

It’s been a while since Sean & I have gone down to Mission Bay for a run, but it is one of my favorite spots.

Mission Bay, San Diego, Runner

Why?  Well there is a nice wide sidewalk to run on next to the beach.

Mission Bay, San Diego, Runner, Sunset, We Run Social, Boom, WRS, Procompression, Altra Running

Or you could always run on the beach ;).

Mission Bay, San Diego, Runner, Procompression, Altra Running, Beach Run

There are always others out running, walking or biking.  We even saw the Ragnar SoCal finish here last year – this year I think they finish on Coronado.

We typically go out for a 10k, but you can go all the way around the Bay for a longer run.

Mission Bay, San Diego, Runner, Sunset, running4thosewhocant, 2xu, Altra Running, Beach Run

There are water fountains & bathrooms around the route if needed.

The main reason I love coming to Mission Bay though? Is the views.  They are really amazing.

Mission Bay, San Diego, Runner, Sunset, Altra Running, Beach Run

As you can see we typically come at Sunset and it never disappoints.  If you come late enough, you can sometimes see the fireworks from SeaWorld too, which is pretty cool.

Mission Bay, San Diego, Runner, Sunset, Altra Running

Mission Bay, San Diego, Runner, Sunset, Altra Running

Want to share where you run? Next week I’ll be starting a link-up and you too can share your favorite spots to run.

Race Recap: Hot Chocolate 15k – San Diego

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Hot Chocolate 15k San Diego race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) We are looking for new Pros, and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I have had the opportunity to run the Hot Chocolate 15k in Scottsdale twice.  You can read my 2014 review here. So when Bibrave & Hot Chocolate gave me the opportunity to check out the San Diego race, I was super excited.  Of course at the time, I didn’t realize that I was going to be running a 50k (race recap will be up on Friday) the day before, but go big or go home, I guess.

I ended up having to be in Phoenix the full week before the race for work and then with the 50k (and not knowing how long it would take me to finish – as well as not realizing that the 50k was about 1.5 hrs from home) I had a small problem with how to get my packet.  By the time that the expo info came out, I was too late to have my packet mailed to me.  Fortunately Haley, another BibRave Pro, was going to be running and she graciously agreed to pick up my packet for me.  So I unfortunately didn’t get the opportunity to check out the expo.

One of the things that I found really interesting about running the race this time was that they sent out a training plan every week to help you get your training on for the race.  There are a lot of first time runners that come out to this race and I thought that was awesome!

About 2 weeks prior to the race, the Hot Chocolate folks sent out an email with all the info for the race.  There are 2 distances, a 5k and a 15k.  The 5k started at 6:45am and the 15k at 7:40am.

When you sign up, you can put in your desired pace and then they will assign you a preferred corral if you are inside a certain pace.  All runners must maintain a 15 min mile pace.  I was originally in Corral I but I guess with my BibRave registration they put me in the first corral H, because that is what my bib said.

I didn’t notice too many people that weren’t running the pace they were supposed to be but I was kind of surprised to see an 11:00 min mile pacer pretty close to me.  It seemed like the pacers were all over the map and I’m glad I wasn’t running with one because it seemed really confusing where they were starting.

The morning of the race, Sean & I headed downtown to Petco Park where the race start was. We took the 94 downtown and once we got to there we immediately got stuck in traffic.  I was supposed to meet Haley around 7am, but with all the traffic I was starting to get nervous.  Sean finally dropped me off near the finish line and I ran over to the start line to meet her.

There were tons of people but fortunately without too long to wait, we finally met up.  I got my packet with my sweatshirt goodie bag and immediately after I put on my bib and got a photo with Haley went to check my bag.  Sean was looking for parking & I wasn’t sure if he would make it before the start.

Bibrave, Bibrave Pro, Hot Chocolate 15k, 15k, san diego

As I was waiting in line for the bathroom (there were lots of port-a-potties set up), I ran into Jenn, who I chased to the finish at the San Diego Half last weekend. She was telling me that this wasn’t her favorite course but really my goal was just to finish & I hoped I wouldn’t have to walk too much.

I made my way up to my corral, I decided to stay in the I corral because I wasn’t sure how my legs were going to feel and I didn’t want to hinder any of the faster runners.  Not long after I got in the corral, Sean texted me that he was on his way but stuck behind a bunch of people in the J corral.  He eventually made his way over to me and got a few photos.

Bibrave, Bibrave Pro, Hot Chocolate 15k, 15k, san diego

After wishing me good luck, he made his way in front of the start line, where he got this awesome photo.

Bibrave, Bibrave Pro, Hot Chocolate 15k, 15k, san diego

As I ran by, he got a few shots of me starting the race, which interestingly, the start line is on an uphill that flattens out shortly, but a little odd.

Bibrave, Bibrave Pro, Hot Chocolate 15k, 15k, san diego

I decided to test out my new Aftershokz Trekz Titanium headphones for this race, which are unique, I’ll be doing a more detailed review in the next few weeks, but basically they use bone conduction technology to allow you to hear things around you.  They don’t work well in big crowds, but as soon as I started running, I was able to hear my music clearly.

I was just taking it step by step, my hips were really tight along with my hamstrings & glutes, not a good combination with all the hills, but I just kept moving.

It was also incredibly humid, the marine layer was quite thick at this point of the morning, but the cooler temps were a blessing after the 80-90 degrees from the day before and since my shoulders were burnt I was happy to have a little reprieve from the sun.

Bibrave, Bibrave Pro, Hot Chocolate 15k, 15k, san diego

I ran until about mile 2 when I walked 1/2 way up the hill.  This was a very interesting course.  There were rolling hills, we get a good downhill and then go back up again over & over.  All in all there was about 620 ft of climbing, which is nothing compared to most ultras but it seemed like a lot.

I ran into Jenn again on the first big hill around mile 2.5.  We chatted for a few minutes, got a photo and then I headed down the hill.

Bibrave, Bibrave Pro, Hot Chocolate 15k, 15k, san diego

One of the unique things about the Hot Chocolate Race is that they have 4 Sweet Stations on the course.  There were locations with semi sweet chocolate chips, strawberry marshmallows, M&M’s and chocolate marshmallows.  Very few people that I saw were partaking but they did have them on the course for those that wanted a sweet treat.

There were 4 aid stations on the 15k each with Nuun and water.  They were all well manned and stocked.

I was moving along pretty well and next thing I knew I was at mile 6 at around 1:03 give or take.  I texted Sean to let him know and then probably 5 minutes later I saw him on the side of the road.  He ran the course backwards so he could come get some photos for me.

Bibrave, Bibrave Pro, Hot Chocolate 15k, 15k, san diego

We were running down the hill, I’ve run this hill before at Rock n’Roll San Diego, then we had to turn and run up instead of continuing down like you do at RnR SD.  I watched Sean run up the hill so he could get a few more shots.  He told me that there wasn’t a lot of hill left and then it would be mostly downhill or flat.  We had actually run this portion of the course on my birthday last year so while it wasn’t my favorite hill, I was familiar with it.

Bibrave, Bibrave Pro, Hot Chocolate 15k, 15k, san diego

We eventually got near Balboa Park and then did a weird out and back to finish up mile 8.

Bibrave, Bibrave Pro, Hot Chocolate 15k, 15k, san diego

After mile 8 it was mostly downhill, and steep downhill at that.  I was like holy quads as I was running down.  We did a few turns and then finally we climbed the last hill.  I turned and started going down, and almost literally went down as I tripped over the sidewalk and I knew my toe was going to be black.  In fact I almost thought I broke my toe, that’s how hard I hit it.  This older runner (probably around 70ish) asked me if I was ok and I was like, I guess that’s what you get for running a 50k the day before, tired legs. lol

We made our way down 14th street the finish line in sight.  I sped up as much as I could to make it over the finish line and even did a little leap over it.  Not sure if they managed to get any photos of that ;).  I managed to finish in 1:35:50 for a 10:17 avg. pace.  Not too shabby for having done 50k the day before.

Bibrave, Bibrave Pro, Hot Chocolate 15k, 15k, san diego

I did it! 65k in 2 days, I was pretty excited and tired.  Surprisingly though my legs didn’t feel as bad as they did the day before after finishing.

Once I finished, I saw @runmeganrun who I’ve never had the chance to actually meet, but we follow each other on Instagram and run tons of the same races.  My phone was having issues, I had it in the pocket of my Orange Mud VP1 and I was sweating so much that it disabled my phone.  I kept getting a message saying, iPhone disabled, try again in 1 min or 5 min or worst of all 15 min.  I finally had to take it out of it’s case, turn it off and eventually it turned back on.  So after a few minutes we finally got a photo together.

Bibrave, Bibrave Pro, Hot Chocolate 15k, 15k, san diego

I then went to get my medal and finisher stuff.  The medals are pretty cool with a bunch of roses and the kissing sailor statue on them.

They were handing out cups of Nuun and bottles of water in the finishers shoot.  Then we had to walk over to get my gear bag.

I was soaking wet, with all the humidity, I was super sweaty so I changed out of my shirt and put on my new jacket.  Unfortunately the zipper is semi broken so it doesn’t zip up perfectly but it fits decently.  I even was able to wear it in a photo with a few our new instafriends, @taymiville & @rob.rene.in – Thanks for the photo ladies :).

Bibrave, Bibrave Pro, Hot Chocolate 15k, 15k, san diego

After getting my bag, we walked to the other side of the parking lot to get my post race food.  They had blue hot chocolate mugs fill with a decent sized cup of hot chocolate, a banana, more chocolate, pirouline wafer cookies, a rice krispie treat and some pretzels.  It’s not a lot, but it was sufficient for me.  I shared some with Sean and then we took a few photos, which didn’t come out unfortunately and headed back to the car so I could change before we went to breakfast.

Bibrave, Bibrave Pro, Hot Chocolate 15k, 15k, san diego

Pros: Awesome Medal
Decent course
Nice goodie bag jacket with San Diego embroidered on
Chocolate snacks at the end
Free Photos (although they aren’t up yet)
Awesome volunteers

Bibrave, Bibrave Pro, Hot Chocolate 15k, 15k, san diego

Cons: Paying $15 for parking
Expo hours are short
My jacket was broken
It’s a pricey race if you don’t register early

Overall, I’m glad I ran the race and I was impressed by the course, even with the hills it was a good one, better than the first year in Scottsdale.

Have you ever done back to back races in a weekend?  If so which ones?

Race Recap: SD Half Marathon

Since the LA Marathon was moved up to February because of the Olympic Trials, Sean & I had the opportunity to run the SD Half Marathon in downtown San Diego last weekend.

Sean had run it the first 2 years and now we were running the 5th anniversary race.

Packet-pickup is downtown at an expo building on the harbor.  Right down from where I runch with @runningwithsd. Sean & I went early on Saturday morning. We needed to pick up our packets, get a quick shakeout run in and then pick up his mom who was visiting from the airport.

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As soon as we walked in had to fill out a waiver & then we got our bibs. They were kinda big and they way they were made made it very hard to fold them. The intent I’m sure 😉.

We got there & saw Christy from Running Skirts working their booth & chatted with her for a bit before walking to the back & outside to get our race shirts.

I really like my shirt, although what’s up with all the race directors choosing gray? I think the shirt which for women had purple accents would have been even more awesome in reverse. Men got a blue accent shirt.

They had Leslie Jordan shirts and I’m glad I choose a small. I picked a medium at Gasparilla & it was huge, although the sleeves were too short.

We looked briefly at the expo but there wasn’t much that interested us so we headed out to get a few photos & then head for our run.

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After we picked Sean’s mom up we went to True Food for lunch, did a few errands and then it was time for dinner.

True Food, San diego, mission valley

We found an awesome pizza spot in Old Town which seems a bit old considering most restaurants there are Mexican. But this pizza was super yum & I’m looking forward to going back!

Note we are a ton between a visit to Eclipse Chocolate on Friday night, lunch at True Food & then Pizza Bella so I’m not sure if that contributed to my not feeling well during the race or not.

We came home, got our gear out. I did my standard flat Jenny photo, although I didn’t post it and then we watched a movie on K2 that was really good before going to bed at around 10:30p for me.

Flat Jenny, San Diego Half Marathon, Procompression, altra running, lululemon, running4thosewhocant, tailwind nutrition, ultima, orange mud, garmin, xx2i

That night was the time change so we spring forward an hour. I always get nervous when we have a race after the time change so I set my alarm for 4:30a so I could make sure it updated & of course it did lol.

I think we finally got out of bed around 5am (or at least I did) got ready, I ate a cup of oatmeal and we headed out to downtown.  We didn’t have any traffic and found parking pretty close to the start for $10.00.

The start line was in front of the convention center on Harbor Drive.  We walked over, they had a bunch of port-a-potties lining the corrals, gear check was right next to the finish line, no UPS trucks at this race since the start & finish were so close together.

San Diego Half Marathon, Share the Spark, running4thosewhocant, runningwithsd, momentum jewelry, runners make the best friends

Not too long after we walked over to the corrals, we ran into Smitha @runningwithSD, I gave her one of my Momentum Jewelry “Share the Spark” bracelets, got a photo and then we headed to hit the bathroom.  At this point, the lines for the port-a-potties were relatively normal, although from start line it looked like they were back to back so that there would be lines in the corrals & on the other side.  They were open in the middle though so it was a bit confusing later on as there were lines every where.

San Diego Half Marathon, Running4thosewhocant, orange mud, lululemon, tahoe 200

We checked my bag and then by this point, I was starting to feel a bit nauseous, which wasn’t fun, especially since we hadn’t even started the race.  I left Sean up by Corral 1 and walked back to my corral #5.  Along the way, I saw Jenn @solehealth and I looked for Smitha, but I didn’t see her.  I made my way into my corral and just hung out there until it was time to start.

San Diego Half Marathon, Orange Mud, ultimate direction, xx2i, running4thosewhocant, solehealth, runners make the best friends

As I was waiting to start, I swear that my corral seemed to get bigger & bigger, when I first got into the corral I was up towards the front and then all of a sudden I was in the middle or back.  It was really weird, but because there weren’t fences on the side, people could jump in at any time.

We finally got started, 16 minutes after corral 1.  It was a beautiful day, as we ran down by the Harbor for a few miles, past the airport and then down closer to the water near Harbor Island for about a mile.  It was over here at mile 4 that I ran into Smitha and was like how did you get so far ahead of me, when she was supposed to be in the same corral.  Come to find out she jumped in a little bit ahead of me which is why I didn’t see her earlier.  I got a quick selfie and then I continued on.

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After this we continued on by the Harbor for another mile or so before we went into Liberty Station.  There was a short uphill over a bridge and then we got a small section of trail before hitting mile 6.  The relay exchange point was in this section.  There were a few moments when I wished I was running the relay since I was still not feeling great. But alas I was not so I continued on.

I think the next section probably miles 7 – 8 were the least pretty in my opinion as we had to get from Liberty Station back to downtown.  Not long after this stretch, started the hills.  There were a few steep hills that I walked up feeling like I was barely moving.  It’s in this section that my pace really fell off a bit, especially as I hiked up the big hill at mile 8.5 – 9.5.  Once I got to the top, I started running again and was really looking forward to the downhill to the finish.  In fact I kept asking myself, when will I get to the downhill.  It finally came as we approached Balboa Park around mile 11.

San Diego Half Marathon, Gaslamp District, Jenn13.1, PR

It was at this point that I could see @jenn13.1 with her Procompression shamrock socks on.  I was trying to catch up but I was just so tired by that point.  As we came closer to the finish line, we ended up getting stopped by a trolley and I finally caught up to her.  I continued on to the finish and got it done.  I was so happy to be finished!

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I saw Sean & his mom in the stands and went to give him a hug.  I asked him how he did and he kind of strugged & said ok.  Later he would tell me that he got a 1:36 and that his knee was bothering him a little so he backed off a bit.

After a few minutes with them, I went to get my medal, which really was awesome – one of my favs – and then to get my goodie bag.  I was walking with Jenn and one of her friends, who’s name escapes me now.  We got our post race treats, which they did an awesome job with.  They gave us a nice re-usable bag filled with our snacks and they were handing them to us.  It really was nice – I wish all races would do something similar.  We also got bottles of water & chocolate milk before getting our bags.

San Diego Half Marathon, Goodie Bag, Hershey's Chocolate Milk, Dole, Larabar, Clifbar

I met up with Sean & his mom after getting my bag.  We got a few treats, some naked juice samples and an Acai snack from Sambazon but I still wasn’t feeling a 100%.

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We ended up going to breakfast at Cafe 222, which was yummy, and then relaxing for most of the day before another good dinner at Cafe Guadalajara in Old Town.

Pros: Relatively Flat Course for 8 miles
Aid Station signs telling us how long until the next aid station
Nice Shirts
Awesome Medals
Goodie Bag

San Diego Half Marathon, half marathon, medal, race bling, gaslamp quarter, san diego, medal monday

Cons: The Hills at miles 8 – 10
Marathonfoto for the photos – They are just way too expensive
Weird set-up for the port-a-potties at the start

All in all though, this is a great race. It’s unfortunate that it is the same weekend as the LA Marathon because I wouldn’t mind running it again.

WIRW: Los Penasquitos Canyon

It’s time for another edition of Where I’ve Run Wednesday and today takes us to some amazing trails near La Jolla that once it’s spring/summer I spend a lot of time at.

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It’s been a while since Sean & I have run at Los Penasquitos, but we spent a lot of time out there last spring & summer.  We done as many as 18 miles out there but our normal runs are either what we’ve called the Seal Run, which is really called Wagon Wheel which is about 3.5 miles or we will run to the waterfall, which is about 7 miles.

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These trails are very popular with runners and mountain bikers, there are a lot of hills that you can add on for hill training and extra mileage.

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The trails are pretty well kept, the entrances sometimes get over-run with weeds but for the most part it’s not too bad.  The last time we were there, the bridge to go across for the wagon wheel loop was out due to all the rain.  The water there was semi deep and it wasn’t worth getting our shoes wet to go through.  I’m hoping they will fix this soon though.

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Now with Daylight Savings in effect, I’m looking forward to getting out to these trails more often.

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Review: Dona Jo Leggings + Discount Code

A few weeks ago the folks at Dona Jo Fitwear reached out to see if I wanted to try a pair of their leggings.  I received a pair in exchange for this review, as always all opinions are my own.

There are so many fun patterns to choose from.  I had a hard time deciding on which print to pick.  I finally picked the Vida print.  A few of my other favorites, Copacabana & Esqueleto (a colorful skull print).

Dona Jo, Leggings, colorsOnce on, I could barely tell I was wearing pants let along workout pants.  These leggings are seriously the lightest feeling leggings I’ve ever worn.

Some details from the DonaJo website:

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I wore them for yoga and a little jumping around and they felt great on.  I haven’t had the opportunity to run in them yet so I’m not sure how they will do with sweat but so far they feel great.

Dona Jo, Leggings, colorsSizing: Dona Jo has a unique sizing system.  They only have 3 sizes.  Size 1 for sizes 0 – 8, Size 2 for 10 – 14 and Size 3 for 16 – 20.  I’m a pretty standard size 6 in most clothes so I picked the size 1 for my leggings.

Dona Jo, Leggings, colors

I think that they fit very well, I did notice I was pulling up on the legs just a little so I’m not sure how they will fare for a run, but they were incredibly comfortable.

Dona Jo doesn’t just sell leggings & crops.  They also have sports bras, skirts, shorts, as well as tanks and shirts to choose from.

Want to try some Dona Jo for yourself?  Use code Runnylegs20 for 20% off.

Review: Vitamin Pit Stop USANA Nutrimeal & Giveaway

My friends over at Fitapproach are giving me the opportunity to find a protein powder that I enjoy.  In this edition, I’m reviewing Vitamin Pit Stop‘s USANA Nutrimeal.  I received a bag to test out.

Now a little disclaimer of my own.  I have tried a number of protein powders throughout the years and I have yet to find one that I really enjoy in smoothie form so I will be trying out a few options this year to see if I can find something I like.

So what is USANA Nutrimeal Free?

From their website: Nutrimeal Free is a plant-based, nutritious source of protein that is pleasantly delicious and far from overbearing. If you’re in the mood to blend it with a handful of your favorite fruits or vegetables, go right ahead! Mix it your way. The mild, agreeable flavor complements just about anything you can think up.

Vitamin Pit Stop, USANA Nutrimeal

It is free of Fructose, Soy, Dairy & Gluten and is Vegetarian Friendly.  Each serving includes 15g of protein & 8g of fiber and is made with all natural ingredients.

On the bag they recommend using 3 scoops with water or mixed in a smoothie as a meal replacement.  The first thing I did was try it out and it was somewhat filling, but I didn’t like the taste in smoothie form.  Although I did give some to Sean and he thought it was great so it’s probably just me :).

Vitamin Pit Stop, USANA Nutrimeal

After that, I decided to use the Nutrimeal for baking.  I made the most amazing peanut butter cookies and super yummy biscuits both of which tasted great.  I also made a peanut butter protein mug cake.

Vitamin Pit Stop, USANA Nutrimeal
I’m going to continue to use my Nutrimeal for more baking and Sean is enjoying Nutrimeal smoothies.

Vitamin Pit Stop, USANA Nutrimeal

I want you too to get to try out some new options for protein this year so I am giving away a bag of Vitamin Pit Stop’s USANA Nutrimeal Free to a lucky follower.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Race Recap: LA Marathon 2016

Yet, again, I’m super late in getting this up, but I’m determined to catch back up since I have 3 races coming up later this month.

There are some races that you can’t wait to run again and LA Marathon is definitely one of them.  Sean & I decided way back that there was no better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than to run a marathon, lol.  This is Sean’s longest running race streak, with 2016 being the 5th time in a row he’s run LA and this was my 2nd time running this race.  You can read about last year here.

So last September we signed up the day registration opened (it was $160 plus fees) and were locked in for a Valentine’s Day race.  Normally LA is run in March but this year because they Olympic Marathon Trials were going to be the day before, they moved it up a month.

One nice thing that they do for this race and I’ve seen similar at other big races is that they have discounted hotel rates at local hotels, in downtown and Santa Monica.  We typically stay at the Millennium Biltmore hotel in Downtown, it’s conveniently near a shuttle to get to Dodger Stadium which means we don’t have to get up in the middle of the night :).

We left for LA Saturday morning, very early like 6:00am so that we could get there in time for the Olympic Trials.  I didn’t want to miss a moment.  And we made it there in plenty of time which allowed us to get our packets before the trials started.

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We got to the LA Convention Center at just before 8:00am, took a few photos in front of the cool Skechers branded stairs and got in line to go into the Expo.  There were a few awesome security guys who were managing the line and I’m not being sarcastic here they did a great job of making sure that we all got in calmly and safely and made sure no one cut the line.

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Once inside, it was super quick to get our bibs, they are really organized then went to get our shirts and bags.  One thing about LA, they give you a ton of swag unlike most races.  We got a nice shirt, a few drinks, a Maple Protein thing and a can of Beet Juice, a mini clif bar and I think there were a few other little things.

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This was the first year that Skechers was sponsoring the race so there were lots of new things around the expo.  They had a cool booth where you could get your photo taken and then put it up on a map of the course.  Since we were there early we didn’t have to wait too long.

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We walked around for a little while, hung out with Smitha & Jen for a few minutes before we headed outside to claim our spots for the Olympic Trials, which I talked about yesterday.

We spent the morning/early afternoon cheering at the Trials and then headed back inside to go to the We Run Social meet-up.  We finally met Carlee McDot & Heather (@slowluckyruns).

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We chatted for a few minutes, got into the awesome group photo and then headed to check into our hotel.

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Sean got in his daily run before we headed to Bottega Louie for dinner.  We did this last year as well so it’s our LA Marathon tradition :).  This year though, we were smart and shared a salad & pizza instead of 2 entrees.  And of course we had to have the chocolate souffle, a pre-Valentine’s Day dessert ;).

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After an early dinner, we headed back to the hotel to set out our gear and relax. All the gear.

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I did not sleep well that night.  I just kept waking up, but I do think I managed to get a few hours of sleep eventually.  We set our alarms for 4am and I think I finally got out of bed around 4:15am.  We got ready and walked over to the bus stop around 4:45am.  There were more people waiting this year than there were last year so we had a little wait for the next bus.

I am so bad at eating before/during a race so this year I had a few new things to try.  I ate a croissant while waiting for the bus and then had a custom mix of Tailwind & Core Proven Nutrition in my bottle.  I had 2 additional bags to refill with in my pack.

We got to Dodger’s Stadium relatively early, got to the port-a-potties before there was a line and then I checked my bag relatively early.  Sean & I were in different corrals, he was in A and I was in E, the last of the seeded corrals.  We took a few photos and then split up.

The race started at 6:55am again this year. The sun was just up and we were off.  It’s too funny as you leave the stadium, there are so many guys running to the left to pee on the side. This might be a sign that there should be port-a-potties inside the corrals, lol.

I was feeling pretty good to start, just running easy, I knew that there would be a decent hill around mile 4 so I was gearing up for that.  It felt pretty warm around this point in the race, although no where near as warm as last year.

I think I ran into Marathon Mitch at some point around here.  He got this cool action shot of me.  It was his 16th time in a row running the LA Marathon.

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And then around mile 5, I got this weird lump in my throat and had to stop on the side of the road, just past the chili dog spectators because I seriously thought I was going to be sick.

What was so funny is that I was drinking my tailwind/core proven nutrition blend regularly to try and combat this issue.  So needless to say, I ran/walked the rest of the race.

There were some moments when I really thought I was going to be walking the rest of the race.  I did decently for the first 12 miles, on mile 13 I stopped to refill my bottle, miles 14 – 19 went ok before miles 20 – 24 were tough, climbing up to Santa Monica. I ended up with miles 25 & 26 being decently fast considering.

No matter how you do in this race, the one thing I have to rave about is the spectators.  They are absolutely amazing at this race.  So many people who had their own little aid stations with oranges, bananas, water, gatorade.  This is truly a special race in that aspect.  I am grateful to all those who had orange slices cut up and ready for us and everyone that took the time out of their Valentine’s Day to get up and support us.  I thank them all in addition to the amazing volunteers.

I’d say I still need to work on my fueling so I don’t feel sick while running.  I’m not sure what the issue was this time because it was really early to be feeling sick, I know I can go over 5 miles without any fuel.

Anyways, I finished up the race running almost the entire last mile.  I thought the finish line was earlier than it was and I couldn’t walk that close to the finish.  Once I finished, I walked slowly to find Sean I didn’t feel good at all and was freezing.  I got my awesome medal, they did a really good job on the medals, but I couldn’t put it around my neck because I felt like it was choking me.

I was kind of out of it, I still managed to smile for a photo before I found Sean.  He took all my stuff and helped me get some snacks and my bag before we snuck out of the finishers area so I could sit down for a few minutes and get warm for some more photos.

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One note about the bags.  For some reason they had them all out of the trucks.  Not sure what was up with that, but I did hear that there were a few people who were missing theirs.

Post race – they give you a lot of treats, it was bananas (I’m not a huge fan), animal cookies, 100 calorie pack teddy grahams, granola bars, pretzels and bagels with bottles of water.  They did have the heat sheets this year as well as towels you could get to cool off with.  It was pretty chilly when I finished though.

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Unfortunately, LA Marathon uses Marathon foto for their photos so I’m lucky Marathon Mitch took a photo for me or I wouldn’t have any.  The prices are a bit more than I want to spend.

Sean & I hung out in the park for a few minutes while I stopped feeling sick, got a few post race photos before heading out to the Pier.  We got some burgers & fries and then by that point I was feeling better.

They had transportation to take us back Downtown.  This year it was a bit longer of a trip because there was a lot of traffic so keep that in mind.

This is definitely a must on our race calendar, we’ve already registered for 2017. Hope to see you there!

 

Team USA: Olympic Trials – The Marathon

I’m waaaay far behind on my recaps so I’ll keep this relatively short but I will say, going to the Olympic Trials for the Marathon was absolutely amazing.

A little back story, taking it way back…I’ve been a huge fan of the Olympics since I was a little kid.  It’s summer 1988, South Bend, IN, my parents are throwing a party downstairs and so they let me have a TV in my room (This is back when kids didn’t have TVs in their rooms lol or at least we didn’t) so we could watch the opening ceremonies of the Seoul, South Korea games.  I was in heaven and stayed up way past my bedtime watching all the countries walk in – the US is at the end so I couldn’t miss them.

Fast forward a few years and my sisters are lucky enough to go to the Summer Olympics in Beijing, my brother-in-law’s sister played for the US Olympic Softball Team so they went to cheer her on.  I admit, I was super jealous at the time because I would love to go to the Olympics and one day (hopefully LA2024) I’ll get there.

So that being said, when it was announced that the marathon Olympic Trials were being held in LA the day before the LA Marathon I was all over it and couldn’t wait.

Sean & I drove up to LA the morning of the trials super early.  I didn’t want to miss any of the action and there was hardly any traffic so win-win!  We got there so early we had time to go get our packets and look around the expo before heading out to find our spot.

The map that was on-line wasn’t super clear as to where the best spots to watch were.  There was a short 2.2 mile loop to start the race and then the runners would do 4 – 6 mile loops.

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We set up in front of the convention center and watched the runners warm up.  It was fascinating to see them all do their warm-ups and see what they do.  We were lucky enough to have a front row seat to my favorite, Kara Goucher for her entire warm-up.  Unfortunately we were on the side where the sun was coming down so my photos aren’t perfect but you get the idea.

Kara Goucher, Olympic Trials, Marathon, LA2016

The race didn’t start until 10am when the men would take off, it was a warm day and you’ve probably heard and read a lot of the stories about how it was the hottest Trials on record, etc. etc. But I have to imagine that Rio is going to be incredibly warm and humid so while it wasn’t ideal, it did give the runners a taste of what’s to come.

From where we were, we couldn’t really see the start (we were on the opposite side of the street) so we waited about 10-12 minutes for the guys to come around after the first short loop, the women would start not long after the guys came through.

Meb, Galen Rupp, Olympic Trials, Marathon, LA2016

The first 1/2 hour or so was kind of a wait until the guys came through on their 2nd loop and then things started to pick up as the runners started to separate.

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We had an amazing spot right next the Staples Center as the runners made the turn towards the start/finish so close that if I had my arm out I could have touched some of the runners.

It was most exciting when it came down to the finish.  First up, Galen Rupp, who won his marathon debut – he was in the zone, but as he was finishing you could hear the crowd roaring for the 2nd finisher.

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Meb had grabbed a flag as he finished the last 800 meters and was putting on a show for the specators.  At 40 years old, he had made the Olympic Team, the first to do so at his age.  Lastly in 3rd place came Matt Ward.

Meb, Olympic Trials, Marathon, LA2016

About a 1/2 hour after the men finished, it was time for the ladies.  The whole race, until the last lap, Amy Cragg & Shalane Flanagan had been running side by side, in fact from other photos (not ours) there were times when you could barely tell that there were two runners.  They were matched stride for stride and then the heat got to Shalane.

Amy Cragg, Hasty Hastings, Olympic Trials, Marathon, LA2016
We were hearing that Amy kept looking back to check on her, to make sure she was still there, but then came a point when she had to run her own race.  In first place, by a decent margin, was Amy Cragg (@hastyhastings)- who incidentally I had seen in the lead at mile 3 at the Chicago Marathon in 2014.

Next up was Desi, who like Meb was putting on a show for the crowd.  She was waving her arms and asking us to all cheer!  It was pretty cool.

Desi, Olympic Trials, Marathon, LA2016

And in the final spot was Shalane, she was super focused and we would later find out because she was pretty much hanging on for dear life to finish.

Shalane Flanagan, Olympic Trials, Marathon, LA2016

A few moments later, in a heart-breaking 4th place was Kara.  I know she was incredibly disappointed, who wouldn’t be, but I have to say I’m so proud of her.  With all the injuries and ups and downs she’s had in the last 4 years I think she ran an amazing race.

Kara Goucher, Olympic Trials, Marathon, LA2016

There were so many others who ran this race, men & women who wouldn’t make it to the podium, but gave it their all.  I’m super proud of each and every one of them that crossed that finish line.  Just to have the opportunity to be there had to be amazing! And for us to be there in person, totally made my weekend!  I was so inspired and I can’t wait to see the Olympics in August!