March Run All the Races: Carlsbad 5000

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

March Run All The Races: Ramblas Run Half Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We ran into Tam while waiting in line.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March Run All The Races: LA Marathon 2018

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

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

But let’s get to this year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We’ll be back next year!