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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

San Diego Resolution Run Half Marathon Race Recap

And just like that, I’m BACK!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2017 Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SeaWheeze 2017 Race Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gorge Waterfalls Race Recap

I’ve been avoiding this recap, because it’s the last time I really was able to run. I knew going into this race I was going to have a tough time.  First off it’s a tight 8 hour cut-off and with the pain I’ve been having in my hamstring, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

So Sean & I went up to Portland on Thursday evening, on Friday we explored a little by our hotel in Troutdale while I had to work in the morning.

On Saturday, Sean ran the 100k and I volunteered at the 50k aid station.  It was a lot of fun, but a kind of rainy, cold day.

I saw Jim Walmsley come through in first place on his way to a new course record and a Golden Ticket to Western States. Not the best photo from my spot at the aid station but it’s him ;).

 

 

I had a great time volunteering, we were super busy and it made the day go by really fast.  While I was out there I saw Sean of course, Josh, Natalie, Gina & her fiance Richard and cheered on a ton of runners.

This was the day when I stopped my run streak as well at 138 days.  My leg wasn’t incredibly happy and I decided to be smart and rest another day before the 50k on Sunday.

Sean didn’t push it on this race, he was still recovering from some other races. He came in around 16:18 in a trash bag to protect him from the elements.  We got some of the super yummy pizza they were serving – SO GOOD! and then headed back to the hotel.

 

 

I was excited but also nervous about the 50k.  I made the decision to just go out and have a good time & do my best to make the cut-offs.

 

 

We started at the 50k turn-around.  And unlike the day before it was a beautiful, crisp, sunny morning.

Sean cheered me on as I started my race.  I started the race having to go to the bathroom, oops, so as we made our way to the trail, I hit up the port-a-potties.  I started the race towards the back, which was fine, I knew that I was probably going to be back there regardless so it was fine for me.

 

 

It was an interesting course, wet with lots of moss & pine needles with a lot of roots, kind of reminded me a little of the HURT course.  I decided to wear my Altra Running King MTs for the race.  It was a good choice as there was some snow on the course.  I also ran with my Black Diamond poles, which were a big help to me as well.

 

 

I made it to the first aid station in plenty of time, I was hiking the uphills, running the downs and some of the flats.  Everything was going relatively well.  I was taking photos and just enjoying my time out there.

The second section was a bit more of a struggle, we had a lot of climbing during this section and my hamstring just wasn’t very happy, but I took photos, and just kept smiling enjoying the day.  I was leap frogging with some other girls from Phoenix, they would pass me on the downhill and I would catch them on the uphills.

 

 

We finally saw a waterfall right about a half mile or so from the mile 19 aid station.

 

 

It was there that we had to climb up a section of the trail using a rope.  It was crazy, but there was a rock slide and the actual trail was damaged.  This was the way they could get around it. I wish I had gotten a photo but I was trying to put away my poles so I could climb up.  From there we still had about a mile down to the aid station.

I made it with 2 minutes to spare and could have continued on, however I was in so much pain, I knew it was time to call it and get my leg looked at in case there was something seriously wrong with it.

I had to wait at the aid station for someone to take me and a bunch of others back to the start/finish.  It’s quite interesting, I saw this at the 100k the day before and then again at SD 100 a few months later.  Even though races have strict cut-offs they don’t really have a plan in place to get runners back to the start finish.  There were a number of runners who came in after I did who were past the cut-off that had to turn in their bibs and then we all just waited.  We were very fortunate that there was a nice guy who let us not only sit in his warm car, but also drove us back.  I do wonder though if he wasn’t heading back to the start, how exactly would I have gotten there?

In any case, the course was absolutely beautiful and I did enjoy my time out there.  I wouldn’t mind going back one day and trying it again when I’m healed up even though the cut-offs do stress me out a bit.

When I went back to the finish, I cheered on my fellow runners and had a great time.  They do put on a great race.

Pros: Beautiful course
Well organized
The post race Pizza was AMAZING!!

Cons: No medals or finisher awards
You have to pay additional for a race shirt
Tight cut-offs

And there you have it, my first experience with Rainshadow Running and the Gorge Waterfall 100k/50k.

Athlete Inside Week 1

I’m participating in a challenge sponsored by Designer Protein & Vitamin Shoppe hosted by Zorn Fitness through my FitApproach.  This is a sponsored post.

I was so excited to be a part of this challenge, if you follow me on Instagram, you know that I’ve been down and out with chronic high hamstring tendonitis that has been plaguing me off an on for the last 5 years.  I was excited because while I haven’t been running, I’ve still been eating like I was running and as I turn 40! tomorrow, I needed a way to kickstart a healthier diet.

How did week 1 go?  Well honestly, it didn’t go great for me.  I started the week off on a high after walking the San Diego Rock n Roll half in a pretty decent time.  I was super excited because while I had some pain while walking, as soon as I stopped speed walking the pain disappeared! YAY!! Progress.

But then I took off for Phoenix the next morning for work and boy did all my good intentions fly out the window.  I was so crazy busy the whole time I was there I didn’t even have a chance to look at the website.  Then I headed home just in time to spend the day crewing Sean at SD 100.

So unfortunately week one was a bust for me, but we all have weeks like that, we can always start again.

Even though I wasn’t able to do the challenge exactly, here’s what I did do in week one:

  • Up my water intake
  • Drink only 1 cup of coffee a day
  • Continue drinking a smoothie every day (I went to Nekter the day before my session started and got a Pitaya Bowl and 2 bottles of green juice for during my event)
  • I cut back on the amount I ate during my event, I always overeat.
  • And took a walk or did weights every day.

Now that I’m back home this week, week 2 should go much more smoothly.  I’m still only drinking one cup of coffee and Sean makes me a smoothie every morning.

If you missed last week like I did, it’s not too late to get started.  Head over to Designer Protein’s blog to get the scoop on week 2.  Share a photo on Instagram or Facebook tagging @designerprotein, @vitaminshoppe and @zorn_fitness and #athleteinside and you can be entered in to win some amazing prices.

  • Grand prize is a prize pack valued at $1200: 1 $100 gift card to The Vitamin Shoppe, custom fitness/nutrition plan from Zorn Fitness (valued at $900) and a 6-month supply of Designer Protein products (valued at $250)
  • 10 mini-winners: 1 $50 gift card to The Vitamin Shoppe, + 3-month supply of Designer Protein (valued at $150)

And remember, just because you have an off week doesn’t mean that you can’t start at any time.

Ramblas Run Race Recap

I wrote this blog months ago, but never got around to posting it.  I’ve been so crazy that I just haven’t been posting but I’m back now so get ready!  I’ve got lots going on plus a bunch of recaps to post.

The weekend of LA Marathon, on our way up to LA, Sean & I drove past San Juan Capistrano and Sean brought up that Coach Sarah Mista was putting on her first race, a half marathon, 10k or 5k the next weekend.  We discussed it for a few minutes and then looked to see if there were any spots left.  There were 3 spots left so we decided to jump on them and registered for the inaugural Ramblas Run.

So we drove up to San Juan Capistrano on Saturday morning.  It was a nice treat to have a race that started at 9am, which meant that we didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to drive up to the start.  We got up around 6:30a and left around 7:15ish getting to the start right around 8:15a.

We got our packets, hit up the port-a-potties and then got our gear ready.  We had a bunch of friends that were also running so we chatted with everyone until the 9am start.

Kristina and I started out together, heading up the first few hills.  We hit the single track and I just started flying down the hill.  It was so nice, I barely had any pain in my leg and it was absolutely beautiful.  We passed Paksit Photo & he got a few awesome shots.

This course was a out and back, and while it was beautiful, it was hilly.  There were some really steep downhills & uphills, but the beautiful wild flowers and the company were great.

I ran into Helen around mile 8 so we chatted for a bit, walking the uphills and running the downs.  She wanted to fly down some of the downhill so I lost her for a bit as we made our way to the turn-around aid station.

When I got to the turn around I grabbed some orange slices and a bit more water and headed up the hill.  I passed Kristina on my way up, so we got a selfie ;).

I cheered on some other runners and just kept it nice and easy until Helen caught up with me.  We hiked & ran for a bit, stopping at the last aid station for some more water, etc. we had no idea that we were really close to the finish line so we’re just taking our good old time, having fun.  Eventually we saw a few photographers and then realized that the finish line was just below us, haha.

So we started running down the hill and finished together, laughing and having a great time.

This race was definitely for fun and I had a blast.  Sarah did a great job, with lots of yummy snacks after the race, including Essence pH10, Sambazon acai samples, nice big medals and pint glasses.

I would definitely recommend this race for a fun Saturday on the trails, I’m looking forward to next year!

Shock Absorber Sports Bras Review + Giveaway

Disclaimer: Shock Absorber USA sent me 2 sports bras in exchange for this review.  As per usual all opinions are my own.

When Shock Absorber reached out, I was intrigued because I have been needing some new sports bras.  I’m pretty picky about them and have been wearing a few different styles from Lululemon & Oiselle and while I liked them, I sometimes notice they either feel too tight or sometimes I have to mess with them during a run so I was interested to try them.

They sent me 2 different bras, the Ultimate Run Bra & the Active Zipped Plunge. Both of which are more coverage than the bras I normally wear so I wasn’t sure how they were going to fit.

What makes Shock Absorber unique? From their website:

They are fast drying, durable, breathable and moisture wicking.

"

So how does all that play out in reality? Well I’ll be honest when I first tried on the Ultimate Run Bra, I was a little concerned that it wasn’t going to fit properly.  I could barely get it closed and am already at the last set of clasps.  However, once I had it on, I actually forgot it was on, I didn’t have any issues with it being too tight or moving around at all.  I even wore it while running stairs when I was definitely breathing hard and on the 19 miles I ran at Gorge & had no issues whatsoever.

I’ll even go as far to say that even though it was soaked after my 19 miles, yes, I sweat a lot, it didn’t feel quite as wet as my other bras do so I’ll attest to their quick dry assertion.

For reference, I am wearing a 34B.  They have a huge range of sizes, everything from 30A to 40DD with E, F & G cup sizes.  They do follow the UK sizing, but I’d say that it was pretty accurate to US sizing as I wear a 32C/34B in normal bras when I’m not wearing a sports bra, which is practically never these days :).

When I got opened the Active Zip Plunge, I was a bit concerned that this was going to be some racy bra that’s showcasing the cleavage.  On me it wasn’t, it was definitely full coverage, but it was a slightly bigger size, 36B so it wasn’t quite as snug as I probably needed.

I liked the style and it was pretty comfortable, my biggest issue, outside of the wrong size, was that the bra I received had a piece of fabric at the bottom of the zipper that pushed into the bottom of my ribs, it made it very uncomfortable and didn’t look quite right.  I’m not sure if I received an older version of the bra because the photos on the site & Instagram don’t show that extra piece of fabric.

This bra, while cute on, wasn’t as good of a fit for me as the Ultimate Run Bra, which ultimately is the better choice for me, as an avid runner.

Shock Absorber also has a few other bras like the Active Multi Sport Bra that has sizes from 32B to 40HH.  The Active Shaped Push-Up Bra, which I thought was really cute, that comes in more standard sizes from 32A to 38D. And then there are 2 more Active Classic Bras to choose from as well.

Prices range from $59.99 for the Classics to $79.99 for the Ultimate Run Bra.   That’s a lot for a bra, but if it can truly help the bounce and you don’t notice that it’s on, it might be worth the price tag to find a good one.

Are you in Boston for the Boston Marathon?  You can find Shock Absorber at the Expo at Booth 2042.  They’ll have some awesome discounts for you there.

Not in Boston? Me either.  So here’s the part where you can win an Ultimate Run Bra.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway runs from 12:00am Apr 14 to 11:59pm PST Apr 18, 2o17.

No purchase necessary.  Void where prohibited. 1 winner will be selected via Rafflecopter.  Open to US residents 18 years of age or older.  Must have a valid email address.  1 winner will select a Ultimate Run Bra from Shock Absorber USA in their size.
Winner(s) will be notified via email (if available) and/or blog post, and will have 24 hours to claim prize.  If original winner does not claim prize within 24 hours, an alternate winner(s) will be selected.
Contestants must comment on this blog post in order to win.
Runnylegs is not responsible for the failure of sponsor to deliver product or user error.

2017 Los Angeles Marathon Race Recap

And with this post, I’m caught up on my race recaps!  Yea!! Can you see me giving myself a pat on the back? LOL

Let’s get the following out of the way and then get on to my recap.  I am an ambassador for Conqur Endurance Group, which puts on the Santa Monica 5k/10k, Pasadena Half Marathon and the Los Angeles Marathon.  I did receive a free entry into the race as part of my ambassadorship, however as usual all opinions on the race are my own.

This was my 3rd year running LA and Sean’s 6th.  We really enjoy this race and will continue running it for many years to come.

Sean & I drove up to LA on Saturday morning in an effort to beat some of the traffic and then to be able to get our streak run in and relax before having to get up crazy early to drive to Santa Monica.

Once we got near the convention center we started looking for street parking, it’s significantly less expensive than parking in the garage. We parked about 3 blocks from the Expo and walked over.

On Friday, we got a text with our bib numbers in, which was a nice surprise.  If you opted in for text messages, you received this text.

When we got to the expo, there wasn’t a line to pick up our bibs so we immediately walked over to our respective numbers to get our bibs.  They weren’t there and both Sean & I were directed to the solutions desk.  We had added on the start-line hospitality so our bibs were in a different section & tagged with a sticker showing that we were in the hospitality tent.

Once we got our bibs, we got our race shirts & gear check bags.  I really like the shirt and I would love to see a medal like the shirt with the landmarks around the medal, I think that would be so cool :).

We walked through the sponsored merchandise and Skechers had some nice gear at reasonable prices, but I have so much gear that I felt it best to pass.

Once we got into the expo area, I immediately took us towards the Lululemon Sweatbox where we would be for the next 90ish minutes.  I’ll talk more about this in a separate post.

Once we left the Sweatbox, we walked around the expo for a few more minutes, got some Clif Bar samples, a few photos and then headed out.

We were trying to decide when to do our run, but we also wanted to go to lunch, it was already 2:30pm so we were in that in between time.  We looked it up and saw that Bottega Louie was less than a mile away so we walked over.  Once we got there they told us that it would be 40 minutes for a table because they were changing over the shift so we put our name on the list and decided to go for our run.

We ran back to the car, I got us new shirts since we would probably be pretty sweaty and then we ran back to the restaurant.  We were probably a 1/4 of the way back when I got a text saying our table was ready so we ran back as fast as we could to get our table.

It was pretty funny when I sat down at the table, sweat literally dripping down my face.  Our server didn’t miss a beat and didn’t say a word as I was wiping my face, lol.

A hour later we had stuffed ourselves with Cobb Salad, Margarita Pizza, Creme Brulee & a Chocolate dessert.

We headed back to the car and over to Manhattan Beach and a movie.  Afterwards we had to find a FedEx office because I forgot to print out our parking permit & I didn’t want to have an issue in the morning.

In the past 2 years, 2015 & 2016, we’ve stayed in a hotel downtown.  This year we were able to stay with Sean’s sister in Manhattan Beach so I pre-purchased parking in Santa Monica prior to the race for $20, note to self, print it out before you leave for the race ;).

We finally got to our destination, did our flat runner photos and headed to bed. A 2:45am alarm was going to come fast. Needless to say, I don’t think I slept more than about an hour the whole night and I was already up before my alarm went off.  I tried to sleep until about 3am before finally just getting out of bed.

We were out the door and on our way by about 3:40a, we took a nice route near the beach up to Santa Monica and encountered no traffic on our way to the garage next to the Civic Center. Since it was so early, Sean & ate GoMacro bars on the way to Dodger Stadium.

Once we got parked we headed to the shuttles, the line was quite long, but there were tons of buses so we assumed we’d be in one and on our way quickly.  30 minutes later, we had barely moved and maybe one bus had left.  We realized at some point that there were 2 lines of runners, on either side of the building, oops.

We finally made it up to a bus, a girl asked me if I was wearing my back and taking my bag with me to the start and gave me 2 orange wristbands to put on them.  I didn’t know what they were for, they didn’t look in or at either my pack or drop bag closely.  I found out later that they were checking bags for security reasons, but that wasn’t the case with us.

We made our way up to Dodger Stadium and got dropped off in the normal spot.  I heard from some of the other ambassadors that they would get dropped off outside the stadium and that the freeway exit got all messed up with cones in the bus lane.  Fortunately that didn’t happen for us.

We walked in and over to the start-line hospitality tent.  It was pretty chilly when we arrived.  This was our first time doing the start-line hospitality and it was pretty nice.  They had food, bagels, bananas, clif bar shots, coffee, bottled water and most importantly heaters!  We saw Tim, one of my fellow ambassadors (for Conqur & The OM Dirt Unit) at one of the tables, we eventually moved to the back of the tent to stay warmer.

It was really nice, they had yoga mats and foam rollers, Air France tote bags & infuser bottles, private porta potties and a special gear check UPS truck for us!

We got the whole ambassador gang together for a photo and then we went our separate ways to get ready for the start. Left to right: Linzie, me, Tony, Emelia, Erica, Tim, Brett, Carlee, Ivie & Miriam.

I was in Corral C which was the 3rd corral and Sean was one of the lucky 300 people to be in Corral A up with the elites.  As I was standing there waiting for the start, I saw Gocart Mario in his car.  It was pretty cool.

I will say thinking back on it now, the start line atmosphere wasn’t quite the same as it has been in the past, it seemed a little bit more mellow than I remembered from past years, but all good.

I turned my Garmin on about 20 minutes before the start and unfortunately it never got a signal so when I started I thought I hit the start button, but found out right before mile 1 that I had not started it at all so I was about .85 miles off on my tracking.

We start in the parking lot of Dodger’s stadium and as we were starting the sun was coming up and it was looking to be a very beautiful day.  Contrary to what we were expecting with fog for most of the race.

I started out feeling ok, my back and legs were a bit tight from standing around so I took it slow to start, or so I thought, lol.  I actually did quite well the first half of the race, looking back, although I did not feel great at all, my butt hurt pretty much from the get-go and that eventually moved to my hamstrings and it was all I could do to just keep moving.  A lot of my issues are stemming from an anterior pelvic tilt along with one hip that is higher than the other.

I was experiencing a lot of pain but I decided to just have a lot of fun, take photos & try to find some of the snap chat filters, I don’t use snapchat, I only downloaded it for the geofilters, which I was planning to upload to my Insta stories.

I’m still a bit shocked at the time I came into the 20k at the time I did considering I hiked up a lot of the hill, slowed for photos, etc.

Around mile 4, is the Disney Concert Hall, which looks so pretty and the Japanese drummers are there too.  They are amazing, I caught a short video as I walked up the hill.

One of my absolute favorite spots on the course is the chili cheese dog station at about mile 5.5.  They totally did it up this year with a table and chafing dishes full of food.  It is things like this that make LA Marathon so awesome.  The spectators really get into it.  That being said, I really wish this station was at mile 25.5 so I could actually enjoy one, my stomach is a bit too finicky to eat a chili cheese dog less than 6 miles into the race lol.

I ran walked from mile 4 on, taking photos, seeing the sites and just having a great time.

We ran down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.  It’s really pretty with all the palm trees. I had a video of this area, but I seem to have lost it.

I love coming into Santa Monica, there are so many spectators, I swear this year there were even more than in the past.

About mile 18 the pain in my glutes/hamstrings started to get really bad, to the point where it hurt to walk.  I know my walk sections were getting longer but I kept moving.  Talking to other runners, listening to my audio book, enjoying the sunshine and all the spectators.  Around this point there were more and more of them.

After doing a run/walk hobble to mile 23, our friend Mitch came by and said Hi before passing me.  I chatted with some other runners and just kept chugging along.  Eventually we got down the hill and to the beach.  I ran the last mile just trying to keep it together and get to that finish line.

When I crossed the line, I was surprised at how quite it was.  I looked for someone I was supposed to meet at the finish but I never saw them so I got my medal and a few photos before going to look for Sean.  In the past he’s been closer to the finish line waiting for me, but he said they were pretty strict, and understandably so, about runners hanging out near the finish.

I got a bunch of post race treats, banana, bagel, Power bars, pretzels, animal crackers, cheese-its, etc. and then kept moving.  I was in so much pain, I just wanted to sit down.

After getting my heat blanket, I finally saw Sean & made my way to him.  We got my drop bag at the start-line hospitality truck, this was an awesome perk, it was the first truck!

After getting our gear and that Air France tote bag came in handy here for all of our post race snacks ;). We headed to the pier to change into dry clothes.  I sweat so much, my lululemon speed shorts are always soaked to the point I’m dripping, I don’t understand why I’m sweating so much lately but in any case, I always bring a full change of clothes for after the race.  I hate being wet once I’m done running.  This race, I got smart and brought a small towel to dry off with too ;).

We got warm, took a few photos and had a nice post race meal of burgers & fries.

I finished the race in 4:46:10, out of 18,893 runners I was 6,244.  After reflecting on my time, which compared to a lot of people isn’t fast, I realized that I was in the top 3rd of people, which means that over 12,600 people finished behind me.  That’s a lot of people and it’s nice to see that LA Marathon is a race that is for any ability.

So I already know I’m registering for next year, you can get in on the party by registering for the lowest prices for the next 3 days. (Regular registration opens later this summer)

As with any race, even those you love, there are always things that are better than others so here’s what I liked, what I didn’t like and what I’d love to see ;).

Pros:

  • Nice big expo that wasn’t super crowded
  • Beautiful Medal
  • So many spectators on the course
  • Amazing Volunteers, those kids were so into it, cheering us on
  • SRLA (Students Run LA Program) this is seriously an amazing program that brings over 3,000 at risk youth from grades 7 – 12 together for a marathon training program that culminates with them running the marathon. These kids inspire me so much & I look forward to seeing them every year.

Cons:

  • No information telling us that our bibs would be at the Solutions desk instead of the normal pick-up area.  It wasn’t a huge issue since it was pretty quite but if it had been busy we could have waited a long time.
  • Shuttles to the start line
  • While the volunteers were amazing, the kids had a hard time staying on the sides, some of the aid stations became bottle-necks
  • Last year at the expo we got a lot of treats in our gear bag, this year nothing. While I don’t need the papers, I liked trying new food products.

Suggestions:

  • As I said earlier, while LA has amazing medals, I would love to see a medal that looks like this year’s shirt with the landmarks around it.
  • Santa Monica shuttle definitely needs a little work, I know this is definitely something that Conqur is investigating already.
  • Give out bags with post race snacks in them – SD Half, NYC Marathon & Venice Marathon does this and it is sooo nice. You just grab a bag from a volunteer & go.

Overall though, this is one of my favorite marathons and I can’t wait to go back and run it again in 2018!