Rose Bowl Half Marathon 2021

Yesterday, I ran my 65th Half Marathon!  The Rose Bowl Half Marathon which used to be called the Pasadena Half.  I haven’t run this one since the very first year back in 2017.

We drove up on Saturday to the Rose Bowl to pick-up our packets.  We were visiting Sean’s mom who was visiting Newport Beach and while there were 5 spots around LA to pick up our packets, we determined that going to Pasadena was the best traffic wise between San Diego & Newport Beach.

It was super simple, park in lot D, walk over to the tents, they assigned us a bib number & gave us a bag for gear & a coupon for Big 5 and we were on our way.  You could pick up race shirts on Sunday before or after the race.  We ultimately didn’t pick ours up because neither of us expected to ever wear it.

Sunday morning, we got up around 4:30am & were out the door by 4:50a.  The race recommended getting to the Rose Bowl by 6am and Newport Beach is about 60 miles from Pasadena so it was going to take about an hour to get there.

Last time we ran the race, it took forever to get parked, this time while there was traffic when we got close to the stadium it wasn’t anything near as bad as that first year.  They had it organized so that if you came from one direction, you parked in one lot & if you came from the other direction you parked in another lot.  This made things much much easier.

It was a little chilly when we got there – if you can call low 60s chilly but after the previous 5 days of 90+ it felt cool.  We hit up the bathrooms, there were a both on-site normal bathrooms and port-a-potties.  The normal bathrooms had lines but the portos were pretty empty, I don’t think I ever saw a line at them.

We then got into the corrals, since they just assigned bibs it was one of those races where you were on the honor system as far as where you started.  They said that they were going to have 2 waves, but I don’t know if they actually did.

I tried to start in Corral 3 but they were like move up, move up and I ended up starting around the middle of Corral 2. I was behind the 2hour pace group, which is where I ended up finishing.  I did notice as I was running that the pace groups seemed really close together.  I saw 2:10 & 2:15 within sight of each other multiple times and then the 2:30 group wasn’t that far away either – the 2:30 pacer ended up finishing in 2:22 so I think it might have been a little off.

Anyways the course seemed about the same as it did before to me.  It’s somewhat hilly, not horrible but there are a few hills.  It was gray the whole race and incredibly humid.  My SeaWheeze crop was so soaked that I wrung it out 2-3 times while running.

I felt pretty good through mile 6ish.  I started the race with my stomach growling so I think I needed more fuel.  I ate one spring energy gel between miles 6-7 but I probably could have used at least 1 more.  I’ll test that out at my next half in a few weeks.

I was running pretty good considering I haven’t run a half since July & that one didn’t go great.  I really tried to stay in a comfortable pace and with the exception of mile 12 where I felt incredibly tired and walked a few extra times, I felt decent the rest of the race.

In fact the last mile was my second fastest mile of the whole race.  Then we got to finish inside the Rose Bowl on the field, which is exciting.

I got my medal, a heat sheet, a bottle of water – they used a company called Liquid Death & honestly if I hadn’t heard someone say it’s water, I thought it was beer, so that was a little weird.  They also do random snacks at the end, Clif bar is a LAM sponsor and so it would have been nice to get a clif bar at the finish but other than than that it was fine.

I stretched for a few minutes then headed outside to see Sean who had finished a bit before me.  All in all it was a pretty quick & easy and then we were on our way back to Newport Beach.

Differences from last time? I think just that the parking (at least from the side we came from) was so much better.  Outside of that it seemed about the same although thankfully no rain.

 

Balboa Park 8 Miler 2021 Race Recap

This is the first time I’ve run this race.  We are normally out of town, AC 100 is normally this weekend or another 100 mile race so it isn’t on our radar.  This year however with us not traveling quite as much and staying closer to home, when my teammates from Arete said that this was going to be our August race, I was like ok let’s give it a whirl.

The Balboa Park 8 Miler is sponsored by the San Diego Track Club & San Diego Running.  It’s got quite the history dating back to 1955 and is one of the oldest races in the country and one of the few that uses a course that is very similar to what it was in the beginning.

The race starts, is run and finishes in Balboa Park.  It’s got a little bit of everything, through the park by Spreckels Organ Pavilion, by the Museum of Man and onto the bridge over the 163, out on to the road where Rock n Roll San Diego normally starts, around the park that I’ve run a lot of times with Run619, back through the main part of the park and then on to some trails before you come back up towards the finish.

We picked up our packets at Road Runner Sports the night before, it was super fast because we got there about 30 minutes before close.  There were no assigned bib numbers, at least not in our case, we were just given the two that were next in the box.  We got a tee shirt, which in this case was actually decent, I think it was a cotton blend, but it had a v-neck for the women’s version and I actually thought it was comfortable which isn’t common for me.

It only took us about 15 minutes to get to the start on Saturday, we left a little late and were still there by 6:30, used the portos and were at the start line for a team photo  by 6:45a.  I’m not sure if there were less people than normal or if it’s normally that easy :).

I knew that I wasn’t going to be running any PRs so I started back a little ways.  Sean asked me if I wanted him to run with me, but I was ok running solo and letting him run his own race.

Because I was a little bit behind I ended up in wave 4.  I didn’t even know there were waves but apparently there were & they were about 30 seconds apart so nothing crazy.

I was planning to just take the race really nice & easy and while it wasn’t quite as nice & easy as it should have been, I’m pretty proud of myself for dialing it back whenever I started getting in over my head.

It was overcast the whole race, which was nice because I left my sunglasses in the car.  I know that when it’s like that even if I have my sunglasses on my head they get sweaty and then I can’t see out of them and I was wearing a crop top that was going to be soaked.  It did burn off not long after I finished though and it was a beautiful San Diego day.

Sean crushed his race, he got 36th overall and 3rd place in his age group!  We stayed for a bit because he got an age group award.  Two of my Arete teammates were first in their age groups so that was pretty cool as well!

My race wasn’t quite as speedy, but I was happy to finish with a smile and without any issues.  And I don’t think I’ve ever run an 8 mile race so it was an auto PR!

After we finished they had bottled water, nature’s valley fruit & nut bars & bananas.  There were a few tents set up at the finish, but it wasn’t like the other races we did this summer with snacks and other drink vendors.

So that being said, I would totally run this race again.  I thought it was a nice course, mostly flat with a few hilly sections on the trail portion, one at mile 6 was especially rough but overall it was a really nice course and we of course got lucky and had great weather.

Oh and they have free race photos, which is one of my fav perks!

Are you running more local races this year?  I’ve done 3 local races in the last 2 months which seems like a lot to me!

July 21 Recap

While June was an awesome month, July not quite so much.  This emotional roller coaster I’ve been on for the past year is continuing to derail me but I’ve made some decisions to start making some changes to get off this coaster so hopefully August will come with some clarity & peace.

July kicked off with the Crown City Classic 12k on July 3.  The first race back in San Diego since early 2020.  It was nice to see my Arete teammates & cheer them on.  I had a decent race considering how little I have been running.  It was about a minute slower per mile than last time I ran this race, but considering, I’m happy.

I tried a new pair of shoes for this and the San Diego Half that I ran later in the month.  I have really been liking New Balance lately and got a pair of the New Balance RC Elite 2 which I really like!  To me, they feel a little stiff as you are putting them on but once you stand up, they are like little clouds on your feet.

After the race we went home and got ready to drive up to Bishop so we could hike White Mountain & then hit up Death Valley NPS so Sean could do an hour or so of training in the heat.

White Mountain – well – it’s a very easy hike outside the altitude – the part that makes it the most challenging is the drive to the trail head.  16 miles of super sharp, rocky trail.  My friend Catra told us to drive very carefully because a lot of people get flats which made me quite nervous because my new Crosstrek has run-flat tires which are expensive to replace LOL.  So each way it took us over 90 min to get to/from the trailhead to the main road.

The nice things about White Mountain are 1) you don’t need a permit, 2) it’s a pretty easy trail to actually hike outside the elevation & 3) because of the crazy drive there weren’t too many people there.

Cons: It is a really long drive & there is a potential to get a flat so make sure you have a spare, etc. because there is minimal cell service.  It’s also beautiful but there is a lot of cover so you are exposed the whole time unlike when we went to San Gorgonio and were in the forest a good portion of the time.

I did not go to the summit. I went up to about 13,000ish feet and then decided I was done.  I’m not sure why I quit, maybe it was the slight headache I had, maybe it was that I’m not in my best physical or mental shape right now, I don’t actually know, but I was done and after a few minutes of pouting I turned around and headed back while Sean went to the top.

The next day we went to Death Valley so Sean could 1) get an idea of the course and 2) so he could do a run in the heat as prep for Badwater 135.

Back home again, we hit up Cowles Mountain for a few hikes the next week, I went to Phoenix for work and I decided that I wasn’t going to crew Sean at Badwater.

I ran the San Diego Half Marathon, which is normally in March, while Sean was gone and had a fun time even though it was really hot out!

Now for my July stats:

Running – I did 2 races, the 12k and the half and this was a good portion of the running I did last month.  I think I came in at around 40ish miles for the month?

Peloton – I biked more last month than I ran – 29 rides for 122 miles including a 2021 PR in Kendall’s Gwen Stefani ride.

Strength – I probably say this every month but it’s really the only thing I’m consistent on right now.  I think I missed 2 days due to work because it is really hard to do anything on the days when I’m getting up super early & am on all day long.

Campaigns – I probably have never shared why I do a lot of ads on here and on my IG, but I honestly love trying new things and sharing with you all.  Some things are more athlete driven, others are food related, because I love food and some are for things that I just want to try.  I do get paid to post about some products, others it’s just a product exchange, but I do try my best to share my personal thoughts but also keep in mind that just because something doesn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t work for someone else.

So that being said in July I shared posts about Silk Oat Milk, which is super yummy!! Ultima Replenisher’s new Mocktini flavors.  I gave away some products from Sideaway Foods, I also gave away a super cool Rumpl x All Trails blanket.  I shared Oofos Woodland Camo sandals that are perfect for post run/hike.  And the FlexTemp™️ Hot & Cold Joint Wrap from Sunbeam.

I’ve got a few new projects coming up in August and we have a few trips planned which will be really nice.  Also, NYC Marathon training kicks off.

How was your July?

My Runner Swag Survey Answers

Last week I shared the results of my Runner Swag survey.  You can see what other people think here.

Here are my answers with a little elaboration ;).

Question 1/2: Where are you from? and if US, what city, state do you live in?
US, I was born in Pennsylvania, moved to Indiana when I was 11, went to IU Bloomington for college, studied at Universita di Bologna in Bologna, Italy my senior year at IU, moved to Florida after college, Phoenix, AZ in 2011 and then San Diego, CA in 2015.

Question 3: How long have you been running?
This question is a bit complicated. I remember running my first race, the 100 yard dash on a cinder track at a school event when I was maybe in first grade when I lived in Harrisburg, PA. I ran track from grades 6 – 12. Didn’t really run in college and then started running consistently again in 2009. I tore my hamstring doing something not run related, I slipped on wet rose petals at a wedding I was working, it took 7 months to heal and I started running with the Orlando Track Shack Galloway group in fall 2010. I ran my first half in Feb 2011, the Disney Princess Half at Walt Disney World.

Question 4: What is the longest distance you have run?
100k or 63 miles (trail miles are +/- the actual distance LOL) I’ve finished 2 100ks. Cuyamaca 100k in 2017 & Javelina 100k in 2019.

Question 5: How many races do you do in a normal (non Covid) year?
Typically at least 20 – 30

Question 6: How many races have you done in your lifetime?
Over a 100
63 Half Marathons
32 Marathons
21 Ultras
And a bunch of other races of various distances

Question 7: Do you run more road or trail?
Half & Half – I love trail but I have road goals too

Question 8: Do you like receiving finisher medals?
Yes, I like medals, it’s a small way for me to remember what races I’ve run.

Question 9: Do you want to receive a finishers medal?
Yes but see next question

Question 10: If you like medals what distances should get them?
For me, I want a medal for Half Marathon and up. I don’t need them for under the half marathon distance, but that being said, I know that for some people running a distance under a half is a huge accomplishment and that might be as long as they go so I’m say, if getting a medal motivates people to get out and run, then bring it on!

Question 11: For my ultra runners, what distances should get a buckle?
Personally, I’m good with a medal or some sort of souvenir (not a glass because I just don’t have room for them) for under 100 miles. I’m good with only getting a buckle for 100 miles or over.

Question 12/13: Do you like finisher/participant shirts? If no, why not?
For me personally, I don’t like most of them, they rarely fit properly, either too high of a neck which is an issue for me, weird tech fabric, sizing is weird or just plain uncomfortable. I only ever wear them for a post race photos and then I end up donating them. But if it is a shirt made from a company like rabbit, a really nice cotton shirt or from a big race I’m good with it.

Question 14: if a race gave you option to add on a shirt for an additional fee would that be appealing?
For me, yes. I would rather not get a shirt the majority of time. I would pay for an upgrade if it was a rabbit, lululemon or a shirt that I knew I would wear.

Question 15: If a race gave you the opportunity to choose your own swag from a list of a few items, what would you want?
I like Hats, goodr sunglasses like Revel did a few years back, running socks, maybe a tote or backpack if it was nice but just getting free photos would be cool. I run a lot of races & just don’t have a need or room for so much stuff.

Question 16: Should races offer free photos?
I would love to get free photos for all races but I know not all races can afford to pay the photographer who relies on participants purchasing to make a living.

Question 17/18: Do you purchase photos from races that offer them for a fee?
Yes, I do, if they are good high quality photos, mostly to remember a race &/or post on social media

Question 19: What is the most you will pay for a photo?
I prefer the photos that are free or cost $5 – 10 but I have purchased the pre-race specials for some bigger races.

Question 20/21: Does your opinion of swag change if you are running a road race vs a trail race?
In my experience, trail races have really nice swag – while I haven’t run a 100 + mile race, I’ve seen some of the cool stuff Sean has gotten and it’s way better than most road race swag. They also tend to have some more sustainable swag too, we’ve gotten bamboo silverware, nice winter hats, arm warmers, jackets, & bags.

Question 22: How do you pick races you participate in?
We look for races that are in cool destinations, that have good courses and are in places we want to visit.

Question 23: Do you pick races based off the swag?
Honestly, sometimes yes. Because I’ve run so many races, if I see a cool medal, I might choose that race. But normally no.

Question 24: Do you think swag is important to runners?
Yes & no – I think most runners want something but I think they want something they can actually use.

Question 25: Why do you run races? Question 26: What motivates you to run a race vs just running the distance by yourself/with friends?
I love the community, being able to run long with out having to support myself, for that feeling of crossing the finish line, seeing new places.

Overall, swag isn’t the reason I run races but it can be a nice plus and a way to remember different places we’ve been.

What are your thoughts on race swag?

2021 Runner Swag Survey Results

A few weeks ago, I saw a tweet from an elite runner that said something to the effect that medals and race shirts should be eliminated so I  thought it would be cool to do my own survey and see what my followers thought.

Huge thank you to the 83 people who answered my 27 question survey!  I know it was long, I just kept thinking of more and more questions LOL. In this post, I’m going to share the answers from those who answered the survey & then I’ll do a 2nd post next week to share my personal thoughts.

Here we go:

Question 1: Where are you from?
US – 78
Canada – 3
UK – 1
The Netherlands – 1

Question 2: If US, what City & State do you live in?
California: Sacramento – 3, San Diego – 3, Santa Cruz – 3, San Francisco – 3, Los Angeles – 2  Other CA cities: Vacaville, Elk Grove, Aromas, Rohnert Park, Carmichael, San Jose, Citrus Heights, Palo Alto, Los Alamitos, Carpinteria, Orangevale, Stockton, Alameda, Livermore, Carlsbad, Santa Rosa & 4 who didn’t list a city
Philadelphia, PA – 3
Gilbert, AZ – 2
New York City, NY – 2
Arlington & Charlottesville, VA, Fargo, ND, Miami, FL, Georgetown & Houston, TX, Takoma Park, MD, Mabelton, GA, Dayton & Cincinnati, OH, North Carolina, St. Louis, MO, St. Paul, NM, Rochester Hills, MI, Bend, OR, Wahiawa, HI, Pittsburgh, PA, New Boston, NH, Colorado Springs, CO, Rogers, AR and Kodiak, Fairbanks & Anchorage, Alaska, Utah

Question 3:

 

Question 4:

Other answers: 5k, 10k, 10, 17, 18, 20 miles

Question 5: How many races do you do in a normal (non Covid) year?
None – 2 ppl
1 – 5 races – 46 ppl
5 – 10 races – 17 ppl
10 + races – 12 ppl
20 + races – 4 ppl
30 + races – 1

Question 6: How many races have you done in your lifetime?
0 – 10 races – 4ppl
10 – 20 races – 7 ppl
20 – 30 races – 7 ppl
30 – 40 races – 3 ppl
40 – 50 races – 3 ppl
50+ races – 13 ppl
75+ races – 1 person
100+ races – 5 ppl
Not sure – 7 ppl
Too many to count – 12 ppl

Question 7:

Question 8:

Other responses: 5 ppl Indifferent, 2 ppl if they are high quality & nice design, depends on distance, for major or special races, for goal races, depends, I like them but can live without, Doesn’t have to be a medal but I like a souvenir form the race.

Question 9:

Question 10:

Other answers: Any but have as upgrade, All distances

Question 11:

Other answers: Any distance but as upgrade, not sure, respect the buckle 🙂

Question 12:

Question 13: If no, Why not?
The majority of responses were because:
They don’t fit well
Cheaply made
I never wear them because I wear other clothes
Don’t come in my size
Some people prefer cotton over tech and then others prefer tech over cotton

Question 13:
Yes – 21 ppl
No – 13 ppl
Maybe – would depend on shirt/race – 42 ppl
No I want it to be included in race fee
No, shirts are implied
I love when races have you opt in for shirts
Only if it was cotton
I like when you can save some money by not taking the shirt
If shirts weren’t included I would buy one I like them more than medals
if it’s a technical shirt – not basic cotton

Question 14: If a race gave you the opportunity to choose your own swag from a list of a few items, what would you want?
Answers included:
Mugs, Pint Glasses, Wine Glasses, Water bottles
Hat, Visor, headbands
Buffs
Running socks
Different types of clothing like tank tops, long sleeves, half zips, jackets
sunglasses
Reusable Tote Bags or backpacks
Blankets
Bottle Openers
Jewelry
Finisher souvenir
Beach Towel
Free Photos
Food
Stickers
Money, Free Future Race Entries

Question 15:

Question 16:

Question 17:

Other answers: Rarely, only if it’s epic, only at Boston

Question 18: If yes, why do you purchase photos?
Answers included:
If they are good
Memories withou a watermark
I don’t always have a crew
Special races
For Instagram
Commemorate big adventues
If it was a big PR
To post ressponsibly
Some are really good & photographer needs to eat as well
To support race or company
Photo Quality

Question 19:

39% $5- 10
28% Nothing – I only want free photos
20.7% $10 – 20
4.9% over $20
Other single answers – someone has to pay photograher, $5 each or $25 for bunch, I’ve never liked mine, $5 – 10 but like to buy the whole series, depends on race, $20 – 30 for digital download

Question 20:

Question 21: Why?
Trail races are more special so I value swag differently
Trail races provide different challenge
Swag from Trail races is different
More burly
If it’s my first I want awesome swag, but I also want a nice jacket from a well know road race
Trail races are more thoughtful & considerate with sustainable swag
Trail swag is better
Trail races are typically more low key
Run by individuals/small companies with smaller budgets
They can do wonky things – including giving winners rubber chickens

Question 22:

Question 23:

Question 24:

Question 25: Why do you run races? Answers included the following:
Accomplishment
Fun
Self Competition
Achieve Goals
See new places
The community
Water Stations – not have to run long self supported
Memories
Runners High
Motivation
Bragging Rights
Medals
Seeing what I can do
Health & fitness

Question 26: What motivates you to run a race vs just running the distance by yourself/with friends? Answers included:
Competition
Goal
Paying money makes me more motivated to train
Fun & safe environment
Fans
Destinations, seeing new places
Excitement of racing
Running somewhere different
Crossing the finish line feels different; Runners High
Chasing a PR
Runing with friends at a race
Official times
Community feel

Question 27: Anything swag/race related you would like to add?
Have race swag be an add on
No more leaflets in goody bags
Offer tanks tops for ladies
better graphics/designs
Option to upgrade shirts
Something unique & specific to races
Consumable goodies, ie. Soap, candy, candles
Shirts optional
Swag other than shifts
Options to donate swag to others less fortunate
Swag as an extra to have lower priced events
No swag vs cheap wasteful products
Better post run food vs swag
Discount to a future race vs swag
It’s mostly junk

A few of my personal thoughts about these responses:

  1. Interestingly the majority of the people who responded have been running for at least 5 years so I have to wonder if that influenced their answers because they have received more swag/medals over the years.
  2. It appeared that people like shirts over medals which really surprised me.
  3. Swag doesn’t really influence the majority of people who responsed
  4. More of the respondents are road runners vs trail runners

And that’s a wrap!  Thank you again to all those who participated & feel free to comment and tell me about your opinions on runner swag!

 

#StayAtHome Virtual Races

It’s been months now since our last in person race, the Los Angeles Marathon on March 8.  I never actually recapped that race, maybe I’ll do it soon.  In any case since that time, like everyone else, we’ve had all of our races cancelled for the year.

So what does a serial racer do?  Sign up for a bunch of virtual races, that’s what!

So what races have I done or signed up for?

The Hot Chocolate 15k/5k became a virtual run so I ran my 5k virtually on the treadmill back in March.  They sent our entire kit to us in the mail so it was just like if we had been there, except no bowl of chocolate at the end ;).  Although I have a feeling it’s not vegan so it’s probably for the best LOL.

They sent us our whole kit with bib, medal, goodie bag sweatshirt & some treats.  I was signed up for the 5k & ended up running a PR race on the treadmill.

Next up was the Aravaipa Strong run in mid April.  I decided to just go for the half marathon & managed to pull out a nice sub 2 half!  It was hard but I did it!!

Then I did the Hood to Coast Movement 10k that started on May 1. I didn’t go too hard on this one but knocked it out the first day as soon as I woke up so it was fun. Photo from the first time we visited Mount Hood ;).

The biggest race/challenge that I signed up for was the Great Virtual Race Across Tennesse 1000k.  Put on by the Laz of the infamous Barkley race.  Around 20,000 runners signed up for this one!!  It started on May 1 and continues until August 31.  I’m on the back end, after 2 months of incredible miles (May: 184 & June: 191) my body needed a break in July.  I think I’m about 150 miles from the finish.

At the end of May, Sean & I did the Aravaipa/Run Steep Get High Limitless Challenge where you pick an mountain that you want to climb to & then go as fast as you can to get there.  We were super lucky having a Nordictrack Incline Treadmill because it goes to 40% incline!  Sean was the overall winner with just over 150,000 ft!!! I was the female & I think overall indoor winner of the Everest level (29,029 ft).  It was a blast and we had such a good time doing this challenge.

You can still sign up for this one as people had such a good time with it that they opened it up for a second summer session.  I will say this was probably the most fun of all the challenges, probably because it was different.

I also signed up for some of the Aravaipa Insomniac Series virtuals in June & July.  In June I did the Hypnosis Dawnbreaker Challenge where I did 5 races over 7 days for a total of 128k!!  I’ve never run that many miles in a week before so it was tough!  I honestly wasn’t sure if I would be able to finish it but I pulled it out & finished the whole thing!

We also did the 100 miles to Auburn run in June to help support the Western States 100 organization.  It was fun and we got a cool buckle for finishing 100 miles.  It was one of those challenges that you can complete over the full month, not necessarily in one run.

In July, I signed up for the Aravaipa Stunner Dawnbreaker challenge as well but when it came time to actually run last week, I was burnt out and not at all excited about it.  I ended up only running one of the 4 races, the 12k & taking the majority of the week to recover from all the miles I’ve done the last 2 months.

I’ve signed up for a few other virtual races for the coming months.

July: The Running is Not  Cancelled 461 mile race from the start of the Sean O’Brien 100k to the start of the Lake Sonoma 50 mile – this one goes until early October so I can keep my mileage & motivation up.

Wharf to Wharf 6 miler to be able to run virtually with my Arete teammates.

August: The SeaWheeze Half Marathon – Aug 15 – 23 which I did last year and would have been running in person. For the first time they have a 10k as well!  This one is always fun!

September: The Santa Monica Classic on Sept 13.  I’m an ambassador for the Los Angeles Marathon so if you sign up for this one or their other races, you can save 10% using JENNY2021.  This one is going to be really fun & unique because it’s going to be a live virtual race where we can all run together virtually on the LA Marathon & Santa Monica Classic Facebook pages. I’m super excited because I’ve never run the Santa Monica Classic before because I’m always in Tahoe for Tahoe 200 the same weekend.

The Head Up, Heart Forward 10 miler with my Arete Teammates on September 19.

The Big Surreal Virtual Challenge from the Big Sur Marathon.  This one looks really fun.  You can choose to run 1 to 5 events (5k, 12k, 11 miler, 21 miler & marathon) from Sept 1 – 30 and the more you run, the more swag you get. The medal you get corresponds to the longest race you finish as well.

I don’t have anything picked out for October or November yet, but I’m sure something will come up ;).  Maybe we’ll do the NYC Marathon virtual since we were supposed to race it this year.

Of all the virtual races, my favorite are the ones where there is a specific distance (typically a shorter distance) or time that you have to finish in. Like the Limitless Challenge, that was a lot of fun & I would do another climbing challenge. I’m also really excited about the Santa Monica Classic because it is going to be streamed live & that’s super cool.

Are you running virtual races?  And if so which ones have been your favorite? What would you recommend?

Inaugural Lululemon San Diego 10k Race

It was the day Lululemon fanatics were waiting for.  The day when Lululemon held their first ever US race.  And it was in my city!

I was super excited when I heard the race was coming to SD.  Sean & I were on vacation in Banff when it was time to register & waited at the hotel to register right when it opened.

I even told my boss/co-worker, R.J. about it and he signed up for his first 10k!

When they announced that they were looking for volunteers I signed up for packet pick-up on the first day at UTC.  It was a blast, I met a bunch of awesome people and helped get runners their bibs & shirts.

On Saturday, we ran Revel Big Bear (recap here) and then drove home to rest & recover before the race the next day.

The race was in downtown San Diego starting at Shelter Island and finishing at Waterfront Park.  We got there really early so that we wouldn’t have to pay for parking & so that we would get there before the buses got crazy.

Well we got there really early, like over an hour before the race started, oops!  But we weren’t the first ones, we ran into a bunch of our friends. It was fun chatting with everyone but it was cold!  The wind coming off the water was quite chilly.

We did some group photos with our We Run Social friends and then we were heading to the start line.

We jumped in to the corrals just as the sun was coming up.  It was gorgeous.

As usual Lulu always gets the details, they had a boat with Lululemon flags on it at the start.

We were a little bit behind the 1 hour pace group, and ended up starting in the second wave.

It was a bit crowded as we got started so I was kind of weaving in and out for the first half mile or so until I got settled in.

The energy was amazing, that’s probably one of the best things about a Lululemon race.  Everyone is so happy.  There were cheer stations, bands, spin bikes, hula dancers and donuts at the finish!

The course is similar to part of AFC Half but the part before the huge climb lol so it’s really nice and flat which I loved.  Especially since my calf was still bothering me from the day before.

We got to about mile 3ish and I saw R.J. on the other side, he had started a bit ahead of us so I was like hum… maybe I can catch him.  So I tried.  I figured if I could catch him, maybe I could slow down, LOL.

So I just kept moving along, smiling the whole way, enjoying all the cheer stations, seeing friends.

Around mile 5 Sean caught up with me and we ran in to the finish.  I was really starting to feel the race from the day before but I was still moving.

When we got a little closer to the finish, I gave Sean my phone and was like you go ahead and finish before me so you can get a finish photo of me!

And just like that I was at the finish line!  2 races, 19.3 miles in 2 days.  It doesn’t seem like a lot but it was a lot for me since I’ve not been running that much lately.

We ran into R.J. after we crossed the finish line & he did so awesome, under 60 minutes!  I’m so proud of him & he even signed up for his first half marathon in February!!

The finish line party was pretty sweet.  Awesome medals, donuts, saje wellness, photo ops, drop bags & yoga.  It was a really awesome morning.

Oh, yeah and about the swag. We all got white swiftly tanks, medals, donuts, Saje Wellness Runner Rewards (if you stopped by the Saje store at UTC) and they had gear for sale at the end of the race.  The line was really long so I skipped but I heard it was just a few pieces and you would have to go to the mall to have it screen printed (I guess so they didn’t make a ton of gear that didn’t sell).

Lululemon put on a great day & I’m glad I had the opportunity to run.  I’m looking forward to next year!

Revel Big Bear Half Marathon – Race Recap

Oh boy, where to start with this one.  Well last year I ran the Revel Big Bear marathon here a week after running Javelina 100k.  I really wanted to go for a BQ but my legs just weren’t up to it and I ended up coming in just a bit over 4 hours, it’s still my second fastest marathon but it wasn’t what I really wanted.

So, we signed up for this year, my goal was again to BQ.  But the summer happened, crewing/pacing/traveling for all Sean’s Great Eight races & I wasn’t quite where I wanted to be runningwise.

We ran Mount Laguna marathon the week before (recap here) and I knew as soon as we finished that one that running the marathon was not in my best interests so I decided to drop down to the half.

Sean & I had a friend pick up our packets because the packet pick-up closed at 6pm.  Which would mean taking a half day off work in order to get our packets because Redlands is about 2 – 3 hours from us depending on traffic.  We got to the Redwoods area around 8:30p or so and had a 2:30am wake-up.  The buses would leave between 3:30 – 4:15a for marathon and 4:00 – 4:45a for the half.

Fortunately we were staying pretty close to the parking area so we got there pretty quick.  But we ended up parking really close to the half marathon buses but quite a bit away from the marathon buses.  By the time we got over there for Sean to take the bus, there was a really long line.  He was a bit frustrated but made it to the start .

I walked back to the half marathon buses, grabbed my drop bag & then headed to the buses where I met up with some of my WeRunSocial friends.  We all chatted for a bit and then got on the buses.

It was a little chilly when we got to the start but not too bad.  We got ready, dropped my drop bag off & then headed to the start line.  The waves or times were like 10 ft apart which was really funny.  I jumped in around the 2:00 mark and then had to re-tie my shoe.  I tried to get something out of my shoe & fix my sock & while doing that the race started.

I quickly put my shoe back on, stopped behind a guy trying to take off his throwaway gear and then started running.  It was the most anti-climactic race start I’ve ever seen.  There were still tons of people coming towards the corrals, kind of weird that were no announcements that the race was starting.

Last year, but the time I got to the half marathon it was kind of foggy and grey and I didn’t love this part of the race.  This year it was good weather, the sun was coming up and I just got into a good rhythm.  I didn’t want to go out too fast because I honestly didn’t have any idea how my body was going to handle the miles and any kind of speed.  I hadn’t run fast in months.

I saw my friend’s Richard & Brian pass by me along with a bunch of other people but I just kept moving at my own pace.

I didn’t really look at my watch too much, only at the mile markers if I remembered, mostly to make sure I didn’t run too fast.

It was pretty out there, there was a mountain that we were running towards that had a really nice single track looking trail that I was like wow that would be nice to run down too lol.

The volunteers were amazing but the aid stations seemed sparse.  There weren’t that many of us, I finished 226th overall and was 281 at the 5k so it wasn’t like there were 1000s of people ahead of me but they had a hard time keeping them stocked.  A few of the aid stations that they were filling cups when I went by.

I felt pretty good for the first few miles, a little tightness in my left calf and my foot was a touch stiff but nothing bad. Around mile 6/7 I decided to take off my long sleeve.  I took it off and heard buzzing around my head, I took off my hat and there was a fuzzy bee on my hat!  I pushed it off, put my hat back on and took off, maybe that’s why mile 7 was my fastest of the race LOL at 7:50.

Right after that I was starting to look at my watch more and I kept thinking that I only have to maintain 10 minute miles and I can PR.  My previous PR was 1:57 and change.

I got to mile 10 and was starting to get tired, I passed a friend from IG, he was asking me if I was trying for a PR, I was like yep trying and then just kept moving.

Around mile 11.5 I saw my friend Willem at an aid station, I was like I am close to a PR, he got a photo and then was like go get that PR.

I made the turn, hit mile 12 and I suddenly got really tired.  I was drinking water & powerade but I didn’t have any gels so I was pretty calorie deficient by that point.

I wanted to walk so bad, but I was soooo close so I just kept trucking along, I saw a guy ahead of me and just kept following him, I eventually would pass him.

The worst part about this race is the last mile, you make the last turn and then have to go about 3/4 of a mile to the finish.  You can literally see the finish line and it just feels like it takes forever to get to.

I struggled to get to the finish line, I was literally slowing as I got to the finish line, but I did and it was under 1 hour and 46 minutes!  I had done it! I got a PR in the half marathon, I was in literal shock!  I couldn’t believe it but I did it!

And not only that I ran every single step of that half marathon and I did it with no speed training, the week after a trail marathon and with having barely run in months. I’m still shaking my head but it woke me up and made me wonder, what if I actually trained.  What could I do then?

Now back to the race…Revel gives a decent shirt, I upgraded to the cotton version but it was a bit thicker than usual and felt pretty hot.  They also gave a pair of goodr sunglasses along with a pair of gloves and an emergency blanket (which wasn’t in my bag for some reason).

After the race they had water, bananas and chocolate milk for runners. You could also get a sweet treat, which this year was from Snow Monkey.  It was good but my tummy didn’t love it after the race.  They also had pizza which I never found and some sort of drink, maybe hard seltzer? instead of beer, which people were upset about but I don’t drink so I don’t know exactly what that was about.

After the race I got my card with my stats and then high tailed it over to the Normatec booth to try them out.  I was able to get in pretty quickly and whoa, they are awesome! Definitely being added to my Christmas wish list!

Then I chatted with some friends and waited for Sean to finish.  He was moving quite well and I didn’t have to wait long.

After Sean finished we took the bus back to our car, got some Starbucks and then headed back to San Diego, where we hit a LOT of traffic, ugh. But we made it back in time for lunch at Plant Power.  Then it was time to relax before our next race.

 

The best part about Revel races is the free photos! Also they start really early, which sucks when you have to get up at 2am but it means that the race is over pretty early so you have the rest of the day to relax, fuel up and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Mount Laguna Marathon Race Recap

On Sunday, Sean & I ran the Mount Laguna marathon for the first time.  We’ve heard so much about this race & have run most of the course over the years but had never put it together & done the race.

We decided to do this race for two reasons.  One because we were going to be home and wanted to run it and two because we had to run a marathon as part of the NYC Marathon Strava Virtual Run challenge so we could get guaranteed entry into the 2020 race.  We signed up for this a few months back and paid to do the virtual run so we could get in to the race without having to deal with the lottery.

We were able to stay at home the night before because Mount Laguna is only about an hour from us.  It’s been months since we’ve been out there, I think maybe we went out in early July to do a run & we haven’t been back since.

The race started at 8am with bib pickup between 7a – 7:40a so we didn’t have to get up too early.  It was also time change weekend so we fell back on Sunday night and it was light out when we left the house.

We got there and a bunch of people were congratulating Sean on a great summer & asking him if he was going for the win lol.  We decided to run together so he was bring up the rear with me lol.

We saw my friend Lisa from our local Arete group & a bunch of other friends. We got the quick race briefing and then we were all off!

We started out chatting with Lisa and our friend Jacket for the first 4ish miles before I needed to slow down.  We were doing pretty good but a marathon is a long way & I wanted to make sure I could make it to the finish.  I needed to get that NYC entry!!

The course is beautiful, we start and end at Red Tailed Roost and start running on Thing Road before heading to the PCT which is one of my favorite places to run.

We ran right through the first aid at about 4.5 miles & then headed to Penny Pines for the first time.  This is such a beautiful part of the course and one that we have done many times overlooking Anza Borrego.

We got to the second aid and refueled.  The guy at the aid station was like, this is an aid station, not a rest station so off you go! And away we went.  The next aid was about 4 miles away.

I was losing a lot of salt! My shirt had a salt mountain on it and everything!  By the time we got to Pioneer Mail, I was light headed and not sure if I’d be able to finish.  But I got some ginger ale & coke and then we kept moving.

This section was 7 miles and we had to go in & out of Nobel Canyon before getting back to Penny Pines (on the opposite side of the road).

I know Sean was probably a little frustrated, I kept telling him he could go ahead but he kept saying he was happy being with me but I know he wasn’t expecting to walk as much as we did.  But I told him, he doesn’t normally run with me and walking a bunch of trail races is pretty much my MO lol.  But I was a little more out of shape than normal so it was probably a bit slower than normal.

Photo by T.Allin Photo

We finally got to the last aid & I was just ready to get to the finish!  I had 2 cups of ginger ale & tried to get some orange slices but there were a lot of bees.  We just kept moving towards another section of the course that we have done a lot, the Big Laguna Meadows.

We passed by cow lake (my term not an official one ;)) and stayed to the far end of the meadow before heading up in the last 1.5 miles.

We finally were almost there!  We ran into one of our friends who was waiting for her family to arrive before she crossed the line, and then we were almost there!

Across the finish line we went! The RD, Kathleen gave us both hugs and our medals and we ran off for a few more minutes so we could make sure we were over the marathon distance for the virtual challenge.

After getting that done, we were ready for some food.  They had some vegan options for us which was super sweet.

We also got our goodie bags, which had some cute things in them.  We didn’t get shirts though because they were an add on and we have so many shirts.  But they were super cute Patagonia shirts.

All in all I would say that this was a gorgeous race & they did a great job & if we are in town we’ll run this one again.

 

Carlsbad 5000 2019 Race Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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