March Run All The Races: LA Marathon 2018

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

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

But let’s get to this year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We’ll be back next year!

 

RunAllTheRaces: San Diego Half Marathon

San Diego Half Marathon, my favorite San Diego race. It’s fast, it’s mostly flat, it’s typically pretty cool out and they have great race swag.

This is my 3rd year running San Diego Half.  I signed up on the day registration opened.  They have a legacy program that is pretty nice, you can start at any time and I hit 3 years this year, which meant I got a 2nd race shirt.  For year 4 you get a 1/4 zip and year 5 a nice looking jacket.

If you want to read my recaps from 2016 & 2017 you can do so here and here.

This year, well, it’s been going pretty good, outside my 2 weeks of the sickness in February so I wanted to try for a sub 2 hour time. I even thought I had a change to PR, the majority of the race is pretty flat; but we’ll get to that later.

The expo like in other years was at the Broadway Pier.  I went over on Friday early afternoon to meet up with Smitha (@runningwithSD) to take a walk & to get our packets.  Unfortunately I didn’t look at the times and we got to the expo 2 hours too early, lol.  We chatted with another friend for a little bit, took some photos and then I headed back to work.

The next day, Sean & I headed back over to the expo to get our packets.  It ended up being a very rainy, ugly day, which worried me because I am not a fan of running in the rain, especially starting in the rain.  But we got our packets & got some lunch at the Loving Hut and then headed home to just relax and stay out of the rain.

The expo, isn’t anything too special, there are vendors but nothing too major.  This year because we were finishing in Petco & the park had rules about what could be distributed after the race.  They gave us some snacks in our drop bags before the race and did explain this in an email/race info before the race as well.

San Diego Half always is the weekend the time change, like last year they sent those of us who signed up for text alerts a message to make sure we changed our clocks to spring forward.

Since the start isn’t too far from our house we were able to sleep in just a touch, leaving the house at 6:00am.  We managed to find some street parking, YAY for not having to pay to park! We chilled out in the car for a bit because the race didn’t start until 7:30a and we were there about 6:20a.  We finally made our way down to the start area around 6:45a.

There were a few changes to this years race.  The start line was still in the same place, but the finish line moved back to Petco Park, where I guess it was the first year. In both 2016 & 17 the finish line was in Gas Lamp.  They moved the drop bag location to accommodate for that.

We saw where the drop bags were and then bee-lined it to the porta potties over by the start.  Everyone was waiting in a huge line by the drop bags while there were no lines by the start.  We saw a few friends and then headed back to drop off my finish line bag.

Side note: I am a huge proponent of having a finish line bag at a road race (except NYC Marathon, where the ponchos are awesome). Why?  I sweat a lot, it’s super  and I hate wearing super wet, sweaty clothes after I finish running the race. So I always put the race shirt, a new sports bra & a new pair of shorts into my bag, along with a sweatshirt/jacket and a pair of track pants if it’s cold.

Anyways, it wasn’t nearly as cold as it was the week before, when we ran Encinitas Half Marathon. I was fine in a tank top & shorts.

I ran into a few friends as we walked to the start line. I was in wave 4 and Sean in wave 1.  Last year we ran together but this year we were both running our own races.  Sean to see how his injured foot was going to hold up and me just doing my thing.  The 2 hour pace group was in my wave, the 1:55 was in the wave ahead of me.

Unlike at Encinitas, there was about a 5 minute break between waves here at San Diego.  I was at the front of my wave and because we were about 5 minutes after the prior wave, when I started I felt like I was in the lead of the race, haha.  It was kind of exciting, but my legs were also telling me don’t go too fast at the start, you still have 13 miles to go.

I’ve talked about this before, but it was very evident this time because I was in the front of my wave, people jump into waves that they don’t belong because the race doesn’t really keep track of who is running in what wave.  Now, I have nothing against walking, I walk in almost every race myself, but not in the first mile.  After about a 1/2 mile, my wave was catching up with wave 3 and passing walkers, and again, I have nothing against walkers, my problem in this instance was that when the course narrowed they were walking 3 across or some people even stopped right in the middle of the road.

As a Galloway runner, I have always tried to stay to the side when I needed to walk & I try to look around if I need to walk in an area that seemed congested.  If it’s too congested, I’ll try to keep pushing until I get to an area where there is more space so I’m not in anyone’s way when I walk.

But anyways, now that I’m off my soap box.  I started the race feeling like I was working a bit too hard, I tried to back off a little so my breathing was under control.  I was feeling a twinge in my hamstring, but more in the middle of the leg by the IT band.  It was kind of sharp but I figured it might disappear after I warmed up a little.

I just kept moving, around mile 3, I took a few seconds to walk through the aid station and when I started running again my leg felt a little better. By mile 4, near the Sheraton Bay Front, I was telling myself to get to the half way point before I took a walk break.  We made the turn onto Harbor Drive past the airport and I was still wondering about the hamstring pain. We made our way up the overpass to Liberty Station and past the relay station.

I realized as we came out of Liberty Station that I had only taken one sip out of my bottle, which was probably a bit of my issue.  I hadn’t been taking in any calories.  So I took a few sips, put my head down & kept running.   Around mile 7 I started to feel a little off, but I know it was because I was sweating like crazy and not drinking enough.

We made our way up to the first hill & mile 8 when the 2 hour pace group passed me :(, lol. I knew the next 2 miles were going to be rough because they have a few hills in them.  I hiked up the first & steeper hill.  And then jogged, walked, ran up the looong Washington Street hill.  My lack of hill training was really evident during mile 10.  But I did drink a lot more of my Skratch Labs & ate a few chews before starting to run again at the top.

From there I ran into my friends from the Friday morning #run619 group.  They all screamed my name and it really gave me a boost.

I knew I only had about a 5k to go and this section of the race went through Mission Hills into Hill Crest and by Balboa Park, where I saw another #run619 friend.  From there we get a nice downhill and we were almost there!

When I made the turn towards Balboa Park, there was an aid station that said 10.7 miles, I was at 10.88 and the guy next to me said that he was at 10.83 so apparently we were not following the tangents.

I was heading down 6th Ave, moving pretty fast, I saw that there were signs coming out to tell us about the trolley crossing.  I was like NOOOOO! I am going to keep moving and I am not getting stopped by the trolley.

This next part was a little different from what we normally do, we finished on the third baseline of Petco Park. I was moving as fast as I could and I looked at my watch at 13.1 and it was at 1:58 and change, but when I finished, .3 miles later, I was at 2:00:40. So close but yet so far lol.

I know that miles 9 – 10 were my problem and I know next year I really need to concentrate on the hill portion of this race.  I know that I can do the rest of the race, it’s the hills I need to conquer.

Back to the race, I liked the finish in Petco, but I can see that it would get really congested if you were in a section where there were a lot of runners.  Instead of finishing in the middle of the field like we did at Pasadena Half, we finished on the 3rd baseline and they had the field roped off.  The baseline isn’t that wide so it could definitely get full.

I got my medal, it’s the first of 4 in a series.  I actually don’t mind this set, I’m not normally a big fan of race medals that are a set because so many races do a those ridiculous triangles that if you are only able to do 1 race look ridiculous.  These are rectangular and this one show the first 3 miles of the course.  Over the next 3 years, we’ll get the next 10 miles of the course.

I saw Sean waiting for me after I finished, we got a few photos and then got our goodie bags.  There was only some Dole fruit inside, but these SD Half reusable bags are the best!  They are perfect for grocery shopping and carting around all our gear.

We ran into a few ultra friends who had run as well and then I had to get changed, I was soaked from all the humidity, my shorts were dripping down my legs, ugh so gross & uncomfortable.  And exactly why I bring extra clothes for after the race!

After we got changed, we headed over to Cafe Gratitude for breakfast.  I really like the food, we’ve gone before, but it’s sooo expensive and the portions are sooo small.  I got the french toast, which was really yummy but 1 1/2 pieces of toast? Really?  Not going to work after a half marathon.

Back to the race, I’ll definitely be back next year, this was my 3rd year and each year I’ve gotten faster, next year is my year, I will run a sub 2 on this course & conquer the Washington St hill!

MarchRunAllTheRaces: Encinitas Half Marathon

I know, I haven’t blogged in forever! I keep thinking, I’m going to do better but then I get distracted and then it’s been way to long and I feel like I’ve missed my chance :).  I am going to try to do better & at least get my race recaps up.

After being sick most of February and missing out on my big race, Black Canyon 100k, Sean & I decided to pile on all the races for March.  I saw a 20% off code from Lululemon San Diego YAY! and we signed up the week of the race.

We went up to Moonlight State Beach to pick up our packets the day before, there was an option to pick up your packet day of, but it was an additional $15 per person.  They really made sure you were aware of this fee, it was on the website & then put it front & center in every email notice that went out.

Race swag was decent with a nice tech shirt, a bag full of Beanitos, a Kashi bar, a Larabar, Bare Republic sunscreen & a travel size bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap.  The next day we would also get a coffee mug.

We did a quick shake-out run, had a late lunch/early dinner at Veggie Grille with our favorite Pressed Juicery Freezes for dessert & then just headed home to chill.

The race was about 35 minutes from our house and the race started at 7:30a so I think we left the house just after 6am.  We managed to get to a great parking spot, were able to chill for a bit before walking over to the start.

It was cold out when we were getting ready to start and I wasn’t really thinking, I should have taken off my long sleeve or worn my arm sleeves instead but alas I did not.

We got over to the start line, after a surprisingly quick wait for the porta potties.  It was a little confusing at first because they had start on both sides of the banner so it wasn’t clear which side you were supposed to be on until they finally announced that we needed to be on the other side.

The course was interesting, we went down a pretty steep hill right after the start and then we headed down towards Leucadia on Hwy 101.  It nice and flat.  I felt like I was struggling from the get-go.  My nose was running and I just didn’t feel like I could breath right.  I just decided to relax and not worry about any time goals.  After having been sick for a good portion of February, I didn’t really run much so that might have been part of my issue, along with the fact that I probably still had a touch of the cough/cold going on.

We did a turn around at mile 2 and headed back towards the start line – as we headed up a steep hill, I took off my long sleeve and kept chugging along.

Around mile 5 we headed towards the water, I saw a booth with Otter Pops so I grabbed one, I love otter pops at ultras! Ok, so it wasn’t quite warm enough to merit a Popsicle but they are always nice!  But, and this cracked me up, they forgot to open them!  So it took me a few moments to get mine open.

The best part about this race is the view during this stretch.  We had 7ish miles of ocean views.  There were a few minor hills but nothing like Carlsbad.

Since it was an out and back, I spent the time looking for Sean & some of my other friends.  That took my mind off the fact that I couldn’t walk on the flat areas 😉 and that my nose was still dripping like crazy.

I finally got to the second turn around at mile 9ish, at Solana Beach.  I remember some of the shops from the time we had run with a few friends from Fletcher Cove.

As I was heading into mile 12, one of my running buddies from the #run619 group said Hi as he passed me.  And like all these races, there are always hills at the end of the race, lol.   After getting up that last hill, I ran into fellow Altra & OM ambassador Steve who was working as a race guard at the race.  He got this photo of us while I was heading into the last .1 of the race.

I finally saw the finish line and tried to move as fast as I could, my legs felt dead but I was almost there!  I honestly didn’t check my watch at all after about mile 3 so I had no idea what my time was.  Even though I didn’t feel amazing, I managed a 2:04 and change.  For me this is actually quite good.  And I did all but 2 miles under 10mins/mi.

Paces were 8:51, 8:42, 8:58, 9:15, 9:46 (I took off my long sleeve during this mile), 9:35, 9:01, 9:36, 10:09, 9:15, 9:55, 10:03, 9:48.

I got my medal, saw my friend Jenn, got some water, they had that Boxed Water, got a few texts from Sean congratulating me, grabbed my coffee cup and a packet of Barney butter almond butter and headed out to meet Sean.

We got a few photos before heading back to the car so I could change and we could get breakfast.  We went to the super yummy Eve Encinitas, a vegan place I’d been wanting to try.

Overall, even though my body didn’t cooperate fully, I really enjoyed this race and would go back.  I liked this race more than Carlsbad ;).

Pros: Good race swag, beautiful course, the run-through photo booth

Now for the cons: Photos took forever to be finished, over a week, and they are expensive! The run-through photo booth photos, they told me when I ran through they would be at the finish line, but they were in the beer garden/post party.  I didn’t have my ID with me so I couldn’t get mine, they did put it up on line, but it would have been nice to get it at the finish line.  I guess all my cons are related to photos, haha.

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 :).

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.

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!

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!

2017 San Diego Half Marathon Race Recap

Nothing like registering for a race the week of the race.  When Jenn tagged me in a photo that SD Half posted of me 1 week before the race, Sean & I discussed it, eventually we decided to go ahead and register for the half.

I really like the San Diego Half, which I ran for the first time last year, you can read my 2016 recap here.  The race starts by the convention center, takes you by the Harbor to Liberty Station, up the crazy Washington St Hill up in Mission Hills before taking us through Hillcrest, by Balboa Park (the start of RnR SD) and then down to the finish line by the Gaslamp sign.

The course is mostly flat until about mile 9 where you have hills for the next 2 miles before a nice downhill final 5k.

The race expo is on the Pier on Friday afternoon & most of the day Saturday.  Since Sean & I had some plans for Saturday, I drove downtown to pick up our packets on Friday after work.  You are able to pick up someone else’s packet with a signed release & a copy of their drivers license.

I was in and out in about 5 minutes with our bibs, shirts and bags.  One of the really cool things that SD Half does is a legacy program that isn’t just for the people who have run every year.  Running as few as 2 years in a row gets you legacy status.  We are at 2 years in a row so we got a race shirt with 2 stars on the sleeve.  I really like the gifts they have for years 4 & 5 so if we are able to, I’d really like to keep to our legacy up ;).

Sean & I went to the PCT for a nice run on Saturday, I had a fabulous run, which was so nice because I’ve really been struggling the last few weeks with not loving running and my mental state on the run.

We spent a little time taking photos and then headed back to SD.

We carbloaded at our fav new Italian restaurant, Cucina Basilico in La Mesa and then relaxed.

The only downside to the race being on this weekend is that the time change happens.  It’s always a bit stressful hoping that there aren’t any issues with your iPhone changing time.  The race sent a text reminding us to change our clocks, which was a nice surprise.

We got up around 5:00am and left around 5:40a getting downtown and finding an awesome spot on the street (free parking for the WIN!).  We walked down to the race start area, we saw Jenn & her friend, hit up the porta potties and then walked over to gear check.

Sean is still nursing his knee so he decided to start with me in Wave 3 instead of his normal Wave 1.  He always starts in the front so he doesn’t normally have to wait for the waves to go off and was like wow, it takes a while for the other waves to start, huh.  They started each wave about 5 minutes after the last one so we waited about 10-12 minutes to start.  It was super foggy at the start, a big change from last year’s race.

We finally got started, heading down towards the harbor, I felt really good, even with the really humid weather.  I was keeping up with Sean and ran straight until about mile 9 when the hills started.

We finally got up the Washington St hill which I ran/walked.  I took a minute to get down a Glukos gel, which was a good choice because I needed more calories.

Once we got up, we were in Mission Hills heading towards Hillcrest which is an area I run often at the #619Run club on Friday mornings.  We headed towards Balboa Park and into downtown.  I picked up the pace following Sean, the last 3 miles were ticking off. 9:01, 8:21 and then about a half a mile from the finish, my shoe came untied, oops, but I just kept moving.  We fortunately missed having to stop for the Coaster like I did last year.

I was running down the street, huffing and puffing, just trying to get to the finish line. I finished that last mile with a super fast 7:47 mile – who would have thought? I haven’t run that fast in a very very long time & never at the end of a half marathon!

So while this was not a PR time, it was my fastest half marathon since Nov 2014 when I set my current half PR.  Not too shabby considering my training hasn’t been for shorter distances lately.

After the race Sean & I got a few photos at the finish.

SD Half gives a great goodie bag of post run snacks and a nice medal.

Sean & I collected our gear, headed to Starbucks for a warm coffee just as the sun was coming out and then headed over to get breakfast at one of our fav brunch spots, Eclipse Chocolate.

They haven’t announced the date for 2018 yet, but as long as it doesn’t interfere with the LA Marathon, I definitely plan to return & I’ll register earlier to save 😉 lol.

Griffith Park Trail 50k Recap

One week after the Wisdom Tree Marathon, Sean & I made our way back up to LA for Keira Henninger’s Griffith Park 50k/Marathon & 1/2 Marathon.  We had a ton of friends running and were excited because Keira always does an awesome job.  We always have a great time at her races.

We drove up to Manhattan Beach on Friday to stay with Sean’s sister.  Driving to LA on a Friday is always a bit stressful since there is so much traffic but it wasn’t horrible until we hit the 405.  We managed to get to her house relatively early.

We got our gear out, did our flat runner photos and then headed to bed.

We got up pretty early to drive the 30 minutes to the park. This race started on the other side of the park, by the Merry Go Round, opposite from where we were for the Wisdom Tree race the week before.

Once we got on the road, we hit insane traffic because they closed one of the freeways for construction and had to be re-routed around the airport.  It was super stressful since we were already running a little late.

I was texting with Kristina and asked her to pick up our bibs just in case we were really late.  We managed to arrive with about 30 minutes to spare but I was a bit nervous.

We got lots of photos with the OM Team and lots of friends running the 50k and other distances.

Keira gave a quick pre-race speech and then we were off!  Sean & I were with Kristina for a bit at the beginning and then we all separated on the first little climb.

Once we got up a little ways we were treated to the most spectacular sunrise!  This photo I got of Sean really doesn’t do it justice but gives you a little insight into what we saw.

I really had no idea what to expect from this race except that the course was a little short (29.5 miles) and that there was going to be a LOT of climbing, over 6k.  If you have followed me for a while, you probably know, I’m not a fan of climbing, LOL.

Anyways, I started off hiking the uphill and running the downs and flats.  I chatted with a few other runners and Orange Mud fans. We eventually were treated to an awesome view of the Griffith Park Observatory. The guy I was running with at this point was telling me La La Land was filmed there and that I should check it out.

Just after this we saw Howie Stern taking photos and then we got to another uphill, where there were volunteers cheering us on and sending us down to the left to the observatory.

Down I went, I saw Sean coming back up not too long after I started down.  I was having a weird feeling like my right foot was swelling even though my shoe didn’t seem to be overly tight and I had to go to the bathroom. Odd, but I kept moving and eventually got to the bottom where there were more volunteers telling us where to turn around.  As I went back up, I saw a bunch of my friends, Jenn, Vanessa, Alexis & Kristina.

 

The only downside to this race, at least the first half of the race was that there were a lot of other people out on the trails which meant weaving in and out a bit.

I hiked the way back up and once up we headed over to towards the Hollywood sign.  We went down a pretty steep trail and then up the road to the sign. At the road there were a few volunteers, I saw one of the guys I followed for a bit at Sean O’Brien directing us up the road.  Once we got to near the top, there was a girl there telling us to go up to the flag and when we came down she would give us a wrist band showing that we made it to the top. Once I got to the top, I asked someone to take my photo since I was by myself at this point.  Note to self…make sure to tell the person taking the photo to get your feet in the photo too so you can show off your Altras ;).  The sign was the turn around spot at about mile 11.5.

I got my bracelet and headed down the road to the little hill that the week before I described as a slip and slide ;).  And we did a portion of the course that we did the week before – on the single track section. It was a lot harder to run the single track because it was dry and there were so many other runners coming that it was hard to get any kind of decent pace going.

Once we got back to the road, that the week before would have taken us to the horse trails, this week we headed back up over towards the Observatory.  My legs, specifically my hamstrings & glutes, were starting to really bother me around this section and when I saw Smitha, Jenn & Valerie, they asked me how I was doing and I was like my legs hurt! lol

Fortunately we didn’t have to go back down to the Observatory and just headed back towards the start. Those nice downhills were now pretty steep climbs and by the time I got to mile 17 I was hurting pretty bad.  I texted Crystal and told her where I was, pretty much whining about the horrible hills.  From this point until I was to the final turn around, I was not in the best of moods.

For some reason when I looked at the course map, I thought the course was a loop not a bunch of out and backs, I was kind of confused when I was heading back and didn’t know where the additional miles were coming from. Turns out all the out and backs look a lot like a loop.

Regardless, I finally saw Sean around mile 22 as he was almost back to the finish.  I was not happy and complaining about why was I even doing this, I hated running, etc. etc. This has been a reoccurring theme during my long trail runs lately, especially when there are a lot of hills.

And the worst hills were still to come it would appear.  I hit the last aid station and headed out for the last out and back.  I was not happy when I got there and I was pretty calorie deficient by that point too.  I’ve still got to work on my fueling.  I got some more CarboPro and kept moving.

As I was heading up a pretty steep hill, another girl passed me and then was like this is horrible, how far up to we have to go.  I felt at least a little comforted that it wasn’t just me who was hating these hills lol.

We just kept going up and up and up and then finally I saw 2 people and asked hows much further we had, they told me the turn around was by the trees, which was a lot further than I was expecting.  Regardless I got to the turn around and then saw my friends, Jenn, Alexis & Vanessa coming down.  Then on the second or third uphill, I saw Kristina and we got a quick photo before continuing on.

I could not wait to be done! Finally I got to the last aid station, had my bottles topped off and was told it was only 2.5 miles to the finish! Hallelujah! I took off and caught Tam shortly afterwards, we chatted for a minute and then I started running again.  I’d hike the uphill, run the down.

Finally we got to the final turn back to the finish line.  Raul & his son (Founder of Running4ThoseWhoCan’t) were there and cheering me on.  I started running and didn’t stop until I got to that finish line.

I was so incredibly happy to have made it to the finish.  That was a very tough race.

Sean congratulated me, got a few photos and then I got my medal & buckle from Keira.

We waited for our friends to finish, got a few more photos and then headed back to his sister’s so we could have lunch.

As always Keira does an amazing job and even though mentally I was not in a good place, this was a great race.