Race Recap: La Jolla Half Marathon

To finish up our month of racing, we stayed local and ran the La Jolla half marathon. Sean had run it a few years back but this was my first time.

Sean & I went to the expo on Saturday afternoon.  They had the expo at the Hilton Del Mar near the race track where the race would start.  There was a free dirt parking lot where we would park both days or you could pay $3 to self park at the hotel.

We walked into the expo and WOW it was crowded, I seriously felt claustrophobic as soon as I walked inside.  You had to go to the left to pick up your bib and then all the way to the right to get your bag & shirt.

The shirts, well, they were nice, I just wish they had done the same color for everyone vs. yellow for the ladies and blue for the guys.  I am not a big fan of yellow but it wasn’t a bad shirt overall.

The expo, well it was crowded and claustrophobic but we did get some Ultima on discount and we also picked up a tens unit which we’ve both been using and it seems to be working.

We got some dinner, got our stuff out and then relaxed.  The race didn’t start until 7:30am but we had to drive about 40 minutes so we still got up around 5:30a.

Flat Jenny, La Jolla Half Marathon, Procompression, the orange mud, altra running, ultima, garmin, xx2i, aftershokz, lululemon

Now this race is not easy to get to and you can sit in traffic on the highway forever.  We managed to get there relatively easily and then got parked and headed to the start area.

There were a ton of port a potties so the lines went really quick so we could get to the start area.  We didn’t bring a drop bag, but they were handing out plastic bags to put your gear in and they had different lines for the various corrals to separate them. No UPS trucks or anything like that for this race.

Sean was in corral 1 and I was in Corral 4 so we took a few pre-race photos before heading to our corrals.

La Jolla, Half Marathon, start line

It was a very uneventful start, I started out nice & easy because I knew there were a lot of hills coming.  Once we made the turn up the first hill, I felt really hot and I remember thinking that they definitely should have started this race way earlier.

I just kept chugging along, power hiking up some of the hills and then running the minimal downhills and flats.  We had an awesome down hill in mile 5 before we hit the big hill up Torrey Pines.  It was definitely brutal and I have to say everyone around me was hiking up the hill.

I finally made it up and then did a lot of run/walking the rest of the race.  I swear the hills were never ending.  We finally got a bit of a down hill only to get a steep hill up in the last mile. Seriously!? I was not happy, lol, I’m joking but there were a lot of hills in this race.  But at least this time unlike the last few hills, we had a nice downhill to the finish.

As we ran down to the finish line, I remember the distinct odor of dead fish, which was disgusting, but fortunately I was able to get past that part pretty quickly.  And then we hit the grass and the finish line!

I was so happy to finish this race, I kept thinking that this was a one and done race and at the time I never wanted to run it again.  Well I might have to do it at least one more time if I want to try for the Triple Crown that includes Carlsbad, La Jolla & America’s Finest City.  We didn’t run Carlsbad this year so we don’t qualify but one year maybe we will do all 3 races.

Race Medal, La Jolla Half Marathon, Race Bling, Medal Monday

After finishing they handed us our medal, a bottle of water, a paper bag with snacks and then there was cold chocolate milk, which I drank as soon as I met up with Sean.  They had nice snacks too, there were Food Should Taste Good sweet potato & multigrain chips, Go Macro bars (my fav!), Lara bars & a banana.  I will say though, while nice to have a bag with our goodies, the paper bag broke and got soggy since I was drenched.

La Jolla Half Marathon, Post Race Food, Food should taste good, go macro, lara bar, think thin, nature's bakery

We walked around the post race expo, there were a lot of booths.  We got free Nature’s Bakery fig bars, which are super yummy, some beef jerky, mini Sambazon Acai samples before taking a few photos.

As we were taking our own photos, this photographer, Rich Cruse, who was taking photos for the race, asked us if he could take our photo and we were like sure.  So he got this awesome shot of us.

La Jolla, Half Marathon, Race Bling, Medal Monday

After photos we headed over to the shuttles to get back to the start. They had nice buses, thank goodness because it took almost an hour to get back or so it seemed.

And so there you have it, that’s the La Jolla Half Marathon in a nut shell.  It’s a beautiful, very hilly course.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate + A Giveaway

Disclosure: I received a case of Core Hydration pH Balanced water for this post from Core & FitApproach.

I’ve been talking a lot about my hydration status lately and I admit during the winter, my hydration falls off because it’s cooler out.

But with all the running I do and having found that my stomach issues are may be correlated to how hydrated I am, I really need to make it more of a priority and be more #TrueToMyCore.

Core Hydration, FitApproach

So what am I doing to make sure I’m staying more hydrated and drinking more water?

1) Drinking at least 8 ounces as soon as I get up

2) Infusing water with fruit, I’m all about citrus flavored water

3) Trying to keep water on my desk all day

4) Taking a bottle of water with me on my runs

Core Hydration, FitApproach

5) Find a water that you like, not all waters are created equal, in fact, in LA, is the US’s only water sommelier and he’s teaching people about how different water brands can be.  I was super excited when I heard about this because I’ve always thought that different brands and in different cities the water tasted different.  I wasn’t as crazy as people might have thought, lol.

As for me I’m loving the taste of Core Hydration pH balanced water, right now.

From the Core website: CORE® Hydration water is ultra-purified using a seven stage proprietary process including U.V., carbon filtration, reverse osmosis and ozonation that removes harmful impurities and contaminants. It’s then balanced with the perfect blend of electrolytes and minerals that complement the levels that naturally occur in the human body. The result – a clean and crisp tasting water with the “Perfect pH” of 7.4*

Since the weather has gotten nicer, I’ve been been drinking a lot more water and I’m noticing that I’m feeling a lot better overall and especially while running.

Core has a great tasting water that is in a 100% recyclable BPA free bottle that fits well in your hand for a short run/walk/hike and the smaller size has a nice cap on it.  I did notice that the bigger bottles (which I got when we were in Utah) had a twist top vs the cap which I liked better.

Core Hydration, FitApproach

Now for the good stuff! Want to win some water coupons for yourself?  In San Diego, I’ve seen Core Hydration at Arco, 7-11 & Windmill Farms, but it looks like it’s sold all over the place.  You can find the closest location to you by going to their store locator here. There are over 2,000 places to by Core Hydration in Southern California alone!

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Race Recap: Leona Divide 50k

Last year, I ran the Leona Divide 50k with Sean as my first 50k.  I had a few mishaps and DNFs at my next 2 50ks before finally finishing & PRing at Old West with Jenn & Vanessa.

At some point during the last few months, Sean & I decided that we couldn’t let the streak end and we needed to go back to Leona.  But this time, Sean was going to run the 50 mile and I would run the 50k by myself.

After drinking $30 worth of juice & water the day before Old West and not having any issues, I figured I would try it again.  I drank 3 Evolution Fresh juices, a bottle of GT’s Chia Kumbucha, a bottle of Blue Print Cashew Milk (my favorite) and a bunch of water, oh and a Sprinkles cupcake.

hydrate, core hydration, evolution fresh, blue print, chia kombucha, sprinkles cupcakes

We drove up to Palmdale on Friday evening, eating on the way up so that we didn’t have to rush when we got to up to Palmdale.  We wanted to get our gear out and then get some sleep.  The race is about 30 minutes from Palmdale and starts at 6:00am.

Orange mud, altra running, lululemon, running 4 those who can't, garmin, tailwind, ultima, procompression

We got a decent night’s sleep and then we were up at 4am getting ready and out the door by 4:40ish.  I ate a container of Apple Walnut Oatmeal on the way there and drank a bit of water.

Once we got to the race, we headed over to get our bibs.  The line for the 50 mile was super long, but there was no one waiting for the 50k so I was in and out super quick.  We got a cute little bag with the Leona logo on it and a Patagonia tank, some people got black & some got red.  I’m not sure what the difference was, but I got a red one and Sean got a black one.

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We headed back to the car to put our stuff in the car and stay warm for a little while longer, unfortunately we waited a bit to long and when we got over to the Port-a-Potties there was a huge line.  It was almost time for the race to start but we didn’t want to get out of line at that point.  We ran into our friend Adrian and of course got a photo.

Runner Friends

And then it was time to start.  At 6am it was just getting light so there was no need for a headlamp.  Sean & I started together but soon split up pretty soon after the start.

It was a little chilly as we started and there was a bit of wind.  I felt good on the run up to the trail and did a nice run/walk up the hill.  Once I got on the trail I followed this girl and guy for quite a while.  We got to the first aid station 2.6 miles up and then turned right onto the PCT.  I was still feeling good, it was a different experience than last year when I ran with Sean, because I was in a big pack of people.

We hiked & ran up the trail until we got to the top and then we were able to run down. It was unfortunate I was stuck in the pack because the peeps I was running behind were not really good at running downhill so instead of the 8/9 min pace I was hoping for, we were more in the 10:30/12 min pace, much slower than I would have liked.

Paksit Photo, Runner girl, Leona Divide, 50k, Running 4 those who can't, lululemon, xx2i

It was a beautiful 2 or so mile downhill, there were a bunch of photographers and it was just a beautiful day!

We finally made it down to the 2nd aid station at Bouquet Canyon, where I filled my bottle with water and ate a ton of watermelon.  I made the rookie mistake of not putting my tailwind/ultima combo in my bottle so by the time I reached mile 15 I was feeling sick from lack of calories.

Heading back up the hill, I walked a lot of it and surprisingly after having been in such a huge pack on the way down, I didn’t see anyone behind me on the way up for at least a mile or 2.  At that point, 2 girls, one of which was Adrian’s girlfriend, totally powered up that hill like it was a bump in the road.  I seriously felt like I was standing still compared to them lol.

Paksit Photo, Runner girl, Leona Divide, 50k, Running 4 those who can't, lululemon, xx2i, altra running

I finally made it up to the top and was able to start running down.  It was  around this point that I was starting to feel a little weak, probably from not adding my tailwind into my bottle.  It was such a nice run down, and so peaceful.

Paksit Photo, Runner girl, Leona Divide, 50k, Running 4 those who can't, lululemon, xx2i

I made it up to the aid station again and filled up on more watermelon & some cutie oranges.  This time I did add the tailwind/ultima combo to my bottle and then in a very short time I headed out for the next aid station.

When I got about a mile into this section, at the Leona Divide sign, I ran into Heather, @sloluckyruns.  I gave her a hug and I was like how much longer to the aid station lol.  I wasn’t in the best of places at this point.

I was mostly walking & trying to run a little.  My tummy was not super happy, I ended up walking a lot of this section and cheering everyone on.

Finally this girl ran up on me, she was like I know you from Instagram and we introduced ourselves and then Amy, who was running her first 50k, passed me, but I was able to keep her in sight until we got down the hill.

I finally got to the downhill to San Fransquito Aid Station and man, did it feel like that was the longest downhill ever! I noticed that my heel was feeling like I had a blister forming by the time I got down to the aid station so when I got there I filled up my bottle, added tailwind & ultima, ate like 1/2 a watermelon and then sat down to clean out my shoes.  I thought maybe that was the issue with my heel.  I quickly got up and then headed up the hill.

Amy was with me as we headed up the hill and then next thing I knew she wasn’t there any more, oops.  I found out later she stopped to dump out a little of the water in her camelbak because it was too heavy.  I felt amazing as I powered up the hill, I was running on the downhills & a bit of the flats, and powering up the hills.

Howie Stern, Runner girl, Leona Divide, 50k, Running 4 those who can't, lululemon, xx2i
When I was hiking up the winner of the 50 miler passed me on the downhill and I remember saying, probably out loud that it meant he would finish before I did, and in fact that is what happened, I believe 4 50milers finished before I did.

Not long after that I saw Sean running towards me.  I was able to get a few photos of him and congratulated him for running so strong and then we were off in different directions.  This was probably around mile 25 for me.

I finally made it to the last aid station, Spunky Edison for the last time.  At this point, I had been checking my Garmin to see how much time I had to beat my previous time at Leona and my new PR at Old West and by this point, I knew I had about 40 minutes to hit my PR time.  I really quickly had my bottle filled with water & ice, ate a bunch of watermelon and then took off.  It was 2.6 miles to the finish with a big final hill to climb.

By this point it was hot and I just needed to finish, I was so thirsty and hot during this section, but I had a goal and I needed to hit it.

Up and down I went, I hit the road and the girl told me that it was a little over a mile to the finish, I just kept moving and let me tell you that was the longest mile ever! But I finally was by the parked cars and then there was the turn and I was done!  I had a 6 min PR off of Old West!

I run because I love it, it makes me happy and it’s brought so many amazing people into my life and most of the time I’m excited to have finished a race, but it’s not really life changing.  This race, though, was a big deal on my ultra journey. I was so proud of myself for not only PRing but I finally was able to run and finish a 50k by myself.

Finish/Medal Photo

As soon as I finished, I got my medal and Heather congratulated me.  She waited for probably hours for me to finish to cheer me in.  It was super sweet and so nice of her to do.

Runner Friends

The medals were super cool, our friend Eric at Elevation Culture made them out of wood.

I waited for Sean to come in and chatted with this nice lady from Bishop, where some of Sean’s family has a Japanese restaurant.  She and her daughter hiked the PCT a few years back and she was telling me about how they were doing the second section of the CDT this summer.  It was really interesting.

We cheered everyone in and I got a few photos with Amy & Tam.  They had subway sandwiches, chips, vegetarian chili & minestrone and some fruit for us after the race.  I was starving after I had a chance to sit down for a few minutes.

Amy & I

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And then Sean came in and had a course PR of 9:22:41!  He was so excited and talking a mile a minute lol.

I love this race and I think we’ll probably be running it for years to come.  If you are looking for a fun, well put on, challenging 30k, 50k or 50 mile race definitely check out Leona Divide!

Post Race Bliss

 

Running Photos from Paksit Photos & Howie Stern Photography

REVIEW: AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Wireless Headphones

Disclaimer: I received a pair of AfterShokz Trekz Titanium wireless headphones to review  as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

My friends at BibRave gave me the opportunity to test out the AfterShokz Trekz Titanium headphones the last 6 weeks.  Now with all the wireless headphone options out there, what makes the Trekz Titanium unique?

AfterShokz, Trekz Titanium, wireless headphones, bibrave, bibchat

From their website:

  • Bone conduction technology delivers music through your cheekbones, ensuring ears remain completely open to hear ambient sounds
  • Titanium wraparound headband is lightweight and flexible for durability and portability
  • OpenFit™ design ensures maximum situational awareness and comfort during long-term wear
  • PremiumPitch+™ guarantees a premium audio experience, including wide dynamic range and rich bass
  • Wireless Bluetooth® 4.1 connectivity and convenient multipoint pairing
  • LeakSlayer™ technology significantly reduces natural sound leakage
  • IP55 certified to repel sweat, dust and moisture, from workouts to wicked weather
  • Enjoy six hours of continuous music + calls on a single charge
  • EQ presets boost bass and reduce vibration on the go
  • Dual noise canceling microphones exclude surrounding noise, effectively enhancing speech
  • Audrey Says™ voice prompts guide users through power, pair, play and talk
  • Hassle-free 2-year warranty

So what does that all mean to me? The most important thing to me is that it means that you can wear wireless headphones without having to worry about not hearing cars, animals, other runners, etc. If you read my review on the Plantronics Back Beat Fit headphones from last year, that was my biggest complaint with them because I really want to be able to hear if a car is coming for safety reasons.

When you open the box, there is a nice case, the headphones and then a packet with the instructions, a USB charging cable, little rubber things and a set of ear plugs.

AfterShokz, Trekz Titanium, wireless headphones, bibrave, bibchat

I immediately took them out of the box and put them on only to get a not so nice surprise when I put them on and the top of my ears hurt immediately.  The hard plastic was hitting that part of my ear and I was like uh oh. But I opened the instructions and saw that the 2 little rubber pieces were there to help keep the headphones off the ears.

AfterShokz, Trekz Titanium, wireless headphones, bibrave, bibchat

Once I put the rubber pieces on then they felt a lot better on.  Basically the rubber pieces stick to your hair/hat etc. to keep the headphones up and off your ears.

AfterShokz, Trekz Titanium, wireless headphones, bibrave, bibchat

So how is the sound quality since they aren’t in your ears?  It was surprisingly good.  The headphones sit on the bone in front of the ear.  They use bone conduction technology to deliver the music.

I wore them for the Hot Chocolate 15k back in March and I have to say that I was impressed at how good the sound quality was.  I will say though that if you are in an area with a lot of noise they don’t work well.

AfterShokz, Trekz Titanium, wireless headphones, bibrave, bibchat

That being said, in keeping with my honesty policy, there are a few things that I don’t like about the Trekz Titanium.

1) I think that the headband is not very flexible, it’s not easy to fit into a pack for long runs/races.  I think these would be perfect with a more flexible headband for storage because really, I can’t fit the headphones in the case in my Orange Mud Pack and would I take the case with me on a run? No, and I don’t always want to wear them the whole time so a more flexible band would be nice.

2) I had a hard time with them fitting well when I was wearing a hat and sunglasses.  They fit perfectly with neither of those and with just a hat but with both, I couldn’t get them to hit my cheekbones.

AfterShokz, Trekz Titanium, wireless headphones, bibrave, bibchat

All in all I think that these unique headphones are great and for those of us who want to be able to hear cars, people and anything around us but also listen to music with a wireless headphone the Trekz Titanium are amazing!

AfterShokz, Trekz Titanium, wireless headphones, bibrave, bibchat

In addition to having awesome headphones that are safe, this spring AfterShokz is partnering with United Relay of America.

From the United Relay website:

United Relay of America is the first non-stop running relay setting off from Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles and meeting in New York City!

Three routes (Red, White & Blue) from the West to the East coast of America, over 9,000 runners and one aim: inspire, empower and connect people across America – to not just be part of running history, but to be united for a better world!

There are a lot of opportunities to be a part of the United Relay and if you are interested in running a leg, click here for more info.

LINK UP!I’m linking up with my friend Running with SD Mom for Try Out Thursdays.  Want to check out what others are trying out?  Head over to her page click here 🙂 and check out what others are trying out this Thursday!

Race Recap: Zion Trail Half Marathon

This past weekend, we headed to Utah to run our 2nd race of April.  Zion 100 for Sean & the half marathon for me.

I’ve been to Zion once before for the first trail Ragnar there back in 2014 and there was a freak snow storm so I was excited to see what it was like in normal weather.

Well, that was short lived as we got a little closer and we started getting emails from the race director telling us that the forecasts were calling for rain, which turns the trails to muddy clay.  He had a contingency plan for the rain but offered up a deferment option if we wanted.

Sean & I flew into Las Vegas and then drove to Zion, it’s about a 2.5hr drive.  We could have flown into St. George which is only 30/45 mins away but it was significantly more expensive.

We got to Zion on Thursday, headed to our hotel and then after double checking on when the drop bags were due and quickly getting them made, we headed to packet pick-up.  Thanks to Jenni & Jesse for the photo.

Zion Packet Pick-up

They didn’t have parking at the actual start/finish so we had to park about a mile away and take a shuttle to the start area.  They did have camping options nearby, but I’m not a big fan of camping (I’ve only ever done it at Ragnar).

There were actually quite a few tents with different vendors at the packet pick-up.  We went straight over to pick up our packets, and then one of my fellow Altra ambassadors, Cory Reese of Fast Cory came up and was like are you Jenny? So we chatted for a few minutes, got a selfie and then I got my bib too.

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I was really impressed with the swag they gave all the runners.  A lot of times when you run a shorter distance at race with a 100 miler, they get way better swag than the shorter distances.  In this case, we all got nice cottony gender specific T-Shirts (I know most people like tech shirts, but I love this type of cotton shirt and wear them all the time because they fit perfectly), a choice of hat (Trucker hat, Beanie or a head band) and a choice of pizza or tacos after the race.

We ran into a bunch of friends before we got a quick run in so Sean could get his streak run in before going for dinner and get our stuff ready because Sean’s race was starting at 6am and we needed to get there early enough for a parking spot and to take the shuttle.

I’m going to skip over most of the crewing for the 100 miler for right now except to say that I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep.

When I finally made my way over to the parking area for the start around 5:30ish it was pouring and the parking lot was a muddy mess. I took the first spot I saw, set my alarm, pulled my Orange Mud Transition towel over my head & went to sleep after checking to make sure the race was going to start on time.

Sure enough not long after I fell asleep I got a text saying that the race was delayed an hour so I set my alarm for a little later & went back to sleep. Eventually my alarm went off & I got another message saying we were delayed another hour so I was able to get a bit more sleep. All this time it was a cycle of torrential downpour & then nothing. All I could think about when I got up was that poor Sean had been out there for a while in this crappy weather.

Finally I got myself up, changed into my race gear, finishing up just in time to catch the shuttle to the start. It was probably around 8:20 when I headed over and our 7am start time was pushed back to 9am.

Zion, Half Marathon, Altra, Procompression, Running 4 Those Who Can't, Orange Mud, Aftershokz, jolly rancher, Oiselle, ultima, garmin, momentum jewelry, dirty girl gaiters

I was watching to see if Sean was coming so I could cheer him in as well as maybe borrow his poles 😉 lol.  He didn’t finish in time so when they announced we were ready to go, off I went.

The original course for this race was for us to run up Flying Monkey (approx 1,500ft climb), do a loop at the top and then come back down (This was the first loop in the 100m/100k course).  Because of the rain they changed the course for the safety of the runners and so not to destroy the trails any further.  That meant we would run approx. 4 miles through the desert (the last 3ish miles of the 100m course) and then climb up Smith Mesa Rd which was paved and then come back.  The course changed didn’t make it easier but it did make it safer.

Sean told me afterwards that Flying Monkey would have been a disaster with all the mud and it was on the edge.

I had decided as soon as I started the race that I was going to run conservatively because we have 2 more races this month including a 50k and I didn’t want to get hurt running in the mud. And I absolutely hate mud!  You aren’t going to find me running a mud run intentionally, the only reason I did this one was #1 I traveled to Utah & paid for the race & #2 if Sean could run for hours in this crap, I could do 13 miles.

So I just chugged along for the first 4 miles, run/walking.  I ran into Sean around 2 miles in and he was slowly making his way to the finish, where he would wait for me.  The trail wasn’t too bad here when I went through the first time at least ;).

At mile 4 we got to a steep 2.5 mile uphill, which I proceeded to hike up. The views really were amazing and as we started up the hill the sun started to come out and it was sooo pretty.  I didn’t take any photos because I was in the zone trying to get up the hill.

I finally made it to the top just in time for it to start raining again lol, I filled up my water bottle, added more tailwind & ultima, grabbed a few orange slices, my favorite trail run staple and hit up the makeshift bathroom before heading back down.

The downhill was a lot steeper than I was expecting but I managed to maintain a 10 min mile pace or a little faster all the way down.  By this point my left shin was starting to hurt a little.  I’m not sure if it was all the mud or that my compression socks were soaked and that was the issue.  Nonetheless I continued running down.

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Once I got back to the mud, I attempted to run the downhills but they were super slippery.  After tweaking my back one too many times I tried walked a lot during this section, kind of a reverse run/walk with more running than walking.  I could see two people a head of me and I just kept trying to catch up, they were both walking more than running as well.

At mile 11 one of the lead 50k guys flew past me with no care at all for the mud and I’m pretty sure I just laughed out loud and kinda wished I could run like that.

Finally, I made it back to the road to the campgrounds and I ran it in.  It was nice to have people cheering and when I made the final turn, Sean was dead center cheering me on and getting this awesome finish photo.  I thought it was really awesome since I was wearing my Altra shirt and the inflatable finish line was theirs too.  I definitely had a #runmatchy™ photo ;).

Zion, Half Marathon, Finish Line, Altra, Procompression, Running 4 Those Who Can't, Orange Mud

Considering the conditions, the fact that my shoes weighed 10 pounds each, and lack of sleep, I’m happy with my time and just finishing in general.  It was by far my slowest half but I’m totally ok with that :).

Muddy Shoes

After the race, I got to pick out my “medal”.  The Ultra Adventures team doesn’t do traditional medals (except for the buckle for the 100m) and instead for the half marathoners we got to select a bracelet for our finisher award.  There were a bunch of colors to choose from, but I selected a blue/purple colored bead.

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We then headed over so I could get some water and my pizza. They had a company out there making pizza’s to order and they had their own little brick oven on top of a truck, it was super cute.

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I wish the weather could have cooperated like it did on Sunday when we visited Zion National Park, but that’s the way it goes, Mother Nature doesn’t care that we are running a race lol.

Zion, National Park, Runner, Orange Mud, Running 4 those who can't, altra running

Race Recap: Carlsbad 5000

This past weekend Sean & I kicked off our four races in April with the Carlsbad 5000.  This was my first time running this race and Sean’s second.

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The nice thing about this race is that since it’s a shorter distance you can pick up your packet the day of the race vs. having to pick it up at the expo the day before.  This was a huge plus for us because Sean was doing trail work the day before and we live about 40 minutes from the race.

We registered when the price was really low, I think we paid something like $15/20 each which was a great deal since I believe it jumps up to $50 as you get closer.

The fun thing about this race is that it is called the World’s Fastest 5k because they do the elite races after all the other age group races and a bunch of world records have been set here.  In fact both the current 5k road records for men & women were set here at the Carlsbad 5000.  Sammy Kipketer holds the men’s record set in 2000 with a time of 12:59:50 and Messeret Defar (who also won this year’s race) holds the women’s record set in 2006 of 14:46.

They also have a thing called the All Day 20k (it used to be 25k when Sean ran it in 2012) where you can run all 4 5k races and get a special medal.

We decided to just do our age group 5k since we had a lot of other races coming up.  The waves are split up into 4 age groups, Masters Men 40+, Masters Women 40+, Men & Women 30 – 39 and Men, Women 20 – 29 and Walkers in the last group, followed by the wheelchair athletes and then the Elites.

So that meant that our wave didn’t start until about 8:40am.  We got there around 7am, picked up our packets, which was set up a bit strangely.  You pick up your bib over by the start line and then you have to go down 2-3 blocks to the Expo area to get your shirt and bag.

I didn’t see any signage except a hand written note saying that bib pickup was on Harding St so that was a little confusing.  They probably should have had a bit more directional signage.

Parking:  Parking for this race can be a challenge because it’s pretty much all on residential streets.  We found parking a few blocks away in a school parking lot so that worked out nice.

Expo: It was a decent size considering that this was a 5k race.  There were a lot of vendors including ProCompression, Nuun, Sweaty Bands to name a few of the more recognizable vendors.

Race Shirt: We got a nice tech shirt, I always get a medium with the Rock n’ Roll shirts because they run a little small and they always do a crew neck which ends up being really tight around my neck.  This years is brown, which is an interesting color choice, but with it went with the Endless Summer theme graphic.

Course: This was a pretty course, during the middle part of the race we ran right by the ocean.  And then towards the finish you go under the Carlsbad sign and then down to the finish.

My race: I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, 5ks aren’t really my favorite because you are supposed to go fast the whole way.  I just decided to run and started out a little ways back where I ended up weaving in and out of people for the majority of the first mile.  They don’t have a corral system for this race, it’s all based on the honor system.

I started out feeling really good, I was breathing normally and while the legs felt a little tired, they weren’t sore or anything from the trail run/hike the day before.  I looked down at my watch at one point and I was running at a 8:12 pace, which is a lot faster than I have been going.

During the middle/end of mile 1, Sarah, a fellow BibRave Pro @SweetBlondesFitLife ran up to say Hi!  We took a quick runfie and then I continued on.

IMG_6027

It was a bit warm in this section of the race, but it was short lived because as soon as we made the turn to be on the ocean side it got really windy.  I just kept chugging along feeling pretty decent.  And then we hit mile 2 and I started to feel the lack of speed work.  I was still passing a few people, hearing Carlee McDot yell my name when she saw me, she and her husband were just a few seconds behind me, but I was starting to feel a little sick.  I got a cramp in my side and my breathing was starting to get off.  I slowed down significantly during the 3rd mile and fought to hang on to the finish without getting sick.

I did however manage to finish in a decent time of 26:52 which is 6 seconds off of my current PR in this distance.  I thought my PR was 26:12 or I probably would have run just a little faster at the end to break that.  Lesson learned that you should probably look at the actual PR prior to the race so you know what it actually is! Lol

But I’m extremely happy with an 8:39 avg pace – I haven’t run that fast in quite a while so while I didn’t hit a new PR, I know with a little more speed work I definitely could.

I’m super proud of Sean, he totally killed it on his race running a 6:45 average pace to finish in 20:59!!  I saw him way up ahead of me on both the out & backs.

Medal: Rock n’ Roll had a special medal for those runners that finished in the top 250 in each race.  I really thought that it was the top 250 overall runners and so I told Sean that he should push it so he could get one since I knew I wouldn’t be in the first 250 total runners.  But apparently it was top 250 men & women in each age group because when I finished, they were saying men to the left, women to the right and I got one of the special First 250 medals.  So we both got one!  I finished as the 209th female in my wave.

Carlsbad 5000, Rock n' Roll, First 250, Race Medal

The First 250 medals have world record holder Sammy Kipketer on the front and then a little info about him on the back of the medal.  The medals that the runners after the first 250 got were life savers with a bottle opener in the middle.

Post Race Snacks: Rock n’ Roll had a lot of good snacks for after the race.  We got bottles of water & Gatorade.  On the food side we got Kind Bars, Dole Fruit Cups, Oranges and Corn Thins (kind of like a corn rice cake).

Carlsbad 5000, Rock n' Roll, Race food

The only downside to this race is all the time between events. The Elites didn’t run until 11:15am so we had a while from the time we finished to the time they ran so we took our snacks back to the car, got some Starbucks, took some photos, met some friends and then it was time to watch the elite women run.

The elites run a different course from the rest of us.  It is a 2 loop course that finished at the same place we did. We got to see them pass us 4 times before heading to the finish.  We watched the women do both loops before heading to the finish line.

Elite Women, Carlsbad 5000, Rock n'Roll, 2016

World Record holder Defar won easily and had the best fans.  They were so excited!  When we saw her after the race her smile was electric.

We met up with Sarah and headed back to the start line to watch the men.  An interesting thing about this race is that it goes over some railroad tracks so each race is run between the trains.  Which means some odd starting times.

The men got started and we ran down to get a spot by the finish before the men got there.  They were flying although they were significantly off world record pace with the winner at 13:24.  However, the US’s own Bernard Lagat broke his own Master’s World Record by 2 seconds with a 4th place finish in 13:38.

IMG_6256Overall winner Cheptege & Master’s World Record holder Lagat

All in all this was a pretty fun race and I’m glad we had the opportunity to run it.  I’m especially happy that we got to meet so many instafriends like Melissa who crushed it coming in just behind Sean, Kristina, who I’ve been seeing at all the races (we chased her down for most of the Old West 50k), Paul, who ran all the races that weekend.  I ran into 2 fellow Bib Rave Pros, Sarah who I already mentioned and Haley, who despite an ankle injury crushed her race!

IMG_6260

And I can’t forget my fellow ProCompression ambassadors, Smitha, Carlee, Jenn & Linzie.  Carlee & Linzie both ran Ragnar Socal right before this race!!

Procompression, ambassadors, Carlsbad 5000, Rock n' Roll

PR Racer – The Convertible HDL Kickstarter & Giveway

When my friends at Fitapproach told me about the new Convertible HDL from PR Racer, I was super excited and as an runner who runs a lot in the dark (especially in the winter) I knew that this was a product I want for myself.

PR Racer, The Convertible HDL, Action Shot, Fitapproach

So what is the Convertible HDL? From PR Racer: The Convertible HDL is an innovative skull cap and headband combo that helps you run smarter. In warmer weather, it can be worn top down with the cap neatly tucked away as a sweat wicking headband – and when the weather gets cooler, you can simply pull it up and over for extra warmth.

But that’s not all…It also is a powerful headlamp and voice activated camera!  See below for all the Technical features.

PR Racer, The Convertible HDL, Tech Features, Fitapproach

(Italics from the kickstarter website, bold my comments)

Convertible: This is the lightweight, moisture wicking, fashionable headband that converts to a skull cap. Perfect for any climate, it is the Convertible that is the base of our new technology.

HD: The camera allows you to capture your run in FHD (1920×1280) or HD (1280×720) format with still photo capability. In addition to video, you can take photos using single shot, burst mode, or time-lapse mode. In addition, the camera carries a GPS, altimeter, and accelerometer to capture all the vital statistics from your run. So basically it’s a watch & a camera all in one? Amazing!

L: The headlamp shines at more than 400 lumens, ensuring your path is clearly lit, during even the darkest runs. This high-powered light also makes it possible to catch clean video during dawn, dusk and nighttime runs – something no wearable camera offers.   The headlamp features 4 pre-sets so you can change the lumen level based on where you are running, which is pretty cool & would help save on batteries.

PR Racer, The Convertible HDL, Action Shot, Fitapproach

That’s a lot of stuff packed into one small device!  And they also have an app.  I, for one, am looking forward to trying out the camera in the dark because I can never get good photos.

Normally I wear a trucker hat while running but it’s not easy to use a headlamp with the hat, you have to turn the hat around and then I have to lower my ponytail, etc. which makes it a hassle.  If I don’t wear a hat, the headlamp can be a little uncomfortable on my forehead.

Trucker Hat, Headlamp Combo

The Convertible HDL is a great solution for these problems and I personally haven’t seen anything like this out there.

Now how can you get one?  Well PR Racer launched their Kickstarter campaign today and you too can get in on the ground floor and get your very own Convertible HDL when it comes out in early fall 2016 (target date subject to change).  Which is perfect timing for those dark winter runs!

PR Racer, The Convertible HDL, Action Shot, Fitapproach

There are a lot of different levels to choose from on PR Racer Kickstarter page including a limited offer where the first 50 people can get 50% off the retail price starting at $149.,The next 50 people can get the Early Bird price of $179 or anyone can get the discounted price of $199 ($100 off retail price for the entire kickstarter campaign).

As a Thank You for checking out my post & the Kickstarter today, I’m also giving away some cool stuff from PR Racer.

PR Racer Giveaway

Winner would need to provide the state they would like on the RUN t-shirt (if chosen), state they would like on the RUN hat, and finish times for the race decals

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest open to US Residents only with a valid mailing address (not a PO Box), prize will be delivered by PR Racer .

I’m looking forward to hearing what you think about this cool new product.

 

**This post is sponsored by Fitapproach & PR Racer however as always all opinions are my own**

Race Recap: Old West 50k

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kat & I at the start

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

Selfie with Sean

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

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

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

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

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

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

Old West 50k, Start Line

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_4096

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

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

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

IMG_4095

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now for some pros and cons for this race.

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

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

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

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

WIRW: Mission Bay

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

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

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

Mission Bay, San Diego, Runner

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

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

Or you could always run on the beach ;).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Race Recap: Hot Chocolate 15k – San Diego

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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