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 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.

Race Recap: Inaugural Pasadena Half Marathon

I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve had a race, lol, it’s really only been a month, haha.

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 (still want to register? use code JENNYLA2017 to save a few dollars).  I did receive a free entry into the race as part of my ambassadorship, however all opinions on the race are my own.

I signed up for the Pasadena Half knowing that we would be in Hawaii the weekend before for HURT, but I wasn’t positive on our travel plans so I signed up for the race day packet pick-up to allow myself some options in case we didn’t get back home until the day before the race.

That being said, I did not attend the expo so I can’t really comment on it.

With my training for SD100 starting and the first of my many training races coming up, SOB 50k on Feb 4, I felt like I needed to get in a double longish run weekend.  So we kicked off the weekend with a double loop run at Lake Miramar while trying to avoid the rain.  We didn’t end up getting on the road until after 3pm so we didn’t have time to go to the Expo which closed at 5p, which was fine.

We had a quick dinner at CPK, which was right near our hotel.  We were going to just drive up on Sunday morning, but with the rain we decided it was best to stay over to avoid the stress of having of driving to Pasadena at 3am.

After some yummy pizza & pasta, I got a quick Flat Jenny photo and got my gear ready for the next morning.  The forecast called for 100% chance of rain so I added in my rain jacket.

Our hotel was 2 miles from the Rose Bowl so we left at 5:30am, which was 1.5 hours prior to the start of the race.  I guess I underestimated the time it would take and since we didn’t know the route to the start line, we didn’t realize that the 210 would converge on to the main road to race parking.

I’m not the most patient of people normally and knowing I didn’t have my packet, etc. was really stressing me out.  I think there could have been a little bit more of a police or volunteer presence to direct traffic and I’m sure that next year this issue will be fixed.

Although I will note, there will always be traffic going to the start of a race, it’s just how it is. This isn’t the first race I’ve been to with traffic, it’s just that there wasn’t anyone directing traffic at a major intersection and I think that’s what made it most frustrating.

Moving on, once I jumped out of the car and ran over to the start line area, it was just after 6:30a.  I quickly got my bib and I still had some gear on so I hurried over to gear check to check my extra long sleeve and my track pants.  They had it organized by bib number which was nice.  After the gear check disaster at CIM this was so nice.

I thought I was going to be late to the start but I was fine, about 6:50a when it was all said and done.  I ran into a few of my friends as I was heading to the corrals.  We chatted for a few minutes and then made our way to our respective pacers.  There weren’t corrals per say just pacers holding the pace sticks.

By this point Sean was making his way over to me, he wasn’t running the race but was going to run a few miles while I was running so he could get some photos for me and cheer me on.

Me, Richard, Laurie, Michael & Ivie

He got a few photos of me and some of my fellow Pro Compression ambassadors.  By this point the announcer was telling us that we were probably going to start about 10ish minutes late.  You could tell by the number of cars still coming into the parking lot that it was going to take a bit more time.  I think we finally started around 7:30a, give or take.

Our traditional pre-race selfie :).

And then we were off, I knew almost immediately that I probably shouldn’t have run quite so fast the day before, I was having an issue with my shin/calf muscles feeling super tight right above my ankle bones.

I slogged it out for the first 2 miles up the bigger hills and then just after the Tournament of Roses building, I pulled over to do a quick standing pigeon pose to try and stretch this area out.  That’s when Sean caught up with me and asked me if I was ok.  I didn’t realize he was going to be there so it was a nice surprise :).

I read on social media that a lot of people thought this was a tough and hilly course.  For some reason, after the hill on mile 2, I didn’t think it was that bad.  Again, compared to CIM which seemed like hill after hill after hill, this was a breeze, it felt mostly flat, but with a lot of out and backs. (It might be all the hill training I’m doing that’s making this seem easy too lol).

I just moved along, one step at a time, not really caring too much about my time, just wanting to get to the finish line.  I’m so spoiled getting to run in beautiful places, in San Diego and on beautiful trails around country that running in cities doesn’t really excite me much anymore.

I don’t think the course was bad necessarily, it just wasn’t super exciting with 2 exceptions.  The bridge on mile 9/10 was gorgeous!  That was my absolute favorite part of the whole course.  It didn’t hurt that there was a nice little downhill right after that.

I did however need to make a little pit stop around this point so I popped into one of the many port-a-potties they had near aid stations. I was so wet and so cold by this point I could barely move my fingers.

And then there was just a 5k left to go.  We made our way towards the Rose Bowl stadium and around the golf course and this is where Sean caught up with me again :).

3 miles, 2 miles and then just 1 to go. As we got closer, I could see spectators on the side cheering us into the stadium.  I saw Sean’s pink hat near the entrance and made my way over to the left side so he could get my photo.  And then we were heading down inside the stadium!

I’ve run in stadiums before, Angels stadium during the Disneyland Half, the Bravos spring training field during the Walt Disney World marathon but this was the first time I’ve finished on a field.  It was pretty exciting!

As I was making my way to the finish line, they called my name so up went my arms to cheer myself into the finish!

I got my medal, a quick selfie and then looked around for Sean.  He took a few more photos before we got chastised for not being in the right spots lol.

I headed over to get some bottled water and a space blanket, I was soooo cold! There was a photo opp in the middle of the field but I was so cold, I couldn’t wait in line.  I headed out, grabbed a few snacks: a muscle milk bar, pretzels, gold fish, cheez its and an apple.

By this point all I wanted to do was get warm, but I needed to get my race shirt.  They had Leslie Jordan shirts, which I know run a little big, so I grabbed a small, they had lots of shirts.

I got a bottle of organic muscle milk and then saw a photo op outside the stadium with a much shorter line so I took off my cozy space blanket because I had to look cute for my photo lol.

Overall, I enjoyed the race, with the exception of some minor stress over getting to the start line, I had a great time.  Even with the cold & rain.

Pros: Amazing Medal
Getting to finish on the Rose Bowl field
Race Day Packet pick-up option
Free Photos
Lots of port-a-potties at the start and on course
Awesome volunteers that stood out in the rain to support us

Cons: Parking
Rain & Cold (obviously this isn’t something the race could control)
So many out and backs on the course

Would I run this course again?  I will say it’s a long way to drive for a half marathon, but if it fit into my schedule, I wouldn’t mind trying it again, on a nice sunny normal SoCal winter day.

 

Race Recap: San Diego Holiday Half 2016

Thank you all for following along with my Race recap blitz!  I am going to make a conscious effort to do my recaps on a more consistent basis next year but we’ll see how it goes ;).

This was my second time running the Holiday Half. We ran it last year and I managed to eek out my fastest half of the year.  It’s a fun, fast, relatively flat half that takes place mostly on the bike path next to Hwy 56.

We didn’t have very many races in December so we decided to add this one in as our last race of the year.  When we signed up we didn’t realize that Sean’s company holiday party was going to be the night before but it was all good.

Packet pick-up is at Road Runner Sports the day before the race.  We picked up our packets which included our bibs, a long sleeve tech hoodie and a nice gear bag.  They also gave us gloves and a space blanket to keep warm at the start, similar to what they do at Revel.

I was still fighting my cough, but I needed to have a goal so I decided that I would push for faster than last year’s 2:02.  Unfortunately at the party, I had a horrible coughing fit that almost made me lose my dinner and that didn’t bode well for a great race.

Fortunately I did my Flat Jenny photo before we left for the party so my gear was all set.

After some ginger ale and a good night’s sleep, I felt relatively decent in the morning.  We slept in just a bit so it was probably 5:50a when we finally got out from beneath the warm covers.  We managed to get ready and out the the door by 6:20a and get to the start area by 6:50ish.  The race started at 7:30a.

I was coughing like a lunatic the whole time in the car and then after we arrived.  It was pretty chilly out too.   After what seemed like an eternity in line at the port-a-potties, we finally made our way to the gear check.

I didn’t realize Sean had on about 15 layers lol, he just kept taking clothes off and putting them in his bag.  Eventually he was down to his race gear and ready to go.

We ran into Jenn who I started with. We got a quick “glowy” pre-race photo while in our corral.

I felt like this year they were a bit disorganized.  The race started a few minutes late, the announcer didn’t know that the wheelchair athletes started first and then finally started the first corral about 5 minutes late.  I was in the 2nd corral.

I was so ready to just get started.  I enjoy the first part of the race, it’s on the road and the one and only major climb is in the first few miles before you get to the bike path.

This year the bike path didn’t seem quite as crowded as last year so that was nice.  I was trying to breath, but my nose was seriously dripping from the start.  I normally try not to blow snot rockets lol during races if I can help it but I apologize to everyone around me during this race. I had no choice, even my buff wasn’t able to help. 🙁

I was doing ok the first 6ish miles before I started coughing.  I had to start taking some walk breaks and the coughing was bad.  Such a deep cough that literally shook my core.  Forget crunches, have a cough like mine and you’ll have strong abs in no time.

I remember heading up this hill, and the 2:10 pace group passed me, @runchelrun, one of the pacers, who is friends with Kristina my pacer from Cuyamaca was like Hi Jenny!  I’m friends with Kristina!  as I was struggling up the hill lol.

I knew my goal was a bit out of reach at this point, but I was going to do my best to finish in a decent time.  I’ve run a lot of races, but not very many with a cough.  It makes it hard to breath & after already coughing for a week I didn’t want this to go on too much longer so I made the decision to take it a bit easier.  Of course I say that but it’s not a hard decision when you are practically hacking up a lung every few feet.

My least favorite part of this course is in the last 2 miles.  There is this awful out and back that has a very sharp turn-around around mile 11.5-12.  But then you get a nice straight-away before finishing in the parking lot near the Torrey Pines State Beach.

I think I finished around 2:12? I got my medal and saw Sean off to the side, he attempted to take a few photos as I tried not to cough too much, lol.

I finally finished, said Hi officially to Michelle and then got some snacks.  They had bottles of water, lara bars and bananas.  They had bags, but had run out.  We heard a volunteer telling someone that they should have run faster and they could have had a bag, uh say what?

There were booths from Aloe Gloe and Naked.  We got bottles of each, Naked gave out huge bottles of cold pressed apple juice that was so yummy.

After getting some snacks, we made our way to the gear check, which was a lot more disorganized than last year.  They just had bags tossed onto the ground, fortunately they were somewhat in order, but it was pretty chaotic.

We finally found our bags and then Jenn came up.  She had PR’d by 5 minutes!! which was so exciting! I was so happy for her.  We took a few photos and then I headed to get changed.

Even though it was freezing outside, I had sweated a lot and I needed to change before taking the shuttle back to the start line.  We were going to my all time favorite restaurant, Flower Child, for brunch.  They opened a location up in Del Mar and since we were near by we wanted to check it out.

I got changed, we took a few photos over by the ocean and then headed to the bus.  It’s always a plus when they have the fancy buses for the shuttles vs. school buses.

I felt kind of bad for everyone on the bus as I was coughing into my shirt, the whole way back but we eventually got back to our car and on our way to Flower Child!

If you are looking for a holiday race in SD, this isn’t a bad one, it’s relatively flat and fast, it’s normally nice weather, even if it’s on the colder side.  The medal is nice and they have a decent tech shirt, I did like this year’s shirt better than last years.

It’s not a race where you are going to have a lot of spectators or bands, music, etc.  There are aid stations every few miles, but since we are on the bike path it’s not really easy for spectators to get around.

That being said, it’s a nice half marathon in San Diego.  I enjoy it because it’s close and it ends at the beach.  Will we run it again next year? We’ll have to wait & see how our schedule pans out.

Race Recap: Revel Canyon City Half 2016

I am so very far behind on my race recaps, so here comes a recap blitz… I am determined to get all these recaps up before the end of the year starting with Revel Canyon City.

Sean & I ran this race for the first time last year.  I had the opportunity to run the whole race with my friend Kat, you can read that recap here.

We signed up for this year in the week following the race because they give you an extra discount.  Like last year, we signed up as a part of the SoCal MRTT team, I know I’m not a mom, but I am good friends with Smitha ;).

Originally the race was scheduled for the same weekend as the NYC Marathon and then a bit after we registered they sent out an email saying that the date was changed to the following week, which worked well for us since we were trying to get into NYC.

Revel is a fun race & it’s close to home and also a BQ course.  Sean came really close to a BQ last year and wanted to try again.  I decided to run the half again.

Again, we drove up the night before, we got lucky because it was Veteran’s Day and there was very light traffic so we made it to packet pick-up with 30 minutes to go.

We grabbed our packets, got our shirts, I paid an extra $4.95 to have a fitted cotton T instead of the normal shirt and they gave us a beanie.  Again there were gloves and a heat sheet in the bag.

We took a few photos and then off to dinner we went.  We ate at one of those pizza places where you can make your own pizza and it’s done in about 5 minutes.

After dinner, I took a flat Jenny photo and time for bed.

The race is about a half hour or more from the start so we got to the finish line area around 4:00am.  I walked over with Sean to the marathon buses, wished him well and then headed over to the half marathon buses.

Interestingly once I got to the buses, they had a few school buses and then a bunch of nicer buses.  I waited a few minutes until the school buses were full and then boarded a bus lol.  It’s a bit of a ride to the start and I really wanted to take a short nap, I got a bit car sick on the way up last year so I wanted to be able to lean my head on the seat.

I got up to the start line, where it didn’t seem nearly as cold as last year.  I waited for Smitha to get to the start and chatted with some other runners while I waited.

Once she got there we took a few photos and then before long I was starting to shed clothes to put into my gear check bag.  Like last year they had a ton of port-a-potties at the start and there were virtually no lines.

And again, the start was very casual, it was pretty much, and go! very similar to an ultra.  I wasn’t sure how my ankle was going to do since I had had some issues at NYC the week before, so I just decided to take it easy.  Also because the first few miles have some decent hills.

I felt ok, but had some calf tightness going up the hills, big surprise there, that’s a common thing for me.  I walked a few of the hills and eventually the tightness dissipated.  I just kept moving, step by step until before I knew it I was at the bottom of the mountain.

I hit up a port-a-pottie around mile 10ish and then ran all but the a small hill at the end of the race.  I felt a 100x better in this last flatter section than last year. I’m not sure if it was because the weather was a bit more overcast than last year or if it was I am just stronger than last year.  Either way, it was nice to feel strong at the end of the race.

I finished strong, passing a few people at the end and finished in a respectable time for me 2:06 or so, I don’t really remember exactly.

They do however give you a nice print-out with your time at the end of the race.  It tells you your time, pace, place in age group, overall, etc.  It’s a nice benefit.

This year there were tags on the bottom of our bibs for pizza, an aloe gloe drink & a piece of pie.  I got a bottle of aloe gloe and a piece of apple pie (they had apple, pumpkin & lemon meringue from Marie Callenders).  I got my clothes, got changed and headed to the finish line to wait for Sean.

I checked the tracking and he was on pace for a 3:05 finish so I was really excited for him.  I saw Smitha come in, took a few finish photos for her and then kept waiting for Sean.  3:05 came and went and I was starting to get worried.  He was doing great and then it was like, uh, what’s going on.

Eventually I saw him pushing it to the finish and I knew he was devastated.  He missed it by a little over a minute.  By the time I got to him after he finished he was beside himself and so upset.  He had forgotten his watch so he had no idea what time he was at and his body was starting to shut down.  He literally could not run any faster.

I have no doubt that he can definitely BQ, in the 3 weeks prior to this race, he ran the Venice Marathon, a sub-23hr 100 at Javelina and NYC and that’s all with no specific speed work.  With a bit more rest and a few speed work sessions I know he can get it, maybe even go sub 3. 🙂

We have already signed up for 2017, this time I too will be running the marathon and who knows, maybe I’ll go for a BQ too, I will be in a new age bracket so I’ll have an extra 5 minutes lol.

In any case, we really like this race, it’s fast, downhill, has great swag, free photos and a super nice medal.  I look forward to running it again next year!

 

Race Recap: SoCal Wine Country Women’s Half Marathon

When our friend Matt from Athlete IQ asked me if I was interested in running this race, I thought it would be a fun time and a good way to get in another longish run for my marathon on June 19 & a second birthday race :).  Athlete IQ and Paul Jesse from Off Road Pursuits gave me an entry to the race.

This was the 5th year for the SoCal Wine Country Women’s Half & 5k.  Paul Jesse is the race director and he is a fellow Orange Mud Ambassador, local San Diego runner and race director for the San Diego 50 mile & trail marathon that we did back in January.

A few days before the race Paul asked Sean if he could help volunteer because someone backed out so we headed up near Temecula to Vail Lake early so we could help out at packet pick-up.  Temecula is about 70-80 minutes from us so we would need to leave around 4:30a to get there by 5:45a to help out.

The day before I had a few extra bottles of juice and tried to hydrate/eat the best I could.  I headed to bed at a decent hour after posting my flat Jenny photo to be up by 3:45a to get ready.

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On the way to the race, I ate a container of instant oatmeal and drank some water.  We made it there by 5:45a and immediately headed over to see where they needed us.  I got my bib first and then helped Sean & Carrie Jesse hand out bibs and race shirts until it was time for our race to start.

Start Line Photo

The half marathon started at 7:00a and it was mandatory to pick up your bib before 6:45a.  We all gathered around for a quick briefing and then we off.

From step one my legs were not happy.  I was having a lot of issues with pain in the glutes and hamstrings. I kept waiting to warm up and have the discomfort go away.

The weather was a bit humid and very overcast.  While I didn’t have the best of races, the course was beautiful.  There were a lot of little hills but it was a very runable course.  I kept thinking that Sean would love these trails.

After a few miles I would start hiking the hills and then running the downhill & flats as much as I could.

There were a three aid stations on course we hit twice. I remember joking with Scott Mills (SD 100 Race Director) that I needed new legs when he asked me what I needed at mile 6.

After a few miles heading back the way we came, we eventually hit the lake and were treated to some amazing views.  I ran as much of the downhill as I could before we hit a steep uphill to an aid station, which I hiked up.

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I finished strong and crossed the line in 2:41, which for a trail half and the fact that my legs were just shot from mile 1, I was pretty happy to just finish in a decent time.

I came up to the finish line, saw Sean and was like uh, where’s the camera lol.  He ran over and grabbed it so he could get a few shots of me crossing the finish.

Flat Jenny SoCal Women's Half

He then gave my medal, which our friend Eric made, which is super cool.

I got changed, enjoyed some orange slices & a half of a subway sandwich and then helped Sean hand out medals and wine glasses.

Swag: An awesome purple T-shirt, medal, wine glass, post race food & wine sample.

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Medal: From Elevation Culture

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Course: A challenging but runable course around Vail Lake

Price: It was $90 for the half marathon and I don’t recall the price of the 5k

Photos: They had a photographer on course and at the finish line.  And they offered a code for one free photo.

All in all it was a great time and I think that Paul and Carrie did a great job putting it on.  I would definitely check this one out again, preferably with fresher legs ;).

Race Recap: San Diego Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon 2016

Two weekends ago, Sean & I ran the San Diego Rock n’ Roll Marathon & Half Marathon.  This was my 4th time running this race & Sean’s 5th.  If you would like to read my recaps from 2014 & 2015, click on the years.

AND…Rock n’Roll has a special place in our hearts because we met the day before the 2104 race.

This year though was a bit different in that Sean was going to run the San Diego 100 the two days before Rock n’ Roll.  We also were training with some of his co-workers for their first marathon.

So the lead-up to the race was a bit different than normal since we would be out in Julian/Lake Cuyamaca for the majority of the 2 days prior to the race.  As soon as we finished up at SD 100, I drove us back to San Diego, with a Jamba Juice pit stop and then on to the expo.

I dropped Sean off, paid $15 to park in the lot behind the convention center and then ran to meet him.  We got our bibs, saw our friend Adrian, realized that we needed to deal with parking, so we stood in line to buy parking & shuttle passes, and then I made him walk around the expo so we could collect as many goodies as possible.

Expo, San Diego Rock n Roll, RNRSD, Half Marathon, Marathon

Rock n’ Roll actually had a lot more swag in the bag this year than normal.  We got Kashi cereal, Smarty Pants Vitamins, Hidden Valley salad dressing and some laundry detergent in addition to our race shirts.

After the expo we headed home to shower and relax, we actually decided not to sleep until after dinner and so at 4pm we walked into Olive Garden for a tasty dinner before bed.  While Sean slept I got our bottles ready and did my flat Jenny photo.

we run social, procompression, waves, Start Line, San Diego Rock n Roll, RNRSD, Half Marathon, Marathon, Flat Runner, Flat Jenny

The next morning, we got up at 3:45am and were out the door by 4:20am, it’s a quick drive for us to downtown and we would just take the 94 straight to the parking lot.  It literally took less than 30 minutes and then we were on the shuttle to start.  I’m pretty sure we were at the start by 5am, which is probably a record for us.

Start Line, San Diego Rock n Roll, RNRSD, Half Marathon, Marathon

We always hit up the port-a-potties as soon as we get there because with 30,000 people the lines can get pretty long!  Then we ran into 2 of our training partners, Miguel & Kaela.  We, of course, had to snap a photo and then I needed to drop off my bag.

Trainees, Start Line, San Diego Rock n Roll, RNRSD, Half Marathon, Marathon

As per usual, Rock n’ Roll and UPS partner up for the race and we dropped my bag off.  I don’t typically put much in the bag, but I know that this race has a tendency to be very humid and I’m normally soaked by the end so I like to bring a change of clothes since I have to wait for Sean to finish the marathon.

Friends, San Diego Rock n Roll, RNRSD, Half Marathon, Marathon

We ran into Smitha & Jenn by gear check and then we ran into Brian, Michael & Andrea on the way to the starting area.  We were going to do some photos with my fellow ProCompression ambassadors a bit before the race.  We all wore the June sock of the month, the waves, to the race.

we run social, procompression, waves, Start Line, San Diego Rock n Roll, RNRSD, Half Marathon, Marathon

we run social, procompression, waves, Start Line, San Diego Rock n Roll, RNRSD, Half Marathon, Marathon, keep it tight, socks

Sean was scheduled to be in corral 2, I was in corral 13 but since I was with all the other ambassadors, we all started together, I believe it was in corral 4.  It was fun being with a sea of waves lol.  I started out with them and then Kristin (StuftMama) took some photos out on the course.

we run social, procompression, waves, Start Line, San Diego Rock n Roll, RNRSD, Half Marathon, Marathon, keep it tight, socks

I was running with Megan for a while before I lost her at the first aid station.  After that I just plodded along.  I was feeling ok, but as we continued on, my head was getting hotter and hotter.  And it wasn’t hot necessarily, but very humid.  I started dumping water on my head at about mile 3 and when I saw someone with ice, I grabbed it, opened the bag and dumped it in my hat and down my shirt.

I have to say the that the first 6 miles when pretty quickly and I was surprised to see we were already at the relay exchange point.

Meb, San Diego Rock n Roll, RNRSD, Half Marathon, Marathon

The course was a bit different at the beginning than it has been for the last 2 years.  I’m not sure I liked it.  It was a lot hillier than either I or Sean remembered.

So I just continued on until we were finally at my favorite part, heading down Pershing towards the finish.  This I believe is mile 11, then there is a little climb at the start and end of mile 12 before we finish on a downhill.  Personally, I wasn’t super impressed by the course.  I have to say the SD Half course was a lot prettier even with the crazy Washington St climb, this course on the other hand was almost all through the city.

I made the last short climb and then we had a nice downhill to the finish.  I smiled for the camera and raised my hands for a cool finish photo and then I was done.  I think I finished around 2:12, which I was happy with.

I got my medal and all my snacks before heading down to the Finish Line Festival which was near the harbor.  It was kind of a walk and I desperately wanted my bag so I could get changed because I was soaked.  I think I asked a half a dozen people where to find the bags because it wasn’t marked anywhere.  I would have loved to have had signs telling me where things were.

we run social, procompression, waves, Start Line, San Diego Rock n Roll, RNRSD, Half Marathon, Marathon, Medal Monday

I finally got my bag, I had thrown Sean’s bag in there too so I could put my wet clothes in a different bag separate from all my snacks.

After changing, I checked my phone to see how Sean was doing and saw he had run a 1:53!! half marathon – almost 20 minutes faster than me even after a 100 miles the day before.  WOW!

By the time I made it back up to the finish I saw Michael & Andrea so I congratulated them & chatted for a few minutes before heading up to see Smitha & Jenn come cross.  By this point I saw that Sean had passed the 20 mile mark so after a few photos & cheering for Smitha I headed over to the marathon side of the street.  They had the finish lines split so that the marathoners and half marathoners were on different sides.

I hung out there for a bit maybe 35-40 minutes before I saw Sean’s pink shirt coming down the street.  He was right next to this other guy who was trying to race Sean lol so I didn’t get the best of photos.
IMG_3400

And then he was done!!  I was so freaking proud of him for a sub 4 hour finish after a tough & hot 100 miler.  And surprisingly one of his friends, Chris, also ran both races and they finished pretty close together.

Post Race Photo

We walked down to the finish so Sean could get his marathon finisher jacket, a few free bottles of Suja and then lunch.  We were going to go over to the We Run Social event at the Hard Rock Hotel but we had to wait for the team to come in and by the time they had finished it was pretty late to walk over.

We made it up to the finish in time to see Chelsey finish, we chatted with her for a bit and then probably about 20 minutes later we saw Miguel & Kaela and a few minutes later Zibby came through too.  It was pretty exciting see them at the finish of their first marathon.  And it was interesting how differently they all felt afterwards :).

We met up with them for a few photos and then we headed home so we could rest and relax the rest of the day (it was already after 2pm and we still had to walk back to our car).

All in all, Rock n’ Roll SD is a great party and a fun time.  While I don’t love the course, I do think they do a great job of organizing this event.

Things they improved upon from last year: The shuttles & parking were sooooo much better.  I really liked the finish line festival down by the harbor, everything was together vs at Petco Park.

 

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.

Race Recap: San Diego Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon

I’m really bad about getting these recaps up in a timely fashion, but sometimes it takes me a bit to process what happened and then of course, life happens, work events typically follow race weekends and since this race, I’ve been off due to my small sugar addiction taking over.  But now all is semi-back to normal and **SPOILER ALERT** I’m so excited to say that I FINALLY at Rock n Roll San Diego, my 18th half marathon ran a sub 2 hour race!

So I ran this race back in 2012 and had a horrible experience, it was seriously the worse race I’ve ever done in my life, mostly on the highway with this horrible slanted road from the ramps.  After this race, I pretty much swore there was no way I was running this race again.  They asked for feedback after the race and apparently a lot of other runners felt the same way so in 2013, they changed the course.  While on the shake-out run on Saturday, I heard that they changed it again this year, but since I didn’t run in 2013 I’m not sure.  All I know is that this year I really enjoyed the course.

Pete & I walked to the start line from our hotel which was right next to the Expo so probably about 2 miles.  I was cold when I left and I like to check a bag, when I can, so I have something to change into after the race, which I learned in Rome, can be essential.  By the time we got to the starting area I was pretty warm so I dropped off my bag immediately.  I love when they have the UPS trucks for the bags, it’s always so organized.

I let my friend Rhea know we were there and we were going to head up to see the marathon start, but after the last race when I didn’t make it to the Port-a-Potties prior to the race, I decided to take care of that first then meet up with her.  The lines were crazy long so I ended up not being able to see the marathon start.  They were pretty strict about not letting stragglers on the marathon course after the last corral left and kept making announcements about marathoners having to start now.  Marathoners started at 6:15a and the half started at 6:45a.

Not so nervous this time around - laughing & relaxed :)
Not so nervous this time around – laughing & relaxed 🙂

Finally I headed up to the start line to meet up with Rhea, aka – Ms. Speedy – lol, who was up in corral 1. She was going to try and run with Meb (he was pacing the 1:30 Pace Group).  Pete didn’t want to come with me so I wished him well and left him at corral 12.  We’ve run a lot of the same races, but I don’t typically run with anyone specific in a race situation.

Start Line & a bunch of Elvis's
Start Line & an Elvis convention?

Rhea & I Pre-Race

After a few pics, I headed back to my corral to get ready for the start.  I ate a Vanilla Honey Stinger Waffle, which ended up being the only thing I ate before or during the race, and made my way to corral 10.

After about 10 minutes we were off…

San Diego, Rock n Roll, Half Marathon, Jun 1, Corral 10
The start line from Corral 10

I was feeling pretty good, although I knew I was a little dehydrated, but at that point it is what it is and I had drunk a ton of water the day before.

Now I don’t normally have a plan as to how to run, I just run.  This time though, my coach told me to go super slow the first 3 miles, then from 4 – 10 run at goal pace and then if I still had some energy kick it up a notch the last 3.1.

Miles 1 – 3 (9:09, 9:36, 9:23) I didn’t quite get the slow memo for mile 1 but that’s actually a lot better than it could have been :).  I had a lot of tightness in my calves during these miles, but I just took it as my body getting acclimated.

Mile 4 (9:19) what I thought was going to turn into a Burnt Toast moment, the bottom of my left foot fell asleep and literally ever step I took I could feel the pins and needles – that was a first.  I had on new lululemon socks, that I bought the day before, so I was wondering if that was the problem, although I wear the same style all the time so I didn’t think that was the issue.  Needless to say I continued running, but kept thinking I might have to fix my sock.

Miles 5 – 8 (9:10, 8:51, 8:54, 8:46) The pins & needles feeling went away and then I was feeling pretty good & getting faster

Mile 9 (9:08) I slowed down a bit in mile 9 to walk thru a water stop.  I had a cramp in my lower right abdomen that was giving me a bit of trouble, I actually had a lot of trouble drinking anything during this race because every time I took a sip (I was drinking gatorade & had my belt on) I would get a cramp.

Mile 10 (8:51) At this point, we were well into the downhill although the sun was up now and the heat was starting to increase.  I was at about 1:30 or so and was telling myself I only had 3.1 to go – and 30 mins – all I needed to do was three 9:50 min miles and I’d hit my goal.

Mile 11 (9:04) I had to stop here again for a few seconds and walk.  Literally the cramp was so painful and I wasn’t able to breath thru it. I still have no idea what it came from. But I saw & then passed, Doctor Dribble, a running “celebrity” from Miami who dribbles 2 basketballs thru the entire race.

Dr. Dribble, Rock n Roll, San Diego, Half Marathon

Mile 12 – 13 (8:56, 8:27, last .16 (Garmin was a bit long) 6:26) By this point I was almost to the home stretch.  It was so nice to be going more down hill, and there were some Team in Training coaches that were on the side of the road saying things like, drop your shoulders, relax your forehead, unclench your jaw, etc.  I didn’t realize how tense I was until I followed that advice.  I was feeling good and speeding up and once I got to the final stretch and could see the finish, which was a relatively steep downhill, I totally kicked it in and sprinted down passing a few people on the way.  I lost one of my water bottles (it just bounced out) about 20 feet from the finish.  I finished, remembered to stop my Garmin and seriously thought I was going to be sick.

There was a really nice volunteer at the finish who asked me if I was going to be ok, to which I responded, I think I’m going to be sick and since the med tent was right there, they had me sit down for a few minutes and gave me a bottle of Gatorade.  I just pushed it a bit too much at the end but once I got some electrolytes in me I felt a lot better.

When I looked down and finally saw what my Garmin said, 1:53:33 I was incredibly happy because I didn’t just squeak by with a 1:59:59 but I was 1 min 29 sec under!!  This was over a 7 minute PR from my previous PR from the Phoenix Marathon Half in March. Read about that here.  I was also incredibly proud of doing negative splits.  My coach had a lot of negative split runs on my schedule and I’m happy to say that they paid off :).

Race RecapRace Medal

One thing about Rock n Roll series races, they have a lot of food after the race to refuel.  I got a banana, a bag of snack mix, another bottle of Gatorade, a carton of chocolate milk, a power bar recovery bar and a bottle of water.  I was seriously dehydrated and I drank both bottles of Gatorade, the chocolate milk and about 1/2 the water by the time Pete finished.  I only ate the banana.

I found Rhea after the race, she was so sweet to wait about a 1/2 hour for me to come in. We took a few pics and then she had to head to a baby shower so I went to get my bag and wait for Pete.

Post Race with Rhea

I’m really glad I had some clothes because there was about 94% humidity (according to my Garmin) and I was totally soaked.  While waiting for Pete, I ended up changing completely to be more comfortable.  I totally recommend bringing at least a new shirt to change into after a race.

Post race selfie
Post race selfie – so excited!!

I was starving by the time Pete finished and he didn’t have the best of races so we ended up skipping the post race concert, which I would have liked to see, Aloe Blacc, but we were going to have to drive back to Phoenix after lunch and really in the end, food and doing my normal bath routine after the race was more important than a concert at this point.

Now most people prefer an ice bath after a race, but I’m weird and I’ve found that heat actually works 1000% better for me so we headed to the hot tub so we could get a bit of sun and relax before lunch. We met a really sweet girl from Lake Havasu who had just finished her first half and couple of other runners.  Love the running community it’s really a great group of people just supporting each other.

A little hot tub action after the race
A little hot tub action after the race

And now to eat…recap on my post race eats coming soon!

What is your half PR? And where did you run it?

Running with Meb

I had the pleasure of being a part of the shake-out run with Meb Keflezighi this past weekend as part of the Suja Rock n Roll San Diego Marathon & Half Marathon weekend.  I had seen the shake-out run advertised, and since my birthday is coming up, I decided to give myself an early birthday gift & so I signed myself and my friend and running buddy, Pete up to Run with Meb.

This event took place on Saturday, May 31 at the San Diego Hall of Champions and would include the following: (from the RnR SD website)

  • 3 Mile Shakeout Run guided by Meb Keflezighi
  • All participants will receive a pair of CEP Progressive+ Run Sock 2.0, the same socks Meb won the 2014 Boston Marathon in. which run $60
  • Post Run, light Brunch
  • Limited Edition Run With Meb Bib
  • Photo Opportunity with Meb
  • Run With Meb Gift signed by Meb Keflezighi
  • Guest appearances from other participating Elite Athletes

I told Pete that we were going to do this and he was a “little” concerned about it being a super fast shake-out run, but I assured him it would be for all levels, they weren’t going to just limit the event to super fast runners – LOL.

Saturday morning, we started out with a semi-light breakfast in the morning, well, light for me, just an egg sandwich and some potatoes, around 7a.  The event started at 9:30a and I knew I’d be starving if I waited until after the run to eat so I needed something.

After breakfast we headed over to the Hall of Champions and arrived around 9a.  There was already a line to get the limited edition Run with Meb bibs, so we lined up too.  All in all, I believe there were about 150 or so people there.

San Diego, Hall of Champions, Run with Meb, Shake out run, rock n roll marathon Run with Meb, race bib, San diego, Rock n Roll, Shake out run, california

We got measured for our CEP Progressive+ Run Socks, there are both mens & womens sizing and then there are 3 sizes and multiple colors.  I normally wear ProCompression when I wear compression socks during runs, but I do have a different pair of CEP compression socks too.  I found them super compressive so I typically only wear them when I’m in recovery.  Meb wore these when he raced and won the Boston Marathon so we got the same style in white.  This was an awesome gift since they retail for $60.

I tried these new Progressive+ Run Socks out and they are amazing, padded sole and don’t feel nearly as tight as the other style I have.  I especially like the padding on the sole.  I still love ProCompression and they are my go-to socks, but these have been nice since the bottoms of my feet have really been bothering me.

After that, we headed over to some tables that they had set up and Alan Culpepper, the director of the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon & Half Marathon, but also a super accomplished runner, himself, came up to introduce Meb and a few other elites that were there.  He ran in the 2000 & 2004 Olympics, the later with Meb, when he won the Silver medal.

They introduced the other elite runners, including Alan Webb, who holds the American record in the mile, 3:46:91!! That’s 3 minutes 46.91 seconds!! For one mile!  Also introduced were Jeffrey Eggleston, who placed 8th at the 2014 Boston Marathon.  Tyler McCandless, a Newton Running Elite (I love Newton Running Shoes!!), and Andy Wacker, all three of them have run a 1:03 half marathon and train in Boulder, CO.

And then came the main event! Meb coming up and talking to us for a few minutes.  Check out my video of Meb talking with us on YouTube.

http://youtu.be/FtXjF_gth1s

After this, we all headed out for the run.  By this time it was close to 10am and the sun was out, so we grabbed some water and headed out.

shake-out run, run with meb, san diego, rock n roll marathon, half marathon, california, runners Balboa Park, San Diego, Run with Meb, Shake-out Run, rock n roll marathon, half marathon

Silly mid run selfie
Silly mid run selfie

I tried to start out kind of slow, we were going to be racing the next day after all and I had a big goal in mind, so I didn’t want to overdo it. I forgot to start my Garmin, so I only ended up tracking 2.84 miles but those were at a 8:54 pace.  I was towards the front of the group, and actually was running with/near Tyler McCandless for a while, he was talking to another runner.  It was a fun run, and great talking to lot of other people, I even met 2 ladies who live in the Phoenix area and are training for the San Francisco Marathon too (I’m just doing the first half).

I high-fived Meb post run, he finished a few minutes ahead of me and then post run, I had to do some downward facing dog, my calves were so stiff, I was a little concerned but we only ran 3ish miles and it normally takes me a bit to get loosened up.

Post Run photo - i don't look like i'd even been running do I? This is why I love Lululemon!!
Post Run photo – i don’t look like i’d even been running do I? This is why I love Lululemon!!

I was waiting for Pete to come in before heading in for a light brunch.  I knew he would be a little bit behind me, but I saw Meb run back to go find the slower runners.

I saw Daniel, who introduced himself to me earlier, he recognized me from my instagram account, how exciting! Lol! It’s the little things, right?  He was with his sister and he was going to be running the marathon on Sunday, his second.  He had done NYC last year as well as his first.

It's pretty cool how you can meet amazing like minded people via social media.
It’s pretty cool how you can meet amazing like minded people via social media.

Soon after this Pete came in and was a bit hot, so we headed in to get some food.  They had a nice little buffet with yogurt, granola and 3 types of breakfast burritos.  It wasn’t anything super special but it was decent.  By the time we had gotten inside most of the tables were taken and they were just about to start with some Q&A with the other elite runners.

Meb ran in with the last of the runners and then got ready to start signing.  They lined everyone up by the number on your bib so obviously being numbers 96/97 we had a bit of a wait, especially since they were grouping everyone in groups of 20.  Eventually it got to the point where they had to speed things up, the first 20 or so people got a lot more time to chat with Meb and have more things signed than we did.  I ended up having my bib signed and then got a photo with him.  It was kind of rushed so I don’t think it’s the best photo, but you can tell I was excited. One with just me & Meb & then the other with Pete added in.

Me & Meb Me, Pete & Meb

My autographed bib :) This will be framed and added to my collection
My autographed bib 🙂 This will be framed and added to my collection

After this, there was still a long line of people behind us so we ended up heading out.  All in all it was a good event.  The only thing I think that would have been better would have been if Meb could have done a little Q&A with us as well, but there were a lot of people and only one of him :).

Have you ever done an organized shake-out run before a race?