Encinitas Half Marathon 2019 Recap

This is the second time we have run the Encinitas Half.  I decided to sign Sean & I up in early February.

We enjoyed last years race but this year they made a few changes including running the course backwards and eliminating the crazy steep hill that we went up and down last year.

Sean had to do trail work on the Saturday before the race for AC100 so I went up to Carlsbad, did a fun silent Orange Theory workout with the Carlsbad Lululemon.  It was a blast! I had so much fun.

Afterwards I headed over to pick up our packets.  They moved the packet pick-up to a new location, a community center.  There was definitely more parking so that was nice but I personally preferred the outdoor expo we went to last year.  There were maybe a half dozen vendors? Nothing that interested me so I just grabbed our bibs & swag.  They allow you to pick up for other runners with their bib number & a photo of their ID.

You could also pick up your packet on race morning but they charge you an extra $20 for that so, we didn’t do that.

Sean didn’t get home until pretty late on Saturday night so we got our gear out & then headed to bed.

The next morning we got up pretty early because the race started at 7:30a and we had at least a 45 min drive.  We started up to the race and hit a dead stop on the freeway about 10 minutes later.  Not a good sign but fortunately it cleared up pretty quickly & we were on our way again.

We got up to the race area & headed to the dirt lot we parked in last year.  There was a car in front of us that decided to turn around after starting up so I got out of the car and guided Sean up around the rutted areas & my little Prius C made it ;).  It’s been in quite a few tricky spots over the years lol.

Behind us was our friend Jonathan so we chatted with him and his wife for a while before heading over to the start.  It was a little chilly out but we didn’t know if they were doing drop bags or not so we didn’t want to run with extra stuff if there weren’t drop bags.

We got over to the port-a-potties, which was a bit of a cluster, but we managed to get in pretty quickly and then realized that Sean forgot his bib because I had it on my side of the car.  So I walked back to get it for him.

By this time it was time to get into our corrals.  It was a bit more disorganized than I remember from last year.  With both the 5k & 1/2 marathon starting around the same time there were a lot of runners hanging out.  I tried to make my way to what I thought was the 2nd wave, but there were no wave signs just pace groups which seemed to help a little but it was really crowded.  I jumped in and just stayed put.

They started the National Anthem but it was really low so there were a lot of people talking.  Then they started the runners off! The first wave went and since they didn’t have anyone separating the waves, people just kept moving until finally one of the announcers, Rudy, started yelling no more runners, no more runners just Team Hoyt! It was crazy!  I was still a bit of a way back from the front so I was just chilling.

We finally got started and it was quite crowded, in fact the whole race felt a lot more crowded than I remembered from last year.  But I settled in and just ran.  I was enjoying the beautiful views, this course runs next to the ocean for a good portion of the course.  We cheered on the lead runners, I watched for friends and cheered them on.  It was a beautiful day and it started getting hot pretty quickly.

I just took it pretty easy and did my best to keep running up and down the hills, I took a few walk breaks but not many.

I finally got up the final hill and on to the final out and back.  It went up by Sean’s uncle’s house so even thought I didn’t think he would be around, I looked for him ;).  I saw a fellow radrabbit, one of my fellow run Arete teammates, Jonathan & then Sean.  Another friend saw me & I waved back.

I hit the turn around and headed back to the finish.  As we were running back, I see a guy bend down and stop to pick a poppy from the median, I yelled don’t pick the poppies but it was too late, he had headphones in and didn’t hear me.  Not cool dude, not cool.

We ran under the Encinitas sign and then headed to the finish.  I was getting kind of hungry by this point so I just tried to get in as quick as I could.  I heard Sean call my name and then it was over!

Half marathon 56 complete! I think I did about 2:08 which was 2 minutes faster than San Diego Half so that was a good thing.  I felt tired but good the majority of the race.

After the race I ate a half of a banana, got a bottle or box of water & we had a kombucha sample before we headed back to the car.

The medal was pretty, although I thought it was interesting that it seemed like the 5k got the same size medal.

We didn’t stick around for any of the post race activities this year, we headed to Plant Power for lunch and then on to The Carlsbad Flower Fields to check them out.

I liked the reverse course, but honestly it didn’t really matter to me, I just liked that we didn’t have to run up/down the super steep hill.

I did feel like the course was a lot tighter this year though, people seemed to be a lot closer together on the course and the turn-arounds were quite tight.

All in all, it’s a beautiful course & depending on our schedule I’d probably run it again.

Do you run races that you don’t have to travel for?

Recovery Run: 2019 San Diego Half

This is my 4th time running San Diego Half Marathon. It’s a fun & fast race in downtown San Diego.  You can check out my previous recaps here.  2016, 2017, 2018

I signed up back in August of last year & I had high hopes for a big PR here. As we know, that didn’t happen due to the hyperthyroid/Graves diagnosis & the subsequent lack of real  training since Javelina. But that’s ok, I’ll get there.

So I honestly wasn’t sure how this race was going to go. I haven’t run anything over 4 miles in weeks, since Surf City Half so my bigger concern was how would my body handle the jump in miles.

This past week I’ve run more than I have in a week (outside a race) in a long time.  It might not seem like a lot but I ran 9 miles this week before the race.  In February, I ran a total of 49 miles with Surf City Half & about 20 of that pacing Sean at Franklins, which means I “ran” 16 miles the rest of the month.  I also took up riding at Soul Cycle and in the last 2 weeks I’ve racked up 6 rides & plan to continue on with 2 rides a week for the foreseeable future.

Now back to the race. Sean & I picked up our packets on Saturday at the expo.  It’s still in the same place on the harbor.  It was a touch cool & cloudy but no rain.  SD Half does their bibs in order of when you register and since I registered the first day, I had a very low bib number.  I also was surprised to see I was in Wave 2.  I normally am in Wave 4 so I don’t recall what I put as my projected finish time. Maybe 1:50?

We grabbed our race shirts & legacy gifts.  This is our 4th consecutive year of running so we got half zips as our bonus gift.  Unfortunately they were all out of men’s smalls so they told Sean he could get a different size.  Since we know he’ll probably never wear the shirt, we passed & the poor volunteers didn’t know what to do. You are supposed to get 2 shirts lol.

The expo as usual is pretty small so we didn’t really stick around, instead heading to get lunch, some yummy acai bowls from Everbowl.

The race always takes place on the time change weekend so if you enable text messaging they will send you a reminder text to change your clocks to spring forward.  That’s a nice touch.

Race morning! We got up a little later than last year, around 5:30ish, I was already up, but Sean’s alarm hadn’t gone off yet.  We left the house at 6:08a & were downtown by 6:15a which was probably the fastest we’ve ever gotten down there.  Hitting all green lights & having barely any traffic really helps!

We walked down to the starting area.  As per usual they start the race right in front of the convention center.  I needed to meet the Arete ladies for a quick photo & meet-up so we did that first before dropping off our bags & heading to the corrals & port-a-potties.  It was a beautiful morning, no marine layer and we got to see a great sunrise.

It was nice to meet some of the other ladies in the group, since I’ve been off I haven’t gone to many of the meet-ups since I joined the group in January.  Side note, I was so excited to join this group & to really work on my speed & goal to BQ & then I had all these issues pop up just as the group was getting started.

And I’ll be honest, knowing how fast all these ladies are, was really intimidating. I feel like I’m kind of the weak-link in this group even if I wasn’t dealing with medical things.  They all finished within minutes of each other & I was about 30 minutes back.  But I can’t be too hard on myself, I went from barely running to running a half averaging just under 10 min pace with the last 3 miles being the fastest of the whole race. At Surf City, I could barely breath & I averaged 11:45 pace.  Again, I digress.

Sean & I headed back to gear check to drop off our clothes.  I’ve said this before, but I’ll reiterate it, I always bring a set of fresh clothes to change into after the race, I hate being all wet after the race.  And sports bras take forever to dry so I had lots of warm, dry clothes in my drop bag.

We headed back to the start, hit up the port-a-potties.  This year they had it done right so that there weren’t lines on both sides of them.  There was a porto in the middle of each section so that you could only enter from the sidewalk.  Finally!! In the past it was total chaos with people lining up on both sides.

I got a quick selfie of Sean & I and then we headed to our respective corrals. It was shaping up to be a beautiful morning with the sun peaking out & for once, no marine layer!  Normally this race is so humid, but it felt really nice, in the mid 50s.

I was a little nervous before we got started not knowing how I was going to feel but once we got started I got into a grove.  For once I didn’t feel like I started out too fast, I just kind of followed the other runners & didn’t weave in and out too much.

One of my favorite parts of this race is the first 3 miles running by the harbor.  We pass the Midway, there was a Disney Cruise Liner in port that morning.  As we head over to Harbor Island you can see my favorite view of the city & it was spectacular that morning with the sun behind it.

I ran the first 3 miles with no issues, I stopped for water at the mile 3 aid station & then from there I started run/walking.  I ran to mile 4, took a short walk and then tried to do mile repeats with a short walk in between.

We run down to Liberty Station, which I always enjoy as well.  By now it started to get cloudy but it wasn’t humid.  I remember thinking how I was sweating but my shorts weren’t soaked & sticking to me like they normally are, lol.

I made it to the 10k in just over an hour which I was happy about.  From there I just kept chugging along, mile 7 came up fast, then we did a quick climb on mile 8.  I started getting a cramp in my oblique around this point so I walked to stretch it out a little at the mile 8 aid station.

I was getting a little tired by this point,  but I kept moving.  I walked the short steep hill, ran to Washington Street & ran/walked the big hill.  One day I will conquer this hill, this year wasn’t it.

There were a bunch of Milestone Running & November Project people who were running up and down the hill with runners which was so cool.  The only bad part was that they were all running down right where we were running & I like to run on the very far left so I had to keep moving over to let them run back down.

In any case I finally made it to the top, in a lot less time than it seems like I normally take (11:45 for that mile & in the past I think I’ve taken 13/14 minutes).  The next section I have run many times with the #run619 group & I always think about them when we run through this section past the Hillcrest sign down to 6th Ave next to Balboa Park.

The last 3 miles are mostly downhill & I knew that Kari @grrrlrunner was going to be near Balboa so I was looking for her.  She was with her son & got this photo of me running by!  So nice of her to wait to see me!

From there I was starting to get a small cramp in my right quad, a place I’ve never felt any issues before, maybe all the spin? and I was getting hungry.  I didn’t have any CarboPro in my pack so I didn’t really have any calories on this run except one muir energy around mile 11 which was really too late to start eating.  I’m the worst when it comes to fueling, which is why I normally just use carbopro so I can drink my calories.  I drink a lot so it works good for me.

In any case, I had to get to the finish so I powered on. I was getting closer to the spot where they can stop you for the Trolley to pass.  I saw 2 Trolley’s stopped & waiting and was hoping I could run fast enough to miss them.  And phew, I was the last runner they let go by before stopping runners.  I have been lucky, I think I’ve only been stopped once in the 4 years I’ve run this race.

I just kept pushing, and then finally I could see Petco Park .  At this point I was following a lady in a Oiselle team shirt and I wasn’t sure if I could pass her or not.  I followed her down to the turn off into the park.  We went through the tunnel & then I was like time to finish strong & while I expected her to push to the finish, I must have pushed harder because I passed her after we got on to the baseline.

I finished!  It wasn’t fast, but it wasn’t super slow either!  24 minutes faster than Surf City & I felt 100x better.  I can only get stronger from here!

So overall, I like this race.  I’ve done it 4 years in a row, it’s pretty fun, it’s fast, it has a cool finish line where you finish inside Petco Park.  They give out nice gift bags at the end, we use our reusable bags year after year.  This year we got a friar bobble-head & a book about one of the Padres players that made to the Hall of Fame.

The medal was really nice this year, a huge softball size medal with the Gaslamp sign on it.  They abandoned the idea to do the 4 part series medal they started last year after hearing that people didn’t like that idea.

We’ll be back, but maybe not next year, I really want to run Antelope Canyon so it might be time to change it up :).

2019 SoCal Resolution Run – Half Marathon Recap

Yesterday, Sean & I ran the Resolution Run Half Marathon at Tecolote Shores as our first race of 2019.  This was our second time running this race & 12th edition of the Resolution Run.  If you’d like to read my recap from last year to see what was different click here.

This year, we decided last week to sign up, we found a great deal via a last minute discount website & gave it a go.  We picked up our packets, our bibs & race shirts, on Saturday at Road Runner Sports.  Quick & easy.

Sunday morning, we woke up a few minutes late so we left the house about 15 minutes later than  we did last year.  I ate my Picky Oats in the car, I’m really enjoying the apple version & have eaten them before my last 2 races.

We arrived at the start area around 6:30am, the half marathon started at 7:15am.  Since we were a little later than last year we had to park about 3/4 of a mile from the start area.  It was chilly out but the sunrise was super pretty!

We got our gear & walked to the start.  First stop once we got there was the port-a-potties.  There were maybe 10 or so, but one line for them all.  I think that there were a lot of newer runners at the race, which is fine & I’m so happy that people are out there running, but it does make for a bit of a chaos in the port-a-pottie situation.  There were too many for people to see when the doors were all open & then randoms were not standing in line, just jumping in at the ends because they didn’t realize there was a line.

Once we got done there it was less than 5 minutes until the start! We got our traditional pre-race selfie & then Sean headed to the front while I started a little further back.  I have been having some issues with my breathing while running lately and so I didn’t know what was going to happen & didn’t want to really push it.

I started out feeling good, just running easy on our way around Fiesta Island.  I saw my friend Henry, from Run619.  Henry is 73 years old and he runs faster than I do a lot of the time ;), it’s really inspiring & I hope to be still running when I’m 73.

I took a few photos of the beautiful sunrise over the city & after 2 miles started to run/walk. I was keeping pretty good pace considering and decided to just do that for the rest of the race.

There are 3 races, a half marathon, 10k & 5k.  The half & 10k start together but when you get to a parking lot the 10k turns around immediately while the half went for a little longer turnaround.  Then the half marathon heads back towards the start/finish where they have a second out and back section.

This section is on the sidewalk so there are a lot of other runners/cyclists/walkers so there was a lot of weaving around people.  But that was fine because I was just run/walking so I didn’t really care too much.  I saw the lead runner come through, then a few more before I saw Sean, I congratulated him & told him he was in the top 10, I didn’t recall exactly what place he was in but he was definitely in the top 10.  From this point on, I cheered everyone on that was coming back towards the finish.  It was fun, but I’m not sure how many people heard me since 90% of the people were wearing headphones.

I got to mile 9 and saw that there was a board on the other side so I turned to look at it to see what the distance was to the finish & it said mile 11.  I thought to myself, great so about a mile before the turn around.

I remembered from last year that we went over a little bridge, went a little ways out and then turned around.  This year, they had a volunteer before the bridge and turned us around there.  I think I was at maybe 9.6 miles? And then I got to the 11 mile sign at 10.19 miles.

I kept thinking maybe the signs were off, but I was almost a mile off for the rest of the race & officially finished the race with only 12.29 miles.  I know all GPS devices are not created equal, but I also know that we went over that bridge last year before we turned around.  But regardless it was a beautiful day & I had a good time.

I finished the race in 2:06, which considering my breathing issues lately was pretty good for me.  I only had 2 miles over 11minutes with a lot of run/walking so that’s a win too.

The medals were similar to last year with a little chalkboard for writing your goals.

They gave the best goodie bag I think I’ve ever gotten at a race.  Full size container of probiotics & a full size spray sunscreen in addition to a bunch of snacks, which were almost all vegan.

They had a good amount of sponsor tents, we missed the Suja Juice but were able to get huge cups of GT’s Kombucha on tap.  This was really cool, they had kombucha on tap on a van & I tried a new to me flavor that was amazing!

All in all we had a great morning, I was able to get another 13 miles for the Lululemon 40/80 challenge, I’ve only got 5k left!

I’d run this race again, it’s a nice low-key event with great support & sponsors.

AFC Half Marathon Race Recap

Guys, I’m so far behind on these recaps, you may not still be interested but I’m going to try and bang them out!

After Tushars & Bigfoot, Sean & I had discussed that he was going to run Kodiak 100.  He hurt his Achilles at Tushars so we finally determined that he would skip Kodiak and we decided to run AFC half instead.
We had already run Carlsbad back in January & then La Jolla in April so all that was left was AFC (America’s Finest City).  I really wanted to get it done and finish up the triple crown.

We signed up the week of the race so we paid a bit more than what you would pay if you sign up in advance.

Packet pick-up was at the Sheraton across from the airport.  They had it set up really well with free parking in a lot near the hotel, which was really nice because the hotel charges like $15 to park in their lot.  Then we walked to the back of the hotel to the meeting space where the expo was at.

We picked up our packets, got our shirts, which are cheap looking techy style shirts, looked around the expo & took a few photos.  The race started pretty early & you had to park at Balboa Park and take a shuttle to the start at Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma.

We got there relatively early so we didn’t have to really wait too long to get parked & on the buses.  The buses though were a total joke.  They had 3 bus lines, but the buses weren’t able to get through the stop lights so it took quite a bit to actually get on the bus.  We did finally get on and were finally off.  Funny story, the driver didn’t even know what we were doing and about 2/3s of the way there he finally asks, you guys are going to run back down?

We finally made it to the Monument where we hung out until the start.   The one thing all 3 of the triple crown races do really well is porta potties.  There are tons of them!  We hit them up, got some water, watched the sun rise, ran into a friend who we chatted with for a while & then got in line again.  By that point the lines were really long, but we made it and headed to the start line.

We were going to bring finish line bags, but we weren’t sure if that was a thing for this race since the cars were relatively close to the finish line so we ended up leaving our change of clothes in the car and just took what we needed instead.

We’d done 6 weeks of races so I really didn’t know how things were going to go so I just lined up with Sean to start and then was going to run by feel.  My only goal was to get to the finish line & earn my triple crown medal.

The race started out by running us through the National Monument and cemetery, which was a little uphill.  I stuck with Sean for about a mile or so before he took off and I just hung back.  After the first 2 miles there was a nice section of downhill until we got down to Harbor Drive.  The race kind of reminded me of running San Diego Half in reverse.

We took a turn down towards the Sheraton & Harbor Island.  I had to use the restroom here so I lost quite a bit of time during this mile because I had to wait a few minutes for another runner.  After that stop, I felt a little better, but it was hot and I was literally dumping cups of water on my head every water stop, after drinking one cup & I had my pack on too.

We eventually made our way down towards the Star of India & then Pacific Hwy, near where San Diego Rock & Roll finishes.  I remember dowsing myself in water here and almost losing my contacts, oops.  Then running down Pacific Hwy in the shade before heading to the final & brutal climb up to Balboa Park.  In SD Half, this hill is downhill and is so much fun, climbing up it, not quite as fun lol.

I made my way up, run/walking and then made the turn towards Balboa Park!  We were almost there!  Having not run the race before, I wasn’t exactly sure where the finish line was, but it was probably about 1/2 – 3/4 of a mile from the climb.

And just like that I was done!  And I was spent! Those 6 weeks of racing & traveling had culminated in a decent race but I was exhausted!

I finished in 2:06:25 which wasn’t too bad considering how hot I was and all the racing.  My first 10k was an 8:41 avg and then I jumped to 9:18 for the second half of the race & considering I ran/walked the mile & a half hill towards the end, I’m pretty happy with that.

We finished the race, they handed out bottles of water, had goodie bags and then there were a bunch of vendors in a little expo style finish line party.  We got our Triple Crown medals & a few photos and then headed  back to the car to get changed & head to breakfast. We headed to Better Buzz to fuel up on  Acai Bowls and coffee.

Final thoughts:  All in all a well put on race, outside the ridiculousness with the buses.  Nice medals, nice course and great volunteers.  The only negative in my mind is that the race shirts are really cheap looking & not very wearable in my opinion.  Other than that I think everything was pretty good.

The Peak Half Marathon Race Recap

A few weeks ago, Sean & I started discussing our summer runs & Sean wanted to get in another decent run in July before TRT so we decided on The Peak in Julian, CA.

We go to Julian quite often but don’t typically run to Cuyamaca Peak & knowing that I was going to be running TRT & then Mt. Hood I didn’t want to push it so I signed up for the half marathon while Sean signed up for the 50k.

Local & shorter distance races are pretty low key for us these days and I don’t typically stress too much about anything in the days before the race.

I do still set out my clothes the night before, just in case & get a change of clothes so I don’t have to search for that in the morning.

I woke up a little before my alarm to go to the bathroom & then right before my alarm actually went off around 3:30am, I got a text from my boss (who was in Paris at the time) that I needed to do something for work so that kind of messed up my game a little.  I got that taken care of, then got my pack fuelled & ready, grabbed a few random things and then we were off.  This was probably the first time ever Sean was ready before me, lol.

We drove out to Cuyamaca & got to the start area around 5:20ish.  They told us to go towards the front to park since we have a small car & ended up being right at the start/finish line.

The start was pretty low-key.  The 50k & marathon runners started at 6am & then the half marathoners started at 7am.  I just kind of hung out at the car & then started to see a few friends.

And then it was time to get the show on the road! We started out on a dirt road then turned & started up!  I ran maybe a half a mile before I started hiking.  My goal for the day was to really work on my hiking & then run the down.

I felt really strong climbing, barely having any issues with breathing, etc. I wasn’t moving crazy fast, but I was moving pretty well.  We got to a nice section of downhill & I ended up passing a few people before getting to the next section of uphill.  This section is very rocky & was a bit more slow.

I passed a few people here & there, chatted with one girl who got lost last year, a guy who was sooo negative, literally every word out of his mouth was a negative comment & then caught back up to the girl & we finished climbing to the Peak together.

So side note on the negative person: I enjoy chatting with other runners when I’m out there & I try to be super positive, because I’m super excited to be out there & especially on the shorter runs, I’m not really going through any major lows lol.  But if I run into a people & they are being negative, I do try to distance myself because if you are having a rough day it can be easy to get sucked into that mindset.  After the race, I ran into that guy again & he told me & another runner that he did not enjoy one minute of the race.

We get to do this, we all paid our money to be out there on the trails & in my opinion, any day I get to be out there in nature, enjoying the trails is a good day!  There’s always something to smile about & for most people, the next high is just around the corner.  It was an absolutely beautiful day & I feel a little sad for him that we wasn’t able to enjoy just being out there.

Now, back to the recap & off my soap box.  I got to the Peak, saw my friend Jeff, got more water in my pack, ice in my Running Skirts neck wrap & they insisted on putting ice in my hat.

I’ve only been to Cuyamaca Peak a few times so I had to get a photo & then I started on my descent.  It’s always fun to be on the second half of an out and back because you are heading towards the finish!

I was able to run for maybe a mile or so before it got pretty rocky.  I chatted with a guy from Iowa for a while before I passed him and kept moving.  I got to the bottom of the rocky section, hit up the next aid station got more ice for my hat & then headed up for the last section of climb (about 2ish miles).

In this section I passed at least 2-3 more people on the climb.  I was dripping wet & not just from sweat, between the ice in the hat & the neck wrap, my shirt & shorts were soaked!!  I kept thinking to myself that the people behind me were probably following my water drops lol.  Except that there weren’t really any people following that closely behind me.

I finally made it to the top of the last big climb! And it was time to start running! So I immediately passed a girl and then I saw a guy, he was running, but then stopped to walk so I passed him.  Then I turned a corner and this woman came out of nowhere, so we ran next to each other for a while and then I passed her too. I just kept moving steadily heading towards the finish.

As I got into the last mile, I saw two more people, a guy & a girl a little bit ahead of him so I set my eyes on them.  I was able to catch the guy and then I eventually passed the girl with less than a mile to go.  I kept heading down to the road section.  There was another guy in front of me, but I wasn’t able to catch him.

I don’t normally play the pick-off runners game, I just do my own thing, but it was a fun way to finish off the race since I had done so much hiking.

We finished got a medal & then I headed up to get a coke & some orange slices.  I took my traditional post race medal selfie & then changed into dry clothes.  I enjoy the after race just chatting with other runners while I wait for Sean to finish his longer race.

It was a fun day!  I really enjoyed it, and I knew it was going to be a challenging race.  Although I think that I must have heard a good portion of the half marathoners comment that it was soooo tough.

Again, like at Black Mountain a number of people commented that they weren’t expecting it to be like this, this tough, this technical, this unrunable (a matter of opinion, Sean said it was crazy challenging but he did run the entire first 6.5 miles, our race).  And I understand as a road runner we don’t always look at the course map or elevation because it’s not that big of deal.  But with trail races, it’s different, first for most people, you aren’t going to run as fast as you do on the road, second, even in a half marathon, there can be a lot of climbing, third, it’s not always runnable terrain for everyone but that’s ok, if you keep up with it and train the next one will be easier and finally, remember to look up & out occasionally, the views at trail races are so much better than most road races!

March Run All The Races: Ramblas Run Half Marathon

Sorry for the delay on getting this up, I actually wrote this blog weeks ago & just never got around to adding the photos & actually posting, #blogfail.

We finished up March with a double race weekend!  First up was the Ramblas Run Half Marathon.  We ran this race last year and came back for the 2nd year.

This is a fun, but very challenging race in the hills of San Juan Capistrano.  They offer a few distances, 5k, 10k & half marathon (it is a touch short, but like all trail races it’s either long or short depending on your watch ;)).  The half marathon was $75 and included a bunch of swag.

We got nice light zippered long sleeve hoodies for the ladies, a medal & a logo’d glass.

The best part about this race is that it starts a little later, 8:45am, because it’s in a neighborhood.  You aren’t even supposed to arrive until 8:10am so we didn’t have to leave San Diego until around 7am, which after the 2:30am wake-up for LA Marathon was amazing!

I got up, made some oatmeal in the instant pot, got ready and we were out the door by about 7:15a.  There was no traffic on the way up so even with a last minute potty break we got to the start by 8:25ish.

We got our shirts & bibs.  The bibs kind of matched the medals, they were a 3 color bib, which was cool even if it didn’t say the name of the event :).

I didn’t want to run back to the car to put the shirts inside so I just put them on the back of my pack.  They were pretty light so it wasn’t a big deal.

We got in the line for the porta potties, which went pretty quick.  We chatted with some friends while waiting which probably helped.  My only complaint was that the spot where the bathrooms were was on downhill so went I got in, I really felt like it was going to flip backwards.  It was a really uneasy feeling.

We ran into Tam while waiting in line.

It only took about 2 more minutes and then we were ready to start.  I know that the beginning of this race is pretty hilly & my legs were still pretty tired from all the races + 80 Day Obsession so I just took it easy.

The first mile or so went by really quick.  I saw Kristina & Kat at the first aid station, I quickly gave them hugs before continuing on.  We were almost to the single track which is a lot of fun!  I was following this guy who was crushing it on the uphills!  I was having to work really hard to keep up with him and by the time we got back to the aid station (it’s a little loop) I was breathing way too hard.

I took a quick stop to get an orange slice and then kept moving.  Michelle asked me how I was doing and I responded I can’t get my heart rate down.  Between the hills & the light humidity, I needed a little more time to get my breathing under control.

Kat got this photo of me coming into the 2nd aid 🙂

I hiked up the next hill and finally got my breathing under control and was able to run again.  I came down a hill and saw Sean speeding down heading into the next section of the course.

As I was going around up to the flag pole, I was trying to get some water out of my gear vest.  I had filled it that morning & could feel the liquid inside.  I was getting a little concerned because it was brand new & I wasn’t able to get any liquid out.  I didn’t want to stop so I kept moving until I got to the top by the flag pole.  Then I took my pack off, and found that it was user error.  I thought I had pushed the hose all the way into the bladder but it wasn’t all the way in.  Finally I was able to get water out!

I took the next mile or so with a few other runners and then we started to climb so I just took this time to hike and run when I could.  I felt a bit stronger than last year, but this section felt a lot longer than I remembered.

Finally we were heading down the hill to the turn around aid station.  I saw Inna & her kids down there, got a few orange slices & a touch more water and then headed up.  I hiked the whole way up.  I could see my friend Helen ahead of me as I was heading up.  I just kept her in my sights and did my thing.

I could definitely feel all the race miles & glute work as we were climbing, more & more. But I felt like I was able to run more of this section than I did last year.

Finally we were coming up on the final aid station.  I grabbed an orange slice & just power hiked the last hill, ran, hiked, and finally we were coming into the finish.  I was right behind Helen now and as I was coming up to her I was like come on, let’s finish this! So for the second year in a row, we finished the race together, this year about 3 minutes faster than last year ;).

After the race, we grabbed little acai bowl samples, water, our medals, chatted with Sarah, the race director & Kristina.  We got a few photos and then it was time to drive home.  Which is the worst part of the whole day, it took us just over an hour to get there but almost 3 to get home :(.

But traffic aside, this is one of my favorite SoCal half marathons.  It’s fun, it’s challenging, it’s relatively short, we see loads of friends and Sarah does an amazing job.

I would definitely recommend this race & I look forward to going back again in 2019.  Maybe Helen & I will make our photo finish a tradition ;).

RunAllTheRaces: San Diego Half Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MarchRunAllTheRaces: Encinitas Half Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

San Diego Resolution Run Half Marathon Race Recap

And just like that, I’m BACK!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SeaWheeze 2017 Race Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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