Crown City Classic 12k Race Recap

Twoish weeks ago I got an email regarding a July 4th race so Sean & I discussed it and looked at all the local options for 4th of July races.  There were 2 big ones here in San Diego.  The Crown City Classic in Coronado with a 1 mile, 5k or 12k race & the Scripps Old Pros 10k at Lake Miramar with a 2 miler & 10k along with a variety of bike races.

After looking it over we decided to run the Crown City Classic for a few reasons.  #1 Coronado is much closer to our house & #2 It was a little longer race at 7.4 miles.

After we finished up at Black Mountain last week we headed to Road Runner Sports to pick up our race packets.  The race shirts were really cute with a map of the course on them.

Since the 4th was on Wednesday, Sean & I both had to work the rest of the week.  We met up the night before for a quick shake-out run and then had dinner at Veggie Grill & freezes from Pressed Juicery.

We got our clothes out, did flat runner photos when we got home.  I like to do a #flatjenny photo so that I don’t forget anything the next day.  Since it was a shorter race, I didn’t need a lot of stuff, but I knew that I would be soaked afterwards, so I brought a change of clothes which I was so happy I had new clothes because we were super sweaty.

The next morning we got up around 5am got out the door by 5:30am and off we went.  It only takes about 15 minutes for us to get to Coronado so we were there pretty early.  Good thing too because we needed to find parking.

We parked, walked over to the start line at Tidelands Park and then dropped off my bag.  There were plenty of port-a-potties and they did an fun pre-run warm-up for those that wanted to participate. Before we started they read off the names of all those people in the military who had died since 4th of July last year.  Very happy to hear that there weren’t many.

After this they got us lined up and someone played the National Anthem on a trumpet and then the race director did a play on the Independence Day speech that Bill Pullman gave before they headed out to fight the aliens & then we were off!

A unique thing about this race is that they have you start by going under a huge US flag.  It was a cool, but you had to pay attention because it didn’t stay up very well, lol.

The race is a nice flat out and back, you run past the golf course, past the marina and onto the strand before turning around.  There were 2 aid stations that you hit twice.

I started out pretty fast.  As I hit the first mile, 2 guys passed me saying they were running too slow, while I was thinking I was running too fast, lol.

I was breathing hard & wasn’t really ready to be running low 8 minute mile pace, but I managed to keep it together for 4 miles before taking a quick walk break at the aid station.  I picked it back up and just kept moving it along.  In the end I was able to maintain a 8:26 avg pace which I was pretty darn proud of.

June was a tough month for me between recovering from Nanny Goat,  being super busy at work & traveling to the Bahamas, I barely got 75 miles in all month & most of that wasn’t speed work.  So it was a huge confidence boost to know that I was able to maintain a good speed for more than just 3 miles. I was feeling it by the time I closed into the finish, but I felt like I finished strong.

They announced our names at the finish line, I always like that it gives you a little boost at the finish & since they had free photos, that’s a nice perk to make sure you smile at the end.

They handed out our medals.  There was bottled water, bananas & kashi bars to replenish with.  They had a little post race expo that we didn’t visit.  We got a few photos then got changed & headed back to our car.  We wanted to get off the island before the parade.

I would definitely run this race again.  Did you run a race on 4th of July or just run on your own?

Black Mountain 25k Race Recap

Happy Sunday friends! It’s been a while since I’ve been on here but I attended Blogfest this past week and I’m feeling extra motivated to share. 🙂

After a busy few days at Blogfest, with multiple workouts a day & amazing speakers, Sean & I hit up one of our fav San Diego vegetarian/vegan restaurants, Plumeria, for a pre-race dinner.  I’ve tried a lot of the food at Plumeria, but the Tangerine Chicken is our favorite.

We got home, I threw together an outfit for the race, I was so exhausted that I didn’t even bother with a real flat Jenny, just a pile of clothes, lol.

Black Mountain was a new race for both Sean & I, neither of us have been out there so we had no idea what to expect. The 50k started at 6:30am & the 25k at 7am so we left our house around 5:20 to get there by 5:50 or so.  It was a pretty casual race, we picked up our bibs & race shirts, which for the women is a nice tank, hit up the porta potties and then just chatted with all our friends.

There are a lot of Rabbits in the SD area and we got a pre-race photo.  I’m the odd one out, for some reason choosing to wear a different shirt, which once I saw the photo, I was like what was I thinking lol.

The 50k start was super uneventful, the race director was like 1, 2, 3 Go and they were off.  I wasn’t ready and only managed to get a few snap shots of Sean taking off & he was chewing gum at the time so it’s not the most flattering of photos lol.

After they started I ran into Sarah, the race director for Ramblas Run & chatted with her for a few minutes, then chatted with one of my fellow Dirtbag Runner ambassadors, Pamela & some others at the race.

We listened to the RD tell us a few things about the race, i.e. what color ribbons to follow, thank the volunteers, pick up your feet etc., etc.  and then we were off!

After Nanny Goat at the end of May, then all the travel, work & being sick in June, I really have been slacking on my running so I didn’t know what to expect from my body so I started out relatively slow.

The race starts in the park with about a 1/2 mile on the sidewalk before getting to the trail head.  Once at the trailhead it’s a bit of a climb, which I choose to hike up.  I knew there was about 2,500 feet of climbing during the race, but I didn’t know when or where it would be, except in the last section, so I wanted to make sure I had something left for the big climb.  Who am I kidding, I always hike the big climbs lol.

After the first mile or so I settled into a comfortable pace & started chatting with a guy named Owen who had just moved to SD from Italy with the Navy.  We chatted about running & training and just how nice it was to be out here on the trails.  I was having an exceptionally amazing attitude morning, I was truly so happy to be out on the trails & I pretty much smiled the entire race.

After a while we had another guy join us, we all chatted for a bit more & then I lost them for a bit when we started climbing a little more & I slowed down. This race had a lot of little out and back loops, I went through the first aid station without stopping, did my first little loop, came back through the aid station & met back up with Owen.  We headed out on the next section.  I lost him again but another lady passed me on the uphill & we ran together for about a mile or so.  It was her first trail race.

After I lost her, I was by myself for a bit heading into the next aid station.  We went down a really steep & rocky section before heading onto a beautiful single track section heading into the next aid station, I think around mile 9.  From there we had another little loop to do, about 2 miles before heading back the way we came.

There were a lot of really beautiful purple flowers in this section so of course I had to grab a photo ;).

When we got to the top of this section, I think I heard people call it the Glyder Port parking lot or something like that, we headed down a fire road & then out on to the actual road for a short bit.  Then we started climbing.  And it’s about here that I started to feel that the lack of CarboPro was starting to take it’s toll because I essentially had 2 scoops of Gnarly Hydrate (approx. 60 calories), 3 orange slices & a half a bag of Skratch Labs gummies in 12ish miles.  Not really my best fueling, lol.

Needless to say, the lack of calories was really starting to catch up to me.  I was fine for most of the hike up to the peak until the last .6 mile section.  It was getting hot & steeper, but I kept it going by saying good job to all those coming down.  I finally got to the top!  They had Otter Pops & ice so I got my pack refilled, had 2 otter pops & then started my descent to the finish.

I was feeling amazing on that section!  Those otter pops really gave me some extra energy & I had a pack full of ice cold water.  I was drinking a ton, so much so that I ran out of water with about 3/4 of a mile to go, oops! I was using a different bladder in my pack, the camelbak bladder because I’ve had a lot of trouble with the hydrapak  bladders & I had a 1.5 lt bladder in my OrangeMud gear vest, it doesn’t fit perfectly & I don’t think the volunteers realized that it wasn’t fully filled.  I’ll have to look at that more closely the next time I use it.

In any case, I was cruising in this section, feeling amazing, I passed a bunch of people and made my way down to the park, which was a tinsy bit farther away than I was expecting.  I think I hit 16 miles just as I got to the park. But trail races are always a little long or short depending on the race so it is what it is :).

The photographer told me which way to go because there wasn’t a marker there and I just kept the momentum up the best I could.  I was starting to feel a little sick from the lack of calories as I made my way to the finish, but I was able to maintain a sub 9 minute pace for that last 1/2 mile which felt really good.

Arms up & out in my signature Jenny pose at the finish & I was done!  I got my medal, an Elevation Culture original & a cute little rubber cup from the race director and then immediately headed over to grab a coke.  I needed sugar!

I was drenched for the majority of the race, I’m not sure if it was the humidity or if I was just sweating like crazy, but both my shirt & then eventually my shorts were completely soaked by the end of the race.  Which was nice for keeping me cool, but I don’t really like the feeling of sweat dripping down my legs, lol. After getting my coke & a finish line photo, I immediately went to get changed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Side note: As an avid racer, the #1 tip, I can give if you are a heavy sweater like I am, is to always bring a change of clothes to either have in your car or in your finish line bag.  I hate walking around in wet clothes after the race & sometimes it can get really cold. I always bring an extra pair of shorts, top & a new sports bra (because that’s the worst part, when is someone going to design a quick drying sports bra???) and put them in my finish line bag or in the car & I put them on as soon as I can.

The race had pizza for the finishers, I’m not sure if it was vegan so I passed, had some grapes & a handful of almonds & granola while I waited for Sean to finish.  I chatted with some other runners and just enjoyed a little time in the sun.

When Sean finished he explained that the markers got vandalized and that a huge group of about 20 runners got off course for about 3ish miles.  It wasn’t like a marker fell off and was put back accidentally, the people who vandalized the course did it maliciously by putting more markers about a half a mile down the wrong way, which resulted in a big group going the wrong way.  So not cool people.  Is it really that big of a hindrance to have runners in your neighborhood for one morning?

Overall though, the 25k didn’t have any issues with course markings, I had a great time & we got lots of CarboPro after the race so I shouldn’t have any issues in my next race :).

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.

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?

2017 Los Angeles Marathon Race Recap

And with this post, I’m caught up on my race recaps!  Yea!! Can you see me giving myself a pat on the back? LOL

Let’s get the following out of the way and then get on to my recap.  I am an ambassador for Conqur Endurance Group, which puts on the Santa Monica 5k/10k, Pasadena Half Marathon and the Los Angeles Marathon.  I did receive a free entry into the race as part of my ambassadorship, however as usual all opinions on the race are my own.

This was my 3rd year running LA and Sean’s 6th.  We really enjoy this race and will continue running it for many years to come.

Sean & I drove up to LA on Saturday morning in an effort to beat some of the traffic and then to be able to get our streak run in and relax before having to get up crazy early to drive to Santa Monica.

Once we got near the convention center we started looking for street parking, it’s significantly less expensive than parking in the garage. We parked about 3 blocks from the Expo and walked over.

On Friday, we got a text with our bib numbers in, which was a nice surprise.  If you opted in for text messages, you received this text.

When we got to the expo, there wasn’t a line to pick up our bibs so we immediately walked over to our respective numbers to get our bibs.  They weren’t there and both Sean & I were directed to the solutions desk.  We had added on the start-line hospitality so our bibs were in a different section & tagged with a sticker showing that we were in the hospitality tent.

Once we got our bibs, we got our race shirts & gear check bags.  I really like the shirt and I would love to see a medal like the shirt with the landmarks around the medal, I think that would be so cool :).

We walked through the sponsored merchandise and Skechers had some nice gear at reasonable prices, but I have so much gear that I felt it best to pass.

Once we got into the expo area, I immediately took us towards the Lululemon Sweatbox where we would be for the next 90ish minutes.  I’ll talk more about this in a separate post.

Once we left the Sweatbox, we walked around the expo for a few more minutes, got some Clif Bar samples, a few photos and then headed out.

We were trying to decide when to do our run, but we also wanted to go to lunch, it was already 2:30pm so we were in that in between time.  We looked it up and saw that Bottega Louie was less than a mile away so we walked over.  Once we got there they told us that it would be 40 minutes for a table because they were changing over the shift so we put our name on the list and decided to go for our run.

We ran back to the car, I got us new shirts since we would probably be pretty sweaty and then we ran back to the restaurant.  We were probably a 1/4 of the way back when I got a text saying our table was ready so we ran back as fast as we could to get our table.

It was pretty funny when I sat down at the table, sweat literally dripping down my face.  Our server didn’t miss a beat and didn’t say a word as I was wiping my face, lol.

A hour later we had stuffed ourselves with Cobb Salad, Margarita Pizza, Creme Brulee & a Chocolate dessert.

We headed back to the car and over to Manhattan Beach and a movie.  Afterwards we had to find a FedEx office because I forgot to print out our parking permit & I didn’t want to have an issue in the morning.

In the past 2 years, 2015 & 2016, we’ve stayed in a hotel downtown.  This year we were able to stay with Sean’s sister in Manhattan Beach so I pre-purchased parking in Santa Monica prior to the race for $20, note to self, print it out before you leave for the race ;).

We finally got to our destination, did our flat runner photos and headed to bed. A 2:45am alarm was going to come fast. Needless to say, I don’t think I slept more than about an hour the whole night and I was already up before my alarm went off.  I tried to sleep until about 3am before finally just getting out of bed.

We were out the door and on our way by about 3:40a, we took a nice route near the beach up to Santa Monica and encountered no traffic on our way to the garage next to the Civic Center. Since it was so early, Sean & ate GoMacro bars on the way to Dodger Stadium.

Once we got parked we headed to the shuttles, the line was quite long, but there were tons of buses so we assumed we’d be in one and on our way quickly.  30 minutes later, we had barely moved and maybe one bus had left.  We realized at some point that there were 2 lines of runners, on either side of the building, oops.

We finally made it up to a bus, a girl asked me if I was wearing my back and taking my bag with me to the start and gave me 2 orange wristbands to put on them.  I didn’t know what they were for, they didn’t look in or at either my pack or drop bag closely.  I found out later that they were checking bags for security reasons, but that wasn’t the case with us.

We made our way up to Dodger Stadium and got dropped off in the normal spot.  I heard from some of the other ambassadors that they would get dropped off outside the stadium and that the freeway exit got all messed up with cones in the bus lane.  Fortunately that didn’t happen for us.

We walked in and over to the start-line hospitality tent.  It was pretty chilly when we arrived.  This was our first time doing the start-line hospitality and it was pretty nice.  They had food, bagels, bananas, clif bar shots, coffee, bottled water and most importantly heaters!  We saw Tim, one of my fellow ambassadors (for Conqur & The OM Dirt Unit) at one of the tables, we eventually moved to the back of the tent to stay warmer.

It was really nice, they had yoga mats and foam rollers, Air France tote bags & infuser bottles, private porta potties and a special gear check UPS truck for us!

We got the whole ambassador gang together for a photo and then we went our separate ways to get ready for the start. Left to right: Linzie, me, Tony, Emelia, Erica, Tim, Brett, Carlee, Ivie & Miriam.

I was in Corral C which was the 3rd corral and Sean was one of the lucky 300 people to be in Corral A up with the elites.  As I was standing there waiting for the start, I saw Gocart Mario in his car.  It was pretty cool.

I will say thinking back on it now, the start line atmosphere wasn’t quite the same as it has been in the past, it seemed a little bit more mellow than I remembered from past years, but all good.

I turned my Garmin on about 20 minutes before the start and unfortunately it never got a signal so when I started I thought I hit the start button, but found out right before mile 1 that I had not started it at all so I was about .85 miles off on my tracking.

We start in the parking lot of Dodger’s stadium and as we were starting the sun was coming up and it was looking to be a very beautiful day.  Contrary to what we were expecting with fog for most of the race.

I started out feeling ok, my back and legs were a bit tight from standing around so I took it slow to start, or so I thought, lol.  I actually did quite well the first half of the race, looking back, although I did not feel great at all, my butt hurt pretty much from the get-go and that eventually moved to my hamstrings and it was all I could do to just keep moving.  A lot of my issues are stemming from an anterior pelvic tilt along with one hip that is higher than the other.

I was experiencing a lot of pain but I decided to just have a lot of fun, take photos & try to find some of the snap chat filters, I don’t use snapchat, I only downloaded it for the geofilters, which I was planning to upload to my Insta stories.

I’m still a bit shocked at the time I came into the 20k at the time I did considering I hiked up a lot of the hill, slowed for photos, etc.

Around mile 4, is the Disney Concert Hall, which looks so pretty and the Japanese drummers are there too.  They are amazing, I caught a short video as I walked up the hill.

One of my absolute favorite spots on the course is the chili cheese dog station at about mile 5.5.  They totally did it up this year with a table and chafing dishes full of food.  It is things like this that make LA Marathon so awesome.  The spectators really get into it.  That being said, I really wish this station was at mile 25.5 so I could actually enjoy one, my stomach is a bit too finicky to eat a chili cheese dog less than 6 miles into the race lol.

I ran walked from mile 4 on, taking photos, seeing the sites and just having a great time.

We ran down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.  It’s really pretty with all the palm trees. I had a video of this area, but I seem to have lost it.

I love coming into Santa Monica, there are so many spectators, I swear this year there were even more than in the past.

About mile 18 the pain in my glutes/hamstrings started to get really bad, to the point where it hurt to walk.  I know my walk sections were getting longer but I kept moving.  Talking to other runners, listening to my audio book, enjoying the sunshine and all the spectators.  Around this point there were more and more of them.

After doing a run/walk hobble to mile 23, our friend Mitch came by and said Hi before passing me.  I chatted with some other runners and just kept chugging along.  Eventually we got down the hill and to the beach.  I ran the last mile just trying to keep it together and get to that finish line.

When I crossed the line, I was surprised at how quite it was.  I looked for someone I was supposed to meet at the finish but I never saw them so I got my medal and a few photos before going to look for Sean.  In the past he’s been closer to the finish line waiting for me, but he said they were pretty strict, and understandably so, about runners hanging out near the finish.

I got a bunch of post race treats, banana, bagel, Power bars, pretzels, animal crackers, cheese-its, etc. and then kept moving.  I was in so much pain, I just wanted to sit down.

After getting my heat blanket, I finally saw Sean & made my way to him.  We got my drop bag at the start-line hospitality truck, this was an awesome perk, it was the first truck!

After getting our gear and that Air France tote bag came in handy here for all of our post race snacks ;). We headed to the pier to change into dry clothes.  I sweat so much, my lululemon speed shorts are always soaked to the point I’m dripping, I don’t understand why I’m sweating so much lately but in any case, I always bring a full change of clothes for after the race.  I hate being wet once I’m done running.  This race, I got smart and brought a small towel to dry off with too ;).

We got warm, took a few photos and had a nice post race meal of burgers & fries.

I finished the race in 4:46:10, out of 18,893 runners I was 6,244.  After reflecting on my time, which compared to a lot of people isn’t fast, I realized that I was in the top 3rd of people, which means that over 12,600 people finished behind me.  That’s a lot of people and it’s nice to see that LA Marathon is a race that is for any ability.

So I already know I’m registering for next year, you can get in on the party by registering for the lowest prices for the next 3 days. (Regular registration opens later this summer)

As with any race, even those you love, there are always things that are better than others so here’s what I liked, what I didn’t like and what I’d love to see ;).

Pros:

  • Nice big expo that wasn’t super crowded
  • Beautiful Medal
  • So many spectators on the course
  • Amazing Volunteers, those kids were so into it, cheering us on
  • SRLA (Students Run LA Program) this is seriously an amazing program that brings over 3,000 at risk youth from grades 7 – 12 together for a marathon training program that culminates with them running the marathon. These kids inspire me so much & I look forward to seeing them every year.

Cons:

  • No information telling us that our bibs would be at the Solutions desk instead of the normal pick-up area.  It wasn’t a huge issue since it was pretty quite but if it had been busy we could have waited a long time.
  • Shuttles to the start line
  • While the volunteers were amazing, the kids had a hard time staying on the sides, some of the aid stations became bottle-necks
  • Last year at the expo we got a lot of treats in our gear bag, this year nothing. While I don’t need the papers, I liked trying new food products.

Suggestions:

  • As I said earlier, while LA has amazing medals, I would love to see a medal that looks like this year’s shirt with the landmarks around it.
  • Santa Monica shuttle definitely needs a little work, I know this is definitely something that Conqur is investigating already.
  • Give out bags with post race snacks in them – SD Half, NYC Marathon & Venice Marathon does this and it is sooo nice. You just grab a bag from a volunteer & go.

Overall though, this is one of my favorite marathons and I can’t wait to go back and run it again in 2018!

2017 San Diego Half Marathon Race Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Griffith Park Trail 50k Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Griffith Park Trail Marathon – Wisdom Tree Loop

I’ve been procrastinating long enough and I’m now 3 race recaps behind with another race this weekend so I better get a move on!

Sean & I have headed over to LA to run in Griffith Park, in downtown Los Angeles 2 out of the last 3 weekends.  Our first jaunt up there was with a small group of friends for an informal marathon.

I found us a cool historic hotel about 15 minutes from the start in Koreatown.  We got there around dinner time and just decided to grab dinner in the cute burger place below the hotel called Cassell’s since we had already valeted the car.

You’ll see that eating burgers before a race is now becoming a trend, which is interesting. lol

These burgers were super yummy, we also got some amazing sweet potato fries that were covered with cinnamon sugar. I’ve eaten a lot of fries, but none that were like dessert, lol.  I also ordered a ginger beer that Sean & I shared, it was homemade and huge! Like 2x the size of the water glass.

Of course we couldn’t resist getting some pie.  Personally I prefer fruit pie, but Sean is more of a chocolate person so we decided to try the chocolate peanut butter, which was good but the back crust was a little tough, I kept clanking my fork on the plate.

After dinner, we got our gear ready and then hit the sack.  I’ve been so exhausted lately, I sleep but yet it doesn’t seem to be helping me to feel rested.

We were meeting at 6:30am so we got up around 5:15a and left the hotel around 6:00am.  It was raining as we were waiting for the car to pull around and it was a little chilly.

We got to our meeting point a little bit before 6:30a, we got our gear ready, chatted with some of the other runners and then after the last runner arrived, we got started.

The loop started out with a tough technical climb up to Wisdom Tree.  We got a quick photo and then headed out to the next spot, above the Hollywood Sign, we would only go to the top the first loop.

After another quick group photo there, we headed down the road to the next set of trail. Up a steep section that reminded me of a slip & slide.

From there we took an overgrown & muddy single track trail to a fire road.  When we got down, we ran down the road to the horse trail, which was like a fire road.

We took the horse trail down for a bit and then we were at the bottom of the Hollywood sign.  We got a few photos and then headed on.  The next section included in a little more downhill fire road and a bit more road before turning onto a dirt sidewalk and heading back to our car.

Sean & I stuck together the whole “race” for the most part.  He is a bit better than me on the uphill, but with his knee still getting back to normal, I was a little faster on the downhill.

It was not an easy race and I struggled up the hill to Wisdom Tree on the 4th loop. I really wanted to quit, but I pushed through and we made it finishing 4 6.2ish mile loops for a total of 26.4 miles & somewhere between 5-6,000ft of climbing and earned this amazing medal!

Afterwards we went to Howlin’ Rays Tennessee Chicken with our friends, where we stood in line for 2.5 hours to order our chicken sandwiches.  They were good, but I’m not sure if they were 2.5 hour wait good, lol.

We did have a great time and of course watching Andrea eat the Howlin’ chicken was very entertaining!

Next up, I’ll recap Keira Henninger’s Griffith Park 50k.

What is the longest you’ve waited for a post race meal?

Race Recap: NYC Marathon

For about 30 days every January/February the New York City Marathon lottery is open.  So many runners enter the lottery with hopes that come March their credit cards will be charged $255 and they will be in for the biggest race in the world!

I’ve been lucky to have run NYC Marathon once before, although, I have yet to be lucky in the lottery. Both times I’ve run NYCM it has been with a charity, first with ING Run for Something Better and this year with the James Blake Foundation.  My first time I was supposed to run in 2012 but unfortunately Hurricane Sandy changed that and so I ran in 2013 instead.

This year, both Sean & I put our names in the hat and he was the lucky winner, he found out really early that morning, while I was stuck waiting to see if I got in through out the day.  I was so disappointed that I didn’t get in that he didn’t want to tell me he was in so as to not upset me. Such a sweet guy :).

In any case, originally we thought to have him defer until next year to see if I got in as well.  But in May, when we found out that my brother-in-law David was diagnosed with cancer, I thought what better way to support him than run the race for him.  So we looked for a charity that fit what we wanted to do and settled on the James Blake Foundation.

Long story short, we were able to raise $3,000 for the foundation that supports early cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital thanks to the generous support of our family & friends.  We are so grateful for the generosity shown to us and the support for David!

Now to the event…I didn’t have this blog when I ran NYC the first time so this is my first NYC Marathon race recap.

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We have had a very busy schedule, with the trip to the Venice Marathon, then Javelina before finally heading to NYC on the Friday before the race.  To say it was a quick trip is an understatement.  By the time we got to the city on Friday it was after 6pm which left us time to get in Sean’s streak run, visit Times Square and have dinner.

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On our way back from our run, we happened to walk by a place called Grom, it’s a gelato place that we went to in Venice after the Venice Marathon.  It’s so yummy & what a treat!

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I wanted to go to the We Run Social event which was a part of a bigger event with Kelly Roberts, a blogger I’m not really familiar with, on Saturday morning so I dragged Sean out of bed early and to the subway so we could head down to Chelsea for the meet-up.

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It was so great seeing Robin, my friend from SD, Carlos, Gina (who incidentally I met at Javelina the week before) & xtina ;).  We got in a short run through the city, took some photos, grabbed a snacks (those new Vega Protein Snack bars are super yummy! and then headed off to the expo.

We Run Social Crew

We were planning to take the subway to the expo, but after chatting about it we decided to just take a cab.  It was just way easier :).

We made it to the expo and it wasn’t super crowded to get into like it was the last time I was there.  We got our bibs, race shirts & our packet info and then it was time to head into the expo.

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The Asics booth had a lot of cool Marathon logo’d gear, but the line was ridiculous & I just don’t have patience to deal with all those people so we skipped that section.

First thing we saw when we got inside was the awesome Altra booth!  They really had a great NYC edition Torin and some sweet shirts too.  Sean & I each got one :).

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We ran into Heatherruns74 at the Zensah Booth and chatted with her for a bit.  We were so sad to hear about her race.  It sounds like it was a tough race for a lot of people.

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We made bibs saying F*CK Cancer for David  at the NYRR booth to wear on our backs during the race. They just asked for a minimum $5 donation that went to Team for Kids.

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After walking around for a bit, we ran into some of Sean’s friends at the Nuun booth. We chatted with them for a bit, then got some fun stuff at the Aftershokz booth and a few snacks.

We then made our way back up towards our hotel and lunch.  We went to this cool upscale food court for burgers before dropping off our gear and heading back to the park for another run.  The first one was too much start & stop to count as a streak run for Sean so we needed to do a 2nd one.  We ended up with 4.5 shakeout miles.

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Dinner was super early at this yummy Italian place called PizzArte.  We had a pizza Pulcinella with tomatoes, arugula & shaved parmigiano and a homemade pasta with marinara sauce & basil.  Yum! Yum! Carb loading at its best.

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We got back, each of us took our flat runner photos and then got some sleep.  I normally wear my Lululemon Speed Shorts for most races and I was still wearing a lulu sports bra and swiftly tee but my awesome friends over at Running Skirts made the most perfect NYC skirt that I just had to wear for the race.  It’s seriously cute and the twins are actually running on the streets on the skirt.

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The time changed that night and I just happened to wake up a few minutes before the actual time change, I always get nervous but I saw it change so I felt better :).

We set our alarms for 4:45am to catch the subway down to the Staten Island Ferry at 6:15am.  I’ve never taken the ferry before so it was a lot of fun!  Although note to self.  Either sit by the windows, so you are in control of it, or away from it.  People were opening the windows for photos and there were 2 not so considerate peeps who left the window open & it was freezing!! lol

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Once at the Staten Island ferry station we quickly made our way out and headed to the buses.  We were lucky and got on a bus pretty quickly.  The bus was kind of slow going and we found out why once we got a little closer.  The police were doing security checks as you got off the bus.  This was so much nicer then in 2013 when it was a madhouse with 50k runners trying to go through a tiny bottleneck. (After hearing from other runners, I think that may have still happened, but maybe with the buses from the city.)

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Sean & I were in different colored waves but we had plenty of time so we just hung out near the blue village (my wave color).  When we got there there were barely any lines for the port-a-potties so that was the first stop.  Then we settled in for a few hours taking a few photos and a nap.

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When we got back up, there were a lot more people there and Sean was freezing.  He was wrapped up in our LA Marathon heat sheets like a burrito – it was really funny.

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Eventually it was time for Sean to make his way over to the orange village to get ready to run!

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I headed back to the blue village, I really wanted one of the cool Dunkin Donuts hats they were handing out but I seriously couldn’t find them.  I ate a bagel and drank the rest of my water.

The worst part about this race is how long you have to wait until the start.  My wave didn’t leave until 11:00am and I was up at 4:45am.  I ate a croissant on the way there, a Clifbar filled peanut butter bar and a bagel about an hour before along with a bottle of water.  I probably could have eaten more but I was a bit nervous too.  I thought about it as we were on the bus, it’s interesting that at a marathon they wait until mile 18 to give you any food but in an ultra you could be eating from the first aid station, lol.

I hit up the port-a-potties one last time and then made my way over to the corrals.  By this point it was getting hot so I shed my throw-a-way gear, put on my race bib and got my flipbelt situated.  Unfortunately NYCM doesn’t allow backpack hydration packs although I did see a few others wearing orange mud, which made me a bit sad because that would have been so much nicer than the belt.  I say that not because the belt was bad, it actually was quite comfortable, but once stuffed, I have an iPhone 7 plus and a few Glukos Energy gels and other gels, it looked pretty awkward around my waist.

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I was in the orange wave last time, which was on the other side of the bridge, this time they staged us and then walked us over to the actual start line.  I’m pretty sure we started a little late, but in the scheme of things it didn’t really matter at that point.

I was really warm as we were getting ready to start and thought wearing a black shirt, which I never do, was probably not the best idea.  But I remembered it being a bit windy so I kept my sleeves on.

We listened to the National Anthem, the girl who sang, was also running the race then finally we were off!  It was such a different experience from 2013 with the sun shining and barely any wind.  I do feel like there were a lot more people.  I’m not sure if that’s because I was in wave 4 vs wave 3 or just because adding an extra 2k runners made it feel that much more crowded.

I took it rather slow going over the bridge, it is the biggest climb of the race, I took a little video, and just enjoyed being out there.

It was a lot of fun running down the bridge but once we got to the bottom, I was expecting to see a ton of spectators but there were very few.  Turns out that once we merged with the orange wave, that’s where all the crowds were.  I was on the right side of the street scanning the crowds to the left to find my friend Lucia who lives in Brooklyn.  I saw her and her family and started screaming her name!  Eventually her husband heard me and they waved.  It’s always exciting to see people you know.

I just kept moving feeling decent in the first few miles. And then I started to feel a sharp pain in my left ankle around mile 5.  I had twisted it somehow and while it wasn’t horrible, I definitely could feel a serious discomfort.  I just kept moving until a few miles later.

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We were heading up a little hill around mile 8 when I passed a girl wearing the Boom socks from ProCompression.  I said nice socks and she was like I read your blog, LOL.  If you are reading, HI!  Not long after that a guy named Terrance asked me about David and told me a story about a friend of his who had cancer and ran the race a few years ago.  It was his birthday and we would run/walk with each other for a few miles.

I had an issue with one of my toes from Cuyamaca which was doing fine until a few days before the race.  I was trying on outfits for the race and I made the mistake of just shoving my foot into my compression sock.  Well big mistake because it pushed the nail backwards but not off completely.  So instead of just pulling it off, I decided to put a band-aid on and wait for it to fall off on it’s own.  Long story short, the band-aid started to come loose and I could feel the tape on the bottom of my foot.  I ran for as long as I could with it like that until I knew I saw a med tent.

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At just after mile 9 I rolled up to the med tent, asked them for a band-aid and had to take off my shoe & compression sock to do a repair job.  I’ve stopped at med tents before, but this was the first time I’ve ever had my bib scanned upon arrival and departure.

They watched me change out my band-aid and gave me a little athletic tape to keep it together (band-aids aren’t super sticky) and then I was off.  Of course then I started running and immediately thought, oh no, it’s too tight, but eventually it would loosen up, although I would end up with a massive blister on the 3rd toe from the tape. But it didn’t hurt and was gone pretty quickly.

After this I tried to keep up my momentum and just enjoy the race.  I did pretty well until we got to the bridge, by that point, I was getting really cold and my ankle was starting to throb.  I took a few photos of the city, texted my sister & Sean, saw that Molly Huddle was kicking butt and ran/walked as much as I could.

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I remember the moments coming off the bridge into Manhattan differently than this year.  It was a really nice with the sun shining.  Running on First Ave there are so many spectators, it was like a huge party.

Around mile 17/18 I was just minding my own business heading into the aid station when all of a sudden this huge plastic garbage bag comes flying across the road.  This girl in front of me got tangled up in the bag and went down.  I helped her up, got her over to the sidewalk with the help of a spectator when a police officer came up saying that medical was coming and then I kept moving.

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I will say that it was really nice having a lot of aid stations, but the aid stations got a little slippery and sticky from all the water & gatorade.  I drank a ton during the race, I think I refilled my Orange Mud hand bottle at least 5 times.

When we got to the Bronx everyone was so nice, they were dancing in the streets and when we got to the last bridge there were a few people cheering us on saying this is the last bridge.

We finally made it to 5th Ave, which is slightly uphill, I ran/walked most of this section. And was so excited to turn into the park.  This is one of my favorite parts of the whole course.  It’s so beautiful and this year there was some sun flitting through the trees when I was going through this section.

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If I remember correctly, after a few quick miles through the park, we came out of the park again around 59th Street & Columbus Circle.  And then we were heading up the last small hill to the finish!  I was so excited to be at the finish line!  Arms up & all the smiles!

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All in all, I’m happy with my time, I came in under 5 hours and I had a blast.  In the end, that’s what matters most.

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And then it was so so cold!  I was freezing!  I took a few quick selfies, made my way over to get my medal.  I quickly walked over to get my snack bag and then a heat blanket.  I walked as quickly as I could to get to the ponchos.  I was so cold by this point.  I was texting with Sean.  He had finished quite a bit before me and was getting ready to walk back from the hotel to meet me.

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I finally got my poncho and started walking towards the family reunion area.  I thought Sean was there, but he was still coming up when I got there.  I saw him coming towards me and was really happy.

This year it seemed a bit easier to get around, maybe because I was a bit later in the day, but we made our way back towards the hotel, stopping at a Starbucks (like so many other people) to get something warm.  We finally made it back to the hotel and I was able to finally get warm.

While this wasn’t my fastest race or even my fastest NYC, it was such a blast.  Even with the minor issues I dealt with, I had a great time.  Marathons are never easy, but it was made easier knowing that I wasn’t just running for myself this time.

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Pros: Amazing crowd support – NYC Marathon has the best spectators.
*Very organized expo & race in general
*Running over the Verrazano Bridge
*Taking the ferry to the start line
*The Ponchos are really nice
*Cool Medal

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Cons: It’s very expensive at $255 + $11 entry fee
*NYC is an expensive city, we were fortunate that we were able to use points & miles to pay for our travel, but in general, NYC is not cheap.
*It’s a crowded race and as it grows its getting even more crowded.
*A very late start. When you are used to 7am or earlier starts, an 11am start is very late.
*The weather is unpredictable
*The walk after the finish is super long and cold

All in all, while I wouldn’t necessarily want to run NYC every year for a variety of reasons, mostly because of the cost (if I lived closer it might be different), I love the New York City Marathon and I think it should be on every marathoners bucket list to do at least once.