Race Recap: San Diego Holiday Half 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hung out there for a bit maybe 35-40 minutes before I saw Sean’s pink shirt coming down the street.  He was right next to this other guy who was trying to race Sean lol so I didn’t get the best of photos.
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And then he was done!!  I was so freaking proud of him for a sub 4 hour finish after a tough & hot 100 miler.  And surprisingly one of his friends, Chris, also ran both races and they finished pretty close together.

Post Race Photo

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

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

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

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

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

 

San Diego 100 2016

San Diego 100 is a race that Sean has run the past 2 years and since it is a local race it’s nice and easy for to crew.

For 2016 they moved the race from Sat-Sun to Fri-Sat, so I took the day off work to crew & volunteer.  For the most part, we had cell service, except at Pioneer Mail so I could have worked remotely, but with all the driving from place to place it’s easier just not to deal with it.

This year I decided to volunteer as well as crew so I asked my friends at Running Skirts if I could be a part of their team at the first aid station, at the Paso Picacho Campgrounds.

So Sean & I got up early on Friday morning to head over to Lake Cuyamaca for the start of the race.  We got there in plenty of time, got one of the last parking spots in the lot and then walked over so Sean could get his packet.

Obligatory pre-race selfie

Along the way we chatted with other runners who either know Sean from other races or us both.

We said Hi to Cindy & Fern, Cindy would finish 3rd female in her first 100 mile race in just under 23 hours!!  We chatted with a bunch of our other runner friends and then eventually it was time for the race to start.

runner friends, sd100, 2016

The race director, Scotty Mills, talked a lot about how it was going to be extremely hot, up to 108 in some areas, and how important it was to be hydrated and to take it easy.  He really stressed that they wanted everyone to get back safely.  And then after a few more comments it was time and they were off!

And then Fern & I headed quickly over to Paso Picacho to join Christy and the other volunteers to get things set up for the runners.  Christy & Cindy own Running Skirts and they generously gave all the volunteers full outfits to wear, as well as giving their cooling buffs to all the runners.  Sean wears their buffs every race so we can attest to how well they work.

Running Skirts, Volunteer, SD 100, Paso Picacho

Not too long after arriving, our friends Kat & Matt came over as well, Kat & I got a few photos and then got to work.

Running Skirts, Volunteer, SD 100, Paso Picacho

The first aid station is a busy one because it’s only 7.5 miles from the start and everyone is still relatively close together.  The cut-off is 2.5 hours.

We got the food set out, we made PB&J, cut up salted potatoes, watermelon, frozen grapes, etc.  We filled containers with water and tailwind.  And then took the tags off the cooling buffs and put them in a cooler full of ice water.

Not long after that the runners started coming.  It was slow to start and then Bam! they were coming fast and furious.  I was filling water bottles and directing people to the other side for Tailwind & ice.  We were all moving like crazy trying to get everyone out and on their way.

It went pretty smoothly and we got everyone off quickly and safely, with the last runner leaving 10 minutes before the cut-off.  The sweepers came, we got them some food and then we all packed everything up and headed back to the lake to go crew.  Christy & Fern were crewing for Cindy while I crewed Sean.

Sunrise Aid Station, SD 100, Running Skirts, Paksit Photos

The next aid station that we could be at was at Sunrise.  By this point it was getting really warm.  Sean came in looking really good.  He got a lot of ice and then was on his way.

Sunrise Aid Selfie

I headed out to see him at Pioneer Mail, mile 28ish.  Crew wasn’t allowed inside the aid station for the first pass.  They set up the aid station very differently than last year, with 2 huge RVs taking up a lot of space and really blocking off view of the runners.

When Sean came through, he filled his buff with lots of ice, took a water bath and refilled his bottles.  It was weird not being able to help him but he finished up and then we chatted for a minute before he headed out.  After this I wouldn’t see him for 20 miles.

Pioneer Mail Mile 28

Since I had a while until I saw Sean again, I drove out to get gas and some cold water before picking his pacer up.  Eric and I headed to Meadows (one of my favorite spots to run out there).  We chilled out for a while before hanging out with Christy & Fern for a while.

Fern asked me to take photos for them when Cindy came in so I was the official photographer 😉 lol.  They are a well oiled machine, with one person taking off her socks & shoes, Christy putting some cream on her legs, then putting her socks back on, all the while she is eating, someone else is massaging her shoulders and using the Inov-8 on her legs.  It was actually quite fun to watch.

Well Oiled Machine, Team Running Skirts, SD 100, Meadows Aid Station

She got on her way and then we waited a bit longer for Sean.  He came in all smiles.  It would only be another 7 miles until he could pick up Eric for the next 45 miles.

Meadows Aid Station

We headed over to Red Tail Roost, which last year was a much bigger aid station.  This year it was pretty much just for pacer pick-up, which actually was nice since last year pacers had to be dropped off at Penny Pines and there isn’t enough parking for crew cars.

Sean came in looking strong, he and Eric would head out to mile 64, a new aid station for us, Cibbet Flats.  Kat & Matt were running this aid station.  To get to this aid station you need to continue on Sunrise Hwy to the 8 heading towards El Centro, go 2 exits (I think) and then then drive towards the Cibbet Flats campground.  The aid station was in the campground.

I hung out with Kat checking people in and out while I waited for Sean to arrive.  He was pretty much right on schedule.  We got his bottles iced up, I gave him a Monster and pretty much sent him on his way.  It would be 20 miles until I would see him next and he was still on pace for a sub-24 hour race.

By the time I saw him next at Pioneer Mail, he was walking and not in the best of spirits.  He and Eric along with another runner had gotten lost leaving one of the aid stations, the aid station even saw them go the wrong way and never said anything, which seriously affected his mental fortitude at that point.

They would continue on, however without a time goal the goal shifted to just finish and would include a lot more walking than he normally did.

Sunrise Aid Station, Sunrise, SD100, San Diego

I would see them again at Sunrise, they got there just after the sun actually rose and had the opportunity to see a spectacular sunrise.  But even at 6:30am, I could tell, it was getting hot, I gave him my extra buff and we filled it with ice so he would keep cool over the last 9 miles.

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Incidentally, due to the heat, a surprise aid station popped up right when they needed it at mile 95.  Sean & Eric were the first to go through and really appreciated it.

I headed back to Lake Cuyamaca to wait for them to finish.  Having a bit of time, I cleaned the car up, got coffee, chatted with some other crew/spectators and waited for them to come in.  I was hoping that with the sun coming up, Sean would get a little boost and finish faster than expected, like he has done occasionally, but he was pretty tired by that point and with it getting so hot, he made the decision to take it a little easier.

A couple with a pair of binoculars allowed us to borrow them periodically so we could see if our runner was coming.  After a bit, I finally was able to see Sean & Eric on the other side of the lake.

And he's finished!!

I ran over to the finish so I could get some photos for him as he came across the line.  He got his medal, buckle and a bag full of swag, bag, sweatshirt, coffee cup & hat.  This is in addition to the shirt, orange mud bottle, injini socks & drawstring bag he had already received at check-in.  I have to say this is one of the best swag races I’ve seen. And he’s done a lot of ultras.

Team Sexy Calves

We hung out chatting with other runners, eating and relaxing for a bit before heading home.  We still had to go to the Rock n’ Roll SD race expo.

Finish Line Bliss

A huge Thank You to Christy at Running Skirts for giving me the opportunity to volunteer with the Running Skirts crew.  And to both Christy & Cindy for the Running Skirts outfit. I can’t wait to wear my Keep it Chill shirt at some races this summer. To Christy & Fern for sharing their cookies and ceviche with me. To Paksit Photos and Regina for the photos.  And to Kat & Matt for the hamburger at Cibbet Flats, I needed that!

Post Run Eats: Eclipse Chocolate Bar & Bistro San Diego

When I was in San Diego for the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon, Pete & I had seen an ad for Eclipse Chocolate in the San Diego Dining magazine and it looked amazing, so after looking at the website we decided to hit it up.  I went a second time over Labor Day weekend and this review shares a bit of both visits.  Seeing as I’m addicted to dessert this is so totally like Willy Wonka’s for a sweets loving foodie like myself.

From their website: Our Mission- To craft premium artisan foods & confections with a unique culinary perspective while maintaining sustainable & ethical operations that support our local community.

It’s very unique in the fact that the founder was originally a sculptor before starting to hand make exotic chocolates, not a traditional chef background.

They are a Silver Fork winner for 2013 from San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles.

The unique thing about all their food is that everything is infused with chocolate, vanilla and/or caramel.  All food is made from scratch with all natural ingredients.  They have vegan & gluten free options.  They have a good selection of alcoholic beverages as well, but I rarely drink, and would much rather a drinking chocolate at a place like this :).

Eclipse Chocolate, Menu, Brunch, foodie, san diego, california

Both times I’ve visited have been on Sundays and they have an awesome brunch so I always go with the tasting trio, for $20, which allows you to choose one entree and then 2 options from the sides, soup & salad & dessert options.  There are a lot of different options to choose from.

Both times, I started off with a Soy Salted Dulce de Leche drinking chocolate (31% white) which came with home made marshmallows.  My dining companion tried a Soy Double Dark Cocoa (61% dark).  Both were AMAZING!!

Eclipse Chocolate, Drinking Chocolate, Dulce de Leche, Double Dark Chocolate, San Diego, California

For my entree on my first visit I selected the farm house eggs & bacon, which was 2 eggs, brown sugar glazed bacon and buttermilk toast with orange peel, vanilla bean butter and for one of my sides, sea salted fried red potato wedges with a chile burnt caramel hollandaise with serrano sea salt & chives (I had the hollandaise on the side). The potatoes are Vegan & Gluten Free.

breakfast, farm house eggs, brown sugar bacon, buttermilk toast, orange peel vanilla butter, sea salt, potatoes, eclipse chocolate, san diego, california

On my second visit, I chose the Avocado Benedict, which was the best benedict I’ve ever had.  I will clarify though, I’m not a huge fan of hollandaise sauce so I did get it on the side. From the menu: buttermilk toast+hickory salted avocado+soft poach egg+chile burnt caramel hollandaise.

My dining companion chose the Buttermilk Pancakes in Blueberry Maple Bacon flavor, OMG!!! AMAZING!! There were blueberries & pieces of bacon all thru the vanilla buttermilk pancakes with roasted white chocolate as well. There was an amazing maple topping a little bit of orange peel butter.

Eclipse Chocolate, San Diego, California, Blueberry Maple Bacon Pancakes, Brunch Eclipse Chocolate, San Diego, California, Avocado benedict, brunch

For my second side, I had the Bleu Cheese Pecan salad, baby greens, dried cranberry, point reyes bleu cheese, chile spiced pecans & a vanilla vinaigrette.  I love a good salad and this was definitely a good one.  The vanilla vinaigrette really complimented the other flavors.

The other salad was Beet & Green Apple.  Again, I’m not a huge fan of beets but the flavors all mixed together were really complimentary.  My only complaint on this one would be that there was way too much cheese.  From the menu: baby greens+roasted beet+herbed chevre+candied cocoa nib+vanilla vinaigrette

Eclipse chocoate, san diego, california, beet & green apple salad, bleu cheese pecan salad

On my second visit, we decided to make sure we had room for dessert, my favorite, and since I hadn’t just raced, it wasn’t all about having food as fuel like the previous visit after the race.

I love Peanut Butter and decided to try the Frozen Peanut Butter Mousse, milk chocolate peanut butter mousse+brownie crust+vanilla creme fraiche+serrano sea salt. This is not for the faint of heart, it’s super super rich and oh so peanut buttery.  We both took a bite of this and thought that nothing could beat it, however, the churros, where freaking amazing.  Warm, buttery and covered in cinnamon sugar, they literally melted in your mouth.  I tried them with the 2 sauces, one was chocolate and the other was maybe strawberry rhubarb? I can’t remember exactly. But really, I’m a purist and the churros were absolutely amazing on their own.

Eclipse Chocolate, San Diego, California, Frozen Peanut Butter Mousse, Dessert, Foodie, Brunch Eclipse Chocolate, Brunch, San Diego, California, churros, foodie

Eclipse wasn’t that close to downtown, from what I could tell, but I’m not super familiar with San Diego, but the website says it is in the South Park area of the city.  It wasn’t overly crowded either time I went and we didn’t make it there until at least 11am, so unlike some of the other areas of town.

If you like unique food & local venues, I totally recommend Eclipse and I can’t wait to go back and try something new next time I’m in San Diego.

Question: Have you ever tried incorporating sweet flavors into more savory dishes?

Race Recap: San Diego Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rhea & I Pre-Race

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

After about 10 minutes we were off…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Race RecapRace Medal

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

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

Post Race with Rhea

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

Post race selfie
Post race selfie – so excited!!

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

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

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

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

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

Running with Meb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://youtu.be/FtXjF_gth1s

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

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

Silly mid run selfie
Silly mid run selfie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me & Meb Me, Pete & Meb

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

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

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