Balboa Park 8 Miler 2021 Race Recap

This is the first time I’ve run this race.  We are normally out of town, AC 100 is normally this weekend or another 100 mile race so it isn’t on our radar.  This year however with us not traveling quite as much and staying closer to home, when my teammates from Arete said that this was going to be our August race, I was like ok let’s give it a whirl.

The Balboa Park 8 Miler is sponsored by the San Diego Track Club & San Diego Running.  It’s got quite the history dating back to 1955 and is one of the oldest races in the country and one of the few that uses a course that is very similar to what it was in the beginning.

The race starts, is run and finishes in Balboa Park.  It’s got a little bit of everything, through the park by Spreckels Organ Pavilion, by the Museum of Man and onto the bridge over the 163, out on to the road where Rock n Roll San Diego normally starts, around the park that I’ve run a lot of times with Run619, back through the main part of the park and then on to some trails before you come back up towards the finish.

We picked up our packets at Road Runner Sports the night before, it was super fast because we got there about 30 minutes before close.  There were no assigned bib numbers, at least not in our case, we were just given the two that were next in the box.  We got a tee shirt, which in this case was actually decent, I think it was a cotton blend, but it had a v-neck for the women’s version and I actually thought it was comfortable which isn’t common for me.

It only took us about 15 minutes to get to the start on Saturday, we left a little late and were still there by 6:30, used the portos and were at the start line for a team photo  by 6:45a.  I’m not sure if there were less people than normal or if it’s normally that easy :).

I knew that I wasn’t going to be running any PRs so I started back a little ways.  Sean asked me if I wanted him to run with me, but I was ok running solo and letting him run his own race.

Because I was a little bit behind I ended up in wave 4.  I didn’t even know there were waves but apparently there were & they were about 30 seconds apart so nothing crazy.

I was planning to just take the race really nice & easy and while it wasn’t quite as nice & easy as it should have been, I’m pretty proud of myself for dialing it back whenever I started getting in over my head.

It was overcast the whole race, which was nice because I left my sunglasses in the car.  I know that when it’s like that even if I have my sunglasses on my head they get sweaty and then I can’t see out of them and I was wearing a crop top that was going to be soaked.  It did burn off not long after I finished though and it was a beautiful San Diego day.

Sean crushed his race, he got 36th overall and 3rd place in his age group!  We stayed for a bit because he got an age group award.  Two of my Arete teammates were first in their age groups so that was pretty cool as well!

My race wasn’t quite as speedy, but I was happy to finish with a smile and without any issues.  And I don’t think I’ve ever run an 8 mile race so it was an auto PR!

After we finished they had bottled water, nature’s valley fruit & nut bars & bananas.  There were a few tents set up at the finish, but it wasn’t like the other races we did this summer with snacks and other drink vendors.

So that being said, I would totally run this race again.  I thought it was a nice course, mostly flat with a few hilly sections on the trail portion, one at mile 6 was especially rough but overall it was a really nice course and we of course got lucky and had great weather.

Oh and they have free race photos, which is one of my fav perks!

Are you running more local races this year?  I’ve done 3 local races in the last 2 months which seems like a lot to me!

Inaugural Lululemon San Diego 10k Race

It was the day Lululemon fanatics were waiting for.  The day when Lululemon held their first ever US race.  And it was in my city!

I was super excited when I heard the race was coming to SD.  Sean & I were on vacation in Banff when it was time to register & waited at the hotel to register right when it opened.

I even told my boss/co-worker, R.J. about it and he signed up for his first 10k!

When they announced that they were looking for volunteers I signed up for packet pick-up on the first day at UTC.  It was a blast, I met a bunch of awesome people and helped get runners their bibs & shirts.

On Saturday, we ran Revel Big Bear (recap here) and then drove home to rest & recover before the race the next day.

The race was in downtown San Diego starting at Shelter Island and finishing at Waterfront Park.  We got there really early so that we wouldn’t have to pay for parking & so that we would get there before the buses got crazy.

Well we got there really early, like over an hour before the race started, oops!  But we weren’t the first ones, we ran into a bunch of our friends. It was fun chatting with everyone but it was cold!  The wind coming off the water was quite chilly.

We did some group photos with our We Run Social friends and then we were heading to the start line.

We jumped in to the corrals just as the sun was coming up.  It was gorgeous.

As usual Lulu always gets the details, they had a boat with Lululemon flags on it at the start.

We were a little bit behind the 1 hour pace group, and ended up starting in the second wave.

It was a bit crowded as we got started so I was kind of weaving in and out for the first half mile or so until I got settled in.

The energy was amazing, that’s probably one of the best things about a Lululemon race.  Everyone is so happy.  There were cheer stations, bands, spin bikes, hula dancers and donuts at the finish!

The course is similar to part of AFC Half but the part before the huge climb lol so it’s really nice and flat which I loved.  Especially since my calf was still bothering me from the day before.

We got to about mile 3ish and I saw R.J. on the other side, he had started a bit ahead of us so I was like hum… maybe I can catch him.  So I tried.  I figured if I could catch him, maybe I could slow down, LOL.

So I just kept moving along, smiling the whole way, enjoying all the cheer stations, seeing friends.

Around mile 5 Sean caught up with me and we ran in to the finish.  I was really starting to feel the race from the day before but I was still moving.

When we got a little closer to the finish, I gave Sean my phone and was like you go ahead and finish before me so you can get a finish photo of me!

And just like that I was at the finish line!  2 races, 19.3 miles in 2 days.  It doesn’t seem like a lot but it was a lot for me since I’ve not been running that much lately.

We ran into R.J. after we crossed the finish line & he did so awesome, under 60 minutes!  I’m so proud of him & he even signed up for his first half marathon in February!!

The finish line party was pretty sweet.  Awesome medals, donuts, saje wellness, photo ops, drop bags & yoga.  It was a really awesome morning.

Oh, yeah and about the swag. We all got white swiftly tanks, medals, donuts, Saje Wellness Runner Rewards (if you stopped by the Saje store at UTC) and they had gear for sale at the end of the race.  The line was really long so I skipped but I heard it was just a few pieces and you would have to go to the mall to have it screen printed (I guess so they didn’t make a ton of gear that didn’t sell).

Lululemon put on a great day & I’m glad I had the opportunity to run.  I’m looking forward to next year!

Mount Laguna Marathon Race Recap

On Sunday, Sean & I ran the Mount Laguna marathon for the first time.  We’ve heard so much about this race & have run most of the course over the years but had never put it together & done the race.

We decided to do this race for two reasons.  One because we were going to be home and wanted to run it and two because we had to run a marathon as part of the NYC Marathon Strava Virtual Run challenge so we could get guaranteed entry into the 2020 race.  We signed up for this a few months back and paid to do the virtual run so we could get in to the race without having to deal with the lottery.

We were able to stay at home the night before because Mount Laguna is only about an hour from us.  It’s been months since we’ve been out there, I think maybe we went out in early July to do a run & we haven’t been back since.

The race started at 8am with bib pickup between 7a – 7:40a so we didn’t have to get up too early.  It was also time change weekend so we fell back on Sunday night and it was light out when we left the house.

We got there and a bunch of people were congratulating Sean on a great summer & asking him if he was going for the win lol.  We decided to run together so he was bring up the rear with me lol.

We saw my friend Lisa from our local Arete group & a bunch of other friends. We got the quick race briefing and then we were all off!

We started out chatting with Lisa and our friend Jacket for the first 4ish miles before I needed to slow down.  We were doing pretty good but a marathon is a long way & I wanted to make sure I could make it to the finish.  I needed to get that NYC entry!!

The course is beautiful, we start and end at Red Tailed Roost and start running on Thing Road before heading to the PCT which is one of my favorite places to run.

We ran right through the first aid at about 4.5 miles & then headed to Penny Pines for the first time.  This is such a beautiful part of the course and one that we have done many times overlooking Anza Borrego.

We got to the second aid and refueled.  The guy at the aid station was like, this is an aid station, not a rest station so off you go! And away we went.  The next aid was about 4 miles away.

I was losing a lot of salt! My shirt had a salt mountain on it and everything!  By the time we got to Pioneer Mail, I was light headed and not sure if I’d be able to finish.  But I got some ginger ale & coke and then we kept moving.

This section was 7 miles and we had to go in & out of Nobel Canyon before getting back to Penny Pines (on the opposite side of the road).

I know Sean was probably a little frustrated, I kept telling him he could go ahead but he kept saying he was happy being with me but I know he wasn’t expecting to walk as much as we did.  But I told him, he doesn’t normally run with me and walking a bunch of trail races is pretty much my MO lol.  But I was a little more out of shape than normal so it was probably a bit slower than normal.

Photo by T.Allin Photo

We finally got to the last aid & I was just ready to get to the finish!  I had 2 cups of ginger ale & tried to get some orange slices but there were a lot of bees.  We just kept moving towards another section of the course that we have done a lot, the Big Laguna Meadows.

We passed by cow lake (my term not an official one ;)) and stayed to the far end of the meadow before heading up in the last 1.5 miles.

We finally were almost there!  We ran into one of our friends who was waiting for her family to arrive before she crossed the line, and then we were almost there!

Across the finish line we went! The RD, Kathleen gave us both hugs and our medals and we ran off for a few more minutes so we could make sure we were over the marathon distance for the virtual challenge.

After getting that done, we were ready for some food.  They had some vegan options for us which was super sweet.

We also got our goodie bags, which had some cute things in them.  We didn’t get shirts though because they were an add on and we have so many shirts.  But they were super cute Patagonia shirts.

All in all I would say that this was a gorgeous race & they did a great job & if we are in town we’ll run this one again.


Recovery Run: 2019 San Diego Half

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2019 SoCal Resolution Run – Half Marathon Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AFC Half Marathon Race Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

San Diego Resolution Run Half Marathon Race Recap

And just like that, I’m BACK!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.


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!