Posted in Running

Me versus the La Jolla Half -Round 2!

In exactly one month, I will be taking on one of the half marathons I said I would never do again – the La Jolla Half marathon! Yikes!

The La Jolla Half is a beautiful course that starts off at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and finishes at the La Jolla Cove. It also happens to be the second race in a series of three that you must complete in order to finish the Triple Crown Challenge. Learn more about that here. Spoiler alert – you get a big extra medal to add onto your collection and a breakfast burrito at the end of your 3rd race. 🙂

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Credit: La Jolla Half Marathon FB event page

Unfortunately, the course, despite being very scenic, is filled with hills. Anyone that’s run this will warn you of the infamous one at mile 6. At the bottom of the hill, you’re at 50 ft in elevation. At the peak of the hill, you’re at 440 ft. That’s almost a 400 ft increase! Sigh. And even after that increase, you don’t get a satisfying immediate decline. It’s just rolling hills for a few miles more. 😦

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Right before you hit the hill – Credit: La Jolla Half Marathon FB event page/2016 Rich Cruse (CrusePhoto.com)

Reflecting back on it, I think what is most interesting about this hill is that it’s really more of a mental challenge than a physical one, although it does require that you actually train for the distance. Before you run up the hill, you’re running down this beautiful route by the beach and right at the bottom of the hill, they have a water station and Taiko drummers (at least they did when I ran it back then). The view of the hill and the drums psych you out a bit. Like most people, I walked up most of that hill. My foot began tingling like and I didn’t want to injure it any further. I was able to successfully finish the half, but I felt extremely defeated. To this day, the La Jolla Half holds the record for my worst time. This year, I’m coming back with a vengeance. It’s been 2 years since I last ran it and I’ve improved a bit as a runner, both mentally and physically. At least, I think I have. 🙂 There’s no way I’ll PR this course (or maybe I can? Who knows?), but if I can beat my last time, I’ll be happy. Also, because it’s Thursday, here’s a #TBT to when I first ran it.

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Back when my knees sucked and I wore KT tape on my knees for every half marathon

If you would like to join me on this course, you can use code BIBRAVE10 in order to save $10 off your registration fee. If the half isn’t your thing, they also have a 5k you can register for. 🙂 

 

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running

Luvo Comes To Save The Day

Disclaimer: I received some Luvo frozen meals to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been able to try a variety of Luvo frozen meals and honestly, they couldn’t have come at a better time. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been sick with what I can only describe as an inconvenience to breathing. Having to spit out phlegm every hour or so has not been fun, but it’s okay, I’m getting better. With the Luvo meals, I was able to easily pop one into the microwave and within minutes, I had a healthy meal that was piping hot, smelled delicious, and tasted great.

Here’s an excerpt from Luvo’s website:

“Where your food comes from makes a big difference—not just to your body, but to the world as well. So we’re making every effort to support farmers and suppliers by sourcing responsibly. We use antibiotic-free meat and poultry, and non-GMO, organic ingredients whenever possible. Of course it’s a work in progress, but we’re constantly working to bring you the highest quality, most delicious, nutrient-dense food at the best price. Learn more about our practices in our FAQ.”

Without further ado, my review of the Luvo frozen meals I got to try out in order from least favorite to OMG, PLEASE GIVE ME MORE. 🙂

5. Chicken Enchiladas – This meal also comes with black beans and brown jasmine rice. On the front of each of the packages, it will usually indicate how flavorful it is. I’ve found that what they say pretty much rings true. The chicken enchiladas were marked as “on the mild side,” and this was right on. I love spice and personally do not prefer mild tasting food. However, as someone who had a really sore throat two weeks ago, this was actually pretty good for me. The chicken was moist and the flavor didn’t worsen my throat. Woo!

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4. Kale Ricotta Ravioli – This comes in a fire roasted tomato sauce, which I really appreciated. I found the ravioli to be a bit on the blander side, but the sauce totally made up for it. It was really flavorful and I am a little ashamed to admit this, but I licked the plate clean. IMG_8099

3. Turkey Meatloaf – This comes with mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, butternut squash, and cranberries. Do the ingredients sound familiar? If it doesn’t, you clearly don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. This meal is practically Thanksgiving in a box. The mash potatoes tasted fresh and the gravy was so rich in flavor that I forgot for a second that these meals were actually healthy. The meatloaf was moist and not dried out at all even after 7 minutes in the microwave. IMG_8184

2. Turkey Vegetable Lasagna – The lasagna consists of whole wheat noodles, kale, and spinach. This was my very first Luvo meal and I was over the moon with this dish. I kept telling my boyfriend that he had to try it and after some skepticism, I got him to try it and he liked it too. I’m not even a huge fan of kale, but this lasagna mix was delicious – extremely savory. IMG_8077

1. Orange Mango Chicken – This one was my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE. It comes with whole grains, broccoli and kale and is smothered in a delicious orange mango sauce. Think regular orange chicken but healthier because it’s not deep fried. I really didn’t think I could like orange chicken that wasn’t deep fried, but I was wrong. The chicken soaked the sauces in. The whole grains and veggies were a bit on the blander side, but just dip those into the sauce and you’re good to go. IMG_8243

Too long? Didn’t read? In that case, here’s a pros and cons list for you. 🙂

Pros 

Healthy – Their meals consist of antibiotic-free meat and poultry, and non-GMO, organic ingredients whenever possible. Their meals have a full serving of fruits and veggies. This is HUGE for me since I’m a terrible eater. In N Out anyone? 🙂

Smells – The meals, once cooked, SMELL INCREDIBLE. Seriously, my colleagues always wondered what I was eating because it would always smell really good.

Taste – I’m a person that loves to eat. I mean, I live to eat. That means that taste is really important to me. Out of the 5 that I tried, I really liked 3 of them. Even with the other two, I could have added a little more salt or spice to it and it would been just great to eat.

Environment friendly – Their packaging comes from recycled paper! Woo. Every step towards being more environmentally friendly helps, right?

Cons

Portion size – This one is not actually a con for me, but may be a con for others. I have a tendency to overeat so I love just taking one of these to work with me and eating just that and nothing else. Their portions are perfect for me, but may not be for you.

Variety – Luvo actually has quite a bit of variety (boxed meals, burritos, bowls, vegetarian, non-vegetarian), but since they are still starting out, it’s sometimes difficult to find the meal you want. A lot of the stores around my neighborhood would only carry three different meals so I went around to different stores hoping to find some new ones to try.

If you’re interested in trying any of Luvo’s meals, they have this little search engine that tells you where to find specific meals. They also have some promotions on their site if you want to save a few dollars. 🙂  I would definitely recommend the Orange Mango Chicken, Turkey Lasagna, and the Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese. Stores in my neighborhood didn’t carry the Mac and Cheese meal, but fellow BibRave Pros raved about it.

And finally, here’s what fellow Bib Rave Pros thought about Luvo: JeannineLindsey

Posted in Running

Two weeks until my first 5k of the year!

Yes, you heard that right. In exactly two weeks, I will be running my first 5k of the year at Carlsbad5000. Hooray! This will be my second time running it and I couldn’t be more excited about it.

The Basics

Date: April 2nd, 2017

Organizers: Run by the Rock N Roll series

Race Distances: 5k or 20k (all day)

Headliner: BetaMaxx

Interesting fact: Carlsbad5000 is the world’s fastest 5k (I’m assuming because the course is fairly flat and a lot of people have broken world records on it).

This will be my second time running the 5k and I’m hoping that I will be able to PR at this race. At least, I’m going to try. 🙂 If you are one of the first 250 finishers, I believe you are awarded a medal and this year, the medals are REALLY pretty. 17203523_10104726732916174_2093542708_n

After seeing the medals, I was extremely tempted to just switch to the 20k, but I decided to stay with the 5k for this year. I mean, a sandcastle medal would be awesome, wouldn’t it? If only I could run all the races. For those of you unfamiliar with this particular 20k distance, it’s unique in that the 20k is broken up into four races. It’s an all day event and you have four start lines and four finish lines! You participate in four 5k races totaling 20k. For more information on it, click here. I think it’s really cool to do especially if you have friends in different brackets. You could in theory run with all of them.

If you’re interested in running this race, use the discount code: BIBRAVE15 to get $15 off your entry to either the 5k or the 20k. The 5k is currently $45.99 and with the code, it’d only be $31.99 + some fees. That’s not bad for a 5k that gives out a medal. This code is valid until 3/26/2017. 

 

 

Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

San Diego Half Marathon (Half #12) – Race Report

Welp. I’ve had 2 crappy recovery runs this week and despite my legs feeling like lead and my inability to breathe very well on those two runs, I will say that my half marathon over the weekend was still a success. If you didn’t see my social media posts, I beat my personal record! AGAIN! By 44 seconds. YAY!

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My splits and ranks
That may not seem like much to anyone, but I’m overjoyed by it, for a few reasons actually.

1. I PRed in December. That was only 3 months ago. I didn’t think I would PR so soon after.

2. My previous personal record was on a course that had a net drop of 714 ft from start to finish. I honestly thought that net drop was the only reason I PRed, not necessarily because I was actually fast.

3. I PRed while SICK! You might have remembered that last week, I got sick and was trying really hard to recover to 100%. Yeah, that didn’t happen. The morning of, I was still kind of phlegmy and decided to only eat a Honey Stinger organic salted caramel flavored waffle and hope that it’d be enough to sustain me for the half. I normally eat peanut butter with it as well, but since I was having a hard time breathing, I decided to not eat something that might clog my throat.

4. The San Diego Half Marathon has this notorious hill that increases in elevation to about 300 ft (starting from 3 ft). It’s nicely situated at mile 8 where all big hills should be. It also lasts for about 2 miles. Hooray?!?

Anyway, here’s my report of how it all went down from bib pick up to post finish line party.

Bib Pick Up: Friday evening, I drove to the Navy Pier and picked up my bib with no problem. The SD Half Marathon is always on the same day as Daylight Savings Time and so there were reminders in our bag to set our clocks an hour ahead.

Night before: I had pizza the night before my 10 mile race in January and since my stomach seemed to agree with it and since I had placed in my age group, I decided why not? Luckily, it sat well with me and I was able to use it as fuel for the next morning. Woohoo. I also laid out my ensemble and called it an early night. IMG_8221

Pre-Race: Morning of, I got my things and headed to a trolley station, where I would take the trolley down to the start line. I would suggest this for anyone running a race. Taking public transportation to the start line helps out so much with reducing stress level because you’re not dealing with traffic.

Anyway, I got there, dropped off my bag at gear check, and met up with someone from Twitter that I had chatted with before. It was my first time meeting up with a fellow runner from Twitter and I was super nervous about it. Turns out, she was really nice and we’re actually meeting up again next month for another half marathon. 🙂

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This is Andrea. This was her 49th half marathon. 🙂
After a bit of chit chat, I made over to corral 5 and waited for the release of each corral. It was such great race weather – foggy with no sun in sight. 🙂

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Wheee. Almost there!
Race: And then I was off! I typically try to start off slow, but that just wasn’t happening that day. I got really excited and started dodging people so that I could get a nice clear path. I do have to give the organizers credit for spacing all the corrals out. I was able to get a nice clear path only after a few dodges. The race was beautiful. The first five miles were on the water and so I saw a lot of boats on the marina. Once we turned inland, we started headiing through the different neighborhoods of San Diego (Liberty Station, Mission Hills, Hillcrest, the edge of Balboa Park, and back to Downtown).

From talking to friends, I knew there was a hill at mile 8. How big of a hill was it? Well, let’s just say I really regret not checking that elevation map. The hill looked massive, in part because there was a lot of fog rolling through the city. I couldn’t see the top of the hill and that made it all the more mentally challenging. I pumped my arms, exchanged glances with other runners struggling with the same challenge, and slowly made my way through. Once I made it over that hill and then some, I gunned for the finish line. I didn’t know my exact time, but I just knew I had to keep running or else regret missing a PR. Luckily, it’s mostly downhill from miles 11 – 13.1 and I just ran as fast as I could through the streets of downtown. It was very peaceful running by the giant buildings covered with fog. Funnily enough, the fog cleared up just as I crossed the finish line. It had to be a sign because I looked down to see my Strava give me another sub 2 hour half marathon. 🙂 I was so happy, I cried a little.

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At the finish line with my newest medal. 
Post-race: The announcers were really upbeat and with the sun just coming out, I relished in the moment of finishing. The volunteers were very organized and after grabbing a tote with all the goodies already inside, I was on my way out.

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Yum. The Dole was my favorite. 
Since I typically run races alone, I don’t stay for the post-race festivities for too long. There’s something sad about eating a giant breakfast burrito alone. Instead, I caught the next trolley back and made it back to a nice comfy bed. IMG_8241

So there you have it – my race report of my 12th half marathon. Up next is the Rock N Roll Carlsbad5000, followed by a local 5k put on by my university, and the La Jolla Half marathon in April. How about you? Do you have any races coming up? Anything you’re looking forward to? 

 

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

How do you BUFF®? – Product Review

Disclaimer: I received a UV Reflective Half BUFF to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

I know what you all are thinking. What the hell is a buff? Well, in short, a buff is a tube of lightweight, stretch material (pictured below). IMG_7893_sRGB

Because it’s lightweight and stretchable, it can be used for a variety of purposes. A lot of people wear them when they hike because it captures sweat really well and also protects their face from the harsh conditions that is nature. There are multiple ways you can wear them and I’ve highlighted a few of the ways I’ve worn my BibRave Buff®.

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Note that this is not the buff I’m reviewing. 
BUFF®, the original company that sells these, has a wide assortment of buffs. The one I got to try this time around is the UV Reflective Half Buff®. Like the name implies, the Half buff is shorter than the Original Buff® and also has a reflective strip that will allow you to be seen at night by cars. I’ve been able to test this out for a few weeks now and I actually wore it in my last half marathon to see how it’d fare in race conditions and I have got to say that I like it quite a bit.

Pros

Shorter than the Original Buff® – Because I live in Southern California, I don’t really need all the extra material that comes with the full length buff. It is nice to have when it gets cold out, but for running purposes, the UV Reflective Half Buff® does the job just fine.

Wicks away sweat – The material wicks away your sweat really well. I unfortunately sweat a lot when I have a hard workout (Who doesn’t?) and this particular buff was able to absorb all of it. In my last half marathon, I wore it around my neck and I was able to use it to wipe all the sweat off my face. Bonus effect – the wet buff was able to keep my neck cool while I ran.

Reflective – The strip is a nice touch for when you run at night. I’m usually a night runner so I feel a little safer knowing that I have some reflective gear on me. As an aside, I am extremely terrible about wearing reflective strips/bringing lights with me on runs. I’m working on that though!

Versatility – I really like the versatility of these buffs. It’s stretchable meaning you can wear it multiple ways (like I demonstrated in the above and below photo) and there isn’t a sizing issue. With the half version, it’s a lot easier to wear it underneath a hat or a helmet (for cyclists) without it bunching. Also, like all of their buffs, they’re really useful in keeping you warm. I used mine to cover my ears and neck when it got cold out. It’s also surprisingly good at keeping your headphones in too. 🙂

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The UV Reflective Half buff

Cons

Not the original length – This again is me being extremely nitpicky, but I found that the original BUFF® snuggly fits around my head a lot more than the half version. I have bangs and need the buff to keep the baby hairs out of my face and this one doesn’t quite do it. This can be easily remedied by using bobby pins to secure it though or just ordering a different type of buff. They have LOTS. They even have an UV Insect Shield version, which I may end up picking up if I decide to ever go back to a mosquito infested area. 🙂

Have you ever tried BUFF® products? If so, which ones and how do you like them? Please let me know if you have any questions regarding this product. I’d be happy to answer them. 🙂 

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Discount Codes, Running, Thoughts

XX2i Optics France 2 Review (Discount code included)

Disclaimer: I received a pair of France2 sunglasses from XX2i Optics  to review as part of being a BibRavePro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

After having gone through some winter training this year, I find that I’m more of a summer training kind of gal. I had a blast training for the NYC marathon last year. There was more daylight and oh the WARMTH, I just loved the warmth (except when it was 80°F+). Unfortunately more daylight meant more sun and more sun meant my eyes were constantly blinded when I ran towards the sun. I would sometimes wear my YELP sunglasses from time to time, but they’d fog up so often that I would just go without them, which wasn’t the smartest idea since I’m pretty sure I blinded my eyes, but those are just the details. 🙂

The France2 sunglasses are amazing and I swear I will probably never go back to running without them. Never.

Pros
Fog free – When I run, I need to see where I’m going and if there’s fog build up, that’s not going to happen. The adjustability of the sunglasses prevents fog build up, which I appreciate immensely.XX2iopticsFrance2

Headache free and bounce free – I’m prone to headaches whenever I wear glasses (Thank goodness for 20/20 vision) or have tight headbands so this is a HUGE issue for me. I’ve worn these sunglasses for hours and I haven’t developed headaches from them. Yay. It also helps that these sunglasses don’t bounce up and down when I run.

Durability – I’ve had these sunglasses for about a month now and they’re pretty durable despite their light weight (26 g). I was in a rush one day and I accidentally put them into my backpack along with my laptop and papers and when I took it out, it was good as new. Thank god. I would have been super sad had they broken.

Variety – I chose the Crystal Green Flash Lenses Green Tips to try out, but they have quite a variety of sunglasses if those don’t suit you. And if you’re not a fan of the color that the nose bridge and tips come in, your sunglasses will include nose bridges and tips in red and blue. My sunglasses even came with a little mini screwdriver if I wanted to change up the colors.IMG_7848

Affordability – Right now, they’re having a sale where you can get a pair of their sunglasses for 50% off using code MARCHBIBRAVE. This code is valid until 03/28/2017 and applies to everything on their site. MSRP for the France2s are $59.99 so you’d be getting an entire $30 off your purchase. Every pair also comes back with a 365 day money back guarantee and a lifetime frame and lens warranty – even against scratches. YAY.

 Cons 
Reflectivity – This is completely nitpicking and I’m super grateful for its ability to prevent reflect the sun, but I honestly could not take a photo without the reflection of the photographer (being me for selfies) in the photo. Other than that, I have no complaints. 🙂

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Can you see my friend in the reflection? LOL

So there you have it – my review of my first Bib Rave Pro product. Hooray! I could not have started off with a better one. Again, use code MARCHBIBRAVE on their site to receive 50% off anything. And feel free to ask me any questions regarding this product and have a happy rest of your weekend!

Posted in Running, Thoughts, Training

Go away cold. I have a half marathon to run.

I have been super fortunate to not have gotten sick or injured during the past two race seasons. This year, I wasn’t so lucky. I was doing fine, kicking ass you might say, until this month. A lot went on in February and I will admit, my body could only endure so much.

Last Thursday, I woke up with a sore throat. There were no sniffles that came with it and so I shrugged it off and blamed it on the charred steak I ate the night before. The rest of the day, my skin began to feel clammy and I felt fatigued. Luckily, I made it to end of the work week and rested…sort of. Friday night, I may have driven to LA to attend a friend’s birthday party at GloZone LA and I may have lost the rest of my voice that night, but really, those are just small details. LOL.

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Playing mini golf in the dark

On Saturday and Sunday, I basically sounded like a man…or a very seductive raspy sounding woman. I’m not really sure. Anyway, I drank hot lemon water and tea with honey and echinacea all weekend long. Monday flies by and Tuesday morning, I wake up with a lot of phelgm build up. TMI, right? I’ll spare you the details. In short, I haven’t been feeling too well.

Despite being sick, I still have been able to do my daily maintenance runs (averaging 3 miles). Why on earth would I still run, you ask? Well, because I’m sort of a sadist. Kidding. I ran because I had to complete my 100 day run streak. Day 100 fell on Friday and so I ran Thursday and Friday while sick. In all honesty, it wasn’t too bad. And when day 101 came around, I just couldn’t bring myself to stop…damn. What have I gotten myself into? I guess we’ll just see when I finish my streak.

Also, the San Diego half marathon is this Sunday and I’m determined to run it ill or not. I prefer to not be ill, but it will be what it will be. The SD Half is in its 6th year running and I’m excited to run it because I’ve never run it before. If you run this race along with the Mammoth half marathon (in June), you get a special challenge medal too. They’re both very scenic races and unfortunately, I will only be running the SD half this year. There are too many races and not enough time and money. Hashtag runnerproblems, right? The SD half also happens to fall on the day where Daylight Savings Time occurs so it’ll be interesting how my body adjusts to the time change. I, for one, am grateful for the time change. I love being able to run in the evenings without it being super dark out. Woohoo.

So that’s the update with me. How are you doing? Do anything fun last weekend? Looking forward to anything this weekend? And last but not least, wish me a speedy recovery. 🙂