Posted in Running

Less than 2 weeks away. Crap.

“Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Big Sur 21 miler 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 am less than 2 weeks away from embarking on my first 21 mile race at Big Sur and holy crap am I terrified. Yes, the view will be amazing. Ever since I saw pictures of the Bixby bridge, I’ve wanted to run along it and take a billion photos of the view. 🙂 So yes, the view will be amazing, but oh the hills. I guess that’s the only way you can get great views, right? From lots and lots of hills? Just by looking at the map below, it doesn’t look tooooo bad, but you know I won’t be saying that in two weeks when I’m running this bad boy. LOL.

Big Sur Elevation Profile

So that’s where you guys come in. I’ve signed up for Motigo, which is this really cool app, that sends cheers to a runner during their race. All you have to do is sign up, record a cheer, and pick a mile marker for me to hear your cheer. Isn’t that kind of cool? You don’t even have to be awake the morning of my race. LOL. Just pre-record the cheer and have it play at say mile 5 (mile 10 on the map, but it’s really 5 since I start 5 miles further away from the marathon start) when I start that hike up the hill. 😛 Or really at any point along the course. 21 milers is a very long distance. 😛

I’ve done some hill training, but not much. Last night, I ran Mt. Soledad, which is this pretty steep hill and it felt AWFUL. Getting to the top felt amazing, but the run up the hill was causing my legs to cramp and I had to stop multiple times along the route to stretch. I will admit that tears were shed. LOL. My training has gone fairly well if you disregard the lack of hill training. I know I can do the distance, but I’m still not too sure about the hills. I guess only time will tell. 🙂 Maybe I’ll just walk up those hills and take glorious pictures instead. 🙂

Sooooo any tips on how to get through hills? They will be much appreciated!

 

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Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Run, Drive, Sleep?, Repeat – My SoCal Ragnar Relay Experience

Hello everyone! This past weekend, I ran my very first Ragnar Relay at the SoCal Ragnar Relay and I’m happy to say that I had a complete blast! This will be a fairly long race report so apologies in advance. 🙂 For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Ragnar Relay, here’s a very simplified version of it.

12 people; 2 vans of 6 people

Runners 1 – 6 are in van 1, whereas runners 7 – 12 are in van 2

Runners 1 – 6 run their first leg with runner 6 passing off the slap wristband to runner 7

Runner 7 – 12 run their first leg with runner 12 passing off the wristband to runner 1 for their second leg

This goes on until everyone finishes their third leg

Okay, now that you get the gist of it, here’s a more detailed version of what my experience was.

Thursday night – Due to an early start time (7 am) on Friday and the fact that most of us lived 2 hours away from the start line, we picked up our van rental Thursday night and headed up to Costa Mesa to sleep at a hotel. A friend was driving down from Central California and met us at the hotel. We grabbed In N’ Out and knocked out pretty quickly.

Friday morning – We left our hotel and got to the start line at Huntington Beach 1 hr before the start to check in, watch a safety video, and pick up our bibs.

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Van 1 right before our start!

First legs – Exactly at 7 am, our first runner was off! For the most part, we leap frogged and supported our runners. Prior to each run, we’d ask the runner if they’d need us to support them in any way along the course (water, cheering, etc). Then we’d meet them at various points along the course.

I was runner 3 and my first leg was 8.6 miles long. Unfortunately, Garmin only captured 8 miles because I was so ecstatic to start that I forgot to turn my Garmin on until I was 0.6 miles in. Boo! My first leg was great. All the adrenaline kicked in and I was beast moding it along the course. I also found out that morning that there were things called “kills” or “passes,” where people count the number of times they pass a runner. I’m competitive by nature so I was on a mission to pass as many people as I could without dying along the course. LOL. Spoiler alert: I passed maybe 25-30 people during my 3 legs. 🙂 My van was super supportive the whole way through. I originally told them I’d only need support at maybe the halfway point, but they ended up leap frogging 3 or 4 times to get me water that I desperately needed. Hooray!

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Stoked to be done with my first leg

After the handoff to runner 7 around 12 pm, we were all starving and grabbed lunch. We then headed to our hotel in Vista where we showered and/or crashed until van 2 notified us to start heading out to meet them around 5:30 pm where we would start our 2nd legs.

2nd legs – I think our second legs were much more enjoyable than our first. It was cooling down and our legs were much shorter. My leg was 4.8 miles. Yay! I’m a fan of night running and it was pretty calming to run through the streets of northern San Diego.

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Night running with van 1!

My leg took me through a bike route that had a gorgeous view of the surrounding area and then later took me through some residential areas. I still had pretty high energy levels during this leg and was able to add to my kill count. 🙂 A guy had passed me during the route, but I stayed close on his tail throughout the miles and at a stop light, he introduced himself and questioned whether he was ever going to lose me. LOL. I laughed, but it gave me motivation to pass him about 0.5 miles before the exchange. I apparently also came in a bit faster than my teammates had thought so I was searching for my team for a minute before they got there. 🙂 Our van finished our legs around 10 pm and grabbed a quick dinner at Taco Bar before heading back to the hotel and passing the heck out.

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Nom Nom Nom. Give me ALL the calories!

3rd legs – I got a call from our co-captain in van 2 at 2 am with her greeting me with a “Good morning sunshine!” She had said runner 11 had just started so we had maybe an hour to get to the exchange. I was devastated. We had only maybe 3 hours of sleep. LOL. At this point, everyone was pretty tired. People were passing out during the drives and we tried to sneak in as many naps as we could. We didn’t leap frog as much to support our runners, but we tried as much as we could for runners that had longer legs. 🙂

My last leg was along the Pacific Coast Highway and was the shortest of the 3 at 3 miles, but my legs were extremely fatigued and I struggled with it. However, I pushed through and that’s all that mattered. 🙂

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Finished all 3 legs!

It warmed up for our last two runners, but we were getting more and more excited because that meant we were getting closer to finishing! 🙂 Around 9:30 am, we finished all of our legs and went home to shower and rest up before van 2 got to the finish line.

We all met up together at the finish line and ran in the last 20 feet to the finish line with the last runner. 🙂

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Literally one of the only shots we have of our entire team together – After crossing the finish line

TLDR? I had an absolute blast running this relay. I don’t deal with sleep deprivation well, but I had such a supportive team that I don’t regret running this race at all. In fact, I am definitely considering running another one in the future. 🙂  Maybe Ragnar Niagara? 🙂 Does anyone want to join me for 2019? 

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Wheee!!! First Ragnar and first time captaining a race!

Results:

184.9 miles in 31 hours, 45 minutes, and 18 seconds

65/191 mixed teams

1 experience of a lifetime 🙂 

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Posted in Running, Thoughts, Training

End of March and the Start of April

It’s been awhile since I last did a monthly recap. Oops. It’s okay. Better late than never, right? Let’s quickly recap the past 3 months and get on with April. 🙂

In January, I completed something I thought was impossible. I ran the Dopey Challenge, which consisted of a 5k, a 10k, a half marathon, and a full marathon, all in 4 consecutive days. I also finished my first Spartan race and my hands were so raw after that race that my hands were peeling for weeks afterwards. LOL.

In February, I had no races and was having crazy FOMO all month long. My monthly mileage was pretty low and I struggled to keep motivated and run. I also turned 30. Let’s not talk about that. 😛

In March, I had 2 more races, the AllState Hot Chocolate 15k, which I PRed in, and the Rock N Roll Carlsbad 5000, which I did not PR in despite my attempts. Boo. I had a rough start to March, but after I started racing, I started feeling a lot better. Maybe it was race withdrawal. LOL. Who knows? In March, I did start going to spin class once a week for cross training purposes. I don’t know how spin people do it. I’m so drained after a 45 minute class that I don’t think I could do anything else that day. 😛

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This probably means my attempt at a triathlon are probably not going to happen if I can’t bike well. I ended March with a 16 mile long run in preparation for the Big Sur 21 miler and I’m feeling a bit more comfortable with the distance. I’m still pretty worried about the hills, but let’s talk about that another day. 🙂

Now that we’re in April, let’s talk about my upcoming April race – the SoCal Ragnar Relay! Dun dun DUNNNNN! All the details have been set. Well, almost all the details. There is a little issue about decorating the van. And the issue is that I don’t have any ideas as to how to decorate the van. I’m thinking I can just grab a bunch of NON-PERMANENT markers and let my team have at it in the wee morning before the start. That’ll be a good idea, right? LOL.

But in all seriousness, I am pretty excited to do this. 12 people in 2 vans making their way from Huntington Beach to San Diego over the course of 30ish hours. Throw in a little deprivation and also that one of us will be running at all times of the day for those 30ish hours. God, I hope we’ll still be friends after this. 😛

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Will keep you updated with the race report next week. Keep your eyes peeled. 🙂

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

So close, yet so far – Carlsbad 5000 Race Report

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Carlsbad 5000 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! All opinions are my own. 

Going into this race, I had all of the typical jitters. I hadn’t had any really good runs this week and I was still recovering from last week’s race. I still had some tightness in my calves during my shake out run so I decided to join some friends at a spa day. I have no idea whether this was a good idea or not, but I spent a good hour and a half alternating between a dry and salt sauna room. LOL. I made sure to drink lots of water and I tried stretching out my legs a bit in the dry sauna.

The revelation I got from this experience was that I need to stretch. A LOT. God, I was hoping I’d never have to pick it up, but I think I will have to start doing yoga if I want to keep running and getting faster.

Anyway, Saturday went and I called it an early night at 8 pm. LOL. My race didn’t even start until 9:10 am, but the more sleep the better. 🙂 I’m not getting any younger, am I? 🙂 I woke up got to the race around 7:45 am. My race was at 9:10 am, but since I had to pick up my bib, I decided to get there a little earlier. Parking wasn’t too terrible. I parked maybe 4 or 5 blocks away and easily made my way to the start line where the bib pick-up was. If you time it just right, try arriving 30 or 40 minutes after the wave before yours and you may be able to get a spot from someone who just ran and is leaving. IMG_5514

Also, if you live in San Diego and Carlsbad is a bit of a drive for you, pick your bib up the morning of the race. There are still vendors at the expo so you’re not missing anything if you don’t show up on Saturday for bib pick-up.

This 5k race is different in that it breaks up the divisions into 6 different start times. For the 30-39 year olds, the start time was at 9:10 am and the time will sometimes change based on the train schedule. You don’t want to start a race and then get stopped by a train, do you? I don’t. Despite them adjusting for the train schedule, there are times that you can get stopped by a train so my advice is to run fast until you pass the tracks. There are also no corrals in this race. There are min/mile signs and everyone essentially self selects into their pace group.

I started out at a 6:45 min/mile and was able to find a nice clear path fairly quickly. Unfortunately, because I started out so quickly, I was having issues regulating my breathing and my pace quickly dropped to a 7:30 min/mile. This wasn’t bad, but because my breathing was getting very irregular, my calves started tightening up. I tried my very best to keep going since it was a short distance, but I couldn’t maintain. I clocked my first mile at 7:15, my second at 7:47, and my final mile at 8:29. I clocked in unofficially at 24:27, which is about 45 seconds shy of my personal record set at last year’s race. I keep checking Athlinks for my official results, but they’re not up yet so I can’t claim them just yet. Since I clocked it with my Garmin, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t anywhere close to PRing. I’m disappointed, but hey, I got a great view of the ocean along my route. I kept forgetting to look up during the course, but when other runner friends called out my name along the course, it reminded me to enjoy the process. 🙂

Speaking of friends, I ran into quite a few of them.

IMG_5523TLDR? I didn’t PR, but I still had a ton of fun connecting with my runner friends. Now, to prepare for my very first Ragnar Relay and the Big Sur 21 miler!

Question for you – How did your weekend go? Did you have a chill weekend? 

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

Trail Running – UA Horizon RTT Trail Shoes Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of UA Horizon RTT Trail Shoes 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!

After running on the roads for 4 years, I thought it’d be a good idea to try trail running. I mean, if I ever hope to start ultra running (OMG did I just write that here?), I should probably start training for trail races, right? I’ve tried searching for road ultras and there just aren’t that many. 😦 But that’s okay, it’s time to improve my running ability. 🙂

Enter the Under Armour Horizon RTT Trail Shoes. I’m going to be completely honest with you. These were my first pair of shoes designed specifically for trail running and I had no way to compare how these shoes would compare with other trail shoes. However, while trying these shoes out, I did end up trying another pair of trail shoes just to compare. RESEARCH for the win!

Before I delve into my experience with these shoes, note that I have worn the following running shoes: Brooks’ Ghost 7, 8, 9; Brooks Ravenna 9 , New Balance’s Vazee 2090,  and Adidas’ Ultra Boost X.  I use my Brooks’ primarily with long distance runs and my New Balance’s for speedwork. The Adidas’ are used for shorter easier runs.

Now for my review:

At first glance, the shoes look like they can handle the trail terrain very well. The bottom of the soles have great traction on them – at least more than I’m used to with road shoes. Don’t believe me? See for yourself.

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Personally, the shoes are not aesthetically pleasing to me. I like a more sleek look to my running shoes, but if the shoes does the job and will save my feet on rugged terrain, I will still wear them.

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On my first few trail runs, I noticed that these shoes were way sturdier than all of my other shoes and even the other trail shoe that I tried. This was great for the trails. My first trail run was through some rocky terrain in a canyon and I had never felt safer running over the rocks. The reinforced areas of the shoe provided really good support for my ankles. The shoes were also still pretty breathable despite all the reinforcement. 🙂

I did notice that while I was running, my heels tended to slip around in my shoes while running. This happens all the time when I run on the road. I used a lace lock and voila, no more heel slippage in my shoe. Also, there were no more blisters. Hooray!

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I did cross a river while in these shoes too. The traction wasn’t as great here, but I never slipped so that was promising. 🙂

I’ve used these shoes for hiking, walking around, and trail running and have found them to be pretty versatile. I find them more useful on rocky trails, but flat trails are also fine. 🙂 I unfortunately haven’t gone out to trail run as often as I’d like due to other commitments, but starting in May, I should have much more time to break these in.

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If you’re interested in reading more about these shoes, other BibRave Pros have tested them out. Read their reviews below.

Jenn – Barb – LoganBen

Also, if you’re interested in getting into trail running, the Copper Mountain Under Armour Race Series may be a great place to start. You can use the code “BIBRAVE20” to get 20% off your registration. 🙂 

Questions for you! – Have you done a trail run? What about an ultra? Any recommendations? I’m looking into possibly doing a beginner trail race, if there is a good one. Recommendations are appreciated. Thank you!

Posted in Running, Thoughts, Training

It’s Almost Race Weekend Again!

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Carlsbad 5000 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! All opinions are my own. 

The Hot Chocolate 15k race this past Sunday has kick started another few weeks of racing and I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty excited. I started January off with 5 races and then had no races planned for February. February drove me nuts. My Sundays were filled with sleeping in and it just wasn’t fun. LOL. I kid. I was itching to race though and even contemplated signing up for another marathon in May, but that ended up not happening (thankfully).

So now that race season has come up again, I’m ecstatic. Maybe I’m a little too ecstatic since I shouldn’t have gone all out last weekend because this week, I’m paying the price. My knees ached a bit on Monday so I rested and had fried chicken instead. LOL. I know. I make the best decisions. On Tuesday, I promised a friend I’d go to spin class with her at Cycle Bar. It was a good idea since there’d be less pressure on the joints and I walked out of there drenched in sweat and feeling like I accomplished something. 🙂 Yesterday, I had a nice 4.5 mile run with the run group at Fleet Feet San Diego, but definitely felt my sore joints. I think I might have also pulled a glute. Oops.

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Today and tomorrow will most likely be a rest day as I’m hoping to beat another personal record. I don’t have extremely high hopes for this one since I just checked Athlinks for last year’s results and I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to race at a 7:39 min/mile pace for 3.1 miles. I don’t think I’ve ever raced that fast since that day so I’m not sure I can do it again. I have been incorporating more speed work into my training for the past few months, but with my last few races, I don’t feel ready to race my heart out this weekend. I’m going to give it my all and only time will tell. Be on the lookout for my social media posts Sunday morning. 😉

Any tips to run like the wind? To maintain a 7:39 min/mile, that will mean that I have to hit the ground running almost immediately. Any tips to avoid the crowd at the beginning? 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

So a PR Happened – Hot Chocolate 15k Race Report

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the HotChocolate 15k – San Diego 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! All opinions are my own. 

So you know how only a few short days ago, I told you all that I was going to take it easy and enjoy the race? Yeah, who was I fooling? LOL. I’m competitive at heart and the racing atmosphere just brings it out of me.

I started off my race weekend with a short 3 mile shake out run. The run was tough. My legs still felt really stiff, but I powered through and was grateful it was over. I spent the rest of the morning resting and then went downtown to pick up my bib and race jacket that came with the registration. 🙂 Walked around the expo a bit and then headed home to rest and sleep early.

I woke up the next morning with jitters. I was worried I’d get there late by trolley since it seemed like it only ran every 20 minutes and figured if I just went straight to the start line and just parked a bit further away, it’d be fine. Turns out, I was right! Parking on the street on Sundays in downtown is free and if you’re willing to walk maybe half a mile away from the start, you can find parking pretty easily, assuming you’ve also come an hour before the race starts. I had a blanket in my car and slept for a bit before walking over to the start where I met up with a few people.

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Jeannie, Velle, and Hugh from the Movin’ Shoes running group
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Fellow BibRave Pro Rory!

Then the race started. Let me tell you, this course is not easy in the slightest. I ran it two years ago and remember it being hilly. My memory deceived me. It was so much worse. LOL. 😛 I must be a masochist or something because after I finished, it didn’t seem that bad. LOL

The race starts on a hill in downtown and for the first 2 miles, it’s a steep incline. There are very short stretches where it flattens out or declines, but for the most part it’s incline. After the sharp incline, you get a short break and you start a more gradual incline until mile 4. From mile 4 to 5.5, the course plays with your emotions. LOL. It goes up and down quite a bit. You think you’re done with the hills, but guess again! LOL. After 5.5, you get a really nice break where it’s just downhill for a good mile or so. The view is beautiful here. You get a great view of the Coronado bridge and you just think you can do anything at this point. At least, that’s how I felt. IMG_5466

Then you get to the last stupid big hill, which crushes your soul (I kid), and then you’re back in downtown where you sprint to the finish and get your fancy schmancy medal and finisher’s mug. 🙂

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Hot chocolate, dipping chocolate, marshmallows, pretzels, rice krispies, and a banana to tie you over

I had all sorts of leg issues during the race. My ankles were hurting at the beginning and throughout the race, I was getting what I think was plantar fasciitis. It was a struggle, but I just kept breathing and pumping my arms on those uphill climbs. I also walked when I needed. It also helped to see friendly faces along the route. I saw the Movin’ Shoes running coach around mile 7 and he just gave me an extra boost of energy to finish the last 2 miles.

Despite all the leg issues, I did manage to squeeze out a PR. When I crossed the finish line, I looked my time and thought 1:20:41 was an okay time. I hadn’t run a 15k in over a year and I couldn’t remember what my last 15k time was and based on how I felt crossing the finish line, I didn’t think I did well. But LO AND BEHOLD, I was wrong! I had actually beaten my time by over 5 minutes! 🙂 Thank goodness for Athlinks keeping a record of how I did previously. I was able to find my result from 2 years ago super quickly. 🙂 Hooray! So maybe I am getting faster after all. Yay!

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Boom! Athlinks results claimed! Wheee! I did well!
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My new shiny medal and pretty jacket from the Hot Chocolate race! 🙂

Question for you: Have you ever finished a race thinking you did so poorly, but in reality, you did better than expected? Or have you gone into a race thinking you’d do poorly and then you blew your expectations out of the water?