Posted in Running, Thoughts

Extra! Extra! Read All About It! – I’m Signed up for Grandma’s Marathon

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Grandma’s Marathon 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.

Yep! You read that right. I am officially signed up for my 5th marathon and it’s going to a fun one! (I mean, aren’t all marathons fun?)

Come Saturday, June 22nd, I’ll be racing through the scenic Duluth, Minnesota at Grandma’s Marathon. Now, you may ask, why Grandma’s? Ever since I made my announcement on other social media platforms, I’ve gotten a mixed bag of reactions. Those who have run it have nothing but good things to say about it. Those who have never heard of it have asked, WHY? LOL So I guess I’m here let you know why I’m running it and why I think it’s going to be an awesome race.

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The Reasons Why

  1. FOMO – Yes, FOMO was a huge reason why I decided to run this race. I heard about it in a podcast and everyone I spoke to about it had again nothing but good things to say about it soooo when BibRave partnered up with them again this year, I was ready to register in a heartbeat. What can I say? I’m easily convinced. That and I’m starting to make my way through races in different states. If I keep going and maybe pick up my pace a little bit, MAYBE I can do a race in every state. I’ve already done California, Nevada, New York, Illinois, Florida, and Hawaii. Why not add Minnesota to the list? ๐Ÿ™‚
  2. Scenery/course – The course itself is a point to point and I have heard that it’s beautiful. You get to run right along Lake Superior so you are guaranteed to have great views of the lake. When I ran Big Sur last year, I was mesmerized by the ocean and it was a running joke that my neck would hurt from looking in that direction the entire time. ๐Ÿ™‚  I also just like point to point courses because I get to explore more of the city.facebook-image
  3. Support – This race, despite being in a small city, has a BIG race feel to it. This will actually the smallest marathon I’ve ever run, with a mere 9,000 runners, but I heard that the entire town comes out to cheer the runners on. Runners are treated like celebrities during this marathon and I do like feeling popular. LOL.I kid I kid. Sort of. ๐Ÿ™‚

I am not going to lie. I am SUPER NERVOUS about this next training cycle. I had every intention to try and shoot for a personal record as this course is fairly flat, but because last month’s runs and races didn’t really go all too well, I’m not sure I want to attempt it. I don’t think I gave my body enough time to recover from the last marathon and now I’m paying the price with sluggish runs and plantar fascitis. Boo. Thankfully, I don’t have any races coming up until the end of March so I am doing my best to run smart and not over do it. Then, come March 2nd, when my official training starts, I will decided what my goal for this race will be.

Question for you: What are your favorite type of races? Big ones? Small ones? Themed ones? 

Also, if you want to join me on this crazy marathon adventure, use code “BIBRAVE10” for $10 off Grandma’s registration. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

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Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

My Surf City Half Marathon Race Report

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Surf City Half Marathon 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.

Itโ€™s been almost three whole days since I last ran my 24th half marathon and letโ€™s just say that I met my goal of not freezing to death and finishing the race. HOORAY!

How did the race actually go? Well, thatโ€™s another story โ€“ one that Iโ€™m willing to share. Now, letโ€™s start off with the positives. ๐Ÿ™‚IMG_3515

  1. The Surf City Expo โ€“ Despite the intense rain and wind, I had a blast at the expo. The expo is held outside every year at the Huntington Beach parking lot and thank goodness it was underneath a tent because that wind was HOWLING and the rain was crazy. I had some extra time so I helped a friend out and volunteered at the Honey Stinger booth on Saturday morning. I cut up samples, chatted up some runners, and sold Honey Stinger gels, chews, waffles, and hats! It was a nice change of pace from my usual routine so I had a ton of fun. Plus, other runners I knew would come by and say hi to me and I do love saying hi to other runners. ๐Ÿ™‚ I also had a chance to walk around the expo and say hi to other vendors and gush over how much I loved their stuff. LOL.
  2. Parking was SUPER EASY. I donโ€™t like having to pay for parking on race day so I appreciated this so much. The race organizers had marked a bunch a different lots for us to park at for free and shuttle over. Made race morning much less stressful.
  3. The rain or lack thereof on race day โ€“ Hallelujah! I was on weather watch the entire week and up until Sunday morning, I truly believed Iโ€™d be racing 13.1 miles in the rain. I was worried about not being able to feel my fingers, but luckily, it only lightly sprinkled for maybe a mile and was dry the rest of the time. ๐Ÿ™‚IMG_3531
  4. Seeing friends on the course โ€“ Seeing other runners yell out my name and me yelling out theirs is a favorite experience of mine. When I needed that extra push, two fellow BibRave Pros yelled out my name (Renee and Linda) and with a smile, I pushed on. I also saw other friends along the way and with each one that I saw, it pushed me to keep going.
  5. I finished! – LOL. Wasnโ€™t that the goal? I finished with all my toenails intact (with the exception of the one I lost at the last half) and was able to hobble my way to the shuttle to get home. J I also got a nice pretty medal to go along with it.

Now that Iโ€™ve highlighted the positives, letโ€™s quickly go through the negatives.

  1. The wind โ€“ Oh lord, the wind was so intense and it was pure headwind on the way back to the finish line.
  2. The course โ€“ This course is an out and back and despite a lot of it being along the beach, you donโ€™t get a lot of different scenery. I think due to the poor weather, everything seemed rather gray, which is really unfortunate, because I remember liking this course the first time I ran it. IMG_3530
  3. My tummy โ€“ Iโ€™m not sure why, but my tummy has been under GI distress a lot more easily lately. It did not help that whatever water they were handing out at the aid stations did not agree with me. Thankfully I did not have to stop by a porta potty (Gross!), but I did have to walk a lot more than I had wanted due to stomach pain.

So there were definitely more positives than negatives so in the end, I did come out a winner. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hooray!

Question for you: How was your weekend? Also, are you a fan of pHed water? Iโ€™m not, clearly by my reaction to it. LOL

Posted in Running, Thoughts, Training

Another Chance To Race in the Rain – Only 4 more days until Surf City

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Surf City Half Marathon 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.

Race weekend is this weekend and wouldn’t you know it, it’s expected to rain again. LOL. Unfortunately, this isn’t a one day rain type of situation. It’s actually expected to rain multiple days so that’s a bit of a bummer, but at least I won’t overheat during the race. Gotta look at the bright side people. ๐Ÿ™‚

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I have no real race goals going into this half since I’m experiencing a bit of plantar fascitis, but since it’s supposed to be raining, maybe my goal should be to not experience hypothermia. LOL. I think that’s a good goal right? To not freeze to death? It took hours to regain feeling in my fingers after the Irvine Half and I don’t really want to repeat that again. ๐Ÿ™‚

A goal.  To finish the race without losing feeling in my hands. Hah! Maybe I should invest in some hand warmers too while I’m making this goal. ๐Ÿ™‚ My B goal will be that if I do get hypothermia, I will still try to finish the race. Hehe.  Priorities. ๐Ÿ™‚

Despite the rain, I’m still looking forward to seeing a bunch of friends from Southern California. I always have a blast meeting up with people and seeing what everyone is up to. If you’re also running the race, let me know. I’ll actually be volunteering at the Honey Stinger Booth on Saturday so if you’re around, drop by.

Oh if you know of any furloughed government employees who also run, let them know that the Surf City race is giving away a limited amount of entries. You can read more about it here. ๐Ÿ™‚

So nothing too exciting planned for this race. I do hope my plantar goes away. I’ve been stretching every chance I get hoping it’ll ease the pain. It’s more bearable now so fingers crossed it’ll get resolved soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

Question for you: What plans do you have this weekend? Any races coming up? More importantly, have you experience plantar fascitis and are there any really good exercises and stretches to get rid of it? I’m all ears! 

 

Posted in Running, Thoughts

Running for Chocolate Once Again

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k 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.

Hello hello again! A week ago, I talked to you about the Carlsbad 5000. Today, I’d like to tell you about the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k race in San Diego, taking place on March, 24th!

This is not a new race to me and it’s honestly probably a race you’ve already heard of since it’s U.S. wide. Some of their information is below.

Distances: 5k and a 15k

Perks: This course honestly has the best bang for your buck. Registration comes with a full-zip jacket with hoodie, a chocolate bar shaped medal for 15k finishers, and a a finisher’s bowl of dark chocolate fondue with marshmallows, rice krispies, bananas, and hot chocolate. What more could you want? Oh right, there are also free race photos! IMG_5471

Aid Stations: In addition to water and electrolytes, they also give out sweets, giving this race their moniker of America’s Sweetest Race.

Course: Both the 5k and 15k courses are not extremely easy. Both courses start on a hill with the 15k having a lot of rolling hills so if you run these races, train on hills. You won’t regret it. I honestly like it because it makes me work for the chocolate at the end and I won’t feel guilty at all after eating it. ๐Ÿ™‚

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I also reviewed this race last year so you can also read about my review here. If you want to sign up, use code “BRHCSanDiego” for a free arm band. And if San Diego is too far and there’s a closer Hot Chocolate race nearby, check out my race discount page here, which has Hot Chocolate races listed as well as many other races. 

If you are running this race, let me know and let’s meet up. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Posted in Running, Thoughts

Adding the Carlsbad 5000 to the Race Calender

Disclaimer: I received an entry into theย Carlsbad 5000ย as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming aย BibRave Proย (ambassador), and check outย BibRave.comย to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.

After the Honolulu marathon, I only really had one race planned for 2019 and that was the Irvine Half. Now that I’m 3 weeks into January, I have 4 more races and I couldn’t be more stoked. I’ll announce each of them within the next two weeks or so and spoiler alert – one of them is a marathon in June. *Gasps* I know. I went from a one a done marathoner to a let’s see if my body can handle 2 marathons in a year. ๐Ÿ˜›

Anyway, today, let’s talk about the Carlsbad 5000. For those of you who have followed me for a few years, you’ll know that Carlsbad 5000 was the first race I ever promoted for BibRave. This race is near and dear to my heart because it holds current 5k PR. I don’t know what it is about this race, but I always feel super excited when racing it. Maybe it’s the high energy of the people racing or maybe it’s the fact that I only have to run 3.1 miles. LOL. I do love running along the coast and despite the turns, I do think this is a very PRable race.

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My lovely friend who came out to cheer

It took a little bit of persuading (two complimentary beers at the end of the 5k), but I did get a few of my colleagues to join and some of them have never even raced a 5k before. Hooray! ๐Ÿ™‚ They’re running the “Party People’s” division, which is new this year, where runners are encouraged to run, walk, and dance their way through the 5k. ๐Ÿ™‚

A Few Changes to Note

This year, the Carlsbad 5000, is actually under new ownership. IronMan, who owned the Rock N Roll race, recently sold it to a San Diego -based group called Groundwork Endurance LLC. The most exciting part of this is that a part owner of the race is San Diego’s very own MEB KEFLEZIGHI! Yup, the San Diego Boston marathon winner! Woot woot! There will be a meet and greet and fingers crossed, I hope I’ll get a photo with him or have him sign something of mine.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

With new ownership comes new perks. ๐Ÿ™‚ This year, there will be FREE RACE PHOTOS! Yes, that is right. FREE. RACE. PHOTOS. I was incredibly sad when my Honolulu photos came at $34 a download so I was super stoked to find out that Carlsbad 5000 will now give you free race photos. If you didn’t know, the camera loves me. HAH! ๐Ÿ˜›

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At last year’s Carlsbad 5000.

You also get the option of not receiving a race shirt and having the proceeds of the shirt being donated to a charity. I love this option as I’m not one to usually keep my race shirts. I have a few key ones, but most of them, I donate.

For more information on the 5k, visit their site here. It’s currently $35 for their 5k and if you want to sign up for the all day 20k, it’s currently $85. I’ve also written about this race numerous times so to avoid being redundant, you can read about them >> (1, 2, and 3).

Question for you: Have you run a 5k? What’s your favorite one and why?ย 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Running, Thoughts

New Year, New Introduction

Since it’s still the first month of the new year, I’d like to take this time to re-introduce myself for new readers and even if you’re not new, maybe you’ll learn a few new things about me here and I promise, it will not all be running related. ๐Ÿ™‚ So here are 8 facts about me because I couldn’t think of 10. ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. My name is Mai (*waves*) and I discovered my love of running almost 5 years ago at my first 10k race – theย St. Patrick’s Day 10k Run. Without going into too much detail, I went through a serious bout of depression months prior and running was just the thing I needed to take back control of my life. I have never looked back since. This blog primarily focuses on running with a few travel posts here and there. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    My first marathon medal
  2. I am primarily a road runner. If you’re really lucky, you may see me run out on a trail, but that happens once in a blue moon because…I hate driving. LOL. To get to trails in my city, I have to drive and I’m just not about that life. I drive approximately 60 miles a day for work and if I have to drive any further, I will go nuts. Although, I am still considering running a trail race in 2019 so we’ll see.
  3. My favorite running memory is when I ran the New York Marathon. It was probably one of the few times that my only goal was to finish the distance. I wasn’t worried about time. I just wanted to finish and not be injured. I high fived every child and ran up and down every bridge with a smile. ๐Ÿ™‚ That memory is the reason I continued on to run more marathons.
  4. My favorite non-running memory is hands down when defended my dissertation. It took a lot of years, tears, and grit to get to that point and despite me being a nervous wreck the day of my dissertation, the moment I concluded my presentation, I felt free. Of course, that feeling didn’t last too long as I had an interview for a job the next day and had to cut my defense party short to prepare for it. LOL. It all worked out though. I got the job. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    At my PhD defense
  5. I really like to travel. My bank account does not. I met someone who’s goal was to visit a new country every year. I’ve adopted that same goal. I currently do not have plans to travel to a new country this year, but it’s only January so who knows?
  6. I am a HUGE foodie. I could never been a vegetarian because I literally build my meals around meat. Although, I have trying to be a bit better about that and incorporate more veggies. Favorite meals include ramen, sushi, and sometimes fried chicken. LOL.
  7. I am a BibRave Pro and have been one for almost 3 years now. It’s been an amazing experience being surrounded by such an enthusiastic group of runners on social media. Not to mention, I get to run some of my favorite races and test out products for free. ๐Ÿ™‚ Let me know if you want to know more about being a BibRave Pro.IMG_5514
  8. I’m a very expressive person and I do not like holding in emotions. So if I’m happy, you’ll know it. If I’m having a crappy time, you will also know it. I do not showcase that I’m sad on social media often, but it does show up. Hiding my emotions ends up poorly.

So that about sums it up. ๐Ÿ™‚ If there’s something you’d like to know about me, ask away. ๐Ÿ™‚ If this is your first time to my blog, welcome. If it’s not, welcome back!ย 

Now, tell me something interesting about you. ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Racing in the Rain – My Irvine Half Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Irvine Half Marathon 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.

Hooray! Half marathon #23 is in the books and boy was it an interesting one. It was my first time racing in pouring rain and woo, was it fun! The aftermath was not. LOL

Going into the race, I had no idea there was a chance of rain. I mean, I live in Southern California. We get rain maybe 5-6 days out of the year. Apparently, this last weekend was one of those weeks.

Bib Pick-up: Bib pick up was easy peasy. The location was at a community park and was extremely easy to find. I picked up the bib, race shirt, checked out the Nuun booth, and was off to get some dinner and sleep for a 6 am wake up time. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Race: The weather forecast mentioned 70% chance of rain at 8 am, but when I drove to the start line, there were no rain clouds in sight. In fact, it was just a beautiful morning by the lake…surrounded by lots and lots of high school kids.

A portion of the race proceeds goes back to the local high schools so it made sense that a lot of the participants would have been the high school students. Unfortunately, having so many high school kids surrounding me completely threw me off my game. LOL. My friend and I joked that we’d get smoked by these kids and I of course, being the competitive person that I am, didn’t want that. So I, stupidly started out too fast at the start.

Below are my thoughts throughout the race. Feel free to laugh at them:

#1: Oh, what a beautiful morning. Man, this race is efficient. It’s 8 am and we’re off.

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#2: Hmm, there’s the 2 hour pacer. They’re going awfully fast, but I think I can swing that pace.

#3: Woohoo! I reached the 2 hour pacer. I wonder if I can catch the 1:50 pacer. Oo, I see the 1:50 pacer. Yoohoo!

#4: Wait! SLOW DOWN GIRL! A 8 min mile this early in the race is too fast.

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#5: Oh crap, my legs feel heavy. WHYYYYYY? Stupid me. Why did I think I could PR? I’m gassing out. Okay. The goal was to enjoy the process and try not to die. I guess I’ll try and do that. Oo, pretty course.

#6: Ack. I hate my allergies. I can’t breathe. I hope no one thinks it’s gross I spit on the course. I’m trying to not hit anyone.

#7: Wow, this race is really well organized. There are a bajillion turns, but there’s someone at every turn directing. Go race course organizers!

#8: UGH, don’t walk Mai. Don’t you do it. You know the moment you walk, you’re going to keep run walking and that slows you down a lot. Don’t do it.

#9: Okay, you’re almost at 6 miles. At 6 miles, take a little walk break.

#10: Hmm, I’m at 6 miles, but that’s not even at the halfway mark. God, I’m such a wimp. Let’s just hit the halfway mark and then you can walk.

#11: Okay, I’m at the half way mark now and I think I can keep running without walking. Maybe let’s try and get to 8 miles. oO, pretty river.

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#12: Well, I’m at 8 miles and I only have 5 miles left. Maybe I can run to 10 and then take a break?

#12: I guess if I only have a 5k left, I should just keep running.

#13: Oh what? It’s RAINING? Oh well, it’s just a light sprinkle. I’ll be fine.

#14: OH SHIT. IT’S RAINING HARD. I can’t see. So much water on my face. Is that sweat or rain? I can’t tell anymore. Wait, can I feel my fingers? Nope. Can’t feel my fingers. LOL. Wait, I see a photographer! Smile girl smile through the rain! There are free race photos! Smile til you can’t no more.

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#15: OMG, I SEE THE FINISH LINE. PUSHHHHHH!

Post Race

#16: THAT WAS AMAZING. I got my pretty medal and OH HEY FRIENDS! OH AND FOOD! YASS!!! POTATO CHIPS? HOORAY!

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#17: Crap, I am freezing. Oh, you’re going to give me a free shirt to keep me warm? Thanks Kona Brewing Co. You’re the best. Okay, get to the car. OH WHY WON’T IT STOP RAINING? LOL

Too long didn’t read? I started out too fast in the race, gassed out, then played mind games with myself to prevent myself from walking, and then froze to death when it started pouring. LOL

Truthfully, the race was extremely well organized and I really appreciated the atmosphere of a smaller race. And the rain was an interesting way to end the race. Too bad, it took me a few hours to actually warm back up and regain feeling in my toes and fingers.

Question for you: Have you ever raced in the rain before? How was it?