Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Third time’s the charm – SD RnR race report 

Hey everyone! It’s been over a week and a half since I last ran the San Diego Rock N Roll half marathon and I’m happy to report that the overall experience was a success! I ran this course in under 2 hours, which was a dream of mine ever since the first time I ran it 3 years ago. 🙂 Without further adieu, my race report and some lessons I learned throughout the trip.

Health and Fitness Expo

Lesson #1: Take the trolley from a transit center to get to expo. It’s $2.50 one day and $5 for an all day pass. If you’re planning on going by trolley to get to the race, buy a 2 day pass for $9 and save yourself the hassle of downtown parking and high parking rates.

I easily got to the expo in Saturday afternoon by trolley, picked up my bib, changed my corral, and spent a few hours volunteering at the HoneyStinger booth. I’m one of their ambassadors and when they asked for volunteers to help man their booth, I jumped at the opportunity. For two hours, I cut up waffles and filled up bowls with whatever they were running low on (while also tasting their newest products). It really was a fun gig and I walked away with some free product as a thank you for volunteering. Whoo. Thanks HoneyStinger! I definitely have enough HoneyStinger fuel for my summer marathon training. 🙂

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My HoneyStinger score 🙂

 

While I was at the booth, a few people who I’ve interacted with online came to see me. I had told them I’d be volunteering and they actually dropped by. I was estatic and extremely appreciative they took their time to see me. I met the talented Briana from @MatMilesMedals (IG),

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Briana

crazy ultra runner Chelsea from TheDancingRunner, and fellow BibRave Pro Fallon from SlackerRunner.

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Chelsea and Fallon

After working my shift, I checked out a few other booths. While at the ProCompression booth, I saw other runners I followed on Instagram (Brian from PavementRunner – the organizer of the #WeRunSocial ornament exchange I took part in last year and CarleeMcDot – an incredible runner who I won a giveaway from last December). I definitely had a fangirl kind of moment.

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The WeRunSocial crew and I

I also made a stop by the SportHooks booth for an add-on medal rack, but was sad to find out they had run out. 😦 I’ll be sure to stop by at the Los Angeles Rock N Roll expo in October to get one then. I also met up with BibRavePro Emily from @AZSunGoddess (IG) and Fallon again later that day. 🙂 I had a wonderful time circling the expo. They have a lot of variety and entertainment and is still to this day one of my favorites.

 

 

 

Pre-race

Lesson #2 – This ties back to lesson #1. If you’re local, drive to Qualcomm stadium or one of the other trolley transit centers and take the trolley to downtown. From the stop, you have to walk about 10 minutes to the start line. Consider the walk a warm up. Taking the trolley will save you LOTS of stress, time, and money. Even if you’re not a local and you’re not in central downtown, do this option. It is by far the best way to get to the race. 

This year, the race had different start times depending on which corral you were in. I was in the first 10 corrals and was amongst one of the first few corrals released. I got there around 5:45 am, dropped off my stuff at gear check, made it into the #WeRunSocial picture, met Maria from @Running_notybaby (IG), and was off to race.

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Maria, Briana, Fallon, and I

Race time – 

Plan A – Beat my PR of 1:52:34

Plan B – Run a sub 2 hour half marathon

Plan C – Beat my course PR of 2:07:31

My plan for this race was to try and PR. I had done so well in the past few races I figured why not shoot for it. Unfortunately, I had pulled a hamstring the week before and was just going “wing it” during the race. Mile 1 went off just fine. I wasn’t as fast starting out, but I was in under the pace time. I saw some drag queens in Hillcrest that boosted my morale, but mile 2 to 6 was a struggle. Even the mile 4.5 bar that some neighbors set up wasn’t enough to pump up my energy levels. The humidity was high and by mile 5, I was already wishing it was over. It also didn’t help that I had been having lower back problems a few days before. By mile 6, I knew I wasn’t going to PR. I was still on track for Plan B and I also planned on trying out my new StimGear compression arm sleeves around mile 7 so I tried to remain positive. At mile 6.5, I activated the cooling packets from StimGear and within seconds, a rush of cold hit my wrists and began cooling me down. The packets were actually so cold that I tried pumping my arms faster so I’d warm back up. LOL. The effects wore out after 15 minutes and the rest of the race was kind of a blur. I was so focused on finishing in under the 2 hours that I didn’t enjoy the rest of the race. I did finish the half in 1:54:11, but I regret not slowing down even a bit to make the event more enjoyable.

Lessson #3: If race conditions aren’t favorable to PR, slow down and enjoy the experience. There’s course entertainment and lots of things to see along the route. Not every race is meant to be a PR. 

Post-race – 

After crossing that finish line, I grabbed my medal and all the food in sight. LOL. Unfortunately, the race AGAIN forgot to provide bags for us to carry all the food given out at the finish line. Don’t get me wrong. I am super grateful for all the goodies they gave us at the end, but a bag would have been nice to carry all the stuff in. I instead was dropping things left and right and had to sit down on the side of the curb and eat some things so I could carry the rest of it with fewer problems. LOL.

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At the finish line

 

I made my way to the festival, grabbed my gear bag, and sat down to eat the rest of the food I received. After a few minutes, I quickly got cold to the point where I started shaking.

Lesson #4: Bring a change of clothes or a jacket and put it in your gear check. 

Luckily, I had stashed a jacket with me in my bag and put it on. Had I brought a change of clothes, I think I would have recovered a bit better. I was soaked in my sweat and was shaking for a bit even after I put my jacket on. I planned on meeting up with more friends after the race, but because I was so cold and by myself, I decided to just head home. I have never appreciated a shower more. LOL.

Overall – The expo was amazing. I had a great time interacting with other runners and wish I had more money to go to more races and meet other people I’ve interacted with online. The race was a little lackluster, but I think that could have been due to the humid weather. Ew. The race entertainment could have been a bit more interesting, but I will say that the neighborhood support was wonderful. It was amazing to see people come out and support us with alcohol, water bottles, and other things. 🙂

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The center spins too

Woohoo. My 14th half marathon is done. Now onto my 15th next month. 🙂 Have you run a Rock N Roll race? Which one? How was your experience? 

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running

Lucky Half Marathon #13 – The La Jolla Half Race Report

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the La Jolla 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. 

That’s right. You read correctly. I just ran my 13th half marathon and it just happened to be on one of the most challenging courses I’ve ever run – oh lucky number 13. If you didn’t know, I was pretty nervous heading into the half. I pushed myself into not running too much during taper week, which I think I succeeded more or less. I logged 8.6 miles going into the race and with the race, I totaled 21.7 miles this week. Not bad at all. I will definitely have to increase my mileage starting in June when I start training for Chicago though. Ack!

Anyway, here’s my race report on the La Jolla Half marathon. *Spoiler alert* I am actually considering running this one again next year. 🙂

Expo – The Expo was held in Del Mar at the Hilton hotel right next to the start line. It was nice that it gave people from out of town an idea of where to go for the start. I dropped by Saturday afternoon and the expo was packed. I picked up my bib, my shirt, and browsed the vendors. The San Diego Craft Classic was there promoting their July race. Run for beer anyone? They even had free beer at their table. LOL. Also, got to try a phenomenal acai bowl from Sambazon. That was probably my favorite vendor of the day. Also saw vendors from Nuun, CycleBar, KT tape, and a few other companies. 

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I don’t really eat hills for breakfast, but you know what I mean.
Night before race – You know how you tell yourself that you’re going to go to bed by a certain time and then it doesn’t happen? Yeah. I planned to head to bed at 9 pm so I could get 7 hours of sleep, but I actually went to bed closer to 11 pm, which meant that I only had 5 hours of sleep. Eek! Considering that I hadn’t been sleeping well that week, I was really nervous about how I’d do during the race. Sleep is so important the week of your race and I managed to scrape by with the bare minimum.

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Set up my flat runner for the night and passed out.
Morning of race – Woke up before my alarm hit 4 am. My body always seems to know when I need to wake up the morning of races. If only it did that everyday. Grabbed all of my gear and headed out the door. Got to the finish line by 5 am and took the shuttle to the start line. (They sent out emails saying that we must be in line to board a shuttle by no later than 5:30 am so I panicked and got there early). To anyone running this in the future, DO NOT GET TO THE FINISH LINE AS EARLY AS ME. I ended up on the first shuttle that actually left for the start line, which meant that I got up way too early for the race. I ended up waiting 2 hours for the actual start of the race. Sigh. Luckily, I met up with a lot of people during this time. Met some people from Twitter and had friends running it too!

Race time – I was in wave 4, which was the same wave I was in 2 years ago. When I signed up this year, I put a pretty conservative time down for myself: 2 hours and 10 minutes. I figured I’d be right around there. I know I’ve improved since then, but since this course is super hilly, I didn’t want to chance it. Only when I got to wave 4 did I realize my mistake. I had planned on following the 2:00 pacer this race so to conserve energy, only there was no 2:00 pacer in sight. The 2:10 pacer was in wave 4 meaning that the 2:00 pacer was probably in wave 3. Oops? At that point, I figured I’d just try and keep ahead of the 2:10 pacer and I’d be happy. 

Mile 1 to 4: And off we went…just in time for the sun to start coming out. LOL. I clocked my first mile in at 7:40. Oops. The adrenaline of the race definitely got to me. Pacing is something I will need to work on later. At mile 2, we headed up our first hill with an increase of 75 ft for maybe a 1/3rd of a mile. Then, we headed back down and a little before mile 4, we ran on flat pavement for a mile or so before heading up our second hill. This hill lasted a little more than a mile and was more of a pain because we were turning a lot and we couldn’t see the end of the hill. With most turns, we’d just see another hill. Looking back on it now, it definitely foreshadowed our trek up Torrey Pines hill, which has a similar path.

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The elevation map for the course.
Mile 5 to 8: Mile 5 is where the pep talk started for me. I started taking a lot more deep breaths and tried to conserve my energy as much as possible. At mile 5, we got our glimpse of the massive Torrey Pines hill. We ran downhill and ran by the beach and at mile 5.5, we started our trek up the hill. The highest point of the hill measures in at 445 feet. It does have dips in elevation before it gets to that point, but there are only a few. The first dip we hit was at 318 feet. Although, I didn’t run up the hill in it’s entirety, I am proud to say that I ran up 302 feet of that hill before I had to take a 10 second walking break. This is HUGE because two years ago, I struggled HARD on that hill. The balls of my feet went numb and I had to walk up a lot of that hill. This year, there was none of that and I made it out of that hill feeling like a champ. 🙂 It also helped A LOT that I actually saw the 2:00 pacer a few hundred feet away during this trek. Since the pacer started in the wave ahead of me, that meant that I was on pace to finish within the 2 hours I wanted. That kept me going.

Mile 9 to 11: Having lived in La Jolla for a good chunk of my graduate school career, this stretch felt at home to me. I’ve run around the area for years and I just imagined myself running it like it was any other day.

Mile 12: Flat. Suspiciously flat.

Mile 13: This mile contains what I heard someone describe as the “F*** you” hill. I think that’s it’s a very accurate description of that hill. The hill increases in elevation by about 150 feet and takes almost everyone by surprise because honestly, who designs a course that has a hill at the very end? LOL. The organizers of the La Jolla Half do. That’s who. Even though it was my second time running it and I knew about it, I still wasn’t well prepared for it. I took one more walking break here and once I hit the peak of that hill, I made a break for the finish line.

Finish line – As soon as I crossed that finish line, I immediately took out my phone and stopped my Strava app. And wouldn’t you know it, I finished it under 2 HOURS! Hooray! I knew I wasn’t going to PR this race, but I wanted to at least redeem myself and redeem myself, I did! 🙂 My official time was 1:59:10 meaning that I beat my course PR by 17 minutes. Holy moly, does that feel good! 😀

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I definitely do run for bling.
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Those acai bowls were really good.
I grabbed my medals, all the my goodies (banana, Tru Moo chocolate milk, coconut milk, boxed water, another acai bowl from Sambazon), picked up my gear bag to put all my stuff in, took a photo in front of the La Jolla half marathon sign, and met up with some BibRave Pros who also ran the race.

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Meet fellow Bib Rave Pros Jeremy (top) from Phoenix, AZ, and Amanda (below) from San Diego, CA.
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Also, ran into Ted from Twitter. He’s a speedy one finishing his half in a few minutes over 1:30. So fast.
The overall experience was fantastic. It was a challenging race, but it pushed me out of my comfort zone and I came out a stronger person for it. I wish it was a bit cooler and less humid during the race, but that’s weather for you. You can never depend on it when you need it most. LOL. Anyway, that wraps up my race report. Hope you enjoyed reading it!

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Yay! I did better than expected.
So about how you? Did you run this weekend? Race? How did you do? 

 

Posted in Race Reports, Running

Triton 5k – Race Report

Happy Monday lovelies! I hope you all had a great weekend. I did. This past weekend, I ran another 5k – the Triton 5k. This race is in its 21st year running and is held by the University of California, San Diego. Most participants are students or have some affiliation with the campus and dogs are welcome on this course (at least, that’s what I assumed based on all the pups I saw during the race). This was my second year running the race and again I had a pretty fun time running around a campus I’ve spent over 10 years at. IMG_8676

The Details

Price – For a 5k, this race is pretty affordable. If you are a student, it costs $15. Luckily, I still fall under this category, but next year, I won’t be so lucky.

Time – 9 am

Course – The race starts at the most northern part of UCSD. There is a nice loop to help corral the participants. The course takes you across the campus and loops you back to the track and field. The course, unfortunately, is nothing too scenic and I felt a little cheated to not be able to run through the more beautiful parts of the campus. I will say though, in the campus’ defense, that there is a LOT of construction going on and so there aren’t too many paths that they could have taken to make the 5k. It could also be that I’m used to running longer distances and have more chances for better views.

Swag – For the $15, I get a nice T-shirt, a reusable bag, and a piece of fruit. There is no medal, which is fine because I already have quite a few. (Don’t get me wrong. If I’m running a half, I want a medal. A half is no easy feat. LOL).

How it went down – Since this race started at 9 am, I was able to get more sleep than usual. HOORAY! My friend picked me up and off we went to the northern part of campus. I got into my corral and off we went. Despite the runners being released in waves, there was still quite a bit of bottlenecking at the beginning. With all the adrenaline I have at the beginning of a race, it’s actually kind of nice to have people physically be in your way. It makes you slow down so you don’t burn out as quickly. I also kind of like having to weave around runners. I take much shorter steps and for some reason, I always feel like an airplane avoiding collisions. The first mile sped by – 7:26 min/mile. I was running on an injured hamstring and even though I knew I should have slowed down, I just couldn’t. Something about my competitiveness kicked in and I pumped my arms and finished the second mile in 7:47. That’s when both of my legs started to give in. At that point, I decided to slow down and take deeper breaths. I was super winded, but was able to finish with a time I’m pretty proud of. When I first ran this race 3 years ago, I ran it in 24:36. This year, I ran it in 23:59. That’s only 12 seconds slower than last week. By golly, I think I’ll say it. I’m improving as a runner! YAY! 🙂

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My friend Miren and I with the Triton, UCSD’s mascot
Now to heal up and get ready for the La Jolla Half marathon in two weeks! Eek!

How was your weekend? Did you do any fun things? I’d love to hear about them. 

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

The Carlsbad5000 – Race Report

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Rock N Roll’s Carlsbad5000 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. 

It happened. I didn’t think it could, but it did. Today, I beat my personal record of 24 minutes and 36 seconds with a time of 23 minutes and 47 seconds. Yay!

I genuinely believed that I couldn’t beat my personal record going into the race. For the past few weeks, my motivation to run dramatically decreased. Remember the plan I had for last week? Yeah, I barely did any of it.

Monday – 5.5 miles

Tuesday – 4.5 miles 3 miles

Wednesday to Friday – 2 to 3 miles a day zero miles

Saturday – 2.6 miles

The plan was to get the bulk of my miles in on Monday and Tuesday. Everything went according to plan on Monday and I was feeling good. I ran out of time on Tuesday and only managed 3 miles. I had some unpleasant news drop on me Tuesday night and I was out of commission emotionally Wednesday through Friday. I guess you could call that tapering in a way. Saturday, I came to the realization that despite encouraging others to sign up for the race, I, myself, hadn’t signed up for it. Wow. I couldn’t believe it. Luckily, there was race day registration and I decided that I would just sign up the morning of and it’d be fine. I managed a 2.6 mile shake out run that day as well in hopes that I wouldn’t feel too terrible on race day.

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Race Day Essentials

Race morning came. I ate an organic HoneyStinger waffle for breakfast and got myself to the race. Parking wasn’t too bad and I found a spot within a few minutes and made my way over to the registration area. Note that parking isn’t too big of an issue for the Carlsbad5000 because of the way the 5k races are spaced out. You only really need to show up an hour before your start time and by the time you get there, other runners will have already left giving you parking space. 🙂

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Ran into a HoneyStinger Truck on my way to registration. Yay HoneyStinger!

Registration was a breeze. I just walked up to a computer, swiped my driver’s license, swiped my credit card, and got my bib. I have never come across an easier registration process. Because registration was a lot faster than anticipated, I still had about an hour before my start time and decided to stay and watch the race before me (Master’s Women Ages 40 and Over).

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A successful jumping photo on the first try!

While I was waiting, I heard the announcer say that the fastest time achieved on this course for men was a 12 minutes and 59 seconds and the fastest time for women was a 14 minutes and 46 seconds. I kind of stood there in disbelief that there were people that fast out there. It definitely put me to shame.

Anyway, after the women ages 40 and up started their race, I ran into a friend from college. We caught up and as the sun came out, I started to feel a bit better about the race. I started to believe that maybe I could do it, but also believed that it’d be okay if I didn’t PR. The goal was to just enjoy the race and not quit.

The race itself was awesome. I’ve been really fortunate to be able to repeat a few of the races that I first ran 3 years ago. Back then, I only concentrated on finishing. That was the goal. I was so set on proving that I could do something that I forgot to “sit back” and enjoy the course. Don’t get me wrong. I’m still set on finishing each race, but I’ve found that taking in all the sights is a really a great way to see a city (and enjoy the race), even if I’ve lived in it almost all my life. We started the race by crossing some train tracks, then turned left on Carlsbad Boulevard and headed towards the infamous Carlsbad sign. I was moving my little legs as fast as I could, dodging people left and right. There was a bit of a bottleneckat the beginning, but once we were on Carlsbad Boulevard, it cleared up a bit. Mile 1 had passed easily and my strava app announced that I was running at a 7:23 min/mile. At that point, I had an “oh crap” moment. I started out way too fast. I somehow reasoned to myself that if I could just keep the pace for another mile, maybe it’d be okay. If I gassed out during the last mile, maybe it wouldn’t matter as much and I could still PR. So I kept going and pumped my arms as fast as I could. While on the course, we got to see views of the Pacific Ocean and I thought that it was a shame I didn’t visit the ocean more often. I assure you, that will change this summer. We then made a U-turn and made our way back up the street. This is when I started to gas out. I was having a hard time breathing and people were passing me, but I just told myself to give it everything I had left and ran to the finish line. At the finish line, I was greeted with this pretty medal and post-race goodies.

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I was also one of the first 250 finishers. 🙂

I was so happy to get that medal that I had almost forgotten to stop my Strava tracking. When I did check my Strava data, I was in shock. I had PRed again! Hooray! Maybe it is all in my head? I don’t really know. I’m just eternally grateful for this fortunate event.

Anyway, back to the medal. If all medals were like this, I’d run all the races. It’s a smaller medal, but I don’t mind it at all. I think the size actually adds to its appeal. Post-race goodies included an orange, water, gatorade, crackers, and some other refueling items I didn’t get. After finishing, I skipped the beer garden and caught up with some friends that came to cheer me on.

The Carlsbad5000 was a great way to kick off April and with the way that March ended for me, this was something that I desperately needed. Maybe next year, I’ll be crazy enough to do the all day 20k. IMG_8527

How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun? Run any races? Or just tell me a random fact about yourself. 🙂 

 

 

 

 

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 Race Reports, Running

The Great Chocolate Race (Long Beach) – Race Report

It’s February! Hooray! Can you believe it? I can’t. If only the next four years could pass just as fast. Hah!

Now, onto my race report. This past weekend, I ran the Great Chocolate Race in Long Beach, CA and I’ll just get right to it; I placed 3rd in my age group! Although it was most likely due to it being a smaller race, I’m still thrilled! I’ve never placed before in the top 3 before and I couldn’t believe the screen when I saw it.

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3rd place in my age group!

The Logistics

Cost – $32.50 ($42.50 with a Race Grader discount and an additional $10 off because I got 3 of my friends to sign up)

Distance – 5k or 10 mile (Yours truly ran the 10 mile)

Theme – CHOCOLATE!

Swag – Long sleeve technical tee, a box of godiva chocolates (4), and a shiny new medal

Location – Long Beach Convention Center and surrounding areas (waterfront)

My Experience

The day before the race, I decided to try and run an easy two miles. It turns out those two miles were nothing but easy. My feet felt like they were blocks of concrete and each step I took felt very tough. I ran a full min/mile slower than I normally would and it wasn’t intentional. I was as fast as my legs would let me go. It was frustrating, but I decided to brush it off and made the trip to pick up my bib. After picking up my bib, I made my way over to a friend’s and had dinner with friends. My main goals that night were to hydrate, stay optimistic, and get a good night’s sleep, which I thankfully did.

Morning of, I woke up a few minutes before my alarm. I put on my new Lululemon shirt that I got from the Lululemon 40/80 Strava challenge, Champion capris, Flipbelt, ate my favorite HoneyStinger waffle and was on my way.

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Sparklets from Momentum Jewelry and a Sparkly Soul headband to complete the outfit

The race had two distances, the 5k and the 10 mile. I ran the 10 mile. This race was really beautiful. I’m not sure what it was, but I really enjoyed the scenery. We started off at the Long Beach Convention center and made our way around the Rainbow Lagoon park. The lagoon was really calming and I think it really set my mood for the rest of the race because I wasn’t really focused on time.

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Rainbow Lagoon Park (Credit: Photorator)

I just focused on enjoying the course. We ran along the shoreline and there were just so many boats. We even saw the Queen Mary. Apologies for the lack of pictures. I wanted to really enjoy the moment and not have to take out my phone for photos. I ran this race with a few friends and as we crossed paths during the race, we would high five each other. My friend finished 5th overall and was even able to record me racing to the finish. Yay! I’m thankful for fast friends. Hah. Once I crossed the finish line, I grabbed my new shiny medal, my box of godiva chocolates, and went to watch my other friend finish.

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After grabbing my 3rd place medal, I had to get a photo taken.
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The swag from the race minus my technical tee. Oops.

All in all, I had a great time at this race. Would I run it again? Maybe. It is a 2 hour drive to get to so it’s a little inconvenient for me, but I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who is in the area to run it. The race was a great way to complete the month of January.

So how was your January? Did you run any races? Or are you training for a spring race? 

Posted in Race Reports, Running

PR at the San Diego Holiday Half – Race Report

I ran the San Diego Holiday Half marathon this past weekend and guess what?

I BEAT MY PERSONAL RECORD (PR) with a time of 1:53:18!

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What??? Is this real life?

 

Holy crap! I still can’t believe it. It’s been 4 days already and I still think there was some kind of glitch that happened in the system to give me that time, but when I look over at my Strava data and the official results, there’s no denying it. I RAN A SUB TWO HOUR HALF MARATHON. 😀 Wheeeeeee. This is huge for me because

  1. I have NEVER run a sub 2 hour half marathon before.
  2. I hadn’t PRed in a half marathon in over a year and a half.

My last PR for this distance was a 2:01:41. That’s almost 8 and a half minutes slower than what I currently ran. This is kind of insane to me. This year, I’ve been hovering at around a 2:07:00 time and was really doubting that I was improving as a runner. Not PRing in over a year and a half despite pretty consistently running was a little disheartening. BUT, with this recent development, I think I’ll double my efforts next year and try and PR again! 🙂 WHEEEEEE!

Okay, onto the nitty gritty details.

Bib Pick Up – You pick up your bib at Road Runner Sports the day before the race. Bib pick up was a bit disorganized in the evening when I got my stuff, but it made up for it with the swag. Your registration comes with a long sleeved tech hoodie, a pair of gloves, and some coupons. Most registrations don’t come with a hoodie so I was pretty stoked about this. The gloves they provide are meant as throwaway gloves after you’re all warmed up on race day. I wore them race day and they helped A LOT. It was freezing the morning of.

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Must haves: Honey Stinger waffles, Flip Belt, earbuds, SparklySoul Headband, Hammer or Honey Stinger gels, and water. LOTS OF WATER.

Morning of – It was about high 30s/low 40s for most of the morning. We got to the area around 6:45 am (the race starts at 7:30 am) and found parking fairly easily after a little confusion. The designated parking area had a few smaller lots off to the side that had private parking signs and no one was sure if we were allowed to park there. We just went to the second designated lot and walked a few blocks to the start. Easy peasy. 🙂

The Race  The race itself has a 711 ft net elevation drop, which makes it a very PR-able course as proven by yours truly. I ran with a few others and we all PRed. A fellow runner even high fived me at the finish line and told me she PRed by 15 minutes! I could tell by her face that she couldn’t believe it. If you want to PR, this is definitely the course for you.

Although the race has an overall elevation drop, be prepared for hills. They’re not too bad, but the hills are spread throughout the race. There is also some bottlenecking, but it’s not too bad. You run along the 56 freeway (not on it, but through a bike path) and it’s pretty much a straightshot from start to finish.

Beast Pacing did the pacing for this race. It was also the first time I ran with a pace group. I stuck with the 1:55 pacer and made it all the way through to the end. Well, I sped up the last mile cause I got too excited, but that’s besides the point. The point is this group did a fantastic job of pacing. I was on schedule the entire time and the pacer was positive the whole way through. Now I’m thinking about being a pacer. Hah. I’m easily influenced.

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I waited for the 1:55 pacer Andrew to cross the finish line so I could get a pic with him. Hah. 

Anyway, the only thing I didn’t like about this race was the hill towards the end of the race. I like downhill finishes, but because I was on a mission to get my best time possible, I gunned it at the end. 🙂 Once you’ve crossed the finish line, you’ll feel like a million bucks (especially if you’ve PRed).

Post-race festivities – You get awarded a medal, collect your freebies (food!), and take a bunch of photos because hey, why not? If you completed the 15k South Bay Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving like I did, you get the Winter Exacta medal. (woohoo)

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My Winter Exacta medal/bottle opener (LOL) and my Holiday Half medal

There is also an extra medal (Route 56) if you completed the San Diego Craft Classic Half marathon in July. Since we parked at the start line, we got onto a shuttle and made our way back. The trip was extremely smooth and I’d totally run it again. 2017? Bring it on!