Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Chicago Marathon Race Report

If you read my previous post, you’ll know that I didn’t exactly make the smartest eating choices the night before the race. LOL. Oops! You live and you learn though. 🙂 And I learned to not eat really fatty foods the day before a marathon. FYI: This is A REALLY LONG POST. 🙂 You have been warned.

I woke up the morning of the marathon feeling fine. I slept a good 7 hours and despite walking around the expo a lot the previous day, my legs felt really strong. All the rest I did the week of actually paid off! Getting to the marathon start line was SO MUCH EASIER than getting to New York’s. I hopped onto the Green line and took it all the way down to Millennium Park where the start was. I barely had to do any walking and within about 45 minutes, I was near the gate entrances. Security was very tight due to recent events and I very much appreciated it. Runners had to walk in a single file line through the gates while being screened by security wands. Despite the initial bottleneck, I was through the gates in 10 minutes and made my way to gear check and the corrals.

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Do you see it? So awesome!
As I was waited for the race to start, my stomach started to feel kind of funny. I thought about going to the porta-potties, but since they had already closed the corrals for my wave, I made the decision to just hold it and hope it’d go away. I didn’t want to go use the porta-potties and then have to start at the end of my wave. Also, never have I ever had to use the porta-potty before or during the race. Spoiler alert: I can no longer say that. LOL.

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At the start
As I crossed the start line, I felt the excitement and nervousness that I felt in New York, but I also felt a lot of pressure. I had never trained so hard for a race before and anything other than my goal time would be considered a failure for me. So off I went. It was difficult to keep my pace slow because the energy around me was contagious. Almost immediately, we went underneath a tunnel, and I experienced what I will quite honestly describe as “Uh WTF” moment. Guys who apparently didn’t want to use the porta-potties either were finding corners in the tunnel to pee. LOL. So weird. Anyway, I had to get out of that tunnel asap so I sped up a little bit. Haha.

For the first few miles, we ran around the Chicago loop in downtown. Chicago is truly a beautiful city. The architecture is amazing to look at and the skyscrapers around us kept us nice and cool.

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Hello skyscrapers!
Then at mile 3, my stomach started feeling funny and since my biggest fear is probably accidentally pooping myself during a race, I darted to the nearest porta-potty. The lines were long and I lost a few minutes at each stop that I made along the race. Sadly, I made three during the first half of the race. After each stop, I increasingly became frustrated with myself. I knew I had lost precious time, but I wasn’t sure how much because for reasons unknown, my tracking app was anywhere from 0.5 miles to 1.5 miles off during the entire race and it was really difficult to gauge my progress. I was also really worried about my fuel plan because my stomach was so uneasy. I didn’t want to take the gels and make my stomach feel worse, but I also didn’t want to hit the wall at mile 20. I had to play everything by ear and luckily, my stomach eased up at the halfway point and I was able to continue on with the race.

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Spectators on the bridge cheering on runners
To make up for the lost time, I sped up quite a bit after each stop, which made the race less enjoyable for me. I was so set on reaching 26.2 miles that half of the race was a blur for me. Since I felt better after the halfway point, I started to pick up my pace.  Unfortunately for me and the other runners, the 2nd half of the race was not well shaded and it was also getting hot. The race at this point was still a blur for me, but I think it was because crowd support for this race was neverending. There were always people cheering for you, little kids wanting to high five you, and more “Touch here for power-up” signs than I could count. I know. I tried. For the last 6 miles, I ran through as many sprinklers as I could. I grabbed wet sponges that volunteers were handing out to cool my body and I kept drinking water.

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So happy to get a sponge!
At mile 22, my legs started to experience fatigue. By that point, I had a feeling I wouldn’t have hit my first goal, but I knew that at the pace I was going, I’d still beat my person record so I pushed on. At 25.5 miles, I was DYING. Everyone that says that Chicago is flat as a pancake is WRONG. They’re 99.8% right, but that last 0.2% is during the last half mile of the marathon. WHYYYYY????? was my exact reaction. I turned the corner and was just devastated that there was this hill at the end. In retrospect, this hill isn’t that bad, but at the end of a marathon, it might as well have been life or death. LOL.

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Hooray! I did it!
As soon as I crossed that finish line, a FLOOD of emotions came over me and I just burst  into tears. I had just finished my second full marathon, a race I had trained so hard for, and no one was physically there to celebrate it with me. It was really hard for me and to help me get through it, I spent the next few minutes posting to social media and thanking all of my friends who sent me texts during the race to keep me going. I was so distraught after the race and my body was in shock. I remember calling my boyfriend and telling him that I’m not sure I’ll ever run a marathon ever again, only to remember that I was signed up for the Dopey Challenge in January. Not to worry though, I’ve changed my mind since then and am still planning on doing Dopey. LOL.

If you’re still with me and have read this to the end, here’s how I did:

Chip time: 4 hours, 23 minutes and 30 seconds (I beat my previous record by 25 minutes and 19 seconds!!!)

So there you have it – my Chicago marathon experience. Hooray! Would I do it again? Sure, but not any time soon. I have a whole lot of other races I want to check off my bucket list first. ☺️

 

 

 

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Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Days Leading up to the Chicago Marathon

Well, it’s been 10 days since I ran my second full marathon in Chicago and I think most of the feelings have been processed. 🙂 This race was less than ideal for me, but I think I did the best I could given the circumstances I’ll later describe in my next post, but for now, here are the details of the days leading up to the race:

I was pretty jittery during the days leading up to the race. My knee still didn’t feel 100%, but I also didn’t want to be too stiff during the race so I logged in about 10 miles the week of the race. I flew into Chicago Friday evening after a 2.5 hour delay on the plane. Boo Spirit! A 6.5 hour flight is not conducive to running. Luckily, my friend picked me up and so I got to sleep sooner than anticipated. After about 8 hours of sleep, I got up and dropped by Cloud Gate to meet up with some #werunsocial runners (I even met Kristin, who gave me an ornament from the ornament exchange last December) and then headed to the expo to explore.

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Kristin!

 

The Expo: If I could rank the top three expos that I’ve been to, I would say that the Chicago Marathon Expo would be at the very top with the New York Marathon Expo and the Rock N Roll Expos following it.

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Taking the Windy City by storm!

There were so many things to see and do at the expo. Runner’s World, Aftershokz, Oofos (which I’ll talk about in a later post), Run Disney, SportHooks, and about a billion more vendors were there.

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I love their headphones so of course I had to drop by to say hi!

I walked around and grabbed as many free Chicago marathon memorabilia as I could. I may have walked around for a little too long, but hey, they gave out cow bells to cheer on runners. Of course, I had to grab one! LOL. I even saw Hal Higdon and Bart Yasso at the Runner’s World booth and got a little starstruck. The expo was a place where you can meet the who’s who in the running world. They had speakers come out and it was just a great location for people to meet up. While I was there, I also ran into the BibRave team and other runners I’ve interacted with on Twitter.  Running into people that I’ve interacted with for over 6 months on social media was probably one of the highlights of my trip. I finally got to put names (or in some cases social media handles) to faces. LOL

Pre-marathon meals: After a few hours of walking around the expo, I headed out to grab lunch at the Purple Pig. I had eaten here before and since I was a party of one, I knew I wouldn’t have to wait long. I was right. What I didn’t anticipate was how the Roasted Bone Marrow With Herb Salad and Sicilian Sea Salt would affect my stomach the next day. LOL. Oops. I mean, honestly, who wouldn’t want to eat some fatty goodness the day before a race?

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Look at how happy I am with my Bone Marrow LOL

I later grabbed a few slices of deep dish pizza at Giordano’s with a friend (an action I also regretted the next day) and called it a night. Stay tuned for my next post on marathon day! 🙂

 

 

 

Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

America’s Finest City Half – Race Report

Disclaimer: I received an entry into America’s Finest City half 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! All opinions are my own. 

Happy Friday everyone! The America’s Finest City half was my 6th and 17th half marathon and I can confidently say that I’ve improved – by 18 minutes. 🙂 Yay! Now, let’s get down to how everything went down the weekend of the half. 🙂

Packet Pick-up

Went on a Saturday to the hotel where packet pick-up was being held. There were no hiccups along the way and I got my race bib and technical tee and was in and out of there pretty quickly. The expo was medium sized and would have been a great place to pick up any last minute fuel items for the race. I even bought a 26.2 sticker for my car. 🙂

Race Day

Pre-race

I had been feeling ill the past week and had been waking up really congested so I made sure to sleep as much as possible the night before the race. I ended up with 7.5 hours. Hooray! Woke up at 4 am still pretty congested and got to Balboa Park by 4:30 am and shuttled over to Cabrillo National Monument where the start line was. This race only allows you to park at the finish line because it’s a point to point race and for safety and security reasons, no one is allowed to park at the start. I then waited for about an hour and a half for the race to start. LOL. Luckily, I met up and chatted with several of my running friends to pass the time. 🙂 It was also COMPLETE OVERCAST and was perfect running weather. Hooray!

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My friends! 

Race

I was still sick and didn’t want to stress out my body even more so I stayed true to my promise to take it easy. After crossing the start line, you immediate run down a hill and run past the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, a cemetery that is dedicated to veterans. The first 2.5 miles had rolling hills, which weren’t that great for my not warmed up legs, but I managed. We headed into neighborhoods and were greeted with people cheering and shots of whiskey. LOL. We then headed towards the bay and ran along the bay from mile 4 to 10. This was really a scenic route – one that is much more different than the San Diego Rock N’ Roll half that I ran earlier this year. At mile 8, my lower back started hurting and I had to slow down my pace by quite a bit. By mile 9, I was mentally drained. I didn’t want to start walking because I knew once I started, I’d be more likely to walk again later on so I just pushed on. At mile 10, we started entering downtown and at mile 11, something amazing happened. People were handing out mini sliders! I took one and munched on it as I made my way towards the 6th avenue hill, which everyone pretty much hates. LOL. It’s probably a 150 ft increase in elevation and just destroys runners because it’s so late in the half. The mini sliders must have given me magical powers or something because I powered through that hill. I also grabbed half an otter pop that someone was handing out and munched on it. It was great. I normally don’t eat during halfs, but these were what I needed to get my head back in the game. At mile 12.5, we entered Balboa Park, which is this beautiful HUGE park that has museums, a botanical garden, and even street performers on the weekends. With about a half mile to go, I sprinted again. LOL. I don’t know what it is, but something about finishing strong is really invigorating.

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View of the bay and downtown

Post-Race

They funneled the runners and gave everyone a paper bag with SO MANY GOODIES inside.

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Nom nom nom
I was definitely a happy camper. I grabbed my medal and headed over to the finish line festival. There were huge lines to take the infamous Triple Crown photo. The organizers had even brought in single sofa chairs and royalty paraphernalia for Triple Crown finishers to take pictures with. I didn’t even do the challenge and I wanted to take a photo with the props. LOL. They also had a live band with a lot of 80s themed music since that was the theme. Heading out of the parking lot was probably the only thing I didn’t really like about the race. Since so many people were leaving and finishers were crossing the streets, it took a solid 15 minutes to get out of the parking lot.

Final Thoughts

This race was a lot more scenic than I remember it being. Two years ago, it was hot and humid and that’s all I could remember. This year, running by the bay was breathtaking and I thoroughly enjoyed all the yummy goodies they passed out along the route (sans the alcohol; I’m not crazy LOL). I took it easy and don’t regret it. I’ll try and do the Triple Crown challenge again next year. I really want that photo opp.

Official time: 2:05:58

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17th half in the books!
Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

SeaWheeze Race Report

I should be focusing on preparing for my defense, but I just couldn’t wait to tell you all about my race experience at SeaWheeze in Vancouver. It could be all the endorphins running through me, but I have to say this was one of the best half marathons I’ve ever run and I’ve run quite a few in the past three years. Apologies in advance for the length of this post and all the LOLs in it. I had a fantastic time and I can’t contain my love for this race.

First off – Package Pick up at the Expo

SeaWheeze is a little different from most races in that you don’t actually wear a bib when you race. So what exactly did I pick up? Well, I picked up a Lululemon cinch bag (which had a water bottle and Nuun tablets in it), my D-tag, and my Sunset Festival bracelet. I also got to exchange my Lululemon shorts at pick up. Hooray! At package pick up, you get to walk around their Runners Shop and of course, buy their merchandise. I am proud to say that I didn’t buy anything. Don’t get me wrong. I do like their clothes, but since I’m graduating soon with no current employment plans, I decided against splurging for a pair of $58 shorts. The urge to spend was great though and Lululemon knows how to market themselves for sure.

The expo had a lot going on. There were a lot of great photo opportunities (I took advantage of all of them LOL), 15 minute yoga classes and a few vendors (Flow, Vega, Clearly, Saje) to check out. I stopped by most of them, found out my stomach didn’t agree with the Flow water, and then headed out.

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Hello photo opps!

Pre-race

I easily took the bus from my Air BnB to Canada place, which by the way is home to the Olympic Cauldron from the 2010 Winter Games. It’s a really cool piece of artwork and I wish they had lit it while we were there. Anyway, I met up with fellow BibRave Pros (Jeannine, Amanda, and Bradley) and then headed to the start.

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Left to right: Jeannine, Amanda, me, and Bradley behind the Olympic Cauldron

At this race, you self seed based on your expected finish time. Pacers, which they call Pace Beavers, were holding up their finish time so I made my way over to the 1:55 pacer and tried to stick with them as long as possible. I had never seen so many people in Lululemon wear in my life. LOL. As I waited to start, I saw this guy with two basketballs in his hands and a temporary “Doctor Dribble” tattoo on his back. Veterans of the race told me that he actually dribbles the entire course. I was impressed. At 7:05 am, the race started and I was on my way.

Race

I, without a doubt, started out WAY TOO FAST. I had a really rough start. I was debating about whether to keep with the 1:55 pacer or just run my own race and ended up with the pacer. That was mistake #1. The pacers were consistently a minute faster than where I needed to be and I struggled to keep up with them. Also, there are A LOT of things going on during this race. Around mile 3, we were on a bridge and there were people on stationary bikes cycling. I believe they were from a spin studio and it was really motivating to see them cheering us on. I tried my best to take pictures, but I also didn’t want to get in anyone’s way when I slowed down to take those pictures. The first time I took out my camera, I dropped my bus pass and a runner almost collided into me. That was mistake #2. I ended up taking a quick pic and was on my way.

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Things I saw along the route

Then my shoelaces got untied and I had to step to the side to tie them – mistake #3. THEN, I found out that the water they were giving out at the aid stations, was the Flow water they served at the expo. I took water from one station and within minutes of drinking it, I felt ill – mistake #4. Like I said, I had a rough start to the race. To make sure I didn’t have to stop by a porta-potty, I ended up bypassing all the water stations and holy moly, I was super thirsty by the end of the race. I was so thirsty at the end of the race that I ended up paying $3 CAD for water at the convention center. Who does that??? LOL. I ended up losing the pacer around mile 6 and at mile 8, “Doctor Dribble” passes me by with his two basketballs and I’m just in shock. What a talented man. LOL.

Despite all the mishaps, I had a fantastic time along the route. There were so many things to see. The things I saw?

  • Drag queens with pom poms
  • People on stilts in animal costumes
  • People dressed in mermaid costumes sitting on the rocks waving at us
  • Rows of people spinning on their stationary bikes
  • People on row machines
  • People on paddle boards ringing their cowbells on the bay
  • Hippies giving out high fives
  • Firefighters and policemen/women sprinkling people with water
  • “Yoga. Run. Party” shrubbery

Just to name a few. 🙂 The neighborhood support was awesome. Also, a huge part of the route is along the seawall and honestly, running along that route made me want to be a Canadian. LOL. The city is just so beautiful and I was so happy I got to explore this city by running through it. I even stopped off to the side to take a picture of the Lion’s Gate bridge. (I have NEVER stopped running during a race to take a photo. It was that picturesque). Honestly, pictures do not do this race justice. With about a mile to go, I ended up pushing myself to sprint. Normally, I can’t sprint for very long, but this time around, I felt strong enough to put everything I had into that last mile. Hooray! Marathon training is paying off. 🙂

Post-race

After crossing the finish line, I grabbed my shiny medal, a pair of Clearly sunglasses, my complimentary brunch, my Runner’s Reward from Saje (it contained a “Muscle Melt” lotion, a 6ml headache remedy, and 6ml analgesic remedy), found water, and waited for my friend to finish.

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Yay pretty medal!

As part of SeaWheeze, all runners also get to attend their Sunset Festival, which in short, is a huge yoga party with musical headliners. It didn’t start until 4:30 pm so my friend and I got lunch and went back to our place to nap before heading back out. I’m not really into yoga, but I thought I’d attend anyway to see what it was about. At the festival, there were more shops for people to buy Lululemon gear. They make SOOOOO much money out of this race. I ran into a woman that said she had used up her mother’s day present, birthday present, and Christmas present for that year. LOL. Wow. There was an hour long yoga class followed by Young the Giant and Cold War Kids. I ended up leaving mid yoga class so I can’t really comment on the rest of the night, but it was a nice event to unwind at.

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Honestly, the best part (for me) about the sunset festival was the fact that there were three people in t-rex costumes, two of which participated in yoga. LOL. Can you spot them in my pictures?

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Do you see what I see? LOL. 

If this was too long to read, here’s the short version. I had a blast at SeaWheeze and I already want to try and run it again next year. I recommend EVERYONE to run this race. They’ve already set the date too! It’ll be September 22, 2018. 🙂 The registration date hasn’t been released yet, but if I hear about it, I’ll let you know too.

So have you run SeaWheeze before? Or are there any amazing races I should know about? I already want to do another racecation. LOL. 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

I ran for beer (San Diego’s Craft Classic race report)

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the San Diego – Craft Classic 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. 

I did it. I ran another summer half marathon after swearing not to. LOL. And to be honest, my 15th half marathon wasn’t half bad. Here’s how my race weekend went.

Packet Pick-up: The packet pick-up was held at Road Runner Sports on Friday and Saturday. I went on Friday afternoon and packet pick up was a breeze. There was no issue with parking because Road Runner Sports has a pretty big parking lot. Yay! Also, you don’t have to pay for parking. Amazing, right? I hate having to pay just pick something up. With registration, you get your race bib, a nice “On a Beer Run” shirt, and a shiny Craft Classic pint glass. I ran into a few people from the running community that I knew, chatted with them for a bit, and was on my way.

Pre-race: I’m getting better at sleeping the night before races everyone. 🙂  I got in 7-8 hours and woke up feeling refreshed. Hooray! Left my house around 4 am and got to the parking lot by the finish line with no delay. There was no traffic, no waiting in a long line of cars, and no paying for parking. Double hooray! Their parking lot was big so I had no issues finding parking. 🙂 I parked, took the shuttle to the start line, and waited only about an hour before the race started. The hour flew by as I met up with more people from the running community. I cannot stress enough how much I love meeting new people that I follow/they follow me on IG. If you’re ever running the same race I am, please feel free to hit me up and say hi. 🙂 IMG_0922

The Course: The race starts out on a bike path, which causes a huge bottleneck at the beginning. The path ran west along a freeway (route 56) before diverting south. For the most part, the first half of the race is downhill. At mile 8, you hit your first big hill. At mile 10, you hit the “king of the mountain,” which is of course a monstrous hill. At mile 12, it’s a glorious down hill run and at mile 12.5, you hit your last hill because honestly, the organizers of the race really wanted you to earn that beer. LOL.

My experience with the race: I wanted to finish around the 2 hour mark so I initiall stuck by the 2 hour pacers. Unfortunately with the initial bottleneck, I struggled to keep up with them. I rushed out too fast to catch up with them and ended up paying for it later around mile 10. (Tip: Don’t rush at the beginning. You won’t have enough energy for the end.) After the first mile, the path cleared up and I got into my groove. I was on pace until mile 9. I slowed down quite a bit knowing that THE hill was coming up. Unfortunately, due to my initial running burst, I was pretty mentally drained at that point. I saw the hill and said “F— it.” I walked up a chunk of the hill and tried to stay positive. I was able to jog up some of the hill, but I spent a lot of time just encouraging others up the hill. I also kept telling myself that I didn’t need to push hard for this race because the end game was to finish the Chicago marathon strong. I didn’t want to tire myself out too early in the training plan. At the top of the hill, a spectator told everyone that we’d love what’s around the corner and boy was he right. What goes up must come down, right? 🙂 I ran my legs off on that downhill only to see another hill near the finish line. LOL. I ended up walking a bit of that last hill, but pushed for it when I saw that I the gun time sign said 2:00:20. I had no idea how close I was to 2 hours so I sprinted for the finish line.

My official time? 2:00:01. LOL. I did say I wanted to run this race somewhere between 2:00 and 2:10. I got my wish. 😛

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Post-race: I got my shiny new medal, met up with some more people, and headed to the beer garden. There was a Nuun hydration station, which I was super grateful for. I think I hit up that station three or four times to get electrolytes. 🙂 I stayed for the announcement of the overall winners who won their weight in beer (wow) and headed home. Overall, I had a great time and will probably do it again next year. I mean, I have to take another crack at “king of the mountain.” I’m all about redemption. 🙂

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So what did you do this past weekend? Did you race or just have a chill weekend? 

 

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?