Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Training

Running on Tired Legs – The Secret to a Course PR at the RNR Vegas Half

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the RockNRoll Vegas Half 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 don’t want to bore you with another Marathon Monday training post so today, I will be forgoing it and just share with you all my Rock N Roll Vegas half experience.

Just know that I have been struggling with keeping up with the mileage as it’s been increasing. My legs have been a bit fatigued with 10+ mile long runs, but I know this fatigue is pretty normal and it’ll better prepare me for the full in a few short weeks. The target this past week was 20 miles during the week with a 20 mile long run totaling 40 miles. I was able to get in 16 miles during the week and a 19.3 mile long run totaling 35.3 miles. I was short 4.7 miles, but considering that *SPOILER ALERT* I beat my course PR on the Rock N Roll Vegas Half, I’ll still call it a win.

And with that, my race report of the Rock N Roll Vegas Half.

Health and Fitness Expo – Rock N Roll expos are large. If you’ve never been to one, be prepared. There a TON of vendors so choose wisely when deciding what to purchase or else you’ll rock around having dropped $100+. Bib pick up was extremely easy. I took a Lyft from the airport and was at the Convention Center in 15 minutes and then picked up my bib with no wait time.

I had a lot of fun talking to vendor reps that I had met at other running events. I’d like to give a shout out to the reps at the Oofos, HoneyStinger, and ProCompression booths for keeping me company as I waited 4 hours for my friend to arrive so I could check into my hotel. LOL.

Race Day (Pre-race) – Preparing for a night race is always tricky. Things to take into consideration:

Meals: Last year, I made the mistake of eating too early (10 am) and by the time I finished the race, I was starving and was grabbing anything the volunteers would give me to stuff my face with. This year, I tried to eat lunch a little later (12:30 pm) and hoped that whatever I ate would digest quick enough and not give me GI distress during the course (like during my Chicago marathon. Sigh). Fortunately, it worked, but I might have also upchucked a LITTLE bit of food during the course so I guess I will need to refine this a bit more. LOL.

Time on your feet: Time on your feet should be minimized for a night race. Knowing that, I still went out and ran 6 miles in the morning because I had a scheduled 20 mile long run for marathon training. LOL. In my defense, I did run much slower and tried to take it as easy as I could. After the run, I went back to the hotel and rested until it was time to get lunch and get to the start line. Even at the start line, I sat down and tried to rest and since I beat my course PR, I’d say it paid off.

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If you must go for a run on the Vegas strip, go at 7:30 am. Very few people are out.

Hydration: Holy moly is Vegas dry. I come from a fairly humid city so being in Vegas completely shriveled me up no matter how much water I drank (and I only drank water; no alcohol was involved). If you are going to run in the desert, drink up. It may be cool, but your body will thank you.

Gear Check: It’s a night race. It’s going to be COLD when you finish. You won’t feel it when you cross the finish line, but give it 10-15 minutes. You will feel it. So packing a jacket is a must.

Race Day (Actual race) – All day, I had been debating whether to race it or treat it like a training run. Since I ran 6 miles in the morning, I was worried that I’d hit a wall at mile 7. So I told myself to take it easy and run by feel. And crazily enough, I actually felt fine. I hadn’t raced a half since June so I was stoked be around other runners and was ready to cross that start line.

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At the start line

As soon as they sent off my corral, I took off. The course itself is fairly flat with a few minor ups and downs and you hardly notice them as the Vegas strip lights are pretty mesmerizing. I had seen them the night before, but running through the strip was another type of experience and you can bet I took it all in. The air was also cool and refreshing as I started to heat up. I hit my groove at mile 4 and at mile 5, I saw some BibRave peeps, which fueled me for another few miles.

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Before heading into our corrals

The bands and DJs that were set up along the course also really helped my energy levels. I would hear a Bruno Mars song and I’d just start dancing, which gave me more energy to run faster. LOL I also really like Bruno Mars. LOL. At mile 12, I was losing momentum. The dry winds combined with the sweat stung my face and I was struggling. Then, I ran into fellow blogger, Jim, and with some encouraging words, we pushed each other towards the finish line. (Hi Jim!!!).

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Immediately after crossing the finish – holy smokes, we’re sweaty

Honestly, I crossed that finish line feeling like a million bucks. I finished strong despite having run a total of 19.3 miles that day AND I beat my course PR. So maybe the secret is constantly running on tired legs?!?!

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My Shiny New Medal

Official time was 1:54:45 and now I’m just waiting impatiently to claim my results on Athlinks. LOL

Honolulu baby, I’m coming for you!

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Catching up with BibRave Founders: Tim and Jessica!

Question for you: Have you ever felt like a million bucks crossing a finish line? If so, which race was it at and why?

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Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Oh the Hills – Big Sur 21 miler Race Report

“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Big Sur 21 miler as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

And BAM, just like that, the Big Sur 21 miler has been conquered. 🙂 I had a wonderful experience running Big Sur and despite my legs hating me oh so much right now, I’m sure they’ll get over it and I can start running again soon. 🙂

Without further ado, my race report:

The Health and Fitness Expo: I flew into San Jose Saturday morning and rented a car to drive down into Monterey Bay. There was plenty of parking and as long as you could get out of the expo in one hour, there were no issues. 🙂 I made my usual rounds. There were plenty of photo opportunities.IMG_6112

I found my name on a HUGE Big Sur poster and took an awesome expo photo in front of this ginormous sign. IMG_6126

Thinking about it now, I should have known. Everything was so big. That should have tipped me off that the hills would have been the same. LOL. I stopped by the Motigo booth, where I talked to one of the Co-founders Dan. He was super cool and told me to open the app prior to the race to make sure all of my cheers were downloaded. I refreshed the app like a mad woman that day. Seeing more cheers being sent my way made me happy. 🙂

After grabbing my race swag and visiting the vendor booths, I quickly made it outside to sight see a bit. Then a massive headache came about and basically spoiled the rest of the night. Luckily, I passed out around 8 pm to get ready for my early wake-up call at 3:45 am.

Morning of: I was pretty worried the morning of the race. I had been experiencing stomach cramps for the past few days and was worried they’d make an appearance during the race. I was too scared to eat, but managed to gulp down some gatorade and had half a bagel with cream cheese right before the race. Everyone met at a pick-up location and was shuttled to the start line for our respective races. Since my race was 5 miles shorter than the marathoners, we started further along the course at mile 5.

RACE! The start of the race was actually a little anticlimatic. LOL. The reason being that the start line banner doesn’t actually indicate the start. The timing mats were located 0.2 miles up a hill and that’s where we officially started. So as we crossed the banner, most of us slowly stretched our legs up the hill. I even overheard a Pennsylvanian say that “Californians were really chill.” LOL. When we hit that timing mat, we were off. I started my Motigo app, my Garmin (because if there’s no data, did you really run it?), and was off. I started off pretty quickly. I think I was so excited to hear cheers for the app that I ran faster than I should have. Hah.

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The scenery was extremely pretty. I took a lot of videos and pictures and was just in awe from the hills and the greenery. 🙂 We were running along the coast and I got these gorgeous views of the waves crashing against the rocks of the cliffs.

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The course was marked for the marathoners and just the marathoners so we all laughed when we started running and already saw the 5 mile marker. 😛 Hooray! 5 miles done, 16 to go, right? The first few miles were a breeze.IMG_6152

I heard a few cheers and then later found out that the app had unfortunately crashed due to really really poor reception in the area. Seriously. Plan ahead to meet your loved ones at the finish line. There is barely any reception in the area and I’m pretty sure I ran 19 miles of it without any cell service. I ended up listening to my cheers at the finish line, which was still pretty awesome. 🙂

At my mile 5 (10 for the marathoners), we began our ascent (into madness, jk, only sort of kidding) up the massive hill. We ran up maybe 600 feet over the course of 2 miles? It was this intense trek up and honestly, I had no idea when it would end because the course kept winding and so I couldn’t see the top. You’d turn and then see another hill. Seriously, I can’t believe I complained about the La Jolla Half. That race was nothing compared to this one. Also, once you got higher up, the wind got stronger. LOLIMG_6165

At mile 7, we started heading down towards Bixby Bridge, where we got to see this awesome piano player! He was playing lullabies when I ran by. LOL. I took about a million photos of the area and continued the trek. Around mile 10, the first place male marathoner passed me by. LOL. They were fast. At mile 15, it started to sprinkle, which was actually kind of fun. I kept leap frogging with another runner for a few miles, but at the 2 last miles, she passed me. At mile 17, I started feeling pretty tired. I liked to think that running down hill was my strongest skill, but at mile 17, that was not the case. My knees started feeling the the impact from pounding on pavement up and down. My stomach felt very empty at mile 17 and I worried that I had not fueled enough and I’d hit the wall. Luckily, it didn’t happen. and I managed to make it to 20.5. Mentally, I was done. I started walking, but soon after, another runner touched my back as he passed by to encourage me to keep going so I did.

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I crossed the finish line with a time of 3:25:56 and a big smile on my face. 🙂 I had conquered the hills of Big Sur. And I placed 80th/1010 overall. You can bet I put my results into Athlinks. 😛

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Question for you: What was the hardest race you’ve ever run? Mine was probably Big Sur. 😛 Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do it again though. IMG_6172

Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

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

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

12 people; 2 vans of 6 people

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

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

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

This goes on until everyone finishes their third leg

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

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

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

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Van 1 right before our start!

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

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

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Stoked to be done with my first leg

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

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

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Night running with van 1!

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

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Nom Nom Nom. Give me ALL the calories!

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

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

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Finished all 3 legs!

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

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

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

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

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

Results:

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

65/191 mixed teams

1 experience of a lifetime 🙂 

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Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

So close, yet so far – Carlsbad 5000 Race Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

So a PR Happened – Hot Chocolate 15k Race Report

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the HotChocolate 15k – San Diego as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro(ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

SoCal Spartan Super Race Report

I just want to premise this entire post by saying I was very under trained for this race. Yes, running 8 to 10 miles wasn’t bad, but to add 25 to 30 obstacles throughout those miles made it CRAZY difficult. And with that, my SoCal Spartan Super race report. AROO! Also, this is a long post. Apologies in advance.

3 weeks after the Dopey Challenge, I embarked on my first Spartan experience. I ran this with a friend and her boyfriend who had done a super before and thought it’d be nice to have company and help when struggling through an obstacle. They also both volunteer at these races, which gives them a free race entry so if you ever want to try one of these races and don’t want to pay, that’s your way in. 🙂 You also get VIP parking for volunteering, which is super nice when you’re tired and just want to get to your car ASAP. 🙂

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I signed up for a morning slot and started the race at 10:30 am. The race has morning and afternoon slots so you’re assigned a time based on when you sign up. If you and your friend are assigned different times, the person with the earlier slot can move to the later slot. Moving to an earlier spot is a no no.

The morning of, you pick up your Spartan envelope, which include a headband that has your participant number on it (this is in lieu of a bib), your tracker, and a wristband for beer. On the back of the envelope is this warning:

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LOL. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. The thought to call my loved ones and tell them that I loved them crossed my mind several times. HAHA. Before you start the race, you have to climb over a 5 foot wall to just get into your corral. Then after a pep talk from the Spartan people, they send you off.

The obstacles start off fairly easy, but get increasingly difficult.

5, 6, and 7 feet wall – Climb over them. I didn’t have too much trouble with these. There are ledges on the taller walls to help short people over.

Barbed Wire – Crawl underneath barbed wire. Some people rolled. I army crawled. 🙂 Being short helped in this case. 🙂 Hooray!

Atlas Carry – Carry a 40-50 lb stone ball 10 feet, do 5 burpees, and bring the ball back to its starting position. This was my first real “OH SHIT, I DON’T THINK I’M GOING TO SURVIVE THIS SPARTAN” moment. I had a very hard time picking the ball back up after the burpees and it took me almost 2 minutes to find a way to carry that thing back.

Yokohama Tire Flip – Flip over a 200 lb tire twice. My friend and I combined forces here and completed the task.

Olympus – Think traversal rockclimbing, but with no foot holds. I made it through 6 holds before needing someone to push me up and prevent me from falling.

Hercules’ Hoist – It’s a pulley system where you’re pulling a rope that’s attached to a 100 lb weight. Again, my friend and I completed the task together.

Mud Misery – LOL. This obstacle is aptly named. You walk into a trench filled with mud and make your way across this trench and then get out. The mud was SUPER cold and afterwards, I couldn’t get the rocks out of my shoes.

Bucket Brigade – Carry a bucket filled with rocks (~50-60 lbs) around a course. Oh my poor arms. I stopped a million times to rest.

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Spearman – Throw a spear into a stack of hay and make it stick. This was probably my favorite obstacle, but it was also the first obstacle I failed. You only get one chance and if it doesn’t stick, you have to do burpees. This was where I did my first 30 burpees.

Z walls – Traversal rock climbing with hand and foot holds. Since I’m small, it was easy to make it across. The only tricky part was when I had to grab a hold around the corner and the hold was WAY farther than I had anticipated.

Barbed Wire #2 – Repeat of earlier obstacle

Twister – Monkey bars except on hard mode. I couldn’t get a good enough grip on these so I dropped out pretty early. I did my second set of burpees here.

8 foot wall – Climb over it. LOL.

Stairway to Sparta – Another wall climbing challenge.

Bender – Another wall climbing challenge. This one was rather difficult because the first bar I could grab was maybe 7 feet in the air. So I got a boost, hooked my leg onto the bar, and made my way slowly up the bars. Since the obstacle is at an angle, you’re essentially climbing up against gravity and hoping to god that you don’t fall backwards. I hooked my arms under each bar to make sure I didn’t fall.

Sand Bag Carry – Carry a ~40 lb sandbag across your shoulders for what feels like forever. LOL

Plate Drag – Pull a rope that’s attached to a plate that has maybe 50 lbs of weights on it.

Multi Rig – Monkey bars on extreme mode. Failed this one and did my third set of burpees.

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A Frame Cargo – Climb up and down cargo netting. Sounds easy enough, yeah? It was super windy that day and I heard the structure squeak and I freaked out. LOL. I’m deathly scared of heights and this obstacle gave me the most anxiety. I thought I was going to plummet to my death.

Rope Climb – Self-explanatory. I actually made it up 3/4 of the way, but my upper body was shot and I was worried that if I did one more pull up, I’d fall so I failed this one too. 😦 By this point, my hands were extremely raw and I only managed 20 burpees here.

Rolling Mud Dunk Wall – 3 trenches of mud followed by a wall that you have to go under to get to the other side. And on the other side of the wall? Photographers, of course. LOL

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Slip Wall – Climb up a wall using a rope. Definitely easier said than done. After the mud dunk wall, everyone was extremely slippery and the mud was all over the wall making it super difficult to get over the wall. I didn’t even attempt this because I knew I’d fall.

Inverted Wall – Self-explanatory. I actually had enough grip strength to hold on to the bars and made it over. 🙂

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Too long, didn’t read? The Spartan races are HARD. I did a total of 120 burpees. I highly recommend training for them even if you’re just doing the Sprint. My hands were extremely raw at the end and I was really cold after the mud obstacles. It’s been two weeks since I did the Super and I’m still not sure I’ll be back. LOL. Ask me again in a month. Maybe I’ll have changed my mind. 🙂 IMG_4923

Question for you: Are you an obstacle course racer? Which one is your favorite? 

Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Marathon Monday – Walt Disney World Race Report

Since it’s Monday, why not post about my last marathon for marathon monday? 🙂IMG_4637

Because I had run 22.4 miles in the 3 days prior to this race, I had no intention of speeding through this marathon. The intention was to have fun, enjoy the journey, and take a lot of photos with all the different Disney characters. LOL No different than the past three races. 😛

I woke up at 3 am and hauled ass to the shuttle at the resort. The best thing about staying at a Disney resort is how convenient it is to get from hotel to the start line. 🙂 I got to the starting area and because I had taken pictures with all of the main characters (Goofy, Donald, Pluto, Mickey, Minnie, and Dopey) the previous days, I just sat on a bench and tried to stay warm. It was still maybe 40F and I was still freezing my butt off. LOL. Remember, if you are going to run a race at DisneyWorld, prepare for any type of weather. 🙂 As the starting time was getting closer, I made my way to the starting corrals and just sat down with my mylar blanket. FYI, mylar blankets are a godsend. I never appreciated them more at that moment. 🙂

And then, we were off. Mickey came out on stage and released each wave and with each wave release came a flurry of fireworks. 🙂 Also, since it was its 25th anniversary, Disney chose 25 songs, one from each year since its inception. Cool, right?

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Magic Kingdom – We ran the back roads of the DisneyWorld resort for a bit and then made our way to Magic Kingdom around mile 6. What a lot of people do not realize is that most of the Disney races do not take place in the parks so make sure to enjoy the moments in the park. We ran up main street and veered right into Tomorrowland where I took my photo with Buzz Lightyear. We then ran behind the castle where I spotted the 2 ugly stepsisters and the stepmother from Cinderella. I obviously had to take a photo with them.IMG_4648

We then ran through the castle, and towards the back lot of Magic Kingdom. I found the Maleficent dragon and these two stilt walkers who were supposed to be thorns and vines. They were creepy and totally photo worthy. And just like that, we were out of Magic Kingdom and back on the roads leading to Animal Kingdom.

From Magic Kingdom to Animal Kingdom – There was a bit of entertainment here and there, but my favorite part of the trek was seeing the characters from Up! The best part about seeing the Disney characters is that they’re always in character so if you like the character in the movie, you’ll most certainly love the character in person. All of the Up characters were coming back from their break and first came out Russell. He came out running back towards us and had to stop midway to take a breather. Super adorable. Dug then came out running after him followed by Carl and his tennis ball covered walker. 🙂 I was super sad I did not have my Russell costume on. Russell and I could have bonded for sure. At mile 10 was when the pain started kicking in. I desperately needed another character stop because my feet were hurting. Luckily, I spotted Hades, Pain, and Panic and took a break. 🙂 I was super sad I didn’t see Meg though.

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Animal Kingdom – A few miles later, we entered Animal Kingdom and I immediately got in line to take photos with Timon and Rafiki. LOL. I got really excited because at 13.1 miles, you get to ride Mt. Everest. However, I didn’t know that the ride is only on when the park opens and I think I ran too fast because when I passed the halfway point, there was no ride. 😦 So if you plan on riding the rollercoaster, make sure to take your time so that when you enter Animal Kingdom, the park will be open and you can ride it! 

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ESPN Wide World of Sports – After Animal Kingdom, we made our way back onto the highways and into ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. It may seem like a quick little detour here, but do not be fooled. You actually spend a good few miles running around the sports complex. At the complex, you get to see the characters dressed up in sports wear. Minnie was wearing her soccer uniform. Goofy was wearing a track suit and Mickey and Donald were wearing their baseball uniforms. We ran around a baseball field and right before we left, I spotted Sadness and Joy from Inside Out!

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From ESPN to Hollywood Studios – After we left the ESPN Wide World of Sports, everything else seemed like a blur. There was some more highway running and some overpasses, which were kind of tough, but it was fun because they had green army men yell at you to keep moving. 🙂

Hollywood Studios – Hollywood Studios is actually a blur. You only get to run through maybe a quarter mile of the park before you leave. It’s probably the most disappointing part of the race. The park is open at that point and you do get a lot of crowd support from the people at the park, but it happens so quickly that it’s over within a few minutes.

Epcot – After leaving Hollywood Studios, you quickly enter Epcot and make the usual loop around the countries. At this point, there were no lines for any of the princess characters so I quickly stopped to take pictures with Mulan and Jasmine and headed out the park.

Finish line – Soon after you leave Epcot, you turn the corner to a choir and you’re at the finish line. It happens pretty quickly, which was a huge relief. I crossed that finish line feeling like a million bucks. I got my medals and in honor of their 25th anniversary, they handed everyone a Disney hat with Mickey ears on it. Score! They also gave us a nice box of food! Loved all the snacks and you can bet I inhaled everything in two seconds.

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So there you have it, my race report of the Walt Disney World Marathon. If you’re not down to do Dopey, I’d still highly recommend the marathon race. It was fun and requires a 1/4th of the early wake up calls. 😛

Question for you: Have you ever run a Disney race? Which one? What about a marathon? What’s your favorite marathon? I’m looking for a new one to run.