Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

My Surf City Half Marathon Race Report

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

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

How did the race actually go? Well, that’s another story – one that I’m willing to share. Now, let’s start off with the positives. 🙂IMG_3515

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

Now that I’ve highlighted the positives, let’s quickly go through the negatives.

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

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

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

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Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Racing in the Rain – My Irvine Half Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post Race

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

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

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

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

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

 

Posted in Marathon Mondays, Race Reports, Running

Aloha Honolulu…Marathon

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Honolulu 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.

Aloha! I have returned from my mini racecation in Honolulu and I come bearing stories of my adventures with the Honolulu marathon. 🙂 Let’s get right into it, shall we? Apologies in advance for the long recap.

I arrived in Honolulu with my boyfriend on a Friday afternoon after a 6 hour flight and was ready to stretch my legs. Luckily for me, I had to walk about a mile to get to the Hawaii Convention Center from my AirBnB so those legs were well stretched. 🙂 We arrived at the Convention Center, grabbed our bibs, bought some last minute gels I forgot to bring, and headed out.

The Expo

The expo itself is a bit different in that it caters to a LOT of Japanese people. If you weren’t aware, the Honolulu marathon is a destination race for many many Japanese tourists. They even have a specific registration link to use when signing up. There were signs in Japanese and lots of people at booths who spoke both Japanese and English. I’m also pretty sure I passed by a booth with only Japanese characters on them.  🙂

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Now fast forward to Sunday – Race Day

We missed both of our first alarms, but thankfully I set a second one and  we woke up to that one. I had never scrambled out of my house so quickly for a race before. We were out of our AirBnB in maybe 20 minutes or less and past me was smart enough to stay close to the start line so we made it to the race with 15 minutes to spare. Like Disney races, the Honolulu marathon releases the runners with an amazing fireworks display.

Fun fact: They accompanied the fireworks display with the song “Firework” by Katy Perry. 

With the release of the fireworks, I was off. My boyfriend and I had planned to stay together until at least mile 8 where the first big hill hits, but within 0.6 miles, he knew we were at different paces and told me to go on without him and that he’d be meet me at the finish line. After some more encouragement from him, I left and was making my way through the 26.2 miles.

Fact: The Honolulu marathon does not stagger their corrals. When they start to release the corrals, it is one big wave of runners crossing the start line. They also are not very strict about people lining up in the correct corrals, which means if you’re faster, make sure to be as close to the front as possible. 

I did weave a bit at the beginning to pass the slower runners, but I also did not want to expend unnecessary energy and bided my time until the course cleared up a bit.

Fun Fact: It did not clear up significantly until mile 4. LOL

For the first few miles, we ran through Downtown Honolulu and saw a lot of Christmas decor. At mile 4, we ended up looping back near the start line and made our way into Waikiki. At mile 5, I saw Team BibRave and Aftershokz cheering us on and that squad kickstarted all of the feelings. LOL

Interesting fact: I normally do not have people cheering me on with the exception of a few races so when I see people I know cheering me on, I get really excited and happy. 

At mile 7, we start making our way around the base of Diamond Head and at mile 8, we make it up our first hill. From mile 7 to mile 10, we experienced crazy headwind. It made for a very unique and fun experience as I had never raced during such windy conditions and for a few brief moments, I really thought I’d fly away. LOL. At mile 12 or 13, I saw the first of many BibRave runners making their way back towards the finish line.

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Fun Fact: From mile 11 to 15, you can see runners coming back as they make their way from mile 18 to 21.5. I was able to see the first place male and female runners this way.

With each BibRave runner I saw, the happier I got. 🙂 Everyone appeared so strong and happy on the course that it gave me boosts of energy to keep going. At mile 15, I encountered my first sponge dipped in ice water and was over the moon. LOL. There had been warnings of runners getting heat stroke and I was adamant about staying cool even if that meant walking through every aid station and getting water.

At mile 17, I heard someone yell “BIBRAVE” from behind me and I turned around to see a total stranger smiling at me. LOL. I had no idea who he was at the time, but he turned out to be affiliated with BibRave and was just happy to be chatting with someone. 🙂 Unfortunately, at that point, my energy was waning a bit and we parted when I stopped to take a few photos. I did pick up a bit of speed when I saw my boyfriend near mile 19 (He was near 14). 🙂

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I don’t know when I developed a blister on the bottom of my foot, but I did realize it at mile 19 and knew that the last set of miles were going to be painful. I knew that my cheer squad would be at mile 20 so I walked for parts of mile 19 and made sure to look strong as I passed them at mile 20. Yes, there is power in a cheer squad. Never let them see you falter. LOL I kid.

For the next 5 miles, I hit the struggle bus. The sun had started to come out and mile 20-25 were a gradual incline that never seemed to end. There were even Taiko drummers there to keep us going. Luckily, the last mile and a half was primarily  downhill and I ran through the pain and ran it as fast as I could to finish with a time of 4:35:38.

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Post-Race Festivities

Crossing that finish line felt like winning a million bucks. Okay, maybe not a million, but maybe $1,000. Haha. I grabbed my checked bag with my Oofos sandals and sat down to massage my legs and switch out of my shoes. I then grabbed my finisher’s shirt and a Portuguese fried donut (Malasada) to munch on and waited for my boyfriend to finish.

Interesting Fact: Gear check is actually done the day before the marathon. This allows for less stress the morning of. 

He finished in a little over 6 hours and we both headed out of the marathon quickly to avoid traffic and to nap ASAP. 🙂

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How was my experience overall? 

I had a wonderful time running the race and although, there were some dark moments (mile 20-25), there were also a lot of wonderful memories that I will always have now. 🙂 I highly recommend running this race if you ever get the chance. Now to patiently await for my results on Athlinks to show up so I can can claim them. 😛

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running

Overly Ambitious – My Wonder Woman 10k Race Report

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the DC Wonder Woman Race Series 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.

Marathon training has taken a toll on my body, which is expected. I typically get fatigued after multiple 16+ mile long runs and this was right around the same time I got fatigued while training for the Chicago marathon.

Last week, I logged 27.5 miles out of my expected 38 miles. I logged 15 miles Tuesday through Thursday and rested Friday and Saturday, hoping my legs would be rested enough for the 10k. Spoiler alert: They weren’t. My PR attempt was simply just that. An attempt. Mentally, I set out to PR, but physically, my body had called it quits.

Below is my race report.

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Packet Pick up – Easy peasy. Drove down to SDCCU stadium, parked for free, and grabbed my bib with no wait. In addition to the race entry, the registration also came with a Wonder Woman racing tee, two Wonder Woman sweat cuffs, and a tote bag. The expo was small, but it was also packed with photo opportunities. If you love taking selfies, this is probably the race to do it at. 🙂 Side note: They also have FREE RACE PHOTOS.

Race day – Since this race was more of a fun run, this race started at 9 am. This was very bad for me as I run very warm. I do well in very cold weather and just get destroyed when the sun comes out. 😦 I got to the race about an hour early and was able to park very easily for free at the stadium. Almost everyone was dressed up as Wonder Woman and there was even an occasional Batman or two.IMG_1843

I even saw a mom who dressed up her four kids as various super heroes. Her cape read Super “Exhausted” Mom. 🙂IMG_1132

The course itself is not a very scenic route as it’s only a 5k/10k. We ran around the stadium and out for a bit and there were two out and backs for the 10k. The course is not flat and actually had a surprising amount of hills considering how short the course was. My biggest mistake, as always, was starting out too fast. I was ready to PR and starting running too fast and gassed out a mile in. My calves started cramping, the bottom of my feet started tingling, and I started getting shin splints. I started run walking about 1.5 mile in and the experience was all very humbling. I have run marathons and yet, even a 10k can still destroy my self confidence. At mile 3 and 4, I had to stop to stretch because my calves wouldn’t loosen up. At mile 4, I ended up needing Race Guards to spray BioFreeze and thankfully that helped and I was able to speed up a bit at mile 5 and 6. Both the 5kers and 10ker finish inside the stadium where you take a lap around stadium before crossing the finish line. Honestly, this would have been much more awesome had they differentiated the two distances. I had to weave in and out to avoid running into the 5kers who were walking towards the finish line.

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Post – race party: I do have to give it to the organizers of the race. They definitely know how to throw a fun run post race party. They gave out donuts, ice cream, and bananas and of course, had a really fun band playing in the festival. And of course, everyone had to retake their photos with their medals. 🙂

I finished the race in 57:01, which I of course added it to my Athlinks profile.  It is not one of my best times, but I’m still happy with it. I finished and got myself a nice shiny medal and some really nice race photos. 🙂 Next up will be Honolulu on Dec 9th. OMG, I can’t believe it’s in 3 weeks!

Question for you: Have you ever had a humbling race? If so, which one and why?

If you’re interested in running the Wonder Woman race series, there is still a virtual run going on from now until the end of November. Use code “WWBIBRAVE” for 10% off. You’ll get the swag and the medal sent to you so you and friends can run and complete it on your own time. 

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?

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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