Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Beating the Blerch

About a week ago, I beat the Blerch and boy was it glorious. If you haven’t heard of the Blerch, you may be scratching your head wondering “What on earth is she talking about?” Well, according to the Oatmeal’s comics, the Blerch represents all forms of gluttony, apathy, and indifference that plagues one’s life. It also happens to be in the form of a fat little cherub who follows people when they run. If you haven’t read this comic, please do. It’s hilarious.

Patrick Krohn 2019

So anyway, this comic inspired the Oatmeal to create the “Beat the Blerch” 5k, 10k, half, and full marathon. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s been on my bucket list for years and two weekends ago, I crossed it off my list by doing the half. Hooray! Here’s how the race went down.

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The race is in Carnation, WA, about an hour or so away from Seattle. The race started at 9:30 am so my friend and I leisurely made out way out with a half hour to spare. From start to finish, there were so many things that made us smile.

In the waiting area, there was a burritoughnut station where you got a tortilla, a donut, and a lot of toppings (chips and sweets) to put into your burritoughnut. LOL. I had to pass as I did not trust myself to not throw up mid race. ๐Ÿ™‚

At the start line, they were volunteers throwing out candy and I kid you not, they opened up a bag of chips and started tossing them out. LOL. After crossing the start line, turmoil ensued. The race announcer had mentioned that rights were our friend and that on the course, we were to turn right. She either failed to mention that the first turn was a left or none of us were listening. I actually think it was possibly the latter. We were a chatty bunch. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Soooo, as my friend and I are turning right at the first intersection and running along the path, we see about a hundred runners coming back at us and there was just utter confusion. We tried turning onto a different path onto a bridge that definitely was not meant to support 30 people running on it. And after running a bit, someone said “Hey, umm no one is behind us.” LOL. So we immediately back tracked until we saw a volunteer to set us on the right path. They even told us that if we wanted to restart, we could head to the start and they could reset our timers, but I wasn’t running this for time so we just headed off to catch up with the other runners.

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The course was beautiful – full of nature (trees and things). It was warm, but the trees shaded us and there was a nice consistent breeze. We even saw some chickens along the route. Then, there were the aid stations. Oh the aid stations were the best. Each aid station had a Blerch…chilling on a couch, with cake and nutella sandwiches. Each Blerch we encountered was great. They kept telling us to slow down and to have a nice sit-down. LOL. I couldn’t stop laughing as I passed them.

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The finish line also had a Blerch that gave us high fives as we headed in. That Blerch also chased some people in so they had some awesome photos of them beating the Blerch to the finish line. ๐Ÿ™‚ OH and the photos were free. What more could I ask for? I got Matthew Inman to sign my ribbon.

If you’ve never run this half before, I highly recommend it. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Question for you: Have you ever run for food? LOL. I have. It’s the story of my life. 

 

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Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Humidity, hills, and a half marathon, oh my – My San Diego Craft Classic Race report

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

If I could describe the San Diego Craft Classic in one word, it would be humbling. I had run the Craft Classic before when it was in July and I remembered it being okay. It was a bit of a challenge, but I remember doing well enough that I didn’t think about preparing much going into the race. Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

A few days before the race, I had gotten a migraine that lasted about 2 days. I thought I was dehydrate or going through caffeine withdrawal so I took some advil and drank lots of water. The migraine had lessened on Saturday so I figured I’d be okay.

Bib Pick Up was at Road Runner Sports so I quickly drove down, got my bib, my cute “One a beer run” tank, my pint glass, and was on my way.  This race isn’t huge so there really isn’t an expo, but since it’s held at a running shoe store, there’s usually some type of discount given to runners at the store. In this case, it was 20% off. ๐Ÿ™‚

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The morning of the race, I wasn’t feeling particularly confident, but thought it’d be fine. I wasn’t planning on PRing or anything and I knew there’d be hills so there’d be no reason to race 110% just to die at the hills. The humidity was high and I vaguely remember it being similarly humid two years ago when I last ran it. Although last time, I had a hydration vest, which is what I should have done this time around.

Fast forward to the start of the race. I, of course, started out way too quickly. I was at the start of the wave and since the first part of the race is somewhat bottle necked, I took this opportunity to stay ahead of the wave. Mistake #1. I clocked my first mile in at a sub 8. Shit I thought. “I need to slow down.” Only I didn’t. I was trying to push through and tell myself that it’s only 12 more miles and that it’d be over before I knew it. Mistake #2.

It wasn’t.

The first half of the course is predominantly downhill and if you don’t pace yourself, you will burn out like I did in the second half. Did I mention that the second half is mostly uphill? Yep. I knew that going in too because my bib outlined the course elevation perfectly and I was just too dumb to ignore it. Not to mention, the humidity was destroying my body’s ability to regulate temperature. I was sweating, but because it was humid, the sweat wasn’t evaporating and I wasn’t cooling down. So I tried to take it easy the second half. I walked up most hills and struggled to run even down some. At mile 12, there is one last major hill and of course, my body freaked out. My chest had tightened and honestly, I was angry as hell. I was upset I wouldn’t finish the race. LOL. I walked up most of the hill, took deep breaths, and luckily, the tightness disappeared. It was an intense moment and with heart disease as a problem in my family, know that I will be getting this checked out. I was able to jog to the finish post-hill and whew, I was exhausted. I chugged water at the aid stations and was taking in whatever electrolytes they had. I had to pass on the free beer, but was glad to see friends have their fill of it. ๐Ÿ˜› After 30 minutes in the shade, I felt better and even took part in their free massages, which I would highly recommend post-race. ๐Ÿ™‚

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So this race was definitely not my race and I’ve learned a lot from it. If running in humid weather, wear a hydration vest, and slow the eff down. And drink lots of water and have electrolytes the week of your race.

Question for you: Have you ever had a scary race experience? 

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon Race Report

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

It’s been almost a week since I raced the Garry Bjorklund half marathon and oh how I want to say so much about how amazing this race is, but to prevent you from having to read my ramblings, I’ll try to keep it as short as I can while also doing the race justice.

Housing: I only planned on staying a night and most places require a minimum 2 night stay so a friend told me about housing at a dorm. Luckily, Marshall school allowed for a 1 night stay and it was super close to the buses that would take us to the start. They even provided everyone with a runner friendly breakfast the morning of the race and bags of ice for those who needed to ice their legs post-race.

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Breakfast of champions available from 4 – 6 am race morning

 

Expo: The expo was held at the DECC (Duluth Entertainment Convention Center) and it’s quite an experience. They have an AYCE pasta dinner that runners can attend in the first huge room. There are tables set up with bread and you just pay, file in, and eat to your stomach’s content. You then walk through the main expo to pick up your bib and race packet. Since the race is on Saturday, they do keep the expo open until 10 pm that night. Perfect for an out of town racer like myself.

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Ready to go!

 

Course: It is BEAUTIFUL out there. Coming from the west coast, I was amazed and how green everything was. Yes, I know. I’m showing my CA roots. LOL. The half starts in the middle of the full marathon course and starts at 6:15 am, a full hour and 30 min before the full. This allows most of the half marathoners to cross the finish line before any full marathoners make it there.

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For most of the course, you’re running along Lake Superior and at each mile marker, there would be balloons flying high in the sky indicating that you had passed another mile. I loved that part about the race. When I struggled to get to the next mile, it gave me a sense of hope to see those balloons flying high.

 

The elevation of this course was a little deceiving. Going in, I honestly thought it’d be flat as a pancake. It was not. Both the half and full are full of rolling hills. They’re not tough hills, but they’re hills nonetheless and there were moments where I had to pump my arms to get through them.

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Course support was well spread throughout the course. I got water when I needed and there were enough aid stations that I could skip some and get the next one. There were plenty of spectators and even some neighbors who came out, grilled hot dogs or bacon, and were handing them out to runners. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you checked out my IG story last weekend, you’ll know that I grabbed a piece of bacon along the course (probably my favorite moment).

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Finish line: The race finishes right next to the lake. A lot of runners (not me), will jump into the lake to cool off their legs. Once you cross the finish line, you’ll be awarded your finisher medal, your finisher shirt, food and drink, and make your way through the finisher’s festival. Everyone gets a drink ticket for beer and there are food vendors available for you know…everyone who just ran a half or full. ๐Ÿ™‚ I came across a tent that was just giving away decently sized pork portions to runners and much smaller portions to non-runners. LOL.

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Hospitality: The Duluth community really do cater to the runners that come in from all over the place. There were signs everywhere inviting runners to come visit and I don’t think I met anyone mean. ๐Ÿ™‚

Final thoughts: This race is not a cheap one especially if you’re a solo traveler like I was. AirBnB prices and hotels often have a 2 night stay minimum the weekend of this race so book early if you’re looking to save or plan a racecation with friends to ease the cost. Flying there is also not always the most economically friendly if you’re from the West Coast. I flew into Minneapolis and drove to Duluth (3 hours there and 2.5 hours back) to make things a bit economically friendlier for myself.

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That being said, this race was a super fun one. I flew in the day before the race and was EXHAUSTED AS F***, but the race managed to keep my spirits up and I enjoyed every moment of it. I had a great time catching the sunrise right before the race, running along the massive lake, seeing all the amazing supporters along the way, and eating all the food people handed to me. LOL. I’d do it again and hopefully next time, I can do the full. ๐Ÿ™‚

If you have any questions about the half or the full, leave a comment below. It was honestly a great experience and I’d totally recommend it as a bucket list race.

Posted in Race Reports, Running

5 Years and 25 Half Marathons Later – My RnR San Diego Race Report

I received an entry into the Rock N Roll San Diego 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.

Yes, that’s right. You read that header correctly. In 5 years almost to the day, I have completed 25 half marathons plus some other races and it all started with Rock N Roll San Diego.

It gave me such a good experience the first time around that I kept choosing to run it again and again and two days ago, I completed it for the 4th time.

Looking back on it, I really believe the reason I continued to race half marathons was because of this race.

Rock N Roll San Diego just knows how to put on a good time and after having a ton of pre-race anxiety, this was just what I needed.

Let’s summarize shall we? ๐Ÿ™‚

Pre-race: I stayed with friends that lived close to a trolley station and at 4:30 am, we were out the door to get to SDCCU stadium. We then took a 15 min trolley ride to the Little Italy trolley stop and briskly walked about a mile to the start giving us a nice warm up. We arrived, gear checked, my friends did their porta potty thing, and chit chatted for about 30 min until the start of the race at 6:15 am.

Race:

The start – The race started on time, but due to there being so many corrals, it took quite a bit of time to release everyone. I was in corral 8 and I started at 6:30 am. This year, they had a new design to release runners more slowly. They had gates that funneled everyone through narrower paths so only a 10 runners or so could be released and get a running start to the official start line. This made the first 0.25 miles easier to run through because there weren’t as many runners to maneuver around. I appreciated them, but I think others were annoyed.

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The course – Starting out, I was a bit nervous. My plantar fasciitis still wasn’t terribly better and although I was running through it, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to complete the race. Fast forward two miles and everything started to move more quickly. My plantar wasn’t acting up as much and when we entered Hillcrest, I could see all the drag queens in colorful wigs and boobs screaming up and down for us. LOL. It’s one of my favorite parts of the race. Then up and down we go for a mile or two before we hit the blue mile, where runners are encouraged to wear blue to remember our fallen military heroes. I had run through this section the past three times I ran it and this was probably the first time I truly looked at the photos and honestly, it tugged at my heartstrings seeing all those young men and women who were killed in action.

Shortly after, the unofficial alcohol stations starting popping up and every year, I swear more and more start popping up. I counted maybe 4 or 5 houses that brought their A game (and by A game, I of course mean Alcohol). Some neighbors were providing shots of whiskey, some donuts and whiskey, some were handing out beer, and some were making some unidentified drink. ๐Ÿ™‚ I did not partake as I did not want to throw up, but seeing them definitely brought a smile to my face. I even saw a Doctor Who themed alcoholic station!

The latter half of the race was kind of a blur, but I do remember how I felt at different parts of the course in previous years.

At mile 1.5 where I started out too fast one year and had forgotten about the rolling hills.

At mile 7 where I had started walking and crying because it had gotten so warm.

Around mile 11 where I had seen a friend and she ran with me the rest of the way encouraging me to continue.

At mile 12.5 where I had run with a friend for her first half marathon and she was so in the zone, I told her to keep going without me.

And of course at the finish line, where I had finished 3 times prior.

It’s hard for me to put into words how I felt during the race, but maybe the word that best describes it is JOY.

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I started this race with the sole intention of trying to finish. I had no time goal and no expectation to run fast. And then I went out, enjoyed the course, even played some Pokemon Go, and ran my 6th fastest half marathon (Official time: 1:58:50). If that’s not a win, I don’t know what is. 

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So tell me, has there ever been a time where you blew your own expectations out of the water? I’d love to hear about it. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

 

Posted in Race Reports, Running

A 5k, Meb Keflezighi, and Pizza Oh My – My Carlsbad 5000 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.

Wheeee! I’m alive. I survived another race and my heel lives to see another day. Hooray!

And without further ado, my race report.

Bib Pick-up

Race weekend was uhmm a bit much. I was moving apartments and with all the heavy lifting, I was exhausted going into race day. Luckily, bib pick up was super easy. I opted to pick up my bib on Friday at Fleet Feet San Diego because it was on my way home and there was a 15% discount on their items, so I decided to also purchase some Superfeet for my inflamed fascia. ๐Ÿ™‚

Race morning

Fast forward to race day and I arrive about an hour before my race and I find sweet street parking a few blocks from the start line. I met up with my male friends who were running the race before (Men’s 39 and under race) and wished them good luck. Then, I stretched out my legs, took my infamous jumping photo, and got ready to run. While stretching, I spotted Meb Keflezighi and was starstruck. LOL. He was at the expo on Saturday signing autographs and since I couldn’t attend, I was pretty bummed. BUT luck was on my side because I saw him and I got a picture with him!

The Race

The start of the race went pretty much as expected. I started out too fast and got winded a mile in. LOL. I felt extremely out of shape, but pushed on. My fascia was doing okay and wasn’t overly upset at me and when it did decide to hurt, I walked. I did take my time and I finished in 27:07. ๐Ÿ™‚  Not a bad time considering.

Post-Race

The energy of this race is amazing. Probably because it doesn’t start super early. After crossing the finish line, I met up with friends ANDDDDD spotted Meb again and this time, he was signing people’s bibs/medals/ribbons so you know I had to get mine signed. He was so nice and patient taking pictures and signing things for us.

The Carlsbad 5000 will always be one of my favorite races. It’s short, sweet, and over in less than 30 minutes. ๐Ÿ™‚ And there’s free beer at the beer garden. I didn’t drink, but my friends did and afterwards, we headed over to Pizza Port for amazing pizza. I had an amazing time and honestly, I can’t wait to do it again next year. ๐Ÿ™‚

If you want to sign up for next year’s race, head on over to their site. Pre-sale is currently available until April 14th at 11:59 PM PST. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s the lowest price and if a 5k doesn’t seem worth traveling for, remember, there’s an awesome 20k all day where you run all four 5k heats so you can experience the start line and finish line energy 4 different times. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

My Surf City Half Marathon Race Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Racing in the Rain – My Irvine Half Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post Race

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

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

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

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

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