Posted in Marathon Mondays, Running, Thoughts, Training

Marathon Mondays – Honolulu Marathon Training has officially begun!

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.

Marathon training has officially commenced and after some careful consideration, I have decided to opt in for a modified version of the Aftershokz Marathon Training Experience plan. This plan is available through the Motigo app and if you remember a few months back, I tried this app out at the Big Sur marathon. This app allowed my friends to leave me cheers at mile markers so even though they couldn’t be there, I could still hear their cheers. This time around, they’re expanding their repertoire by providing training plans. They partnered up with Aftershokz, BibRave, and the Honolulu marathon to create a plan that is tailored to beginners. The CMO of Aftershokz will be running her first marathon there so I figured that it’d be a nice beginner plan to use. The plan will also have some audio to go along with it so it’ll be interesting to hear what types of tips they may be give out during the training runs.

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I treat myself to capri suns after a workout. 🙂

I’m not technically a beginner marathoner anymore, but I thought this would be a fun one to use since I’m not really aiming for a specific time goal. Thank you to everyone who had suggested plans for me when I asked. I definitely looked into all of them and will actually be taking bits and pieces of them to add into this plan to tailor it to my needs. I will most likely not be following the Aftershokz plan too closely as not all of my social runs match up with their run days so I will modify the plan accordingly and keep you all updated here. 🙂

I’m also incorporating some cross training into this plan. I have plans to begin lifting a bit and I’ve even started swimming. 🙂 I thought I was going to die the first few laps of swimming, but after a few hundred meters, I got into the groove of things. 🙂

Hopefully, all of this cross training will help better prepare me for this marathon and for future marathons to come. I’ve even started to compile of marathons that I’d eventually want to run. So if you have a list that are on your bucket list that you’d want to share, please share away. 🙂 I’d be happy to add another one on my list.

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After my first 1600 meter swim 🙂

Now let week 1 of my Honolulu marathon training commence! 🙂

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Posted in Thoughts, Traveling Adventures

Travel Tuesdays – Seoul, Korea

So it’s been quite a while since I last did a Travel Tuesday post. Oops. Sorry to all my readers who follow me for travel posts. 😦 I’ve actually been to several other cities since my last Travel Tuesday post, but I always forget to write about them and then too much time has passed and I wonder if it’s even worth it to write about. Well, I recently spoke to a friend about her travels and that has reignited my motivation to write about my travels. That and I also recently traveled. 🙂

If you follow me on social media, you’ll know that I recently went to Korea and Japan. I left about 2.5 weeks ago and only last week did I return from the land of the rising sun. 🙂 My apologies for the lack of posts. I’ve been experiencing extreme jet lag and have been struggling to rectify my sleeping schedule. 😦

Anyway, after a week of resting, I’m ready to start telling you about all of my adventures, good and bad. 🙂 Not every moment was sunshine and rainbows, but I had a great overall experience and would recommend anyone to visit these fine countries.

Let’s start off with Korea. 🙂

Korea was once on my bucket list of countries to visit because it was the land of pretty Korean boy bands (according to high school me), but after I grew out of the KPOP phase, I didn’t really have an interest to visit. But when the opportunity arose to visit both Korea and Japan, I jumped at the opportunity.

I arrived in Seoul, Korea on a Saturday night and oh my goodness, it was extremely warm. My main traveling partner had arrived in Seoul a few days before me and had taken pictures of signs that I needed to look out for so I wouldn’t get lost.

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We decided to share a pocket wifi and he had picked it up before me so I was traveling without wifi and with no way to contact him if I had gotten lost. LOL. So while at the airport, I used the free wifi to let him know I landed and took a million screenshots of the pictures he had sent over and slowly made my way over to the train station where I’d meet him.

It was surprisingly not too difficult to get from the Seoul Airport to Seoul Station by train. There is an express train that you can take and in 40 minutes, you’re there. Seoul Station is huge and has lots of things to see. It is a main hub and there are a ton of transfers that you can take from this station. I got out of the station pretty easily and made my way to the AirBnB where I dropped my things and headed out.

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I had arrived late in the day and didn’t have too much time to explore Seoul, but the one of the few things that I did do was visit Blind Alley, which is a raccoon cafe. I went to a few animal cafes on my trip and I would definitely recommend this one over the others. As the name implies, you go here to play with raccoons and since it is a cafe, there is a requirement that you pay for a drink on top of the ticket to play with them. You can’t just pay to meet the raccoons. It costs 6000 won ($6 USD) to play with the raccoons and whatever your drink costs.

A Few Tips for Blind Alley

Go in the evening when there are less people. You’ll have more one on one time with the raccoons and they won’t be as stressed.

Wear gloves when feeding the piglets. Pigs can eat through bone so if they chomp on a finger, you’ll be happy you wore that glove. I got bit on my hand when I tried feeding the larger piglet and it hurt even with the glove.

The raccoons are quite cute, but just be careful as their claws can be sharp. Feeding them is fine, but some of them are particular about where you can touch them. One of the ones I petted would swat my hand away when I tried to reach for its head.

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Food in Seoul 

I was also able to hit up two restaurants – one for fried chicken because why not and the second one for a more traditional meal of pork bone stew with instant ramen and glass noodles. I wish I could tell you the names of the restaurants, but they were in Korean and I didn’t think to take pictures of them at the time so all I have are photos of the food. 🙂

I wish I could say more about Seoul, but having only been there for one day, there’s not much to mention. The food was great and it was an interesting city to walk around in. I don’t know a lick of Korean and was able to get by decently. The city had a very busy feel to it and I noticed that I was getting bumped into a lot more frequently. I was told that this was the nature of the city so c’est la vie.

Stay tuned as I’ll be posting about my trip to Busan, Korea in the next few weeks. 🙂

Question for you: Have you ever been to Korea? How about Japan? Where did you go and what things did you do? 

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts, Training

Summer Training and a Gatorade Endurance Review

Disclaimer: I received Gatorade Endurance products to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

And boom, it’s SUMMER! Can you believe it?

To be honest, it doesn’t even really feel like summer yet. It’s been pretty much June Gloom in Southern California these days. However, there are warm ones where I regret not waking up earlier to do a long run. The warm weather will be good for me though. I will begin to train for the Honolulu marathon soon and I need to get used to running in humid weather. If you’ve followed my running journey, you’ll know that my body does not adjust well to humid weather. If it goes above 72F, I’m a goner. LOL

To prepare for summer training, I’ve started loading up on some hydration gear and fuel. First off, I purchased a 4L endurance vest from Orange Mud. This was more for my travels in the next few weeks, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to get a hydration vest that could hold more fluids for my 15+ mile runs. I already have a Amphipod PureRun Hydration Vest that holds 2x 12 oz bottles for my mid length runs, but I would use up all of my fluids by mile 15 so I needed something larger.

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In addition to the hydration vests, I was fortunate enough to be able to try a few Gatorade’s Endurance products – more specifically the Watermelon Formula as well as the Mango Energy gels. Their Gatorade Endurance formula has twice the amount of sodium (300 mg) and more than 3x the potassium (140 mg) of traditional Gatorade, but is much lighter in flavor, which I can appreciate. My stomach is super sensitive while racing and something with a lot of salts and is light in flavor is just what I need. If you’ve ever had regular Gatorade, know that the flavor is probably 5x as dilute which is nice if you have a sensitive stomach. I’ve taken it on runs anywhere from 5-8 miles with no problems to my stomach. Even though the formula is designed for on course training, I’ve also used this drink to hydrate after runs and it’s worked great for me.

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The item that surprised me the most was their mango gels. I’m used to taking sweet gels (chocolate, espresso, honey, etc) so when I took their mango gel, I was taken aback because it was salty! LOL. The taste was a bit strong at first, but after taking more of it, it actually tasted like a light mango. Also, the gel is MUCH MORE DILUTED OUT when compared to your other gels (GU, Honeystinger, Hammer Nutrition, etc). I was shocked at how easily the gel went down. I even took half of it without needing water to wash it down. That was the most impressive part about this gel. 🙂 In terms of how it sat with me, I wasn’t able to test it for long mileage, but I did take it at mile 4 and ran with it for 5 miles without any issues to that’s an bonus in my book. 🙂

IMG_7236 (1) With all of my new hydration gear and fuel, I’m basically ready to start training. Now if only my legs would get with it. 🙂 If you have questions about the product, please feel free to ask me or read one of the reviews from other BibRave Pros who have tested these products out.

BibRave Pro Reviews

Lindsey – Karen – Lissa – Katy – Jessica – Kevin – Amy – Jenn – Vanessa – Ang – Corey – Barb – Ben – Emily – Brenda – Amy P – Eric – Meridith

Question for you: What things do you need for summer marathon training? 

Posted in Running, Thoughts

Honolulu Here I Come!

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.

Yep, you read that right. I’m going to Honolulu baby! 🙂 I’ve never been to Hawaii so I’m SUPER STOKED to be going and the fact that I’m going to be racing around Honolulu makes it even better. This will be my 2nd marathon in 2018 (so much for doing 1 a year LOL) and my 4th marathon overall. The details are below:

Date: December 9th, 2018

Start time: 5 am

Price: $185 from now until September 1st, 2018

Course: The course goes through downtown Honolulu, past Iolani Palace and the Christmas lights, through Waikiki and climbs up and around Diamond Head, before heading out through Kahala and out to Hawaii Kai. Turning back after Hawaii Kai toward Kahala and Honolulu, the course passes Diamond Head again on the ocean side before finishing in Kapiolani Park. (I have no idea where any of these things are, but I will be sure to take lots and lots of pictures).

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Interesting tidbits:

There isno time limit for this race, which is kind of amazing. That means, you could walk it and it’d be fine. 🙂 I don’t plan on doing so, but it’s nice to have the option.

With no limits on the number of participants, it would make sense that this is the 4th largest marathon in the U.S. I personally love running big races. If I’m going to run 26.2 miles, there better be a ton of people cheering me on/runners also suffering with me. LOL. I kid about the suffering part. Sort of. 🙂

There is a 1 mile race the day before called the Kalakula Merrie Mile. It’s a great warm up for the marathon the next day. They also have an elite heat where top international Olympians and top 1500 m/mile runners compete. The event is unique where the women get a head start (based on a time differential between men and women) and the first person to cross the line, irrespective of gender wins.

The medal is not revealed until you cross the finish line. Yup. For those that run for the bling, this might not be your cup of tea, but I like the idea of a surprise at the finish. 🙂 On top of that, you have some nice hot malasadas and your finisher t-shirt waiting for you at the finish line.

If you’ve ever been to Hawaii, please send me your recommendations. I, of course, want to eat to my heart’s content (post-race because I don’t want a repeat of Chicago LOL) and to do all the things. If they’re budget friendly, that’s even better. I will also need a place to stay so please recommend away. 🙂 Much appreciated! 

If you want to sign up for the race, you can use the code “HNLBR2018” for 10% off. 🙂 

Posted in Running, Thoughts

BibRave Pro Applications Are Now Open!

Are you a social media fiend who also happens to LOVE RUNNING? Do you like to try out new running products and also race for free? If so, you’re in luck.

BibRave Pro applications are NOW OPEN from June 11th to June 22nd. Becoming a BibRave Pro almost a year and a half ago was one of the best things that happened to me. I was introduced to such a welcoming group of runners and I got to race for free and try out the new up and coming running products. I’ve tested AfterShokz headphones, Adidas Ultra Boost Xs, Orange Mud vests, and LUVO meals just to name a few. I’ve raced the Carlsbad 5000, the Rock N Roll races, the Craft Classic San Diego race, and a lot more through BibRave.

Honestly, what’s better than that? 🙂 If you’re interested, apply here and let them know that I sent you. 🙂

If you have any questions about being a BibRave Pro, please let me know and I’d be happy to answer your questions. 🙂 CraftClassic

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts, Training

Heat, humidity, and hills oh my – RnR San Diego Race Report

Disclaimer: 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.

I would like to have said that I crushed this race, but then I’d be lying. Conditions were not the best, but I conquered another half marathon and that’s all that matters. I also had a fantastic time at the expo so really, I have no real complaints. Without further ado, my race weekend report.

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Saturday – I had a pretty difficult 3 mile shake out run in the morning, but shrugged it off and headed to the expo. While I waiting to get onto the Trolley from the Old Town Trolley Station to get to the expo, I met a fellow San Diegan who followed me on Twitter and Strava. He asked me if I was “Mai,” I said “Yep,” and off we went to have a 15+ minute conversation about racing and after our talk, I’m considering picking up trail running. LOL. His name is Tim and he’s an ultra runner. You can find him on Twitter. 🙂

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After our talk, I entered the expo, picked up my bib, walked through the huge Brooks section, took some awesome photos at their photo booth and made my way over to the HoneyStinger booth where I volunteered there for 2 hours. I ran into a lot of people I knew at the booth and had a great time chatting with other runners. 🙂IMG_6670

I then met up with BibRave Pro Founders Tim and Jessica Murphy, and fellow BibRave Pros Bridget and Steph for lunch at Rustic Root. After lunch, I headed back to the expo, walked around some more and ended up dropping over $100 on this pretty little Orange Mud product for my Mt. Fuji hike in July. No way am I dying from dehydration. LOL. Anyway, that was all the excitement from the expo. 🙂 I called it an early night and passed out at 8:30 pm.

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Race day – I woke up at 4 am and was out the door by 4:15 am. I parked at the trolley station again and made my way down with very no issues. From the trolley stop, it was about a 1.5 mile and a half walk up to the start, which was a nice warm up walk. 🙂 I met up with friends and at 6:25 am, I crossed the start line. From the start of the race, I could feel that something was off. It was taking a lot more effort to run and when the sun came out around 7 am, I knew I was toast. I had forgotten my visor and my sunglasses so for a good portion of the race, I was squinting and wiping the sweat off my brow. Sigh.

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The course itself was very fun. You start off fairly flat and then head downhill. Another mile later, you get some rolling hills. I saw the mile 4.5 bar with their assortment of alcoholic beverages. I ran the blue mile a little bit later, where volunteers hold up flags and there are posters of US troops that have fallen lined along the road. By mile 7, I was pretty much toast. My left foot was tingling non-stop and the ball of my right foot felt like a big blister was coming on. I started overheating and had to pour a few cups of water over my head to cool down and around mile 9, I started doing a run/walk. At mile 10.5, we hit the last really large hill and it was mostly downhill from there. Taiko drummers were performing at the top to keep us going and goodness, I needed every little bit of it. Running downhill was easier, but I was running out of gas.

Then, an angel by the name of Vanessa, came running by. LOL. She’s not really an angel, but in this scenario, she was mine. 😛 Vanessa was someone I met through a friend and when she ran by me, she told me she’d run with me. I didn’t want to slow her down since I knew she ran faster than me, but she insisted that she would stay with me. For the rest of the miles, she stayed with my pace and kept me going with her pep talks. I pushed when I didn’t think I could anymore and was able to stay at a moderate pace. I crossed the finish line destroyed, but because of her, I was able to complete the course in under 2 hours, which was my original goal. Thanks to her, I finished it in 1:59:13, which I most definitely recorded in my Athlinks profile. 🙂

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Not every race is going to perfect and this race was a perfect example of that. But I learned a lot from this experience. I learned that some days, you just have bad runs and some of those days are during races. But even on those days, you can still achieve a lot if you have the right people beside you. 🙂

Question for you: Have you ever had a bad race and if you have, how did you recover from it? 

Side note: Today is Global Running day and the Rock N Roll Race Series is having a sale! If you want to run one of these, this is probably the best day to sign up for one. 🙂

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

COROS Pace – GPS Multi sport Watch Review

Disclaimer: I received a COROS Pace GPS Multi Sport Watch to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Look out other GPS watch competitors, there’s a new GPS watch out on the market and it’s made by COROS, the company that brought you OMNI, a smart cycling helmet.

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I’m pretty excited for this brand to be branching out to GPS watches and the PACE is the first of a few watches they have in store for us. I’ve been testing the watch out for 3 weeks and it’s been great for what I need in a watch. Please note that I’m not a triathlete (yet) and so I will primarily be focusing on the running aspect of this watch. Several other BibRave Pros have reviewed on the swim and cycling portion and their reviews can be found below.

GPS tracking – I was shocked by how fast my watch would be “GPS ready” once I selected the outdoor run option. In less than a minute, it would sync. It would maybe take 10-15 seconds. Even at a super crowded race like the Rock N Roll San Diego, my watch was able to get a signal within 10 seconds. This made me super happy. You don’t want to be that runner not able to cross the start line because your GPS isn’t ready, right? Or the person holding up the group run, which I’ve been very guilty of on more that one occasion. 😦

Distance tracking on outdoor runs – So how accurate is the watch on distance? 9/10 times, it’s pretty darn accurate. If you are too lazy to set your settings to auto pause and instead pause manually like I do, you’ll find that the distance will be shorter than you actually ran. I spoke to COROS and they believe this is because my manually pausing and resuming is causing the watch the lose the GPS location briefly.  Now I just put it on auto pause. Nevertheless, I have a feeling this won’t be an issue for much longer as COROS is continuing to update the software to address issues that customers have mentioned. This is a new product for them after all. 🙂

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Distance tracking on indoor runs – This is a bit more of an issue currently. I mostly do outdoor running now, but on the few times I was on the treadmill, I noticed that the distance was off by a bit. This isn’t really a big concern with me since I’ve experience this with other watches as well. It seems to be a common issue. Anyway, COROS is already working on this issue though so it should be resolved in the next firmware update.

Steps – I found that although the distance tracking wasn’t always accurate, the steps counter was pretty spot on. I was pleased. 🙂

Syncing – The data on the watch syncs really quickly with the COROS app (compatible on both Apple and Android phones) and you can also sync your data with the Strava app. Note that the outdoor runs sync to Strava, but currently, the indoor runs do not.

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Battery life – I run 4 times a week maybe averaging 3.5-4 hours and I had to charge this watch about every 10 days or so, which was really nice. When I wasn’t running, I’d still use it as a regular watch so it was being used 24/7. The battery life in GPS mode is expected to last 25 hours though.

Data metrics –  Most runners are fans of data. Pace, max heart rate, splits, distance, cadence, etc. You name it, runners want to know. This watch has a lot of statistics available for you. This was the first watch that calculated my stride length. I have no idea how it did that, but I’ll take it. 🙂 It currently does calories burned, steps, laps, cadence, stride length, pace, speed, heart rate, lap time, lap distance, lap cadence, lap stride length, elevation, total ascent, and total descent just to name a few. LOL. It currently does not do VO2 max nor intervals, but it is expected to be in the next few firmware update.

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And here ends my review of the watch. I visited the COROS booth while I was at the Rock N Roll San Diego health and fitness expo and they’re really excited about the new updates. They were really interested in user feedback so I expect their next update to incorporate lots of customer feedback. If you’re looking for a new watch, I would recommend looking into this one. 🙂 If you have any additional questions about this watch or would like me to test something out, please let me know and I’d be happy to test and report back.

BibRave Pro Reviews

Corey – Lindsey – Kim – Ryan – Kevin – Angie – Josh – Jenna – Mark – Amy – Michael

 Question for you: What do you look for in a sports watch? Any particular features? 

If you would like to purchase a COROS PACE watch, you can go here and enter the code “MAI” for $30 off the watch.