Posted in Running, Thoughts, Training

Races for 2018 Coming Right Up – Spartan Socal Super and Hot Chocolate 15k

It’s already midway through January and I feel like I’m already behind. LOL By this time last year, I already had a list of most of the races I’d be running. This year, I’ve only scheduled half of the races. To date, I’ve scheduled my races up to June with my fall calendar completely open. Still looking for a nice fall marathon. 🙂 Any recommendations? Maybe CIM? I need a large marathon. I can’t be at mile 20 and feel completely alone. I need other runners to keep me going. 🙂

Anyway, let’s talk about a few of my races coming up. As you all know, I already ran 4 races in 2018. Those races would be the Walt Disney World 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon. Woohoo, I’m already ahead of the game. I will have those recaps out shortly.

Next up is the Spartan SoCal Super at the end of this month. If you don’t know what a Spartan race is, think of it as an obstacle course, one really intense obstacle course. LOL. They have three types of events – the sprint, super, and beast and they vary by distance and # of obstacles. I had won a free race entry from Colby awhile back and decided to test my limits by signing up for the super, which consists of 8-10 miles of running with 25+ obstacles. TWENTY FIVE! Holy crap. And for obstacles that you cannot complete, the penalty is 30 burpees! Soooooo either I’m going to die from this event or I’m going to come out of it super buff. LOL. Let’s hope for the latter.

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Uh, I have to do that??? 

After the Spartan, I will have about two or three weeks to recover before getting back into the grind of training for the HotChocolate 15k race in San Diego on March 18th, 2018!

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. 

I ran this race in 2016 and I had such a blast. I mean, why not run for chocolate? The Hot Chocolate series is probably one of the most worth it races in terms of bang for your buck. Registration starts around $60 if you’re an early bird and for that amount of money, you get a sweet pullover, chocolate goodies on the course and after the course (Hello marshmallows and banana dipped in chocolate YUM), and a shiny nice medal in the shape of a chocolate bar. Nom Nom Nom! They also introduced something new this year. For people who have run a specific Hot Chocolate race multiple years in a row, they now have the legacy program! Below are the details:

3 year- legacy novelty bib, legacy beanie and 3-year legacy medal
5 year- legacy novelty bib, legacy beanie, commemorative photo frame, and 5-year legacy medal
10 year- legacy novelty bib, legacy beanie, commemorative frame including your 10-year legacy medal, a full VIP race-day experience, Hot Chocolate Legacy embroidered goodie bag, AND a free entry to the 2019-2020 season Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k/5k race of your choice!*

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Right now, the registration is still fairly low. It’s $74 for the 15k and if you just want to get to the chocolate faster without putting in 3x the amount of work, there’s a 5k available for $49! 🙂 And if you want even more swag, you can use the code “BRHCSD18” to get a free Hot Chocolate 15k cap! 🙂 

If you’re not in San Diego or nearby and would like to run a Hot Chocolate race, they have races all over the U.S. Check their website out for a race near you. 🙂

Question for you: Have you ever run for chocolate? Or food in general? I know I have. I mean, what’s the fun in running if you can’t eat everything in sight afterwards. LOL

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Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Dopey Challenge Part 1

Happy new year everyone! I apologize for disappearing for almost 2 weeks. It’s been a bit hectic. If you follow me on social media, you’ll know that I have been off traveling and running my little legs off. If you’re just tuning in now, well, I did the impossible. I completed the Dopey Challenge! That’s right! I started 2018 off with a bang! Hooray Let’s recap, shall we?

Flight: My biggest fear when traveling is having my flight delayed or cancelled. And can you guess what happened the day of my flight?

Yep. My flight got cancelled. It was first delayed an hour, then two hours, then two and a half, and then straight up cancelled with no explanation. Thanks Frontier Airlines. Thanks a lot.

They offered to rebook me on their next available flight, but that meant I would have missed picking up my packet at the Walt Disney World Expo and I wouldn’t have been able to complete the Dopey Challenge. So I just took the refund they offered me. I frantically looked for another flight that night and was fortunately able to book with United, but it cost me $400 more than my original flight. Grrr. Frontier did send me a $200 voucher on top of the refund, but I was more peeved than anything because they gave me no explanation as to why the flight was cancelled nor did they apologize for the huge inconvenience they caused me.

Packet Pick-Up: Anyway, I arrived in Orlando Wednesday morning and got checked into my hotel with little delay.

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I have arrived!

Since I stayed at one of their resorts, they had shuttles taking people to the expo. Hooray for convenience! Then came the crazy crowds. I’m used to lines at expos, but this was a whole other beast.IMG_4472

I had forgotten to bring my printed waiver to the expo and so I had to wait in an extremely long line (maybe 30 minutes) to just print out my waiver. Once it was printed, I went to the actual bib-pick up, which consisted of another super long line that snaked outside the building. Holy moly. I think the whole ordeal took me 2 hours. Whew. I swung by the Disney merchandise area afterwards and scored myself a nice Dopey Challenge pullover. 🙂 By that time, I was done spending money and skipped the expo altogether. I probably missed out on some sweet stuff, but I was just done with overpaying for things. LOL.

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I spent the rest of Wednesday resting up for the 5k distance. I set up my flatrunner and went to bed at 8 pm ET. That’s 5 pm PT, where I’m from. That’s when I usually get off work. LOL. Talk about being totally unprepared.

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My Flatrunner Russell costume

If you’ve every run a Disney race, you’ll know that the start times are extremely early. For a race that started at 5:30 am, we all had to leave our Disney resorts by 3:30 am. That meant standing in the cold for about 1.5 to 2 hours before starting. Oh and it was soooo very cold! The day of the 5k, it was 32F. I was super unprepared for the weather and I’m pretty sure the day of the 5k, I almost got frost bite from the lack of layers I should have been wearing. LOL. Luckily, they had Disney characters near the start line so everyone lined up to to get their photos taken. There was also a tent that everyone escaped too and huddled together to stay warm. LOL

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Fellow BibRave Pro Justin and I with Dopey!

Walt Disney World 5k: Enough with the complaining, let’s get to the race! Like all Disney races, they started each wave by sending fireworks into the air.

 

The first mile and a half, we were running through the streets surrounding Epcot. There were three character stops from what I remember – Chip and Dale, Lightning McQueen and Mater from Cars, and the Genie from Aladdin. Chip and Dale came within the first mile, but because I was still very cold, I bypassed them and hoped that they’d be at another race. Spoiler: They weren’t. 😦 I did get a photo with the genie though so I was a happy camper. Even before entering Epcot, I took a nasty fall. I was adjusting my brownie sash for my Russell costume and missed a step and fell forward and ripped up my gloves and scraped my elbow. Luckily, I was wearing tights or my legs would have been scraped up too. Yikes!

 

Once I got into the park, it was magical. Disney knows how to do their races right. Since the race was so early, it felt like we were experiencing the park at night. Everything was wonderfully lit and there were so many photo worthy opportunities. The only downside is that the lighting may not be super great for taking photos with characters. After finishing the race, I grabbed a Mylar blanket and headed back to the shuttle to get ready for a day at the park. 🙂

Too long, didn’t read? Here’s the short version. I had a rocky start, but it panned out in the end. 🙂 I’ll continue with my 10k and half marathon in the next post! 🙂

Question for you: Have you ever had a flight cancelled? What did you do? 

Posted in Running, Thoughts

Bye bye 2017

I started 2017 with crazy ambitions. Here are some of them.

I wanted to run 1000 miles; I ended with 1375 miles. Woohoo!

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I wanted to publish a 1st author paper, graduate, and get a job; I nailed it. LOL

 I wanted to stretch 3x a week and even cross train; Yeah, that didn’t happen. Oops. LOL

I wanted to beat a personal record in at least one distance; I PRed in 3 distances – the 5k, half, and full. Woot woot!

I wanted to do another 100 happy day project; Super failed. I blame depression.

There were several more, but those were the ones I really wanted to achieve. Even though I didn’t succeed at all of them, I gave most of them my best shot. I probably could have tried to stretch a bit more, but I was just lazy.


2017 was a rollercoaster of a year for me. There were a lot of ups and downs and honestly, I’m super surprised I survived through it all. Let’s recap the more memorable events – highs and lows, shall we?

In January, I placed 3rd in my age group in The Great Chocolate Race 10 miler in Long Beach.

In February, I joined BibRave and was introduced to some amazing runners and incredible opportunities.

In March, I beat my personal record in the half marathon distance at the San Diego Half marathon.

In April,  I beat another personal record in the 5k distance by a whopping minute and a half at the Carlsbad 5000 and I also conquered the La Jolla Half Marathon again after swearing to never do it again. 🙂

In June, I ran my 15th half marathon at the San Diego Rock N Roll Half Marathon.

In July, I began experiencing the craziest stress I’ve ever endured while writing my dissertation.

In August, I ran the SeaWheeze Half Marathon in Vancouver, my first half marathon in another country, defended my thesis, received my Ph.D in biology, and got my first job offer outside of academia.

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In September, I started my new job.

In October, I ran my 2nd full marathon at the Chicago marathon and completed 1000 miles for the year. Highlight of the year. Shortly thereafter, my long distance relationship ended.

In November, I crossed off a bucket list race by running the Las Vegas strip at night at Las Vegas’ Rock N Roll Half Marathon. I also suffered an extreme bout of low motivation and depression.

In December, the depression got very real.

So the year didn’t end on a high note, but writing this recap has helped me remember that I did accomplish a lot this year and that it shouldn’t be overshadowed by the last few months. Here’s to hopefully a better 2018!

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Question for you: How was your 2017? Are you ready to start 2018? Have a happy new year everyone!

 

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

Athlinks – A Platform to Track All Your Races

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Disclaimer: I am promoting Athlinks 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!

I’ve had an Athlinks account for at least a year now. I don’t remember how I came across it, but for someone who’s run a lot of races, I have definitely come to appreciate it. Here’s why.

What is it? It is essentially a website that allows you to keep track of all of your races. So if you’re like me, who LOVES to keep track of all the races I’ve run, this is the site for you.

Do I have to import all of my race results? Nope. That’s probably the best part of this site. After you run a race, you can simply just log into Athlinks and claim your results. The result may not immediately be available to claim after the race, but give it a few days and then you’ll be able to claim them. Claiming them adds them to your race resume. 🙂 Speaking of race results, Athlinks will have more than 5 million results live on race day. Tracking all of the races on one site/app. How awesome is that? 🙂

What are some of its features? Like all resumes, the highlights are up front. 🙂 For a race resume, that includes your personal records/bests. At the top of your profile page, your best times for each distance are listed. Below are the rest of your races. You no longer have to look back on the race website to find out what your time was 3 years ago. All of your times can be found on Athlinks. Hooray!

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In addition to being able to claim your previous races, you can also look up the races you’re going to run and “Join the Start List.” By doing so, you are letting others know that you’re running the race and if you feel like it, you can also list your time goal. What is also really cool about this feature is that it’ll take all of your previous races for that distance and predict what your time will be. 🙂 If your race isn’t up there, you can also create an event for it. 🙂

There’s also rivals. 🙂 Who doesn’t love a healthy competition, right? I basically thrive off it. LOL JK. Only not really. I admit that I tend to get carried away and the trash talking ends up biting me in the butt later. I can’t back up my trash talk sometimes. LOL. Oh well. I’ve learned. Sort of. Okay, not really, but I digress.

Athlinks will recommend rivals for you. Rivals are people you follow who run the same races as you. They’ll keep a tally as to how many wins you have against that person and how many losses. Right now, I have two wins and two losses. Boo. I need more friends to compete against. 🙂

With that said, what are you waiting for? Follow me here and I’ll follow you back. It’s completely free. Seriously though. Please? 🙂 I want more friends and maybe some more rivals. 🙂 Also, if you sign up now and claim a result between now and Jan 8th, you’ll be entered to win a free race entry to one of their race partners. You can find out more here. 🙂 

Posted in Marathon Mondays, Running, Thoughts, Training

Marathon Mondays – 3 weeks and counting

Yep, that’s right. Today, there are 20 days left until I embark on my 3rd marathon and this will be no ordinary accomplishment. This accomplishment will be absolutely DOPEY. And that’s because I will have run a 5k, a 10k, and a half marathon the three days before the full marathon. Am I crazy? Yep. Am I nervous? Hell yeah. No sane person would not be scared. 🙂

This last week’s “training” was more or less okay. I haven’t been following a plan, which was probably not the best idea, but with motivation being up and down lately, it was too much pressure to adhere to a plan. So I’ve been winging it.

Monday was a wash. I had a meeting after work and didn’t get to my usual run group in time so I settled for a 1 miler to keep the run streak alive.

I made Tuesday’s interval run though. Unfortunately, I started out too fast and couldn’t hold my pace towards the last interval so I called it at 4.73 miles. At least I got the miles in.

On Wednesday, I made it out to Fleet Feet San Diego again and managed to finish a 6 mile run. It was crazy cold for San Diego and my face felt super raw after the run, but the run was good.

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Thursday and Fridays were pretty much wasted. I haven’t been able to motivate myself to run when I’m not with a group so I did a short 2 and 1 miler, respectively and called it.

Saturday was my last long run of this short marathon training season. I met up with Movin’ Shoes and ran a 14.5 mile with another girl who was training for a full the weekend after Dopey. She and I chatted almost the entire time so the pace was good, but as we wrapped up, my knees ached. Ack.

Sunday was interesting. November Project partnered up with Team Hoyt for their Inclusion Community Challenge event. At the event, we participated in events designed to show us what it’s like to compete as a challenged athlete. I had to crawl on my knees and elbows to move a little football around a course. I pushed a Team-Hoyt-Running chair down and up a hill. I was blindfolded and told to find a ball that I had thrown. All the challenges were difficult and the experience gave me a new found admiration for challenged athletes. They’re amazing. Since I didn’t think the event counted as a 1 mile run, I made to run another 1.5 miles later on the day and called it a week.

I finished last week with about 31 miles and this week kick starts tapering. Wheee.

So how are your holidays coming along? Are you getting some runs in? 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

The Winter Woes and Overcoming Them

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Aftershokz Trekz Titanium to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

If you are just tuning in to my blog, well…I have to apologize that you haven’t come at an opportune time. Things are still pretty rough for me. My mind wanders and for some reason, it has a tendency to gravitate towards negative thoughts. And with the holidays in full swing, it’s gotten a lot harder for me to be optimistic.

I try though. For the past month or so, I’ve been listening to podcasts almost every chance I get – when I run or when I’m driving. It keeps my mind occupied so negative thoughts don’t creep in. Listening to music has been harder with all the love songs out there. It’s rare that I can find a song that won’t make me cry. Boo.

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So for now, podcasts it is. In a way, it’s a blessing. I’ve always been a creature of comfort. Even as I’m typing this, I’m in bed underneath my weighted blanket. I like the routine…almost a little too much. By forcing myself to listen to podcasts, I’m realizing that there are things worth learning. Here’s my list of the podcasts I’ve been listening to and if you have time, try listening to one. You might like it 🙂

The BibRave Podcast – a show about all things running (I recommend the Leadville 100 episode if you ever need a reason to motivate yourself to run)

NPR’s Hidden Brain – focuses on different topics in human psychology (for those thought provoking moments)

NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me –  a game show format on the week’s current events (for laughter)

NPR’s How I Built This – Interviews with entrepreneurs and their journey (I recommend the Spanx or Reddit episode)

Stuff You Should Know – super random topics, but there are a wide range of ones to choose from

Hooray for distractions!

Anyway, a huge thanks to the Aftershokz crew for making these distractions possible. Running while listening to podcasts and also being able to listen for nearby cars or bicyclists have made my runs a lot safer. Also, a thank you for making a pair of reliable and comfortable wireless headphones that don’t stick in my ear and make my ears sore. I’ve been wearing these so often that I sometimes believe they’re an extension of me. LOL. Really though. I’ve had them on and forgotten that they’re on my ears.

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For a more thorough review of the headphones, I’ve reviewed a pair of the Trekz Titanium Minis here. This time, I received a pair of the regular Trekz Titaniums and they’re in green and I just love them. I thought they’d move around a bit more when I run since they’re a bit bigger, but turns out, both sizes work on my head. Whoo.

To read more about what other BibRave Pros had to say: Ryan – Sara – Jenna – Meridith

Soooo what podcasts have you listened to? Any one that I should be aware of? I’m always on the lookout for new interesting ones. No sad ones please. The world is kind of too chaotic for that right now. Recommendations extremely welcome. Please and thank you!

Posted in Marathon Mondays, Running, Thoughts, Training

Marathon Mondays – Dopey Challenge edition

Since I’m less than 4 weeks away from the Dopey Challenge, I figured I should update everyone on my training or lack thereof. Heh. I’m screwed. Maybe.

During the last two weeks, I’ve bumped up my training a bit. It is nowhere as high in mileage or intensity, but it’s been better. Let’s recap the past two weeks, shall we?

November 26th – December 2nd

Since starting the Runner’s World Run Streak, I’ve been a bit more consistent with running. Also, the fear of not finishing the Dopey Challenge was getting bigger and bigger and I ultimately got my butt out of the house to run. I did a 5 miler on Monday, 3 milers Tuesday through Friday, a 15 miler on Saturday, and a 1 miler on Sunday giving me a grand total of 33 miles. The 15 miler was the longest run I’ve done since Chicago, which is a bit worrisome. I probably could have shot for 16 miles, but I fell at mile 14 and my left leg cramped up so badly that I had to stop to stretch for a few minutes before beginning to hobble my way back to my car. I was sore as hell on Sunday and only managed a 1 miler to keep the streak alive.

December 3rd – December 10th

I decided this past week that I was going to try and run longer miles and to motivate myself to do that, I ran with more running groups. I did my usual Monday night run with Movin’ Shoes, but only managed 5 miles because I got there late. On Tuesday, I decided to try an interval run with Movin’ Shoes, which ended up being a great 5 mile work out.

10 min warm up followed by a 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, min interval with 2 min rest in between. Intervals suck, but after finishing them, I felt great that I pushed myself to get after it.

On Wednesday, I found a new running shoe store to run with – Fleet Feet San Diego. They had a nice 3.5 to 6 mile route for runners so I chose the 3.5 mile route. My friend’s knees weren’t feeling that great so we opted for the 3.5 miler. Thursday and Friday were a wash – 1 milers to keep the streak alive and nothing more. Saturday consisted of a 10 miler and on Sunday, the pain came.

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Movin’ Shoes was having their 40th anniversary and celebrated by holding a Mt. Soledad 10k challenge. If you aren’t familiar with this challenge, it’s a 5k run up a hill (800 ft in elevation) to Mt. Soledad and a 5k run back down it. I’m not sure whether it was the 10 miler from the day before or the crazy amount of unhealthy chips I had eaten the days before, but my body was just not having it. My calves cramped up and I ended up having to walk a portion of the trek up. The run back down the hill was fine, but my ego was hurt from struggling so hard up the hill. Despite my struggle yesterday, I still managed to log in about 32 miles for the week. 🙂

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I will be attempting another 31+ mile week and possibly another 15 or 16 mile long run, but we’ll see how it goes. Wish me luck!

So do you think I’m screwed? Undertrained? Eek! Any tips on surviving back to back races?