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? 

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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 Running, Training

Countdown to the San Diego Rock N Roll Half Marathon

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

It’s almost a year later and I find myself counting down to my 4th San Diego Rock N Roll Half marathon. 🙂 4 years ago, this was my first half marathon. FOUR. I actually had to look back at my first medal to see what year it was. LOL.

Even as I type this, I am in just disbelief that it has already been 4 years since I embarked on this crazy running journey and 21 half marathons, 3 marathon, and 1 very hilly 21 mile race later, I am ready to run my 22nd half. LOL.

I remember the first time I went to the Health and Fitness Expo 4 years ago. I was in awe at how big the expo was. I had taken the day off from work and went with my brother to the expo and walked around and around. I played games that some vendors had, grabbed the free snacks, and got my very first medal rack and that very first medal rack led me to my Instagram and Twitter Handle: Once_upon_a_run. 🙂

Now that’s enough walking down memory lane. In 7 days, I will be running through the streets of Downtown San Diego once again. I will start out near the San Diego Zoo and head through the neighborhoods of Hillcrest and Normal Heights where there will be drag queens and the neighborhood bar at mile 4 where neighbors wake up early just to serve you shots of tequila and whiskey. LOL. I’ll run through North Park, where a lot of great food is at and then make my way towards the downhill finish in Downtown San Diego by the Waterfront. 🙂

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Training on the my old stomping grounds at UCSD

My game plan for this upcoming week will hopefully be a lot of rest and stretching. I haven’t race a half since January and I think I’m a little out of practice. Most of my training runs are at a much slower pace and I just checked my course PR on Athlinks and it was a 1:54:11. Crap. My muscles have been a lot tighter this year than they’ve ever been in the past so I’m trying to stretch as much as I can and foam roll after my runs. I can’t even touch my toes anymore! Ack. My hope is to at least stay ahead of the 2 hour sub half marathon crowd. Des Linden, the 2018 female Boston marathon winner and also a San Diego native, will actually be pacing the 2 hour half marathoners and I hope that I can stay ahead of that group, finish, and then wait around to see Des cross the finish line. She’ll also be at the expo on Friday and Saturday so I’m hoping to see her one of the days. Eek! So excited.

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Foam rolling

Wish me luck!

If you’re into doing things last minute and want to sign up online, you still can until Sunday night! You can use code “RNRBRP2018” for $15 off either the half or full marathon. This code works on most Rock N Roll races (excluding Vegas) 🙂 

Question for you: What stretching tips do you have? Foam rolling? Post recovery tips are greatly appreciated! 🙂 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts, Training

Amphipod PureRun Minimalist Hydration Vest – Review

Disclaimer: I received a Amphipod PureRun Minimalist Hydration Vest 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!

When I first started training for my first marathon in the hot summer in 2016, I realized that hydration is SUPER important. I never ran with water bottles and so when I first started running 13+ miles, I started trying to find ways to get around the whole hydration thing. My stomach was way too sensitive to drink water from a water fountain and I thought about placing water bottles along my run so that when I looped back around, I could just take a sip and place it back there and hope that no one poisoned my water bottle before I get to it again. LOL. The thought crossed my mind to also buy a belt that held water bottles, but with everything I already carry in my FlipBelt, I didn’t think it’d be feasible to carry water around my waist too.

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Enter hydration vests! These are probably the best inventions for long runs. They can hold quite a bit of water and have lots of pockets where you can keep gels for fuel. I was fortunate to try the Amphipod hydration vest recently and found it to be quite useful on 16 mile runs.

Features – The vest has four pockets where you’re able to hold fuel in. There are two pockets in the front (one on each side) and two in the back. In the front on each side, there is room for one of their 12 oz hydraform flasks. That’s 24 oz total if you’re just carrying the water bottles. There’s a cinch in the back where you can also securely store say a bladder or maybe even a light jacket. The vest also comes with a Versa-Light Clip-On LED light, which has a smiley face on it. 🙂  PureRunHydrationVest

Usability – To be honest, it took a little getting used to. The reason being is that I’ve never really carried around 24 oz of water before. The most I had ever carried was 15 oz of water in a vest. Having two water bottles sloshing around was interesting. The first time I ran in it, I wasn’t sure if it was going to work out, but after a few miles in and after adjusting the straps so it’d be more suited to my body, I didn’t have any issues. There are three straps that go across your body so you can secure it and make it fit more nicely with your body. I’ve run with the vest about 4 or 5 times by now and I haven’t experienced any problems with it. The mesh is fairly breathable and the material doesn’t rub on your skin and chafe you. I even tried wearing a sleeveless tank with the vest to see if it would rub and it didn’t in the slightest. 🙂 I’ve worn it on pretty humid days, on short runs, and long ones and didn’t experience problems with it.

The bottles that come with it are easy to drink from. They fit snugly in the front pockets so all you have to do is grab the bottle, pull the top, and squeeze the water into your mouth. 🙂

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I’m pretty happy with this product since it’s able to hold more water for my longer runs and with summer around the corner, this will be perfect for my next round of marathon training. 😉 Yes, that’s right. There might be another marathon in it for me this year. 🙂 Stay tuned.

If you’re interested in learning more about this product, please feel free to read what other BibRave Pros had to say about it below:

Andrea – Meredith – ReneeAlastair – Bradford – Barb – Amy

Question for you: How do you hydrate on your long runs? 

Posted in Running, Thoughts, Training

End of March and the Start of April

It’s been awhile since I last did a monthly recap. Oops. It’s okay. Better late than never, right? Let’s quickly recap the past 3 months and get on with April. 🙂

In January, I completed something I thought was impossible. I ran the Dopey Challenge, which consisted of a 5k, a 10k, a half marathon, and a full marathon, all in 4 consecutive days. I also finished my first Spartan race and my hands were so raw after that race that my hands were peeling for weeks afterwards. LOL.

In February, I had no races and was having crazy FOMO all month long. My monthly mileage was pretty low and I struggled to keep motivated and run. I also turned 30. Let’s not talk about that. 😛

In March, I had 2 more races, the AllState Hot Chocolate 15k, which I PRed in, and the Rock N Roll Carlsbad 5000, which I did not PR in despite my attempts. Boo. I had a rough start to March, but after I started racing, I started feeling a lot better. Maybe it was race withdrawal. LOL. Who knows? In March, I did start going to spin class once a week for cross training purposes. I don’t know how spin people do it. I’m so drained after a 45 minute class that I don’t think I could do anything else that day. 😛

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This probably means my attempt at a triathlon are probably not going to happen if I can’t bike well. I ended March with a 16 mile long run in preparation for the Big Sur 21 miler and I’m feeling a bit more comfortable with the distance. I’m still pretty worried about the hills, but let’s talk about that another day. 🙂

Now that we’re in April, let’s talk about my upcoming April race – the SoCal Ragnar Relay! Dun dun DUNNNNN! All the details have been set. Well, almost all the details. There is a little issue about decorating the van. And the issue is that I don’t have any ideas as to how to decorate the van. I’m thinking I can just grab a bunch of NON-PERMANENT markers and let my team have at it in the wee morning before the start. That’ll be a good idea, right? LOL.

But in all seriousness, I am pretty excited to do this. 12 people in 2 vans making their way from Huntington Beach to San Diego over the course of 30ish hours. Throw in a little deprivation and also that one of us will be running at all times of the day for those 30ish hours. God, I hope we’ll still be friends after this. 😛

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Will keep you updated with the race report next week. Keep your eyes peeled. 🙂

Posted in Running, Thoughts, Training

It’s Almost Race Weekend Again!

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. 

The Hot Chocolate 15k race this past Sunday has kick started another few weeks of racing and I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty excited. I started January off with 5 races and then had no races planned for February. February drove me nuts. My Sundays were filled with sleeping in and it just wasn’t fun. LOL. I kid. I was itching to race though and even contemplated signing up for another marathon in May, but that ended up not happening (thankfully).

So now that race season has come up again, I’m ecstatic. Maybe I’m a little too ecstatic since I shouldn’t have gone all out last weekend because this week, I’m paying the price. My knees ached a bit on Monday so I rested and had fried chicken instead. LOL. I know. I make the best decisions. On Tuesday, I promised a friend I’d go to spin class with her at Cycle Bar. It was a good idea since there’d be less pressure on the joints and I walked out of there drenched in sweat and feeling like I accomplished something. 🙂 Yesterday, I had a nice 4.5 mile run with the run group at Fleet Feet San Diego, but definitely felt my sore joints. I think I might have also pulled a glute. Oops.

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Today and tomorrow will most likely be a rest day as I’m hoping to beat another personal record. I don’t have extremely high hopes for this one since I just checked Athlinks for last year’s results and I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to race at a 7:39 min/mile pace for 3.1 miles. I don’t think I’ve ever raced that fast since that day so I’m not sure I can do it again. I have been incorporating more speed work into my training for the past few months, but with my last few races, I don’t feel ready to race my heart out this weekend. I’m going to give it my all and only time will tell. Be on the lookout for my social media posts Sunday morning. 😉

Any tips to run like the wind? To maintain a 7:39 min/mile, that will mean that I have to hit the ground running almost immediately. Any tips to avoid the crowd at the beginning? 

Posted in Running, Thoughts, Training

T’was the week of the the Hot Chocolate 15k

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. 

Soooo I’m 3 days out from the Hot Chocolate 15k and well, I’m not where I want to be. Training has been really difficult for me and I’m still not sure what the issue is. I have a suspicion that I’m not sleeping enough and that my body isn’t recovering as quickly as I’d like it to. I haven’t been running any insane distances. Last Saturday was the first Saturday in a while since I’ve hit double digits.

The plan for the rest of this week is to take it as easy as I can. My hamstring has been acting up a bit and hurts whenever I start running. It eases up a mile in, but still, the pain is a bit concerning. My left foot also tingles a bit at the bottom 3 miles in, which also is a red flag. Sigh. Maybe I need new shoes too. Hmm. So far, this week has consisted of a slow 5 miler on Monday, an interval night with 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, min intervals with a 2 minute rest in between on Tuesday, and an easy 3.1 mile run for Pi day (3.14). Nom nom nom. I have a spin class scheduled for tonight and then have a short 3 mile run on Saturday. However, if the pain persists, I may just skip the run on Saturday and just rest Friday and Saturday so I can run the 15k on Sunday.

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Running in the rain during intervals night

The game plan for race day will be to get lots of sleep the night before and to park at a lot where I can just take the Trolley down to downtown. This will save me a lot of stress from finding parking in the morning. 🙂 Then, I’ll just take it easy from start to finish. My competitiveness is telling me that I should try and attempt a PR, but since the following week is the Carlsbad5000 and that race is a goal race for me, I’ll stick to a nice easy race for the Hot Chocolate 15k. Maybe I’ll even stop for sweets along the course.

Question for you: Any suggestions to make my legs not feel like lead when I run? Also, is there a trick to eating M&Ms along a race course? Do you have any tips for me?