Posted in Running

Less than 2 weeks away. Crap.

“Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Big Sur 21 miler as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

I am less than 2 weeks away from embarking on my first 21 mile race at Big Sur and holy crap am I terrified. Yes, the view will be amazing. Ever since I saw pictures of the Bixby bridge, I’ve wanted to run along it and take a billion photos of the view. 🙂 So yes, the view will be amazing, but oh the hills. I guess that’s the only way you can get great views, right? From lots and lots of hills? Just by looking at the map below, it doesn’t look tooooo bad, but you know I won’t be saying that in two weeks when I’m running this bad boy. LOL.

Big Sur Elevation Profile

So that’s where you guys come in. I’ve signed up for Motigo, which is this really cool app, that sends cheers to a runner during their race. All you have to do is sign up, record a cheer, and pick a mile marker for me to hear your cheer. Isn’t that kind of cool? You don’t even have to be awake the morning of my race. LOL. Just pre-record the cheer and have it play at say mile 5 (mile 10 on the map, but it’s really 5 since I start 5 miles further away from the marathon start) when I start that hike up the hill. 😛 Or really at any point along the course. 21 milers is a very long distance. 😛

I’ve done some hill training, but not much. Last night, I ran Mt. Soledad, which is this pretty steep hill and it felt AWFUL. Getting to the top felt amazing, but the run up the hill was causing my legs to cramp and I had to stop multiple times along the route to stretch. I will admit that tears were shed. LOL. My training has gone fairly well if you disregard the lack of hill training. I know I can do the distance, but I’m still not too sure about the hills. I guess only time will tell. 🙂 Maybe I’ll just walk up those hills and take glorious pictures instead. 🙂

Sooooo any tips on how to get through hills? They will be much appreciated!

 

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Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

So close, yet so far – Carlsbad 5000 Race 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. 

Going into this race, I had all of the typical jitters. I hadn’t had any really good runs this week and I was still recovering from last week’s race. I still had some tightness in my calves during my shake out run so I decided to join some friends at a spa day. I have no idea whether this was a good idea or not, but I spent a good hour and a half alternating between a dry and salt sauna room. LOL. I made sure to drink lots of water and I tried stretching out my legs a bit in the dry sauna.

The revelation I got from this experience was that I need to stretch. A LOT. God, I was hoping I’d never have to pick it up, but I think I will have to start doing yoga if I want to keep running and getting faster.

Anyway, Saturday went and I called it an early night at 8 pm. LOL. My race didn’t even start until 9:10 am, but the more sleep the better. 🙂 I’m not getting any younger, am I? 🙂 I woke up got to the race around 7:45 am. My race was at 9:10 am, but since I had to pick up my bib, I decided to get there a little earlier. Parking wasn’t too terrible. I parked maybe 4 or 5 blocks away and easily made my way to the start line where the bib pick-up was. If you time it just right, try arriving 30 or 40 minutes after the wave before yours and you may be able to get a spot from someone who just ran and is leaving. IMG_5514

Also, if you live in San Diego and Carlsbad is a bit of a drive for you, pick your bib up the morning of the race. There are still vendors at the expo so you’re not missing anything if you don’t show up on Saturday for bib pick-up.

This 5k race is different in that it breaks up the divisions into 6 different start times. For the 30-39 year olds, the start time was at 9:10 am and the time will sometimes change based on the train schedule. You don’t want to start a race and then get stopped by a train, do you? I don’t. Despite them adjusting for the train schedule, there are times that you can get stopped by a train so my advice is to run fast until you pass the tracks. There are also no corrals in this race. There are min/mile signs and everyone essentially self selects into their pace group.

I started out at a 6:45 min/mile and was able to find a nice clear path fairly quickly. Unfortunately, because I started out so quickly, I was having issues regulating my breathing and my pace quickly dropped to a 7:30 min/mile. This wasn’t bad, but because my breathing was getting very irregular, my calves started tightening up. I tried my very best to keep going since it was a short distance, but I couldn’t maintain. I clocked my first mile at 7:15, my second at 7:47, and my final mile at 8:29. I clocked in unofficially at 24:27, which is about 45 seconds shy of my personal record set at last year’s race. I keep checking Athlinks for my official results, but they’re not up yet so I can’t claim them just yet. Since I clocked it with my Garmin, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t anywhere close to PRing. I’m disappointed, but hey, I got a great view of the ocean along my route. I kept forgetting to look up during the course, but when other runner friends called out my name along the course, it reminded me to enjoy the process. 🙂

Speaking of friends, I ran into quite a few of them.

IMG_5523TLDR? I didn’t PR, but I still had a ton of fun connecting with my runner friends. Now, to prepare for my very first Ragnar Relay and the Big Sur 21 miler!

Question for you – How did your weekend go? Did you have a chill weekend? 

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

Trail Running – UA Horizon RTT Trail Shoes Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of UA Horizon RTT Trail Shoes 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!

After running on the roads for 4 years, I thought it’d be a good idea to try trail running. I mean, if I ever hope to start ultra running (OMG did I just write that here?), I should probably start training for trail races, right? I’ve tried searching for road ultras and there just aren’t that many. 😦 But that’s okay, it’s time to improve my running ability. 🙂

Enter the Under Armour Horizon RTT Trail Shoes. I’m going to be completely honest with you. These were my first pair of shoes designed specifically for trail running and I had no way to compare how these shoes would compare with other trail shoes. However, while trying these shoes out, I did end up trying another pair of trail shoes just to compare. RESEARCH for the win!

Before I delve into my experience with these shoes, note that I have worn the following running shoes: Brooks’ Ghost 7, 8, 9; Brooks Ravenna 9 , New Balance’s Vazee 2090,  and Adidas’ Ultra Boost X.  I use my Brooks’ primarily with long distance runs and my New Balance’s for speedwork. The Adidas’ are used for shorter easier runs.

Now for my review:

At first glance, the shoes look like they can handle the trail terrain very well. The bottom of the soles have great traction on them – at least more than I’m used to with road shoes. Don’t believe me? See for yourself.

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Personally, the shoes are not aesthetically pleasing to me. I like a more sleek look to my running shoes, but if the shoes does the job and will save my feet on rugged terrain, I will still wear them.

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On my first few trail runs, I noticed that these shoes were way sturdier than all of my other shoes and even the other trail shoe that I tried. This was great for the trails. My first trail run was through some rocky terrain in a canyon and I had never felt safer running over the rocks. The reinforced areas of the shoe provided really good support for my ankles. The shoes were also still pretty breathable despite all the reinforcement. 🙂

I did notice that while I was running, my heels tended to slip around in my shoes while running. This happens all the time when I run on the road. I used a lace lock and voila, no more heel slippage in my shoe. Also, there were no more blisters. Hooray!

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I did cross a river while in these shoes too. The traction wasn’t as great here, but I never slipped so that was promising. 🙂

I’ve used these shoes for hiking, walking around, and trail running and have found them to be pretty versatile. I find them more useful on rocky trails, but flat trails are also fine. 🙂 I unfortunately haven’t gone out to trail run as often as I’d like due to other commitments, but starting in May, I should have much more time to break these in.

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If you’re interested in reading more about these shoes, other BibRave Pros have tested them out. Read their reviews below.

Jenn – Barb – LoganBen

Also, if you’re interested in getting into trail running, the Copper Mountain Under Armour Race Series may be a great place to start. You can use the code “BIBRAVE20” to get 20% off your registration. 🙂 

Questions for you! – Have you done a trail run? What about an ultra? Any recommendations? I’m looking into possibly doing a beginner trail race, if there is a good one. Recommendations are appreciated. Thank you!

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

So a PR Happened – Hot Chocolate 15k Race Report

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. 

So you know how only a few short days ago, I told you all that I was going to take it easy and enjoy the race? Yeah, who was I fooling? LOL. I’m competitive at heart and the racing atmosphere just brings it out of me.

I started off my race weekend with a short 3 mile shake out run. The run was tough. My legs still felt really stiff, but I powered through and was grateful it was over. I spent the rest of the morning resting and then went downtown to pick up my bib and race jacket that came with the registration. 🙂 Walked around the expo a bit and then headed home to rest and sleep early.

I woke up the next morning with jitters. I was worried I’d get there late by trolley since it seemed like it only ran every 20 minutes and figured if I just went straight to the start line and just parked a bit further away, it’d be fine. Turns out, I was right! Parking on the street on Sundays in downtown is free and if you’re willing to walk maybe half a mile away from the start, you can find parking pretty easily, assuming you’ve also come an hour before the race starts. I had a blanket in my car and slept for a bit before walking over to the start where I met up with a few people.

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Jeannie, Velle, and Hugh from the Movin’ Shoes running group
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Fellow BibRave Pro Rory!

Then the race started. Let me tell you, this course is not easy in the slightest. I ran it two years ago and remember it being hilly. My memory deceived me. It was so much worse. LOL. 😛 I must be a masochist or something because after I finished, it didn’t seem that bad. LOL

The race starts on a hill in downtown and for the first 2 miles, it’s a steep incline. There are very short stretches where it flattens out or declines, but for the most part it’s incline. After the sharp incline, you get a short break and you start a more gradual incline until mile 4. From mile 4 to 5.5, the course plays with your emotions. LOL. It goes up and down quite a bit. You think you’re done with the hills, but guess again! LOL. After 5.5, you get a really nice break where it’s just downhill for a good mile or so. The view is beautiful here. You get a great view of the Coronado bridge and you just think you can do anything at this point. At least, that’s how I felt. IMG_5466

Then you get to the last stupid big hill, which crushes your soul (I kid), and then you’re back in downtown where you sprint to the finish and get your fancy schmancy medal and finisher’s mug. 🙂

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Hot chocolate, dipping chocolate, marshmallows, pretzels, rice krispies, and a banana to tie you over

I had all sorts of leg issues during the race. My ankles were hurting at the beginning and throughout the race, I was getting what I think was plantar fasciitis. It was a struggle, but I just kept breathing and pumping my arms on those uphill climbs. I also walked when I needed. It also helped to see friendly faces along the route. I saw the Movin’ Shoes running coach around mile 7 and he just gave me an extra boost of energy to finish the last 2 miles.

Despite all the leg issues, I did manage to squeeze out a PR. When I crossed the finish line, I looked my time and thought 1:20:41 was an okay time. I hadn’t run a 15k in over a year and I couldn’t remember what my last 15k time was and based on how I felt crossing the finish line, I didn’t think I did well. But LO AND BEHOLD, I was wrong! I had actually beaten my time by over 5 minutes! 🙂 Thank goodness for Athlinks keeping a record of how I did previously. I was able to find my result from 2 years ago super quickly. 🙂 Hooray! So maybe I am getting faster after all. Yay!

HotChocolate Athlinks Results
Boom! Athlinks results claimed! Wheee! I did well!
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My new shiny medal and pretty jacket from the Hot Chocolate race! 🙂

Question for you: Have you ever finished a race thinking you did so poorly, but in reality, you did better than expected? Or have you gone into a race thinking you’d do poorly and then you blew your expectations out of the water? 

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? 

Posted in Running

#SKINSorNothing – Compression tights Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of SKINS DNAmic Compression 3/4 Tights 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!

I do apologize I haven’t been posting as regularly. Work has been keeping me extremely busy and with all the running I’ve been doing after work, I’m sometimes too pooped to blog. Ahhh. Sorry! 😦 I’ll try and be better about it.

Anyway, I’m writing to tell you about the new Skins DNAmic Compression tights I got to try out for the past month. I tried out their A400 shorts a few months back and really liked how form fitting they were and how easy they were to run in. This time around, I wanted to try out their 3/4 tights. I mentioned previously that I don’t normally wear compression clothes. I’ve tried long compression socks in the past, but because of my ginormous calves and how they swell during my runs, I simply can’t wear them on my runs. But I thought that the 3/4 tights might work out since they don’t cover my calves. Hooray! Here are my first impressions below:

First glance – I ordered an XS. Based on my height and weight, it said to order XS. When I got them, I thought HOLY CRAP, I’M NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO TEST THESE OUT. IT’S WAY TOO SMALL. Seriously. Those were my exact thoughts. Other thoughts included, “Dang’t. They’re really cute too.” and “Why did I think I could fit into an XS?”

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First fitting – Despite looking really small, I actually was able to fit into them just fine. It took a little bit of effort to move the fabric up my thighs, but since I’ve done the same thing with pantyhose, it wasn’t a huge problem for me. Once I got them on, I still worried that they would rip on a run. Wouldn’t that be super embarrassing on a run? AWKWARD. They felt really tight, but then again, these are compression tights. They should be tight, right? Can you tell I was over thinking everything? LOL

First run – For someone who was worried about ripping their tights on their run, I wasn’t the smartest in choosing what my first run in them was going to be. I ran in them for the first time during INTERVAL training. Yup. That’s right. I ran in them when I knew I needed to be moving really quickly and wanted to know if they could withstand really quick movements. VERDICT? THEY CAN. 🙂 I was pretty thrilled by how well they withstood my running. And this could totally be a placebo effect, but I really thought I did super well with intervals that day. Maybe it was the increased blood flow due to the compression wear. 🙂

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Yes, they are form fitting, but they actually don’t constrict your movements at all. I feel completely fine running in them and I’ve run in them at least 6 times in the past few weeks for short runs, long runs, trail runs, etc, and they’ve held up fine. There hasn’t been any fraying or deterioration in the fabric. I’ve also washed them and they didn’t shrink. Woohoo!

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They also have sports bras to match and they’re super comfy!

Other Info about SKINS compression wear:

Gradient Compression – Compression is applied across all the major muscle groups, with the highest pressure exerted at the lower calf or forearm, gradually decreasing towards the heart. This drives the blood towards your heart making you more efficient at running.

Warp Knit Technology – SKINS develops their own fabrics that are meant for durability, stability, and stretch recovery. Their fabrics are really soft and are designed to manage moisture for optimal temperature control.

There you have it. My review of the SKINS DNAmic 3/4 tights. If you have questions about the product, please post below and I’d be happy to answer. Also, you can read other BibRave Pros reviews of the line below. I’ll update with more reviews as soon as they post. 🙂

Amy W  – Amy P – Brenda – Lindsay – Stephanie – Kim

 Questions for you: Do you wear compression clothes? Do you believe that compression wear works? 

Posted in Running, Thoughts, Training

Races for 2018 Coming Right Up – Big Sur 21 miler

My oh my where has the time gone…It’s already February and 5 races have already been run. 🙂 Today, I’m continuing on with my discussion of my 2018 races, the Big Sur 21 miler in particular.

“Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Big Sur 21 miler as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

I signed up for this race back in November and a few weeks ago, I booked my flights and my AirBnB for Big Sur. 🙂 If you are unaware of this race and are a runner, you are really missing out. When I first started searching for bucket list marathons, the Big Sur Marathon was there near the top of my list. Many running lists have listed this as one of the most beautiful and from the pictures, I really do believe that’s true.

I wasn’t lucky enough to get into the marathon distance this year (it’s a lottery), but I was fortunate enough to snag a spot in the 21 miler distance. This course is extremely scenic. It’s a point to point with rolling hills. Big Sur is the largest rural marathon in the world and is considered to be a moderately difficult one. The course winds through redwoods (although I believe only the marathon goes through this part), alongside ranches, and offers amazing views of the Pacific Ocean. You will even cross the beautiful Bixby Bridge. If you don’t live near the beach and want to experience running by it, this is definitely the race for you. I mean, come on. Their tag line for their race is “Running on the ragged edge of the western world.” If that doesn’t entice you, I don’t know what will. 🙂

Bixby Bridge
Bixby bridge – PC: Uniqueway.com

I think this is particular race is a great one for the family. They have all sorts of race distances if the longer ones aren’t you cup of tea. In addition to the marathon and the 21 miler, there’s also a marathon relay, an 11 miler, a 12k, a 5k, and an even a 3k for those little ones just starting out.

The Big Sur Marathon race series has also partnered up with Motigo to provide a little more emotional support during that intense racing experience. Before you embark on your race, your friends and family can pre-record messages and select which mile markers the runner will hear them at! So if your friends can’t wake up at the crack of dawn to cheer you on, they can at least pre-record a message of their cheer for you to hear at mile 20 when you’re in need of that extra boost. LOL.

I’ve already started mentally preparing myself for this race. Since it’s a moderately difficult course, I will not be aiming for a personal record. However, on a technicality, because I’ve never run a 21 mile race before, this will actually be a personal record. LOL. Because the race is so scenic, you can bet that I’ll just be focusing on enjoying the course and taking lots and lots of photos.

I’m not exactly physically prepared, but starting this week, I hope to increase my mileage. 🙂 Maybe even run 10+ miles on Saturday. 😛 Wish me luck!

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Question for you: Have you ever run the Big Sur marathon? Or had a super scenic race? Which one was it?