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. 🙂

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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? 

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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.

Spartan obstacle course
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

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 BibRave Reviews, Running, Training

Weav Wednesday – A mobile app review

Disclaimer: The Weav Run app is currently free but I will be receiving a lifetime subscription in January 2018 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!

If you are looking for another way to mix up your runs, you should take a look into the Weav Run app.

What is it? The Weav Run app is a mobile (currently only for iOS) app that adjusts the music you’re listening to in order to match your cadence/running speed. IMG_4173

What does that mean? Well, in short, when you run faster, the music will also get faster and when you slow down, the music also slows down.

How does that benefit me? If you’re looking to improve your mile time, beat a personal record, or just listen to more upbeat music when you run, this is probably the app for you. I don’t know about you, but when I run to music, I will dance along to it. If it’s a super motivating song, you will definitely see me run faster. Music is such a motivator for me so if the music is upbeat, you know I will be too.

I’ve been using this app since Thanksgiving and I really enjoy it. It’s super useful during my interval training runs. 🙂

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What if the music sounds weird at the pace I’m running at? The Weav Run founders have mixed the music so that even though the pace is a bit faster, the singers will not sound like chipmunks. Hooray! The transition is fairly smooth. If you are a bit concerned about the pacing, you can also set your cadence and have the music set at a specific beats per minute. That’s what I do. At each interval, I will increase the cadence a bit more and it’s really helped with my training.

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What type of music does the app have? That’s a great question. They currently have 25 songs including “Believer” by Imagine Dragons, “Basically Over You” by Alex Newell, “Ms Jackson” by OutKast, and “It’s Tricky” by Run DMC. They’re working on expanding their playlist so don’t worry about it being limited. 🙂 As a BibRave Pro, I was able to beta test some of their new features and even listen to their expanded playlist and trust me, they’re awesome.

If you questions regarding the app, please feel free to ask me or read any of the reviews written by other BibRave Pros.

MeridithLindseyBrenda – Chris – Vanessa – Fallon – Emily – Laura – Stephanie

Question for you: How do you mix your runs up? Do you run intervals? With music? 

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 BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts

Running out in the Sun – BOCO 360 visor edition

Disclaimer: I received a free BOCO 360° Visor® 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!

If you run during the day, you need three things – a hat/visor, sunglasses, and SUNSCREEN! When I first started out as a runner, I was terrible about those things. I would just go out sans sunscreen (I know I know I’m basically asking for skin cancer) and just run for an hour. Now, I know better. Also, I’m getting a little older and turning the big 3-O next year and have to actually start taking better care of my skin. Boo.

Prior to the BOCO visor, I had been wearing an old visor from my Triple Crown Challenge days (2015) and it had been kind of falling apart. It was fraying at the top and every wash to get rid of the sweat and smell would just make it more worn down. The visor was study, but maybe a bit too sturdy. It’d look deformed after some time. Maybe it wasn’t machine washable? Oops.

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Enter the BOCO 360° Visor. This visor is awesome. It’s super soft so it won’t rub against your forehead. It has a lightweight wicking material at the sweatband that prevents sweat from come pouring down my face. This is such a plus for me. Mid-race, my eyes usually burn from all the sweat. IT’S NOT PRETTY. And honestly, everything about this visor is really soft. I love the material and even though it’s soft, after several washes, it still retains it’s shape. Seriously. It’s amazing. I’ve worn it on a LOT of my outside day runs and it saves my eyes from squinting since it shades my face from the sun. It’s also made of really breathable material so it shouldn’t cause anyone to break out in the forehead region. 🙂 Unfortunately, there’s not much more that I can say about a visor except that it’s really useful and super soft. LOL. I know. I said that already, but it really is. 😛 They also make custom trucker hats and visors too! Ah, now I want another one -_-.

So I guess I’ll just leave you with photos of me wearing it. 🙂

 

If you have any questions about how awesome this visor is, let me know! 🙂 If you don’t trust me, trust the other BibRavePros. We all had 3 months to wear this visor and the reviews are positive.

Amy – Meridith – Jeannine – Lindsey – Angie – Vanessa – Jessica – Frank – Fallon – Gina – Dane – Shannon

So what do you wear to keep the sun out of your eyes? A hat? Visor? Sunglasses?