Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running

Lucky Half Marathon #13 – The La Jolla Half Race Report

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the La Jolla 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. 

That’s right. You read correctly. I just ran my 13th half marathon and it just happened to be on one of the most challenging courses I’ve ever run – oh lucky number 13. If you didn’t know, I was pretty nervous heading into the half. I pushed myself into not running too much during taper week, which I think I succeeded more or less. I logged 8.6 miles going into the race and with the race, I totaled 21.7 miles this week. Not bad at all. I will definitely have to increase my mileage starting in June when I start training for Chicago though. Ack!

Anyway, here’s my race report on the La Jolla Half marathon. *Spoiler alert* I am actually considering running this one again next year. 🙂

Expo – The Expo was held in Del Mar at the Hilton hotel right next to the start line. It was nice that it gave people from out of town an idea of where to go for the start. I dropped by Saturday afternoon and the expo was packed. I picked up my bib, my shirt, and browsed the vendors. The San Diego Craft Classic was there promoting their July race. Run for beer anyone? They even had free beer at their table. LOL. Also, got to try a phenomenal acai bowl from Sambazon. That was probably my favorite vendor of the day. Saw vendors from Nuun, CycleBar (a new cycling gym opening up in Hillcrest), KT tape, and a few other companies. I left after 20 minutes or so of browsing and decided to head back and rest up for the night.

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I don’t really eat hills for breakfast, but you know what I mean.
Night before race – You know how you tell yourself that you’re going to go to bed by a certain time and then it doesn’t happen? Yeah, that pretty much happened to me. I planned to head to bed at 9 pm so I could get 7 hours of sleep, but I actually went to bed closer to 11 pm, which meant that I only had 5 hours of sleep. Eek! Considering that I hadn’t been sleeping well that week, I was really nervous about how I’d do during the race. Sleep is so important the week of your race and I managed to scrape by with the bare minimum.

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Set up my flat runner for the night and passed out.
Morning of race – Woke up before my alarm hit 4 am. My body always seems to know when I need to wake up the morning of races. If only it did that for every other day. Grabbed all of my gear and headed out the door. Got to the finish line by 5 am and took the shuttle to the start line. (They sent out emails saying that we must be in line to board a shuttle by no later than 5:30 am so I panicked and got there early). It was about 5:30 am when we got to the start line. To anyone running this in the future, DO NOT GET TO THE FINISH LINE AS EARLY AS ME. I ended up on the first shuttle that actually left for the start line, which meant that I got up way too early for the race. I ended up waiting 2 hours for the actual start of the race. Sigh. Luckily, I met up with a lot of people during this time. Met some people from Twitter and had friends running it too!

Race time – I was in wave 4, which was the same wave I was in 2 years ago. When I signed up this year, I put a pretty conservative time down for myself: 2 hours and 10 minutes. I figured I’d be right around there. I know I’ve improved since then, but since this course is super hilly, I didn’t want to chance it. Only when I got to wave 4 did I realize my mistake. I had planned on following the 2:00 pacer this race so to conserve energy when needed only there was no 2:00 pacer in sight. The 2:10 pacer was in wave 4 meaning that the 2:00 pacer was probably in wave 3. Shit. At that point, I figured I’d just go out and try my best. If I could at least keep ahead of the 2:10 pacer, I’d be happy.

Mile 1 to 4: And off we went…just in time for the sun to start coming out. LOL. I clocked my first mile in at 7:40. Oops. The adrenaline of the race definitely got to me. Pacing is something I will need to work on later. At mile 2, we headed up our first hill with an increase of 75 ft for maybe a 1/3rd of a mile. Then, we headed back down and a little before mile 4, we ran on flat pavement for a mile or so before heading up our second hill. This hill lasted a little more than a mile and was more of a pain because we were turning a lot and we couldn’t see the end of the hill. With most turns, we’d just see another hill. Looking back on it now, it definitely foreshadowed our trek up Torrey Pines hill, which has a similar path.

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The elevation map for the course.
Mile 5 to 8: Mile 5 is where the pep talk started for me. I started taking a lot more deep breaths and tried to conserve my energy as much as possible. At mile 5, we got our glimpse of the massive Torrey Pines hill. At mile 5, we ran downhill and ran by the beach and at mile 5.5, we started our trek up the hill. The highest point of the hill measures in at 445 feet. It does have dips in elevation before it gets to that point, but there are only a few. The first dip we hit was at 318 feet. Although, I didn’t run up the hill in it’s entirety, I am proud to say that I ran up 302 feet of that hill before I had to take a 10 second walking break. This is HUGE because two years ago, I struggled HARD on that hill. The balls of my feet went numb and I had to walk up a lot of that hill. This year, there was none of that and I made it out of that hill feeling like a champ. 🙂 It also helped A LOT that I actually saw the 2:00 pacer a few hundred feet away during this trek. Since the pacer started in the wave ahead of me, that meant that I was on pace to finish within the 2 hours I wanted. That kept me going.

Mile 9 to 11: Having lived in La Jolla for a good chunk of my graduate school career, this stretch felt at home to me. I’ve run around the area for years and I just imagined myself running it like it was any other day.

Mile 12: Flat. Suspiciously flat.

Mile 13: This mile contains what I heard someone describe as the “F*** you” hill. I think that’s it’s a very accurate description of that hill. The hill increases in elevation by about 150 feet and takes almost everyone by surprise because honestly, who designs a course that has a hill at the very end? LOL. The organizers of the La Jolla Half do. That’s who. Even though it was my second time running it and I knew about it, I still wasn’t well prepared for it. I took one more walking break here and once I hit the peak of that hill, I made a break for the finish line.

Finish line – As soon as I crossed that finish line, I immediately took out my phone and stopped my Strava app. And wouldn’t you know it, I finished it under 2 HOURS! Hooray! I knew I wasn’t going to PR this race, but I wanted to at least redeem myself and redeem myself, I did! 🙂 My official time was 1:59:10 meaning that I beat my course PR by 17 minutes. Holy moly, does that feel good! 😀

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I definitely do run for bling.

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Those acai bowls were really good.
I grabbed my medals, all the my goodies (banana, Tru Moo chocolate milk, coconut milk, boxed water, another acai bowl from Sambazon), picked up my gear bag to put all my stuff in, took a photo in front of the La Jolla half marathon sign, and met up with some BibRave Pros who also ran the race.

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Meet fellow Bib Rave Pros Jeremy (top) from Phoenix, AZ, and Amanda (below) from San Diego, CA.

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Also, ran into Ted from Twitter. He’s a speedy one finishing his half in a few minutes over 1:30. So fast.
The overall experience was fantastic. It was a challenging race, but it pushed me out of my comfort zone and I came out a stronger person for it. I wish it was a bit cooler and less humid during the race, but that’s weather for you. You can never depend on it when you need it most. LOL. Anyway, that wraps up my race report. Hope you enjoyed reading it!

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Yay! I did better than expected.
So about how you? Did you run this weekend? Race? How did you do? 

 

Posted in Running, Thoughts

Ahhhh! It’s Taper Time for the La Jolla Half.

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the La Jolla 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. 

Yes, that time has come again. Tapering. Some people love it. Some people hate it. I personally LOVE it. A week where you can decrease your mileage in preparation for a race. Woohoo! My tapering strategy has changed over the years and I just wanted to say that I am in no way telling anyone how to taper. I’m still figuring it out and it’s a lot of trial and error.

When I first started out, I was doing cardio kickboxing three to four times a week with short 3 mile runs in between. My kickboxing trainer told me to start resting on Wednesdays for a Sunday half. That sounded good to me. Less running? Hell yeah. LOL. Nowadays, my taper week goes a little something like this. I run the bulk of my miles on Monday and Tuesday. This usually ranges from three to six miles depending on how I feel. On Wednesday and Thursday, I try for shorter mile runs and on Friday, I rest. On Saturday, I do a three mile run to shake out my legs and on Sunday, I’m ready to go. I usually average 21 miles a week. The week leading up to a half, I average maybe 8 to 9 miles. *Edit* I know the total taper week plus the race equals 21 or 22 miles. LOL. Maybe it’s not a taper week at all? I’m still new at this! Only three years running. I’ll figure it out soon enough. 🙂 

Now my training for the La Jolla Half hasn’t been too bad. With all the races I’ve signed up for this year, I don’t really have a structured training plan for halfs. (The only structured training plans I’ll have for this year is for the Chicago marathon and for the Dopey Challenge too.) As mentioned earlier, I try to average 21 miles a week and some weeks, I go over and some weeks, I miss my target mileage by a lot. The last week of March and the first week of April wasn’t too kind to me mileage wise. I blame a lack of motivation, injury, and life. LOL.

All of that changed last week. Can you guess why?

A strava challenge started. Haha. I’m definitely the competitor type and the Runner’s World Boston Challenge was just what I needed to kick my butt back into gear. From April 8 to 17, I had to run 26.2 miles. Here was my initial thought process:

Run 26.2 miles in 9 days? Sure. Why not? Totally doable.

*2 days later*

Hmm. When did that challenge start again?

*Looks at challenge*

Oh crap. It started 4 days ago. I’ve skipped two days of running already. Hmm, should I still try for it? You at least ran 3.1 miles on Sunday. That’s still something. You got 23.1 miles to go and 6 days to do it. That’s 4 miles a day. That’s doable…I think. 

It is now April 18 and I’m proud to tell you that I finished that challenge two days ago! Woohoo! IMG_8848

Although I haven’t done any long runs in a month, I’m hopeful that my mileage the past few weeks will get me through the La Jolla Half Marathon this weekend. 🙂 Wish me luck!

If you still haven’t registered for the La Jolla Half marathon and would like to run it Sunday, April 23, use the code “BIBRAVE20” for $20 off their registration fee! 

Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

San Diego Half Marathon (Half #12) – Race Report

Welp. I’ve had 2 crappy recovery runs this week and despite my legs feeling like lead and my inability to breathe very well on those two runs, I will say that my half marathon over the weekend was still a success. If you didn’t see my social media posts, I beat my personal record! AGAIN! By 44 seconds. YAY!

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My splits and ranks
That may not seem like much to anyone, but I’m overjoyed by it, for a few reasons actually.

1. I PRed in December. That was only 3 months ago. I didn’t think I would PR so soon after.

2. My previous personal record was on a course that had a net drop of 714 ft from start to finish. I honestly thought that net drop was the only reason I PRed, not necessarily because I was actually fast.

3. I PRed while SICK! You might have remembered that last week, I got sick and was trying really hard to recover to 100%. Yeah, that didn’t happen. The morning of, I was still kind of phlegmy and decided to only eat a Honey Stinger organic salted caramel flavored waffle and hope that it’d be enough to sustain me for the half. I normally eat peanut butter with it as well, but since I was having a hard time breathing, I decided to not eat something that might clog my throat.

4. The San Diego Half Marathon has this notorious hill that increases in elevation to about 300 ft (starting from 3 ft). It’s nicely situated at mile 8 where all big hills should be. It also lasts for about 2 miles. Hooray?!?

Anyway, here’s my report of how it all went down from bib pick up to post finish line party.

Bib Pick Up: Friday evening, I drove to the Navy Pier and picked up my bib with no problem. The SD Half Marathon is always on the same day as Daylight Savings Time and so there were reminders in our bag to set our clocks an hour ahead.

Night before: I had pizza the night before my 10 mile race in January and since my stomach seemed to agree with it and since I had placed in my age group, I decided why not? Luckily, it sat well with me and I was able to use it as fuel for the next morning. Woohoo. I also laid out my ensemble and called it an early night. IMG_8221

Pre-Race: Morning of, I got my things and headed to a trolley station, where I would take the trolley down to the start line. I would suggest this for anyone running a race. Taking public transportation to the start line helps out so much with reducing stress level because you’re not dealing with traffic.

Anyway, I got there, dropped off my bag at gear check, and met up with someone from Twitter that I had chatted with before. It was my first time meeting up with a fellow runner from Twitter and I was super nervous about it. Turns out, she was really nice and we’re actually meeting up again next month for another half marathon. 🙂

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This is Andrea. This was her 49th half marathon. 🙂
After a bit of chit chat, I made over to corral 5 and waited for the release of each corral. It was such great race weather – foggy with no sun in sight. 🙂

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Wheee. Almost there!
Race: And then I was off! I typically try to start off slow, but that just wasn’t happening that day. I got really excited and started dodging people so that I could get a nice clear path. I do have to give the organizers credit for spacing all the corrals out. I was able to get a nice clear path only after a few dodges. The race was beautiful. The first five miles were on the water and so I saw a lot of boats on the marina. Once we turned inland, we started headiing through the different neighborhoods of San Diego (Liberty Station, Mission Hills, Hillcrest, the edge of Balboa Park, and back to Downtown).

From talking to friends, I knew there was a hill at mile 8. How big of a hill was it? Well, let’s just say I really regret not checking that elevation map. The hill looked massive, in part because there was a lot of fog rolling through the city. I couldn’t see the top of the hill and that made it all the more mentally challenging. I pumped my arms, exchanged glances with other runners struggling with the same challenge, and slowly made my way through. Once I made it over that hill and then some, I gunned for the finish line. I didn’t know my exact time, but I just knew I had to keep running or else regret missing a PR. Luckily, it’s mostly downhill from miles 11 – 13.1 and I just ran as fast as I could through the streets of downtown. It was very peaceful running by the giant buildings covered with fog. Funnily enough, the fog cleared up just as I crossed the finish line. It had to be a sign because I looked down to see my Strava give me another sub 2 hour half marathon. 🙂 I was so happy, I cried a little.

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At the finish line with my newest medal. 
Post-race: The announcers were really upbeat and with the sun just coming out, I relished in the moment of finishing. The volunteers were very organized and after grabbing a tote with all the goodies already inside, I was on my way out.

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Yum. The Dole was my favorite. 
Since I typically run races alone, I don’t stay for the post-race festivities for too long. There’s something sad about eating a giant breakfast burrito alone. Instead, I caught the next trolley back and made it back to a nice comfy bed. IMG_8241

So there you have it – my race report of my 12th half marathon. Up next is the Rock N Roll Carlsbad5000, followed by a local 5k put on by my university, and the La Jolla Half marathon in April. How about you? Do you have any races coming up? Anything you’re looking forward to? 

 

 

Posted in Running, Thoughts, Training

Go away cold. I have a half marathon to run.

I have been super fortunate to not have gotten sick or injured during the past two race seasons. This year, I wasn’t so lucky. I was doing fine, kicking ass you might say, until this month. A lot went on in February and I will admit, my body could only endure so much.

Last Thursday, I woke up with a sore throat. There were no sniffles that came with it and so I shrugged it off and blamed it on the charred steak I ate the night before. The rest of the day, my skin began to feel clammy and I felt fatigued. Luckily, I made it to end of the work week and rested…sort of. Friday night, I may have driven to LA to attend a friend’s birthday party at GloZone LA and I may have lost the rest of my voice that night, but really, those are just small details. LOL.

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Playing mini golf in the dark

On Saturday and Sunday, I basically sounded like a man…or a very seductive raspy sounding woman. I’m not really sure. Anyway, I drank hot lemon water and tea with honey and echinacea all weekend long. Monday flies by and Tuesday morning, I wake up with a lot of phelgm build up. TMI, right? I’ll spare you the details. In short, I haven’t been feeling too well.

Despite being sick, I still have been able to do my daily maintenance runs (averaging 3 miles). Why on earth would I still run, you ask? Well, because I’m sort of a sadist. Kidding. I ran because I had to complete my 100 day run streak. Day 100 fell on Friday and so I ran Thursday and Friday while sick. In all honesty, it wasn’t too bad. And when day 101 came around, I just couldn’t bring myself to stop…damn. What have I gotten myself into? I guess we’ll just see when I finish my streak.

Also, the San Diego half marathon is this Sunday and I’m determined to run it ill or not. I prefer to not be ill, but it will be what it will be. The SD Half is in its 6th year running and I’m excited to run it because I’ve never run it before. If you run this race along with the Mammoth half marathon (in June), you get a special challenge medal too. They’re both very scenic races and unfortunately, I will only be running the SD half this year. There are too many races and not enough time and money. Hashtag runnerproblems, right? The SD half also happens to fall on the day where Daylight Savings Time occurs so it’ll be interesting how my body adjusts to the time change. I, for one, am grateful for the time change. I love being able to run in the evenings without it being super dark out. Woohoo.

So that’s the update with me. How are you doing? Do anything fun last weekend? Looking forward to anything this weekend? And last but not least, wish me a speedy recovery. 🙂

Posted in Running, Thoughts

Time Traveling to Me 10+ years ago

With it being Throwback Thursday, I thought it would be appropriate to post a picture or two from my first half marathon at the 2014 San Diego Rock N Roll Half Marathon.

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At my first Health and Fitness Expo
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And after finishing my first half

Now let’s go further back in time about 10+ years to when I was in high school.

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Wasn’t I just the cutest? Braces and all? 🙂

10+ years ago, I HATED running. Running sucked. My lungs always felt like they were on fire and it was JUST one mile. I will admit this was also probably due to my TERRIBLE eating habits. I mean, who knew eating a bag of flaming hot fritos a day would do terrible things to your body? They have really got to emphasize this in middle school. If you have kids, instill good eating habits in them. Do not have them repeat my mistakes. Eating a bag of chips a day will ruin you. 

Anyway, I digress. The point is I was not a fan of running back then. One year, my track and field coach had everyone run 400 meters. He wanted to see if we had potential. Yeah, I didn’t (at least not that I could see at the time). I was a long/triple jumper. I had big calves. And those calves were meant for jumping. Not for speed work. And not for 400 meters. But I ran it anyway. I ran for the 400 meters at full speed and ended up collapsing at the finish line. How embarassing. My pride was hurt and after that incident, I told myself that I was NEVER going to be a real runner.

Fast forward to the present

I’ve come along way since then. Something that I hated years and years ago, I now love. I’ve completed 11 half marathons, 1 full marathon, and am on my way to completing my 2nd full. I also have a plan for the future, which I’ll write about soon. 🙂 It’s a good one, I promise.

So what about you? Have you accomplished something that you originally didn’t think was possible? What crazy plans do you have for your future? #mindovermatter

 

Posted in Race Reports, Running

PR at the San Diego Holiday Half – Race Report

I ran the San Diego Holiday Half marathon this past weekend and guess what?

I BEAT MY PERSONAL RECORD (PR) with a time of 1:53:18!

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What??? Is this real life?

 

Holy crap! I still can’t believe it. It’s been 4 days already and I still think there was some kind of glitch that happened in the system to give me that time, but when I look over at my Strava data and the official results, there’s no denying it. I RAN A SUB TWO HOUR HALF MARATHON. 😀 Wheeeeeee. This is huge for me because

  1. I have NEVER run a sub 2 hour half marathon before.
  2. I hadn’t PRed in a half marathon in over a year and a half.

My last PR for this distance was a 2:01:41. That’s almost 8 and a half minutes slower than what I currently ran. This is kind of insane to me. This year, I’ve been hovering at around a 2:07:00 time and was really doubting that I was improving as a runner. Not PRing in over a year and a half despite pretty consistently running was a little disheartening. BUT, with this recent development, I think I’ll double my efforts next year and try and PR again! 🙂 WHEEEEEE!

Okay, onto the nitty gritty details.

Bib Pick Up – You pick up your bib at Road Runner Sports the day before the race. Bib pick up was a bit disorganized in the evening when I got my stuff, but it made up for it with the swag. Your registration comes with a long sleeved tech hoodie, a pair of gloves, and some coupons. Most registrations don’t come with a hoodie so I was pretty stoked about this. The gloves they provide are meant as throwaway gloves after you’re all warmed up on race day. I wore them race day and they helped A LOT. It was freezing the morning of.

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Must haves: Honey Stinger waffles, Flip Belt, earbuds, SparklySoul Headband, Hammer or Honey Stinger gels, and water. LOTS OF WATER.

Morning of – It was about high 30s/low 40s for most of the morning. We got to the area around 6:45 am (the race starts at 7:30 am) and found parking fairly easily after a little confusion. The designated parking area had a few smaller lots off to the side that had private parking signs and no one was sure if we were allowed to park there. We just went to the second designated lot and walked a few blocks to the start. Easy peasy. 🙂

The Race  The race itself has a 711 ft net elevation drop, which makes it a very PR-able course as proven by yours truly. I ran with a few others and we all PRed. A fellow runner even high fived me at the finish line and told me she PRed by 15 minutes! I could tell by her face that she couldn’t believe it. If you want to PR, this is definitely the course for you.

Although the race has an overall elevation drop, be prepared for hills. They’re not too bad, but the hills are spread throughout the race. There is also some bottlenecking, but it’s not too bad. You run along the 56 freeway (not on it, but through a bike path) and it’s pretty much a straightshot from start to finish.

Beast Pacing did the pacing for this race. It was also the first time I ran with a pace group. I stuck with the 1:55 pacer and made it all the way through to the end. Well, I sped up the last mile cause I got too excited, but that’s besides the point. The point is this group did a fantastic job of pacing. I was on schedule the entire time and the pacer was positive the whole way through. Now I’m thinking about being a pacer. Hah. I’m easily influenced.

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I waited for the 1:55 pacer Andrew to cross the finish line so I could get a pic with him. Hah. 

Anyway, the only thing I didn’t like about this race was the hill towards the end of the race. I like downhill finishes, but because I was on a mission to get my best time possible, I gunned it at the end. 🙂 Once you’ve crossed the finish line, you’ll feel like a million bucks (especially if you’ve PRed).

Post-race festivities – You get awarded a medal, collect your freebies (food!), and take a bunch of photos because hey, why not? If you completed the 15k South Bay Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving like I did, you get the Winter Exacta medal. (woohoo)

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My Winter Exacta medal/bottle opener (LOL) and my Holiday Half medal

There is also an extra medal (Route 56) if you completed the San Diego Craft Classic Half marathon in July. Since we parked at the start line, we got onto a shuttle and made our way back. The trip was extremely smooth and I’d totally run it again. 2017? Bring it on!

 

 

Posted in Running

Thankful Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought it’d be fitting to thank the people that have inspired me to go runner crazy. Whether intentionally or not, these people have made an impact on me for the better.

Ria, Melani, and Erin – You were the first few people I knew that ran half marathons. Even though we never discussed it, me secretly stalking your photos planted the seed in my brain. Haha! I am eternally thankful for you three sending me on the crazy half marathoner path. 🙂

Saif and Michael – My marathon buddies. Saif, thank you for your marathon wisdom. The tips you gave were awesome and really helpful. Michael, for being my actual marathon buddy. Even though, we are in different cities and ran different marathons, we helped keep each other accountable throughout the process and became marathoners the same day. Marathon twinsies? 🙂

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Two years ago at all of our first half marathons except for Michael (far right)

Boyfriend – I’ve said it a million times, but thank you for spending your Saturday mornings with me as I run for 3 – 4 hours at a time. Also, for letting me GO ON AND ON AND ON about running shoes, and other running related things without getting the least bit annoyed. I am definitely thankful for that.

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The boyfriend and I after the NYC marathon on our flight back home 

My family – Support from you means the world to me. Having you out on the sidelines cheering me on is just one of the best feelings a girl could have. Thanks a billion. 🙂

You – Yes, you. Friends and fellow bloggers. 🙂 You reading my posts, liking them, and/or commenting on them has meant so much to me. You guys unknowingly kept me going on days when all I wanted to do was lay in bed and bingewatch netflix. Thank you!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!