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!

 

 

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Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Viva Las Vegas – Race Report

And just like that, my last scheduled race for the year is done. Rock N Roll Vegas was my 19th half marathon and it was a fun one. I met up with a few BibRave Pros and some of the #WeRunSocial crew and even bought myself a set of heels on a whim. Without further ado, my Rock N Roll Vegas Half Marathon race report.

I left for Vegas with a few friends on Saturday morning and drove 4 and a half hours to Sin City.  We easily picked up our bibs at the Health and Fitness Expo and bonus – we didn’t even have to pay for parking! That’s always a win in my book. There were again a lot of things to see and a lot of photo opportunities. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you probably saw some of them. One of the noteworthy things I saw and forgot to take a picture of was a wall where everyone could sign in neon sharpies. They later moved that wall to the course and so we ran by it and it lit up with everyone’s messages.  Anyway, my friends dropped me off at my hotel after the expo and I met up with fellow BibRave Pro Fallon, who graciously agreed to let me crash with her for the weekend. I want to tell you that we painted the town red, but we didn’t. Fallon was running the 5k that night and all I wanted to do was just stay in my hotel room and not be saddened by all people outside gambling and going clubbing.

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View of New York New York from the hotel

Sunday was better. It was the day of the race and I had scheduled to meet up with several other BibRave Pros (Christine, Fallon, Jeannine, Allison, and Justin) for brunch at the Planet Hollywood buffet.

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Fellow BibRave Pros

That’s a smart choice, right? To eat at a buffet the morning of a race? LOL It was tough, but I controlled myself. I only limited myself to one sausage, 4-5 slices of bacon, an omelet with all the fixings, some smoked salmon, grits, hash browns, and orange juice. Nothing too heavy. LOL. Don’t worry. I made sure not to eat anything the rest of the day so I was done digesting by the time race time came.

I met up with some other social media fiends at the #WeRunSocial meetup.

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The WeRunSocial crew

We chatted, got a #werunsocial multi-use headwear thing  (the gray thing I’m wearing), took a ton of photos, and went on our merry way to our corrals when they opened. We were squished during the corrals. There was no doubt about it. A lot of us, me included, had to wait on the sides until they released the corrals to be able to get into our corral. Every wave release had a nice mini fire show at the start line, which pumped up the crowds.

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Start line

Race: This race has always been on my bucket list. Racing through the Las Vegas strip at night always seemed like an interesting concept and it was. We started off by the T-mobile arena and headed 2 miles south towards the airport before making a u-turn back towards the heart of Las Vegas. We passed by the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, which tons of people took selfies in front of, and they had lined parts of the race with the wall we had signed at the expo.

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Famous Las Vegas sign

Since the messages were in neon, they lit up the course with our messages. That was very cool. Once we returned to the starting area, we ran an additional 5 miles north of the strip.We passed by all the big casinos and I was pretty much blinded by lights when I looked up. Towards the north end of the strip, we passed by the older casinos and even passed by the famous Pawn Shop seen on Pawn Stars. At mile 9, we made a u turn back towards the finish line and passed by Downtown Las Vegas, which from the outside looks like a huge carnival with a ton of lights. There were a good amount of fans cheering us along the route, but because Vegas is so busy, I barely noticed the people. Because I hadn’t been running regularly, my legs suffered. My feet started hurting at mile 3, but because I wanted to finish so badly, I didn’t care. I pushed on and after that second u-turn, I tried my best to not burn out.

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My unofficial finish time was 2:00:18. I knew I was close to 2 hours and I desperately tried to sprint at the end, but because it was a night race and it just got colder later in the race, my body wasn’t adjusting well to the temperature difference and I just missed the 2 hour mark.

All in all, it was a great experience and a unique one at that. I’m glad that my friends as well as you all pushed me to run the race. It had been on my bucket list for a few years and now I can finally cross it off my list.

It feels bittersweet knowing this was my last race of the year. Maybe I’ll sign up for a last minute holiday race to beat the holiday blues. Who knows?

So how about you? Any more races for the year or are you done until 2018? 

Posted in Running, Thoughts

To Run or Not to Run…

If you follow me on social media, you’ll notice that my training posts have scaled down dramatically. A part of the decrease in mileage is due to the post-marathon blues and yes, a huge chunk of it is due to my recent break up. Bleh.

I originally took up running almost 4 years ago as a way to cope with a break up. I was diagnosed with depression and it took me months to get the control I needed in my life. What started off as a horrible 3 miler led to what I’ve accomplished today – 2 full marathons and 18 half marathons. That being said, I find it incredibly stupid that I can’t bring myself to run and regain that control. I think I’ve only run 5 miles this entire week.

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Taking one step at a time
I have one more scheduled race for 2017 and it’s this upcoming Sunday for the Rock N’ Roll Las Vegas half marathon. I’ve been debating all week long about whether I should run it or not. My flight’s already been booked and my accommodations have already been set, but the motivation isn’t there. This race has been on my bucket list for a few years and I was looking forward to running the strip at night. However, it’s difficult to be surrounded by happy and energetic people when you’re struggling with your own self worth.

As I’m writing this, I am still scheduled to run the race, but I’ve modified my travel plans a bit so I’m not out of my comfort zone (i.e. my room) for too long. My goal for this race? Just to make it through.

I do apologize that the past few posts have not been very upbeat. If you’ve ever met me, you’ll know that I am very open about my feelings, both happy and sad. So much so that I’ve lost friends in the past over it. I will try to keep these kinds of posts to a minimum, but for now, I just needed to let it out.

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running, Thoughts, Training

Half #18 coming right up

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Los Angeles 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. 

There are only 4 more days to go until I run my 7th half marathon of the year and my 18th half overall. Yay! I have been extremely fortunate to have such a great racing year with little to no injuries. *Knocks on wood*. I’ve run races in San Diego, Long Beach, Vancouver, Chicago, and in a couple more days, I can finally say Los Angeles. Woohoo.

I’m no stranger to LA having been in a relationship with someone who lived there for years. I’ve enjoyed delicious food in LA – tacos at El Chato’s Taco Truck, ramen at Shinsengumi (YUM), and pizza at the Luggage Room just to name a few. I’ve visited the Hollywood walk of fame and been to Univeral Studios where I geeked out on Harry Potter paraphernalia. I’ve run up and down most of LA’s beaches using the Strand and caught a lot of pokemon at the Santa Monica pier. LOL

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Tonkotsu ramen at Shinsengumi
But with the awesomeness that is LA, there is also the bleh part of it. Parking is a HUGE pain not to mention the traffic. I’ve been stuck in traffic for hours trying to drive just 25 miles and trust me, it’s no fun. With that being said, I will have the pleasure of causing more traffic by running the Rock N Roll LA half marathon this Sunday morning. LOL. Sorry LA! It’s going to be extremely satisfying running around the usually busy streets of LA without any traffic. Hooray!

So what is the plan for RnR LA? Hmm, well that’s a great question. It’s only been 2.5 weeks since the Chicago marathon and I don’t think I’m in any shape to try and PR again in the half distance. I know I can run the distance, but at what pace is questionable. My past few runs have been just okay and I found myself having to stop every so often so my legs could recuperate. I will try and hover around a 2:05 and if I feel strong enough to shoot for a sub 2, I will. I probably won’t though. Southern California is experiencing an odd heat wave and with temperatures expected to reach 82F this Sunday, I will probably be taking it easy.

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Training during sunset after the heat had subsided
This race is Halloween themed and unfortunately, I just wasn’t inspired by any costumes and decided to not dress up for the race, but don’t you fret, I will be dressing up for my Disney races in January and you can bet I’ll look adorable in Disney related attire. HAH! I kid, but really, I’m super excited to dress up.

On another note, my friends will be running RnR LA with me and it’ll be awesome because I ran my first half marathon with these guys. I always try and get these guys to come out with me to race and every so often, they cave and sign on. This is one of those rare times. Woohoo! I can’t wait to run another half with them again.

Those are my pre-half marathon thoughts for the week. So tell me, do you have friends that you always run races with or are you like me who tends to race solo? 

 

 

Posted in Running, Thoughts

I love Rock n’ Roll…races

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Los Angeles 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 started this post over a month ago and kept forgetting to finish it. LOL. Oops. But now that I’ve graduated (Hooray!), I will have a little more time to talk to you about some of my upcoming races. I only have a few left for the year with the big one being the Chicago marathon, of course. After Chicago, I will have two Rock N’ Roll races, both of which I’ve never run before so it’ll be pretty exciting.

The first Rock ‘N’ Roll (RnR) race will be RnR Los Angeles, which this post will focus on. (The other race will be RnR Vegas and I’ll post about that later). I’ve been to LA more times than I can count, but I’ve never really explored the city by foot so this will be a fun one to run. It’ll be nice to actually NOT be stuck in traffic for hours. LOL. The Rock ‘N’ Roll race series know how to organize a great race. My first half marathon was one of theirs in San Diego. It was so much fun that I have gone on to run 16 more half marathons since then.

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Isn’t the medal pretty???
In addition to looking forward to running by all the sights, I’m looking forward to exploring their Health and Fitness expos. I know it sounds weird, but I just LOVE meandering through aisles and looking at things. I don’t necessarily buy any of it, but it’s just so interesting to see what different products there are out there. Also, the energy is contagious. There are a lot of first time half marathoners and you can just tell how excited they are when they hold up their bib for their photo opp. RnR Health and Fitness Expos are probably one of the largest out there and I could probably spend a few hours there.

This particular race is Halloween themed so there are a lot of people who dress up for this race. The Cosplayer in me in still figuring out what to wear for the race. I’ve never dressed up for a race before so I have to figure out what I’m comfortable running in. I do not want to be chafing all 13.1 miles. That would just be brutal. I’m thinking Velma from Scooby Doo or maybe even Tigger.

Discount: If you want to run Rock N Roll LA, you can use the code “BIBRAVE15” to save $15 off the half marathon registration. This code is valid until 10/22/17 when online registration closes.

Question for you: Have you ever dressed up for a race? Is there any advice you could give me on picking a costume that will NOT chafe? I’ve seen a bunch of people wear tutus, but someone mentioned that it’s not very comfortable. Any advice is highly appreciated!

 

Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

America’s Finest City Half – Race Report

Disclaimer: I received an entry into America’s Finest City half 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. 

Happy Friday everyone! The America’s Finest City half was my 6th and 17th half marathon and I can confidently say that I’ve improved – by 18 minutes. 🙂 Yay! Now, let’s get down to how everything went down the weekend of the half. 🙂

Packet Pick-up

Went on a Saturday to the hotel where packet pick-up was being held. There were no hiccups along the way and I got my race bib and technical tee and was in and out of there pretty quickly. The expo was medium sized and would have been a great place to pick up any last minute fuel items for the race. I even bought a 26.2 sticker for my car. 🙂

Race Day

Pre-race

I had been feeling ill the past week and had been waking up really congested so I made sure to sleep as much as possible the night before the race. I ended up with 7.5 hours. Hooray! Woke up at 4 am still pretty congested and got to Balboa Park by 4:30 am and shuttled over to Cabrillo National Monument where the start line was. This race only allows you to park at the finish line because it’s a point to point race and for safety and security reasons, no one is allowed to park at the start. I then waited for about an hour and a half for the race to start. LOL. Luckily, I met up and chatted with several of my running friends to pass the time. 🙂 It was also COMPLETE OVERCAST and was perfect running weather. Hooray!

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My friends! 

Race

I was still sick and didn’t want to stress out my body even more so I stayed true to my promise to take it easy. After crossing the start line, you immediate run down a hill and run past the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, a cemetery that is dedicated to veterans. The first 2.5 miles had rolling hills, which weren’t that great for my not warmed up legs, but I managed. We headed into neighborhoods and were greeted with people cheering and shots of whiskey. LOL. We then headed towards the bay and ran along the bay from mile 4 to 10. This was really a scenic route – one that is much more different than the San Diego Rock N’ Roll half that I ran earlier this year. At mile 8, my lower back started hurting and I had to slow down my pace by quite a bit. By mile 9, I was mentally drained. I didn’t want to start walking because I knew once I started, I’d be more likely to walk again later on so I just pushed on. At mile 10, we started entering downtown and at mile 11, something amazing happened. People were handing out mini sliders! I took one and munched on it as I made my way towards the 6th avenue hill, which everyone pretty much hates. LOL. It’s probably a 150 ft increase in elevation and just destroys runners because it’s so late in the half. The mini sliders must have given me magical powers or something because I powered through that hill. I also grabbed half an otter pop that someone was handing out and munched on it. It was great. I normally don’t eat during halfs, but these were what I needed to get my head back in the game. At mile 12.5, we entered Balboa Park, which is this beautiful HUGE park that has museums, a botanical garden, and even street performers on the weekends. With about a half mile to go, I sprinted again. LOL. I don’t know what it is, but something about finishing strong is really invigorating.

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View of the bay and downtown

Post-Race

They funneled the runners and gave everyone a paper bag with SO MANY GOODIES inside.

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Nom nom nom
I was definitely a happy camper. I grabbed my medal and headed over to the finish line festival. There were huge lines to take the infamous Triple Crown photo. The organizers had even brought in single sofa chairs and royalty paraphernalia for Triple Crown finishers to take pictures with. I didn’t even do the challenge and I wanted to take a photo with the props. LOL. They also had a live band with a lot of 80s themed music since that was the theme. Heading out of the parking lot was probably the only thing I didn’t really like about the race. Since so many people were leaving and finishers were crossing the streets, it took a solid 15 minutes to get out of the parking lot.

Final Thoughts

This race was a lot more scenic than I remember it being. Two years ago, it was hot and humid and that’s all I could remember. This year, running by the bay was breathtaking and I thoroughly enjoyed all the yummy goodies they passed out along the route (sans the alcohol; I’m not crazy LOL). I took it easy and don’t regret it. I’ll try and do the Triple Crown challenge again next year. I really want that photo opp.

Official time: 2:05:58

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17th half in the books!
Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

SeaWheeze Race Report

I should be focusing on preparing for my defense, but I just couldn’t wait to tell you all about my race experience at SeaWheeze in Vancouver. It could be all the endorphins running through me, but I have to say this was one of the best half marathons I’ve ever run and I’ve run quite a few in the past three years. Apologies in advance for the length of this post and all the LOLs in it. I had a fantastic time and I can’t contain my love for this race.

First off – Package Pick up at the Expo

SeaWheeze is a little different from most races in that you don’t actually wear a bib when you race. So what exactly did I pick up? Well, I picked up a Lululemon cinch bag (which had a water bottle and Nuun tablets in it), my D-tag, and my Sunset Festival bracelet. I also got to exchange my Lululemon shorts at pick up. Hooray! At package pick up, you get to walk around their Runners Shop and of course, buy their merchandise. I am proud to say that I didn’t buy anything. Don’t get me wrong. I do like their clothes, but since I’m graduating soon with no current employment plans, I decided against splurging for a pair of $58 shorts. The urge to spend was great though and Lululemon knows how to market themselves for sure.

The expo had a lot going on. There were a lot of great photo opportunities (I took advantage of all of them LOL), 15 minute yoga classes and a few vendors (Flow, Vega, Clearly, Saje) to check out. I stopped by most of them, found out my stomach didn’t agree with the Flow water, and then headed out.

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Hello photo opps!

Pre-race

I easily took the bus from my Air BnB to Canada place, which by the way is home to the Olympic Cauldron from the 2010 Winter Games. It’s a really cool piece of artwork and I wish they had lit it while we were there. Anyway, I met up with fellow BibRave Pros (Jeannine, Amanda, and Bradley) and then headed to the start.

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Left to right: Jeannine, Amanda, me, and Bradley behind the Olympic Cauldron

At this race, you self seed based on your expected finish time. Pacers, which they call Pace Beavers, were holding up their finish time so I made my way over to the 1:55 pacer and tried to stick with them as long as possible. I had never seen so many people in Lululemon wear in my life. LOL. As I waited to start, I saw this guy with two basketballs in his hands and a temporary “Doctor Dribble” tattoo on his back. Veterans of the race told me that he actually dribbles the entire course. I was impressed. At 7:05 am, the race started and I was on my way.

Race

I, without a doubt, started out WAY TOO FAST. I had a really rough start. I was debating about whether to keep with the 1:55 pacer or just run my own race and ended up with the pacer. That was mistake #1. The pacers were consistently a minute faster than where I needed to be and I struggled to keep up with them. Also, there are A LOT of things going on during this race. Around mile 3, we were on a bridge and there were people on stationary bikes cycling. I believe they were from a spin studio and it was really motivating to see them cheering us on. I tried my best to take pictures, but I also didn’t want to get in anyone’s way when I slowed down to take those pictures. The first time I took out my camera, I dropped my bus pass and a runner almost collided into me. That was mistake #2. I ended up taking a quick pic and was on my way.

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Things I saw along the route

Then my shoelaces got untied and I had to step to the side to tie them – mistake #3. THEN, I found out that the water they were giving out at the aid stations, was the Flow water they served at the expo. I took water from one station and within minutes of drinking it, I felt ill – mistake #4. Like I said, I had a rough start to the race. To make sure I didn’t have to stop by a porta-potty, I ended up bypassing all the water stations and holy moly, I was super thirsty by the end of the race. I was so thirsty at the end of the race that I ended up paying $3 CAD for water at the convention center. Who does that??? LOL. I ended up losing the pacer around mile 6 and at mile 8, “Doctor Dribble” passes me by with his two basketballs and I’m just in shock. What a talented man. LOL.

Despite all the mishaps, I had a fantastic time along the route. There were so many things to see. The things I saw?

  • Drag queens with pom poms
  • People on stilts in animal costumes
  • People dressed in mermaid costumes sitting on the rocks waving at us
  • Rows of people spinning on their stationary bikes
  • People on row machines
  • People on paddle boards ringing their cowbells on the bay
  • Hippies giving out high fives
  • Firefighters and policemen/women sprinkling people with water
  • “Yoga. Run. Party” shrubbery

Just to name a few. 🙂 The neighborhood support was awesome. Also, a huge part of the route is along the seawall and honestly, running along that route made me want to be a Canadian. LOL. The city is just so beautiful and I was so happy I got to explore this city by running through it. I even stopped off to the side to take a picture of the Lion’s Gate bridge. (I have NEVER stopped running during a race to take a photo. It was that picturesque). Honestly, pictures do not do this race justice. With about a mile to go, I ended up pushing myself to sprint. Normally, I can’t sprint for very long, but this time around, I felt strong enough to put everything I had into that last mile. Hooray! Marathon training is paying off. 🙂

Post-race

After crossing the finish line, I grabbed my shiny medal, a pair of Clearly sunglasses, my complimentary brunch, my Runner’s Reward from Saje (it contained a “Muscle Melt” lotion, a 6ml headache remedy, and 6ml analgesic remedy), found water, and waited for my friend to finish.

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Yay pretty medal!

As part of SeaWheeze, all runners also get to attend their Sunset Festival, which in short, is a huge yoga party with musical headliners. It didn’t start until 4:30 pm so my friend and I got lunch and went back to our place to nap before heading back out. I’m not really into yoga, but I thought I’d attend anyway to see what it was about. At the festival, there were more shops for people to buy Lululemon gear. They make SOOOOO much money out of this race. I ran into a woman that said she had used up her mother’s day present, birthday present, and Christmas present for that year. LOL. Wow. There was an hour long yoga class followed by Young the Giant and Cold War Kids. I ended up leaving mid yoga class so I can’t really comment on the rest of the night, but it was a nice event to unwind at.

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Honestly, the best part (for me) about the sunset festival was the fact that there were three people in t-rex costumes, two of which participated in yoga. LOL. Can you spot them in my pictures?

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Do you see what I see? LOL. 

If this was too long to read, here’s the short version. I had a blast at SeaWheeze and I already want to try and run it again next year. I recommend EVERYONE to run this race. They’ve already set the date too! It’ll be September 22, 2018. 🙂 The registration date hasn’t been released yet, but if I hear about it, I’ll let you know too.

So have you run SeaWheeze before? Or are there any amazing races I should know about? I already want to do another racecation. LOL.