Posted in Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Third time’s the charm – SD RnR race report 

Hey everyone! It’s been over a week and a half since I last ran the San Diego Rock N Roll half marathon and I’m happy to report that the overall experience was a success! I ran this course in under 2 hours, which was a dream of mine ever since the first time I ran it 3 years ago. 🙂 Without further adieu, my race report and some lessons I learned throughout the trip.

Health and Fitness Expo

Lesson #1: Take the trolley from a transit center to get to expo. It’s $2.50 one day and $5 for an all day pass. If you’re planning on going by trolley to get to the race, buy a 2 day pass for $9 and save yourself the hassle of downtown parking and high parking rates.

I easily got to the expo in Saturday afternoon by trolley, picked up my bib, changed my corral, and spent a few hours volunteering at the HoneyStinger booth. I’m one of their ambassadors and when they asked for volunteers to help man their booth, I jumped at the opportunity. For two hours, I cut up waffles and filled up bowls with whatever they were running low on (while also tasting their newest products). It really was a fun gig and I walked away with some free product as a thank you for volunteering. Whoo. Thanks HoneyStinger! I definitely have enough HoneyStinger fuel for my summer marathon training. 🙂

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My HoneyStinger score 🙂

 

While I was at the booth, a few people who I’ve interacted with online came to see me. I had told them I’d be volunteering and they actually dropped by. I was estatic and extremely appreciative they took their time to see me. I met the talented Briana from @MatMilesMedals (IG),

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Briana

crazy ultra runner Chelsea from TheDancingRunner, and fellow BibRave Pro Fallon from SlackerRunner.

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Chelsea and Fallon

After working my shift, I checked out a few other booths. While at the ProCompression booth, I saw other runners I followed on Instagram (Brian from PavementRunner – the organizer of the #WeRunSocial ornament exchange I took part in last year and CarleeMcDot – an incredible runner who I won a giveaway from last December). I definitely had a fangirl kind of moment.

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The WeRunSocial crew and I

I also made a stop by the SportHooks booth for an add-on medal rack, but was sad to find out they had run out. 😦 I’ll be sure to stop by at the Los Angeles Rock N Roll expo in October to get one then. I also met up with BibRavePro Emily from @AZSunGoddess (IG) and Fallon again later that day. 🙂 I had a wonderful time circling the expo. They have a lot of variety and entertainment and is still to this day one of my favorites.

 

 

 

Pre-race

Lesson #2 – This ties back to lesson #1. If you’re local, drive to Qualcomm stadium or one of the other trolley transit centers and take the trolley to downtown. From the stop, you have to walk about 10 minutes to the start line. Consider the walk a warm up. Taking the trolley will save you LOTS of stress, time, and money. Even if you’re not a local and you’re not in central downtown, do this option. It is by far the best way to get to the race. 

This year, the race had different start times depending on which corral you were in. I was in the first 10 corrals and was amongst one of the first few corrals released. I got there around 5:45 am, dropped off my stuff at gear check, made it into the #WeRunSocial picture, met Maria from @Running_notybaby (IG), and was off to race.

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Maria, Briana, Fallon, and I

Race time – 

Plan A – Beat my PR of 1:52:34

Plan B – Run a sub 2 hour half marathon

Plan C – Beat my course PR of 2:07:31

My plan for this race was to try and PR. I had done so well in the past few races I figured why not shoot for it. Unfortunately, I had pulled a hamstring the week before and was just going “wing it” during the race. Mile 1 went off just fine. I wasn’t as fast starting out, but I was in under the pace time. I saw some drag queens in Hillcrest that boosted my morale, but mile 2 to 6 was a struggle. Even the mile 4.5 bar that some neighbors set up wasn’t enough to pump up my energy levels. The humidity was high and by mile 5, I was already wishing it was over. It also didn’t help that I had been having lower back problems a few days before. By mile 6, I knew I wasn’t going to PR. I was still on track for Plan B and I also planned on trying out my new StimGear compression arm sleeves around mile 7 so I tried to remain positive. At mile 6.5, I activated the cooling packets from StimGear and within seconds, a rush of cold hit my wrists and began cooling me down. The packets were actually so cold that I tried pumping my arms faster so I’d warm back up. LOL. The effects wore out after 15 minutes and the rest of the race was kind of a blur. I was so focused on finishing in under the 2 hours that I didn’t enjoy the rest of the race. I did finish the half in 1:54:11, but I regret not slowing down even a bit to make the event more enjoyable.

Lessson #3: If race conditions aren’t favorable to PR, slow down and enjoy the experience. There’s course entertainment and lots of things to see along the route. Not every race is meant to be a PR. 

Post-race – 

After crossing that finish line, I grabbed my medal and all the food in sight. LOL. Unfortunately, the race AGAIN forgot to provide bags for us to carry all the food given out at the finish line. Don’t get me wrong. I am super grateful for all the goodies they gave us at the end, but a bag would have been nice to carry all the stuff in. I instead was dropping things left and right and had to sit down on the side of the curb and eat some things so I could carry the rest of it with fewer problems. LOL.

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At the finish line

 

I made my way to the festival, grabbed my gear bag, and sat down to eat the rest of the food I received. After a few minutes, I quickly got cold to the point where I started shaking.

Lesson #4: Bring a change of clothes or a jacket and put it in your gear check. 

Luckily, I had stashed a jacket with me in my bag and put it on. Had I brought a change of clothes, I think I would have recovered a bit better. I was soaked in my sweat and was shaking for a bit even after I put my jacket on. I planned on meeting up with more friends after the race, but because I was so cold and by myself, I decided to just head home. I have never appreciated a shower more. LOL.

Overall – The expo was amazing. I had a great time interacting with other runners and wish I had more money to go to more races and meet other people I’ve interacted with online. The race was a little lackluster, but I think that could have been due to the humid weather. Ew. The race entertainment could have been a bit more interesting, but I will say that the neighborhood support was wonderful. It was amazing to see people come out and support us with alcohol, water bottles, and other things. 🙂

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The center spins too

Woohoo. My 14th half marathon is done. Now onto my 15th next month. 🙂 Have you run a Rock N Roll race? Which one? How was your experience? 

 

Posted in Running, Thoughts, Training

Half #14 here I come

Yes, it’s that time again: the week leading up to a half marathon, the San Diego Rock N Roll Half marathon to be exact. I’m not going to lie; I’m pretty excited about it. I didn’t race at all this month and I’ve been missing the racing atmosphere terribly. Maybe that’s why I’ve been doing more social runs lately; so that I can be around people when I run. LOL. I’ll also be meeting some online bloggers for the first time so I’m pretty stoked about that too.

Anyway, today’s post is a bit of a ramble. I’ve been feeling more confident with running as the months go by. I’ve managed to maintain my average of 21 miles a week and this past weekend, I logged almost 24 miles! I also ran every day this week, not because I was obligated to, but because I genuinely wanted to. Every day this past week, I woke up wanting to run. I didn’t necessarily run in the morning, but the feeling was there. At night before I fell asleep, I thought about how many miles I could feasibly run the next day. It’s kind of crazy. I might be enthusiastic to run because I’ve been so stressed out about my pre-thesis committee meeting that I’m using running to keep my stress level in check.

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Running around
Or maybe it’s because I’ve run for 3 years now and running has now become a part of me. And you know what? I love it. I love talking to people about running (probably a little too much) and I love encouraging others to run. 🙂

Speaking of which, if you are visiting the health and fitness expo on Saturday, let me know! I’ll be volunteering at the HoneyStinger booth from 1 – 3 pm and we’re giving out free samples. 🙂 Come say hi! 

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My personal HoneyStinger collection – can you tell I love them? 

 

Posted in Running, Thoughts

The Running Community

Apologies for such sporadic posts. I’m in the midst of writing my manuscript and preparing for my pre-thesis defense committee meeting and my blogging has dropped in priority.  I did set out a resolution to write at least one post a week so here’s my post for the week. 🙂

I wanted to write a little bit about the running community. During the past few months, I’ve met these fantastic runners and I just wanted to share three things I’ve learned about runners.

Runners are extremely supportive. I don’t think I’ve ever met a more supportive bunch of people. Every runner I’ve met online or in person has always encouraged me to pursue my run goals. They get excited hearing about them and push me to keep going even when I’m feeling discouraged after a bad run. Also, if you didn’t know, most runners will stop and help out a fellow runner in need (See examples A and B).

Runners are social creatures. Ever do 10+ miles alone? It’s not fun. Runners, for the most part, thrive when running with other runners. There’s some type of camaraderie that’s formed during a run. I’ve done a few social long runs and I can definitely say that there is a difference in the run. I go to these runs alone and always find it refreshing when other runners strike up a conversation with me during the run. Even if we’re not speaking, the fact that they’re there with me running the same course makes it better somehow. Speaking of which, if you are in San Diego and need a long run buddy, let me know! I have to start training for the Chicago marathon soon and running in the summer for 13+ miles is going to be brutal alone. 


Runners are just amazing people. Maybe I’m just meeting the right people, but every runner I’ve met has been awesome. Maybe it’s the endorphins? Last weekend, I met a runner who asked me if I took a minute out of each day to appreciate the fact that I was living in San Diego. He was just so grateful to be living here and it definitely made me take a step back and appreciate how lucky I was. 🙂 That same weekend, I met another runner who was completely supportive of my goal to run a sub 4 marathon. Yikes! Did I just write that – a sub 4 marathon? Ack. Anyway, she started giving me tips and was super excited about the goal. I told her I was concerned about running long runs alone this summer and she immediately asked her friend if he could tell me about social run groups in San Diego. Because of that connection, I found out about a lot of SD run groups and am hoping to check each of them out. 🙂 

So there you have it – a few things I’ve learned about the running community. What have you learned? Care to share? 

Posted in Running

Five races down, Six+ races to go 

Happy Friday everyone! This will be a short post, I promise. The year is almost half over and I have run five races – two 5ks, a 10 miler, and two half marathons. That leaves me with at least six more races to go. I say “at least” because I haven’t completely banned myself from signing up for more races even though I really should.

I started off 2017 with six planned races. I kind of got carried away along the way (FOMO is real guys and gals) and signed up for more. LOL Oops? Sorry, not sorry. I’m having a blast racing about my city and later this year, I’ll be racing in 4 additional cities. 🙂 Hooray! Updated 2017 Race ScheduleAnyway, the running bug is back. Maybe I’m overwhelmed with work and this is how I cope – by literally running away from all my problems. LOL. I kid. I am thinking about about signing up for a trail half marathon though. I’ve never run a trail race before and I think it might be fun. Also, I really want to try a Ragnar Relay one year. Running day and night while also hanging out with your sweaty running buddies in a van? Count me in. LOL. I was invited to two different relays this year, but because of timing it just didn’t work out. Hopefully I’ll be able to do one soon. They look like so much fun. 

Have you done a trail race before? A Ragnar Relay? Did you enjoy it? Any advice for a potential first timer? Also, what other fun running activities are there out there? I’m all ears. 🙂 

Posted in Running

Summer racing – San Diego Craft Classic edition

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the San Diego – Craft Classic 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 run year round, but summer is probably my least favorite season to run. It is, however, the best season to be out and about and enjoying the sunshine. It’s so conflicting sometimes being a runner. As a runner, you have to wake up early to beat the heat and get your long run in. During the summer, sometimes you have to wake up at 5 am to get up to run especially if it’s a 20 miler and it’ll take you 3+ hours to complete. And the weather is unpredictable sometimes. A few years ago, I ran the America’s Finest City (AFC) half, which is the last race in the Triple Crown Challenge series, and I MELTED. I think the race started before 7 am and by 9 am, it was already 70+F. It was so hot and humid that day that I chafed in places I didn’t think I could chafe.

So why am I telling you all this? Well, because I want you to see how crazy I am. I, yours truly, signed up for another summer race, the San Diego Craft Classic, because seriously, I never learn and honestly, why not? LOL. I am a racing fiend and FOMO is so real. I sometimes will avoid social media on Sunday mornings because I get super jealous of seeing other runners with their shiny new medals. I mean, I’m super happy for them because they accomplished their goal, whatever that may have been, but I also wanted to run the race too. Hah.

Here’s the run down on the San Diego Craft Classic.

Date: July 16, 2017

Distance: Half marathon or 5k

Time: 6:30 am for the half, 6:45 for the 5k

Cost: $85+ for the half and $50+ for the 5k (Price increase is dependent on how many participants are registered so register early!)

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Why: If you like beer, more specifically Green Flash Brewery beer, THIS IS THE RACE FOR YOU. Both distances end up at Green Flash Brewery where all participants will received a commemorative pint glass, an event shirt, a medal, and obviously TWO FREE BEERS from Green Flash. For you ultra fast runners out there, the prize for the top male and female finisher is their WEIGHT IN BEER. LOL.

Okay, I’ll be honest with you. I’m not running this race for the beer. I’m running it for the medals obviously. I’m a collector of bling. LOL. This race, when run in the same calendar year as the San Diego Holiday Half marathon, gives you a 3rd medal – the route 56 medal! Both races are run along parts of route 56 so it’s fitting that this medal is of the route 56 sign. I ran the Holiday Half last year and it was fantastic.

Free Social Run Series – Another thing I really like about this race is that if you’re in San Diego, you can train for the race with other people that also like beer! They have free social runs happening at the Green Flash Tasting Room on May 17 and June 28! You can RSVP here. The first 75 attendees of each of the runs gets a free beer and there is also a raffle at the end. You have to get your raffle ticket at the bottom of the hill though. The organizers said you have to earn it. LOL There’s always a catch isn’t there? 🙂

If you’re into beer and want to run this race, use the code “BIBRAVEHALF” for $10 off the half marathon and “BIBRAVE5k” for $5 off the 5k.

Now that I’ve told you what I run for. What do you run for? Medals? Beer? Fun? Speaking of beer and fun, have a great weekend everyone! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. Also saw vendors from Nuun, CycleBar, KT tape, and a few other companies. 

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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. 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 everyday. 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). 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, 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. Oops? At that point, I figured I’d just try and keep ahead of the 2:10 pacer and 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. 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!