Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Training

Running on Tired Legs – The Secret to a Course PR at the RNR Vegas Half

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the RockNRoll Vegas Half 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 don’t want to bore you with another Marathon Monday training post so today, I will be forgoing it and just share with you all my Rock N Roll Vegas half experience.

Just know that I have been struggling with keeping up with the mileage as it’s been increasing. My legs have been a bit fatigued with 10+ mile long runs, but I know this fatigue is pretty normal and it’ll better prepare me for the full in a few short weeks. The target this past week was 20 miles during the week with a 20 mile long run totaling 40 miles. I was able to get in 16 miles during the week and a 19.3 mile long run totaling 35.3 miles. I was short 4.7 miles, but considering that *SPOILER ALERT* I beat my course PR on the Rock N Roll Vegas Half, I’ll still call it a win.

And with that, my race report of the Rock N Roll Vegas Half.

Health and Fitness Expo – Rock N Roll expos are large. If you’ve never been to one, be prepared. There a TON of vendors so choose wisely when deciding what to purchase or else you’ll rock around having dropped $100+. Bib pick up was extremely easy. I took a Lyft from the airport and was at the Convention Center in 15 minutes and then picked up my bib with no wait time.

I had a lot of fun talking to vendor reps that I had met at other running events. I’d like to give a shout out to the reps at the Oofos, HoneyStinger, and ProCompression booths for keeping me company as I waited 4 hours for my friend to arrive so I could check into my hotel. LOL.

Race Day (Pre-race) – Preparing for a night race is always tricky. Things to take into consideration:

Meals: Last year, I made the mistake of eating too early (10 am) and by the time I finished the race, I was starving and was grabbing anything the volunteers would give me to stuff my face with. This year, I tried to eat lunch a little later (12:30 pm) and hoped that whatever I ate would digest quick enough and not give me GI distress during the course (like during my Chicago marathon. Sigh). Fortunately, it worked, but I might have also upchucked a LITTLE bit of food during the course so I guess I will need to refine this a bit more. LOL.

Time on your feet: Time on your feet should be minimized for a night race. Knowing that, I still went out and ran 6 miles in the morning because I had a scheduled 20 mile long run for marathon training. LOL. In my defense, I did run much slower and tried to take it as easy as I could. After the run, I went back to the hotel and rested until it was time to get lunch and get to the start line. Even at the start line, I sat down and tried to rest and since I beat my course PR, I’d say it paid off.

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If you must go for a run on the Vegas strip, go at 7:30 am. Very few people are out.

Hydration: Holy moly is Vegas dry. I come from a fairly humid city so being in Vegas completely shriveled me up no matter how much water I drank (and I only drank water; no alcohol was involved). If you are going to run in the desert, drink up. It may be cool, but your body will thank you.

Gear Check: It’s a night race. It’s going to be COLD when you finish. You won’t feel it when you cross the finish line, but give it 10-15 minutes. You will feel it. So packing a jacket is a must.

Race Day (Actual race) – All day, I had been debating whether to race it or treat it like a training run. Since I ran 6 miles in the morning, I was worried that I’d hit a wall at mile 7. So I told myself to take it easy and run by feel. And crazily enough, I actually felt fine. I hadn’t raced a half since June so I was stoked be around other runners and was ready to cross that start line.

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At the start line

As soon as they sent off my corral, I took off. The course itself is fairly flat with a few minor ups and downs and you hardly notice them as the Vegas strip lights are pretty mesmerizing. I had seen them the night before, but running through the strip was another type of experience and you can bet I took it all in. The air was also cool and refreshing as I started to heat up. I hit my groove at mile 4 and at mile 5, I saw some BibRave peeps, which fueled me for another few miles.

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Before heading into our corrals

The bands and DJs that were set up along the course also really helped my energy levels. I would hear a Bruno Mars song and I’d just start dancing, which gave me more energy to run faster. LOL I also really like Bruno Mars. LOL. At mile 12, I was losing momentum. The dry winds combined with the sweat stung my face and I was struggling. Then, I ran into fellow blogger, Jim, and with some encouraging words, we pushed each other towards the finish line. (Hi Jim!!!).

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Immediately after crossing the finish – holy smokes, we’re sweaty

Honestly, I crossed that finish line feeling like a million bucks. I finished strong despite having run a total of 19.3 miles that day AND I beat my course PR. So maybe the secret is constantly running on tired legs?!?!

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My Shiny New Medal

Official time was 1:54:45 and now I’m just waiting impatiently to claim my results on Athlinks. LOL

Honolulu baby, I’m coming for you!

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Catching up with BibRave Founders: Tim and Jessica!

Question for you: Have you ever felt like a million bucks crossing a finish line? If so, which race was it at and why?

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Posted in Running, Training

Countdown to the San Diego Rock N Roll Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Rock N Roll San Diego 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

It’s almost a year later and I find myself counting down to my 4th San Diego Rock N Roll Half marathon. 🙂 4 years ago, this was my first half marathon. FOUR. I actually had to look back at my first medal to see what year it was. LOL.

Even as I type this, I am in just disbelief that it has already been 4 years since I embarked on this crazy running journey and 21 half marathons, 3 marathon, and 1 very hilly 21 mile race later, I am ready to run my 22nd half. LOL.

I remember the first time I went to the Health and Fitness Expo 4 years ago. I was in awe at how big the expo was. I had taken the day off from work and went with my brother to the expo and walked around and around. I played games that some vendors had, grabbed the free snacks, and got my very first medal rack and that very first medal rack led me to my Instagram and Twitter Handle: Once_upon_a_run. 🙂

Now that’s enough walking down memory lane. In 7 days, I will be running through the streets of Downtown San Diego once again. I will start out near the San Diego Zoo and head through the neighborhoods of Hillcrest and Normal Heights where there will be drag queens and the neighborhood bar at mile 4 where neighbors wake up early just to serve you shots of tequila and whiskey. LOL. I’ll run through North Park, where a lot of great food is at and then make my way towards the downhill finish in Downtown San Diego by the Waterfront. 🙂

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Training on the my old stomping grounds at UCSD

My game plan for this upcoming week will hopefully be a lot of rest and stretching. I haven’t race a half since January and I think I’m a little out of practice. Most of my training runs are at a much slower pace and I just checked my course PR on Athlinks and it was a 1:54:11. Crap. My muscles have been a lot tighter this year than they’ve ever been in the past so I’m trying to stretch as much as I can and foam roll after my runs. I can’t even touch my toes anymore! Ack. My hope is to at least stay ahead of the 2 hour sub half marathon crowd. Des Linden, the 2018 female Boston marathon winner and also a San Diego native, will actually be pacing the 2 hour half marathoners and I hope that I can stay ahead of that group, finish, and then wait around to see Des cross the finish line. She’ll also be at the expo on Friday and Saturday so I’m hoping to see her one of the days. Eek! So excited.

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Foam rolling

Wish me luck!

If you’re into doing things last minute and want to sign up online, you still can until Sunday night! You can use code “RNRBRP2018” for $15 off either the half or full marathon. This code works on most Rock N Roll races (excluding Vegas) 🙂 

Question for you: What stretching tips do you have? Foam rolling? Post recovery tips are greatly appreciated! 🙂 

Posted in Running, Thoughts

The end of my Spring Racing Season

Hello again! It’s already mid-May! My how time flies when you’re immersed in an intense racing season. I kicked off the season with the San Diego Hot Chocolate 15k, got a new PR, rested a week, and failed at a PR attempt at the Carlsbad 5000. LOL. I then rested two weeks and then ran my very first Ragnar Relay. Oh the sleep deprivation that race brought. LOL. I then had three weeks to rest before conquering the Big Sur 21 miler.

Ever since the Big Sur 21 miler, I’ve experienced a bit of a dip in my mood. I do have the Rock N Roll San Diego Half marathon race coming up in 2 and a half weeks so I am super excited for that, but after that race, I won’t have anything scheduled until November, when I run the Rock N Roll Las Vegas Half. There will be more on that in a later post. 🙂

So after my June race, I will have NO RACES until November. That’s 5-6 months of no camaraderie at the start line, no “you can do it” from people on the sidelines, and no sense of accomplishment when you cross that finish line. LOL Of course, I’m being dramatic. I will still be running with my run groups so there will still be that sense of camaraderie at least. 🙂 Although my main running partner broke his knee cap so that’s a downer. 😦

Summer time is not really an ideal time to race anyway so I should be grateful for not having to race in warm temperatures. I’ll be using the summer to vacation (in Japan and Korea), build up my base, and starting in September, I will probably start my 4th marathon training season. 🙂 That’s right. I have a marathon in mind and once I sign up, I will let you all know. 🙂

So that’s a wrap on my feelings at the moment.

How do you feel after an intense racing season? Do you get the blues or are you just ready to kick your feet up onto a futon and relax? 

Posted in Running, Thoughts

Races for 2018 Coming Up – Rock N Roll San Diego

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Rock N Roll San Diego 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. 

The Rock N’ Roll Marathon Series just celebrated their 20th anniversary last year and this year, they’re upping their game! They’re revamping the whole Rock N’ Roll experience with more music, better runner support, and more community engagement. Let’s break it down. 🙂

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From my very first RNRSD half marathon (also my first ever half)

More Music – The Rock N’ Roll Marathon Series is known to have live bands and DJs jam it out on the course. In addition to all that, they’re including mile markers that have music blasting from them. They’ll also be drum lines and pacers will also be running with music. I’m pretty stoked about finding a pacer and running with their music. I run with music already, but I just love the idea of people jamming to the same music. If you’ve ever watched me run, you’ll notice that sometimes I’ll be dancing while running. It’s just more fun that way. 🙂 They’re also providing Rock N’ Roll curated playlists on Spotify for playlists customized by bpm so you can train with a certain pace in mind. 🙂 If you have the right kind of music, it can make a half a breeze. 🙂

Better Runner Support – MORE PORTA POTTIES AT THE START LINE AND ON THE COURSE. Woohoo! This isn’t necessarily a perk for me, but who knows? Maybe it will be. If you know me, you’ll know that I HATE using porta potties. I’m such a germaphobe and for good reason too. Poop on the porta pottie lid? Barf. LOL. I saw it at the Chicago Marathon when I went to use one. NEver again. Anyway, they’re providing us with more porta potties, which will alleviate the wait time to use. They’ll be more aid stations with gels and bananas, better mile signage, and illuminated starting corral markets.

More Community Engagement – STREAMING VIDEO from the course to a finish line big screen. I’m pretty excited about the finish line big screen. Doesn’t everyone want to see their big finish? 🙂 At some races, they’re going to make the video available online for those who can’t be there to see you finish. 🙂 You can bet that I’m going to tell my friends to watch me finish. Hehe.

If you couldn’t tell by the smileys sprinkled throughout the post, I’m pretty excited to see the new changes taking place for this race series. I’ve run the Rock N Roll San Diego half marathon three times and this will be my fourth time.

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From 2017’s RnRSD race

I’m thinking about trying to PR my course record and who knows, this may be my year. 🙂 If you’re interested in running any of their revamped Rock N Roll races, you can use the code “RNRBRP2018” to save $15 off the half or marathon distance. (RnRVegas not included).

Questions for you? Have you run a Rock N Roll Race before? Which one? Do you race with music or not?

Posted in Running, Thoughts

Dopey Challenge Part 2 – 10k and Half

Now where did I leave off? Oh yes, Disney World time! Yes, you read right. After the 5k, I decided that it would be a great idea to make the most of my time and head on over to the parks. I didn’t even nap after finishing the 5k. I headed back to my hotel and got changed for the parks. In hindsight, I should have just spent a little extra money and paid for 2 single park tickets instead of 1 park hopper ticket. The reason being that everything was extremely packed due to marathon weekend. If you weren’t there early enough, the wait times for the rides would take anywhere from 1 – 3 hours. From 8 am to 5 pm, I rode one ride and attended two shows. How sad is that? 😦 I did walk around a lot, which was also a mistake because when I woke up for my 10k, I strongly believed I wouldn’t have enough energy to complete the Dopey Challenge.

Walt Disney World 10k – Both the 5k and 10k have very similar routes. The only real difference is that there are more characters along the 10k. For this race, I wore my Wonder Woman costume along with a down jacket. Best. Decision. Ever. By the time I finished the 10k, it was maybe 40F? For the 10k, you run more along the backstreets of Epcot and head into the park for a mile or two before heading back out.IMG_4539IMG_4538IMG_4537

Character stops – Despite having to run outside of the parks, the Disney people know how to keep you entertained. There are characters outside of the parks and there are cheer groups that you pass by. During the race, I got to take pictures with Flik and Princess Atta from A Bug’s life, Flynn and Rapunzel from Tangled, and Pinocchio! 🙂 I finished the 10k in one hour 45 minutes and seven seconds. 🙂 I took my time knowing I’d have to knock out another 39.3 miles the next two days. LOL

After the race – Disney supplied each of us with a box full of snacks, which I was eternally grateful for. I then grabbed a mylar blanket and headed back to the hotel to rest. 🙂 I did not do very much that day except just rest and maybe play a little Top Golf. 🙂

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Walt Disney World Half Marathon – The Disney World half marathon was my 20th half marathon! 🙂 I had deliberately not signed up for any halfs after Vegas so I could make this one my 20th. Great planning, right? 🙂

After the 10k, I was ready to leave Epcot behind.  LOL. Luckily, the half marathon takes you through Epcot AND Magic Kingdom and honestly, getting to run through Magic Kingdom was one of the highlights of my trip.

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Magic Kingdom! Don’t be fooled though. It’s another 2 miles to the park. LOL

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We entered through the front entrance, ran down Main Street towards Cinderella’s castle and into Tomorrowland.

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We veered around through what I think was Frontier land and circled around the castle and then through it. That portion wasn’t as magical as I thought since there are so many runners and there is only so much space underneath the castle, but it was just a sight to see all the buildings so beautifully lit up. There were characters littered through park so naturally, my pace was that of a snail’s because I had to stop at every character stop. LOL. Throughout the race, I took pictures with characters from Monster’s Inc, Alice in Wonderland, The Little Mermaid, Toy Story, The Incredibles, and even Pirates of the Caribbean. 🙂

It took me 3 hours 2 minutes and 32 seconds to complete the half marathon and I enjoyed every moment of it.

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My marathon review will be up next so stay tuned. 🙂

Question for you: Have you done a multiple day race? How was it? Were you exhausted afterwards or did you think each race loosened your legs up for next day’s race?

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 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?