Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running

Being a User…On Strava

Disclaimer: I received an annual Strava Subscription and Strava merchandise 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!

Let’s talk about Strava, shall we? ๐Ÿ™‚

When I first started seriously running, I wanted a way to track my stats. I’m a metrics kind of girl and I loved seeing how many miles I could put in and seeing if I could push my limits. Seeing the mileage increase from month to month made me happy.

I tried various running apps, but the one that stuck was Strava. I found its interface to be user friendly and the fact that it was a popular app in the running community made it more appealing to me. I know I know. I’m such a victim to FOMO. LOL.

But really though, I am such a fan of Strava.

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Challenges

Not only is it free to sign up, but you can also participate in challenges and this is my favorite part of it. A few years ago when I first started training for my first full marathon, New Balance was having this challenge on Strava. Run a negative split in a marathon, track it in Strava, and get a free pair of New Balance shoes. A dream come true, right? It was my first real Strava challenge and I did end up completing it.

Clubs

Ever since then, I’ve been hooked. I also really enjoy being part of clubs where you can check your mileage with others and compete with one another. I did this for a while when I was using Hanson’s marathon method and was logging in 40-50 miles a week. Strava fed into my competitiveness. After all, if you didn’t log it, did it really count? LOL. If you want to join the Bibrave club, click here to join.

Kudos

Strava is just a great way to communicate with the running/swimming/cycling community. Facebook has likes. Strava has kudos. Who doesn’t like validation, right?

Ease of Use

When I first started running, I didn’t have a GPS watch to track my runs. So I took my phone on my runs. I opened the app, hit the record button, and started running. When I finished, I’d hit finish and the run was automatically uploaded. And you can choose to post it publicly or you can keep it private. If you do post it publicly, you can also prevent the app from mapping certain areas for safety reasons.

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My logged Hot Chocolate 15k Race

The Last Mile

Strava’s latest promotion is called The Last Mile and it’s kind of cool. Just by joining the challenge, you’ll get a 30 day free trial of their Summit, which unlocks extra features to help you train. And if you run a half or full and your last mile split is faster than any other mile in the race, they’ll donate $10 to one of the countryโ€™s leading youth running charities. Isn’t that cool? Getting a free trial with extra perks and if you work hard enough, you can get them to donate $10 to a youth running charity. ๐Ÿ™‚

So that’s Strava in a nutshell. Now my question to you is if you use Strava, what do you like most about it? Also, add me and I’ll add you back! And if you don’t use it, what app do you use if any and why? I’m always on the lookout for cool apps. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

 

 

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Posted in Race Reports, Running

A 5k, Meb Keflezighi, and Pizza Oh My – My Carlsbad 5000 Report

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Carlsbad 5000 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.

Wheeee! I’m alive. I survived another race and my heel lives to see another day. Hooray!

And without further ado, my race report.

Bib Pick-up

Race weekend was uhmm a bit much. I was moving apartments and with all the heavy lifting, I was exhausted going into race day. Luckily, bib pick up was super easy. I opted to pick up my bib on Friday at Fleet Feet San Diego because it was on my way home and there was a 15% discount on their items, so I decided to also purchase some Superfeet for my inflamed fascia. ๐Ÿ™‚

Race morning

Fast forward to race day and I arrive about an hour before my race and I find sweet street parking a few blocks from the start line. I met up with my male friends who were running the race before (Men’s 39 and under race) and wished them good luck. Then, I stretched out my legs, took my infamous jumping photo, and got ready to run. While stretching, I spotted Meb Keflezighi and was starstruck. LOL. He was at the expo on Saturday signing autographs and since I couldn’t attend, I was pretty bummed. BUT luck was on my side because I saw him and I got a picture with him!

The Race

The start of the race went pretty much as expected. I started out too fast and got winded a mile in. LOL. I felt extremely out of shape, but pushed on. My fascia was doing okay and wasn’t overly upset at me and when it did decide to hurt, I walked. I did take my time and I finished in 27:07. ๐Ÿ™‚  Not a bad time considering.

Post-Race

The energy of this race is amazing. Probably because it doesn’t start super early. After crossing the finish line, I met up with friends ANDDDDD spotted Meb again and this time, he was signing people’s bibs/medals/ribbons so you know I had to get mine signed. He was so nice and patient taking pictures and signing things for us.

The Carlsbad 5000 will always be one of my favorite races. It’s short, sweet, and over in less than 30 minutes. ๐Ÿ™‚ And there’s free beer at the beer garden. I didn’t drink, but my friends did and afterwards, we headed over to Pizza Port for amazing pizza. I had an amazing time and honestly, I can’t wait to do it again next year. ๐Ÿ™‚

If you want to sign up for next year’s race, head on over to their site. Pre-sale is currently available until April 14th at 11:59 PM PST. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s the lowest price and if a 5k doesn’t seem worth traveling for, remember, there’s an awesome 20k all day where you run all four 5k heats so you can experience the start line and finish line energy 4 different times. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Posted in Running

A Runner Down, But Not Defeated

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Carlsbad 5000 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.

When I first started running seriously, I vowed to take it nice and slow. The goals were just to finish and to not get injured. Unfortunately, the longer I ran, the more ambitious I got and of course, the likelihood of me getting injured was higher. More seasoned runners told me to stretch if I wanted to run long term. And as an ignorant younger runner, I thought, nope. I think I’ll be okay. I don’t run that far and that could never happen to me. LOL

So I ignored the signs. I ignored the fact that my calves would always tighten up like crazy when I ran uphills. I was still smashing PRs so I figured, it was fine. I ignored the fact that for weeks, I was literally getting out of bed and limping a little bit because I didn’t want to put my heel down.

So here I am – a runner not able to really run. LOL. I understand why it happened and I am accepting the consequences. I am also determined to not let this beat me so I have gone to see a chiropractor who specializes more in muscle therapy and three sessions in, I’m a bit more hopeful than I was immediately after the Hot Chocolate 15k. It was confirmed that I do have plantar fasciitis. Surprise, surprise, right?

I’ve started swimming a little bit more to give my feet a bit more time to heal. Post Hot Chocolate, I took an entire week off and to be honest, it drove me nuts. The longest I’ve ever gone without a run in the past 5 years was maybe 4 days so instead, I swam. Then this week, I tested the fascia.

With the Carlsbad 5000 coming up this Sunday, I wanted to see if I could run 3 miles. So on Monday, I started off with a slow 1 miler around the block. I felt a bit of pain so I stopped and stretched a bit. I then went another mile. The next morning, I was okay. The pain was still there, but it wasn’t worsening. I skipped Tuesday and on Wednesday, I went out on a 3.5 miler with a run group and was able to run with a little less pain. Hooray!

It’s Friday morning and I’m hopeful that I’m going to recover and I’m hopeful that I can finish the 5k. My time won’t be even close to what I want, but my end goal for the year is to finish my marathon in June so I know this is the right decision. ๐Ÿ™‚ And I’ll always have next year to try another PR.

I’m honestly very grateful that the Carlsbad 5000 is my next race. Racing a 5k is no joke and last year, I ran my little legs off and was exhausted by mile 2. LOL This year, I have a legitimate reason to take it easy. I can have a grand ole time in my race group and then cheer on my friends in the “Party people’s race.” And afterwards, I can grab a pizza at Pizza port. Yum!

Anyway, I’m off to stretch some more. If you want to follow me on my race weekend adventures, I’ll be posting on my IG and Twitter feed. ๐Ÿ™‚ See you all next week when I post about my race experience.

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running

Hot Chocolate 15k While Injured – My Race Report

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Hot Chocolate 15k โ€“ San Diego as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.

And BOOM, I finished the Hot Chocolate 15k this past weekend and oh my god, I was in a bit of pain. Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

On Saturday, I did a short 3 mile shake out run in the morning. My heel was still hurting so I picked up OS1st foot brace compression sleeve. It was recommended to me by the running coach so I decided to give it a shot. I then picked up my bib at the expo, got my sweet new jacket that came with registration, and talked to my favorite vendor peeps (Aftershokz, Honeystinger). I then ran a few errands and foam rolled, massaged, and stretched my legs for the rest of the day.

Sunday morning, I woke up early, put on my foot brace compression sleeve, took 2 Advils to alleviate any potential inflammation, and out the door I went. I felt okay at the start of the race, but that quickly changed about 1 mile in the race. For those of you who don’t know, the Hot Chocolate 15k in San Diego is a challenging course. It makes you earn that chocolate and honestly, it’s not terrible if you trained for it…or aren’t injured.

The start of the race begins on a hill and for almost the entire race, it’s rolling hills. And much like the hills, my emotions were also up and down. Due to my heel issues, my legs tried compensating in other ways, resulting in overuse of other muscles. This caused way more pain than I’d like so throughout the entire race, I seriously doubted if I could finish. In retrospect, I pushed myself harder than I should have. Every time I walked, I saw my 17+ min/mile pace and panicked that I wouldn’t have been able to finish. I ended up finishing around a 10:30 min/mile pace so really, I had nothing to worry about.

I saw friends along the course and on two separate occasions, I burst into tears because I was so happy to see people come out and support me. I was mentally and physically in pain and seeing familiar faces made the race more bearable. In short, this wasn’t a great race for me and my heel is actually much more sensitive than it was pre-race. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I am not currently running and I will not be running until I see a PT about the issue. Fingers crossed that it’s not a stress fracture or anything more serious. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll update you soon!

 

Posted in Running, Training

It’s Race Weekend and my Goal is to NOT have a DNS/DNF

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Hot Chocolate 15k – San Diego as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own.

I knew there’d come a time where I’d be injured and it’d be my fault and dun dun DUN, that time is now. I’ve had this pain at the bottom of my heel for several weeks now and honesty, I had been in denial about it for so long. I knew I was getting injured. I mean, getting out of bed first thing in the morning and still having to walk on the ball of your left foot is NOT a good sign. LOL.

So here I am on Friday morning, wondering if I’ll be able to finish the Hot Chocolate 15k on Sunday.

I think that I will. I’ve always been the optimistic type when it comes to running. I’ve been resting most of the week with the exception of a Monday and Wednesday run. And instead of running on Tuesday, I swam. ๐Ÿ™‚

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My first swim of the year

I’ve practically been living in my Oofos all day long and I even got an indoor pair since it was still painful to walk around my house barefoot. Yes friends, my heel pain is real. -_- After talking to some people, they think it’s caused by not stretching. Surprise surprise. So for the past two weeks, I’ve been stretching pre-run, post-run, and even on days I don’t run. I’ve been foam rolling and even used those crazy Hypervolts that are $350 a pop. (I didn’t buy the Hypervolt. I borrowed someone’s).

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Chasing the sunset since we have more daylight now 

I have a very short shakeout run (maybe 2-3 miles) on Saturday and then I’m off to pick up my bib. Then, it’s more foam rolling and stretching the rest of the day. I am determined to finish even if it means walking a chunk of the course. Do not fret though. If the pain becomes unbearable, I will not be finishing it. I’m going to play it smart…at least as smart as I can. Wish me luck!

Question for you: Have any of you had a DNF or DNS? When did you know it was time to throw in the towel? 

Posted in Running, Thoughts

Running for Chocolate Once Again

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k 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.

Hello hello again! A week ago, I talked to you about the Carlsbad 5000. Today, I’d like to tell you about the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k race in San Diego, taking place on March, 24th!

This is not a new race to me and it’s honestly probably a race you’ve already heard of since it’s U.S. wide. Some of their information is below.

Distances: 5k and a 15k

Perks: This course honestly has the best bang for your buck. Registration comes with a full-zip jacket with hoodie, a chocolate bar shaped medal for 15k finishers, and a a finisher’s bowl of dark chocolate fondue with marshmallows, rice krispies, bananas, and hot chocolate. What more could you want? Oh right, there are also free race photos! IMG_5471

Aid Stations: In addition to water and electrolytes, they also give out sweets, giving this race their moniker of America’s Sweetest Race.

Course: Both the 5k and 15k courses are not extremely easy. Both courses start on a hill with the 15k having a lot of rolling hills so if you run these races, train on hills. You won’t regret it. I honestly like it because it makes me work for the chocolate at the end and I won’t feel guilty at all after eating it. ๐Ÿ™‚

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I also reviewed this race last year so you can also read about my review here. If you want to sign up, use code “BRHCSanDiego” for a free arm band. And if San Diego is too far and there’s a closer Hot Chocolate race nearby, check out my race discount page here, which has Hot Chocolate races listed as well as many other races. 

If you are running this race, let me know and let’s meet up. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

Racing in the Rain – My Irvine Half Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Irvine 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.

Hooray! Half marathon #23 is in the books and boy was it an interesting one. It was my first time racing in pouring rain and woo, was it fun! The aftermath was not. LOL

Going into the race, I had no idea there was a chance of rain. I mean, I live in Southern California. We get rain maybe 5-6 days out of the year. Apparently, this last weekend was one of those weeks.

Bib Pick-up: Bib pick up was easy peasy. The location was at a community park and was extremely easy to find. I picked up the bib, race shirt, checked out the Nuun booth, and was off to get some dinner and sleep for a 6 am wake up time. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Race: The weather forecast mentioned 70% chance of rain at 8 am, but when I drove to the start line, there were no rain clouds in sight. In fact, it was just a beautiful morning by the lake…surrounded by lots and lots of high school kids.

A portion of the race proceeds goes back to the local high schools so it made sense that a lot of the participants would have been the high school students. Unfortunately, having so many high school kids surrounding me completely threw me off my game. LOL. My friend and I joked that we’d get smoked by these kids and I of course, being the competitive person that I am, didn’t want that. So I, stupidly started out too fast at the start.

Below are my thoughts throughout the race. Feel free to laugh at them:

#1: Oh, what a beautiful morning. Man, this race is efficient. It’s 8 am and we’re off.

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#2: Hmm, there’s the 2 hour pacer. They’re going awfully fast, but I think I can swing that pace.

#3: Woohoo! I reached the 2 hour pacer. I wonder if I can catch the 1:50 pacer. Oo, I see the 1:50 pacer. Yoohoo!

#4: Wait! SLOW DOWN GIRL! A 8 min mile this early in the race is too fast.

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#5: Oh crap, my legs feel heavy. WHYYYYYY? Stupid me. Why did I think I could PR? I’m gassing out. Okay. The goal was to enjoy the process and try not to die. I guess I’ll try and do that. Oo, pretty course.

#6: Ack. I hate my allergies. I can’t breathe. I hope no one thinks it’s gross I spit on the course. I’m trying to not hit anyone.

#7: Wow, this race is really well organized. There are a bajillion turns, but there’s someone at every turn directing. Go race course organizers!

#8: UGH, don’t walk Mai. Don’t you do it. You know the moment you walk, you’re going to keep run walking and that slows you down a lot. Don’t do it.

#9: Okay, you’re almost at 6 miles. At 6 miles, take a little walk break.

#10: Hmm, I’m at 6 miles, but that’s not even at the halfway mark. God, I’m such a wimp. Let’s just hit the halfway mark and then you can walk.

#11: Okay, I’m at the half way mark now and I think I can keep running without walking. Maybe let’s try and get to 8 miles. oO, pretty river.

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#12: Well, I’m at 8 miles and I only have 5 miles left. Maybe I can run to 10 and then take a break?

#12: I guess if I only have a 5k left, I should just keep running.

#13: Oh what? It’s RAINING? Oh well, it’s just a light sprinkle. I’ll be fine.

#14: OH SHIT. IT’S RAINING HARD. I can’t see. So much water on my face. Is that sweat or rain? I can’t tell anymore. Wait, can I feel my fingers? Nope. Can’t feel my fingers. LOL. Wait, I see a photographer! Smile girl smile through the rain! There are free race photos! Smile til you can’t no more.

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#15: OMG, I SEE THE FINISH LINE. PUSHHHHHH!

Post Race

#16: THAT WAS AMAZING. I got my pretty medal and OH HEY FRIENDS! OH AND FOOD! YASS!!! POTATO CHIPS? HOORAY!

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#17: Crap, I am freezing. Oh, you’re going to give me a free shirt to keep me warm? Thanks Kona Brewing Co. You’re the best. Okay, get to the car. OH WHY WON’T IT STOP RAINING? LOL

Too long didn’t read? I started out too fast in the race, gassed out, then played mind games with myself to prevent myself from walking, and then froze to death when it started pouring. LOL

Truthfully, the race was extremely well organized and I really appreciated the atmosphere of a smaller race. And the rain was an interesting way to end the race. Too bad, it took me a few hours to actually warm back up and regain feeling in my toes and fingers.

Question for you: Have you ever raced in the rain before? How was it?