BibRave, Race Day, Recap, Run!

Rock n Roll San Diego 13.1 Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Rock n Roll 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!

I love Rock n Roll.

This race made a liar out of me in so many ways.  Ok, maybe just changed my mind about some things.  😛

Going into this race, I wasn’t a fan of large crowded races, preferred rural views and hated humidity and flat made me cry.  But I had heard great things about the Rock n Roll races, San Diego in particular, and always wanted to run one but never made it work.   Until now.  And now?  Well I still hate humidity.


The odd thing was that going into this race I wasn’t stressed at all.  I wasn’t worried about the miles or how long it would take me.   I was mildly concerned about the humidity I knew I was coming but even at the Bibrave meet up I was just joking that I should probably run with my inhaler in my hand.    I still wasn’t sure what shoes I was going to wear and I was mostly irritated that I had to run with a portable charger because I didn’t think my phone was going to last the race.   I was also taking a race shuttle for the first time ever but I managed to sleep better than I did for my previous 2 races.

Race morning-

I woke up and knew that my food choices the day before were not going to sit well.   Well yay.  I dressed, decided on wearing the UltraBoostX, bibbed up and headed for the shuttle bus.    They were charter buses not school buses- sweet!  I checked the weather, saw 86% humidity and then tried not to think about it again.

Once at the starting line outside of Balboa Park I just followed the crowd.  We came upon about 6 port-a-potties and I was confused.  Ummm, 6?  For 30,000 runners?  As I got further in I found more scattered around in lines.  There were probably between 50-100 around.   I ended up parking myself near the solutions tent and just runner watching.  People were everywhere!  They even had a fitness warm up going on- I thought only small town races did that!  I met up with Mai and after hitting the baggage trucks we ended up sprinting across the grass to the We Run Social picture meet up by corral 3.    We just barely made it!


After meeting some more IG people in real life, listening to the National Anthem and ditching my top layer, I headed for my corral.   I was in corral 19.  Of 37.   They were releasing the corrals at a steady pace so once I found an opening in the fence I stopped and just waited for the corral to get to me.   I hopped in and pulled my phone out to take a pic only to realize it was almost dead.   Grrrr.    I plugged in my portable charger and turned off anything in the phone that was non essential.   The race announcers were doing a great job of keeping everyone pumped up and things were very organized.  I suddenly found myself at the very front of my corral on the start line and it was go time.

Miles 1-3 9:41, 10:22, 10:48

Haha, ok starting at the front apparently put wings on my feet.   Slow your roll, Slacker.  There was a guy on a megaphone shouting inspiration at us as we ran by.      It was crowded but I was ok with it, I had to dodge people sometimes but I knew I wasn’t breaking any records so it wasn’t a big deal.


The first music distraction was a DJ on a bridge or was it a band? I should have written notes!    The first aid station was well stocked with plenty of water and Gatorade and awesome volunteers.  The gloomy clouds and some of the buildings I was running by made me feel like I was more in San Francisco than San Diego but I was enjoying the sights.  And sounds- to save battery life- I hadn’t turned on my headphones.   There were college kids handing out beer around mile 2 as well.  There was a selfie/ picture station too but it may been in the next set of miles.


Miles 4-6 10:28, 10:31, 10:44

Oddly, I hadn’t really slowed down yet, I was walking the water stations but that was it.  The streets were still crowded, water stops were every 2 miles, live music was every few miles.  Around mile 4 we headed into more residential area but I notices that the cheering increased.  Yeah, we were near an aid station but this was too loud.   Turns out I was coming up on Harriet!  I passed her and told her she was awesome.    I mean, 94!   Geicko had a full on bar on mile 4.5.  You name it, they had it.  😛

My legs were feeling good and surprisingly so were my lungs.  I was beginning to feel optimistic.  Then at mile 5.3, my stomach cramped in a rather unpleasant way.  Oh come on!  I took a walk break and deep breaths to try and calm it down but I was a little ticked.   And I would be nauseous for the remainder of the race.


Miles 7-9 10:57, 10:35, 10:28

6 and 7 slowed me down while I tried to get myself under control.  We passed the relay exchange a little past 6 and once again I thought I really need to do a relay.   There was a man handing out tequila shots at one point saying that while we may think it was too early for tequila, he thought it was too early to be running so why not meet in the middle?   😛  We had entered Normal Heights and I thought it was an awesome name so I had to take a pic.    At mile 8.4 the marathoner’s split off from the pack and the crowd thinned up a bit.   I was still feeling nauseous but I was trying to ignore it, I wasn’t going to let my stomach win.  I was listening to the on course entertainment and truthfully some interesting conversations from the runners around me.    My legs were feeling ok but by my standards this course was flat and I knew I would eventually be sore if I didn’t get a hill somewhere.


Miles 10-11 10:58, 11:06

We were coming into Balboa Park and I could hear drums and see the big inflatable guitar guy and I knew I was almost to mile 10.    Yay!  Except, around mile 9.5 the battle my lungs had been fighting the humidity got harder.  And my lungs started to lose.  I had to walk again and use my inhaler.  Grrr,  Of course, just past mile 10 was the first real hill of the course and my lungs were being whiny.  I walked it.  I also had a moment where I thought I was going to lose my cookies and may have mentally swore off pizza.   😛  I turned on my music just to drown out my breathing.

Miles 12-13- 9:45, 11:14

So, yeah coming out of the park lead to a decent downhill and I flew.   I was still taking walk breaks due to the humidity and my lungs.  The last mile was a struggle.  I thought I had kissed a sub 2:20 goodbye and I was pissed.   I haven’t seen that in 2 years and that I had gotten so close, I almost cried.  But I sucked it up and kept going.   The crowds were cheering, runners were walking away with medals and I was still taking walk breaks.  Grrr.   The finish line was in sight and I decided enough was enough and just ran for it.

Finish- 2:19:56

I crossed the line and bent over wheezing.  Medical was on me in seconds.  Damn, you’re fast!   I felt embarrassed but said I was ok, I just needed a moment.    It wasn’t until I got a hold of myself and received my medal that I looked at my watch.  I did it!   It’s been so long since I’ve seen I’ve been below 2:20 even if it is by the skin of my teeth.


I made my way through the picture station and then the food goodies before attempting to find my mother.  It was crowded!   We met up and hung out for a bit before I realized I needed to return to the hotel.  So much for the finish line festival.  That nausea and cramping I had been fighting reared it’s head I was very glad that my hotel was 2 blocks from the finish.  I could hear Micheal Franti though and he sounded great.

Overall, this was an awesome race.  I would recommend it to anyone.    The course and the crowd support was great.  The aid stations were on point.  As was medical.  😛    Now I want to run another one.  😁

BibRave, Race Day, Run!

San Diego Bound

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Rock n Roll 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!

It’s race weekend!!!

Dang that one snuck up on me fast!   Well, truthfully, June snuck up on me.  Where did it come from?  😛


My first Rock n Roll race is this weekend!!!!  I’m not counting last year’s DNS.  😕 Dude, is this thing as big as I think it’s going to be?  I mean I’ve run Surf City and San Francisco but I have a feeling this is about to make those seem like small potatoes.  For example- I know there are at least 32 corrals.  32?!  Holy crap!   I’m somewhere in the middle there but that’s a lot of people in front of me and a lot of people behind me.

I am looking forward to this weekend.   This should be my biggest expo (Rock n Roll – you  better live up to this!!) and I am looking forward to meeting some blogging and IG friends in real life.   Yay!!!

Then there’s the city itself.  I have family there but I haven’t been since I was like 7 or something so I remember nothing.  I’ve heard great things so I can’t wait to see it with adult eyes.  Expensive parking aside, grrr.    My hotel is pretty close to the finish line for the finish line festival ( and the bay!).  I think.  I’ve been known to mess up hotels before.  Funny, stressful moment-  I actually changed hotels a few weeks ago and realized on Thursday that I had never canceled the original booking.  Oh crap!

I am torn on what shoes to run in.  I’ve been running in Adidas UltraBoost X but the farthest I’ve run in them is 8 miles.  They are also slightly too big.  But then my Brooks aggravate my calves for the first 3-4 miles and I just hope they loosen up.   Hmmm, there’s a lot of questions there.

I may also be taking a trolley to the start.  Holy crap, first time in pubic transportation.  Well, unless Uber counts.   But I’m still on the fence about that, mostly because I haven’t figured out how it works, haha.

Do you think I can figure it out? 

What are you doing this weekend?

BibRave, Race Day, Recap, Run!

Wine Country Half Marathon Santa Barbara Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Wine Country Half Santa Barbara 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!

Race morning dawned clear and sunny.  The night before had shown projected temps to be in the low 40’s at the start and only reaching 60 around 10.    I planned for a tank with long sleeves.    It was a little warmer than predicted in the morning but I stuck to my plan.  As I mentioned in my last post, I woke to an unpleasant surprise on race morning, oh the joys of being female, so I knew I was going to be a little more sluggish than I had planned.    With 2 weeks of next to no sleep and an extremely achy left leg, I was already planning on taking it easy.  I told my mother 2:20-2:25 but I also knew Ashley was pacing the 2:30 so I figured whatever worked.

The start was in Santa Ynez and we were running to Solvang.  My mother was able to get me within a block of the start line and damn it was windy and cold!


  I found Ashley at the 2:30 sign and we chatted before the start.  It’s been so long!!!  I met another BibRave Pro too, Carolyn but I didn’t think to take a picture until after.  Duh, silly Slacker.   After a little more shivering, the race started just a few moments behind schedule.


Miles 1-3  11:04, 11:01, 11:19

The first few miles were pretty crowded, this wasn’t a large race but the neighborhood streets were smaller.  That said, it looked pretty cool just seeing a crowd of runners ahead for the beginning miles.     The race profile had made the course look like a gradual incline through mile 7 but I quickly realized it more flat.  At least by my standards.  My calves were feeling kind of tight but they loosened up around mile 3.    Those first 3 miles also had some of the cutest furry race spectators ever-   a woman was standing on a corner with her pet goose.  Seriously, this goose looked so chill while thousands of runners ran right by.   Further down, 2 goats came running to a fence and looked like they wanted to run with us.   Then there were the miniature horses!!!  So cute.


Miles 4-6  11:35, 11:11, 11:33

I was staying steady, sluggish but steady and that was fine.  The course so far was more back roads and neighborhoods, I was waiting for vineyards.  I was actually surprised that the roads were completely closed- it was awesome but I was surprised- I’m only used to that at races with much bigger crowds.   A little past mile 5, we were running into the town of Los Olivos- it’s so small, it’s so cute!  Crowd support picked up too because mile 5.8 was the relay transition point.    I won’t lie- getting a medal at 5.8 looked pretty awesome.   I knew we were almost to the end of the “climbing” section but since the uphill hadn’t been so up, I wasn’t counting on much of a downhill.


Mile 7- 12:29  Corkscrew Hill

Oh holy hill.  Found the elevation gain, it’s all in mile 7.  Seriously, my Garmin shows an elevation gain of 235 in mile 7 and really maybe all in a half mile.  I knew the hill was coming but not like that.   I rounded a corner and saw it with runners dotting the way all the way up.  Just as I did, my headphones were playing Papa Roach and Jacoby sang/shouted “I don’t want no part of this, None of the above”.  Dude you have no idea.  😛     Knowing I was tired and that I still had 5+ miles left, I walked it.  


I knew it was the smarter choice.  Ashley and the 2:30 group caught up to me and passed me.     The hill may have been kicking my ass but now I was hopeful for at least one good downhill somewhere thanks to this monster.  I’m used to hills but this was a beast.

Miles 8-10 9:33, 10:08, 11:20

Thank you downhill!   I caught up to Ashley and her group again, said hey and continued running on.   We were now running through vineyards which I love but it was a little warmer than I would have liked.  Correction, I shouldn’t have been in long sleeves even though I was thankful every time the wind had a crazy strong gust.  😛  I took my phone out around mile 9 to take a picture only to see the low battery alert and that it was at 10%.  What the hell?!?   I sent a quick text to my mom letting her know I was turning it off, shut off my music and turned off my phone. Boo.   I also realized 2:25 wasn’t likely anymore.


Miles 10-13 11:32, 12:51, 10:58

Ok, the last 4ish miles without music is way different than the first 4 without.   It made things feel so much harder.   Well, that and my stomach was starting to cramp.  Stupid stomach, stupid hormones.  That last real hill was mile 12, it wasn’t even big just steep but for some reason I crawled.   We were out of the vineyards and back into neighborhoods, I knew the finish line must be close- I was so ready for it.  I admit I was walking more than I wanted to.    The crowds were picking up as the finish line neared.   A fire truck also ripped through the course but I didn’t pay it much attention- I had a 1/4 mile to go.

Finish- 2:28:46


Slower than I had hoped for but it’s all good.  The course was super pretty- yes I would have preferred more rolling hills and less of a beast in the middle- but I say I like hills, right?   I wish I could have taken more pictures but I’ve known I need a new phone for  while now, wasn’t expecting it to crap out on me like that though.   And I got to catch up with a good friend.  It was a good race.

*This may sound more positive than I normally am because in all honesty as I was crossing the finish line I realized where that fire truck had been headed.   Reading about things happening at races and seeing it real life are 2 entirely different things.   It puts things into perspective.   I’m also choosing to believe that no news is good news and there was positive outcome.

I met up with my mom post race.    We hung out for a bit and I tried to find the other BibRave Pros that were running it but it was too much of a madhouse in too small of a space.  The finish was in Solvang Park but it is a small park.   It got crowded fast.

Overall, this was a good race.  I really liked the course and the aid stations were all run by very enthusiastic kids and teens.   This is one I would look forward to doing again…just maybe a little less tired?  😛

Half #25 in the books.  😉

 

 

 

BibRave, Race Day, Run!

Wine Country- On My Way

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Wine Country Half Santa Barbara 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!

It’s race weekend!

In one way I feel like it snuck up on me too quickly and in another way I feel like it’s been a long time coming.

I’ve heard nothing but good things about this race so I am excited to finally be running it.  The course starts in Santa Ynez and ends in Solvang, so Santa Barbara is a bit of a misnomer unless they’re going for the county.  😉    My grandparents used to live in Santa Ynez so it’s kind of like a return to childhood for me. Except I wasn’t into running then.   😛

The scenery looks to be back roads and vineyards which are my favorite kinds of roads.  And the elevation profile looks fun-

SB Elevation

Now, part of it’s called Corkscrew Hill and while that sounds ominous, I don’t see it up there? Except maybe that last bit to mile 7?

Now the last couple of weeks haven’t gone according to plan so I will likely be taking it easier than I planned.  I would to shoot for 2:20 but the lack of sleep and a medication mix up this week have left me a little lagging.   Ashley of Rather Be Runnin’ is pacing the 2:30 group so maybe I’ll just hang with them and catch up since it’s been so long.  Plus Saturday races seem to confuse my body.  Or maybe it’s all in my head.😛

Anyone else racing this weekend?

Thoughts on Saturday vs Sunday races?

 

Race Day, Recap, Run!

2017 SLO Half Marathon Recap

Oh boy, I don’t know where to start with this.   I’ve sat on it for a bit so I don’t sound totally cranky, so here we go!

This was my 4th time running SLO and it used to be one of my favorites.    I adored it in 2014 and 2015.  2015 is still one of my proudest races even with a face plant at mile 5 and some major GI drama.   In 2016, there were some changes to the expo, shirts and pictures that I wasn’t so fond of but I still loved the course and the way the crowd support was at certain points.  Bring in 2017 and there was a course overhaul- big time.  I would say only 2-3 miles were the same but other than the finish line they were now all at different points in the course.  They advertised the course as being faster than years past.   Thing about SLO is that it is not flat- the new half course was just shy of 600 elevation gain and the full just over 1200.    But I liked the old course- freakishly long Johnson hills and all.  Fine, I’ll reserve judgement.  The other thing I was concerned about was the start time- it was starting at 7 AM.  Every other time I’ve run it, it started at 6:30 or 6:45.   The temps were predicted to hit the 80’s on race day and 70’s by 10.  I was concerned.


The expo–  Packet pickup as always was at the Madonna Inn.  It seemed smaller this year.  Then I’ve thought that of most the expo’s I’ve been to lately.  Bib and shirt pickup was simple.  There was a shirt I wanted to buy at one booth but the price was too steep.  What was not cool was the un-mown grass with tall roots sticking out.  I tripped in a gopher hole once and on the roots 3 times.   While I was there I saw 3 other people trip on the roots.   The blame for this likely lies on the Madonna Inn not the race but you’d think they would mow the expo lawn?   By the time I left I had multiple scratches and was bleeding in 3 spots.


Race morning-   Chaos.   The original course was a point to point, in years past my mom would drop me off at the start and drive to the finish, park and watch Netflix.  Easy.   This year parking was a nightmare.   Start and finish was the Madonna Inn but getting into the Inn was next to impossible.  After waiting on the freeway for 10 minutes and moving 10 feet, my mother and I switched places- jumped out and ran around the car so she was now driving and I finished getting ready in the passenger seat.  Then I jumped out of the car- still on the freeway– and found a place to hop the fence to the race.   Only to arrive and hear they were delaying the start 10 minutes.  Ok- port a potty time.  The damn port a potty almost blew over.  It wasn’t bolted down all the way.  Grrr!!!!  Ok, head to the corrals.  Or so I thought.   Marathon runners and half marathon runners were starting at the same time.


  We all lined up near the pacers and waited.   And waited.  Then announcements started and we were told we were going to walk to the starting line. Umm, what? Weren’t we there?  So en masse, we leave the Inn and round the corner and down the street to starting arch.  It was like a block but it was odd, from behind me I heard on guy yell out “the race hasn’t even started and I’m over 2500 steps, this is whack”.   Everyone within hearing distance laughed.   Then more announcements and the National Anthem.  I will never be irritated at the National Anthem and I get that traffic was backed up ridiculously, but all I could think was that it was getting warmer and warmer while we were waiting.  We finally started just before 7:30.

This race falls into 2 distinct sections- the good and the “oh hell”- so here we go.

Miles 1-3 10:04, 10:11, 10:29

Well, hey these miles are coming faster than I thought they would be.  My calves were a little tight but that’s typical in the beginning of runs, I figured they would loosen up.  The first mile and half were through the southern part of town and not the most scenic.   I just kept trucking.  It was warm and getting warmer though so I decided to get water at the first aid except it wasn’t at mile 2 like I thought it would be.    It was 1/2 a mile later, ok, walk through the station get water and run on.  Right hand turn and we were running up Foothill.


Miles 4-6 10:55, 11:23, 10:19

Running between 2 mountains, though smallish, this was my favorite section to run.   I slowed a little going uphill but I was fine with that.  I was trying to ignore how warm it was and just keep moving.  The 2:15 pacers passed me- had no idea they were behind me- but I paid very little attention and turned on my music. I walked if I needed a moment and just kept moving.  Another aid station and more water.  I was hydrating with my Beachbody Hydrate in between stations.    We also ran a street I’d never seen before in SLO- well parts of it.  It was pretty.

Mile 7-8 10:20, 11:20 

My legs were feeling good and my breathing was under control.  We had a little downhill before we started what would be the longest climb of the course- not steep just long.  We ran over a timing mat at 7.8 miles and my average pace was 10:37.  I was on track for possibly my strongest half in over a year.  Who knew? We were running through downtown and I always think that’s kind of fun.

Then it went to hell.

Miles 9-10 12:31, 12:57

Something was not right, I was not ok.  It was warm, too warm and I wasn’t handling it well.  My legs started to cramp, my stomach started to cramp, my hands were swelling and I felt like I was going to throw up. I started walking more and more.  I was pissed and just trying to keep the pace. We rounded a corner and I saw a steep, short hill and I let some colorful words fly. 


Then the aid station at mile 9 was out of cups.   Finally in mile 10, I told myself to get my head out of my ass, this wasn’t a PR race, I was using it as training rain; there was no point in killing myself for a finishing time.  I came to a complete stop and tried to stretch out some of the cramping.    Thankfully there was another aid station at mile 10, water!  There were also kids with spray bottles and Iphone be damned, I had them spray water my way.

Miles 11-13 10:43, 11:35, 11:49

A downhill and the water helped me have a slightly faster mile 11 but the there was no going back.  I cramped the rest of the way and felt nauseated the entire time.    I was also letting my anger get to me- why did we start so late?!  Grrr, just keep moving forward.  The men’s marathon winner cruised past me around mile 11.5.    I kept getting water at every station and sprayed down by any kids with bottles.   I was thankful that the aid stations figured out it freakin’ hot and all the later ones had spray bottles and squirt guns.

Under the freeway, up a little a bump and then it was down the path to the finish line.  I got hung up behind a guy and I kind of growled.  I thought I did it quietly- I did not.  I scared him.  I’m sorry!   Somehow in my irritation and readiness to be done, I ran that last .20 ( my watch read 13.2 miles) at a 7:40 pace.   I don’t remember doing that but I was so beyond ready to be done.

Finish- 2:26:09


I was so done.  There was water at the finish line but just little cups.   I didn’t feel dehydrated just hot.  I had water at every station and my entire 25 oz’s of Beachbody while running.     I know I am not acclimated to the heat yet but I just don’t get the later start this year.  Combine that with delayed start and it was recipe for a hot mess.  From what I’ve seen on social media I was not alone in my blow up that day.  The heat and hills got to a lot of people.  I liked the hills!  Well except for the one just after mile 9, that felt like a dirty trick.   I was just grrr about the whole thing.   Still am a bit.  Ok time to move on.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right?

It wasn’t all bad- I chatted with nice guy prior to the start. I chatted with a nice older man around mile 6- his friends told him the race was flat.  😬. A nice guy helped me around mile 8 when I was struggling to get my water bottle back into my pack.  All the volunteers were amazing and I love the enthusiasm of the Grizzlies.  The running community is awesome.  

Half marathon #24 done.

Do you run well in heat?

How do you deal when races go south?