Race Recap: San Diego Craft Classic 

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Craft Classic San Diego race 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!

As stated in my Friday Feels blog, this was my first timing running a race in San Diego.  I, therefore, didn’t really now what to expect when I signed up for the Craft Classic half marathon.  Now that I’ve completed the race, I’m ready for more San Diego races and perhaps a relocation down to Southern California! 😉 

Our first stop upon arriving to San Diego was Road Runner Sports, the location of the race expo. Bib pick up was well organized, quick, and easy. My race swag included a pint glass, a racer back tank top, and a customized bib!


One of the things I was looking forward to about the race was the Green Flash Brewery beer at the finish line!


Since I was on a family vacation with the husband and two kids, they all got to join me at the expo. They enjoyed trying all the Nuun flavors and the Honey Stinger waffle and energy chew samples. 

Earlier in the week, while on Twitter, the Fat to Finish Line gang reached out to me and told me to stop by to say hi at the expo. So, that is just what I did! It was so wonderful to talk about weight loss (since I too have gone from fat to finish line) and Ragnar races. I have yet to do a Ragnar, but it is definitely on my bucket list. 


That evening, I prepared myself for my half marathon (as best as I could since I had recently taken a month off of running). One of the things I do in preparation for a race, is I lay out everything for a #flatrunner picture. 


The next morning, I woke up at 3:30am. My goal was to leave the hotel at 4:15am so I could catch a shuttle to the starting line at about 4:45am. (The shuttles ran from 4:30 – 5:30.) I ended up being right on time, got a front row view on the shuttle, and made it to the starting line with a little over an hour to spare!


I had the pleasure of meeting up with my fellow BibRave Pro ambassador, Mai, at the starting line.


I also got to meet up with some fellow ProCompression ambassadors too! 


In no time at all, it was time to line up at the starting line. There were two waves of runners: the under two hour group and the over two hour group. Maria and I waved goodbye as Mai and the other Pro ambassadors started in wave one. A little less than 1.5 years ago, I earned my half marathon PR of 1:52:32. I will get back there someday, but today was not the day. 

 

Maria and I ran together for the first couple of miles and then I began my walk/run intervals for the remainder of the course. Taking a month off of running really takes a toll on one’s ability to run. 😂 

The aid station at mile 3 was probably one of my favorites since they had popsicles! Yes, popsicles at 7am when you’re hot and sweaty are the BEST!


From that point on, the race was fairly uneventful. I had the 2:30 pacer come up behind me at about mile 6 and two thoughts came through my mind, “Ugh! Am I really that slow?! Hmmm… can I keep up with him?” Sadly, yes, I really was running that slowly and no, I was not able to keep up with him. Don’t be fooled by the smile on my face… yes, I was having fun, but my body was revolting against me! Side note: way to go 2:30 pacers! 


The next notable event happened sometime between miles 9 – 10. This is where we approached a monstrous hill. It was steep and long. This hill even has its own split on the race results! It’s the King of the Mountain split. The hill may not look that scary in the picture, but it was a beast! 


Slowly, but surely I finally made it to the finish line! I stocked up on some Honey Stinger waffles, filled up my water bottle, and made my way to the Green Flash beer garden. 


I walked around and took a few more pictures before heading back to the hotel. 


Interested in seeing more of the Craft Classic San Diego course? Be sure to check out my Craft Classic San Diego 2017 video! While you’re at it, please also subscribe to my YouTube channel by clicking SUBSCRIBE. 

Overall, I’d highly recommend the Craft Classic San Diego race! You can read my full race review at BibRave.com and while you’re at it, read other reviews and/or write your own race reviews! 


Until next time,

A Different Kind of Race Recap

Why is this a different kind of race recap?  It’s because I wasn’t a runner during last night’s Davis Moonlight run.  Instead, I was a volunteer.  The best part about it all was that I had a BLAST!

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The evening started with Kelly picking me up at my house. The race was about an hour away.  We made it to the starting location with about an hour to spare.  Kelly needed to pick up her bib and I needed to check in to the volunteer tent.  She dawned her race bib and I, my bright neon vest.

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A race organizer quickly gathered myself and two other volunteers as he told us, “Follow me,” and made his way quickly down the bike path.  He told me my station was to tell the 10k runners to go right and the 10 mile / half marathoners to go straight. First, however, I was to stand about 100 yards from the finish line to help direct the kids to the finish line of the kids race.  It was so much fun to get to cheer all of the kids on as they bravely made their way to the finish!

Soon, it was back to my other post where I’d be for the next 2.5 hours!

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I was really surprised by the number of people who stopped to ask me race course questions.  Even though I ran this race last year, I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t really remember the course that much.  Not to mention, I am not familiar with the area.  People were asking me questions such as, “Do the runners run all the way down to Target?  Which direction is 5th street?  Where else can I cheer on the half marathoners?”  I did not have a course map on me and proved to not be very helpful with bystanders’ questions.

For the runners, however, I think I did a pretty good job of directing the blue colored bibs (10k runners) to the right and the red colored bibs (10 milers) / green colored bibs (half marathon runners) straight.  All of the aforementioned runners actually ran past me twice.  First, they ran south of me and then they ran north.  The first run by, Kelly captured this picture of me (be sure to pay close attention to the size of the 10k turn-off sign)…

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I captured these pictures of Kelly and Rachel as they ran past the first time.  I was very proud of them for braving the 100 degree heat!

While waiting for the runners to pass me for a second time, I enjoyed talking to some bystanders around me.  One gentleman walked up holding a delicious-looking piece of pizza.  My volunteer shift was from 6:30 – 9:30pm and I had not eaten dinner.  (Yes, not very smart on my part.)  With a salivating mouth I asked, “Where did you get that pizza?”  He pointed to a tent that was set up at the finish line about 150 yards away.  There were two teenage girls standing nearby.  I pulled out some cash and asked the girls if they’d be willing to go buy me a piece of pizza.  Fortunately, they obliged.  (I pulled off the pepperoni and enjoyed every last, delicious bite!)

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Not too long after enjoying my $5 piece of pizza, the first place 10k finisher came whizzing past as he made his way to the finish line.

I was very blessed to have been placed in a location with shade.  I brought two water bottles, sunscreen, bug spray, a hat, a fan, and a spray bottle in preparation for the worst.  Fortunately, I didn’t need the fan at all since I was both in the shade and there was a breeze all evening long.  As the runners came past me for the second time, I decided to mist them.  Most runners were quite ecstatic and profusely thanked me.

Overall, I had a fantastic experience volunteering at the Davis Moonlight run.  There was one runner though who totally left an unpleasant taste in my mouth.  Remember when I told you to pay attention to the size of the 10k sign I was standing near?  Well, there was a 10k runner who somehow missed the turn-off, ran past me, and then came back my direction to make the correct turn.  As she did so, she proceeded to point to me while yelling, “Bad job!  I missed the turn!  Bad job!”

I was so taken aback by this woman for many reasons.  1) As a fellow runner, if I miss a huge, obvious turn off sign, I will laugh it off and place the blame on myself, not someone else.  2) She thought it was okay to point a finger at me and tell me I was doing a bad job. 3) How could she miss the turn off sign AND me pointing while telling all of the runners, “10k to the right”?  4) She was not vying for first place.  She was a middle-of-the-pack runner.

Sure, she was probably embarrassed, but that’s never an okay reason to place the blame on someone else for your own error.  What I learned from this woman was that words hurt.  Lift others up and never berate a race volunteer.

As I look back on this experience, I will choose to remember the positive.  I will remember my hands hurting from clapping so much as I cheered all the runners on.  I will remember the many runners who thanked me for volunteering, for my smiles, and for my misting.  I will remember the high fives and all of the inspiring runners I saw out on the course.

What are the phrases you enjoy volunteers shouting out to you during a run?  Have you ever volunteered at a race?  If so, what was your experience?  

Until next time,

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Race Recap: Utah Valley Marathon

This was my first time running in Utah and therefore was my first time running the Utah Valley Marathon. “Why did you pick this out-of-state race?” you may be asking. Well, I entered Michelle’s giveaway on her blog runningwithattitude.com and I won! After finding a $170 roundtrip flight to Utah, I was in!

I knew that it would be tight squeeze to catch my flight on Friday since this day also happened to be the last day of school.  Fortunately, students were dismissed at noon which gave me the time I needed to make my 1:50pm flight.  I, in fact, had enough time at the airport to enjoy a mushroom pizza and finish my final assignment for an online class I was taking through UC San Diego extension. (Does anyone else take a picture of where they have parked their car so they won’t forget?)

My flight to Utah was short, sweet, and uneventful.  Since it was such a short trip, I had just a carry on and my purse.  This allowed for quick exit once I arrived to Salt Lake City.  I picked up my rental car and made my way to the Utah Valley Marathon expo.  Sadly, my rental car smelled so strongly of cigarette smoke, that I had to stop and purchase an air freshener to help mask the stench.

Due to traffic, it took me a little over an hour to get to the Utah Valley Marathon expo in downtown Provo.  Once I arrived to the Utah Valley Convention Center, it was easy to locate the expo and pick up my bib & race packet.  This was the Utah Valley Marathon’s 10th anniversary and because of that each participant received a race jacket instead of a Tshirt. I still wanted a Tshirt to go along with my jacket, so I bought one at the expo. Speaking of the expo, it was organized, well stocked with great vendors, and had a great line up of speakers!

After leaving the expo, I enjoyed the views surrounding Provo, found a local vegan Mexican restaurant, and checked into my hotel.  My hotel wasn’t anything to rave about, but what do I expect when I book one of the cheapest hotels I can find?  The room looked as though it hadn’t been cleaned (there was still a towel hanging up in the bathroom) and the room felt as though it was 90 degrees!  I ran the window air conditioning unit all night, but it seemed to have little effect on the overall temperature of the room.

I could not get over how majestic the surrounding mountains looked!  I too live fairly close to the mountains in the Sacramento Valley, but not quite as close as Provo’s mountains. As I looked at the mountains I had the revelation, “I’m going to be running those mountains!”

I laid out my race gear, a pre-race routine, and tried to get some sleep since I knew my alarm was set for 2:30am. Yikes!

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The Utah Valley Marathon is a point to point course. Participants load up on buses that take them to the starting line. The bus service begins at 3am and the last bus leaves at 4:15am. I ended up getting on a bus at about 3:30am. I packed up all of my stuff and checked out of the hotel at about 3:15am.  As I took the following picture, my thought was, “Wow!  It’s early!”

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It took about 45 minutes to arrive to the starting line. Once at the starting line, I was delighted to see fire pits in an open field to huddle around to stay warm. There were probably a total of 20 fire pits scattered around an open field and there were volunteers who walked around to make sure everyone’s fires were still lit.


If you’re thinking about doing the Utah Valley Marathon, I recommend taking something warm to wear and/or wrap yourself in at the starting line to help you stay warm. I took a blanket with me to the starting line and was glad I did. At about 15 minutes until the race started, I shoved my blanket in my drop bag and handed it over to a race volunteer. (Yes, it was 48 degrees when I arrived to the starting line at 4:16am and it dropped to 39 degrees at 5:36am when the sun starting rising!)


Before I knew it, it was time for the race to start.  I lined up near the 5:30 fellow Beast Pacer because I knew that with the elevation lack of training, I’d be running pretty slow.  I, however, had no idea how slow I’d actually be going.  Right from the start my stomach didn’t feel right and I was having difficult catching my breath.  I checked my heart-rate on my Garmin Forerunner 235 and it wasn’t too terribly high.  I just couldn’t catch my breath.  At mile 4, I stopped to use the restroom, and again at mile 7, and again at mile 13.  I didn’t mind, however, because I was there to enjoy the views and have fun!

As for the course, it was probably one of the most scenic races I’ve ever ran! Bodies of water (including a waterfall), greenery, mountains, rock faces, etc. With such a wide variety of views, there’s bound to be an elevation change! The race started about about 6,200 ft. and ended at about 4,200 ft. My home is located at 60 ft. above sea level. To say that I was not trained to be running at elevation would be an understatement. Next time, I will train more and get some training in at a higher elevation.


Throughout the course, there were plenty of porta-potties, Cliff gels, water, Powerade, and enthusiastic volunteers. There were even frozen Otter Pops at about mile 24. That was the best tasting Otter Pop EVER!

One of many highlights of the course was meeting fellow Pro Compression ambassadors Stephanie and Holly at one of the final aid stations.  All three of us were wearing the June sock of the month.

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The Utah Valley Marathon’s finish line was one of the best I’ve seen. It was in the middle of University Ave., there were many people cheering, and there were Jamba Juice smoothies waiting for us once we crossed the finish line!  Fortunately, I had some cash in my Nathan hydration bottle because there were cinnamon rolls for sale at the finish line. #irunforcinnamonrolls


Overall, I’d highly recommend the Utah Valley Marathon. Hmm… I may even have to go back and run the race again sometime.  This race was extra special to me, as I mentioned on my Instagram post because it is the end of my running for a while. I’ll still be moving my body and exercising, but I’ve been ordered to not participate in any high impact workouts until further notice. The #utahvalleymarathon was my third full marathon for 2017 and my 15th lifetime marathon. It was an amazing, sole-filling, whirlwind of a weekend, but so worth it!

Do you have any upcoming races that you’re excited about?  If you’re looking for a race to sign up for, be sure to check out my discount page for codes to use for Rock ‘n’ Roll races, wine country half marathons, Rock ‘n’ Roll races, and more!

Check out my Utah Valley Marathon race review and others at BibRave.com

Find me on the socials: InstagramTwitter / Facebook / YouTube 

Be sure to “subscribe” to my YouTube channel so that you don’t miss out!

Until next time,

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Race Recap: Women’s Fitness Festival 

This was my third time running the Women’s Fitness Festival, but probably my favorite one yet! My first time was in 2013.


At this time, there was a half marathon option. I, and my friend Melissa, met up and ran the half marathon together. I remember the race being hot. Although we enjoyed each other’s company, we both did not have a fantastic race that day. My second time running the Women’s Fitness Festival was last year and I did the 10k. It was fun and I loved getting to meet Deena Kastor, but it was a little lonely doing the race on my own.

This year, I did the 10k and was certainly not alone. Somehow, I managed to have 7 of my girlfriends there to participate in the event with me. And I loved every moment of it!


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Race Recap: Rina’s Run Half Marathon

May 13th, Mother’s Day weekend was my third weekend in a row to race (or pace). This time I was pacing the 10th Annual Rina’s Run.  After a busy Friday evening at a work related event, I got home and set my alarm for 2:55 AM.


Because I was waking up so early, I decided to sleep in another room so that my husband could sleep in. After getting up, taking a shower, and getting ready I finally left the house at about 3:40 AM. According to GPS, it was going to take me about an hour and 40 minutes to get to Ripon High School. I knew that would give me a few minutes to stop and get a coffee along the way. My favorite place to stop for coffee is Starbucks. Unfortunately, Starbucks was not open because it was still too early in the morning.

After driving in the dark for an hour, I was in desperate need of some coffee and so I finally found a McDonald’s that was open to get coffee and some breakfast.

I arrived to Ripon high school at 5:30 AM to pick up my bib and to meet my fellow Pacers at 5:45 AM near the starting line. After picking up my bib and goodie bag (which check out the awesome goodie bag) I really needed to use the bathroom! I asked where the nearest restrooms were and the ladies pointed to a small building.

I walked over to the building and found a man trying to open the restrooms. He was unsuccessful in opening the restrooms because he didn’t know which key (out of the million on the key ring) opened the bathroom. At this point I was getting pretty desperate to use the restroom. Fortunately, there were a line of Porta Potties across the football field and so I quickly made my way over there.

At this point it was 5:45 AM and I was supposed to meet my fellow  beast pacers near the starting line. When I walked over to the starting line, there was no one there. It was cold and I needed to put away my goodie bag,, so I headed back to my car.


On the way to the car I texted our pace leader to see where she was at. She said that she was about 10 minutes away so I took my time getting my things ready in my car while appreciating the warmth of my car.

At 6 o’clock I headed back over towards the starting line to meet up with the pacers. I found our pace leader and she asked if I wanted to switch to the 2:45 pacing time from the 3 hour pacing time since the 2:45 pacer wasn’t going to be there. I happily accepted the faster pace time and then found a paper to hand write out my new mile splits. I then went back to my car for a SECOND time to tape on my new mile splits. Note to self: always bring extra tape.

At 6:30 am we gathered for a group picture, I made one more trip to the bathroom, and then we lined up in our corrals to start the race.

Lining up in the corral and getting to meet new runners is one of my favorite parts to pacing a race. I like to try to ease their nerves because perhaps they are first-time half marathoners or I have those who are trying to go for a PR. This is also a good time to talk about my strategy and how I’m going to get us to the correct finishing time.

Before I knew it, we were off and running. One of the tricks to racing is not starting out too fast. It’s very easy to do because at the start you feel great! Running slow at first may not sound difficult but it can be quite difficult. At the 1st mile marker I was already 15 seconds ahead of pace my average pace per mile of 12:35. By mile 2, that doubled to 30 seconds. I was going to try an interval strategy where I’d run one minute walk two minutes, but since I didn’t really know the how that would work for timing, I decided just to keep with running slowly.


From the start to mile eight, I had two girls behind me. One of the rules as a pacer is that we are not supposed to listen to any music. We’re supposed to be there for encouragement and to give updates to those around us. Since I didn’t have anyone running next to me and talking to me, the two girls who ran behind me for 8 miles provided me some entertainment. I didn’t really mean to eavesdrop into the conversation, but it was very difficult to not listen. I finally told them that I was listening in on their conversation at about mile seven. They laughed and said it was fine. I was sad when they started walking at mile eight because that meant that I was losing my entertainment. I tried to get them to keep a running slowly with me, but neither one of them had trained for this half marathon and I could tell that they were done.

For the next 5 miles I basically ran on my own. There were two ladies ahead of me that I tried to pass at one point but the one woman said, “Oh no! Please don’t pass us!” I laughed and replied, “Ok. I will stay behind you.”

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From mile 8 until mile 10.5, I stayed behind them until they began to slow down. During the final few miles I took selfies, took in the sights, and appreciated the signs on the road.  When I passed by aid stations they would laugh and say, “I think you lost your group.”

I smiled, looked around me, and replied, “They’ll catch up.”  Sadly, that never happened.

On the bright side, however, I came in at my assigned time!  Even with changing times at the last minute, I was able to stick with my pace and finish with a gun time of 2:44:38!  As a 2:45 pacer, it is acceptable to finish between 2:44:00 – 2:44:59.  I took some finish line pictures, grabbed some post-race grub, and headed to the car.

After making a quick detour to Starbucks to finally get my venti iced coffee and to change into some dry, clean clothes, I drove to church to catch the tail end of the ladies tea my mom was hosting.  Yes, I most certainly attended the tea with my Pro Compression neon socks!

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Have you ever packed a change of clothes and forgotten something important?  I’d love to hear about it!
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