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,

Review: Healthy, Quick, and Delicious Luvo Meals

Disclaimer: I received Luvo Meals to review 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 a full time teacher, wife, mom of two, and runner/blogger, I am often on the lookout for quick and nutritious meals.  I and my colleagues often pack frozen meals to heat up and eat during our lunch break. When I was offered the opportunity to try a new brand of frozen meals, I said, “Yes, please!”  I was quite stoked when my package of 10 Luvo free meal coupons arrived!


Prior to accepting the offer to try and review the Luvo meals, I went to the Luvo website to see which of my local stores sold Luvo products and to also see if they had vegetarian meal options. (Check out my journey towards becoming a no-meat athlete HERE.)  I was pleased to find that several stores in my area sell Luvo meals AND Luvo has many vegetarian options. 

Here’s what I found when I headed out to purchase my Luvo meals:

Safeway – $4.99

Whole Foods – $5.99 with a $1.00 off coupon taped to the box

Walmart – $4.42

Bel-Air – regularly priced $5.99 on sale for $4.99

Raley’s – regularly priced $5.99 on sale for $4.99


Nugget Market – $5.99

Sadly, when I traveled to six stores within a 40 mile radius to my house, I did not find any vegetarian meals. I still purchased a few meals, however, since the rest of my family are not vegetarians. The first meal I prepared for my husband was turkey meatloaf and mashed potatoes.  

The first thing that surprised me about the Luvo meal was that it was “steamazing”. It steams perfectly in the paper pouch. There’s no puncturing, no mess, and it slides out easily when it’s done cooking! My husband’s first comment after tasting his meal was, “It tastes homemade.” 


After trying hard to find some local vegetarian Luvo meal options, I contacted BibRave to let them know I wasn’t able to find any. They ended up contacting Luvo. Luvo was kind enough to send me not one, not two, but eight vegetarian meals to try! So awesome!


The first meal I decided to try was the  quinoa and vegetable enchilada meal. Again, it steamed nicely in the pouch, and tasted great! If I could only eat one type of food for the rest of my life, it’d be Mexican food. Seriously, I am always in the mood for Mexican food! This quinoa and vegetable enchilada meal not only helped to give me my Mexican food fix, but it also had a little spice to it which made my taste buds dance!


As I began to do some more research in the Luvo brand, one thing that caputured my attention was their 3-2-none promise. The three things they focus on are: fruits and veggies, whole grains, and quality proteins. The two things they limit are sodium and added sugar. None. The things they leave out entirely are artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners. (Read more at http://luvoinc.com/blog/fighting-obesity-basic-nutrition/


One of my fellow BibRave PROs, Lindsey, posted that her favorite meal was the steel cut oatmeal meal, so that was my next meal to try. Oatmeal is not a food that I eat vey often. This Luvo meal, however, tasted so good that I think I could eat this every morning for breakfast and not grow tired of it! (As you can see from the pic collage below, it smelled so good that I didn’t even take a before pic. I only got the after pic.)



I recently spent an entire day eating only Luvo meals! I ate a steel cut oatmeal for breakfast, a so cal kale and bean bowl for lunch, and a quinoa and vegetable enchilada for dinner. I felt full, energized, and even ran 3.1 miles that evening for the first time in a month! 

Overall, I’d recommend Luvo meals if you’re looking for a quick and nutritious meal option. The only con I’d comment on is the lack of variety found in my local stores. Perhaps it’s due to brand being fairly new in the market? Perhaps it’s my area? Not sure, but what I am sure about is it’s true… Luvo meals are healthy, quick, and delicious! 

What are you favorite healthy, quick, and delicious meals? Have you tried Luvo meals before? Have you seen them at your local grocery store? 

Until next time,

Friday Feels

Happy Friday friends! This week has felt like one ginormous roller coaster ride and I don’t know about you, but I am ready for the weekend! I’m so stoked because on Sunday, I am running the Craft Classic half marathon in sunny San Diego! This is actually the first Craft Classic race of 2017 in their Craft Classic series. 


Here are the races in the series:

Craft Classic San Diego – July 16, 2017

Craft Classic Atlanta – September 9, 2017

Craft Classic Seattle – September 10, 2017

Craft Classic Phoenix – October 15, 2017

It’s not too late to join in on the Craft Classic fun! When you register, use code BIBRAVEHALF for $10 off the half and BIBRAVE5k for $5 off the 5k. (Looking for other race & product discounts? Check out my discount page at https://runstrongrun.com/discounts/)

I’m actually writing this blog post while in the car with the hubby and two kids. We’re headed out for a week long vacation. Yes, I was able to slyly sneak in a race while on family vacation. 😉

Here are a few reasons why I’m looking forward to the Craft Classic half marathon on Sunday:

  • This will be my first time running a race in beautiful San Diego
  • Race giveaways for all participants include a commemorative event shirt and beer glass, special finisher’s medal, a free beer at Green Flash and free race photos (who doesn’t love FREE?!)
  • This is my first official BibRave race. I’m looking forward to proudly wearing my BibRave gear. 

As for my training leading up this race? That’s a whole other story! If you’ve been following me on Insta, Twitter, or Facebook, then you know that I just started running again three days ago after taking a month off of running (not due to personal choice nor an injury). My last race was the Utah Valley Marathon on June 10th. I definitely am not feeling prepared, for Sunday’s half marathon, but two things I am sure of:

  1. I will finish. 
  2. I will have fun!

Are you running one of the Craft Classic races or have you run them in the past? Have you ever gone into a race feeling unprepared? If so, how did you cope?

Until next time,

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!

Review: Brilliant Reflective

Disclaimer: I received two packages of Brilliant Reflective to review 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!
We’ve all been there before.  We’re out for a late night / early morning run or bike ride and what’s on the forefront of our mind?  Watching out for oncoming traffic.  Sure, I try and wear bright colors and also take my headlamp, but sometimes it feels like I need more.
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Photo source: https://www.brilliantreflective.com/pages/brilliant-reflective-for-runners

When I first heard about Brilliant Reflective I was so excited to try it out because I want to be seen!  (If you’ve ever seen my bright neon Asics, you totally know what I mean.)  I was lucky enough to receive not one product, but two; one iron-on reflective strip package as well as a stick-on reflective strip package.
Soon after receiving my packages, I grabbed my 12 year old son and together we went outside to add some reflective strips to our bicycles and helmets.  I was amazed by how easy the reflective strips stuck to different surfaces of our bikes and helmets.
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We then took our newly decked out bikes up to the levee located not too far from our house.  We stopped and I set up my camera.  I told my 12 year old, “Pretend that you like me” and this is what he did.  (Yes, he’s a keeper.)
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Here’s a few key facts about Brilliant:
  • Brilliant is a new start-up with a mission to reduce automobile based injuries to runners, bikers, walkers, children, and outdoor enthusiasts
  • Brilliant comes in four different colors: red, blue, purple, and black
  • The stick-on product is semi-permanent which means they can be taken off in the future if needed
  • The reflective strips can be cut and applied anywhere: shoes, apparel, and equipment!

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You may be thinking, “Why do I need these reflective strips when many of my running / athletic clothes, shoes, and equipment already have reflective pieces on them”  Well, did you know that there’s actually four types of reflective material?  As stated on Brilliant’s website, there’s:

1. Cosmetic – No Visibility at 10 – 50 feet (most casual apparel)

2. Low Brightness – Low Visibility at 100 feet (typical running/cycling gear)

3. Medium Brightness – Moderate Visibility at 100 – 300 feet (running/cycling vest)

4. High Brightness – Significant Visibility at 300+ meters (Brilliant Reflective Strips)

Still not convinced?  Here’s what other BibRave Pros had to say about Brilliant Reflective:
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Purchase your own Brilliant Reflective strips by visiting bit.ly/BRforRunners.  Be sure to use code BRP35 to save 35%!
Find Brilliant Reflective on the socials:
How do you stay visible while outside late at night or early in the morning?  Where could you add some Brilliant Reflective strips to your shoes, apparel, or equipment?
Stay visible,
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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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