Scoring sweet swag, reviewing awesome products and living the rad mom life.

Maybe you’re a wine connoisseur or maybe you’re a wine newbie, either way…at some point you may be interested in attending a wine tasting.  And if you’re like me, you might be a little bit clueless about wine tasting and what to expect.  Earlier this year,  I had the pleasure of going on a wine tasting tour in Temecula, CA with a group of friends.  I was a little nervous at first because I don’t know a whole lot about wine, but it turned out to be a wonderful and memorable experience!  Here’s a little bit about my trip to wine country and maybe it will help you get a better idea for what to expect on your future wine tasting!

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The first perk of this trip was that our group was able to take a Limo Bus to Temecula from San Diego courtesy of First Command Financial, Inc.  If you’re going with a group,  I highly recommend taking a bus, taxi, Uber, etc. OR make sure you have a designated driver so that you can enjoy all the wine you want without worrying about the logistics of getting home.  Bottom Line – have a plan, be responsible.  The best part of taking a bus is that you can drink on the way! Yay!  We had mimosas and bagels on the way up (again, courtesy of First Command Financial, Inc.) and it made the trip extra fantastic!

Our first stop was Ponte Winery!

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Wine tasting turned about to be way easier than I imagined!  You just walk in, pay for your tastings, and taste away!  It’s $20 for 6 tastings and you can split these with a friend if you aren’t ready for all 6 (which is what I did since I knew we were going to more wineries).  And if you just wanna come for the atmosphere, you can also order a coffee and check out the beautiful gift shop.  Then you can head outside to enjoy the scenery or grab some lunch at the restaurant! And bonus: you get to keep the glass!

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Next, we headed over to Wilson Creek Winery.  This winery is also $20 for the tasting room and keepsake glass, but again you can split it with a friend.

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Wilson Creek offers a great selection of white and Moscato wines and they are also known for their wine slushies!  Yes, that’s a thing and yes, it’s as amazing as it sounds! 🙂

Another awesome thing about Wilson Creek is that it’s a family friendly winery!  They have a playground for kids, live music, an outside bar, a restaurant, and lots of room for the kids to play and run!  They also had a nice gift shop and plenty of beautiful scenery to enjoy!  We stopped here to eat lunch courtesy of Jersey Mike’s and of course, First Command Financial, Inc.

Wilson Creek turned out to be my favorite winery because they make Almond Champagne and it’s fabulous!  🙂

Our last stop was Callaway Winery and the price is $10-$25 depending on if you want to do a tour with your tasting.

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This seemed like a smaller tasting room than the others, but it also had the most interesting scenery.  They even have wine stations which are like little wine vending machines!

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You can also enjoy a meal at their restaurant or visit their unique gift shop.  The views were especially spectacular…I could have stayed here all day!

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Seriously, all day…

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Overall,  I had an amazing experience visiting wine country!  Even if wine isn’t your jam,  I would recommend going to Temecula just for the atmosphere and breathtaking views.

Not only did I enjoy my wine…I enjoyed my SWAG, too!

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And of course…wine is always better with friends! 😉

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Have you been to a wine tasting?  What was your experience like?  I’d love to hear!

I’m off to review the next event!

~SM

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If you’re looking for a fun event to keep the kiddos busy, then check out the Home Depot Kids Workshop! It’s offered the first Saturday of every month and it’s fun for the whole family!  Here are some things you should know before you go!

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  • It’s FREE! – Yep, Home Depot Kids Workshops are free!  You will want to register at homedepotkidsworkshop.com so that the store can prepare for all of the kids.  But one important thing to note: Registering does not guarantee materials.  It’s possible your local store could run out of the materials for the advertised monthly project, but I’ve heard that they may offer a previous month’s project so that your kids don’t leave empty-handed.

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  • Arrive Early! – The event is held between 9am-12pm or until they run out of supplies.  Also, some stores hold the event indoors while others set it up outside.  My local store held the event outdoors and fortunately we never had any issues with running out of the monthly project regardless of our arrival time. I have, however, seen them run out of paintbrushes and paint but that was closer to the noon timeframe.   So I do recommend arriving early to get a feel for your store and to guarantee that your kids get all of the materials.  Also, dress appropriately in case your store holds the workshop outside as well.

 

  • Be Patient! – Especially with the younger kids!  The workshop is geared for kids around the 5-12 age range, but I’ve seen kids and adults of all ages enjoying the project.  The instructions include step-by-step details with illustrations and the projects are pretty basic so don’t think you have to build an entire house or something.  But the nails can be kind of small and you probably don’t want your two or three-year-old swinging around a hammer, so you will have to do some work if you plan to bring the younger kids.  My 3 (almost 4) year old had fun helping with the building process and then I gave her full creative control with the paint and stickers.  Also, you will be sharing tools and possibly paint/paintbrushes with others at your table so have some patience with the other kids, too!
  • There’s a Facebook Group! –  I mean, there’s a group for everything…right?! 😉 Someone (not Home Depot) created a Facebook group to connect people around the country and so that everyone can share their workshop experiences and finished projects.  And if you are searching for a particular project from a previous month, you can request that someone send you something that you missed.  They usually request that you send money for shipping, but nobody should ever ask you to send money for the project itself.  If you see anyone selling these projects or pins, please report them to the admin.  These projects are free and nobody should be making a profit from it.  And if you’d like to know what exactly you will be creating each month, you can also find the annual calendar along with the bonus holiday events posted within the group.  You can find the group here.

 

  • There’s SWAG! – Every kid receives an apron with their name on it; a unique pin that illustrates the project; and a certificate of completion!  If you forget your apron the next month, don’t worry, they’ll give you another…but it’s fun to see how many pins you can collect on your apron!  I’ve seen some aprons completely covered!

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  • Have Fun! – Most importantly, just have fun…because learning is fun!  Even if you arrive late and they run out of some supplies, just make the best of it!  You’ll enjoy watching your little builders focus on their projects and really showing their creativity!  Join in the fun and get messy too! (Most stores will have wipes on the table.) The employees really enjoy the event too so be sure to thank them for their kindness and positivity!  You’ll create lasting memories with your kids and they’ll love showing off their completed projects to their family and friends!

***Contact your local store to confirm time and availability!

Have you attended a Home Depot Kids Workshop?  What did you think?!

I’m off to review the next event!

~SM

Going Natural

There are lots of natural product lines on the market now, so it can be a little overwhelming to choose the one that fits your preferences.  I’ve tried a few different brands over the last couple of years, but I recently had the chance to try out a few items from the Logic Products line!

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As you can see they offer a broad line of products that benefit the home, kids, and even pets!  To give you an idea as to what sets this line apart from other brands, here are a few facts about their products (via logicproducts.com):

  • Plant and Mineral Derived Formulas
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty Free
  • Pthlalate Free
  • PEG Free
  • TEA Free
  • No Synthetic Dyes
  • No Noxious Fumes
  • No Methylisothiazolinone
  • No Benzisothiazolinone
  • No Petrochemicals
  • No Synthetic fragrances
  • No Phosphates
  • Chlorine Free
  • Bleach Free
  • Recyclable Packaging
  • Made In U.S.A.
  • And more!

Wow, reading this list makes we want to check the labels on some of my other leading brand household products under the sink. Overall, it seems that the goal of Logic Products is too keep the ingredients in their products simple and pure.  I slowly began switching to natural cleaning products when I started having kids.  I worried about them inhaling/absorbing harsh chemicals and of course I didn’t want them ingesting any dangerous cleaning solutions.  But depending on where you live, natural products can be in limited supply and pricing can be a little higher compared to average products.

I found that Logic Products are pretty comparable to other natural brands.  They usually have a good selection of sale products and they offer free shipping for orders over $49!  They also offer a quality guarantee…but this part was a little confusing – You can return “new, unopened items sold and fulfilled by Logic Product Group within 15 days of delivery for a full refund.” But, “new and unopened” would mean that you didn’t get to try out the product so how would you know if you liked it or not? Maybe this applies if you ordered more than product, tried one and wanted to return the rest?  Hmmm…

Anywho, here is what I thought about the products I tried!

Barklogic Wipes ($12.00):  I liked the tangerine smell,  but I don’t think my pets really liked being wiped down. 😉

Totlogic Sunscreen ($16.95): This didn’t really stand out to me compared to other natural sunscreens.

Licelogic Prevention Spray ($16.95): I liked the smell and the concept of this product (especially with little kids), I just had a hard time remembering to take the extra step and actually applying it to my kids’ hair.

Homelogic Dish Soap ($7.95): Loved the scent and it left my hands feeling soft while getting the job done on the dishes.

And my favorite item from this set?!

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Homelogic Hand Soap ($5.95): I really enjoyed the light and refreshing scent!  And the kids loved that it was a foam so they thought it was fun to wash their hands!

I would really like to try more of their products from the Homelogic line, like the Odor Eliminating Spray and the All Purpose Cleaner.  I also would be interested in the shampoo, conditioner, and bubble bath from the Totlogic line.

You can purchase any of their products directly from the website.  You can find the Barklogic products either online or in PetCo stores nationwide.  And you can also Contact Logic Products directly to find the nearest store where their products are sold!

What do you think?  Have you made the switch to natural products yet?!

***Note: I was given free products from Logic Products in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own and no other compensation was provided.

I’m off to review some more products!

~SM

If you have tiny humans that LOVE Paw Patrol then you’ll want to load them up and head to the nearest Roll Patrol Road Tour!  This is different than the PAW Patrol Live! Tour and bonus: It’s free!  So if it’s not in your budget to attend the PAW Patrol Live! Tour then I definitely recommend checking out the Road Tour.  Here’s a little preview of what awaits you and your little PAW Patrollers at the Roll Patrol Road Tour!

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If you want to guarantee an entry into Adventure Bay and save yourself a little time, then preregister your family online.  If not, you may have to wait in a longer line and register on a tablet at the actual event.

You will then be given a wristband and the fun will be begin!

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The kids will love spending oodles of time in this life size and interactive PAW Patroller!  They can spend time in the command center, look out upon Adventure Bay, pose for photo ops, take a spin on the slide, and much more!

They can also pick their favorite PAW Patrol car and pedal along a kid-sized track!

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Then head over to the play table area to try out the newest PAW Patrol toys!

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And have a blast at the kinetic sand table!  I really loved this stuff!

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And keep a lookout for an opportunity to meet your fave PAW Patrol characters!

Every location is a bit different, but at our event: Chase was on the case, Skye took to the sky, and Marshall was all fired up!  You will also receive a free printed photo at your meet and greet to commemorate your day!

So was there any SWAG?!

Well the event was free so it’s kind of swag in itself.  BUT we did get photos and some sweet headwear!

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A couple of things to know:

  • Plenty of staff were on hand to keep things safe and organized.
  • The event is outside so prep for the elements.  It was really hot the day we attended.
  • The event is free – but preregister to guarantee entry!  Also, many of the Roll Patrol events are held within another event.  For example, this event was an attraction within the county fair.  So fair admission prices were still in place.
  • It can get crowded so be prepared!
  • There’s a lot of interaction on the tour, but nothing to actually purchase (i.e. toys).
  • Every location could be a little different, so what you see here may be slightly different than what would be at your event.  Check the event page for more details!

Ready to hit the road?  Check here for the 2017 dates and locations!

And checkout #RollPatrolTour on Instagram to see more pics of last year’s event!

Overall, I really enjoyed the event and my daughter had a blast!  So I would say…mission accomplished!!

Have you experienced the PAW Patrol Roll Patrol Tour?  What did you think?!

I’m off to review the next event!

~SM

 

 

It’s summertime!  Which means it’s time for some family vacations and staycations.  Last summer we stayed at the LEGOLAND hotel in California and it was the most unique hotel I’ve ever experienced!  Combined with the awesomeness of LEGOLAND itself, this is one summer vacation you’ll never forget!  Here are some AWESOME things you should expect during your LEGOLAND hotel adventure!

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Legos!  – Well there’s the obvious…not only does LEGOLAND have lots of Lego building opportunities, so does the hotel!  There’s a pool of Legos when you first walk in the door and lots of Lego displays all throughout the hotel.  There’s even more Lego opportunities in the playhouse that’s also in the lobby!  And stick around because there will be fun performances and even a Lego building contest.  And parents, all of this is conveniently located within a few feet of the hotel bar – which also offers a happy hour. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Dancing! – Next, you’ll find that the LEGOLAND hotel really appreciates dancing!  They offer nightly dancing events just for kiddos (or kids at heart).  It will feel just like a nightclub with a real DJ, strobe lights, and family friendly dancing music!  Your kids can let loose on the dance floor while you sit back with a nice beverage, or of course you could show off your moves, too. 😉   Then hop in the elevator up to your room for another fun disco-dancing experience!

Themed Rooms! – After all that dancing, you’ll want to check out your room.  After all, this is basically the biggest perk of reserving a room here.  When booking your stay, you can choose from a Pirate, Kingdom, Adventure, Ninjago, or Lego Friends themed room.  We chose the Pirate themed room and it did not disappoint!  It included a separate area for the kids with a bunk-bed, TV, and lots of space to play.  And there’s also a queen-sized bed for adults with another TV!  No detail was missed!

Even the fitness center is Lego themed!

Early Entry and Special Parking! – When you check- in you are given a nifty little wristband which grants you entry into the park an hour early.

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You also have access to a special parking lot which is super close to the park entrance and, or course the hotel.  Gaining entry to the park early allows you to beat some of the crowds and get going on the fun!  Here are a few things you can experience while you are at the park…

Duplo Playtown is a great spot for tiny tots and there are lots of rides for younger kids all throughout the park.  Make sure to stop by Miniland to check out the awesome city displays including replicas of the World’s Tallest buildings.  The replica of Manhattan’s One World Trade Center is absolutely amazing so make some time in your trip for a little visit! 😉

You’ll probably get hungry during the day, so there are lots of healthy restaurants throughout the park as well as specials for kids.  I highly recommend picking up a souvenir cup and refilling it during your stay – it will save money in the long run.  You also gotta try the apple fries!  Apples, cinnamon, and whipped cream make for a delicious treat!

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Once you’ve fueled up you can sit and relax during a 4D movie, LEGO friends show, or pose with a LEGO character!

After the shows you could hang out and ride some more rides, or you could head back to your hotel room.  Which brings me to my next point…

The Pool! – The LEGOLAND hotel has an awesome pool so you’ll want to make some time to relax and enjoy it a bit.  They also provide life vests for the kids and towels for all.  Lifeguards are on duty and they do a good job of keeping everyone safe.  On some evenings, they play a movie that you can enjoy while hanging in the shallow end or lying in a chair.  We went in August and the pool was FREEZING in the evening!  The kids didn’t seem to mind, but I didn’t last very long!  We also had a nice view of the pool from our hotel room!

You’ll most likely be wiped out from the day and you’ll probably hit up your pirate bed pretty early.  But you’ll want to wake up early to get started on the next day’s adventures!

Breakfast! – One of my fave things about this hotel is the breakfast!  Hotel guests can enjoy a free breakfast buffet and it doesn’t disappoint! A hostess will ask your name to make sure you are a legit guest and then seat you at a table.  You are free to indulge on all of the breakfast goodies while a server ensures you have all the utensils and drinks that you need.  Again, the breakfast is free but you’ll want to leave a tip for your server/busser.

The Aquarium! –  So technically, this isn’t associated with the hotel but I thought it was something I should mention.  Last time we visited LEGOLAND we hit up the water park, but because we spent time at the pool we decided to check out the aquarium.  It’s not very big, but it was kind of nice that it wasn’t super overwhelming and it was the perfect size for my littles.  And they had Legos all throughout the aquarium!

There’s also some extra fun for the kiddos!  They can pick up a Log Book and pencil and document their discoveries at different stations throughout the aquarium.

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After you spend some time under the sea, you can head back to the park to enjoy some more fun or back to your hotel for dancing and swimming.

And don’t forget to bring your minifigures along for the vacation!  You can trade them at various spots all throughout the park.  You can even build your own!

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And we can’t forget about the…

SWAG!! 🙂

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The hotel toiletries are Coconut-Lime Verbena scented and they smell delicious!  The room is also full of snacks, drinks, hot chocolate, and coffee. Score!  And the hotel will give you a badge to celebrate your special occasion.  You can also collect Pop Badges for completing different challenges.  These are different than the occasion badges and you can learn more about those here.

There’s also secret swag hidden in your hotel room.  At check-in you are given a scavenger hunt sheet and your room contains a safe that requires a special code.  Complete your scavenger hunt to find the code and unlock your safe!  I won’t ruin the surprise for some of you…but if you are curious as to what’s inside the box, shoot me an email and I’ll send you a pic. 😉  Plus you may get a coupon for a free picture book from Shutterfly!  I took advantage and received my free book!  So it’s legit you just pay a few dollars for shipping!

Pricing: Since it was the summer, we paid around $250 for a one-night stay.  The rates are little bit lower during the off-months.  They also offer a military discount, but we found that booking online was cheaper.  Keep in mind, this is not a normal hotel stay so the pricing isn’t all that crazy.  The hotel itself is a unique experience and you will spend a lot of your time enjoying the amenities.  The price also included an internet and parking fee.  Be sure to check the website for vacation package deals and learn how to save if you bundle with admission tickets.

So bring the fam, sunscreen, and plenty of water and come enjoy the place where EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!

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I’m off to review the next adventure! 🙂

~SM

Have you stayed at the LEGOLAND hotel?  What did you think?!

Disclaimer: I received a free set of Brilliant Reflective Strips 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!

Running and biking are fun, but they can also be dangerous…especially if you are doing either one in the mornings or evenings.  I always try to be vigilant, stay aware of my surroundings and wear proper gear when I’m running and/or biking…even more so when I have the kiddos tagging along.  So I was really stoked to hear about the Brilliant Reflective Strips!

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They are little strips that can either stick-on or iron-on to your gear and clothes.  You can also choose between a few different colors!  I chose purple cause it’s my fave color. 😉

I wasn’t sure what to expect with these guys.  When you pull them out, it just looks like big pieces of colored tape.  So I didn’t think they could really do a whole lot.

Well I was wrong!

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They lit up my BoB like a Christmas Tree! 🙂  *Full Disclosure: the two shiny spots on the very top of the stroller are part of the stroller itself.  But everything else is all the Brilliant Strips!

I also added them to my kiddos’ bikes!

I couldn’t believe at how bright these strips were!  Even though we don’t typically ride bikes early in the mornings or in the evenings, we have lost track of time a few times and headed home during dusk.  I really liked having the strips on the kids’ bikes and helmets for added safety and peace of mind.

Then I headed for the trails! 🙂

The trails are great for running because you don’t have to worry about getting hit by a car.  However, while running or hiking alone is peaceful and refreshing…it also means that your safety is at a higher risk.  The Brilliant Reflective Strips could literally be a lifesaver in the event that you get lost or injured.  Most rescue groups would be searching for you with a flashlight or spotlight so they would find you much more quickly if your clothes/shoes are lighting up within the brush.

So during the time of testing out the Brilliant Reflective Strips, I moved to Japan. (Say what?!)  Yes, I know, this seems a bit out of nowhere…but have no fear, there will be a follow-up blog post explaining more on that.

Anywho, over here in Japan cars are driven on the left side of the road.  This is something that I am still getting used to as by reflex I want to run on the left side of the road – which would be against traffic in America.  So I’m trying to train myself to run on the right side of the road over here.  Also, while there are sidewalks in most areas, sometimes I am forced to run on the side of the road.  And the roads are pretty narrow here so I’m adjusting to that as well.  In addition, it’s hot as Hades over here so I have run in the evening a couple of times to avoid melting in this summer heat.  I think after living in San Diego for so long I forgot what actual humidity was like.

So I was thankful to have my Brilliant Reflective Strips with me since I’m out here running on the wrong side of the road and whatnot.  Also, manhole covers in Japan are artistically amazing.

And here are a couple of other #seenonmyrun pics just for fun.

I didn’t try out the iron-on strips because I was able to reuse the stick-on strips just fine and I wanted to see how I liked them before I permanently adhered them to anything.

And that was something else that I loved about the strips – you can cut them how you like and reuse them to customize all of your outdoor gear!

Pricing: $14.95 and free shipping

Overall, here is my conclusion about the strips:

Pros:  1. Added safety and increased visibility – The Brilliant Reflective strips allow you to be seen 500 ft. sooner.  (according to brilliantreflective.com)

2. Easy to use – I like that you can easily cut the strips and reuse them for different clothes/gear

3.  Pricing – I think the product is well-priced since it saves you from having to buy all reflective clothing – which can get pretty pricy.  Plus free shipping!

4.  Colors – I like that they come in different colors, especially purple!

Cons:  1.  Quantity: Really my only con is that you are unable to choose the quantity that comes in the package.  Each package comes with 8 strips which I felt wasn’t enough in my case.  I would like to add the strips to my shoes, bikes, helmets, strollers, and clothes.  I think there should be an option to purchase the strips in various amounts – Maybe an option for  4, 8, 16, or 24 strips and offer them at different price points.

Other than that, I really think these strips are a great concept and I hope to see more people using them!  Especially with the combination of distracted driving and people running/biking in the dark. I think the Brilliant Reflective Strips could save lives!  I know I’ll be adding more to my jogging strollers for sure!

Want to try some for yourself?  Head over to bit.ly/BRforRunners and use code “BRP35” save 35%!  They would make a great gift for your active friends and family!  And you may even save their life. 😉

Join me on #Bibchat on Twitter July 11th at 6pm PST for your chance to win some of your own!  See you there!

Check out #BeBrilliant on social media to see other ways people are using these handy little strips!

Sidenote: I’ve been singing “Shiny” from Moana the entire time I’ve been writing this.  Go ahead, look it up and take a listen. 😉

~SM

 

 

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in 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!”
Hopefully you’ve already read my recap on the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego race expo and 5k!  So here we go with my 4th half marathon adventure!
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Parking: Parking was pretty complicated.  The race website listed which roads would be closed off and suggested parking plans, but it was a little hard to follow.  I had a friend pre-pay for parking in the finish line parking garage only to arrive early and sit in a parking line for over an hour.  Then she ended up missing her pre-paid shuttle because of the delay and had to run 1.5 miles uphill to the start line and almost missing the race altogether.  We ended up finding street parking near North Park around 5:30am and walking two miles to the start line.  Basically, all of the streets around the race were shut down by 5 am so if you didn’t arrive by then, you were walking at least 1.5 miles.  Overall, the parking situation was a total mess and really needs to be re-evaluated.
Race Morning: The half and full both began at 6:15am from the same location.  It was more “June Gloom” weather which meant is was overcast and in the 60s.  There were close to 40 corrals and I was in corral 32.  The waves were pretty well organized and were released about every two minutes.  This meant my wave was released around 7:20am.  We arrived to the race area around 6am so I had plenty of time to prepare for the race.  There were lots of porta potties and crazy long lines, but I waited until about 7am to find one so the wait wasn’t too bad by then.  Gear check was simple – it was organized by last name and divided up among UPS trucks that transported the bags to the finish line.  Pre-race also included a water station, info area, and medical tent.
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Miles 1-5: The first 5 miles were a little hilly, but nothing too crazy.  I watched a woman throw up on the 2nd mile and another woman trip and fall pretty hard around the 3rd mile.  A few runners stopped and helped her up and it looked like she kept going.  Then apparently their bad luck rubbed off on me because I rolled my ankle (the same ankle I had rolled a week before) on the 4th mile.  I’m not sure which hurt worse, my ankle or my pride because now I knew I couldn’t PR.  Luckily my friend was also running with borderline pneumonia so she wasn’t planning to PR either and ran with me the rest of the race.  The spectators and crowd support were fantastic though and they even had a bar set up at the 4.5 mile mark!
At this point in the race we had seen a couple of small bands, lots of cheer squads, and some clever signs.
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I even saw my old pal, Forrest Gump! This time he was bouncing a ping-pong on a paddle! 😉
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The 5th mile was the Wear Blue mile and it was quite emotional.  American flags lined the streets along with names and photos of fallen service members.  I knew a couple of the ladies volunteering and holding the flags so it was nice to see some familiar faces during this emotionally tough stretch.

Miles 6-10: This part of the course ran through more small districts and some residential areas.  There were a couple of more bands, water/Gatorade stations, spectators, and plenty of cheerleaders.  The terrain was a little rough since this is a heavy-traffic area – so there were lots of cracks and holes in the roads, not to mention slanted streets.  These are all horrible things for running on a sprained ankle. 😦   Also, the full marathon course started to split off sometime around here so things got a little less crowded.

And I always appreciate a good reference to Da’ Dip 😉

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I even got a fun pic with this guy! 🙂

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Miles 11-13: Despite my injury, I think these miles were the most entertaining. There was a stretch of the course where there weren’t many spectators, but then there were fun drums and more fun people!  They even had signs with inspirational quotes from the participants lining a long stretch of the course.

 

Then came the disco tunnel!  Complete with a DJ!  I was sad that the marathoners didn’t get to experience this part of the course.

Then we started making our way through more of downtown and towards the Waterfront Park.

Finish Line: Yay!  I made it! Injured ankle and all! But the finish line was kind of a mess.  They handed us our medals…followed by water, Gatorade, chocolate milk, and various snacks.  Notice anything missing from that list?  Bags…there were no bags.  On top of having to carry 20 items, we had to walk a block down a hill, through an intersection to the finish line festival.

Not to mention, it was extremely congested.  It was crowded and confusing and gave me a bit of anxiety.  We finally made it down to the festival near Waterfront Park where we had some more room to breathe.  The festival included a medical tent, photo ops, a beer garden, live band, and medal area.  The medal area is where you could pick up any of the extra bling you may have earned.  Since I completed the 5k the prior day, I picked up my Remix Challenge medal!  All I had to do was show my wristband that I received at the expo and it was all mine!  There was also a marathon jacket table for all of the awesome marathon finishers!

I didn’t stay very long for the concert fun because we were pretty tired and my ankle was hurting. We were also a little chilly and were ready to get warm.  So we caught a Lyft back to the car (super easy and quick) and headed home!

So what was the SWAG?!

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Most of it is pretty much the same stuff I received in my 5k swag bag.  The tech shirt is slightly different and my bib was personalized which was nice.  We also got extra snacks at the finish line.  (not pictured: Gatorade, chocolate milk, and banana)  I also didn’t make it to the beer garden this time, but it was Michelob Ultra again and I saw a lot of people in there so I’m sure it was great!  My gear bag also came apart right before the race, so I was a little disappointed in the quality.

You even get cute little digital badges for reaching certain goals!

And of course the sweet medals!  The half marathon and remix medals spin!  Woo hoo!

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Overall thoughts: Things I really liked about Rock ‘n’ Roll: course support, spectators, hydration stations, medical tents along the course and at the finish line, race swag and medals, quick race photos at a decent price, race expo, beer garden, disco tunnel, photo ops, some of the bands including Naruwan Taiko, Forrest Gump, the Wear Blue mile, and running with @thehungryrunner_.

Things that could be improved: Parking, more upbeat bands – the bands were all great, but it would have been nice to hear more energetic music rather than blues types songs during certain points of the run; better quality gear bags – they were essentially grocery bags with strings; offer bags at the finish line; also offer mylar blankets – even though it’s June it was pretty chilly; a lower participant cap – I really think the event was slightly overcrowded and felt like the experience would have been better if it hadn’t been so congested.  Also, San Diego is such a beautiful city…I think the course route could be slightly altered to include some more scenic spots.

Another interesting fact: This was the first half that I ran without headphones!  I wanted to experience the bands and full essence of the race so I skipped personal music this time.  In doing this, I heard a lot of other people’s music in passing and guess what song I heard the most??  “CALL ME MAYBE”!! I actually forgot about this song so I was surprised to learn that this was a lot of people’s power jam.

Also, my D-tag malfunctioned and my time wasn’t recorded.  I’m not sure if it was a glitch or an error on my part.  Regardless, my time was unfavorable due to my injured ankle so it’s probably better that my finish time isn’t etched into the internet. 😉

Would I run this again?  I’m not sure if I would run the San Diego event again, although that could be my injured ankle talking.  However, I would LOVE to run Rock ‘n’ Roll in other cities!  I think it would be amazing to experience this event all around the world and rack up extra medals!  But I’m happy to say that I Rocked and Rolled (literally) in America’s Finest City. 🙂

What do you think about the Rock ‘n’ Roll series?  Which city is your favorite?!

Well I’m off to add Da’ Dip to my playlist. 😉

~SM

 

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