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

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

 

**Disclaimer: I received a free pair of Adidas Ultra Boost X running shoes 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!

Finding the right pair of running shoes is usually quite the challenge for me.  My second toe is longer than my first toe so it can be hard to find the right fit.  From my experience, it seems that Adidas shoes typically work the best…so I was pretty stoked to have the opportunity to try out the new Adidas Ultra Boost X for women.  You can find them in three different color combos: grey/white, all black, or black/glow orange.  I chose the black/glow orange option!

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I was really intrigued by these shoes because they are shaped differently than any other running shoes I’ve ever seen.  The main part of the shoe kind of “hugs” your foot almost like a reinforced sock in order to respond to your stride.  And the outsole is super flexible so that it adjusts to your foot strike.  They are very lightweight and made to wear in wet conditions as well.  Here is a graphic with more info from Adidas:

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I broke mine in by starting with a 2-mile run and then adding mileage over the following weeks.  I was also training for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in San Diego so I was really excited to start building up some mileage in these babies.

Since I live in San Diego, the weather is usually pretty great for running so I didn’t get a chance to test these out in any wet weather conditions.  But I did try them out on the road, track, treadmill, flat, and hilly terrains.  It took a little while to get used to the floating arches and lower cut of the shoe.  But after running a few miles, I finally found a good stride in them.  I really enjoyed running with them on the treadmill and the track.  It almost felt like running on a cloud!

If you’ve kept up with any of my previous posts, then you know I sprained my ankle during one of my training runs. 😦  But no worries, because it gave me the opportunity to try my Ultra Boost X shoes out with some cross-training, like kettlebell squat thrusts and biking!

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And I even got to hang out in them with a nice view and cute little friends. 😉

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Then Rock ‘n’ Roll weekend came along and I got to really put them to the test!  The 5k course consisted of nicely paved streets with a few hills.  I took it easy and kept an 11-minute-pace due to my ankle recovery and the fact that I was also running a half marathon the very next day…so I didn’t want to get injured further or totally wipe myself out.  I even saw another girl wearing the very same Adidas Ultra Boost X shoes on the course!  I wanted to ask her how she liked them, but I figured she wasn’t up to doing a shoe interview during a race. 🙂  At the end of the race, my feet felt great and my ankle didn’t really bother me much. Yay!

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Then, I went home and rested up for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon.  The race started off well, until the 4th mile when I rolled my same ankle AGAIN! Ahhh…it was a physically and mentally difficult moment…but I pulled myself together and managed to walk/jog the rest of the race.  Besides my injury, the shoes felt great throughout the run for the most part.  When I got home and took my shoes off, I noticed I had a small blister where the shoe was rubbing on the top of my non-injured foot.  This could have been because my other foot was overcompensating for my injured foot or I just had the shoes tied a little too tight.

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My overall opinion is that I really liked these shoes!  I’m already partial to Adidas so I may be a bit biased, but I think they work well with my feet.  I think for these shoes in particular, I would wear them for shorter distances – 10k and under. And I would definitely wear them for track workouts and speed work on the treadmill.   For my feet (and apparently my weak ankles), I think I need something a bit more supportive and less minimal for longer road runs.

Another thing to consider when trying out this model, is that they are cut pretty low and have a sock-like feel.  So you will probably want to try out a few different brands of socks to find out which ones work best for you.  For me, personally, the Feetures socks worked the best.

If you are interested in trying out a pair for yourself, head to your nearest Dick’s Sporting Goods or you can order them straight from the website.  The come in sizes 6-11 and sorry guys, this model is only available for women.

Pricing: The Adidas Ultra Boost X run about $180 which sounds kind of pricey.  However, I consider the right pair of running shoes an investment.  If you are in the wrong pair, it can really mess up your feet, legs, hips, etc.  If you are gonna spend extra money on any piece of running gear, I recommend splurging on the shoes.

And don’t forget to stretch!!!  😉

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What do you think of the Adidas Ultra Boost X?  Is this unique design something that you would like?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

~SM

A Rockin’ 5k!

I’m still recovering from this weekend’s  Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series  in San Diego, but I am so excited to share my experience from all of the festivities!  The Expo itself was quite the party (see previous post) and that really should have given me an idea as to what was in store for the remainder of the weekend.  I decided to participate in the Remix Challenge – this means you get an extra dope medal if you run the 5k on Saturday and the Half or Full on Sunday.  So here are the deets on the 5k!

Parking: The event was held near Balboa Park, which is a pretty large area – so the website listed which roads would be closed and where a free parking area was located. We figured everyone would park in the advertised free lot so we decided to park near the San Diego Zoo and walk about a mile through Balboa Park to the starting line.  It was actually a nice and relaxing walk plus it was nice to walk through the park before it opened and filled up with tourists.

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Course: The 5k started at 7am and had about 6 or 7 corrals and they were released about every minute or so.  We took our time walking up to the event so we were kind of towards the back.  The announcer was super enthusiastic and getting everyone pumped.  The weather was typical “June Gloom” weather for San Diego.  Cloudy and chilly with a bit of a dampness in the air.  Terrible for hair, but great for running! 😉

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The course was pretty smooth with a couple of rolling hills – honestly the hills felt like speed bumps compared to the La Jolla Half Marathon so they really weren’t that bad.  It felt like a nice relaxing run around the outside of Balboa Park!  The energy was great, lots of fun people and good vibes.  There was even someone dressed like Forrest Gump and juggling footballs.  Everyone kept yelling “Run, Forrest, Run!” as they ran by him.  It was a mix of funny and annoying.  There was also a couple dressed up like a king and a queen.  Their costumes were pretty amazing, I’m not sure how they ran in them.  There were a few groups of spectators along the course and also a water station.

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Finish Line: We were met at the finish line with water, bananas, Cheez-Its??? Why?!, and our race medals!  Then we headed to the beer garden.  Usually at beer gardens, they check your I.D., but the guy at this one checked our timing chips attached to our shoes which had our ages on them.  That was a clever idea and kept the line moving much quicker than waiting for people to pull out their I.D.’s.  I also liked that they were giving out Michelob Ultra rather than craft beer.  I’m probably the only person in San Diego that feels this way, but I just never hopped on the craft beer wagon.  There weren’t really any vendors at the post-race festivities, but there was a medic tent and a live band.  The band was pretty hype….they sang “Push It” by Salt-N-Pepa with heart and passion.  And I appreciated every minute of it. 🙂

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So what was the SWAG?!

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Really the stuff at the top of the photo was from the Expo.  The only they gave out at the 5k was the Cheez-Its.  Never in my years of running have I ever finished a race and thought, “Wow, I wish I had some Cheez-Its.”  But whatevs, someone voted on this and that’s what we got.  The shirt is a pretty cute 20th Anniversary tech shirt and the goodies from the expo were decent.  Then, of course the medal!

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The 5k medal is pretty nice!  It’s a little smaller than the Half/Full marathons and doesn’t spin like they do, but I like the sunglasses with the little scene in them.

Also, for some reason my timing chip didn’t register correctly.  I’m not sure if I had it fastened incorrectly or there was a glitch.  I did email them and they are looking into fixing my time.

Overall, I really enjoyed this race!  I thought it was fun and I liked the course and the medal.  It is a bit pricey for a 5k – I paid around $50, but if you register early you can get a better deal.  I was a little disappointed that they didn’t do more to commemorate the 20th Anniversary, but overall I thought it was a well-organized race.  I definitely would recommend signing up early to save money and to carpool the day of the race to make parking easier.  Also give yourself extra time in the morning in case you have to walk a bit to the start line.  I loved the medal and the beer and I would totally do this event again!

Check back later this week for my review of the half marathon! 😉

~SM

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. I paid for my own entry into the Rock ‘n’ Roll 5k. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

 

 

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon 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 can’t believe the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series in San Diego is finally here!  I have been waiting patiently (or not so patiently) for this awesome weekend!  So before I get into the Expo highlights (there was a parade involved), I’ll fill you in on what’s happened since my last Rock ‘n’ Roll post.  Here are a few highlights!
I met MEB (again)!  Road Runner Sports held a “Rock ‘n’ Roll hype night” last month to get us all stoked for #RNRSanDiego.  Meb spoke some runspiration into all of us, we got to check out the RNR medals, and we had the chance to win some prizes!  Sadly I didn’t win anything, but I did get another photo op with my old pal, Meb Keflezighi. 😉

 

I took to the lake!  I really enjoy doing training runs around the lakes in San Diego because I don’t have to worry about getting hit by a car and they include stroller friendly paths.  Also, ducks. 🙂
I scored FREE Lululemon!  The #morethanmilestour made its way to San Diego and I took advantage!  Basically you wait in line (length of time depends on location), pick out some shorts, pants, or a shirt to wear.  Try it on in their pop-up fitting room and run on a treadmill for 2 minutes – yep, exactly 2 minutes – you watch a video while you run.   You also may receive some free healthy samples while you’re waiting in line and might even do a sample strength routine led by an instructor.  And that’s it!  You get to keep the gear you try!  I scored a free pair of running shorts and they are sweet!  Check out #morethanmilestour and #thetesttruck on social media or visit the Lululemon website to find out if #thetesttruck is coming to a city near you.  The employees were super nice and the treadmill is glorious!
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Then, disaster struck 😦 During one of my surge runs, I rolled my ankle on a slanted driveway in my neighborhood (should’ve stuck to the lakes that I’m used to).  I hope you sung that TLC style.  Anywho, I had to R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate); however, I did rack up some miles on the stationary bike to keep up my cardio.
And as far as nutrition goes, I’ve been fueling up on oatmeal, sweet potatoes, bananas, peanut butter, veggies, eggs, and chicken breasts!  Love this gluten-free spicy coating from Aleia’s!
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So that brings us to Rock ‘n’ Roll weekend!  The expo was held yesterday and today.  I went yesterday because I participated in the 5k this morning.  The expo is held at the San Diego Convention Center.  The good thing about this is that it’s a HUGE space so lots of room for plenty of vendors.  The bad thing about this is that it’s downtown, which means – parking $$$$ boooo.  Parking at the Convention Center is convenient, but will cost you $15.  You’re good for the whole day though so essentially you could park here, hit the expo, and then go sightsee around downtown.  I had my daughter with me so I was just going to hit the expo and leave.  I parked at the Convention Center, but the parking meter thing was broke sooooo I parked for free.  There’s also some handy public transportation options available.
I arrived around 3pm which meant I just missed an appearance from Meb – good think I saw him last month!  It wasn’t overly crowded and there were tons of volunteers directing traffic and keeping things orderly.
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First, I grabbed my bibs, shirts, and gear check bag.  Then I let my daughter take some pics with overly sized props and we headed into the merchandise section.  They have a HUGE area dedicated to Brooks running shoes and then a big area of Rock ‘n’ Roll merchandise.  Then we headed into the vendor area to score some samples and SWAG!
This place was happenin’ to say the least.  It felt like a big party!  There was a DJ, photo booths, and even a parade with confetti, balloons, and glitter!  My daughter and I actually made it into the parade video.  Blink and you’ll miss us, but we were there livin’ it up!
I also liked that the café was open so you could snag lunch and drinks while you’re checking out all of the vendors!  And my favorite thing about the expo was that they had a gaming area complete with a giant Jenga set and Connect Four game!  This is a great idea especially for parents who have to bring along the littles.  Also, I’m sure adults enjoyed this, too. 😉
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Overall,  I felt like the expo really delivered!  Everyone was super nice and generous with samples and coupons.  I wished I had time to get taped from one of the tape booths, but maybe next time!  The only negative I will say is that there was only one way into the expo and one way out.  And they were pretty strict about this.  I’m sure it’s to keep everything orderly and safe.  I was just annoyed that I had to walk all the way across the expo hall to get to the exit.  It also looked like everyone really enjoyed themselves as well!

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Stay tuned next week for my review on the 5k, the half marathon, and of course, the SWAG!  And if you aren’t running in the event tomorrow, come out and party with the bands and cheer on the racers!

See you! 😉

~SM

Last month, I ran the ACT Today! for Military Families 5k/10k for the third year in a row and it did not disappoint!  I really love this event for a few reasons: 1.  It supports military families and autism awareness.  2.  It’s family friendly and offers fun activities for all ages.  3.  The course is fast and flat which makes it much easier to push a stroller – and Bonus: There’s even a Stroller Division!  So here’s my race breakdown:

Pricing: The pricing ranges from $20-$45 depending on your distance and how early you register.  But they do offer a few promo codes throughout the year so be on the lookout!  I paid around $30 for the 10k, which is a fantastic deal!

Expo: There are two options for packet pick-up: Pick up at Woodstock Pizza in Pacific Beach the evening before OR pick up the morning of the race.  I had a friend pick-up my bib at Woodstock, but picking up the morning of the race is really quick and easy too.

Parking: Free parking is available all around the event location.  The later you arrive, the further you will have to park.  I parked about .5 mile away in the dirt “Sun Runners Lot” and it allowed me to warm up on the way to the start line.

Race Course: The course runs around Fiesta Island in Mission Bay so it’s a pretty flat and scenic route.  The weather was nice this year so it made for an enjoyable run.  The 10k starts a half hour before the 5k so that everyone is funneled into the finish line area around the same time.  I like that it’s staggered that way and the course was not crowded at all.

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Course Support: There were a few water station, energetic volunteers and police officers directing traffic and cheering us on.  If you notice in the above pictures, there was one thing missing: Spectators!  There were spectators cheering us on around the Finish Line area, but none on the course.  It wasn’t a huge deal, since the course was peaceful…but it would have been nice to have that extra energy at times.

Post-race: After you cross the finish line, you are given a medal and a volunteer will remove your timing chip from your shoe.  Then you are free to grab water and fruit.  This event has a lot of vendors and they were all generous with their products and free samples.  There were also some areas for the kids to do crafts or jump in a bounce house.  And since it is an event that benefits children with autism – there was also a quiet zone to accommodate children with sensory sensitivities.   And like I said in the beginning, there are activities for all ages…meaning: There was also a beer garden!  I didn’t get a chance to sample any adult beverages because I had my daughter with me, but it was a packed area so I’m sure it was tasty!

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There were also a few contests that included: highest fundraiser, largest team, and best costume.  Winners received gift cards and free wine from One Hope Wine.

And some free hugs!

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Since this year’s event was held during Easter weekend, there was also an Easter Egg hunt and appearance from the Easter Bunny!

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So what was the SWAG?!

I love the color of this year’s t-shirt and the beach ball is still going strong in my house.  Not pictured: lots of other drinks and snacks that got consumed before the photo. 🙂 And I always count scenery as swag!  Plus the Easter Eggs that were filled with stickers and coupons. Also, Naked Juice is pretty delicious!

And of course, the medal!

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I also ran with my running group, Stroller Warriors and because we had such a large group they provided us with a tent, table, and extra snacks!  Score! It was nice to have a meeting spot for everyone before and after the race.

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Overall, I really enjoyed this race and would totally do it again next year!  So grab your family and friends and get prepared to register for next year’s event!  Start your own team or begin a fundraiser and you could even win a prize!

See you at the next event! 😉

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~SM

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”
Alright, Alright, Alright…the San Diego Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon is only one month and I. am. STOKED! 🙂  In case you aren’t familiar with this event, it’s basically a weekend party with some running thrown in.  It travels to cities all over the world to ensure that everyone can participate in this epic event. You can also choose from running three different distances: the 5k, Half Marathon, and/or Full Marathon.  I love that they offer all three distances because it brings runners of all levels together.  So WHY am I so excited to run the San Diego Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon?  Well, here are 5 reasons why this event is sure to ROCK!
      5. Run for Charity! – If you like running and fundraising, then the Rock-n-Roll series is for you!  Help raise funds, increase awareness, and maybe score a free race entry by running for a charity.  This year’s featured charity is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, but you can check out all of the guaranteed charity listings here.  And while we’re talking about raising awareness, Rock-n-Roll San Diego will also feature a “Wear Blue Mile” on its course. Wear Blue: Run to Remember is an organization that honors fallen service members.  They accomplish this by displaying tribute photos and American flags throughout a particular section of a race course.  It’s an inspirational gesture that I respectfully look forward to experiencing.
     4. The Unique Course Experience! – The Rock-n-Roll running series is unlike any other running event because there is live entertainment all throughout the course!  Then it will end with a big party with MORE live music from some pretty dope bands.  And what makes this experience even more exciting, is that the course will run through the heart of San Diego!  You get to start off in beautiful Balboa Park, run past some sweet landmarks, and end in historic downtown.  Check out this adorable map to get a better idea!
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image courtesy of runrocknroll.com

And just in case you don’t believe me when I say that Balboa Park is beautiful. 😉

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     3.  An Epic Expo! – The expo is a 2-day event happening at the San Diego Convention Center.  There will be TONS of vendors, TONS of photo opps, great scenery, SWAG, and maybe even some running celeb sightings.   So grab your friends, head down to pick up your race gear, snap some pics, then hang out in downtown for some dinner and drinks! – But not too many drinks because you still have to run the next day. 😉  And you may even run into this guy –
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Me w/Meb Keflezighi

2.  Run for the Bling! – I seriously have never seen any other race series offer so many medals!  Basically, if you run more than two races you will get an extra medal.  For instance, I am planning to run the 5k on Saturday and the Half on Sunday – which means that I will also receive a Remix medal!

 

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Let’s say you wanted to run the half in San Diego and then roll on over to Virginia Beach – you would receive a Beach to Beach medal!

 

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I think you get the picture, but to see all of the possible combos check out the extra bling here.

And here are the individual San Diego Medals! 🙂  AND except for the 5k medal, they SPIN!

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  1. SWAG! – Okay, I’m sure you knew this was coming.  But besides all of the rad medals, there is some swag to be scored at this event.  In addition to the above mentioned, you will also receive a t-shirt, gear bag, refreshments, free admission to the finish line concert, free beer, and more!  There are also some sweet VIP options!  And there’s an app!  Pretty fancy, huh?  Stay connected and get the latest info by downloading the Rock-n-Roll app!

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And just to add a little icing to the cake, this year the Rock-n-Roll Series will be celebrating 20 years in San Diego!!! This is where it all began, y’all! So grab your running friends and make Rock-n-Roll San Diego your next Racecation!  I know it won’t disappoint!

Check out this fun article to make the most of your weekend stay! —-> http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/destination/rock-run-san-diego-48-hours/

 

Ready to join the fun???  Register here!  Use code “BIBRAVE15” to save $15 on the full or half marathon!  Hurry, this code expires on 5/28!

I’ll see you June 3rd and 4th!!

And stay tuned, I’ll be posting a blog soon on how my training is going!  😉

~SM

 

 

 

“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the La Jolla Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

Last weekend I ran the La Jolla Half Marathon and it was quite…humbling  beautiful!  No really, La Jolla itself is a coastal town in San Diego and I encourage anyone who comes for a San Diego visit to make a stop in La Jolla.  You won’t regret it. So I decided about two weeks out from the race that I would go ahead and participate (stay tuned for a future blog post called, “How NOT to train for a half marathon”) because I love La Jolla and I love running so why not combine the two?!  Did I mention this is only my third half marathon?  Anywho, let’s see how this story unfolds…

The Expo: The Expo was held at the Hilton across from the Del Mar Fairgrounds/Racetrack and there was plenty of free parking available.  I attended Friday afternoon and it was actually pretty busy.  Inside there was a horse prop and photo booth along with some refreshing water and merchandise kiosk.

There were also plenty of volunteers to direct foot traffic which I fully appreciated because I hate not knowing where to go.  I grabbed by bib and tshirt with no problems and then walked around the expo to check out the vendors.  I snagged a free headband from Xracewear, a tasty acai bowl from Sambazon, and a couple of samples from Ultima. I also purchased a couple of Clif bars and Honey Stingers since I was already there.

Parking – There were two options for parking: Either park at the start line in Del Mar and then shuttle back after the race OR park at the finish line in La Jolla and shuttle back before the race. Either way the shuttle was free.  I chose to park at the start line because I like to sleep. 😉 I was really nervous about getting stuck in traffic the morning of the race since I heard parking can be kind of difficult, but I was actually parked and ready to go by 6:30 am so it wasn’t too bad.  I did notice traffic starting to back-up once I had parked so I imagine anyone arriving closer to 7am may have had a more difficult time.

Pre-race – The parking lot was only a short walk from the start line and there was a water station as well as a coffee cart on location.  There were plenty of porta-potties so I didn’t have to wait in line very long and the line for bag check was also pretty short so really the morning went pretty smoothly.  I took a quick picture with my fellow Stroller Warriors and hopped in my wave.  I was in wave #5 out of 6 and I was happy to see the waves moving pretty quickly.  I think the clock was at about 12 minutes when I crossed the start line.  Then we were off!

Miles 1-5 – The weather was great!  High 60’s with the right amount of sun and clouds and not much humidity.  The first 5 miles traveled through the quaint town of Del Mar so there wasn’t a whole lot to see as far as scenery.  The elevation wasn’t too bad at this point and then there was a big drop right before entering into Torrey Pines State Reserve otherwise known as “The Big Torrey Pines Hill”.  This is the hill people warn you about when you mention that you will be running the La Jolla Half Marathon.

Miles 6 (THE hill) –  I was doing pretty well and keeping the pace I wanted until the Torrey Pines Hill came along.  I’ve hiked trails in Torrey Pines before but never walked or run up the big hill before…because there’s a parking lot at the top so why would I torture myself?  Well here we are, mile 6 and I’m thinking back on all those times that I should have run the stupid hill in preparation for this race… But I only had 2 weeks to prep, remember?  Yeah, that’s my excuse.  So my morale pretty much dropped around this time and I gave myself a good pep talk to keep it going and not give up.  I did run a portion of it, but ultimately decided to walk the rest since I still had half a race to go.  Also to note, there are no water stations in the Reserve so I made sure that I had enough water to get me through the most difficult part of the race.  There were, however, some really sweet rangers and volunteers holding signs and encouraging us throughout the hill torture.  Although I think we have different definitions of  “You’re almost to the top.”

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Miles 7-10 – After the infamous hill, there are more rolling hills (yay) through UTC and other parts of La Jolla.  Luckily my solemate, @thehungryrunner_ was at mile 9 to cheer me on and give me a little morale boost!

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Miles 11-13 – Wow, the race directors really make you work for those views.  Because around mile 11.5-12, they decide to throw in ANOTHER hill! Not as crazy as Torrey Pines, but still a legit hill and at the worst possible location. Apparently many people refer to this as the “F U Hill” and I can see why.  There’s also a lot of downhill and big dips during this mileage too so I saw quite a bit of people walking this portion.  I felt okay enough to run during the downhill parts, but if you have bad knees or hips I would imagine you would want to take it easy during this section.  BUT…the views are absolutely breathtaking!

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Finish Line – I finally crossed the finish line and received my medal, food bag, and chocolate milk.  The finish line area was pretty congested, but the volunteers kept the flow moving.  Then I headed over to the beer garden. Once I got to the beer garden I grabbed my IPA beer (we were allowed 2) and collapsed.  Not literally, but almost.  Never in my life have I chugged a chocolate milk and a beer within a 5 minute period.  This event was just full of firsts for me.  Then I picked up my bag from gear check, which was a cinch (pun intended) and checked out the vendors.

Course Support – Lots of volunteers and plenty of Race Guards on hand.  Also plenty of water, Ultima, and Vaseline stations.  There was even a lady handing out baby wipes around mile 8, which for some reason made my day.  There weren’t a ton of spectators at this race, there were people sprinkled along the course cheering and holding signs…but not as many as I’ve seen in other races.  Also, there weren’t any mile markers until the 8th mile so if you plan to run this and like knowing your times then you will definitely need a watch.

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Post-race: I didn’t hang out for too long after the race because it got windy and I was getting cold so I hobbled over to the bus line to head back to my car.  I only had to wait about five minutes before getting on the bus and the busses were nice and air conditioned.  It was also kind of nice not having to drive out of La Jolla since the streets are so narrow and traffic is pretty crazy on the weekends.  I even had a nice chat with a lady on the bus who told me that this was her 6th time running La Jolla.  She explained how she didn’t make her goal time but still enjoyed the views as always.  I explained how I didn’t make my goal time either but still had a good time.  Then we both agreed that running is great because you get what you put into it.  If you don’t train to PR, you won’t PR. Profound moments on a bus…which is why I love the running community!

So what was the SWAG?!

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Lots of yummy goodies! Not pictured: my acai bowl and chocolate milk.  I also received a free session at CycleBar in Hillcrest once they open.  Also, the tshirt is way better in person.  I love the fabric, color, and design!

And I love the medal! It displays the unique scenery of La Jolla!

Overall, I really fell in love with this race…hills and all!  I’ve talked to a few others that have run this and everyone pretty much has the same two reactions.  Either they absolutely love this race and would totally do it again OR they absolutely hate this race and never want to talk about it ever again.  I, personally, would do this race again in a heartbeat!  1. I always love a good challenge.  2.  The views are incredible!  3.  I would like redemption and to improve my time.

Also, La Jolla is part of the Triple Crown Series so if you want that extra bling then running this is mandatory!  I recommend doing some hill training and don’t get too stressed about the elevation, the views are all worth it!!!

And I didn’t forget about my BIBRAVE buddies!  There were a few other Bibrave Pros out there running, too!  I got to meet up with Mai (check her blog link below for photo proof), but missed Jeremy and Justin (next time, guys!).  You can also check out their thoughts on the La Jolla Half Marathon here: @once_upon_a_run, @runner_blogger_az

See you at the next event! 🙂

~SM

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