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

Posts tagged ‘bibrave pro’

Rockin’ & Rollin’ in San Diego

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

 

All Day I Dream About Shoes

**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

Hot Chocolate 15k San Diego Review (so close yet so far)

Disclaimer: I received a free race entry to the Hot Chocolate 15k – 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! All opinions are my own.
If you’ve been following my blog and/or social media for the last few months, you know how excited I’ve been to run the Hot Chocolate 15k! However, weather and I guess Delta airlines (more on that later) had different plans for me as I didn’t actually make it to the race. Womp, womp. 😦 😦 😦
So this review is going to be a little different than the others…
I had been training for this run for a while now since I heard the course was a little more challenging than others.  Then about a month before the race I found out I needed to go back home to Mississippi to visit family.  Since I only booked a month out, you can imagine what the airline fees were like.  The only return date/time that wasn’t outrageous was of course March 25th at 9pm (the night before the race.)  So I thought, “No big deal…I’ll just be a little tired but I’ll be fine as long as my flight isn’t delayed.” As. long. as my. flight. isn’t. delayed…
Building up to the race I tried to add more challenging elevations to my routine to prepare for the infamous hills that I had heard so much about.  So I did some extra hiking in addition to some longer runs.
And since I knew that I would be going to a flat area for a week, I decided to run the Stairs of Death (112 stairs X 10) the day before I flew out.  This turned out to be a terrible idea because I forgot my compression calf sleeves and the elevation/sitting on the plane turned my legs to Jell-O the next day.  Anyway, lesson learned.
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Stairs of Death

 I was also able to get in a short shakeout run while in Mississippi but then I decided to rest my legs until race day.
The Hot Chocolate Expo was the Friday and Saturday before the race and they do not offer race day packet pick-up.  I was pretty bummed that I was going to miss the Expo because I knew there would be lots of photo and swag opps…but luckily I had a friend who picked up my bib and extras for me.  Hot Chocolate is pretty accommodating about having someone else pick up your stuff for you in the event you are unable to attend the expo.  All they need is a copy of your ID (digital or printed) and they’re good to go!
From what I heard, the expo is fun…but a little crowded and parking is a pain and costs $5-$10 because it’s downtown and parking downtown can be stressful.
When I saw a picture of my bib I got even more excited!  I was only a couple of days away from rolling in the chocolate!
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I even picked out my race day outfit before I went out of town!
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And then I looked over the race course to get an idea of what to expect on race day.
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Then on Saturday I headed to the airport to catch my flight back to San Diego!  I was supposed to fly out of Mississippi at 4pm but a storm came rolling through around 3pm and the flight got delayed until 5:30pm.  This meant that I was going to miss my connecting flight in Atlanta.  Since there were no other flights headed to San Diego, the only option they had for me was to fly out the next morning at 6am.  My Hot Chocolate dreams were crushed. 😦
I still wanted to gain a sense of what the race was like so I interviewed a few of my fellow Stroller Warriors to find out their thoughts!
Rochelle:  “I thought this race was very well organized from corrals to potty placement and amount of potties (weird but so important to me) to chocolate pick up and the fact they had bags to place over your mug to take it home! I thought that the swag was great! Nice jacket, medal, visor (given with code), and the mug of goodies at the end of the race. Love that pictures are free. Oh and whoever they got to run the water stations were AMAZING! They were so loud and enthusiastic handing out water and Nuun while cheering us on. I could hear them well before I could see them and that gave me an extra push to get to them for my hydration.
Not sure if there is anything I would say I disliked yes those hills were insane BUT that has given me such a sense of accomplishment.”
Christina: “I loved everything we got. Jacket, medal, chocolate!! I disliked the hills.  I would definitely do it again, just not prego.”
Laura: “I personally loved them [the hills]. It made the finish more rewarding. Yes the hill after hill after hill was challenging, but it was worth it. Especially the bling, jacket & visor. I don’t think there was anything I disliked about it, it was very well put together and organized. The volunteers were great, the aid stations were always stocked. The free pictures were great too! I don’t think I would do it again only because I usually just try to do races one time but it should definitely be on everyone’s bucket list!”
Heather: “I loved that they handed out chocolate during the race 😂 I wasn’t running for time so I had fun with it and carried the chocolate with me to snack on as I ran! I disliked the traffic and parking for packet pick up and the race itself. I know there aren’t a lot of options since it’s downtown, but I’m glad I gave myself an extra hour before hand. I would totally do it again because I love the jacket and the chocolate.”
Nell: “I loved the hills. I dislike the pavement.  Will not do it again…off to bigger races to chase.  I loved the medal and jacket.”
Well it sounds like everyone enjoyed the race for the most part and would recommend that others run it at least once.  Another thing that was kind of a bummer was that they changed the race date a couple of months before the actual race.  The original race date was March 18th, but moving it to the 26th meant that it was the same day of another big race in San Diego.  I think there could have been more participants had there not been a date change.
So what was the SWAG??

A cinch bag and a sweet jacket!  Everyone raves about the Hot Chocolate jackets and I know that is a big incentive for some to register (it was one of my motives).  They are also pretty cool about switching out sizes at the expo if needed.  They are a good quality and I really love that it’s a full zip instead of a pullover!  They also offer free race photos which I think is fantastic swag!

And of course, the medal!

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Ahh..that beautiful medal that was so close yet so far! Well the good news is that Hot Chocolate races are happening all over the country so I’m sure I’ll have the chance to #RunforChocolate in the future!

If you’re interesting in running next year’s Hot Chocolate 15k San Diego on 3/18/18, register here.

And you can vote on next year’s Swag!

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Hurry, you only have until April 5th to cast your vote!  Vote here!

Did you run this year’s Hot Chocolate 15k/5k?  What did you think?  Share your review on Bibrave.com to help out fellow runners!

See you at the next event!

~SM

Shocked by Aftershokz

Before I get into my review, let me tell you a little bit about my relationship with headphones.  Our relationship throughout the years has been, well…a bit complicated.  It’s usually hard to find a set that fits consistently and doesn’t die out quickly.  I’ve also had issues with some not jiving with my iPhone – for whatever reason, some headphones will activate the voice control on my phone and interrupt my music.  This is the most irritating thing to ever happen on a run.  You get into a zone and then suddenly your music stops and Siri asks, “What Can I Help You With?”  Annoying.

This has led to a graveyard of headphones in my junk drawer.  It’s quite sad, but I don’t really know what to do with them.  I feel bad just throwing them out like garbage when I know they meant well and they tried, they really tried…but the relationship just wasn’t working out and we had to part ways.  So I just keep them there for emergencies in case my first string headphones (a popular wireless brand that used to be endorsed by a certain music producer) get injured and I need to call upon a backup pair.

So when I heard there was a brand of headphones that don’t actually fit inside your ears, but rather go on the OUTSIDE of your ears, I was intrigued.  I originally thought, No way these will work at all!

Allow me to introduce you to…Aftershokz!

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Aftershokz headphones are different because they are bone-conducting.  What does that mean?  Basically the sound is transmitted through your cheekbones to your inner ear via vibrations – avoiding your eardrums altogether.  Pretty sweet, huh?  No more worrying about killing your eardrums with all that loud music and most importantly, you can listen to your music while staying aware of your surroundings.  That second part was especially important to me since I run alone sometimes or while pushing my kids.  Whether I’m running on a scenic path or around the neighborhood with a lot of traffic, I like the idea of being able to hear everything around me while still enjoying my tunes or a Bibrave Podcast.

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You will first have to charge up your headphones even though they’re wired, but don’t sweat, it doesn’t take too long.  The first thing I noticed about the Aftershokz headphones was that they fit really well!  Even during a 5-mile run, they didn’t budge!  And I could hear the music loud and clear! Now, if you are used to listening to your music at an obscene volume level, these will take a little getting used to…but your 50-year-old eardrums will thank you later.  😉  I could also hear my surroundings, which is great for trails!

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Then I took my Aftershokz for a spin on the bike in the gym!

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This was both good and bad. The good – I usually watch a Netflix show while I’m on the stationary bike and these headphones really bring your shows to life!  If there was a train or a car in a scene, the sides of my head would vibrate – so it almost makes your favorite shows interactive. 😉  The bad – I could hear my surroundings a little too well.  As in…other people’s conversations in the gym.  So that part was a little distracting as I like to kind of zone out while I’m cross-training or strength training.

So what about that microphone part?  Well, I put it to the ultimate test.  I took it outside and made a phone call to an automated service.  Gasp!  Yes, and guess what?  I didn’t have to repeat myself one time and I was transferred correctly the first time, every time.  I was…Shocked.  Also, when I received a notification on my phone I didn’t get an alert tone through the headphones, but the music did lower briefly and then increase again.

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Can you hear me now?  Just kidding.

How much does it cost?  This model – the Sportz Titanium with Mic runs $59.95 and comes in 2 colors.  You can learn about their other products here.  And they always offer FREE shipping!  They also offer a 45-day return period and a 2-year limited warranty.

So here is my overall impression:

Pros:

  • Open-ear concept – I liked being able to hear my surroundings while outside
  • Sweat-resistant
  • Good fit – lightweight and comfortable
  • Reasonable price plus free shipping
  • In-line controls with options to play, skip, and pause
  • 12 hours of music on one charge
  • Good quality microphone

Cons:

  • Being able to hear conversations in smaller areas
  • No option to adjust the headband – while it worked fine for me, I’m not sure these are one-size-fits-all
  • The power source is the heaviest part and is at the bottom of the wire, close to the headphone jack…which makes it a little cumbersome
  • Wired – I’ve sorta gotten used to the wireless life so it takes a little adjusting to go back to wired headphones.  However, it’s nice to know that these won’t automatically die after about 2 hours of play.

Overall, I was literally SHOCKED by the Aftershokz headphones!  I’m now a believer in bone-conducting headphones!  I’ll definitely be using these more often when I’m in an area where I need to hear my surroundings.  I think I would invest in a pair of the wireless ones in order to use them ALL the time since the wire gets in the way sometimes.  I also didn’t use the microphone feature a whole lot as I prefer to text or just ignore calls altogether while I’m running so it’s not something I would need right now.

But wait!  There’s more!  My headphones came with….you guessed it!  SWAG!

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Yep, they came with a sweet water bottle that I use all the time!  I love that it’s stainless steel so it doesn’t hold all the bacteria that plastic bottles do.  It also has a screw-top, leak-proof lid and keeps my water super cold all throughout my workout!  It’s sleek and fits in most cup-holders and well, I think it looks pretty snazzy. 😉

Want one for yourself?!  Order a pair of Sportz Titanium w/mic and score a FREE water bottle (a $14.95 value) of your own!  But you must use this link! —>  http://bibrave.aftershokz.com

Don’t you want to fall in love with your own pair? 😉  Happy running!

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And catch me on #Bibchat on Twitter every Tuesday at 6pm PST!  You may even win a prize! 😉

***Disclaimer: I received a set of Aftershokz Sportz Titanium headphones with microphone along with a water bottle for free to review as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro and check out Bibrave.com to review, find and write race reviews!

~SM

 

Feeling Good in Carlsbad

One week ago,  I ran the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Marathon & Half Marathon!  I was really excited to run this half marathon since it takes place in beautiful Carlsbad, CA…plus it was my first official race running as a Bibrave Pro!

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So, let’s break it down!

Expo: The Expo was held in the same location as the actual race, which was new to me.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen this done before, but it was nice to get a feel as to where the event would be taking place.  The Expo was in the parking lot of a shopping mall- about 2,000 sq ft. all underneath huge tents.  Parking was a bit crammed since everyone was at the mall shopping on a Saturday, but there were plenty of parking attendants directing everyone.  The Expo was busy, but easy to maneuver…and I was able to pick up my bib number, bag, shirt, and jacket pretty quickly.  There was also a DJ playing some pretty energetic music.  My two-year-old loved the music and kept saying, “Dance, dance”. 😉

Race Day Parking: This race had the easiest parking ever!  We were able to park at the shopping mall for free – so tons of spaces!.  The mall is also right off the freeway so it was pretty simple to get in and out. Also, the parking attendants were on point.  They were organized and communicated well so we were able to park super close to the start/finish line!  This race definitely gets bonus points for parking alone!

Pre-race: Gear check was in the same place where I had picked up my bib the day before so that was a cinch.  Of course me and the other million runners had to use the restroom all at once and their bathroom system was a little off.  They put all the Porta Potties (or Porta Johns for some of you) 😉 in a big square and then everyone stood in the middle and just picked one.  So the lines really had no order and it got super congested and even more confusing.

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(After it finally cleared…)

The runners were released in waves and I was in Wave 6.  I was pleased to discover at how quickly the waves went!  I only waited about 20 minutes or so before I crossed the start line!

I had plenty of time to get adjusted (physically and mentally) and of course take selfies with @thehungryrunner_!

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Race Course: The marathon began at 6:15 a.m. and the half started at 7:45 a.m. This meant that we all shared the same race course for about 8 of those miles.  Another thing that I love about this race is that it’s walker and stroller friendly!  I saw a few families out there pushing little people and they were total rock stars!  The weather was cool with an overcast so I switched between being hot and sweaty to getting chills throughout the race.  The course was an out-and-back and went through the quaint town of Carlsbad and along Hwy 101.  It was all pretty flat, with a few small, rolling hills.  There were also some slanted areas of the road so you kind of had to watch your footing in those sections.

The views were really unbeatable and running along the water was so peaceful!  And just like a true California morning, you could see all the surfers out catching waves in the cold ocean.

Race/Crowd Support: So after analyzing the race course before race day, I decided not to bring any water along with me. (Although I did bring my trusty SpiBelt!)   That’s because there were hydration stations at either every other mile or in some areas, every mile!  I’ve really never seen a course with so many water/electrolyte stops!  Also, the crowd was amazing!  There were volunteers and spectators cheering us on for the entire 13.1 miles!  I’ve never felt love like that in any other race!  The people of Carlsbad really displayed kindness and generosity this day!  So many people holding signs, giving high-fives, shouting out words of encouragement, and giving out their own food/water for us!

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I have to give a special shout-out to my Stroller Warrior sole-sisters who came out on the course just to cheer and encourage us!  Really so much love at this race!  I also have to give a shout-out to the lovely gentleman passing out tequila shots around mile 2.  It was just what I needed to warm up and get going!

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And then there was a special little guy around the 10th mile…he was just who I needed to see to push to the end! 😉

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And since I didn’t bring any of my own hydration, I appreciated all of the Ultima stops along the way!  It really revived me a few times and I couldn’t have completed the run without it!  It tasted amazing without a weird aftertaste and didn’t cause any stomach issues. They also had Vaseline at most of the stations which I found very thoughtful! And the bathroom situation was pretty fantastic…Porta Potties (Johns) all along the way! No awkward moments here!

Finish Line: The DJ announced our names as we crossed the finish line so we felt extra special. 🙂 and we were given our medals, some water, and chocolate milk.  They didn’t  like us hanging out around the finish line since it was chaotic in the area and directed us off to the post-race area.  We were then given mylar blankets and “Nom-Nom” bags.  The nom-nom bags (that’s what they were officially called) had a banana, chips, and a couple of energy/granola bars in a paper sack.  Also, select nom-nom bags contained Golden Tickets which meant you won a bunch of extra prizes.  I, nor anyone in my party, had the Golden Ticket. 😦  And, to be honest, I feel if something is going to be called a “nom-nom bag”, there should be a lot more “nom-noms” in there.  I was grateful for the food and all…I just thought the fancy name gave me different expectations.

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Post-Race: Compared to other races, there really wasn’t a whole lot going on at the post-race party. There were only a few vendors giving out samples and there wasn’t a DJ or any raffle events going on.  I retrieved my gear pretty quickly and headed to the beer garden!  The beer garden was even pretty quiet.  No long lines and no crowds!

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And I was able to score a pretty delicious shrimp taco for about $4.  The beer and taco were just what I needed after this run!  Thank you, Ballast Point and Taco Picasso for the amazing nourishment! 🙂

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There was also a Go Cryo San Diego mobile truck offering cryo treatments, but I wasn’t in the mood to get undressed in the middle of a parking lot.  I also wasn’t in the mood to drop $30 for 3 minutes of recovery.  If you’re not familiar with cryo therapy, basically you dip yourself in a bowl of dry ice to minimize muscle soreness.  Maybe I’ll get there one day…maybe…

There was also a spot for photo ops since this race is part of the Triple Crown Race Series!  What is the Triple Crown?  Well, if you run the Carlsbad Half in January, the La Jolla Half in April, and America’s Finest City in August…you get an extra dope medal!  I think having races as part of a series is a great way to get people motivated because who doesn’t love extra bling?!

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So..the moment you’ve all been waiting for…What was the SWAG?!

Here was the pre-race swag

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-The shirt and jacket are a good quality, although they run small so that was kind of disappointing.  However, I didn’t think to ask for an exchange.

-The cinch bag is more of a lower quality compared to other races, like the San Diego Half Marathon…but it had a special area to write your bib number for gear check and that was pretty convenient.

-The Tri-City Medical Center swag included  chapstick, bandages, and sunscreen packets. All perfect things to throw in your purse, bag, or car…especially if you have little ones!  I really appreciate swag that I can actually use so thank you, Tri-City Medical Center! 😉

Sambazon reps were walking around passing out samples like candy!  But this was much better than candy, it was a delicious Acai Bowl!

-Virtual Swag bag – included discount codes and whatnot.  I appreciate these in virtual form because I normally just throw away the paper versions.

Post-race swag

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The obligatory banana along with goodies from the “nom-nom” bag as well as full-bottle samples of C2O Coconut Water and Suja Juice.

Race Photos – Not free, but they started posting them that evening!  I couldn’t believe how fast they were available!

Scenery swag!  I always count beautiful scenery as swag!

And, what about the Bling?!

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She’s a beaut! And I really appreciated the detail of the race date etched in so I can remember this day forever!

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There’s me recovering in my Legend Compression Wear! 😉

Pricing: Pricing for the half/full ranges from about $80-$150 depending on how early you register. As of now, the 2018 half is only $79!  That’s a great deal!  You can sign up here!

Overall Opinion: Overall, I really enjoyed this race!  I thought it was well-organized with AMAZING support from both the organization and the community.  Parking was great and the views were fantastic!  The only cons were that the post-race party was a little disappointing and some people aren’t fans of out-and-back courses as they can get a little boring. I would definitely do this one again!  I enjoyed running this with friends especially since I knew that I wasn’t going to PR at this race.  If I were to give anyone advice for prepping for this event, I would say to stick with your training even through the holidays!  When you sign up for a January half marathon, that means you are training through Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years..so factor in your travel, family visits, food, and alcohol!

After all, it’s not everyday you get to run ON the 101 with no traffic! 😉

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I’m off to prep for the next event!

***Disclaimer: I received a free race entry to the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon in exchange for an honest 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!

~SM

 

 

 

 

The Down Low on NuGo

I was really excited to try this next product because I absolutely LOVE chocolate!  NuGo Bars are a healthier snack bar option loaded with some awesome nutrients and non-GMO ingredients.  The best part?  These bars contain REAL dark chocolate!  And to be honest, I was a little skeptical to try these since I can’t stand the taste of fake chocolate or chalky bars with a bad aftertaste.  But, I decided to give the NuGo Bars a shot! NuGo offers a few different lines of products and I had the chance to review their Dark line.  I received my bars a little before Christmas which meant that I got an early present! Thanks, Santa! 😉

I received four different flavors: Mint Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Coconut, and Chocolate Pretzel.  They also offer a few other flavors from their Dark Chocolate line that I did not try.  You can explore those flavors here.

Some quick facts about the Dark line:

  • 10g Protein
  • Around 14g of sugar
  • Around 200 calories
  • Contains antioxidants
  • Gluten Free
  • Vegan
  • Real dark chocolate
  • Non-GMO
  • Certified Kosher

Sounds too good to be true, right?  A chocolate snack bar can’t possibly be healthy and taste delicious all at the same time….right??  Well that was my thinking going into this product review.

I was training for a half marathon all while trying to keep up with the kiddos and all of their engagements before the Nugo bar came into my life.  So I kept them in my bag so I could be armed when cravings or afternoon hunger struck.

First, I took them along for some runs…

They were a nice snack post-run and they were okay for a little fuel on short runs (3-4 miles).  It’s not something I would use as a meal replacement or on really long runs, but it kept me satisfied on the shorter ones.

I also took it to a track workout!


Then, I took them out on a couple of outings with the kiddos…

I brought one to a kid’s birthday party to avoid the temptation of pizza and cake and it totally worked!  It kept me away from the junk and I had energy to chase the kids around the birthday venue for a few hours!  I took another one on a grocery shopping trip because that’s where a lot of damage can happen.  I ate it on the way in to the store and was able to avoid the usual tempting non-healthy snacks.

I also took one along on a trail excursion…

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This is the only snack I brought for myself on this 3 mile hike which is pretty gutsy seeing as how if it didn’t work I was gonna be pretty hungry for the hike back to civilization.  But, luckily it sustained my energy and kept hunger away until it was time for lunch!

But, there was one negative aspect to these bars…

Kids!  My two-year-old also took a liking to these bars and kept stealing them!  I guess everyone loves the NuGo bars! 😉

So, how did they really taste?  Well I’ve ranked the flavors and here are the results:

In 4th place: Chocolate Coconut – I’m not a huge coconut fan unless it’s an oil or a rum so I didn’t really dig the chocolate/coconut combo

3rd place: Chocolate Chocolate Chip – It tastes just how it sounds – chocolate with chocolate chips.  So there was no wow factor for the tastebuds here.  Just a basic dark chocolate flavor.

2nd place: Mint Chocolate Chip – This actually tasted pretty similar to the Thin Mint cookies that those Girl Scout dealers sell.  It happens to be my favorite Girl Scout cookie so I was a little partial to this one.  But if mint isn’t your jam, then I would avoid this flavor.

1st place: Chocolate Pretzel (with sea salt) – I loved the sweet/salty/crunchy combo here and this is the flavor that I would purchase again!

Overall, I really enjoyed the NuGo Dark Nutrition Bars!  I’m a pretty experienced consumer in chocolate and I will say that these tasted like the real deal.  As for pricing, you can purchase a box of 12 Dark bars on their website for $19.00.  This averages out to be about $1.58 per bar which isn’t too bad.  You can also look for them in your local stores.  Another option is purchasing a sample pack.  These run $6-$7 for a pack of 2-3 bars depending on which line you want.

As a bonus – Enjoy 15% off boxes of NuGo Dark with code BIBRAVE1 through Feb 8, 2017.

NuGo also wants to make some changes! If you are interested in telling the FDA to stop deceiving buyers with incorrect dark chocolate food labeling you can sign the petition here —> https://www.change.org/p/dark-chocolate-food-labeling-tell-the-fda-to-stop-the-deception

Join me on #Bibchat on Twitter on Jan. 31st at 6pm PST for your chance to win your own NuGo Bars! 

Oh yeah and don’t forget to enjoy the view! 🙂


I’m off to review the next product!

***Disclaimer: I received a free sample box of NuGo Dark Chocolate Bars 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! All opinions are my own!

~SM

Running for Food

I recently participated in the John Hancock – Cooking Light & Health Fit Foodie Race Weekend in San Diego.  This year, the event occurred in Fairfax, VA; Austin, Tx; Tampa, FL; and here in San Diego.  It’s a full weekend filled with fitness demos, cocktails, parties, and a 10k/5k with celebrity appearances.  The Fit Foodie Race also proudly supports the American Diabetes Association.  The event ranges in price from $55-$160 depending on how involved you want to be with the weekend; however, there are usually Groupon deals with significant discounts.  I actually participated in the 10k for free!  But more on that later!  Let’s move on to the review…

Packet pick-up was at Road Runner Sports the day before the race and I got in and out pretty quick.  I received my bib and t-shirt, but they were also selling some cuter t-shirts and tanks.  Then, the best part happened!  We got to meet not one, but two race legends – Bill Rodgers and Meb Keflezighi!  Bill was super friendly and chatted about his time running through the streets of Boston.  Meb was also quite gracious and his daughters were even sprinting behind him on the treadmills!

The race was held downtown and the course ran through the Embarcadero and Seaport Village.  It started around 7am, but I got there a little late and ended up parking almost a mile away.  Oops.  I was a little confused on exactly where the start line was, but that was just the beginning of my confusion.  But it was actually a very beautiful day and even got pretty hot later in the morning.  I also ran with a fellow Stroller Warrior and friend as well as my 4-year-old – whom my friend helped push along the way.

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Now, let’s talk about the course- The 5k course just did one loop around Embarcadero and was pretty simple.  The 10k course, on the other hand, was a bit of a cluster.  First, there were a couple of splits during the course where the 5k runners went in one direction and the 10k runners went in another.  Then, at one point, the course took you down a not so glamorous part of San Diego – filled with graffiti-covered industrial buildings and glass in the streets.  I also had the pleasure of running by a homeless gentlemen who was yelling out obscenities and threats to us.  I am not normally bothered by the homeless, however, for a moment it slightly took away from my fun race experience…especially since I had my daughter with me.  Anywho, I digress.  My biggest complaint about the course was that after a while it just became a bunch of confusing and never-ending loops.  I even encountered a woman who had run an extra 3 miles because she got misdirected on the course.  However, I will say that the course was filled with a good amount of friendly volunteers who were directing the runners as well as passing out water and keeping the energy flowing.  I just didn’t like having to ask, “Is this the right way?” at every turn.

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Then came the post-race fun and food!  We were greeted at the finish line with a tote bag of goodies and medals! There were a lot of live demos, raffles, contests, samples, and the chance to test drive a Lexus.  Now, since we started the race a little later than everyone and got confused along the course, this meant that we ended later than most people and ended way later than the 5k runners. Many of the sample areas had pretty long lines by the time I arrived and I didn’t have the patience to wait at all of them.  Also, some tables had run out of things which was a little disappointing.  Then there was the big “food area” that was really hyped up leading into the event.  But I was a little let down to discover that this was nothing more than a tiny plate with two tiny food samples on them. 😦

The DJ was good at holding everyone’s attention and kept the party atmosphere flowing.  I was also thankful that I got my pics and autographs from Bill and Meb the day before since the lines to meet them after the race were pretty long.

So what was the SWAG?!

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I will say, there was actually quite a bit of swag and I like the phrase on the back of the shirt.  If I had more patience, I would have waited for more swag but I felt that I received a good amount! My two favorites from this haul are the Country Archer Beef Jerky and the Jambu full-size notebook with pen.  There was also a beer garden, but I didn’t check it out because I had a little one in tow.  I also loved the medal, especially the pink ribbon! (The 5kers received a medal with a blue ribbon).

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Overall, I enjoyed the event – although I don’t think I would pay the full price for this one, at least not for the 10k.  Next time I would do the 5k to avoid the confusing course and so I could get to the post-race party quicker to score more samples and swag.  I’m not sure what the Friday and Sunday festivities were like, but I guess I was expecting a little more food on race day since “Food” is what the event is supposed to be all about.  I also recommend running it with a friend so they can join in on the party fun.

There were also free race photos!  Bonus SWAG!

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So how did I run this race for FREE??  Well the Fit Food Race Series offers ambassador  positions for each of their locations.  The ambassadors offer giveaways on their blogs for free race entries.  I found one of the ambassadors on Instagram and ended up winning a free race entry!  You can find her blog at Runs and Roses.

Have you run the Fit Foodie 5k/10k?  What did you think?

See you at the next event!

~SM

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