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

Posts tagged ‘california’

6 Tips for LEGOLAND Brick-or-Treat!

If you are looking for some Halloween fun with the kiddos this season, then you may want to check out Brick-or-Treat party nights at LEGOLAND California and Florida!  We attended the party last year in California and the kids really enjoyed it!  It may seem a little overwhelming if you’ve never been before, so here are a few things you will want to know before you party the night away!


The Brick-or-Treat event requires a separate admission ticket.  You can purchase a ticket online beforehand (in case the event sells out for the night…it happens) or you can purchase one at the gate.  We took our chances and bought our Brick-or-Treat tickets at the gate (we already had LEGOLAND tickets).  This year’s tickets are $59 for the party alone or $79 for a full day plus the party.  Note: they do actually check the wristbands and if you don’t have one you will be directed away from the park.

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Get there early!  The party starts around 5pm, but you’ll want to get there earlier in the day to eat, ride rides, and rest a little before things get poppin’.  Once 5 o’clock rolls around, the park gets pretty packed and lines will get longer so plan accordingly.  Then the fun characters come out!

Bring your costume!  Brick-or-Treat isn’t just for little boys and ghouls! Mummies and Daddies can dress up in their favorite costumes too!  And get creative because there will be a costume contest!  Even the Legos dress up! 😉

Bring your dancing shoes!  There will be a couple of different dance parties throughout the night, so make sure you attend so you can show off your Monster Mash moves!  And don’t forget to enjoy the pretty lights!

Get a treat bag or bring your own!  There will be treat stations throughout the park so make sure you have a bag for all the loot!  They do give them out at the park, but you could bring your own as well! Some stations have longer lines than others, so just be prepared to wait a little in some spots.

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There will be SWAG!  In addition to treat stations, there will be opportunities to complete missions and score Limited Pop Badges!  Speaking of SWAG!  Let’s check it out!

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Lots of fun stuff!  And the kids were more than satisfied!

Would I attend this event again?  Absolutely!  Yes, you pay a little more to get in, but I think that it’s completely worth it!  There are shows, parades, special treats, and more! And the kids will love all of the fun decorations and pumpkins!

Brick-or-Treat party nights is open every Saturday evening in October so get your tickets soon!

You can find all of the event details here!

Have you attended a Brick-or-Treat party night?  What was your favorite part?

I’m off to review the next event!

~SM

 

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Champagne Wishes and White Wine Dreams (A day in Temecula)

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

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

Our first stop was Ponte Winery!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Seriously, all day…

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

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

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

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

I’m off to review the next event!

~SM

8 Awesome Things About the LEGOLAND Hotel!

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

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

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

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

Even the fitness center is Lego themed!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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And we can’t forget about the…

SWAG!! 🙂

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

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

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

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

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I’m off to review the next adventure! 🙂

~SM

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

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

 

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!”

 

 

5 Ways the Rock-n-Roll Marathon Series Rocks!!

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

 

 

 

Hill Yeah! (A La Jolla Half Marathon Review)

“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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