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

Posts tagged ‘california’

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

The #1 Reason to Run the La Jolla Half Marathon!

***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!

The La Jolla Half Marathon is coming up on April 23rd and here are my top 3 reasons why you should come run this race with me!!

#3 – It’s part of the Triple Crown Series!

 

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photo via lajollahalfmarathon.com

If you ran the Carlsbad half in January, then you definitely need to run La Jolla!  The La Jolla Half Marathon is the second race in the Triple Crown Series – which means if you also run America’s Finest City in August, you get extra bling and bragging rights! I always love extra swag!

 

#2 – The Swag!

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photo via lajollahalfmarathon.com

I know you probably think this would be number one on my list…but you’ll see why this came in a close second in just a minute.  However, this swag is DOPE!  You get a sweet technical shirt, cinch bag, beautiful medal, and beer!  Not to mention all of the extra goodies you could score at the expo as well as the snacks/drinks at the finish line festival!

So what’s the #1 why you need to run the La Jolla Half Marathon??  The Scenery!

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Check out this race course! Ocean views most of the way! (photo via lajollahalfmarathon.com)

I will disclose that there are some pretty decent hills along this course (see the elevation pictured above), but trust me…the views will be all worth it!  And yes, you could just drive to La Jolla to see some of these views…BUT, actually running this course will provide you a unique opportunity to view this scenery in an up-close-and-personal way.  I highly recommend taking advantage of this race so you can see these awesome views from a unique perspective (rather than driving around narrow streets, looking for parking, getting stuck in groups of tourists, etc.)  And here are some things you can do during/after the race…

~~You can visit with the Dr. Seuss inspired tree in Ellen Scripps Browning Park! Dr. Seuss spent many of his years in La Jolla and several of his illustrations were inspired by the unique trees of this beautiful city!

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Ellen Scripps Browning Park

~~Check out the coves and shores!  After your run, you’ll have some time to sit by the shore and reflect on your personal accomplishment.  What better way to relax and rest your feet!

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La Jolla Shores

~~Explore a cave!  The Cave Store in La Jolla allows you to view the inside of a cave! For a small fee, you can walk down a set of stairs and experience a real cave without having to swim or rent any equipment.

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Sunny Jim Cave

~~Get close to a seal!  La Jolla is also known for its seal population so don’t miss your opportunity to take a selfie with an adorable group of pups!

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Seals at La Jolla Shores

 

Ready to run?  Here are the deets:

Price through April 19th – $120 —> Use code “BIBRAVE20” to save $20 on the half!

Expo dates:

Friday, April 21st – 12pm – 6pm

Saturday, April 22nd – 10am – 5pm

Expo location:

Hilton San Diego/Del Mar

15575 Jimmy Durante Blvd.

Del Mar, CA 92014

Half Marathon – Sunday, April 23, 2017 – 7:30 am – Begins at Del Mar Racetrack

Not quite ready for a half marathon?  Have no fear!  There is also a 5k option!

Not quite ready to run a 5k?  Have no fear!  You can always volunteer and help out the community!

Not quite ready to commit to volunteering?  Then just come down and cheer on the runners!  We always love high fives, encouraging words, and clever signs along the course!

Find out more information including parking/shuttle details here!

I hope to see you there and be sure to check back for my review of this exciting event!

I’m off to train and hydrate! 😉

~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 Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo

Do you have a food allergy?

Do you enjoy eating healthy foods?

Do you enjoy learning about new products?

Do you like networking with bloggers and authors?

Do you LOVE scoring SWAG?!

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you won’t want to miss the upcoming Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo (GFAF) in San Diego!

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The event will be held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on February 11-12, 2017.  More details about the time, location, and parking can be found here.

I am really excited to attend this event not only to score SWAG, but to also learn more about healthier food choices and to network with other health-minded individuals.  There will be tons of samples as well as classes and presentations!  Check out the schedule here.

As a bonus, the event is being held in a beautiful location! The Del Mar Fairgrounds offer great views and are located within walking distance to the beach!  So snag a hotel and check out the sights after the Expo.  It would make for a pleasant weekend getaway!


So what should you expect from this event?

  • You will get to explore over 100 vendors and brands!
  • Samples and Coupons!
  • Discounted items to purchase at the expo!
  • Classes and presentations about living a more gluten-free and allergen-friendly lifestyle!
  • Free bag to carry all of your SWAG!
  • An opportunity to meet authors and bloggers!

This will be an amazing event that you won’t want to miss!  I hope to see you there!

Tickets cost between $5-$35 and you can purchase them here!

And the sooner you purchase, the more you save! Use code “ADVANCE” to save 20%!


As an added Bonus, I will be giving away tickets this month on my Instagram so make sure you are following me (@theswagmama) so you don’t miss your chance to win!

***Note: I am receiving complimentary admission to the Gluten Free Allergen Friendly Expo in exchange for participation in the blogger program.  I am also associated with the affiliate program for ticket sales.

~SM

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