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Posts tagged ‘carlsbad half marathon’

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

 

 

 

 

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5 Dope Perks about the Carlsbad Marathon/Half Marathon!

It’s a been a while since I’ve run a half marathon (over 2 years to be exact), so I was really stoked to find out that I would be running the upcoming Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Marathon & Half!  Since I’m not quite ready for a full marathon, I’ll be participating in the half marathon on January 15th!  So what is sooooo awesome about this event??  Well let me tell you five cool things about this race and I bet you’ll want to be running right along with me! 😉

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(Photo courtesy of http://www.carlsbadmarathon.com/)

  1. Course Route – The Full and the Half have similar routes (with different start times) and both begin and end at the The Shoppes at Carlsbad.  Most of the course runs along the scenic Pacific Ocean and through the quaint town of Carlsbad with gorgeous views that cannot be beat!

Carlsbad marathon map UPDATED 2015

(Photo courtesy of http://www.carlsbadmarathon.com/)

And as an added bonus: The Half Marathon course is stroller friendly!  So all you moms and dads can load up the kiddos and bring them along for the ride!  *Strollers must begin in the back of the line.

2. Triple Crown – This race is also part of the Triple Crown Challenge!  Challenge yourself by running Carlsbad in January, The La Jolla Half Marathon in April, and The America’s Finest City Half Marathon in August and you will score yourself an extra rad medal and bragging rights to being a Triple Crown Champ! 🙂

3. VIP Experience– The Carlsbad Marathon & Half is also offering a Coastal Comfort Package!  Add some luxury to your weekend by adding on this package for only $195. This will get you lots of extra perks and will make your weekend super special.  Some of this includes: VIP parking, a heated tent, post-race massage, comfy flip-flops, and so much more!  But this is limited to the first 100 participants to register quickly!

4. Kids Marathon Mile – Make this a family weekend getaway and let the kiddos run in the Kids Marathon Mile at LEGOLAND the day before the Marathon/Half! The course will begin right outside the entrance of LEGOLAND and will run into the park and finish right outside! The kids will receive their very own t-shirt and finisher’s medal plus free admission into LEGOLAND!  How rad is that?! Marathon/Half Marathon Participants must pick up their bibs at the Health and Lifestyle Expo prior to race day, so why not make a fun day of it by letting the kids run in their own fun LEGOLAND race!

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5. SWAG – Of course the coolest perk about this event is the SWAG!! This includes: course support and entertainment, a long-sleeve technical shirt, virtual goody bag, finisher’s medal, mylar blanket, refreshments, a 1/4 zip pullover (new this year), and much more!  I can’t wait to see all of this amazingness in just a few weeks!


These are just a few of the perks that the Tri-City Medical Center Marathon & Half Marathon offers this year!  And if you are not able to run it yourself, consider volunteering or even coming to cheer on the other runners and bask in the positive vibes! 🙂

There is still time to register before prices increase again! And you can save $20 by using promo code “BIBRAVE20”.

I will see you next month with my full review of this event! 🙂

Note: I received a free race entry to the Tri-City Medical Center Marathon & Half Marathon as part of being a Bibrave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a Bibrave Pro and check out Bibrave.com to review and write race reviews!

~SM

Look Fly with a SPI(belt)

If you’re like me, at one time or another you have tried running while juggling at least three things in hand…and not like one of those cool running juggler people either.  More than likely, you probably look uncomfortable and not to mention inefficient. Which is why I was stoked to learn about the SPIbelt!

So what is a SPIbelt, you ask?  Well the name says it all!  A SPIbelt is a “small personal item” belt designed to hold all of your essentials while on the run…and you also kind of look like a rad secret agent with your handy belt. 😉

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I’m gonna go ahead and state the obvious…yes, it kind of looks like a glorified fanny pack at first…but I assure you…they are much cuter and less bulky than a fanny pack.  And if by chance you DO love fanny packs, then I am confident that you will also love this SPIbelt.

There are several SPIbelt options to choose from. I had the chance to review the SPIbelt Performance Series in pink!  Here are a few quick facts about the SPIbelt:

  • It holds most smartphones
  • It’s bounce-free
  • It has 4 loops for energy gels
  • It fits waist sizes up to 52″
  • It’s weather-resistant, but NOT waterproof

And it came with some SWAG! Yippee!

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These stickers are great to spice up boring hydration bottles! 🙂

It also came with some instructions, which is perfect for us visual learners.

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So before I tell you about my experience with the SPIbelt, let me tell you how I lived life without one.  Now, I usually push a stroller on my runs which normally blows cause of the extra weight, uneven terrains, hills, etc.  However, the one great thing about pushing a stroller is that you always have a place to store your things.  My Bob Revolution has cup holders, zippered pockets, and a huge storage basket.  It’s basically like the Cadillac of strollers.  But a couple of times a week, I do have the opportunity to run stroller-free and this is where I run into logistical problems.  Where do I put my keys, cash, phone, etc.?  Most running shorts don’t have pockets.  At best, there is a tiny inside pocket that will hold one key and maybe some cash.  I’ve had to run many races with my key tied to my shoelaces, money hidden in my shoe, all while holding my phone. It’s awkward and annoying.  Which by the way, phones are getting bigger so they aren’t as easy to hold for 3+ miles anymore.

So I was overjoyed to finally try a SPIbelt!  It was perfect timing since I am training for the upcoming Carlsbad Half Marathon and I have been adding in some longer runs.  I couldn’t wait to ditch the kiddos so I could try this puppy out.

It was super easy to put on and adjust before heading out for an afternoon run.  It took a little time to get used to running with it the first time.  It almost felt like trying to run when your six months pregnant.  The extra weight on the lower part of your stomach feels awkward at first, but then you get used it after a mile or so. I was really surprised at how well if conformed to my body and didn’t bounce throughout my runs.  Even when climbing some pretty steep stairs!

I also liked that I had place to store my pepper spray!

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Another one of my running adventures was to Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach.  This is also a very hilly and windy area and I liked being able to store my keys and phone without the worry of my things falling off scary cliffs.

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Another great time to use your SPIbelt is when taking your dog on the run!  It’s a great place to store baggies so you can quickly clean up after your dog and continue on with your activity!

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And if your dog is big enough, they can rock the SPIbelt too! 😉

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So let’s talk about the functionality of the pocket and the loops.  I’m not a huge energy gel person just because I’m not a fan of most of the tastes and textures, but I like the energy blocks or anything that has more of a “gummy bear” texture.  The loops were kind of tight and I had to work to get anything in there.  Design wise, I imagine it’s to keep the SPIbelt as small and flexible as possible…but function wise, I wasn’t a huge fan mostly because I don’t have a ton of patience for that type of stuff.  Not a big deal though, because I can easily throw the energy supplements into the zippered pocket part.

And speaking of the zippered pocket, I thought it was great except for one thing – Getting the phone in and out was kind of a hassle.  I think if I had taken the case off (I have an iPhone 6S), it would have fit a little better.  However, due to my children I never take the case off.  I also run with Bluetooth headphones sometimes and I felt that at certain points during the run (mostly if I had to stop), the phone and the headphones didn’t sync as well – meaning the song would go in and out or completely stop.  But it was only if I stopped in certain spots and wasn’t a complete deal breaker.  The other issue is if you want to change a song or if you needed to pause your run (like when using a running app).  I typically run with a Garmin so pausing or stopping wasn’t an issue, but changing a song or declining a call was kind of a pain.  If you are going to keep your phone in there with a few other things, I suggest trying to keep it in there for the duration of the run.  Or else you will be spending extra time trying to squeeze it back in the pocket.

I think the SPIbelt Performance Series comes at a reasonable price as well – $25.99 with free shipping on U.S. orders.  And you can save 20% using code “BibChat2016” until November 18th, 2016.  There are also come nifty accessories that you can add, like a race bib holder (so you don’t put holes in your fancy race day shirts) and an H20 companion.

Overall, I really liked the SPIbelt and I know I will be using it more as the half marathon draws closer and my runs become longer.  I think it’s a great tool that all runners should check out and they make great gifts for a runner in your life! I know I’m grateful for mine!

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Don’t forget to catch #BibChat this Tuesday on Twitter at 6pm PST.  You will have the chance to learn more about the SPibelt and maybe even win one of your own!  Chat with you then! 😉

You can also read what some other BibRave Pros thought of the SPIbelt Performance series:

Erica’s Review

Carolyn’s Review

*Disclaimer: I received the SPIbelt Performance Series 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!

Can’t wait to review the next product!

~SM

My First Running Coach

*Disclaimer: I received 6 weeks of online coaching from Ekiden for free in exchange for an honest review.  This is an awesome perk of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro and check out Bibrave.com to review and write race reviews!

So what is Ekiden?  Well the name Ekiden comes from a long distance relay race that takes place in Japan.  Relays are a team effort and require a great deal of communication to be successful, which is what Ekiden is all about – communication between coaches and athletes.

Ekiden is an online coaching program that pairs athletes with coaches and communication occurs through phone calls, text messages, and an online messaging system.  I’ve been running for several years, but mostly casually with a few races here and there.  I’ve run one half marathon about two years and recently decided that I would like to run another in a few months – The Carlsbad Half Marathon to be exact!.  Since I have two kids under the age of four, it can sometimes be difficult to map out a running plan and stay consistent with training.

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I was really excited to try out Ekiden!  I figured this was the perfect time to experience this whole coaching deal and I liked the idea of it being online so I didn’t have to worry about scheduling appointments with the kiddos.

I was a little nervous about getting started with a coach.  I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect and I was kind of worried that the coach would think I was too slow or just not coachable.

The first step with Ekiden is filling out a questionnaire where you enter in your running routine, past races, racing goals and overall goals that you have with Ekiden.  Then you are supposed to pick from three coaches chosen for you by Ekiden.  They apparently skipped this step with me as I was automatically paired up with Coach Fiona.  Then you wait for a phone call from your chosen coach and get to know each other a little bit better.  This is the number that will be used to text back and forth between your coach.  Note: the coach can call you, but if you try calling the number you will learn that it’s an automated system.  I’m assuming this is so the coach isn’t bombarded with phone calls at all hours of the night.

Coach Fiona and I spoke for about 10 minutes.  I let her know how many days a week that I wanted to run and that I wanted to run a half marathon soon.  She was very friendly and explained her running accomplishments and qualifications as a coach.  Then she loaded up the first week of my plan into the Ekiden scheduling system!

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The Ekiden coaches use Strava to keep track of your activity so you will have to create an account.  If you use a Garmin, you can also sync your activity automatically to Strava using Garmin Connect.  I liked that my coach not only scheduled my runs, but also my cross-training days as well as my rest days.  They also use a “blue dot” system.  If you complete your daily goal you get a blue dot, if you don’t then you get a red dot.  And much like grade school, nobody wants any red marks on their record.

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One unexpected thing came out of my coaching experience – I started to enjoy yoga!  I’ve never been into yoga before because it takes a lot of focus.  But since I was already sticking to a plan I wanted to challenge myself to a new activity.  I also knew that I would be doing longer runs and  I wanted to get in more stretching and breathing.  So on most of my cross-training days I chose yoga as my exercise.  The kids even joined a couple of times! 😉 I really felt like I was getting stronger throughout the weeks as I was able to hold poses for longer periods of time.

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Coach Fiona also wrote in some encouraging messages along the way and asked how I was feeling a couple of times.  She also adjusted my plan when I let her know that I was actually running a 10k on one of my scheduled off days.

After a couple of weeks she began adding in a few more challenging runs.  Like asking me to run my last mile faster than the previous mile or incorporating some interval training and longer runs into my routine.  I liked that this happened gradually so that I wasn’t overwhelmed right away.

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So how much does this whole shindig really cost?  There are different Coaching Levels and packages that range in price from $59-$199, but you could do a personal coaching plan for as low as $49 per month.  Would I pay this?  Meh..for me personally, probably not as there are many free running plans available online and on Pinterest.  However, if I were super competitive or just had no idea where to start with running, then I would be all over this.

There were also two things that I thought could be improved in the system:  1.  It would be more convenient if there was an “add to calendar” option when the coach texts the daily goal to you.  2.  The coach uploaded my weekly plan every Sunday or Monday.  I would have preferred to know my schedule more in advance – perhaps every two weeks rather than each week.

Did I enjoy my overall experience?  Absolutely!  I loved the accountability!  Some days I didn’t want to run, but knowing that Coach Fiona was “watching” gave me the boost to get it done!  I also wanted to see how many blue dots that I could get in a row and wanted as little red dots as possible.  I think this online coaching system is great, but just like any new program or product, there are always kinks that need to be worked out.  I’m just glad I was able to meet my goals while running with the kiddos! 🙂

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You can try Ekiden for yourself and save a little by using code “BibRave16”.  This will give you a free month of training when you purchase three months!  How’s that for swag?!

What do you think?  Have you tried a running coach?  Do you think online coaching is effective?

Can’t wait to review the next product!

~SM

 

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