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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

 

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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

 

 

 

Joggin’ for Frogmen

Last weekend I participated in the Joggin’ for Frogmen 5k here in San Diego.  It’s a great event because it’s available in multiple cities around the country and it benefits the Navy SEAL Foundation!  They also offer a Tadpole Trot where the little ones can earn their very own tshirt and mini medal!

Price: The registration price runs between $25-40 depending on when you register, but there was a Groupon available for this run for $25.  I actually won a race registration, but I’ll elaborate more on that later.  The Tadpole Trot runs $10-$15 also depending on your registration date.

Expo: Packet pick-up was the day before at Road Runner Sports or you could pick-up the morning of the race.  I attended the packet pick-up at Road Runner and it was a pretty simple process.  I picked up my bib, tshirt, and coupon without waiting in a line and off I went!  And I got to stand in Meb’s footsteps! 😉

Parking: Like many other 5k’s in San Diego, this one was also held at NTC Park in Point Loma.  The course isn’t the greatest (more on that later), but there is plenty of free parking…which is amazeballs because seeing the words “plenty” and “free parking” associated with anything in San Diego is like seeing a unicorn playing a violin.

Course: The race started at 9am which is a bit late in the day, but luckily it didn’t get too brutally hot until a little later.  I ran with my single BOB so I started towards the back.  The course scenery is nice as it’s situated near the bay, downtown and the airport; however, the course is a bit narrow with some uneven terrain which can be difficult when pushing a stroller through busy crowds.  If you want to attempt to get a decent time, I recommend starting at the very front. It’s also mostly flat with only a slight hill going over a bridge.  There were also plenty of friendly volunteers, signs and water stations throughout the race.

And since the course is near a Naval Training Center, there are lots of flags, statues and a patriotic vibe throughout the whole park.

We were met at the finish line with medals – they even gave one to my mini in the stroller! – water, and hand towels.

Post Race: There was a big table of bagels, granola bars and other snacks near the finish line.  There was also a beer garden where the participants were offered a complimentary adult beverage.  And there were a ton of sponsors and vendors giving out swag!  There was also a raffle opportunity and a DJ playing some pretty energetic tunes.

Tadpole Trot: I didn’t get a chance to collect as much swag as I wanted because I had to get my little one ready for the tadpole trot.  This was my only peeve about the whole event.  The tadpole trot didn’t start until 10:30 which I thought was quite late.  Also the distance was a bit shorter than I had imagined.  It was probably only about a 50 yard dash whereas many races do a 1 mile or 1k run for the kids.  But the little ones still had fun and my daughter even placed in the top three of her age group!

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Another cool element of the race were the skydivers!  3 jumpers dove out of an airplane while “Proud to be an American” played over the speakers.  Vice Admiral Robert Harward held the American Flag while flying through the sky which was a touching effect.  Then he posed for pics with all of the little tadpoles!  Andy Stumpf (retired Navy Seal/Kill Cliff ambassador) was also another awesome jumper!

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Now, how did I run this race for free?!  I answered a question on Instagram from an awesome patriotic organization called The Freedom Rev.  Check out their page and social media channels!  Social media is a great way to win free race entries, so follow your favorite race ambassadors and search for event hashtags!  You may win a free entry of your own!

Shortly after the race I got an email with my official race results and a link to preview and purchase my race photos.  Overall, this was a very organized and well run event that benefits a great organization!  Checkout Jogginforfrogmen.com to find an event near you.  It’s a great event for the whole family and I enjoyed running with not just my mini, but also some fellow Stroller Warriors! My only suggestion would be start the race an hour earlier and organize the tadpole trot a little better.


So what was the SWAG?!

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~A super dope medal! It’s a lanyard, magnet, bottle opener and medal all-in-one!

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~Again, I missed out on some swag opportunities since several of the vendors were tearing down by the time the tadpole trot ended, but I did manage to snag a few items!  And the technical tshirts are super soft and comfortable!

This really is a great event!  If you are unable to run in the race, consider volunteering your time so you can still snag some swag! 😉

See you at the next event!

P.S. Please vote for me over at Top Mommy Blogs by clicking the badge on the side! Thanks! 😉

~SM

The Super (Hero) Run

Last month, I ran the Super Run in downtown San Diego.  I learned about the run through Living Social so I only paid about $15 for this run.  It was advertised as a family friendly fun run with a scenic course along the Marina district and Seaport Village in downtown San Diego. Costumes were encouraged and the event benefitted the Down Syndrome Association of San Diego.

Packet pick-up was the day before at Road Runner Sports.  I was unable to attend, but I heard it was pretty chaotic with long lines and disorganization.  Parking the day of the race was a bit tricky because downtown parking is always a pain; however, I know of a secret parking lot so that made things a lot easier. 😉  I ran this race with my 3-year-old daughter and my friends from my Stroller Warriors group.  Fun runs are always way better when you do them with friends.  It was a pretty crowded event on a narrow pathway, so passing people was not easy!

This was not a timed event, which was a good thing because there were times that you were forced to walk due to the large crowds in the small areas.  I even saw a couple holding hands while walking during the race, so I would not consider this a competitive event by any means.

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It definitely was an excuse to dress up like a super hero and walk/jog with some family and friends.  Since I had to walk during many parts of the run, I was able to take lots of pics!  It was a gorgeous day and there was lots of beautiful scenery so get ready for photo overload!!!

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There were lots of signs throughout the course directing us to the right path and also some friendly and enthusiastic volunteers cheering us on along the way.  After the run, we snagged our medals and met up with the other ladies and kiddos from our group.  We headed over to the vendor area where there was a big bounce house for the kids to jump around and let out some more energy.  There was also a DJ that played fun music and tried to keep with energy going, but I never really saw anyone on the dance floor.  These poor 5k DJ’s just don’t seem to get any love. 😦

I almost forgot to mention my favorite part of the race…and that was getting to wear these dope socks!!

 

Overall, this was definitely a FUN run and I would do it again with my kids and friends!  I do wish that it had been a bit more organized and maybe on a wider course, but it wasn’t bad for the price.  So what was the SWAG?!

~ A cute medal

~A rad cape

~A couple of coupons

~Sweet scenery

See you at the next run! 🙂

~SM

 

 

 

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