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Posts tagged ‘mission bay’

Running for Autism Awareness

Last month, I ran the ACT Today! for Military Families 5k/10k for the third year in a row and it did not disappoint!  I really love this event for a few reasons: 1.  It supports military families and autism awareness.  2.  It’s family friendly and offers fun activities for all ages.  3.  The course is fast and flat which makes it much easier to push a stroller – and Bonus: There’s even a Stroller Division!  So here’s my race breakdown:

Pricing: The pricing ranges from $20-$45 depending on your distance and how early you register.  But they do offer a few promo codes throughout the year so be on the lookout!  I paid around $30 for the 10k, which is a fantastic deal!

Expo: There are two options for packet pick-up: Pick up at Woodstock Pizza in Pacific Beach the evening before OR pick up the morning of the race.  I had a friend pick-up my bib at Woodstock, but picking up the morning of the race is really quick and easy too.

Parking: Free parking is available all around the event location.  The later you arrive, the further you will have to park.  I parked about .5 mile away in the dirt “Sun Runners Lot” and it allowed me to warm up on the way to the start line.

Race Course: The course runs around Fiesta Island in Mission Bay so it’s a pretty flat and scenic route.  The weather was nice this year so it made for an enjoyable run.  The 10k starts a half hour before the 5k so that everyone is funneled into the finish line area around the same time.  I like that it’s staggered that way and the course was not crowded at all.

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Course Support: There were a few water station, energetic volunteers and police officers directing traffic and cheering us on.  If you notice in the above pictures, there was one thing missing: Spectators!  There were spectators cheering us on around the Finish Line area, but none on the course.  It wasn’t a huge deal, since the course was peaceful…but it would have been nice to have that extra energy at times.

Post-race: After you cross the finish line, you are given a medal and a volunteer will remove your timing chip from your shoe.  Then you are free to grab water and fruit.  This event has a lot of vendors and they were all generous with their products and free samples.  There were also some areas for the kids to do crafts or jump in a bounce house.  And since it is an event that benefits children with autism – there was also a quiet zone to accommodate children with sensory sensitivities.   And like I said in the beginning, there are activities for all ages…meaning: There was also a beer garden!  I didn’t get a chance to sample any adult beverages because I had my daughter with me, but it was a packed area so I’m sure it was tasty!

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There were also a few contests that included: highest fundraiser, largest team, and best costume.  Winners received gift cards and free wine from One Hope Wine.

And some free hugs!

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Since this year’s event was held during Easter weekend, there was also an Easter Egg hunt and appearance from the Easter Bunny!

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So what was the SWAG?!

I love the color of this year’s t-shirt and the beach ball is still going strong in my house.  Not pictured: lots of other drinks and snacks that got consumed before the photo. 🙂 And I always count scenery as swag!  Plus the Easter Eggs that were filled with stickers and coupons. Also, Naked Juice is pretty delicious!

And of course, the medal!

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I also ran with my running group, Stroller Warriors and because we had such a large group they provided us with a tent, table, and extra snacks!  Score! It was nice to have a meeting spot for everyone before and after the race.

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Overall, I really enjoyed this race and would totally do it again next year!  So grab your family and friends and get prepared to register for next year’s event!  Start your own team or begin a fundraiser and you could even win a prize!

See you at the next event! 😉

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~SM

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Aloha, beaches!

Last month I ran The Aloha Run in San Diego on a beautiful day near Mission Bay!  This event has a 5k or 10k option and I ran the 5k with my mini-runner in the Bob Stroller.  The pricing for this run ranged from $30-$55 depending on your registration date with an option to add a timing chip for $2. I actually was able to run this for FREE and I’ll tell you how a little later on.  So onto the race breakdown!

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Expo/ Packet pick-up: There was a packet pick-up option the day before the race at Road Runner Sports.  I was unable to make it in time so I snagged my stuff the morning of the race. This is one of the perks of pushing a stroller during a race – you always have a place to stash all of your race goodies.

Parking: Free parking was available close to the race start line if you arrived early enough.  I, of course, arrived last minute so I had to park about a half mile away in a big dirt lot.

Race location: The event was held at Tecolote Shores Park in Mission Bay near Sea World.  Many races are held in this area due to its flat, paved course (although some spots can be a bit narrow when trying to push a stroller). It’s also a very scenic area along the water and the weather was great in the morning, but it got pretty warm later on.  Luckily, the race began at 7:30am so I was able to enjoy some of the cool breeze before the heat set in.

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Race Course/Organization: Again, the course was flat and paved…however it was quite a crowded race.  And since it is considered a fun run, many people were walking and hogging up the whole sidewalk.  The 10k started 15 minutes prior to the 5k and we were separated into waves about five minutes apart.  I started a little towards the back since I had my stroller and wasn’t planning on trying to PR.  This was a big mistake because I got stuck behind tons of walkers…so if you plan to run this race in the future, and I mean actually RUN, then I suggest starting at the front.  But the course was unique in that there were various areas of Hawaiian entertainment along the way.  How fun!

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Finish Line/Post-Race party: We were greeted at the finish line with a beautiful medal (my mini even got one!) and some water that tasted not so great.  There were lots of vendors and there was finally a good DJ!  He stayed near the band and gave out prizes to the dancing audience.  He also was the one getting us hype during the wait time in our waves at the start of the race.  People were also walking around handing out leis to everyone, but I think it would have been more dope if they had given them out along with the medals at the finish line.

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And two of my fave vendors were at the race: Hubert’s Lemonade and Arctic Zero!

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My mini also approved of these flavors!  Check them out!

Overall impressions of the event: I loved the location, especially since it was right next to a playground so my daughter could let out some energy after being in the stroller for a while.  The scenery was also beautiful and fit perfectly with the Hawaiian theme.  The only downfall was that it was crowded, so I would start towards the front next time.  Overall, I had fun and really felt positive vibes throughout the event! I liked the different elements of Hawaii that were incorporated throughout the race and the volunteers were all very friendly and helpful.  I also ran this with a couple of other Stroller Warriors which made the post-race experience even more fun!

How did run for FREE?!  The Aloha Run held a contest on their Facebook page about a month before the race.  The challenge was to write a short poem about running and the post with the most likes would win a 5k entry (not including the $2 price of the timing chip).  Only about four of us entered and I shared on my personal FB page asking people to help out by liking my entry.  And my friends totally rock cause I won! So a big Mahalo to all of you that helped me score a free race entry! Many races run these types of contests on their Facebook pages so keep a lookout and you could win, too!

So what was the SWAG?!

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-A beautiful medal with leis

-A unisex cotton shirt, which ended up being too big

Kashi granola bar

Jenny Craig granola bar

Nature’s Bakery Fig Bar – this was delicious!

Kashi Go Lean Clusters bowl

Bio Freeze gel sample

Gaslamp Popcorn Co. All Natural Kettle Corn

Wanu Vitamin Water

Coola Sport Sunscreen – this has really great reviews!

-Bunch of coupons and flyers

-Free race photos

-Beautiful scenery

And the hula skirt moves! 🙂

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What do you think?  Did you participate in The Aloha Run and score some great swag?!  Or maybe you ran the Long Beach Aloha Run and had a different experience?  I’d love to hear!

See you at the next event! Aloha!

~SM

 

 

 

 

ACT Today! for Military Families 5k/10k

Last weekend, I participated in the ACT (Autism Care & Treatment) Today! for Military Families 5k/10k in Fiesta Island (Mission Bay).  I did the 5k last year and I really like the cause that this event supports, so this race was a must-do this year!  This time was a little different, I completed the 10k (my first!) and I joined a team (Stroller Warriors) – which made me both excited and nervous. This race also puts out various promo codes leading up to the race, so I paid around $29, which is a pretty good deal for a 10k. I knew completing my first 10k would be much more enjoyable in the company of supportive women that I run with all the time…but I also didn’t train as much as I wanted – so the lingering thought of running 6.2 miles with a stroller was a bit overwhelming.

There were two options for packet pick-up – the evening before the race at  Woodstock Pizza in Pacific Beach or the morning of the race – I opted for the morning of.  The race started at 7:30am so I was up pretty early since I was bringing my 3-year old along for this ride.  We left on time (and by on time, I mean 10 minutes late – which is about normal for me) and found a parking spot a little less than half a mile from the start line.  Since I did this race before,  I remembered that the later you arrive, the further away you will have to park since it’s mostly street parking.  I really didn’t mind the warm-up though and it helped me get mentally prepared for the day.  However, what I did NOT prepare for was the rain!  This is Southern California people – it’s not supposed to rain – like, ever.  But lo and behold, here we are, on a cold (60-65 degrees) and rainy/drizzly early morning.  Luckily I brought an extra blanket for my DD (that’s darling daughter in case you aren’t down with mom lingo) and she was so sleepy that she didn’t even really notice the weather conditions.  Everything in me wanted to turn around and go home, but I knew that a group of Stroller Warriors would be waiting and ready to go, so I pushed forward and made it to the registration table to pick-up my bib number, chip-timer, and t-shirt.  Side note: I was pretty impressed with the t-shirts this year, they were a dark blue color compared to the grey color they were last year.

Then,  I headed over to meet up with the other Stroller Warriors.  Because we had around 35 members on our team, we received two tents with tables, chairs and snacks.  This was really nice because it gave us a place to all meet up before and after the race (since some of us were running the 5k and some the 10k).  The location of our tents was also close to the bounce house area, which was extra convenient so we could all watch the kiddos.  So moving on to the race!  Here we go!

I wish I had some really amazingly, beautiful pics for this race – but it was gloomy and drizzly the whole time so I didn’t have a lot to work with.  The 10k started 30 minutes before the 5k and I started near the back of the race since I knew I might be a little slower with my lack of training and stroller-pushing.  Another thing I really like about this race is that there is a separate stroller division when it comes to results, so that us stroller-pushers have a fighting chance at receiving an award.  Course support consisted of a few friendly volunteers cheering along the way and about three water stations; however, no course photographers.

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It was a pretty flat course the whole way, which is awesome for someone completing their first 10K and we were met at the finish with medals and water.  The DJ announced the runner’s name as they crossed the finish line – he got my name wrong, but whatevs…he tried.  See previous blog posts for my feelings on race DJ’s (hint: I kinda feel bad for them.).  I’ll also add that the race wasn’t overly crowded, which made passing and pulling over much easier. After the race, there was a big celebration catering to both kids and adults.  There were a ton of vendors, probably the most I’ve seen at any race – plus there were a lot of activities for the kids (I mentioned the bounce house earlier), a beer and wine garden, and a live band. And since this is an event benefitting autistic children, there was a quiet zone set up for children who may be sensitive to all of the noise and crowds which I thought was fantastic!

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I didn’t checkout the beer/wine garden cause I was freezing and would have preferred coffee, but I heard mixed reviews on the alcohol selection so I assume it was just all a personal preference.  The race directors and volunteers were all amazing and super helpful.  At one point, I lost my medal 😦 but I told one of the volunteers and they gladly gave me a new one with no questions asked.  Overall, despite the cold and rain, it was really a great morning and I would definitely do this race again!  There are so many things to love about this race: The course, the price, the time of year (it’s not too hot yet), the course support, the sponsors, the vendors, free event photos, the children’s activities, the food, the music, the beverages, the medal, the swag (we will get to that in a moment), my amazing Stroller Warriors team, and above all else- the cause.  I think Autism awareness is really important, but being a military spouse myself I also like events that support military families- so this was all around a really great event!

So what was the SWAG?!

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I already mentioned that I liked the shirt much better this year, but I also think the medal was better as well.  As for the swag, there is too much to list!  But they were giving away bubbles like crazy!  And not pictured, they gave out a lot of fruit, bagels, bottles of Gatorade and bottles of water.  All of the vendors were very generous and friendly.  They all engaged in friendly conversation and I could tell that they really loved kids.  They also were kind enough to give away tons of swag and coupons.  I cannot say enough great things about this event and I would recommend this race to anyone looking for a fun and family friendly run!  Thanks again to ACT Today for Military Families and One Hope Wine!

Also, shoutout to my awesome friend for snagging this awesome pic of me crossing my first 10k finish line!

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See you at the next event!

~SM

The Mardi Gras Run!

Last weekend I participated in the Mardi Gras run (a Wiz Event) and it was definitely a fun, but smaller event.  This race had 4 options: 15k, 10k, 5k run, and 5k walk – I chose the 5k run.  The 5k was $40 and I used a $5 off discount code which brought the total with tax back to about $40.  I don’t normally spend this amount on a race, but I love Mardi Gras (I’m from Southern Mississippi) aaannnd the medal is pretty dope.  Wait til you see 😉

The race was advertised as a “big celebration with jazz music and more great tunes”.  I would say it was more of a mediocre get together with a retired DJ.  You tried your best Mr. DJ, I give you a gold star. 🙂  The event was held at Hospitality Point in the Mission Bay area.  Parking was free and it was fairly easy to find a decent spot.  The venue was a bit smaller than expected, but the course was scenic and easy to follow.  Much to my surprise, however, there were only three Porta Potties along with one women’s bathroom and one men’s bathroom.  I really anticipated more bathrooms given this was expected to be such a huge celebration.

 

The course had nice support from the volunteers and water along with beads and leis were offered at the halfway mark.  The DJ kept up the energy as each finisher crossed and we were met with medals and water as well as bagels, peanut butter, and bananas.

There were a few vendors, but again I expected a bit more…and there was a photo booth along with a food truck offering authentic New Orleans cuisine. Some participants dressed up in festive costumes so I really enjoyed the vibe of this race, but was definitely expecting a bigger celebration.  I felt that there could have been a bit more energy (this is supposed to be Mardi Gras after all) and maybe even some activity stations for the kids.  I didn’t order anything from the food truck because I wasn’t really craving fried food at 9am after running 3 miles and food was not included in the registration price.

I did try a sample of the Arctic Zero frozen dessert.  I tried the salted caramel flavor and was surprised at how tasty it was since it was…are you ready…lactose free, gluten free, GMO free, fat free, and Kosher.  Basically it was made from swan saliva and unicorn blood, but it wasn’t bad.

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Also, let me just say…the organizers of this race clearly have never been to an actual Mardi Gras celebration as there was not one drop of alcohol in sight! Overall, I would say it was a well-organized race with a decent attempt at recreating a Mardi Gras party, but sadly it fell short in the celebration area.  I do feel that it could be improved and I hope to see a much bigger celebration in future years.

So what was the SWAG?

Your eyes are not deceiving you…That is a light up jester hat!

Shirts were offered for an extra $10 so I passed on that one.

A string of beads and a lei.

Free professional pictures.

Beautiful scenery cause I always count that as swag.

And a rad medal.  15k participants received the same medal, but with a fancier ribbon.

I would mostly likely do this race again because I’m a sucker for unique medals…but maybe they will at least have Daiquiris at the next one.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

~SM

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