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

Posts tagged ‘race review’

3 Reasons Why You Should Run the Honolulu Marathon!

I’ve read before that something like less than one percent of the population has actually completed a marathon. You can Google it if you’re a stats person.  Less than one percent though.  Let that sink in for a second.  So either those people are pretty admirable or pretty crazy, it really depends on how you look at it.  I am not part of that group…yet.  I think one day I’d like to run a marathon, but then I flashback to pulling myself over the finish line of a few half marathons and second guess myself.  But, after learning about the Honolulu Marathon I’ve decided that I may need to add this to my bucket list of races!  And here are a few reasons why:

Scenery!  I think this is a pretty obvious one given that it’s Hawaii and all.  The course goes through downtown Honolulu, through Waikiki, and up and around Diamond Head. Also it’s in December, so the weather will be perfect!

honmara_map-1198x600

photo courtesy of honolulumarathon.org

Swag!  Swag for this event includes: commemorative shirt, finisher medal, post race festival, malasadas (yum!!), and breathtaking scenery!

honolulu pic

photo courtesy of honolulumarathon.org

And the number 1 reason you will want to run this marathon??  No qualifying times! No entry limits!  Walkers welcome!  That’s right!  This race is for EVERYONE over the age of 7!  First timers, marathon vets, everyone!  Now you might be thinking, “Wow, this race must be super crowded since they accept basically everyone.”  Well, it is.  I asked a two-time finisher of this event and she confirmed that yes, it is crowded.  However, she also added that it’s VERY organized and well worth the experience.  She also added that the malasadas were pretty amazing. 🙂

Have you booked your flight yet?  😉  Well here are some key event details:

Date: December 10th, 2017

Location: Ala Moana Boulevard/Queen St., Honolulu, Hawaii

Start time: 5am – that’s not a typo…but no course limits, remember?

Price: $185-$265 (Military and dependents – $85)

Bonus: Use code “BIBRAVEHNL” to save 20%

Not ready for a marathon just yet?  There is also a 10k and fun run option.

So if you are looking for a RaceCation or a Christmas present to yourself, the Honolulu Marathon is where it’s at!

Didn’t qualify for Boston this year?  Cheer up!  You will qualify for Honolulu! 😉

Hopefully, I will make it to this event one day.  But until then, I’ll just dream about it…sigh…

Have you run the Honolulu Marathon before?  I’d love to hear about your experience!

I’m off to review the next event!

Aloha!

~SM

“Disclaimer: I’m promoting the Honolulu 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!”

 

Advertisements

Are You Ready to ROCK?!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon 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!”
I can’t believe the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series in San Diego is finally here!  I have been waiting patiently (or not so patiently) for this awesome weekend!  So before I get into the Expo highlights (there was a parade involved), I’ll fill you in on what’s happened since my last Rock ‘n’ Roll post.  Here are a few highlights!
I met MEB (again)!  Road Runner Sports held a “Rock ‘n’ Roll hype night” last month to get us all stoked for #RNRSanDiego.  Meb spoke some runspiration into all of us, we got to check out the RNR medals, and we had the chance to win some prizes!  Sadly I didn’t win anything, but I did get another photo op with my old pal, Meb Keflezighi. 😉

 

I took to the lake!  I really enjoy doing training runs around the lakes in San Diego because I don’t have to worry about getting hit by a car and they include stroller friendly paths.  Also, ducks. 🙂
I scored FREE Lululemon!  The #morethanmilestour made its way to San Diego and I took advantage!  Basically you wait in line (length of time depends on location), pick out some shorts, pants, or a shirt to wear.  Try it on in their pop-up fitting room and run on a treadmill for 2 minutes – yep, exactly 2 minutes – you watch a video while you run.   You also may receive some free healthy samples while you’re waiting in line and might even do a sample strength routine led by an instructor.  And that’s it!  You get to keep the gear you try!  I scored a free pair of running shorts and they are sweet!  Check out #morethanmilestour and #thetesttruck on social media or visit the Lululemon website to find out if #thetesttruck is coming to a city near you.  The employees were super nice and the treadmill is glorious!
IMG_5485
Then, disaster struck 😦 During one of my surge runs, I rolled my ankle on a slanted driveway in my neighborhood (should’ve stuck to the lakes that I’m used to).  I hope you sung that TLC style.  Anywho, I had to R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate); however, I did rack up some miles on the stationary bike to keep up my cardio.
And as far as nutrition goes, I’ve been fueling up on oatmeal, sweet potatoes, bananas, peanut butter, veggies, eggs, and chicken breasts!  Love this gluten-free spicy coating from Aleia’s!
IMG_5655
So that brings us to Rock ‘n’ Roll weekend!  The expo was held yesterday and today.  I went yesterday because I participated in the 5k this morning.  The expo is held at the San Diego Convention Center.  The good thing about this is that it’s a HUGE space so lots of room for plenty of vendors.  The bad thing about this is that it’s downtown, which means – parking $$$$ boooo.  Parking at the Convention Center is convenient, but will cost you $15.  You’re good for the whole day though so essentially you could park here, hit the expo, and then go sightsee around downtown.  I had my daughter with me so I was just going to hit the expo and leave.  I parked at the Convention Center, but the parking meter thing was broke sooooo I parked for free.  There’s also some handy public transportation options available.
I arrived around 3pm which meant I just missed an appearance from Meb – good think I saw him last month!  It wasn’t overly crowded and there were tons of volunteers directing traffic and keeping things orderly.
IMG_5688IMG_5694
First, I grabbed my bibs, shirts, and gear check bag.  Then I let my daughter take some pics with overly sized props and we headed into the merchandise section.  They have a HUGE area dedicated to Brooks running shoes and then a big area of Rock ‘n’ Roll merchandise.  Then we headed into the vendor area to score some samples and SWAG!
This place was happenin’ to say the least.  It felt like a big party!  There was a DJ, photo booths, and even a parade with confetti, balloons, and glitter!  My daughter and I actually made it into the parade video.  Blink and you’ll miss us, but we were there livin’ it up!
I also liked that the café was open so you could snag lunch and drinks while you’re checking out all of the vendors!  And my favorite thing about the expo was that they had a gaming area complete with a giant Jenga set and Connect Four game!  This is a great idea especially for parents who have to bring along the littles.  Also, I’m sure adults enjoyed this, too. 😉
IMG_5714

 

Overall,  I felt like the expo really delivered!  Everyone was super nice and generous with samples and coupons.  I wished I had time to get taped from one of the tape booths, but maybe next time!  The only negative I will say is that there was only one way into the expo and one way out.  And they were pretty strict about this.  I’m sure it’s to keep everything orderly and safe.  I was just annoyed that I had to walk all the way across the expo hall to get to the exit.  It also looked like everyone really enjoyed themselves as well!

IMG_5713

Stay tuned next week for my review on the 5k, the half marathon, and of course, the SWAG!  And if you aren’t running in the event tomorrow, come out and party with the bands and cheer on the racers!

See you! 😉

~SM

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.

IMG_5381IMG_5379IMG_5380IMG_5378

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!

IMG_5375IMG_5374IMG_5373IMG_5372

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!

IMG_5369

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

IMG_5368

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!

IMG_4553

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.

IMG_5370

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! 😉

FullSizeRender

~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.”

IMG_4927IMG_4848

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!

IMG_4896

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!

IMG_4924IMG_4920IMG_4919IMG_4760

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.

IMG_4922

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?!

IMG_4731FullSizeRender

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

Hot Chocolate 15k San Diego Review (so close yet so far)

Disclaimer: I received a free race entry to the Hot Chocolate 15k – 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! All opinions are my own.
If you’ve been following my blog and/or social media for the last few months, you know how excited I’ve been to run the Hot Chocolate 15k! However, weather and I guess Delta airlines (more on that later) had different plans for me as I didn’t actually make it to the race. Womp, womp. 😦 😦 😦
So this review is going to be a little different than the others…
I had been training for this run for a while now since I heard the course was a little more challenging than others.  Then about a month before the race I found out I needed to go back home to Mississippi to visit family.  Since I only booked a month out, you can imagine what the airline fees were like.  The only return date/time that wasn’t outrageous was of course March 25th at 9pm (the night before the race.)  So I thought, “No big deal…I’ll just be a little tired but I’ll be fine as long as my flight isn’t delayed.” As. long. as my. flight. isn’t. delayed…
Building up to the race I tried to add more challenging elevations to my routine to prepare for the infamous hills that I had heard so much about.  So I did some extra hiking in addition to some longer runs.
And since I knew that I would be going to a flat area for a week, I decided to run the Stairs of Death (112 stairs X 10) the day before I flew out.  This turned out to be a terrible idea because I forgot my compression calf sleeves and the elevation/sitting on the plane turned my legs to Jell-O the next day.  Anyway, lesson learned.
IMG_3504

Stairs of Death

 I was also able to get in a short shakeout run while in Mississippi but then I decided to rest my legs until race day.
The Hot Chocolate Expo was the Friday and Saturday before the race and they do not offer race day packet pick-up.  I was pretty bummed that I was going to miss the Expo because I knew there would be lots of photo and swag opps…but luckily I had a friend who picked up my bib and extras for me.  Hot Chocolate is pretty accommodating about having someone else pick up your stuff for you in the event you are unable to attend the expo.  All they need is a copy of your ID (digital or printed) and they’re good to go!
From what I heard, the expo is fun…but a little crowded and parking is a pain and costs $5-$10 because it’s downtown and parking downtown can be stressful.
When I saw a picture of my bib I got even more excited!  I was only a couple of days away from rolling in the chocolate!
Processed with MOLDIV
I even picked out my race day outfit before I went out of town!
IMG_3785
And then I looked over the race course to get an idea of what to expect on race day.
IMG_3786
Then on Saturday I headed to the airport to catch my flight back to San Diego!  I was supposed to fly out of Mississippi at 4pm but a storm came rolling through around 3pm and the flight got delayed until 5:30pm.  This meant that I was going to miss my connecting flight in Atlanta.  Since there were no other flights headed to San Diego, the only option they had for me was to fly out the next morning at 6am.  My Hot Chocolate dreams were crushed. 😦
I still wanted to gain a sense of what the race was like so I interviewed a few of my fellow Stroller Warriors to find out their thoughts!
Rochelle:  “I thought this race was very well organized from corrals to potty placement and amount of potties (weird but so important to me) to chocolate pick up and the fact they had bags to place over your mug to take it home! I thought that the swag was great! Nice jacket, medal, visor (given with code), and the mug of goodies at the end of the race. Love that pictures are free. Oh and whoever they got to run the water stations were AMAZING! They were so loud and enthusiastic handing out water and Nuun while cheering us on. I could hear them well before I could see them and that gave me an extra push to get to them for my hydration.
Not sure if there is anything I would say I disliked yes those hills were insane BUT that has given me such a sense of accomplishment.”
Christina: “I loved everything we got. Jacket, medal, chocolate!! I disliked the hills.  I would definitely do it again, just not prego.”
Laura: “I personally loved them [the hills]. It made the finish more rewarding. Yes the hill after hill after hill was challenging, but it was worth it. Especially the bling, jacket & visor. I don’t think there was anything I disliked about it, it was very well put together and organized. The volunteers were great, the aid stations were always stocked. The free pictures were great too! I don’t think I would do it again only because I usually just try to do races one time but it should definitely be on everyone’s bucket list!”
Heather: “I loved that they handed out chocolate during the race 😂 I wasn’t running for time so I had fun with it and carried the chocolate with me to snack on as I ran! I disliked the traffic and parking for packet pick up and the race itself. I know there aren’t a lot of options since it’s downtown, but I’m glad I gave myself an extra hour before hand. I would totally do it again because I love the jacket and the chocolate.”
Nell: “I loved the hills. I dislike the pavement.  Will not do it again…off to bigger races to chase.  I loved the medal and jacket.”
Well it sounds like everyone enjoyed the race for the most part and would recommend that others run it at least once.  Another thing that was kind of a bummer was that they changed the race date a couple of months before the actual race.  The original race date was March 18th, but moving it to the 26th meant that it was the same day of another big race in San Diego.  I think there could have been more participants had there not been a date change.
So what was the SWAG??

A cinch bag and a sweet jacket!  Everyone raves about the Hot Chocolate jackets and I know that is a big incentive for some to register (it was one of my motives).  They are also pretty cool about switching out sizes at the expo if needed.  They are a good quality and I really love that it’s a full zip instead of a pullover!  They also offer free race photos which I think is fantastic swag!

And of course, the medal!

hot chocolate medal

Ahh..that beautiful medal that was so close yet so far! Well the good news is that Hot Chocolate races are happening all over the country so I’m sure I’ll have the chance to #RunforChocolate in the future!

If you’re interesting in running next year’s Hot Chocolate 15k San Diego on 3/18/18, register here.

And you can vote on next year’s Swag!

FullSizeRender

 

Hurry, you only have until April 5th to cast your vote!  Vote here!

Did you run this year’s Hot Chocolate 15k/5k?  What did you think?  Share your review on Bibrave.com to help out fellow runners!

See you at the next event!

~SM

6 Reasons Why The Hot Chocolate 15k Will Give You FOMO

**Disclaimer: I received a free race entry to the Hot Chocolate 15k in exchange for an honest 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!

Next month, I will be running the Hot Chocolate 15k and I could not be more stoked!  I’ve been wanting to participate in this event for a while so I knew I could not miss out again this year.  In case you’ve never heard of this event, you basically run and consume chocolate for 9.3 miles…and then take a chocolate shower at the finish line.  Okay, maybe the last part isn’t true…but I assure you that there will be multiple opportunities to fill up on all things chocolate.  So here are six reasons why I think YOU should also attend a chocolate-filled running party!

  • The Amazing Cities! – The Hot Chocolate race travels to over 20 major cities with amazing views.  Some of these include: Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Orlando, and of course…San Diego!  There’s bound to be an event near you so there is no excuse for you to miss out!  Check out the full list of cities here.

 

  • Charities! – Participating in the Hot Chocolate Race Series means you get to contribute to a local charity.  One of the charities benefitting from this race is the Ronald McDonald House.  These facilities provide a comforting and encouraging place for families to eat, sleep, shower, etc. while their children receive treatment and care for difficult medical issues.  They even offer an onsite school for siblings of the hospitalized children.  And if you really wanna make a difference in your community, you can fundraise and score a free race entry!  It’s a win-win for all!

 

  • Training Plan! – Maybe this is your first 15k.  Maybe you’re coming off of a running hiatus.  Maybe you’re looking to set a new PR (personal record).  Either way, you will need some time to train.  Training for a race can seem overwhelming.  When do I run intervals?  When should I complete a long run?  When should I cross-train?  When should I rest?  Well the Hot Chocolate run takes out all of the guess work and provides you with a weekly training plan that goes straight to your inbox!  In addition, you will receive tips on hydration and recovery and advice on running gear!  You can also calculate your pace with the McMillan Running Calculator so you can customize your plan.

Here’s a little peek at how my training is going starting with a sample of my weekly training plan! 😉

fullsizerender

 

  • Chocolate! – This seems like a pretty obvious reason, but I don’t think you realize the amount of chocolate that will be present at this event!  You will literally be taken to a wonderland of chocolate!  There will be chocolate opps at the Expo as well as tons of photo opps with Chocolate mascots!  There will be sweet stations at various stops throughout the 15k! You will receive tons of chocolate goodies at the finish line followed by an all out chocolate party!  Here’s some more info on the chocolate goodies!

 

Print

Diagram courtesy of hotchocolate15k.com

 

And just in case you’re wondering how I’m training for the chocolate portion of the event…  😉

I gotta make sure I’m prepared, right?  Ya know… “nothing new on race day!” 🙂

  • SWAG!!!!!!!! – Okay this is where you will really want to pay attention. There will be SWAG GA-LORE at this run!  You will be greeted at the finish line with a large mug full of marshmallows, bananas, pretzels, and duh…chocolate! (see above diagram) You will also receive FREE race photos! Then there’s the medal…chocolate gold!

 

hc_medal

photo from hotchocolate15k.com

You will also get a high quality finisher’s jacket!  Not many races offer this type of thing…so even if chocolate isn’t your jam, this fitted jacket alone should motivate you to register for the nearest run!  There’s even a spot at the Expo where you can switch your size to guarantee the best fit.

 

hc_jacket

photo from hotchocolate15k.com

  • BONUS SWAG!!!! – And the last reason you won’t want to miss the Hot Chocolate 15k is that you can receive bonus swag!  Use code “SDBRHC” for the San Diego race (check out my race discount page for more codes for other cities) to receive a sweet visor!

hc_visor

 

 

 

And just in case you aren’t ready to commit to a 15k just yet, have no fear!  There’s also a 5k option, but less swag!  Or become a volunteer and score a little swag along with all of the chocolate epicness!

Ready to run for chocolate?  Come join me in San Diego!  Here are some quick facts:

Date: March 26th, 2017

Location: Petco Park

Pricing – 15k: $74 – 5k: $49  But hurry, the price will increase soon!

But don’t just take it from me, here are some testimonials from other Bibrave Pros  courtesy of Bibrave.com:

Haley says: “The course was very scenic and I had a good time. Plenty of aid stations, and they supplied Nuun and water which was a life saver for me because I forgot my salt tabs.”  Read the full review here.

Jenny says: “I actually really liked the course, I didn’t feel like there were any moments where I was disappointed. The finish was nice because it was pretty much all down hill from mile 8 on.”  Read the full review here.

 

See you next month!  I’ll be the one covered in chocolate! 😉

~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!

img_1137

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.

img_1520

(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_!

img_1523

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!

img_1537

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!

img_1526

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! 😉

img_1542

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.

img_1543

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!

  • fullsizerender2

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! 🙂

img_1134

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?!

img_1499

So..the moment you’ve all been waiting for…What was the SWAG?!

Here was the pre-race swag

img_1040

img_0761

-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

img_1498

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?!

img_1416

She’s a beaut! And I really appreciated the detail of the race date etched in so I can remember this day forever!

img_1180

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! 😉

img_1527

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

 

 

 

 

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: