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Posts tagged ‘race’

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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Buff® USA Review

One of the perks of being a BibRave Pro from Bibrave.com is that I get to test out running products for free in exchange for an honest review.  How cool is that?!  The first product that I had the opportunity to try was the Buff® USA.  You might be asking yourself, “What’s Buff®??”  Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s awesome and it will change your life!  Yes, your life will forever be altered.  It has many uses and is great for all outdoor activities.


***Checkout this video  from  BuffUSA.com demonstrating all of the ways to sport your Buff®!

Before discovering this little gem, I was always on the search for headbands that would properly stay in place during my runs.  I would get frustrated when they would fall out during a run or stretch out quickly and no longer be of use.  But then I found Buff®!  I can wear it so many ways and not have to worry about it falling out.  The first place I wore this baby was on a run at the lake.

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It was a beautiful day to use my Buff® as a headband and I liked knowing that my hair was being protected since I had just gotten it highlighted a couple of days before.

The next time, I tried my Buff® out as a wristband.

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Although, this is not one of the official ways to use the Buff® per the website, I still liked using it wipe my face since it was pretty warm this day.

Then, I took my Buff® on a little trip to the trails!

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The Buff® USA can be used as a dust mask for dusty trails OR you could use it to disguise yourself from a sneaky mountain lion! 😉

After the trails, I brought my Buff® to the beach!

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This time I used it as a cap which served as protection from the September, SoCal sun and the salty air!

I even took my Buff® to a theme park!

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That’s right, LEGOLAND pirates also enjoy using the Buff® while performing outdoor activities on their Lego pirate ships. 😉

The Buff® USA comes in allllll types of color combos and patterns.  As you can see from my pics, I chose a National Geographic® print in a pink/purple color.  Go checkout the website to see all of the beautiful colors/patterns to choose from!  You could even choose a Survivor® Buff® and pretend like you’re on a desert island with your own tribe.  The sky’s the limit!

I also liked that I could put my Buff® in the freezer before going out for a summer run to keep my neck and head cool.  You can’t do that with a headband, ladies!  So that’s what I did before going out on a sunset run…

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Look how adorable it is next to a flower bush…It’s like a work of art!  A functional work of art and well worth the investment!  I’m really excited to use my Buff® during the winter when it’s cold in the mornings and evenings and my lungs are on fire from inhaling the cold air.  I will be able to cover my neck and mouth…and presto!  My run just became more comfortable and I might even be able to extend my normal run by a few miles!

Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this product since I was so unfamiliar with it.  I kind of thought it looked a little ridiculous and never really considered adding it to my running gear toolbox.  I was pleasantly surprised at not only the comfort and functionality of Buff® USA, but also the ease of use and the fashionable look that it provides.  I would definitely recommend this product to all of my friends and I can’t wait to add some more to my collection!

Also, if you plan to run the Marine Corps Marathon next month, stop by the Buff® booth at the Fitness Expo to grab your official Marine Corps Marathon Buff® headwear!

It’s way more fun to run…in the Buff®! 😉  What’s your favorite way to wear your Buff® USA??!

Again, I received this product as part of the awesome BibRave Pro program.  Don’t forget to review all of your races on Bibrave.com


And join BibChat every Tuesday on Twitter at 6 pm PST for your chance to score free and discounted running gear! Thanks, Buff® USA

~SM

 

Margarita 5k

I recently participated in the Margarita 5K in Mission Beach and it was definitely a blast!  I used a coupon code for this race so I paid around $28 for this event.  Packet pick-up was the day before at Movin Shoes in Pacific Beach.  It’s a tiny store, so I was in and out pretty fast.  Here I picked up my bib number, swag bag and tshirt.  They were also offering a discount on merchandise purchased at Movin Shoes that day.

Race day parking was simple – there were a ton of open spots up close to where the event was held.  The race itself was pretty small – probably around 200 people – so it definitely wasn’t crowded at all.  Since this was a beach event, it started at 7:30am in order to catch low tide.  There was a lot of energy prior to the race start, including a Zumba instructor getting the crowd warmed up with some dancing and fun music.  The early start time combined with the previous day’s rain made it a nice and fairly cool run.  I also did this chip-timed run with a few of my Stroller Warrior friends which made the day even more enjoyable.

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The race course was on the flat, packed sand and there was water/Gatorade at the halfway point.

At the finish line we received our medals and were offered water and snacks.

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There were a few vendors at the event and we were required to get their signatures on our bibs in order to be entered into a raffle.  Race times were posted pretty quickly and awards went out to the first place winners of each age category.  There was also a DJ pumping music and keeping the party going.  Besides the Color Run, I would say this is the most energy I have seen at a race in quite some time.

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So what was the SWAG?!

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  • The vendors all gave out a few coupons, but nothing crazy
  • A nice medal (although no date or location)
  • A tank top – I do prefer tanks over tshirts, although these seemed to run kind of big as if they were men’s sizes.
  • Orgain protein powder
  • Bear Naked granola
  • Vegan Perfect bar
  • More coupons
  • And most importantly…A coupon for a free margarita from Café Coyote! Yippee!  I hold a special place in my heart for margaritas, so the free margarita is what first drew me to the race.  The only downfall was that the restaurant offering the free margarita was located in another part of town about 10 minutes away.
  • Beautiful beach scenery

Overall, I really enjoyed this race and found the volunteers and race director to be friendly and generous.  Besides the obvious free margarita, it was fun to run a race on the beach in beautiful weather (although the water was a bit cold.) I do have a few suggestions:

  1. Add the date and/or location to the finisher medal
  2. Offer the free margaritas immediately after the race or from a restaurant that is within walking distance of the event
  3. Either offer women’s and men’s sizes in tanks or inform participants that they run big

But I really did enjoy this event and I hope to see this race grow in the future!  See you at the next event!

You can learn more about the race organizer and future events from TogetherAs3pointone here.

~SM

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