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The #1 Reason to Run the La Jolla Half Marathon!

***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!

The La Jolla Half Marathon is coming up on April 23rd and here are my top 3 reasons why you should come run this race with me!!

#3 – It’s part of the Triple Crown Series!

 

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photo via lajollahalfmarathon.com

If you ran the Carlsbad half in January, then you definitely need to run La Jolla!  The La Jolla Half Marathon is the second race in the Triple Crown Series – which means if you also run America’s Finest City in August, you get extra bling and bragging rights! I always love extra swag!

 

#2 – The Swag!

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photo via lajollahalfmarathon.com

I know you probably think this would be number one on my list…but you’ll see why this came in a close second in just a minute.  However, this swag is DOPE!  You get a sweet technical shirt, cinch bag, beautiful medal, and beer!  Not to mention all of the extra goodies you could score at the expo as well as the snacks/drinks at the finish line festival!

So what’s the #1 why you need to run the La Jolla Half Marathon??  The Scenery!

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Check out this race course! Ocean views most of the way! (photo via lajollahalfmarathon.com)

I will disclose that there are some pretty decent hills along this course (see the elevation pictured above), but trust me…the views will be all worth it!  And yes, you could just drive to La Jolla to see some of these views…BUT, actually running this course will provide you a unique opportunity to view this scenery in an up-close-and-personal way.  I highly recommend taking advantage of this race so you can see these awesome views from a unique perspective (rather than driving around narrow streets, looking for parking, getting stuck in groups of tourists, etc.)  And here are some things you can do during/after the race…

~~You can visit with the Dr. Seuss inspired tree in Ellen Scripps Browning Park! Dr. Seuss spent many of his years in La Jolla and several of his illustrations were inspired by the unique trees of this beautiful city!

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Ellen Scripps Browning Park

~~Check out the coves and shores!  After your run, you’ll have some time to sit by the shore and reflect on your personal accomplishment.  What better way to relax and rest your feet!

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La Jolla Shores

~~Explore a cave!  The Cave Store in La Jolla allows you to view the inside of a cave! For a small fee, you can walk down a set of stairs and experience a real cave without having to swim or rent any equipment.

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Sunny Jim Cave

~~Get close to a seal!  La Jolla is also known for its seal population so don’t miss your opportunity to take a selfie with an adorable group of pups!

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Seals at La Jolla Shores

 

Ready to run?  Here are the deets:

Price through April 19th – $120 —> Use code “BIBRAVE20” to save $20 on the half!

Expo dates:

Friday, April 21st – 12pm – 6pm

Saturday, April 22nd – 10am – 5pm

Expo location:

Hilton San Diego/Del Mar

15575 Jimmy Durante Blvd.

Del Mar, CA 92014

Half Marathon – Sunday, April 23, 2017 – 7:30 am – Begins at Del Mar Racetrack

Not quite ready for a half marathon?  Have no fear!  There is also a 5k option!

Not quite ready to run a 5k?  Have no fear!  You can always volunteer and help out the community!

Not quite ready to commit to volunteering?  Then just come down and cheer on the runners!  We always love high fives, encouraging words, and clever signs along the course!

Find out more information including parking/shuttle details here!

I hope to see you there and be sure to check back for my review of this exciting event!

I’m off to train and hydrate! 😉

~SM

 

 

 

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Imperial Beach 5k

Last month I participated in the inaugural Imperial Beach 5k Beach Run.  I was little hesitant to register since it’s the organization’s first race and I prefer all of the kinks to be worked out before I participate in a race.  But they offered a promo code and a military discount so I only paid about $25 after the fees (darn you Active.com!)…and I always enjoy a nice run on the beach.  So I decided to go ahead and run this one along with a couple of friends.

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If you’re wondering how close Imperial Beach is to Mexico, it’s this close:

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I found free street parking fairly easy (the race started at 8:00 am) and I only had to wait a few minutes in the line to pick-up my packet.  The race was held on the actual packed sand of the beach and there were probably about 250-300 participants.  There was also a 1 mile fun run option for those not quite ready to tackle a 5k which meant there were two separate race courses.  The 5k race route was a bit odd to me – it was an out-and-back followed by another out-and-back.  We will get to the details on that later.  The terrain was sand (obviously) but there was an added hurdle that I did not take into account for this run – rocks.  There were rocks buried all throughout the sand, which made for an obstacle course that I was unprepared for.  It wasn’t too crazy, but since the beach was also kind of slanted, I had to pay attention a little more to my footing so that I wouldn’t trip or roll an ankle.  My friend pushed a stroller during this race, so it wasn’t an impossible feat – just a challenging one.  There was also a water station about halfway in and some volunteers directing the runners along the course.

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Note the rocks in the last pic and in case you’re wondering…no, I did not fall.  After the run there was a big expo with lots of activities for kids, including a bounce house and face painting.  There were also fitness demos, a band and free pancakes!  I would say the free pancake breakfast – which included, pancakes, syrup, sausage and juice – was one of the best parts of the event.  I have no pictures of this delicious ensemble because I consumed the whole meal in about six and a half minutes.  You’ll just have to use your imagination on this one.  I also thought the band was pretty great.  Since this event was held to benefit the Calvary Training Center in Mexico, the band played worship music but with a Mexican flare…and I totally dug it.  I didn’t bring my kiddos to this event so I can’t say I participated in any of the activities – but they looked fun and the bounce house seemed pretty rad.  There was also a raffle, but they weren’t doing the giveaways until two hours later.  In the words of the great Sweet Brown – “Ain’t nobody got time for that”.

Participation medals were not given out at this race, but they were given to those who placed in the top three of each age group.  I ran with a fellow Stroller Warrior and placed first in her age group so I did hang around for the medal ceremony.

Now, back to the course.  There was a big issue that I had with the race course and that was the fact that it was NOT A TRUE 5K, which drives me crazy when races are not the length that they are advertised.  This one ended up being around 2.38 miles so there was obviously some miscommunication or miscalculation when the course was originally created.  I will give them a little bit of a slide since this was the inaugural race and like I said, I expected some things to not go as smoothly as they would in other established races.  However, since I did pay $25 for a 5k, I expect a true 5k.  Other than that, the views were beautiful and everyone was friendly; although I feel like all those people who placed 4th or 5th in their age group kind of got screwed since they would have had at least half a mile to pass the people in front of them.  Anywho, besides that hiccup I enjoyed the event and although I didn’t bring my kids this time I like that it was a fun event for the whole family to enjoy in beautiful Imperial Beach.

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So what was the SWAG?!

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Aloe Gloe is a refreshing drink that comes in a few tasty flavors!

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~ A cotton tshirt – I love the design, but it runs fairly large so I’m not sure I will be wearing this one very often.

~Clif bar trail mix bar

~Kashi Go Lean granola bar

~Larabar

~Homemade cookie

~Beachside FroYo keychain

~D’ames Day Spa tube of something (not sure what this is as there were no instructions, perhaps a face scrub?  But it smells divine!)

~Suicide prevention pin

~Various coupons and pamphlets

~And Scenery, of course!

See you at the next event!

~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

Super (Bowl) Run 5k/10k

Over the weekend I participated in the Super Run 5k/10k.  Just a side note: there is also another Super Run that is being held next month, but that is a Super (hero) run…this one was called the Super Run (a Kathy Loper event) because it was held on Super Bowl weekend.

The race started at 7:30 am for 10ker’s and 7:35am for 5ker’s, which was nice because it wasn’t hot yet.  It was held near Mission Bay so it also included some nice views!

I signed up for this race through Groupon for $25, but used the “Buy with Friends” option and received a $9 refund…so not bad for a race!  I also ran the 5k option since I’m not quite up to running 6 miles just yet.  And I ran this race with my two lovely children in the double BOB stroller, which made this race extra fun.  (<—that was sarcasm in case you didn’t catch it.)  But I did run this with some of the awesome moms from my running group (Stroller Warriors) and that really did make the experience feel more like a party!

This was kind of a small race (around 700 participants) and apparently more people chose to run the 10k over the 5k.  There was minimal course support – no water stations and just a few people directing runners to the right path – but the volunteers were friendly and encouraging.  The race celebration at the end was also underwhelming with just a table off to the side with water, orange slices, and Larabar samples along with a few vendor tables.

Even though I had to push the munchkins through the race, I did receive some unexpected encouragement from other participants and one nice lady even gave me a high-five!  Woo-hoo!  It reminded of why I love to be around other runners, especially on race days. 🙂 Overall, it was pretty good experience.  I think it was a good race for the Groupon price…not sure I would have paid any more than that.  And running with some bad mother runners made it a really fun morning. 🙂

So, what was the SWAG?

~ A pretty legit medal (surprising for a small race) – And they gave medals to the kids in the strollers too, which was unexpected and made all of the littles happy!  Note: 5kr’s and 10kr’s did receive the same medal.

~A pretty legit long-sleeved tech shirt (also surprising for a small race) – It even had the Super Bowl teams printed on the back!

*Pictures were not free at this race.  The lowest resolution price per pic was $7.99.

Oh, and did I mention that it was a beautiful day? 🙂

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~SM

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