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

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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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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

 

Legoland California

“Everything is awesome…everything is cool when you’re part of the team!”  If you love hearing this song on repeat, then you will LOVE Legoland! 😉  So I had the pleasure of visiting Legoland California (there is another one in Florida for those who don’t know) and I wanted to share a few of my experiences in this “awesome” themepark! 😉 See what I did there?

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Tickets: We purchased our tickets at the ticket office on the military base, which gave us about a $30 discount per ticket.  I also had a coupon for a buy one adult ticket, get one child ticket free…so we purchased that ticket at full price – which was about $117.  This was a hopper ticket where you can choose between the water park and the aquarium.  We chose the water park since it was a hot day and my tiny humans love splashing in the water.  The tickets we purchased on base also included a free second day to be used before the end of the year.

Parking: Parking is $15 for regular parking and $25 for preferred (upfront) parking.  The preferred parking was sold out this day so we parked in the general parking.  It wasn’t a long walk so it wasn’t too bad, although I was surprised there wasn’t a golf cart or shuttle service for those who may have a harder time walking long distances.

Season/Hours: We went on a Thursday and got there around 1pm.  P.S. it’s July…in California soooo I was melting by the time we got to the gate.  The park hours are 10am-8pm so keep that in mind when planning your trip.  They stay open until 9pm on weekends, but it’s still an early closure time compared to other theme parks.  Even though it’s prime tourist season, the parking and park itself wasn’t too crowded.  We got in pretty quick and moved easily around the park.  Also, unlike many theme parks, they don’t do fireworks here unless it’s during Fourth of July.

First Impressions: Everyone was very friendly and cheery and eager to help.  I would almost venture to say they were friendlier than the Disney staff (maybe everything really IS awesome in Legoland).  We headed to the information booth to get maps and our “First Time Visit” pins so we could plan out our day.  The attendants were super helpful and explained which rides the kids could ride as well as how to decipher the map.  You can also download the app to help navigate the park and view the wait times at each attraction.

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Food: We got some food at the Pizza buffet and again, the staff was super friendly with helping us find the right spot.  We also discovered that several of the restaurants offered free meals for kids (with the purchase of an adult meal) after 5pm.  We were a little early to take advantage of this deal, but I was surprised that many of the eateries offered so many healthy options and salad bars.  It was great to have choices other than fried foods and greasy pizza.  I ended up purchasing one of the collector cups for $9.95.  Sometimes I think these are a scam, but since it was an excruciating hot day I knew we would be drinking lots of fluids.  The cup included $1 refills at any restaurant, but next time I will know to bring lots of water and drinks for the kids.  And if you download the app, you may receive 10% off your refillable collector cup purchase.

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Water Park: The water park is much smaller than typical water theme parks, but it’s great for smaller kids.  There are also a couple of splash pads placed throughout the main park which is a great way for everyone to cool off when it’s super hot.  The tiny kids loved the water park and the bigger kids (my husband and bro-in-law) liked the water “thrill” ride.  They also have a lazy river type ride but the line was too long so we didn’t check it out.  They have plenty of beach chairs and benches for you to rest as well as lockers/showers, concessions and towels for purchase.  They also offers cabanas for $250 a day.  They include a private area with chairs and a mini fridge.  This is a great option if you plan to spend the whole day at the water park with family or if you wanted to split the cost with friends.

Legos, Legos, Legos: So the park is literally made of Legos.  Like everything!  I really enjoyed seeing all of the Lego sculptures.  There is a work of art everywhere you look!  My favorite exhibit was Miniland – tiny cities made up of…you guessed it – Legos!  Take special note of the One World Trade Center Lego building in the New York City sculpture – it’s the tallest Lego tower in the country (26 feet)!

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And this is where the magic happens!

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I can’t even imagine the time and effort it takes to strategically place each one of these Lego pieces!

Rides/Shows/Play areas: There were several rides for smaller kids and a couple of thrill type rides.  I will say most rides are geared for ages 12 and under so don’t expect any crazy adrenaline-pumping rides when planning your visit.  There is also a 4d Lego show, but we didn’t get a chance to attend this day.  They have a few outdoor play areas for smaller kids as well as indoor play spaces filled with Legos.  You can literally bathe in Legos if that’s your jam.  I took the opportunity to make my own creation….a Lego apple martini!

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Ninjago:  This is the new area for 2016 so it’s pretty hyped up (it’s mentioned in every Legoland commercial here).  It’s actually a fairly small area, but there is a rock climbing wall, some sculptures and the Ninjago ride.  The ride is an indoor virtual reality experience where you are given 3d glasses and then you use your hands to fight ninjas that pop up on the screen throughout ride.  You score points for each ninja you take down and the goal is to get the highest score in your four-person car.  This really was an arm workout more than anything, but I’m sure that a ninja aficionado or a six-year-old would find this to be a more exciting experience.

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Souvenir Shops/Extras: I will say that there are lots of things to see at this theme park!  So much that we didn’t have a chance to see everything!  There are plenty of souvenir shops so that you can remember your day at the park and you will see Lego characters periodically walking around although we didn’t have time to get photos with them.  There is also a face painting station and lots of gaming areas.  We stopped by the ticket table on the way out where we received a free extra day!  It can only be used between September-November, but it’s still a nice incentive!

Hotel: I will also note that there is a hotel on site – within feet from the entrance of the park.  This is something that we may invest in on the next visit so that we can get the full experience.

SWAG:  There wasn’t really any obvious swag besides the 1st Visit pin…but we did get an extra free day as well as the souvenir cup.  My brother-in-law also played one of the basketball games.  It was $20 for 9 balls and he’s a pretty amazeballs basketball player.  He ended up making two goals so he received two stuffed animals…and like a good uncle, he generously gave them to each of my kiddos.  I was surprised at the awesome quality of these toys!  They were huge, full-sized stuffed animals made of a soft, plush material – not like the cheap, carnival stuffed animals you typically win at a county fair.  This was a nice surprise and again, the young man running the game was super friendly!

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And we received a coupon from Shutterfly for a free photo book! Can’t wait to cash this in!


Overall, it was a great day!  I can’t wait to go back and see all of the exhibits and rides that we missed on the first day.   Stay tuned for part two the Legoland California experience!  I’d also love to hear about your Legoland adventures!  Please comment below!

“…Everything is awesome when you’re living out a dream!”

~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

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

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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