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Posts tagged ‘stroller warriors’

Running for Autism Awareness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And some free hugs!

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

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So what was the SWAG?!

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

And of course, the medal!

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

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

See you at the next event! 😉

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~SM

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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.”

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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?!

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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.
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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!
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I even picked out my race day outfit before I went out of town!
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And then I looked over the race course to get an idea of what to expect on race day.
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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!

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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!

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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

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

 

 

 

 

Running for Food

I recently participated in the John Hancock – Cooking Light & Health Fit Foodie Race Weekend in San Diego.  This year, the event occurred in Fairfax, VA; Austin, Tx; Tampa, FL; and here in San Diego.  It’s a full weekend filled with fitness demos, cocktails, parties, and a 10k/5k with celebrity appearances.  The Fit Foodie Race also proudly supports the American Diabetes Association.  The event ranges in price from $55-$160 depending on how involved you want to be with the weekend; however, there are usually Groupon deals with significant discounts.  I actually participated in the 10k for free!  But more on that later!  Let’s move on to the review…

Packet pick-up was at Road Runner Sports the day before the race and I got in and out pretty quick.  I received my bib and t-shirt, but they were also selling some cuter t-shirts and tanks.  Then, the best part happened!  We got to meet not one, but two race legends – Bill Rodgers and Meb Keflezighi!  Bill was super friendly and chatted about his time running through the streets of Boston.  Meb was also quite gracious and his daughters were even sprinting behind him on the treadmills!

The race was held downtown and the course ran through the Embarcadero and Seaport Village.  It started around 7am, but I got there a little late and ended up parking almost a mile away.  Oops.  I was a little confused on exactly where the start line was, but that was just the beginning of my confusion.  But it was actually a very beautiful day and even got pretty hot later in the morning.  I also ran with a fellow Stroller Warrior and friend as well as my 4-year-old – whom my friend helped push along the way.

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Now, let’s talk about the course- The 5k course just did one loop around Embarcadero and was pretty simple.  The 10k course, on the other hand, was a bit of a cluster.  First, there were a couple of splits during the course where the 5k runners went in one direction and the 10k runners went in another.  Then, at one point, the course took you down a not so glamorous part of San Diego – filled with graffiti-covered industrial buildings and glass in the streets.  I also had the pleasure of running by a homeless gentlemen who was yelling out obscenities and threats to us.  I am not normally bothered by the homeless, however, for a moment it slightly took away from my fun race experience…especially since I had my daughter with me.  Anywho, I digress.  My biggest complaint about the course was that after a while it just became a bunch of confusing and never-ending loops.  I even encountered a woman who had run an extra 3 miles because she got misdirected on the course.  However, I will say that the course was filled with a good amount of friendly volunteers who were directing the runners as well as passing out water and keeping the energy flowing.  I just didn’t like having to ask, “Is this the right way?” at every turn.

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Then came the post-race fun and food!  We were greeted at the finish line with a tote bag of goodies and medals! There were a lot of live demos, raffles, contests, samples, and the chance to test drive a Lexus.  Now, since we started the race a little later than everyone and got confused along the course, this meant that we ended later than most people and ended way later than the 5k runners. Many of the sample areas had pretty long lines by the time I arrived and I didn’t have the patience to wait at all of them.  Also, some tables had run out of things which was a little disappointing.  Then there was the big “food area” that was really hyped up leading into the event.  But I was a little let down to discover that this was nothing more than a tiny plate with two tiny food samples on them. 😦

The DJ was good at holding everyone’s attention and kept the party atmosphere flowing.  I was also thankful that I got my pics and autographs from Bill and Meb the day before since the lines to meet them after the race were pretty long.

So what was the SWAG?!

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I will say, there was actually quite a bit of swag and I like the phrase on the back of the shirt.  If I had more patience, I would have waited for more swag but I felt that I received a good amount! My two favorites from this haul are the Country Archer Beef Jerky and the Jambu full-size notebook with pen.  There was also a beer garden, but I didn’t check it out because I had a little one in tow.  I also loved the medal, especially the pink ribbon! (The 5kers received a medal with a blue ribbon).

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Overall, I enjoyed the event – although I don’t think I would pay the full price for this one, at least not for the 10k.  Next time I would do the 5k to avoid the confusing course and so I could get to the post-race party quicker to score more samples and swag.  I’m not sure what the Friday and Sunday festivities were like, but I guess I was expecting a little more food on race day since “Food” is what the event is supposed to be all about.  I also recommend running it with a friend so they can join in on the party fun.

There were also free race photos!  Bonus SWAG!

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So how did I run this race for FREE??  Well the Fit Food Race Series offers ambassador  positions for each of their locations.  The ambassadors offer giveaways on their blogs for free race entries.  I found one of the ambassadors on Instagram and ended up winning a free race entry!  You can find her blog at Runs and Roses.

Have you run the Fit Foodie 5k/10k?  What did you think?

See you at the next event!

~SM

Joggin’ for Frogmen

Last weekend I participated in the Joggin’ for Frogmen 5k here in San Diego.  It’s a great event because it’s available in multiple cities around the country and it benefits the Navy SEAL Foundation!  They also offer a Tadpole Trot where the little ones can earn their very own tshirt and mini medal!

Price: The registration price runs between $25-40 depending on when you register, but there was a Groupon available for this run for $25.  I actually won a race registration, but I’ll elaborate more on that later.  The Tadpole Trot runs $10-$15 also depending on your registration date.

Expo: Packet pick-up was the day before at Road Runner Sports or you could pick-up the morning of the race.  I attended the packet pick-up at Road Runner and it was a pretty simple process.  I picked up my bib, tshirt, and coupon without waiting in a line and off I went!  And I got to stand in Meb’s footsteps! 😉

Parking: Like many other 5k’s in San Diego, this one was also held at NTC Park in Point Loma.  The course isn’t the greatest (more on that later), but there is plenty of free parking…which is amazeballs because seeing the words “plenty” and “free parking” associated with anything in San Diego is like seeing a unicorn playing a violin.

Course: The race started at 9am which is a bit late in the day, but luckily it didn’t get too brutally hot until a little later.  I ran with my single BOB so I started towards the back.  The course scenery is nice as it’s situated near the bay, downtown and the airport; however, the course is a bit narrow with some uneven terrain which can be difficult when pushing a stroller through busy crowds.  If you want to attempt to get a decent time, I recommend starting at the very front. It’s also mostly flat with only a slight hill going over a bridge.  There were also plenty of friendly volunteers, signs and water stations throughout the race.

And since the course is near a Naval Training Center, there are lots of flags, statues and a patriotic vibe throughout the whole park.

We were met at the finish line with medals – they even gave one to my mini in the stroller! – water, and hand towels.

Post Race: There was a big table of bagels, granola bars and other snacks near the finish line.  There was also a beer garden where the participants were offered a complimentary adult beverage.  And there were a ton of sponsors and vendors giving out swag!  There was also a raffle opportunity and a DJ playing some pretty energetic tunes.

Tadpole Trot: I didn’t get a chance to collect as much swag as I wanted because I had to get my little one ready for the tadpole trot.  This was my only peeve about the whole event.  The tadpole trot didn’t start until 10:30 which I thought was quite late.  Also the distance was a bit shorter than I had imagined.  It was probably only about a 50 yard dash whereas many races do a 1 mile or 1k run for the kids.  But the little ones still had fun and my daughter even placed in the top three of her age group!

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Another cool element of the race were the skydivers!  3 jumpers dove out of an airplane while “Proud to be an American” played over the speakers.  Vice Admiral Robert Harward held the American Flag while flying through the sky which was a touching effect.  Then he posed for pics with all of the little tadpoles!  Andy Stumpf (retired Navy Seal/Kill Cliff ambassador) was also another awesome jumper!

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Now, how did I run this race for free?!  I answered a question on Instagram from an awesome patriotic organization called The Freedom Rev.  Check out their page and social media channels!  Social media is a great way to win free race entries, so follow your favorite race ambassadors and search for event hashtags!  You may win a free entry of your own!

Shortly after the race I got an email with my official race results and a link to preview and purchase my race photos.  Overall, this was a very organized and well run event that benefits a great organization!  Checkout Jogginforfrogmen.com to find an event near you.  It’s a great event for the whole family and I enjoyed running with not just my mini, but also some fellow Stroller Warriors! My only suggestion would be start the race an hour earlier and organize the tadpole trot a little better.


So what was the SWAG?!

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~A super dope medal! It’s a lanyard, magnet, bottle opener and medal all-in-one!

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~Again, I missed out on some swag opportunities since several of the vendors were tearing down by the time the tadpole trot ended, but I did manage to snag a few items!  And the technical tshirts are super soft and comfortable!

This really is a great event!  If you are unable to run in the race, consider volunteering your time so you can still snag some swag! 😉

See you at the next event!

P.S. Please vote for me over at Top Mommy Blogs by clicking the badge on the side! Thanks! 😉

~SM

The Color Run (All-Star 5k)

I recently ran The Color Run a.k.a the happiest 5k on the planet and it was a blast!  I will start off by saying that I ran this race for free (more on that later) and it was held in a much more scenic location than last year – at the Waterfront Downtown!  It was also held a little bit earlier this year so that it could be in conjunction with the MLB All Star Weekend events.  The only downfall to all of this was parking.  Parking downtown is usually a drag and this day was no different.  It took me almost 20 minutes to find a spot, but I found a free one fairly close. And I even parallel-parked…like.a.boss. Holla!

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So on to the race.  Since I spent a little extra time looking for parking, I ended up running in the 8:00 am wave, which wasn’t so bad cause everyone seemed fun and I also ran with a fellow Stroller Warrior as well as my mini.  There was a DJ close to the start line getting everyone pumped and throwing out t-shirts and whatnot.  He couldn’t throw very well so I suggest he obtains one of those tshirt canister gun things for next year.  It would also make him look a whole lot cooler.  The race pretty much started on time and we were off!

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The course was a big loop through the Embarcadero and downtown.  It started off a little crowded as we were navigating through narrow pathways along Seaport Village, but it eventually widened up and I was able to pass others pretty easily.  The first stop was blue, then green with a water station and very enthusiastic volunteers.  The water stations also played heart-pumping music which really made the race feel like a party.

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I didn’t get too blasted at these stations although one of the blue volunteers did pelt me in the face and ear pretty good.  They also were very cautious not to throw any in my daughter’s face and she loved going through all of the color stations.  The next stop was orange and then we finished with pink before crossing the finish line.

We were greeted at the finish line with medals and extra color packets to throw around and directed towards a water/Gatorade station.  Then it was party time!  There was a large stage with a DJ (one that I actually liked) keeping the energy flowing with dance music and extra swag opportunities. There were also lots of photo ops with various props and signs as well as food trucks and even a cell phone charging station!  It was definitely a nice touch!  The Runicorn made an appearance along with the Anthony Sullivan – The OxiClean guy!

The event wrapped up around 11am and then it was time for the party to end. 😦 Overall, I really enjoyed this race much better than last year’s.  The location was much more scenic compared to last year’s race in the Qualcomm stadium parking lot.  There also seemed to be a lot more photo props and food choices.   I snagged a gourmet chocolate popsicle for $3 from Steel City Pops and it was delightful!

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Also, the race course was actually 3.1 miles which is great because last year it was less than 2.5.  The only bummers were the parking issues and there were more color stations at least year’s event.  I’m not much for gimmick runs, but I have fallen in love with the Color Run and will definitely do it again in the future!  It’s a great event for the whole family and a good excuse to get messy and go to a party at 8am!

*So, how did I run the race for free?  I volunteered at packet pick-up the day before the race!  It actually was a lot of fun as it felt more like a pre-party since everyone picking up their packets was super excited about the event and I really just felt positive vibes all around.  Packet pick-up was at The Headquarters in Seaport Village and I took a 4 hour afternoon shift.  Things got pretty hectic as it seemed like everyone came at once, but it was a well organized event and the craziness made the time go by super fast.  We were rewarded with water, snack bars, and a free race entry!  You can even volunteer with your kids so I recommend it if you are trying to save some money on race fees!  It’s also a great way to help out with an awesome event or obtain some volunteer hours even if you don’t plan to run in the race.

Now, what was the SWAG?!

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I will say, last year’s swag was a bit more exciting…but I still prefer this year’s event.

~A clear bag to protect your valuables from the color during the race

~A sweet headband

~A soft, stretchy tshirt (they are one of the few shirts I actually like to wear)

~Color Packets

~Tattoos

~Water cups – okay this isn’t really swag, but I thought these were the most adorable water cups!

~Sunglasses – Note: I paid $5 for these but I decided to splurge a little since I wasn’t paying for the race.

~A beautiful medal

~Amazing weather and awesome scenery!

And running with friends makes the Color Run that much sweeter!  Especially running with another Stroller Warrior!

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“Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof…” (Pharrell Williams)  Now that song can be stuck in your head, too. 😉  You’re welcome.

See you at the next event!

~SM

 

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