Surf City 10

Last weekend I ran the Surf City 10 miler for my 2nd year in a row!  I love this race and its scenic ocean views down PCH in Huntington Beach, CA.  You may be familiar with the course from the Surf City Marathon & Half Marathon that happens every February on Superbowl!

The 10-mile race course is basically the same course as the Half in February (only they add in an extra 3-mile loop for that to make up the extra mileage).  It is a fun and fast out and back course!

The race was on Sunday, 10/15/17, so I headed to the expo on Saturday.  It was a beautiful sunny and warm weekend!

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I snuck in a few pictures while cruising the expo and grabbing my bib.

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I also stumbled on this New Yorker on my way into the expo, he is always easy to find….if you know @peterpfischer then you know why!  Peter and I have a habit of crushing expos and then carbs immediately after on pre-race days.

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See…..

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Can’t complain about an expo on the beach!

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I loved the shirts they gave us this year (though I admittedly never wear them), some of my favorite colors right there!  Anyone else a chronic race shirt hoarder?!  Ugh, awful.

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After the expo I laid out Flat Melissa!  LOVED my tank from Gone For A Run and you can use my promo — Fitwithliss15 on their cute tanks and trucker hats for 15% off!

And yes, I ate that candy corn — and yes, I swear it helps my running!

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Race morning was overcast, which is like talkin’ dirty to a runner!  Yaaaaaaaaaaas!

I snapped a couple of pics cruising down PCH for my warm up.

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Then, because race mornings don’t make you nervous enough, I looked down 15 minutes before the start and realized I had left my bib (with timing chip on it) in my car!

Thankfully, I was standing there chatting with Peter when I realized it, and he jogged over to the “Solutions” booth with me; they registered and issued me a new bib right there.  OMG.  Otherwise, I would have had to drop a 6-minute mile to my car and back to get mine, and that is not how I wanted to start off my race.  Seriously awesome that they had that booth at the race, because the guy in front of me in line did the same thing.

Once the race was under way, I knew in Mile 1 this was going to be a strong race for me.  Don’t you love when you can just feel it?!   If you follow me on social media, you know that I am right in the thick of Marathon Training (it’s in 10 days actually), so I had no idea what to expect from this race.  Tired legs, high mileage months, and a different type of speed work than you would do for shorter distances make it more difficult (in terms of hitting goals) to race shorter distances while training for 26.2.

Something that I believe really helped me is the way I have been doing my long runs during this training cycle, and treating them more as workouts.  It helps break down the miles and not make that higher mileage seem so monotonous.  For example; last year my goal on 18-20 mile runs was to simply go out and “don’t die.”  This training cycle on those 18-20 mile runs I was focusing on doing anywhere from 7-12 (depending on the week) miles at MGP (marathon goal pace).

Going into this 10-mile race, I knew I needed 10 of those effort miles for my long run (of 20 miles that weekend).  So I did a 1-mile warm up, then just talked myself through my 10 effort miles (the race), and then later ran 9 easier miles to round out 20 for the day.  For some reason, breaking it down like that in my head just helps me.

This is a fast course along the beach — and it’s an out and back which I love.  When I hit the turn-around point at 5 miles, I saw my friend Saige and yelled to cheer for her — seeing her looking strong gave me an extra kick.  The “bring it home” feels had just clicked in, and I was ready to finish strong.

I was proud of how consistent my miles were staying each time my Garmin beeped and that was keeping me focused.  I typically have a problem with going out faster and then slowing up some.  Miles 7-8 of this course is a gradual up hill which slowed me a tad, but didn’t derail me.  Here is a look at my mile splits to show you what I mean..

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Last year I remember starting to struggle and slowing at mile 7, and surging back and forth with a guy running my pace, which helped me tremendously at that time.  This year, when I hit that point I felt much stronger and I knew I was going to PR.  I was able to come back with a 7:03 Mile 10 which was a big deal for me.

I came through that finish line with a huge smile on my face and a 4 minute PR at 1:11:38 over last years 1:15:57.

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The first person I was saw Saige @runsaigerun (the one who I yelled for at the turn- around).  We finally met in February this year when we both ran the Surf City Half, and this speedy beauty continues to be a constant source of motivation for me, I just adore her!

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Finish lines are always fun because the work is done and it’s so good to see everyone and catch up.

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I was so happy to see @kristelalliaume again who is involved in the event productions of the Surf City Races and such a sweetheart!

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Another bonus of being in Huntington Beach is getting to see my friend Jodee.  She ran the 10k and crushed a new PR that morning as well.  Jodee and I met under non-running circumstances probably close to 7 years ago, and were pregnant at the same time — we have sons that are 2 weeks apart.  I just love this girl and I’m so proud of her and all her running accomplishments.  She’s been a constant source of support in my life since knowing her, and I’m forever thankful for our friendship.

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We don’t get to see each other often enough, so we always make sure to celebrate!

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The medals were a perfect matching accessory to our Mimosas!

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The keychain I got for placing 3rd in my AG this year, which is exactly what I did last year, so that was a pleasant surprise.

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Surf City always has such well-put together races and I am looking forward to the Surf City Half on Superbowl in February.  It’s my current 13.1 PR course.  Huntington Beach holds a special place in my heart, so it makes me happy to run PCH strong.

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Who else ran this race, or is doing Surf City in February?

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National Love Your Body Day

October 18th is National Love Your Body day!

Be unapologetically YOU.

“Today is YOURS to shape – own it- break free from people and things that poison or dilute your spirit – make it a great day!” — Dr Steve Maraboli

I joined in with two companies I love;  Momentum Jewelry and Handful Activewear who together started a #beYOUtiful campaign on self-love and women empowering other women!

I get asked quite a bit to share about my post baby journey and thought today would be a good day to do that again.

As a Mom who had two c-section babies 23 months apart, I had what started as a difficult journey back to my pre-baby health and learning to love my (now forever changed) body.  I was lacking motivation, support and feeling lost as of where to start.  I share my story and my transformation on Instagram because seeing other women and Moms do the same thing is what inevitably made me get off the couch and realize that I too could regain my health!

In my first pregnancy I gained 68 lbs — nope not a typo!  A special thank you to pancakes, chicken flautas and Little Debbies Snack cakes — without you, this weight gain would not have been possible!  This was me about 2.5 weeks before my oldest Son was born.

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I lost maybe all but 15 lbs before getting pregnant with my youngest Son.  I only gained 28 lbs with Liam — this was me a few hours before his c-section.

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 I was very fortunate to have amazing recoveries from both of my c-sections, my same OB delivered both my boys and she is phenomenal!

The struggle came after recovery.  I was cleared to work out 6 weeks post pardom but here I sat with a newborn and a 2-year-old, not enough coffee in the world, and ZERO motivation to stop eating like I was still pregnant.  Totally normal for new parents!  Both Moms & Dads!

As someone who was a runner before pregnancies, I felt too heavy and uncomfortable in my own skin to hit the road running again.  I can recall being out walking my 2 week old Son in the stroller one day and having some poorly raised teenage boys passing by yell out the car window that I better start running instead of walking. Does the judgement of those kids really matter? No, but the power of words can leave a scar.  It may not cause you physical pain but like a scar, it’s something that sticks with you.  That was years ago and I still remember it vividly.

After that incident I did at home workouts and used my treadmill until I had lost my first 20 lbs and felt confident enough to be back out on the road.  Prior to that I had been feeling very unhealthy and was still wearing maternity clothes 7 months after pregnancy.

This was a glimpse at my Transformation starting with the Day I was cleared to work out on the left, 6 weeks post pardom after my 2nd baby.   Between the first 2 pictures I nearly broke my ass falling off the wagon so many times!  It was comparable to an 8 month long ping pong tournament.  The middle picture was the day I started and finally never looked back.  No more falling off the wagon once I hit that point, something had clicked.

And most importantly, from that day on I learned to celebrate and be proud of myself for all my small victories along the way, not just waiting until I hit big goals.

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My biggest issues in getting started were diet and water consumption!  I was barely drinking any water.  Once I hit that middle pic I cut out gluten to jump-start my weight loss, and I started drinking the correct amount of water (in addition to my exercise) my body responded very well to that!  I dropped around 9 lbs in that first month, in  December no less which was HUGE!  When you truly start to love and respect your body, you treat it better, and you fuel it better.

The biggest piece to the puzzle for me was support — it still is.  There are ALWAYS gonna be hard days, no matter what your goal is.  Weight loss, weight gain, running faster, lifting more, swimming stronger, whatever your goal is, on the days when you want to give up and start to slip, having that support system safety net to catch you is critical!

I have connected with and met so many amazing, inspirational and strong people through social media, some whom I have become such good friends with — many of them right here in surrounding cities to me and have offered support that has carried me from one goal to the next.

Find your tribe, surround yourself with motivated people who are going in the direction you are and let go of any negativity holding you back.  That was my problem.  I was my own biggest roadblock.

“Have faith in your journey.  Everything had to happen exactly as it did to get you where you’re going.”  — Mandy Hale

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#beYOUtiful #momentumjewelry #handfulactivewear

 

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Oats Over Night

I got my hands on some Oats Over Night to try throughout this last month and loved it!  It came to me at a perfect time — right as “Back To School” was starting for my Son going into Kindergarten!

If you follow me on social you likely already know I am kept pretty busy (read: crazy) by two adorable 3 & 5 year old tiny humans!  My boys keep life interesting and beautiful — but wreak (loud) havoc on my once structured morning routine!

Finding simplicity in the mornings is key for me, and skipping breakfast is not an option since I typically log early morning miles on my runs — I actually eat breakfast twice! These oats have 34 grams of protein which is perfect for keeping me full because I am seriously always hungry!

I tried out their Starter Pack which comes with one of each of their 3 current flavors and the shaker bottle.  I have a shaker bottle obsession so that was naturally the first thing that caught my eye with their product!

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The concept is simple!  “Ditch The Spoon” and make life easier in the morning!

You pour in 8oz of milk and a package of oats into the bottle, give it a little shake and put in the refrigerator! Then in the morning all you have to do is grab and go!

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There is no spoon needed, you can drink it directly from the shaker.  It gives you the ease of a protein shake for breakfast, but it’s MUCH more filling.  And yes, although you can drink it, there is still a little chew to it — I found it strangely addicting, it’s so good!  There are no issues with it coming out of the shaker (and falling out on your face) when drinking it either.

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All the ingredients are naturally gluten free (which I love because I eat around 85% gluten free) however, the oats are processed in facilities that also produce gluten-containing items if you do have a gluten allergy.

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The true test for me is always finding things to eat that won’t upset my stomach before/after a run.  I pulled some “risky business” for a runner, the first time I tried this.  I had it right before going running — never having tried it before.  Any runner knows that’s a rookie runner move right there!

Sometimes I like living life on the edge, what can I say?

I drank it on the way to drop my Son off at school,

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then hit the road with my other kiddo for what turned into a 7 mile stroller run!  And I had no stomach issues consuming this and going right into a workout.

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With the 8oz of (non fat) milk it comes to around 410 calories, I typically eat several smaller meals throughout the day ranging between 250-400 calories each.

Once I saw how full it was keeping me I kept it as my post workout go-to (my 2nd breakfast)!  I log around 50+ running miles a week right now marathon training and anything that can keep me full for longer than 11 minutes is a gold mine!

The flavors are delicious! Often times when you get a “variety pack” style of flavors there are usually some that you don’t like as much, but I can honestly say I really enjoyed them all!  What’s strange is the Strawberries n Cream that I thought I would like the least (because it just sounds overly sweet) was actually my favorite!  It was SO good!

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I will link some of their Frequently Asked Questions in case you are interested in learning more!

Lastly, because finding products I love and sharing them with you guys is my jam — I am teaming up with @oatsovernight on IG next week for a Giveaway for one of their Starter Sample Packs — so keep an eye out for that!

Have a happy and safe Labor Day Weekend my friends!

Run all the miles, eat all the food!

 

 

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Kindergarten Mom

Deep breaths. That’s what will get me through letting go of your hand on Monday as I watch you walk into the next chapter of your life.  Kindergarten.  I’m not sure that I am ready.  No, scratch that — I know I’m not, but you are.

How did we get here, Owen Craig?

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You were my first true experience at love at first sight.

In most cases, you have to establish your love for someone.   You learn things about them and you grow to love each other — but you grew with me.  I carried you everyday until you were ready, and I worried myself sick while pregnant with you.  I just wanted you here.  I remember the anesthesiologist telling me, “Breathe Melissa, breathe,” as he held one of my hands, and watched me hold my breath until you took your first one, and let out your first cry.

I put you in this little bear hat right after you were born and called you my baby bears, the nickname “Bears” stuck with you for years.

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You were just the baby every first time Mama needed.  You slept so peacefully our whole 4 night stay in the hospital.  You were my easy-going happy, little cheeky baby.

This newborn photo-shoot was not your favorite though.  As tranquil as this Mother/ Son moment looked, you were actually screaming at me!  Still worth it though.  Sorry, kiddo.

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Even to this day, you still humor me with the 1,000 pictures a month I probably take of you and your brother.  Especially in instances like this, when I take you back somewhere 1 year later and have you reenact the same pose for me.  You’re such a good sport!

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And speaking of sports, I’m so excited to watch you fall in love and thrive in whatever sport you choose over these next years.  Although you come from a baseball family…

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any sport you choose is gonna fit you like a glove.  You’re full of energy, determined, stubborn like your Mama – and have great athletic genes on both sides of your family.

Three years ago, you went from being an only child to a Big Brother (not by choice, at first), and you have been such a great little educator for Liam.  You’re protective and loving, though you two still do a fair amount of fighting on any given day.  You two are sneaky, and gang up on me, but I do appreciate your team-work efforts.

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You got your first pair of Asics because you were asking to run with me all the time, and your endurance is just shocking to me!  Comes so easy for you — Haha!

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You quickly became my favorite cool-down partner, joining me after my runs.

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I can’t believe we’re here already.  Kindergarten.  I have admittedly been a mess this week.  Just the thought of this next phase puts me in tears at any given time.

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These last 5 years we have cried together, laughed hysterically, we’ve been scared, happy and you’ve shown me I am capable of worry like I never knew before.  We’ve had times where we’ve only slept during the day, where we’ve slept at night, we’ve even pulled all- nighters.  I’ve cuddled you while you were sick, hugged you when you were sad, and you’ve even wiped away my tears when I haven’t hid them well enough.  You give me huge hugs just when you know I need them.  You’re young, an innocent child, but you understand so much.

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So on Monday, when I let go of your hand and watch you walk into your first official classroom……I’ll probably still be on that curb crying when you come out 4 hours later!  Kidding….(I hope).   I’ll be watching my first baby transition into even more of a little boy.  Becoming a little more independent, needing me a little bit less, but I’ll be standing there waiting to pick you up.  I’ll be waiting to remind you that even though you won’t be as dependent on me over the coming years, that I still need you JUST as much, and I will always be here for you.  It’s a big day for you, but it’s a big day for me too, kid.

I may never be officially ready for this big change, but it’s here, and I know we are gonna be just fine.

Happy 1st Day of Kindergarten, Smoogly.

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Love,

Mom

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RoadRunner Craft Classic

One of my favorite things about being a runner is race weekends!  And nothing exhilarates the feelings and the vibes of a race day like a well-put together race event.

The RoadRunner Craft Classic Half Marathon & 5k kicked off their 2nd annual race in San Diego (their series also hits Phoenix, Seattle & Atlanta) this past Sunday, and it did not disappoint!

The Expo was at the Roadrunner Sports store located in San Diego.  If you’ve run other races in San Diego, you’ve likely visited them before picking up race bibs, as they house a few other expos out here.  It’s always an organized expo, set up in the parking lot and then winds through the store.. (well-played, RoadRunner) just in case you may have any unnecessary (but totally necessary) items you may need for race day.

Literally me in a running store:

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They do carry just about every kind of running fuel, which is perfect for those last-minute stock up needs. They also had great photo props which is always fun!

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Peter ( @peterpfischer ) and I tried a few out!

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After the expo I figured I better scope the scene of the crime for the next morning…that landed me at the San Diego Green Flash Brewery — if you have never visited this Brewery while in San Diego — Change that.  I was pretty stoked they were the beer partner for the race.  It’s an awesome atmosphere,

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with great beer,

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and really good food.  This grilled chicken sandwich with spicy guacamole was

AH-Mazing!

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I hid behind that thing while I threw ketchup on my shirt like a savage, eating french fries. Can’t take me anywhere.  Carb loading can be messy, we’ll leave it at that.

After all that fun, and eating half a NY style pizza ( #nevernotcarbing ) while getting set up for the morning, I managed to lay out my flat runner.  I always tag these posts on IG with the products that I use, so if you want to check that out, you can do so here.

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On race morning, I was one mile from the 5k start line, so I got ready and jogged down there as a warm-up.  I had some time to meet up with a few friends, and was so happy to finally get to see Smitha again ( @runningwithsd ).  She’s a fellow Procompression Ambassador, and had just gotten back from her trip to Iceland.  She still rolled in for this race — jet-lagged and all!  AND it was her Birthday weekend!

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The half marathon kicked off at 6:30am (in a separate location), and the 5k took off at 6:45am.  It stayed overcast, which was a blessing — but it was humid for sure!  Not running this course before, I hit some hills you would otherwise not expect during a short and fast 5k race.  I did look at the course map prior to racing, but I don’t think it registered appropriately.  My first mile was my fastest (in true Melissa fashion), and the easiest of the race as the first big hill did not hit until the last 1/4 mile or so.  My Garmin read 521 ft of elevation gain. That’s more than I like for a 13.1 race. 🤣 It was an out and back course, which I know many hate, but I just love them!  I love that “turn and burn” feeling at the halfway point, when you flip around and know you’re headed home.  It fires me up!

Closing in on the last mile, I had no idea how many people were ahead of me.  I just wanted to finish.  This course ends with a big hill at the finish, and I had emptied the tank, for sure.  I crossed the finish line and was shocked to hear I placed 3rd over all female!

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Some of you guys probably know Jessica ( @sugarruns ) — she was the one who gave me that happy news when I crossed the finish!  She was the 2nd place over all female, missing 1st place by 2 seconds.  A total running bad ass, this one is!

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We were soon joined by some more of our squad!

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We also found beer, and Josie ( @josie_a21 )!

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At 8:00am they kicked off the awards ceremony, and I got to stand on a race podium for the first time!  I have placed in a few other races, but they never had podiums, so this time really felt legit — and there was room for our beers!

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I ended up being 3rd OA female out of 657 females and 27th OA out of 1,152 men & women total in the race.  I was pretty happy with that, considering I am not in what I would consider 5k shape.  I have been marathon training, and focusing on mileage building rather than speed.  However, this little checkpoint of a race let me know I am continuing to get stronger.

And of course, more of the same after the race…

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The medal and free tank (that I am wearing) which you got at bib pick up were impressive!  And not pictured was a beer glass they also gave us with the same logo as my tank. Love it.

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This was such a well put together event.  I will absolutely be a repeat offender next year. And I wouldn’t mind checking out another city for this race either.

Lastly, I am an Ambassador for this race series, so if you are interested in running in any of the upcoming cities, click the city below to take you to the registration.  Then just plug in my promo codes to save some money:

Promo Codes: FITLISS5K ($5 off 5k)  FITLISSHALF  ($10 off half)

Atlanta 9/9/17

Seattle 9/10/17

Phoenix 10/15/17

Thanks for the memories, Craft Classic, see you next year!

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As always, I love to hear about your experiences if you ran this race, or if you are running one of the upcoming ones!  Run happy my friends!

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Rock n Roll Carlsbad 5000

Oh.  Hey!  Here I am again, as you can see I continue to excel in my ability to set a new PR for length of time between blog posts each time I circle back.  UGH.  I probably said the last time that I was gonna be better about it…..so I dare not lie to you again.  No promises!

Last weekend I spent a couple days in Oceanside & Carlsbad, CA.  This is a very big race weekend every year, because these two cities house the Oceanside 70.3 Ironman on Saturday, and then the Carlsbad 5000 and All Day 20k on Sunday.

On Saturday I woke up a ran a quick 2 miles to get my legs going, but didn’t wanna over do it.  I had woken up Friday feeling run down and with a sore throat.  It was a beautiful morning though, all our recent rain did California some good.

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After that, I headed to Carlsbad for my 5k Expo – It was crowded but they are good about keeping things moving quickly here.  This is always a great expo, lots of vendors and things to shop.

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This year I grabbed my stuff and scooted through pretty quickly, because I was heading over to the Oceanside Pier to watch some friends come through the finish line.  It was a gorgeous day — nice weather, although probably a little too warm (for racing), per the Southern California norm.

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Spent a few hours down there and had lunch, it was an awesome day — it’s relaxing to just be a spectator and cheer at a race sometimes, not gonna lie!

Got my flat runner ready later that night and was preparing to submit to the Melatonin Gods by 8pm, because I had about a weeks worth of sleep to catch up on!

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I was all set to run the Carlsbad 5000 again the next morning.  It’s deemed “The Worlds Fastest 5k,” although the course is a fast one, there are a few hills that you forget about.  The kind that have you coming through the finish line saying, “Yeah, I don’t remember those hills from last year.”  In my opinion, I think “Fastest 5k” resonates from the competition that shows up on race day — not necessarily the course.  People travel in from all over and the race has two special waves of Men/Women Elite runners, very exciting to watch!

They also have an All Day 20k that happens as well.  So, if you have never run this race before, let me quickly explain the race goes off in waves by ages.  It’s broken down into 4 waves that go off about an hour (or more apart):  Masters Men’s Ages 40+ / Masters Women’s Ages 40+ / Men & Women ages 29 & under and People’s Walk / Men & Women Ages 30-39.  Now, as each of these 4 waves go off, the all Day 20k starts with each one.  They run four 5k’s.  Sorry, not trying to dumb it down — I assume no one else is as bad at math as I am. :::eyeroll:::  They also have to work around the schedule for the Coaster which can seem annoying, but benefits you because nothing would kill your 5k time faster than stopping to wait for a train to pass.  Promise!  Then once all 4 of those waves have gone the final two waves are the Elite Women and the Elite Men.  It’s thrilling, a “you have to see it to believe it” kinda thing.

I signed my Sister up to run this 5k for her first time this year.  This is our obligatorypre- race “why do we do this?” picture!

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We also got to meet up with Anna again, her and her husband own the company — Miles and Pace that make these hats my Sister and I have in every color!  #justonemore

You can also follow them on IG here.

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Bumped into some of the other Procompression Ambassadors, too!

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And Kevin @bar_duh — he’s a University Track Coach near me; he helped me tweak and add in some speed and tempo workouts the last month before this race.  He also came back from a couple months off running with a broken arm, and still crushed a 17:25 5k or something ridiculous like that.  Crazy fast!

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Finally it was time to start my race, felt like I had waited 3 days!  This year they added a wave in before mine so I ended up racing 2+ hours later than I did last year.  My Wave didn’t go until 10:30am.  If you have been following me on any social media outlet long — you know I am a big.ass.baby. about the heat.  I literally can NOT!  It was so hot when my race started and on top of not being 100% health wise, that definitely did not give me the greatest feeling going into this.

My sister and friends out on the course, who had already raced earlier in the morning, were able to catch some videos and pictures of me out on the road.

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Coming through the finish here I had a nice little kick, although I was ready for it to be over.  The 5k is short but every runner knows it’s the one that HURTS!

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I didn’t have a 5k PR, but I did have a PR on this course of about 90 seconds or so over last year — which I was very happy with!  Given the heat and how I felt, I know I ran hard for those conditions.

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I finished in 20:36 (6:34 mile pace).

And how cool is this wall?!  Painted by the guy who drew this same design for the race shirts we got this year.  LOVE it!

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After the race was over we headed to the beer garden.  It’s sponsored by the Carlsbad Pizza Port which is the exact location the race finishes in front of.

I finally got to meet Carlee — @carleemcdot and her Husband, Ryan — @ruggedwoodsman I have seen them at several races, all over social media, and love following their adventures.   I was excited to get the LIVE version!

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And I bumped into Brett again!  The beer garden is usually a good place to find @run_for_beer after the races.  His IG name gives him away.  He’s a fellow Procompression Ambassador, and has an inspiring fitness journey.  We met for the first time in November after we both ran 26.2 at Revel Canyon City.

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And then there is Shawn — @meswimbikerun  We’ve known each other for a couple years now and back when he first met me I was running 9+ min miles.  Shawn was the FIRST person that told me I could run faster around the time I was thinking about actually “trying” to start picking up my pace some, but didn’t think I could be faster.

I was at the finish line when this guy cruised through the Oceanside 70.3 finish (still smiling, of course) on Saturday in like 5 hours and then ran in the 6:55am wave on Sunday to crush a 18:12 5k…the freakin’ day after 70.3!  Crazy — and yes, he does it every year.

He’s also the CO- Owner of Tribe MultiSport in Scottsdale AZ, so if you are in the area — stop by and check it out!  You can also follow their shop IG here @tribemultisport

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Everyone was stacking their empty cups on the way out of the beer garden and I was scared to be the one to knock it all down!

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Whew!  #NailedIt

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The shirt and the medal were both pretty perfect for this race.  The shirt is actually navy blue, although it’s hard to tell here.  I’m also palm tree obsessed so that little touch on the medal was perfect!

I received one of the special medals (ribbons) again this year; they give those out to the first 250 that cross the finish of each wave.  That’s why you see some like this and some with a ribbon that is orange.

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Overall, this is probably a favorite race of mine.  Between all the waves and the Elite runners, it’s kind of an all-day event — and it’s so much fun.  The Rock n Roll series races typically NEVER disappoint.  Plus when it’s all over, you’re right in downtown Carlsbad with a ton of options for lunch.

I will be back again next year, but this time we are actually tossing around the idea of the All Day 20k.

Anyone else run one of these races this year?  Thoughts on the all Day 20k?!  I love hearing about your experiences.

Have a great weekend, you guys!

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Avocado Half Marathon & 5k

I decided to try out the 3rd Annual Avocado 5k last weekend.  It was a local race for me, so I figured, why not?!  Plus, they had me at “avocado.” I figured being the Guacoholic that I am, I should probably add an avocado medal to my bling collection!

The Expo for this race was at The Running Center in Temecula.  I had recently bought a pair of running shoes in there, so I knew right where it was.  The bib pick-up was set up inside the store (which is smaller to begin with), so I was glad I got there right as it was starting because it was a little crowded.

Got Flat Melissa all laid out for race morning.  I always tag these pictures on my IG when I post in case you want info on my favorite run gear!  You can check out that post here.

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Race morning was a little chilly, but I never run in anything but shorts.  Thankfully, living in Southern California all my life, the coldest weather I have had to brave in my shorts is around 30; it was 33 degrees on this race morning!

I caught a beautiful sunrise on my way over.

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Parking for this race was fine as there was plenty of free lots around the start line.  The one big problem was the port a potty situation, UGH, a runners worst nightmare!  It may have been a smaller race, but listen…EVERY runner needs to use the bathroom before the race.  We had a half marathon and a 5k that started 15 minutes apart — versus a row of 10 port a potties.  TEN!  A couple of people in front of me that were running the half had to bail out of line to start on time and not use the bathroom.  I ran the 5k, but from what I heard there were also no port a potties on the course.  YIKES!  I don’t use the bathrooms during the races, but I know many do.

The race started on time, and I was excited.  Sometimes it’s fun to mix in the shorter races during all your distance training and racing, although, the 5k can hurt a little more because it’s run at quite a faster pace!

I felt strong during this race.  I could see the pace car which I thought was pretty cool.  I remember thinking several times while running “What are you doing up here, you don’t run this fast!”  The course was pretty much flat, a couple of teeny little rollers (if you could even call them that), but I was fired up that once I started this race, not one person passed me.  As I rounded the corner of the finish the one girl I had been running with pulled away (so I guess technically she passed me), but I ended up finishing 6th OA, the 2nd OA female and 1st in my AG.  I clocked an official time of 20:17 which was a 40 second 5k PR (just since December).  THAT felt awesome!

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Now, I am about to tell you the best part of this race….are you guys ready?!  When you crossed the finish line and got your medal — they also handed you a big ole avocado!!!

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I’ll pause here so you guys can regroup after news like that.

 I was able to get a few pictures and then watch the first finishers come through from the Half Marathon.  I got to meet a couple local IG-ers for the first time — @runningnerb and @erinsrunnerdpt

  And then got to see some of my fav local repeat offenders– @alissamwc and @negativesplitspositivevibes these two used this as a 20-mile training run day, and ran 7 miles before the race.  They then proceeded to place 1st & 2nd OA females in the Half Marathon!  So many local bad asses here in my area.

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And @run_love_smile who I have had the pleasure of bumping into at a few races but we never snagged a picture together until now!

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Overall, this was a great race, and I will likely do it again next year — the shirts were pretty cute too!

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And in case you were wondering, I cracked open that avocado (that was finally ripe this weekend) — and polishing that off was what fueled me for this recap.

One more look at that avocado bling!

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I’ve got one more 5k coming up here in April (before I’m onto my longer races) at the Carlsbad 5000 and it’s a local favorite and a fun race as well.  Hoping to come out of this one even stronger!

Anyone else run the Avocado Half or 5k, or planning on running Carlsbad?

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Surf City Half Marathon

Super Bowl Sunday started out at the Surf City Half Marathon for my sister and I this year.  It turned out to be a great race day, although there was some humidity to battle the cool temps and overcast skies made up for it.

I went to the expo the day before and stopped by the @werunsocial and @procompression meet up that was at the Procompression booth.  These are fun meet ups — all are welcome and they are always a great way to connect with other runners other than our little square world on IG.

A few of us posed for a couple quick pictures, it was great meeting up with some of the other Procompression Ambassadors for the first time!

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I was happy to finally get to meet Stephanie @stephie.fit — we have been following each other and connecting on IG for awhile now!

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I picked up my race packet and cruised the expo for a bit — this race and Carlsbad probably have 2 of the best expos out here.  Love the color of the shirts this year!  I wear a small so that is what I got but I noticed the sleeves seem a little short on this shirt so next year I might size up just for that reason.  You know, because long sleeves are so crucial here in Southern CA for our frigid 50 degree temps!!

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My sister and I also found a few other must haves.  She bought me this cute tank, and I got us matching trucker hats.  If you have followed us long, you know we have a #justonemore attitude about our trucker hats!  This one reminds me of my Run Revel hat too which I love!

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All set for Half Marathon 28!

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FlatMel with all the mint & purple beachy vibes for this race!

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Race morning my sister and I parked about a mile away, then took the free shuttle to the start line.

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Already having run the Surf City 10 Miler in October, I knew what to expect course-wise.  It’s the same out and back course a long the coast with an extra 3 mile loop added in. The race started right on time, I crossed over the start line and through the first mile I just had a feeling this race was going to go well.  I am notorious for starting out fast and then slowing up sometimes.  When my mile 1 beeped at me and it was 7:09 pace (which was too fast), I KNEW it was good luck.  My birthday is 7/9, and I know it’s really random, but every day, whether it is 7:09 am or pm, I always look at the clock/watch at that time.  EVERY DAY!  SO weird, I know.

I felt good.  Mile 3 was my fastest at 7:03 pace but here is the thing, I never had the “Omg, I am going to die” feeling yesterday.  I kept running and feeling strong.

Since I set my PR last April, I have felt like I have not been able to touch that and this last couple months, started thinking maybe that is where I am capped out.

I promised myself this race that if I started feeling tired, I was going to think about my Grandpa.  He had a tough week last week, and he is the strongest man I have ever known.  Letting him hear you say “I can’t” is the fastest way to piss him off — I only made that mistake once.  He was going to be my sole motivation when fatigue set in.  As I passed through Mile 10, my sister was passing by in the other direction and was holding up her camera to take a pic of me.  I threw my arms up in the air and smiled, and I felt so happy… I was at mile TEN, feeling good — she snapped this as I ran by!

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I ran through 10 strong and told myself, “Okay — as long as I don’t blow it, I am going to PR today!”   When I hit 11 and still felt good, emotion kicked in.  My mind wandered to my Grandpa, and also this past hard couple of weeks I have had, and my eyes filled with tears.  For almost 1/4 mile, I was having trouble trying to breathe, as a couple tears streamed down my cheeks.  That emotion gut punched me.  I kept my pace and focused on controlling my breathing, telling myself I could pick up my pace a bit from the last couple miles, and I did!   My last 2 miles were 7:38 and 7:31 pace, and THAT is a victory for me.  I usually can never bring it back that strong in the last couple miles!

I had such a a huge grin on my face coming in at that finish line;  I threw my arms in the air as I crossed it like I was winning the whole damn thing!  People were probably thinking, “Calm down, girl…a few hundred people already came through!”  I didn’t care though.

I finished 342 out of 10,280 runners overall, and 20th out of 915 in my AG which felt pretty good for such a big race!  I was so happy to look down after crossing the finish and pausing my Garmin to see this:  PR BABY!!!

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(My official time was 1:38:12 and my previous PR was 1:39:09)

As soon as I came through and looked to my left, I saw Kim @kkapinos and I was so excited!  We have followed each other for a while on IG but had not yet met in person, and she has been such a positive inspiration to me.  This one here crushes race after race, she’s fast and beautiful!  Looking at this picture made me remember our first minutes were actually spent trying to untangle a necklace and something else on her.  It was not successful.  RIP necklace.

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I realized I didn’t get a group picture of all of us with Kim’s Partner-in-Crime, Neil @whydoirun but he slayed his 26.2 yesterday with his first sub 3-hour marathon.  That’s pretty bad ass!

Saige @saigeybeann is another rock star I got to meet for the first time and she crushed a new PR as well!

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We also found Pam @pammyruns who I have already had the pleasure of meeting, in fact we had just seen each-other 2 weeks before this at the Carlsbad Half!  She’s a fellow Procompression Ambassador as well, who also came cruisin’ through that finish line strong.

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And I was color matchy-matchy with the finish line!

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You have to take advantage of the races with a beer garden, because they don’t all have them these days.

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My sister and I also got to meet up with a couple of our friends that live right down where the race finished.  I am always so happy to meet up with this beauty; Jodee and I met back before we were pregnant with our sons, and they will both be turning 5 in March now — time FLIES!  I treasure my friendship with this cute lil’ nurse.

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Overall, this was such a great race!  I bumped into @kristelalliaume at the expo — bummed I didn’t think to snag a picture with her, but she did an amazing job coordinating this race/event!  Well done, girl!!

I will absolutely be running this again next year!  Did I mention this race series has the coolest medals?!

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Until next year Surf City!

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Who else ran this year?

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Happy Runiversary

It’s here!  Today is the day my sister and I celebrate 365 days straight of running!  What a journey this has been so far.  Two sisters who started this streak without a plan, without a goal we just laced up and ran with it.

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Let me back up a little with how this all got started.  This is actually my 2nd run streak.  A year ago this week my youngest son, Liam, was admitted to Children’s Rady Hospital with Pneumonia, Brochiolitis and RSV. He and I spent 4 nights in the hospital, and never leaving his side that first night, that run streak ended at 262 days, rightfully so.

It goes without saying our children and their health come first, that was never a question.  But I still struggled a bit emotionally while we were there, between helplessly watching my sick baby — and letting go of a goal I had set for myself and worked hard for.

That first streak started at a time for me when I was in need of something else to focus on, something to distract me and something to work towards.  I remember getting so frustrated with people who would say things like “Oh don’t worry about a silly run streak, your Son is sick that’s what’s most important.”  (Insert gigantic size eye roll here).  DUH. I could rant away with every sarcastic comeback that crossed my mind when people said those things to me but in short, here’s the bottom line:

Unless you are a runner, you may never understand how to truly support another runner or the validity of the highs and lows of this sport that we endure.  Runners are a rare breed of crazy.

I laid in the hospital bed with Liam that first night for a couple of hours to snuggle him and I cried — for him and for me.  I remember getting a text message from my Sister that said something along the lines of “Maybe when you and LeeLee get out of the hospital we can start a new run streak, together.  I have no idea if I can go as long as you have but I can try.”

We have celebrated each little milestone along the way and have squeezed in a run together whenever we can make it work.  We finished Day 58 with high fives!

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Now here we are, 365 days later and I am SO proud of her, and this Sister Runstreak of ours.  I remember us being so excited when we hit day 100 — strangely this day seemed like a lifetime ago although the year itself has flown by.

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Runstreaking takes a huge amount of dedication.  As busy working moms, each with 2 kids and their school, sports and other family responsibilities —  you have to get damn creative sometimes to get it done. My sister often does her runs at night around the soccer fields her daughter practices at like you see here so she can make it work.

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We have a 1 easy mile minimum for our “rest days,” or basically just days when you can’t do life.  Really there have only been a handful of days that have felt like this…

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We have run happy, mad, hungry, full, tipsy (face palm).  I have had tearful runs when things were weighing on my mind, I have run post-Marathon and late at night.  I have run with a stomach bug, and I have even hit the treadmill at 3:30am to get my mile in before catching a flight to San Francisco.  We fly there every summer for the Giant Race.

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It is possible.  So many people say it’s not, but it is — if you want it.

Mostly we have received an outpouring of love and support from our running community, and fellow run streakers and are just so happy to be doing this together.  I love the adventure and uncertainty of it all.  We run together, or alone, we run races and we have met so many new people who have inspired and motivated us along the way.

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I will say that run streaking is definitely not for everyone.  We have people tell us about how bad this is for us, or that we shouldn’t be doing it, but we have reached this milestone because we have played it safe.  We are cautious and we listen to our bodies.  I would never run through an injury or jeopardize my ability to run long-term for the sake of keeping this streak alive.  So far we have been fortunate enough to continue to do what we love every single day and for that we are grateful.  To be honest, I have seen big improvements in my running since I started — I’m stronger and faster.

It seems everybody has an opinion about everything these days, and that’s never going to change, they’re entitled.  What they’re not entitled to is steering you in a direction you weren’t headed in.

You had a purpose before anyone had an opinion.

Remember that.  Had we listened to everyone else we would have missed out on a pretty adventurous, challenging and fun-filled year of accomplishment!

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We still never know what to say when people ask us how long we will continue, for now the plan is to just take it day by day like we have since the beginning.

All I know is this time around, the journey has been better together.

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Run happy, my friends!

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Carlsbad Half Marathon

Yesterday was the Carlsbad Half Marathon and marked my 6th time toeing the line on this course!  I’ve taken on the full marathon here once and the half marathon 5 times now.  It’s a beautiful out and back course filled with rolling hills and beach views.

It’s always my first race of the New Year and a great way to set the tone for the rest of the race season.

The expo for this race is set up in the same spot in the mall parking lot at Plaza Camino Real every year (which is great because there are no parking issues) — it’s also the location where the race starts and finishes.

On Saturday, I took my 2 toddler boys with me to the expo and undoubtedly burned more calories there chasing them then I did in the actual race — but we got it done!  We grabbed my sister’s stuff too, since she was running as well, but not coming down until race morning.

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Got my fan club to pose with me, but it was a tad sunny out, and Liam couldn’t be bothered to stop eating.

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This year they gave out the free long sleeve tech shirt AND a free 1/4 zip pull over, which was awesome!  Typically, only people doing the full marathon get the extra jacket, so that was a big plus!

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This is always a good expo with lots of vendors, but honestly, I was in and out as quickly as possible because…… toddlers.  If you’ve never shopped with toddlers well, you should keep it that way.  There is only so many times you can stroll through a public venue yelling things like “Don’t lick that,” before you start looking crazy.

My flat runner for this race performed better than the actual runner did!

I got lots of comments on the tank which is from Moxie Fitness Apparel and my socks are  the sock of the month from Procompression — which comes in 2 different color options, the black and gray I wore here, or the mint & purple you can see here.

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Race morning weather was perfect, probably right around 50 and tolerable, compared to last year when I nearly froze to death at the start.  My throw-away gloves were likely overkill for the temperatures we had but I had already checked my bag, and mustard goes well with my skin tone, so I figured, what the hell!

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I started this race in Wave 1 with this good lookin’ run squad!  IG has connected me with some of the most amazing and inspirational people across the last couple years.  Love getting to meet up with everyone race after race.

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Two of these beauties were pacing the 1:40 group, Alissa –  @alissmwc and Maria – @negativesplitspositivevibes so I figured I would start the race with them.  I ran 1:42 on this course last year and my half PR is 1:39, I knew going in that I wasn’t in “PR” shape — (yes, there is such a thing) but I really started feeling off my game around mile 3.  I had some waves of nausea, and physically, my body was just not feeling it.  I hung with this pace group until about mile 6 then dropped back.  I hadn’t felt this way physically in a race since Fontana last Summer.  That race was due to high temperatures though, yesterday’s race weather was perfect, so I am bummed I wasn’t feeling better.

Seriously by about Mile 10, I had the letters DNF dancing around in my head, I was ready to throw in the towel.  I never walked, but I slowed to more of a jog.  What kept me going those last few miles was knowing that the first thing my almost-5 year old would ask when he saw me was to see my medal….and we all know you have to finish to get that.

I’ve run 27 half marathons, 4 fulls and a handful of smaller races and had never had a DNF, I couldn’t let that start now.

A friend of mine caught this as I was a few feet from the finish line, looking like I had a tough 13 miles!

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I finished 6 minutes slower than I ran this course last year….but I finished.  I was hydrated going into the race but after finishing and drinking a couple bottles of water, my stomach settled, so I’m thinking it might have been something I ate.

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My sister had some friends that ran this race as well, so we met up in the beer garden after.

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And it was actually Tami’s birthday so of course we had to celebrate after her 13.1

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Always a fun race in this beautiful, coastal city — whether you ran like you thought you would or not…

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And of course the real reason we run…for the bling!  Or is it for the free banana?

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Who else ran Carlsbad this year?  I love hearing how everyone else’s race went!

You can also connect with me on IG – @melissalynwilliams

Have a great week you guys — see you at Surf City!

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