San Diego Holiday Half

Last weekend I ran the San Diego Holiday Half as my 26th half marathon — it was actually my first time ever running this course, although it was the 4th annual race for this event.  I signed up on a whim a few weeks beforehand, after some local friends talked about what a great course it was.  Once I pulled up the course description to read, it was a done deal.  They had me at “net elevation drop” that’s like talkin’ dirty to a runner right there!

The race was “Sold Out” and the expo was one day only Saturday at Road Runner Sports in San Diego.  They were actually selling extra bibs that night by 7pm though, from people who hadn’t shown up to check in and run.  The expo had some good vendors with freebies set up and they gave out one of my favorite tech race shirts ever at this race.  It’s a dark gray/blue with a hood and thumb holes — love, love, love it!  I got a women’s Small — it is a tad big but a perfect comfy fit, so I’d say they were true to size (if not, ran a tad on the bigger side).

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I put my “Flat Runner” on IG the night before and as always, tagged my favorite must-have racing essentials which you can see here.  I got a big response about my tank top (and tried to reply to you all in messages and comments), but I actually found this beauty on Amazon Prime, and I LOVE it!  It was comfy and festive.

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Two days before my race 66 Audio had sent me their new BTS PRO head phones!  If you’ve been following me long, you know I trained all Spring/Summer in their BTS Sport wireless headphones, which I love.  I was excited to try out their newer model and will be doing a review on these soon.  Spoiler alert — they were fabulous!

Race morning was a tad cold (for Southern Californians) — somewhere in the mid-high 30’s. Thankfully, we were all warmed by our attractive, mismatched mittens and tin foil snuggies (or heat shields) they gave out at the expo.  I don’t know how these things work so well, but they are magical.  Supposedly, they reflect your own body heat right back to you, but I didn’t have a shred of body heat to reflect, yet it was still radiating heat for me, so go figure — I’m just gonna stick with “magical.”

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This is a point-to-point course (not an out and back) so shuttle services were offered, which was great.  I ended up staying at the Hotel Karlan, just perfect because the race starts basically in their front yard. Walked right from the room to the start line and afterwards was able to catch the shuttle at the finish line right back to the hotel.

The course has a 711-foot net elevation drop along the rolling downhill Hwy. 56 bike path.  Keyword; ROLLING hills.  Miles 10-13 are not your downhill miles, FYI.  The course starts in Rancho Penasquitos and travels along Carmel Mountain Rd, finishing at the beautiful Torrey Pines State Beach.  It was a good fast course but from most runners I talked to, many started out fast — myself included (I know, that doesn’t sound like me at all), and then we got to the last 4 miles like “Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? No.”

I had a great race, it was not a PR, but not every race will be, and I was not terribly far off.  I was still proud of a solid effort and it was a great way to end this race season.

I got to see friends old and new and meet up with lots of IG-ers too which was awesome, although I wish I had gotten pictures with more of you!

Gary came down to hang out last-minute and jumped in to run this race, knocking out his 2nd ever half marathon! He’s also a fellow healthcare professional, and he’s got some fun GoPro cycling adventures you can follow on his IG here.

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 I finally got to meet Alissa!  We only live 15 minutes or so apart, but had yet to meet until this race.  She is just as fast as she is beautiful, and she absolutely crushed this course with a new PR!  You can follow her inspirational running IG journey here.

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I would say probably the only real complaint about this race that I could see people would have might be the bag check pick-up.  And that opinion is made up solely by the number of cuss words I heard in that area. I thankfully lucked out and was able to find my bag in five minutes or less, but it was like straight garage sale status up in there.  They brought the bags off the truck and tried to line them according to people’s bib numbers but as people rummaged through them they just tossed them back anywhere and everywhere. I was glad to find mine quick and dip out of that mess.

The Snow globe medal for this race was a perfect holiday race medal — I never get tired of adding these to my collection.

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Ended the race day with brunch, which is typically a race day tradition.

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And because I passed by the beach on the way home, a quick stop there too.  I only live an hour away from it, but every time I see this view, I realize I don’t see it often enough!

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I will do this race again next year because it was fun, well-put together, and I always love repeating courses the following year to see if I’ve improved.  Who else ran this last weekend?  I always love hearing what everyone else thought.

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Renegade Santa 5k

On Saturday I ran the Renegade Santa 5k, which is a part of the Renegade Race Series — I had never participated in their 5k before, and it turned out to be a great race!

This race actually started out as a work event — we were going to have a group together to run.  As it came down to the wire, everyone else decided they wanted to sleep in on Saturday, instead of getting up early to run.  Still trying to wrap my head around that logic.  I, on the other hand, LOVE race day, so I went by myself.

Laid out “Flat Melissa” the night before, and I typically post these on IG because I get quite a few inquiries on things that I use for training/race days.  IG makes it really easy to tag all the companies you are warm and fuzzy with, so people can tap the picture and go right to their pages.  If you don’t follow me on IG, you can check out that post here to see what I mean.

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This race took place in Irvine, CA, and started at Hick’s Canyon Elementary School.  There was a packet pick up the day before, but since they offered it on race morning too, I figured I would just do it then.  Bib pick-up started at 6:00am on race morning.   I arrived at 6:15am and was shocked to see the parking lot already full (for an 8:00 am race), and everyone being redirected to a school a little farther away with extra parking.  I will say that was the first time I have ever had to shuttle to a 5k race, which was unexpected but didn’t cause issues.

I picked up my stuff and then used the gear check-in they offered, which was perfect because I had brought a bag of unnecessary crap from my car to entertain me on the shuttle.

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All ready to run!

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This was the 10th year for this race and there were over 2,000 people — which shocked me.  I was not expecting that many.  Race morning weather was perfect..probably in the 50’s and cloudy the whole time. That’s my favorite running weather, I was in a t-shirt and shorts, and was just fine.

The only real issue I saw was that the 5k and 10k started together and it was a funnel start of sorts, which is always scary.  Below you can see the path choices right past the start line; Both race distances could go either left or right here because we all met back up on the dirt.  The problem was everyone’s instinct was to go left, and when that jammed everyone up, some hurdled the bushes onto the dirt.  In the first 50 feet, I watched four people slip and fall.

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The turn around point for the 5k was 1.5 miles in — and ya’ll know I love the turn and burn on an out and back course!  I must have been excited, because I picked up pace in my 2nd mile (which was my fastest one by a few seconds).

Once the finish line was in my sight, I saw that I was likely going to PR.  That shocked me.  Until this race, the Carlsbad 5000 in April this year held my current PR (you can read that re cap here) — but I honestly didn’t think I was ANYWHERE close to that shape.

When I crossed the finish line Santa was waiting right there to high-five me.  That was another fun touch on the race!

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I ended up having a 35 second 5k PR and I placed 2nd in my AG and was the 9th OA female!

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I ended up winning a cute Renegade Santa Glass mug and a $25 gift certificate to a compression and triathlon shop!

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There were some great vendors like Honey Stinger (which I love) set up for the post race festivities, and some good samples along with the free t-shirt!

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The medal was really cute too!

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I thought this was a great race and just may add it in again next year.  I typically don’t race at this distance, but I gotta admit — a couple times a year,it’s kinda fun to just let the leggies fly at those 5k and 10k speeds!

Did anyone else run this race?  I always love to hear what everyone else thought.

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Revel Canyon City

I’m gonna kick this recap off by saying Revel Canyon City and their well-put together race swept me off my feet!  Literally.  I was in the grass for probably 45 minutes after my 26.2.

Seriously though, nothing makes my runner’s heart swoon more than a well-organized expo and race.

I had to drive from San Diego to Azusa (Los Angeles) on Friday night after work for the expo, so pulling into a big, uncrowded parking lot right at the expo site was awesome.  I grabbed the bibs for my sister and I both, since she wouldn’t be there in time, and snapped a few pics.  I was starting to freak out since I hadn’t run this distance in 6 years — Eek!  I knew in my head if I could come in under 4 hours, I would be proud (and shocked).  Six years ago my fastest 26.2 was 5:25…so under 4:00 felt even somewhat aggressive of a goal to me.

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Ready or not, it was happening.  I got quite a few inquiries on IG about my shirt;  for those of you who asked, I got it here last year.

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After the expo I went and checked into the hotel we stayed at which was a couple miles from where the shuttles left from on race morning.  Laid out #FlatMelissa and tried to relax and be asleep by 10pm, since I was getting up at 3:45am.

If you missed my last blog post about what I used for long run fuel during this training cycle, you can catch up on that blog here  as I added in a few new things that I loved, like Enduropacks Liquid Electrolytes and SaltStick chewables.

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This tank was from an Etsy Shop called The Blooming Boutiques and got me many high fives along the course!

On race morning, my sis and I had to shuttle to two different start lines — because the 26.2 and 13.1 started in different areas.  Kind of a bummer that we didn’t get to spend our pre-race morning together….also that she got an extra 30 minutes in bed because I had to leave first, the brat! As a result, we didn’t get a start line picture together, so she fused our separate start line pictures together here.  I lost some toes in the process!  LOL

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I would say the only thing that allowed for a brief moment of panic that morning is that next year the shuttle bus drivers need to know their route.  Ours would have missed a turn off if it was for the awesome runner that was backseat driving and told him what to do!  My sister’s bus driver went 20 minutes off track as well.  No big deal though, we got to the start in time and there were plenty of port a potties with little wait.  That right there allows for automatic race re-sign up in my eyes!

The expo tagged all of our bags at pick up, so they were all ready to go for bag drop on race morning.  We also got free beanies, mittens and these little disposable covers, although I will say the start was not as cold as I was expecting.  Using this was probably actually over kill!

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The race started right on time at 7:00am and we dipped right into a nice elevation drop.  With a weather forecast of 85 that day, I was anxious to get in as many miles as I could before that sun came out.  This course is labeled a “fast course,” it’s also a Boston Qualifier, but I will say this — never think that just because a course has downhill, it will be “easy.”  Going into this, I knew that the second half of the race would be brutal going from a downhill to rolling hills.  This is probably one of the most beautiful courses I have ever run.  Coming down that canyon just after sunrise was stunning!

Revel also does free race pictures which is really cool.  You can tell this was in the beginning of my race with that cheesin’ grin.

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My sister took these next couple pictures during her race. Gives you an idea of the “not entirely downhill” course that we ran.  This started around mile 14 when I coincidentally hit a wall for the next 4 miles coming up inclines like this.  It may not look steep, but coming off a down hill, it was like running through a pool on a windy day, carrying sandbags. It was murder on the quads, but I’ll do it again because runners are just sick like that.  I spent two days after this race side-stepping down my stairs like a toddler, holding the railing!

If you’re a person that relies on loud cheering and course support, this is not gonna be for you.  With having to shuttle to the start, spectators are not able to gain access to the majority of the course.  So other than passing the aid stations, it was rather peaceful, therapeutic and, at times, somber out there until those last few miles.

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I ran my first 13.1 with a 3 minute PR at that distance.  And for everyone who told me “SLOW DOWN” on my first half — well, easier said than done with some of the hills faced. It was like a force pushed me at times.  I ran that first half breathing easy and not feeling like I was pushing hard.

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This next picture I loved.  Everything from the Mile 19 sign behind us to my face…less than pleased with this guy’s enthusiasm at that point.  I was back there like, “Nope. Not today.”

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When I got to mile 24, I started getting a little teary-eyed.  I knew my sister was waiting for me at the finish line, and we were now back into territory where there were people cheering along the course. As I felt myself slowing a bit, I came upon two guys who were walking together that said, “Come on, we’re almost to the top.”  Even though I knew it was a lie, I picked up my pace a little and they started running again beside me.

I knew I was going to hit my goal of under 4 hours at that point, and when I crossed that finish I was pretty damn proud (after pausing my Garmin, of course) cause…priorities.

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I had done it.  Nailed my goal to run a Sub 4 Marathon.  And I did it this time training with work AND now 2 toddlers, which I did not have when I ran my last ones.  Proof that those little boys make me stronger.

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My sister had a great race too!  Pretty much ran her exact 13.1 PR time to the second!

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We always love running into fellow IG runners —  Brett and I have run a few of the same races out here in Southern California and finally bumped into each other that day.

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I was sad to have missed so many other people who ran this race.  I should have mentioned you could find me like this (see below) afterwards.  Next year we’ll have to designate a meet up area…like the beer garden!

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Overall, this was such an epic race.  We will be doing this one again for sure next year…and I think I may have talked my sister into running Revel Big Cottonwood next September — if not, I just called her out on it!

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The Revel race medals are amazing, too!

Who else has run any of the Revel Series races?  I’d love to hear which are your favorites. I just may have to run them all!

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Long Run Fuel

 

I figured this week while I’m tapering in my training in hopes of resting my legs (eye roll), I’d talk about a couple things I added into my distance running arsenal this training cycle.

Let me first mention that I am not an ambassador for any of these companies.  The reality is when I find things I like, I want to share it with other people.  Reading reviews from other athletes and bloggers is how I have found some of the products I love the most.   I get comments and messages about what I use or must have during training and races; I started this blog to get better about having a place to share those things.  Who knew these posts don’t write themselves though?!  #worstbloggerever

Okay. Moving on!

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First, let me acknowledge that I used TWO different types of electrolyte drink replenishment — (insert huge gasping noise here)!  Nuun (which is not new to me) and Enduropacks, which is new to me this training cycle.  I love both these products, and for different reasons, so why should I have to choose and only stick to one?   Ahh see, that’s the beauty of being an adult — (for the most part) you get to do what you want.

EnduroPacks is an all natural, fast-acting liquid spray that you spray into your water (or flavored beverage, if you prefer).  There is no flavor to this product, it has the slightest hint of a fresh lemon taste, although others may not notice it.  With no fake added sugars or chemicals, the pure focus of this product is proper electrolyte balance.  This helps with optimal muscle function and also reduces cramping, especially getting into those higher- mileage runs.  There are 13 naturally-occurring ionic minerals also helping you replenish alkaline pH-levels.  I used this during several of my training runs, including a couple 18+ milers.  I felt strong throughout — I have yet to experience anything negative from this product.

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Salt Stick Fast Chews  I stumbled on these on Amazon of all places, where 90% of my life’s possessions also come from.  My main reason for searching for this product is because in ALL 3 of my previous full marathons (even with electrolyte drinks & bananas), I experienced cramping in my calves after Mile 20.  I had a guy hand me a salt packet (like something from a fast food restaurant) around mile 22 in my 2nd marathon and I poured it right into my mouth.  Gross, but I believe it saved me!

These little tablets here are almost like chewing a mix between a tums and a Sweet Tart.  I was expecting it to be like chewing a salt chunk but it wasn’t at all.  They have an orange and a lime flavor (there may be others) and they are probably a little smaller than a breath mint, which makes them also easy to carry on the run.  I did not experience any leg cramps during any of my training runs.  While I know my hydration game is also much stronger than it was for previous marathons, I don’t doubt that these helped me.  I won’t need them for half marathons, but for longer distances or hot summer running (read: year round in So Cal) — these will be a great thing to have for the distances or temperatures where you need an extra electrolyte push.

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HiBall Energy I realize this doesn’t have to do specifically with my training, but it falls under hydration.  I drink a ton of water with all the cardio and sweating, so sometimes I want something other than plain ole H2O.   I have always been a fan of sparkling waters, so I was happy to try out 4 of the flavors of their Sparkling Energy Waters — they were awesome and refreshing!  These got delivered to me the day before the stomach bug hit my house and I was so thankful to have them coming out of that.  They have zero calories, sugar, carbs and are unsweetened, naturally flavored with no preservatives or artificial anything.

Four B-vitamins at 150% RDI: B3 / B5 / B6 / B12

  • organic caffeine
  • organic ginseng
  • organic guarana

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Lastly, nothing new here to me, but I love and have used GU gels for years.  These are portable packets of 100 calorie carbohydrates to help sustain energy during activity.  Typically I use them for anything over 60+ minutes.  They replenish sodium — the primary electrolyte lost in sweat, and aids in hydration by maintaining water balance. I pretty much just stick to one flavor.  Two reasons I love the Vanilla Bean:

1. It’s one of the smoother flavors, goes down easier (if you have ever tried the chocolate you’ll notice those are thicker and can be a little harder to get down) — especially later on in a race when you’d rather die than eat a GU anyways.

2. Caffeine. No further comment.

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Hoping my training along with these things will allow me to conquer 26.2 this Saturday!  I’m excited to run this distance again and test my level of strength.

Anyone else running a Marathon this weekend?  What are some must-have things you use on race days?

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Surf City 10 Miler

I ran my first 10 mile race at the Surf City 10 last weekend and this course with the scenic Huntington Beach views did not disappoint!

Let me start by mentioning it’s no secret that I love Halloween, and October is actually my favorite month.  It’s nice to watch the seasons change (for people in other states) and I just love decorating for Fall & Halloween.  So naturally, I had to get my sister and I matching tanks for this October race.

These tanks are from Miles & Pace , which is an awesome local San Diego company with the cutest running apparel.  My sister and I may or may not have their trucker hats in every color.

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Here’s what #FlatMelissa looked like for this race.  All my favorite must-haves on any given training run or race day.

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I missed the expo for this race, but packet/bib pick up the morning of the race was not an issue at all.  We parked in the big parking lot right next to the start line and all the tents to pick up your stuff.  Parking was $15, but worth it for a hassle-free race morning.  We had plenty of time to walk back to the car and drop things off.

Another thing that made this race near and dear to my heart was that there were plenty of port a potties as well as public beach bathrooms.  Let’s be honest, any runner knows that no port a potty lines on race day feels about as good as a PR in your race!

We had fun taking pictures before the race — Surf City Races have always been known for their epic photo ops and medals.

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I really didn’t know what to expect for this race {time wise} since I had never done a 10-mile race before.  I had a few fellow runners predict “1:15” and I remember thinking, “No way!”  I figured any pace was going to be an automatic PR this time, so I would just run strong, and then use the time to try and beat on my next 10-miler.

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As you can see, race day weather was terrific.  Near 70 degrees at the start, but the clouds and overcast skies saved it.  I run stronger for sure without that hot sun beating down on me; getting through 10 miles and finishing before the sun emerged was perfect.

The course was an out and back course, which I LOVE!  I know most get bored with that, but I love the turn and burn feels at that turn-around point.  It’s also a flat course right along Huntington Beach, which makes it a fast course, too.  PR potential here, people!  A friend out running the race caught a photo of me here after I had turned around.  I hung with a group of guys the first half of this race and ended up finishing it with one guy (whom I didn’t know), but we stayed side by side from mile 6 or so on.  It was a nice push for me — especially that last 2 miles when I might have otherwise slowed a bit.

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When I crossed that finish line, I gotta say I was pretty proud.

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I had pulled off pretty close to what others knew I could do, although I doubted myself.  Just goes to show you the power of having people who believe in you.  Not every race goes as planned so the ones that do feel that much more victorious!  I had no idea I could hold that pace for that distance, and it was such a happy little reminder of how far I have come with my running.

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Oh, and as an added perk, my sister and I later found out that I had placed 3rd in my age group!  I know that may not seem like a big deal to a lot of people as some place in most races they run, but I was pretty excited to see my hard work and training starting to show.

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After the race, we went just a few feet from the finish line to guzzle chocolate milk and enjoy the beach views.

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And this years medal can also open your post race beer. Winning!

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It’s kinda hard to believe that I have time to run with all the pictures that I take on race days!

My Sister wasted no time kickin’ off her shoes to feel that beach sand.

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After the race, we had a some post run celebratory carbs…

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I will absolutely be running this race again next year, and we will also be running the Surf City Half on Super Bowl Sunday on 2/5/17.  Cause why not log 13.1 miles along the beach before football, beer and wings?!  It’s actually this same out and back course with an added 3 mile loop to make it 13.1.

Lastly, the tech shirts for this race were pretty cute, although not a color I typically wear ( I admittedly never wear them anyways).  They had the shirts in women’s sizes, which is nice — helps it look more like a shirt and less like a potato sack.  I did hear some say they thought they ran a bit small, so maybe size up for these races.

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That’s a wrap Surf City 10 — until next year!

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Who else is running the Surf City Half or Full in February?  I do know the full is a Boston Qualifying course BTW, in case you’ve got a BQ on your bucket list!

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Giant Race

I swear the Giant Race comes and goes faster than any other race each year!  Maybe it’s just all the anticipated hype of flying to a city that’s so full of energy on this race weekend. Giants fans come from near and far to congregate in AT&T Park and kick off a race event that no Giants fan should ever miss!

My sister and I started our trip flying out of the Orange County John Wayne Airport — we spent (too much) time trying to get a plane selfie, which proved to be difficult as the planes kept driving out of our pictures.

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After a (mandatory) pre-flight Bloody Mary at the airport bar — and an hour flight delay, we were off!

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Once we landed and finally got our rental car (which could be a whole other blog post on it’s own), it was off to the expo.  This expo is always so fun because it is laid out around the stadium at AT&T Park!

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I had the honor of being one of the Starting 9 Giant Race Ambassadors this year, so when we arrived, I saw my pic on some of the screens around the stadium along with the other Ambassadors!

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There are always plenty of photo ops as you circle the stadium collecting your race bibs and gear.

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One of the big pluses of this race is the weather.  It’s always perfect, cool running weather with temps in the 60’s, when back home in Southern California we are always having 100+ degree temps the weekend of this race.  So it’s nice to be able to hit an end of summer race that doesn’t feel like death to run!

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After the expo we hit the Dugout Store, and MoMo’s for dinner and to catch a part of the Giants game, and of course, a few more photo ops…

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The race this year was on 9/11/16 – loved the added touches the Giant Race put up to pay tribute to all the lives lost.

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Once we checked into our hotel, it was time to lay out #FlatMelissa and get some rest.  It’s funny how every time I lay one of these out before a race, I’m thinking how it literally looks like a yard sale and a ridiculous amount of stuff needed to run…but really once you are dressed, it doesn’t feel that way — I swear!

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All set to knock out another 13.1

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I ran the first 8-ish miles of the race with Jimmy — We met after last years Giant Race so this was our first race logging miles together; and he set a course PR for himself!

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Not a PR race for me, but I ran a 1:42, which was faster than I ran this course last year so, I’ll take it!

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Havin’ some GoPro fun after the race, and I was trying my best not to freeze to death.  In some of my pictures post race I have blue lips!

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The race finishes in AT&T Park so you get to hang out on the field, up in the seats or in the dugout after the race.

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After the race my Sister and I hit up some tacos and beer with friends before going back to the hotel to shower and check out.  We flew out later that night after the race, so we missed the Runners Night Giants game the following day which was a bummer.

We went to a couple places and then headed back to the airport for another successful (whirlwind) of a Giant Race Weekend!

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Looking forward to coming back in 2017 — See you soon, San Fran!

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Renewed Runner

I had the honor of being an Ambassador for the 2016 Giant Race.  I shared with them about my post baby running transformation and thought I would link it here as well in case you missed it via social media!

Renewed Runner

 

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I promise my race re-cap is coming soon!  Have a great week you guys!

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The Truth About Marathon Training

This week I had the pleasure of working with 66 Audio who featured me on their blog with my thoughts on Marathon Training!  This company first reeled me in with their BTS Sport headphones which enable me to sweat wirelessly!  With a battery life of 25 hours of continuous playback music — well, they can out run any marathoner!

You can check out my post on their blog here:

The Truth About Marathon Training

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Happy running my friends!

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Marathon Training – Week 7

Hi, Remember me?!  I’m still here!  You may or may not remember — early rising, crazy run-streaking, working Mom of 2 toddler boys.  Any of this ring a bell?  Ahh, well anyways, I’m still around, trotting along 7 weeks into my training for my 4th Marathon. I may not have tried to qualify for Boston yet, but my 30-day lapse in time between blog posts qualifies me as the laziest blogger ever, so that should count for something!

 I ran 46 miles this week, and although most of that, unfortunately, has to be logged on my trusty treadmill, I am managing to make sure I get outside for all of my longer runs.  Having to rely on the treadmill so much (while my kids sleep) is not ideal, as it shelters me from things like road conditions, wind, the hot sun beating down on me and outdoor elevation.  It gets in my head, and I get down on myself throughout the week because I feel set back some times.  But I just continue on and trust my process; I know it’s working and I’m getting stronger.

I’ve gone back to doing my runs at a 1% incline to help challenge me, and I have been having pretty good success with interval and incline training on the treadmill as well.  Treadmill conditions are not always as “easy,” as some often assume.  It takes a great deal of mental will power to get through those runs, and although I may not have the sun beating down on me, my garage has felt like running in a sauna this summer — even at 4am some days!

I stay focused on the idea that being able to train for and finish 26.2 after having my two boys, losing 70 lbs and making a running comeback will be an accomplishment like no other for me.  That thought pushes me forward daily.  No matter what my time may be, I just want to be able to cross that finish line and say that I did it — again.  And this time with way more obstacles than my previous 3 marathons.  There may not be any actual hurdles in the event of the marathon, but some days sure feels like you’re jumping road blocks and obstacles getting to that finish.

Week 7 of training looked like this for me:

Monday: 8 miles (pace)

Tuesday: 4 miles

Wednesday: 8 miles

Thursday: 5 miles (Hills) middle 3 miles at 3-4% incline

Friday: 4 miles (4 x 400’s in the middle)

Saturday: 16 miles

Sunday: “Rest Day” aka: 1 mile minimum for a run-streaker.

I am also still shooting for 3 hours a week of Spin, too, which I made happen this week.   Yeah!

My mornings during the week typically start between 4-4:30am Monday-Friday, depending on the distance I need to get in before Preschool drop-offs and work.  I won’t say that it’s always easy.  It’s not.  But it is getting easier, and now 6:00am feels like sleeping in.  How’s that for silver lining?!

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I finished out this week of training feeling pretty good.  Yesterday I ran 16 miles, which is the furthest distance I have run since my last 26.2 in 2010.  Wait, what?!  6 years?  With as much as I run, it just sounds crazy to me, too.  And let me tell you, it felt much better than it did back then.  I can safely say I am training smarter (and more consistent) these days.

One of the best parts of long run days is seeing that sun come up, as the minutes pass by it’s almost like watching a live water color painting.

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I ran this 16 miles at an 8:04 pace which felt good, my legs stayed strong the whole time.  I also made a game-changing decision for this run.  Rather than running with my hydration belt, I have been using for my last few long runs, I ditched it and went with a hand held bottle instead.  This is the Nathan Speed Draw Plus Flask

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Not only does is hold more fluid (18oz) than my hydration belt — it was just SO much better!  My hydration belt has felt SO heavy and annoying on my waist lately that I have just been over it.  And let’s be honest, with this summer heat, the last thing we need is one more thing to piss us off during a run.  The shape of this bottle made it perfect to run with.  I was worried how heavy it might feel holding 18oz but it honestly did not bother me at all.  With the hand strap you don’t have to even really “hold” it.  Also, it’s about as easy as drinking from a straw, no lid, no twisty tops, and it does not leak.  Yaaaaaaaaas!  Love it!

I can’t believe Monday marks the start of my Week 8 of training.  Time is flying!

Wishing everyone a successful & pain free week of miles — Run Happy, my friends.

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Sweet Summer time

I’m not always running.  In between life and Summer training, I’m typically looking for ways to entertain my two  spirited mischievous toddler boys.  Any toddler parent will tell you — hell hath no fury like being trapped in the house with curious and energetic children.

This weekend, the boys and I went to the beach for my niece’s birthday party.  It was such a beautiful day!

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And while my 2.5 year old spent most of his day proving to DEFINE the term “Terrible Twos,” in between that were moments of smiles and giggles, seeing their eyes light up by something as simple as sifting sand through a strainer and finding all the seashells.

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Watching life through the eyes of your children is refreshing sometimes – to see the joy and the love that they find in the simplest of things.

 It got me thinking; in all the chaos, the politics, the hate, the fighting over whose option is right, the parent shaming, the judging and the tragic deaths brought forth these days – I wish that I could filter the world around them and sift out all the evil.

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I said the other week — we can’t control how others choose to live their lives, but we can lead by example through our own. As parents, we can love our children, protect them with everything we have, and surround them with enough good people so they grow up with the best chance of being good people, too. The world needs MORE GOOD people!  Children are sponges, so lead by example and give them something good to soak up.

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Don’t forget to take a minute to just breathe (in between their tantrums), because when you stop and look around — this life is really messy but it’s really beautiful, too.

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