Women’s Running Series: San Diego Half Marathon Race Recap

This was the second annual Women’s Half Marathon in San Diego. They recently changed the name to the Women’s Running Series, and offered a 5k this year as well. The race was slightly different from last year, as was the place for the packet pickup.

The Expo

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The expo was held at Broadway Pier in downtown San Diego right next the the Midway ship. Bib pickup was easy enough, and the Pier was easy to get around. However, there were quite a few things I was dismayed about. First, the parking. I had to pay ten dollars to park for thirty minutes because the expo was by the Midway ship. Second, I personally thought the race shirt was the most hideous race shirt I’ve ever gotten. Third, there were not very many vendors. I didn’t even buy any apparel branded “Women’s Running Series” because I didn’t like the designs. I think this is the first time I’ve ever been disappointed in a race. But, those are little things, and I hope that others enjoyed them.

The Race

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A very sweet lady at the expo gave me her VIP wristband to get into the Subaru VIP area during the race. I am so grateful for her because that area was so awesome…clean, private bathrooms, a changing tent, free after race massages, and food from Panera were awaiting all the VIPs after the race. It was glorious.

Anyway, back to the race. It was a great start, and a beautiful morning. The race course wasn’t the exact same as last year, but it was still a great and flat course to run. I had been running with the 2:15 pace group, but suddenly my IT band flared up around mile 11.5 and the lovely race medics walked with me for a few minutes, and even helped me to the medical tent after the race. I have to say that is a first for me. I’ve never had this problem before. When it started happening, I was just praying that it wasn’t an actual injury since I have an Ironman in a few short months. Needless to say, I was embarrassed for not being able to run the last mile and a half when I could have run to a PR in this race. So sad. But, there are always other races.

The finish line was full of cheering people which made the entry nice. I got my medal and a few snacks, and headed to the medical tent then to the VIP area for my Panera food. I heard there was a freshen up lounge and cookie cafe, too; but, I didn’t hit those up this time.

All in all, this was a good race. A few minor things I would change that I liked last year a lot better. And, of course, I can’t forget my fan girl moment cheering for one of my favorite bloggers Kristin over at http://www.stuftmama.com … She rocked the race!

Make sure to check out next year’s race, and the other races in the series at womensrunning.com

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day really isn’t a special holiday in our home. My sweet husband does always brings me flowers, and usually we’ve gotten a gift card or two so we can get takeout with the kids. In that routine, this year was no different. However, Friday was a pretty cool day.

Friday morning was marked down in the books as an awesome day, and not because it was Valentine’s Day. Training for Ironman 70.3 St. George has taken its toll on my body. Figuring out how to train properly, and actively recover are sometimes hard…especially when the race you’re training for has a TON of hills. Enough said. Ok, so why was Friday important? I swam my first straight Olympic distance race set in the pool…something I’ve never done before. It was great. Knowing that I can swim 1500m without stopping at a pretty decent pace was well worth it, and it gave me the confidence boost I needed going into St. George in a few weeks. It was definitely a special day. I think I’m learning to love swimming the more I do it.

Even though I was on a high from swimming my longest set in the pool, I still had to remember a little something about love (after all, it was Valentines Day). The greatest love we will ever know comes from God, and Him alone. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). How amazing that God gave His only Son for us? To die on a cross for our sins? Now, that my friends, is love. If it wasn’t for the grace and love of God in my life, I wouldn’t be able to accomplish all these great things. To Him belongs the glory and praise in everything that we do….even in triathlon…and even on Valentine’s Day.

XTERRA Mission Gorge Trail Race Report

This race was my first 5k I’ve done in months. And, I mean months. I’ve been so consumed with long distance swimming, biking, and running I thought I might opt for a fun, fast race…on trails nonetheless. My first trail race, and it was AWESOME.

Packet Pickup

This race had a 15k and 5k option. I’ve heard the 15k is brutal with a lot of hills. So, I opted for the 5k. The packet pickup was on the morning of the race, opening about two hours before the 15k departed at 8:00am. I got there early so I could park in the small dirt lot right next to the starting line. It was freezing, well, freezing for CA weather that morning but I walked right over to the volunteer table and got my race bib, timing chip, and t-shirt. All went smooth, and the t-shirts were pretty cool as well.

The Race

While waiting for the 5k to begin (8:30am start time) I sat in my car for a little while before getting out to warm up. It was freezing at the start and I even wore my running sweatshirt the entire race…another first for me. Anyway, it was a beautiful morning. I was thankful to be up to witness the sunrise.

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So, the 5k kicked off with some music and very enthusiastic trail runner people (among who I stuck out like a sore thumb in my brightly colored Oiselle gear and road shoes). About a quarter mile into the 5k, there was one huge hill. If you looked up, it seemed to reach into the sky. It was a little brutal. After it was over, it was mostly flat, some rollers as us roadies would call the terrain. But, since it was a trail race, there were a ton of rocks. Rocks are not my friend. I am extremely clumsy, but somehow managed not to trip a single time. It was an easy run, technical at times, but the scenery made it well worth it. I now understand why so many people love trail running. Maybe if I ever find a buddy to run with, I’ll do it more often.

The finish line was small, but there were people cheering everywhere!

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Post Race

I’ve always heard that trail races offer better food choices than road races. And, boy, are they right!!!! I have never had so many options to choose from. I got a free frisbee that I used as a plate and crammed some bananas, muffins, Kashi cereal, and a powerbar on. It was amazing. They even had free Naked juice! and I heard there were breakfast burritos but I didn’t get one. And, oh yeah, they had ice cream too. Sweet!!!!

So, the post race food didn’t disappoint, and the 5k people even got an XTERRA Trail Series Medal that said “Mission Gorge” on the back. After gathering all my goodies, I went right to my car and got out without any congestion or traffic. Best logistics ever. Thanks XTERRA!

If YOU want to race this SoCal Trail Series check them out at trailrace.com