Thursday, December 31, 2015

San Diego Holiday Half Marathon

2015 was a great race year for me.  As December was coming to an end, I decided I wanted to do one more Half and signed up for the San Diego Holiday Half Marathon, taking place the weekend after Christmas.  I had heard great things about this race and was looking forward to it.  

Bib pick-up was the day after Christmas at Road Runner Sports-- I was a little bit nervous about this.  A retail store the day after Christmas?  Yes, it was crowded, but everything was well organized and I had no problems getting my bib.  I even picked up a few goodies with the coupon that came with out packet.

Flat Jenn ready for race morning!

I woke up race morning ready to go.  It was a cold one--thank goodness for the gloves and mylar blanket that came in our packets.  A definite win!  I left early to give myself time to find the race area and parking-- both were easy.  I made my way to the start line and discovered the neighboring Double Tree Hotel had their ballroom open for the runners, which meant warmth! Another win.  I met up with Michelle and we caught up a bit before heading to our corrals.  7:30am came and we were off!

The 13.1 miles were pretty uneventful-- we had been "warned" about a few hills in the pre-race communications, but other than the hills, I found the course to be a bit boring.  It wasn't a bad course, just not anything I found to be interesting.  A lot of the course is along traffic and the freeway-- there was minimal crowd support.  (The people out there were awesome. ) They had a good amount of water stations and on course restrooms, which is great.  I will say the best thing about the course is the 3 minute PR I got from it.  

At the finish line area, I waited for Michelle and explored a bit--there was definitely a great post-race energy and the post-race treats were great!  (Although it looked like they ran out of things for some of the runners)  The race finished in Torrey Pines-- I went over to the water area to take pictures with my medal-- the finish area was definitely beautiful.  They also provided post-race shuttles back to the the parking areas which was great!  

Michelle at the Finish Area

Overall, I would do this event again.  The shirt and medal were awesome.  I would like to see if I can PR the course again.  How did you finish your race year?

Until next time, happy running.

PS: See that new badge on the right?!  I am happy to announce that I was selected as one of the 2016 Pro Compression Ambassadors.  I am so excited to be joining the team and can't wait to see what 2016 brings.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

My Top 5 Running Moments of 2015

As my 2015 race season nears it's final race, I've been reflecting back on my year of running.  I am truly blessed for the experiences that 2015 brought me and I'm looking forward to seeing what 2016 has in store.  I've narrowed down my top 5 running moments from the year, in no particular order:

Nike Women's Half Marathon

The Nike Women's Half Marathon in San Francisco is the first lottery type of race I've ever participated in.  I applied and honestly forgot about it, thinking I wouldn't get in my first time.  I was pleasantly surprised when I got the e-mail telling me I was in.  I had never been to San Francisco and had heard great things about this race.  The city was amazing-- I definitely want to go back.  And the course was beautiful-- without doubt the prettiest race course I'd ever run.  Nike recently announced that the race series would not be heading back to San Francisco for 2016 so I am definitely glad I had this experience.  I look forward to seeing which city they go to next.

Rock N Roll San Diego

Rock N Roll San Diego was the first time I enjoyed the entire race experience.  I went to the expo, listened to speakers, shopped, met Meb and did more than just pick up my bib.  I ran the 5K and the Half Marathon during the RNRSD weekend and had a blast at both.  After the 5K, I went to the ProCompressionon meet-up and met some awesome people.  Before the Half Marathon on Sunday, I met Harriette Thompson- the oldest woman to complete a marathon.   If that doesn't inspire you, I don't know what will.  San Diego is my city and the crowds did not disappoint.  The crowd support was by far the best of any race I ran in 2015, from the shots to the funny signs, it was awesome.  I enjoyed all my race travels, but like they say, there's no place like home.

My Fastest Mile

This didn't happen during a race-- just a typical training run.  When I run, my goal isn't to be fast.  My goal is to finish and to improve from my last run.  And then this happened.  I was shocked.  Not because it's insanely fast, because let's face it, it isn't.  But for me and how far I've come as a runner, it is fast.  Do I think I can run severals miles at this pace? Not yet.  But seeing what my body is capable of gives me a goal and something to strive for.

RunDisney Avengers Half Marathon Weekend

I signed up for the Avengers Half Marathon Weekend because I wanted to do another RunDisney event (My first was the DIsneyland Half Marathon).  I haven't seen the movies and didn't know what a "Gauntlet Challenge" was, but I was ready to have fun.  And fun I did have.  I went to the We Run Social meet-up on Friday and met some awesome people.  Over the next two days, we would see each other again, running the 10K and Half Marathon.  I ran the Half Marathon with three of my new friends and I can honestly say it's the most fun I'd ever had during a race.  I usually run alone, so running with other people was an experience for me. But it was a blast.  I can't wait to see them all again at our next RunDisney race!

Rock N Roll Chicago

When I signed up for Rock N Roll Chicago, it wasn't just about running for me.  I got an e-mail about the race shortly after my mom had passed away and something in me said I had to sign up.  My grandmother grew up in Chicago, so I heard stories about the city growing up and watched Cubs games with her all the time.  Even though I had never been to Chicago, I felt a connection and I knew that RNRCHI would be a great way to experience it.  I made a vacation out of it, staying a week so that I would have time to explore and see things other than the race part of my trip.  It was amazing.  I fell in love with the city and felt a sense of peace that I hadn't felt since my mom had passed away.  The race experiences were amazing-- from the people to the course.  (Although I could definitely do without the midwest heatwave we had!)  This trip far exceeded my expectations and have me just what I needed in my life at that point.  I will forever be grateful for the experience and everyone that was involved in it.  I can't wait to go back for RNRCHI in 2016.

I hope everyone had a great race year! Until next time, happy running.

Monday, December 14, 2015

San Diego Santa Run Recap

After scoring a pair of ProCompression's Ugly Sweater Socks, I decided I wanted to rock them at a holiday run.  I made a last minute decision to sign up for the San Diego Santa Run, joining thousands of Santas as we took over the streets of Pacific Beach (PB).  

Packet pick-up was the day before the race-- there was also race day pick-up, but I honestly like having my bib the day before.  So I made my way down to Pacific Beach and located the pick-up-- it was in a random parking lot, but surprisingly, parking was relatively easy to find and packet pick-up was well organized.  With your race bib, you are received a Sunny Claus suit, sunglasses and some other goodies. 

Start Line
The day before the race a rain storm hit San Diego and I was a little nervous it would still be raining on race morning.  I woke up to sunny, blue skies and was ready to head down to PB for the run.  Since parking in PB can be a bit tricky, I headed down there early.  I'm glad I did-- I ended up parking a mile away from the start line.  I made my way to the start line, which was easy to find-- you just had to look for the Santas.

So many Santas!

I have never seen so many people dress as Santa and one area and the energy was amazing.  RunMC was providing pre-race entertainment and was on point.  I could tell this was definitely going to be a fun race.  The race had a 5K, a mile speed race, a kid's race and a Santa's Little Helpers race (for dogs and their owners.)  I was running the 5K and it began promptly at 10:00am.  

I decided to be El on a Shelf!

The course was a typical street course-- it had more of a gradual incline at the beginning than I was expecting, but that also meant you got to run back down and I love a good down hill run.  There were random spectators and a lot of people taking pictures--- how often do you see that many Santas running down the street.  It was one of those races where you couldn't help but smile.    

As I was looking at my Garmin, I realized I was on target to PR for a race 5K, which helped push me to the finish.  I was a little disappointed to discover that the 5K wasn't quite a 5K (my watch read 2.9 miles)  

Overall, this was a very fun race. High Performance Movement definitely puts on a good race.  The energy was amazing-- this race can definitely turn any Grinch into a Santa!  I'm definitely planning on doing it again next year and am hoping I can talk some of my friends into running it with me.  

Always fun to see Carlee at races

One more race left in my 2015 race season!  Until next time, happy running.

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