Tuesday, March 22, 2016

10 Things on Tuesday

Some people argue that Tuesdays are worse than Mondays-- on Mondays, one might still be feeling great from the weekend, but by Tuesday, that has worn off.  I wouldn't say that Tuesday is my least favorite day of the week, but there are times when it definitely feels like my longest day of the week.  So I've decided to start a new series to focus on the good things about Tuesday-- each Tuesday I will post 10 things that I am loving that week, in no particular order.

1.  Flavor God
I recently started using Flavor God for cooking and I love it!  As someone who meal preps, somethings my meals get boring, especially later in the week.  Flavor God has changed that-- with a variety of flavors, I can turn boring into delicious.  I have tried five different flavors and so far, chipotle is my favorite.  I can't wait to try more.  Head over to Flavor God and check it out for yourself.  (and if you follow them on social media, they frequently post deals to save you some money)

2.  Trails
Spring has sprung and I have been enjoying some more time outdoors.  And I am loving running the trails.  I am fortunate enough to live near some pretty awesome ones.  I am looking forward to more trail runs and can't wait to sign up for an official one this year.

3.  Starbucks' Caramelized Honey Latte
Coffee is my vice and I stopped by Starbucks today for an afternoon treat.  I decided to try their new drink and I was not disappointed.  It is delicious!  

4.  Momentum Jewelry
About a year ago, I was introduced to Momentum Jewelry, primarily their Motivate Wraps.  A pendant adorns a fabric wrap-- for the pendant, you can pick a listed motivational phrase or create your own.  They have found their way from my running wardrobe into my everything wardrobe.  I even Shared the Spark earlier this month my BRFs.  To learn more about Sharing the Spark, check out Momentum Jewelry.  

5.  My BRFs
My BRFs (best running friends) motivate me everyday.  We share group messages, venting about life, sharing our successes and sometimes just laughing at our own silliness.  I was fortunate enough to meet this group of women at a race last year and we've been friends ever since.  We all live in different cities and I can't wait we're reunited in person again in November!

6.  #RunChat
Each Sunday night, #RunChat happens on Twitter.  It's a fun way to meet new runners, answer some questions, learn new things and occasionally win some prizes.  I was lucky enough to win two weeks ago-- I won an entry and hotel stay for the Laughlin Half Marathon in December.  Two states and two time zones in one race-- how awesome is that?!  Check out all the fun of #RunChat this Sunday at 5:00 PST. (Make sure you follow them on Twitter for all the up to date information)

7.  Being #RunMatchy
If you've seen my pre-race #FlatJenn pictures, you know I like to color coordinate.  I don't do that just for race events-- it's a regular thing for me when I'm getting my run on.  It's made easier by all the color options offered by my favorite sock, ProCompression.

8.  Chicken & Waffles
Up until last week, I had never had Chicken & Wafflers.  The idea of it didn't appeal to me.  Last week, when I was driving home from my race expo, I decided to try a new restaurant that had opened up near me, Da Chicken Coop.  (It's partner restaurant is Coop's, which features the best BBQ I've found outside of Texas)  I decided to try their chicken & wafflers-sold!  Why had I never tried this before.  Served with a tasty hot sauce and syrup, it was the perfect combination.  I may have found my new favorite way to carb load before a race.

If you've ever had Larabars, you know how delicious they are.  My favorite are the Cherry Pie and Apple Pie flavors.  They perfect for midday snacks or for nutrition during a hike.  

I love that Spring is here.  With the recent rains in Southern California, nature is a beautiful site.  Flowers are in bloom and trees look greener than they have in a while.  I love exploring all the beautiful colors out there!  

What things are you loving right now?  Anything you think I should try?

Until next time, happy running!


Monday, March 21, 2016

Hot Chocolate 15K Recap

I ran the Hot Chocolate 15K last year and swore I would never be back-- I wasn't a fan of the course or its hills.  That being said, when my friends were getting ready for the 2016 #HC15K and I saw the medal, I knew I would be there.  So I signed up and joined in on all the chocolate fun.


I was carpooling with Michelle, so I met her at her place at 5:30am.  The HC race has a 5K that starts at 6:45am vs the 15K's start of 7:45am-- more people run the 5K, so we wanted an early start to beat the traffic.  We got lucky and hit relatively no traffic and found parking right away.  After staying in the warm car for a while, we decided to head over to the starting area and see what was going on.  After a few pre-race pictures and a stop at the bathroom, we were ready to head to the corrals.  

I went into this year's race with a different perspective-- I knew about the hills and I wasn't going to worry about my time/pace this year.  I had a plan to enjoy all the sweet stations and walk the hills if I needed to.  And that's exactly what I did.  

The first sweet station stop was chocolate chips and I didn't take those-- they weren't handing them out in cups and I didn't want melted chocolate on my hands.  I did take the strawberry marshmallows at the next stop and the M&Ms at the final stop.  I was wearing a hydration pack, but was also grateful for all the hydration stations on the course.  I love it when a race has nuun, my hydration drink of choice.  

The race went as I expected--there are parts of the course that are a bit boring, aside from the challenge of the hills.  I listened to my body, running what I could and walked when I needed to. (I did get a 2 minute PR from last year, so that's a plus)  I ran into Jenny (@RunnyLegs) on the course-- she's awesome.  Not only did she rock her 50K on Saturday, she was rocking this run too. 


My favorite thing about this course is the downhill/flat finish.  The crowd support in the last half mile is great! All the volunteers on the course were great too!  After finishing, I made my way over to collect my finisher's mug, full of goodies and chocolate fondue.  I'm generally not a big fan of chocolate, but I enjoyed all the treats.  My favorite is the hot chocolate! 

Will run for chocolate and bling!

I don't know if I'll be back to this race next year-- I didn't think I'd run it in 2016 and look what happened!  I do have a good time and the race swag is awesome (a jacket, chocolate and a medal-- sign me up!)  We'll have to see what happens next March.  There are a lot of awesome races that happen around the same time-- we'll just have to wait and see where my run takes me.

Have you ever run a race that you swore you'd never do again? What made you go back?

Until next time, happy running.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

San Diego Half Marathon Recap

My first experience with the San Diego Half Marathon series was in 2014, when I ran their 5K.  I hadn't been running for that long and I remember waiting in the starting corral thinking to myself, "I'm going to run the Half Marathon next year."  And I did.  I had so much fun in 2015 that I couldn't wait to come back in 2016.  

The expo/packet pick-up happens down by the Embarcadero in San Diego.  I love this part of the city and waited until Saturday to head down there.  (a storm hit San Diego on Friday and I wasn't going to go out in the rain if I didn't need to.)  I got down there about 15 minutes before the expo opened and got in line with all the other early birds-- once they let us into the expo, it was smooth sailing.  It seemed to be more organized this year than the past two years.  The expo itself isn't bad, but not anything that I really got excited about.  I did pick up a couple Momentum Jewelry bracelets, but didn't see anything else I just had to have.  

One race perk I took advantage of this year was the ticket for the USS Midway museum.  Even though I live in San Diego, I had never been there.  I enjoyed it and will definitely be back.  After my time at the USS Midway, I explored Sea Port Village for a bit, then headed home to get race ready.  With the time change and an early race start, I knew I need to be in bed early.

USS Midway fun!
Every race outfit needs ProCompression!
I headed downtown a little early-- I'm never quite sure what parking or the crowds will be like.  It was a breeze, so I stayed in my warm car until it was time to meet-up with some friends before the race.  Smitha and I had discussed it earlier in the week and we would be meeting-up to run together.  

After all the catching up and pictures, it was go time.  We tried to make our way back to our assigned corrals and got stuck a little closer to the start line than anticipated. Fortunately, it was a bit congested at the beginning of the race, so we were able to keep a steady pace until everyone started to disperse.  

I started out with Smitha, Tara and Jayme.  As we were running, I started to find a different grove and thought I might be able to find a PR in the race.  I was going to forge ahead of the group and Jayme decided she would come with me.  I love this course-- San Diego is a beautiful city and I never tire of seeing it on a run.  The water stations were adequately spaced apart and the crowd support was fun.  (I wasn't a big fan of the plastic cups at the aid stations, but I'm sure they had their reasons)  I was wearing a Sparkle Athletic skirt and I loved hearing "Go Team Sparkle" when I was out there running.  Jayme was my biggest supporter-- we had just met that morning before the race, but what better time to make a new friend than when you're running 13.1 miles.  She made sure I stayed on target, encouraged me when I needed it and shared stories to make the time go by faster. 

We were on a target pace to get my PR, so we had a plan.  Stay at our pace and be prepared to walk the hill if we needed to between miles 8-10.  This race is known for the hill on Washington and it did not disappoint.  But all went according to plan and once we were at the top of Washington, it was smooth sailing.

The last 2 miles or so are downhill, some parts more gradual than others.  I didn't want to fly down the hills because I know that can cause injury and could cause me to wear out before the finish line.  I was at a comfortable pace and then it happened-- I was stopped so that the trolley could go by.  Ugh!  We jokingly pleaded with the race staff to let me go so I could get my PR and his response was, "You can't out run the trolley."  I was definitely willing to try.  Haha.  (All kidding aside, a PR is never worth anyone's safety) 

Once we were on our way again, I could see the finish line ahead.  Running a race for me is often a mental sport, so I was trying not to think about my time.  But when I looked at my watch, I knew it was going to happened.  I pushed through the finish line and ended up with a 7 minute PR!!  I was beyond excited. 

With Jayme after we finished.
After the race, Jayme and I caught up with a few people we know.  After we were done, we decided to stop and have a drink.  It was much needed and very refreshing.  I was waiting for another friend to finish before I went to lunch.

7 minute PR-- I was a little excited!
When I have races that finish in the Gas Lamp area, I always reward myself with what I consider "the best burrito ever."  Lolitas by the Park has a "2 in 1 Burrito" (two rolled tacos inside a carne asada burrito) which is worth every 13.1 mile.  It was indeed delicious after this race.

Such pretty bling!

Have you ever run the San Diego Half Marathon?  How do you reward yourself after a race?

Until next time, happy running!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Subscription Boxes. Yay or Nay?

In today's world, you can have almost anything delivered to your door.  A popular item in recent years? Subscription boxes. From running goods, to fruits to clothing and jewelry, for a fee you can have items show up on a regular basis.  I had a subscription to a running product box last year--after about 6 months, I decided to cancel it.  I found I was not using the products more than I was using them.

For the holidays, my friend gifted me a subscription to Runnerbox.  It was a pleasant surprise and I decided to revisit my thoughts about subscription boxes.  

The first box I received had some yummy goodies-- I was excited and tried everything.  I found a few awesome products I love.  A few weren't my jam, but it was still fun to try something new.

Merry Christmas to me! The purely elizabeth cereal was delish!

A month later, I was was once again pleasantly surprised when I received a second box.  Once again, I was excited to try some new goodies.  Runnerbox definitely knows what runners like and includes some really good products.  

My second box of goodies!

These are delicious!

A full size bottle of vitamins? Yes, please. (I haven't tried them yet)

I still have one more box coming from my Christmas gift.  I am looking forward to seeing what things I get.  It has been fun to try new products.  I have been pleasantly surprised by a few of the things.  Clif beet flavored energy didn't appeal to me but it has become one of my new running favorites.  I was also apprehensive about the Munk Pack oatmeal (I'm weird about textures) but I really enjoyed it.  

But then comes my dilemma. 

Once I find a product I like, I stick with it.  I have the "if it's not broken, why fix it" mentality. That is one of the reasons I cancelled my subscription I previously had.  I was sticking with the products I love and not trying new things.  I might be missing out on some great items, but I also know I'm using what works for me.  I do think subscription boxes are a great way to try new items and I'm definitely glad that I've tried them.  When I was subscribing before, I was getting one every month.  For me, that was a little too frequently.  I've enjoyed getting a box every two months from Runnerbox and plan on continuing it after my gift "runs out."  

Have you ever tried a subscription box?  Did you like it?

Until next time, happy running!

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