Sunday, May 21, 2017

Inaugural San Diego Beach & Bay Half Marathon

Living in San Diego, I frequently run on the coast exploring the beaches and bays.  When I heard about the Inaugural San Diego Beach & Bay Half Marathon and 5K, I knew I wanted to check it out.  Run somewhere I do a lot of my training runs at and get a medal for it? Sign me up!  I went into the race knowing there might be a few glitches since it was in its first year, but also knew the views would make up for any of those.  With two distance options, I decided to run the half marathon.    

Like all races, I knew there were going to be things I loved and things that I feel can be improved for the next year’s race.  The things I loved about this race were:

Bib Pick-Up

You had two options for bib pick-up, either picking it up the day prior or race day (with no additional charge).  I like to have my bib before going to a race so opted for the day before.  It was scheduled to start at 2:30pm and I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at 2:00pm and it was already in full swing.  It was quick and easy- organized with friendly volunteers and people ready to answer any questions you had.  It had a mini-expo feel to it as there were also vendor booths, free beer samples and discounts available for the running store it was at.   

Race Start Time

The Half Marathon started at 6:30am and as an early runner, I loved it!  It meant waking up super early, especially since I was car pooling with Smitha and we were getting there early.  But it also meant that I had a fantastic nap that afternoon and I never miss an opportunity for a good nap.  

The Course

The beach is one of my favorite places to run and this course did not disappoint. The views were pretty and even the “ugly” parts of the course were pretty.  It even took me through some parts of the bay/beach that I’ve never explored by foot.  It was also clearly marked and there were volunteers to direct us at all the important turns. 

The Volunteers

I know that a big part of races being successful is the volunteers and they were awesome for this event, from bib pick-up to the finish line.  And the big shout out to the volunteer just after mile 3—spirit fingers and high kicks with shouts of encouragement definitely added a little pep to my step.  

The Swag

From the medal to the post race snacks, they took care of us for the half. I also loved that they have a v-neck shirt for the women's shirt-- I appreciate when races have the different shirts as I am not a fan of the any unisex shirts fit me. (You were able to pick your shirt fit/size in case you do prefer a different fit)

Race Guards

I have said it in previous recaps, but it’s worth repeating.  I love races that use Race Guards.  I feel safer on my run knowing that first aid is readily available should I need it.  During the race, I did see a few injured runners and the response from Race Guards was on point.  A big kudos to all the Race Guards who volunteer their time to make sure the runners have a safe race.  

The Post Race Experience

I don’t often hang out after races, but this way too fun to miss.  There were booths with samples, fun picture opportunities, live music, food trucks and a beer garden.  Fun for the whole family!   

The Brew Dr. Kombucha Samples were so good! 

With so many good things about this race, there were just a few things that I think can be improved upon for next year.  

Aide Stations
The weather in San Diego during May is a little unpredictable and when I saw earlier in the week the expected highs for the coast on race day was 80 degrees, I knew it was going to be a hot race.  I kept my fingers crossed for an overcast morning, but that didn’t happen—there wasn't a cloud in sight.  I know the heat is not a controllable factor, but I definitely felt it.  I do carry my own hydration, but also use the hydration on the course to make sure I will have enough for the entire race.  If I didn’t have my own hydration with me, I wouldn’t have had enough with just relying on the race’s aide stations.  In my opinion, there could have been at least one or two more stations on the course.  There were also a couple stations that were set far back off the course and it was a bit congested as people had to walk off the course to get the water and walk back on after getting their water.  I don’t know if I would feel this way if the weather wasn’t as warm as it was, however I would rather err on the side of having too much hydration than not enough.  

The Course

Yes, above I said that I loved the course, but there were a couple things I didn’t love about it.  Other than the portions run on the road, the course was not closed to the public.  This meant that we were sharing the course with other people out running, walking,  or riding their bikes. This caused quite a bit of congestion at the parts where the course narrowed and it was a safety issue a few times when I saw runners almost hit by people on bikes or have to come to a sudden stop when the walkers in front of them suddenly stopped.  There were a few times I saw people cutting the course and I think this might have been in reaction to getting around the other people out there. I’m glad that people are out enjoying the sites of San Diego and quite frequently I am one of those people so I don’t know what the solution is to this.  I imagine it would be hard to get permits to close an entire beach boardwalk or path.  Maybe next year, they can have a few more volunteers dispersed to help with “traffic control.”  

Race Photographers
This is the first half marathon I've run that hasn't had race photographers. At the very least, I thought I'd see one at the finish line- if this was my first half, I'd definitely want a finish line photo.  With so many pretty views, there was definitely great scenery for awesome running shots.    

UPDATE: The race organizers sent out an e-mail to all the runners and the lack of photographers was not due to the race organizers- the contracted photographers did no show up for the event.  I'm looking forward to seeing if there are any photos of me in the ones that will be made available to us and I appreciate the race's candidness about the situation.  

From the email sent out

With this being the Inaugural year of this event, I wasn’t sure what to expect so I went to into with a very open mind.  Overall I had a lot of fun (even if it didn’t feel like it at the time—I am not a fan of hot weather running and my time definitely showed that) Despite the few things that I feel can be improved upon, I would love to run this race again.  It will be fun to see if they do any type of legacy status for the upcoming years of this event.  

Have you ever run an Inaugural race?  Did you run it again?

Until next time, happy running.


Disclaimer: I received my race entry in exchange for promotion of the event, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.  

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Lululemon Test Truck Experience

I don’t own any Lululemon, but I’ve been told by my friends who love the brand that once you try it, you won’t want to wear any other brand. Earlier this year, I heard about their #MoreThanMiles tour that took #TheTestTruck to different cities so that people could do just that- test the Lululemon.  I was excited when I learned it would be coming to San Diego and quickly started following their Facebook page so I could stay up to date on the stops they would be making while they were here.

Setting up the truck.

When a group of friends that run early every Monday morning learned that the truck would be near their normal running spot from 6:00am-8:00am, I decided to join them.  We met up at 4:55am for a short run then came over to the Lululemon Test Truck to get in line.

What is the Test Truck?
It’s exactly what it sounds like—it’s a truck where you get to try out a piece of Lululemon gear.  While you're there, you can also test out a pair of APL shoes which I heard were super comfy and light. (I opted out of the shoe test) 


What Do You Get? 

When we arrived, after getting an brief introduction we were given the options of a short sleeve shirt, a long sleeve shirt, shorts or a pair of crops.  (I don't know if the items change at the various stops)   This is when I had an internal debate with myself-- I couldn't decide between the shorts or the crops.  How do you choose when you've heard great things about both?  After giving it some thought I decided that as much as I want to try their shorts, I know that I'm picky when it comes to my running shorts and decided I would get more use out of the crops. (I still want to try their shorts but today the crops won.)  The person helping us was really great about explaining their sizing since it was all new to me and making sure I would be trying on the right size. One we received our item, there was a portable fitting room for us to change that included cubbies for us to store the clothes we were changing out of.  After you changed, another Lululemon expert made sure the fit was right and sent us on our way to the treadmill.  

The Treadmill

I am not a treadmill runner-- I can't even remember the last time I was on a treadmill so I was convinced I would become one of those memes that shows someone flying off the treadmill.  When we entered the truck we were given the option of "walk, jog or run."  After a brief explanation of where I could adjust my speed, the treadmill was started and I was ready for my two minute test.  During the run, you get to watch an inspirational video featuring runners in Lululemon gear.  The two minutes went by quickly, but it was definitely a fun experience.  I was just excited I didn't fall off! 

The Test

When I first put on the Pace Rival crop on, they were comfortable right away.  My legs are longer and I have a shorter torso so I sometimes have fit issues with the rise in crops.  These were perfect and the fit was good-- snug but not tight, just how they should be.  And the side leg pockets are my new favorite thing!  It's hard to give a full review after two minutes so I decided to do another short run on my way home followed by some stretching exercises.  I love these crops-- they were comfortable and I didn't have any issues with them falling down during my run and stretching.  Now I understand my friends who have told me you won't want to wear other brands after trying Lululemon.

Such a great start to the day!

I had a great experience with the Test Truck and think everyone should definitely check it out.  I scored and awesome pair of crops and everyone was so friendly & helpful.  This was the perfect way to experience my first piece of Lululemon gear and I suspect there will be more added in the future.

If you're in San Diego, they will be here until June 4th.  Follow their Facebook page to stay up to date on the locations.  Not in San Diego?  Check out the rest of their tour stops here.

Have you worn Lululemon?  What's your favorite piece of gear?  Have you been to the Test Truck?

Until next time, happy running.

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