Ironman Saint George 70.3 Race Recap

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There is no such thing as an easy 70.3 triathlon, but not all 70.3s are created equal.  Geography being the largest factor on what makes a race more challenging than others, I learned this the hard way by obtaining my first DNF (Did Not Finish) at the 2014 Super Frog 70.3.  No training for an open water wave start made for a very, VERY short day.  By that time I had already signed up for the Ironman Saint George 70.3.  I had googled photos of Saint George after a friend posted about signing up and thought it would make a wonderful race vacation destination.  For being an Ironman branded race, the price was reasonable enough to get my husband on board.  DNFs have a way of slapping you into reality.  Being in relatively good shape would not be enough to get me through the elevation climbs on both the bike and the run courses of Saint George.

Like races, not all triathletes are created equal.  That was evident during bike drop off the day before the race.  It was mandatory for racers to drop off their bikes the night before.  Racers were abound Sand Hollow State Park trying to squeeze in just one more bike and swim before the sun went down.  As I scanned the field with aero helmets and tri bikes a plenty, one thought resonated… I do not belong.  I started to question myself.  Did I train enough?  Do I need to be like THEM to finish this race? EEEK.

Yes, I am mildly psychotic about exercise.   It tickles my heart when someone suggests “let’s do hill repeats,” but triathletes are a whole other breed.  I couldn’t name a professional triathlete if my life depended on it.  I got into the sport mainly out of necessity.  Running as my sole form of exercise caused injury a couple years ago and forced me into the pool.  Although slow, I love the way water feels on my skin.  I loved it even more when I started swimming in the ocean.  In no way do I consider myself a cyclist.  Biking is FUN, but biking on the same roads with distracted drivers scares the crap out of me.  I have a tri bike that I solely wanted because it is really beautiful.   That pretty much sums me up as a rider.  I have a beautiful bike, so I might as well ride it.  Running is my first love.  I feel most alive when I am pounding pavement, dripped in sweat and my heart thumping.  But at almost 38 years old, without cross training I hurt myself just rolling over in bed.

Sand Hollow Reservoir selfie.  We swam around that big rock in the background.

Sand Hollow Reservoir selfie. We swam around that big rock in the background.

The Swim (00:55:43) 1.2 miles –  By all accounts, this was the leg I was least worried about.  For the past year, I have been swimming at least twice a week and unlike with my demise at Super Frog, there were no waves in the Sand Hollow Reservoir to fight with.  Being the first leg, I also wasn’t concerned about being tired.  Murphy’s law, the swim is where I struggled the most.  Simply put, I had a meltdown.  I wasn’t the least bit anxious until the gun went off to start my wave.  As soon as we started moving, my wetsuit felt two sizes too small and I couldn’t breath.  I wanted to claw at my collar.   I tread there for a minute trying to calm myself down as I watched the other green swim caps get further and further away.  When I heard the next wave about to start, I moved as far away from the buoys as I could until one of the volunteer kayakers asked if I was okay.  “Pull yourself together,” I tried to tell myself.  Then I pulled advice from my memory bank of when I first started swimming with my friend Michael.  He always told me, “No matter what, just keep moving forward.”  I doggy paddled for the first two buoys then settled into a very slow freestyle.  For those afraid of the cold, with a wetsuit I found it comfortable.

T1 (00:09:57)- Ben always makes fun of me and my complete lack of urgency during transitions.  At almost 10 minutes, I have to agree with him this time. What was I doing?  Blow drying my hair?  Applying mascara?  I still can’t think of what took me so long except sharing a few giggles with the other ladies who also struggled during the swim.  Mental note… cut down on the giggles.

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The Bike (03:46:35) 56 miles- This was the leg I was most concerned with.  Luckily I have very good cyclist in my life who got me out on the road.  During one training ride out at the Great Western Loop, a couple of the boys I was with suggested a new cassette that would get me a couple more gears to help climb.  With an elevation gain of 3500+ feet, I would need all the help I could get.  With only 2 days a week to train on the bike, I concentrated on hill repeats and a long ride.  I LOVED the bike course.  The time through Snow Canyon State Park was absolutely breathtaking.  If I had access to do this course everyday I could definitely see myself turning into a “real” cyclist.  I witnessed a few people having to unclip and walk up two inclines, the initial climb out of the Reservoir area and the last long climb starting at mile 44.  All the hill repeat training worked and I didn’t come close to feeling like I would have to unclip.  WIN!   I only had two bottles of hydration/fuel.  Both bottles were filled with three scoops of Carbopro and a scoop of APX.  I should have refueled at mile 40.  I didn’t realize there would not be any aid stations after the long climb out of the canyon.  In 90 degree plus weather, I was completely out of water with still 10 miles left to go on the bike.  Oops.

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Enjoying the scenery leaving Sand Hollow State Park

T2 (00:04:31)- I suppose I had nothing to giggle about.

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The Run (02:36:26) 13.1 miles- Once I got to the run, I knew I’d finish.  Years of Dirt Devil Trail races prepared me well.  The hills were tough and the heat made it even tougher, but one foot in front of the the other got me to the finish line.  My Desoto Cool Wings were a godsend.  I don’t know how many burnt shoulders and backs I passed, but my Cool Wing kept mine completely protected from the sun.  I also have something slightly disgusting to fess up to.  There was ice at every mile.  I’d pour a cup into my sports bra and pull ice to pop out into my mouth when ever I needed to.  Mmmm, salty.

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Finish time: 07:33:12- Nothing at all to brag about, but considering it is just a few minutes slower than my first 70.3 on a much harder course and included a meltdown I hopefully will never have again, I am satisfied in the direction I am headed.  I know what areas to improve in (transition giggling) and a good gauge of how much more I could push before I have nothing left in the tank.

Group finish picture with HTB, Pulse and FAT members.

Group finish picture with HTB, Pulse and FAT Tri Club Members.

Saint George was a great experience.  It was nice knowing my husband and a few other friends were out on the course as well.  It seemed a familiar face would pop up when I needed it the most.  The people of the city were also the nicest I’ve ever met.  My next 70.3 will be the PPD Beach to Battleship in Wilmington, North Carolina in October.   Geography will be in my favor and I do have the urge to actually follow a training plan and improve my time.  Will I ever be like those athletes trying squeeze in one last training ride/ run?  Probably not.  Not if it means having to wipe the ridiculous smile off my face.

WEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

WEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

 

 

 

Cooking Light and Health’s Fit Foodie 5k Race Recap

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BARBs putting in work.

BARBs putting in work.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to run Cooking Light and Health Magazine’s San Diego Fit Foodie 5k as a race ambassador.  Although I wouldn’t consider 5k’s my distance of choice, I really embraced what the Fit Foodie race stood for.   It’s motto?  “Run. Eat. Drink. Repeat.”  If you add in “Nap Time,” it could have been MY life motto.  Life is about balance.  I believe in pushing my physical limits, yet not depriving myself of delicious food (or beer or course).  This was indeed the perfect run for me to represent.

For several seasons the Girls On The Run 5k was held around the Embarcadero area so I was familiar with the general race course.  The Fit Foodie started and ended where the numerous sponsors camped.  I have never been at a race with this many sponsors and free samples before!  More on this later.

Sponsors Galore

Sponsors Galore

I met up with a couple of BARBs (Bad Ass Running Buddies) prior to the start.  This was a fairly large race.  Although we were not far from the starting line, we ended up in wave 2.  The great thing about short distances?  You could run them FAST.  As soon as you feel you need to puke, you are crossing the finish line!  Because of the race size, my friend Allison and I had to do a lot of weaving for the first mile.  Also, although strollers were allowed on the course, my other BARB Jeanie did not find it too stroller friendly.  Given, she is a fast (even with a stroller), so passing was difficult.  If someone were out to cruise or walk the course, they may have found the space sufficient.

Official Finishing Time: 25:22

Mile 1: 8:48

Mile 2: 8:04

Mile 3: 7:38

The best part of coming in 25th out of 284th in my age group?  The still empty sponsor tables!  In my older age, I have been leaving the house forgetting to eat breakfast.  How eating is not automatic to me yet, I cannot explain.   But it happens, and it happened race morning.  By the time I crossed the finish line, I was ready to eat my arm.  The sponsors were there to save the day!  I ended up leaving with two bags FULL of goodies.

Race goodies!!

Race goodies!!

Besides the goodies I received that day, as an ambassador I got to try many products ahead of time.  Below are a few honorable mentions.

Sartori Cheese– I received 5 different flavors with recipes to go along with each.

My Sartori Care Package

My Sartori Care Package

Fabletics– Get your first complete outfit for $25!

Why yes, my chevron print pants are very cute.  Thank you.

Why yes, my chevron print pants are very cute. Thank you.

Quest Bar- 20 grams of Protein and less than 200 calories per bar.  Best part?  I found the cookies and cream flavor to be DELICIOUS!

Holy goodness... GET INTO MY MOUTH!

Holy goodness… GET INTO MY MOUTH!

Way Better Snacks– If you like sweet and savory, pick up a bag of the Sweet Chili flavor!

Chips for days.

Chips for days.

Even if I am not approached to be an ambassador next year, I intend on doing the race again just for the massive amount of swag!  Put this race on your radar and run fast to get first pick of all the goodness waiting at the finish.

It Could Have Been Worse…

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If you are a runner you have probably seen this picture floating around Facebook. I am Superwoman on the left. Like Clark Kent, for the most part I have been able to keep my true identity secret. To date SELF Magazine has yet to reach out to me for a personal apology and really, it doesn’t matter. The person I wanted an apology from was the woman who asked for the photos and whom I had corresponded with for a couple of days. This photo editor seemed nice and polite and after I sent in the LA Marathon pictures responded with “Thanks, these are great!” That woman is the only one I care to hear “I’m sorry,” from.  She is the one that made me feel foolish for blindly trusting someone.  Jokes on me right?  Don’t. Trust. Anyone… check.

They say that laughter is the best medicine. In life I’ve taken that to heart and have applied it to ALL situations. It has sometimes been confused with insensitivity from anyone who doesn’t know me personally and my coping mechanism. Sad? Laugh. Nervous? Laugh. Scared? Laugh. Humiliated in a National magazine? You guessed it, laugh my butt off followed by an expletive or two.

There is nothing I could write here that I haven’t read in countless of blogs about #tutugate. Everyone seems to get it. The support has been incredible. This incident has allowed Monika and I to have a larger voice for the charity we are board members of, Girls On The Run of San Diego. I now have a platform to speak about the core values to our entire community and not just the 8-15 girls I would get to coach during a regular season. For that, I am thankful. Personally I think SELF has suffered enough. They get it. I’m sure even other magazine editors are scrolling through their layouts for future publications with more awareness.

But I’m still coping so let me get back to this laughter thing. Looking at the photo plastered over blogs and in the news, despite being called lame I KNOW we look nothing short of awesome. It made me think of some of my other race photos and suddenly became very thankful. It could have been worse. It could have been A LOT worse. Now I know we are #changingtheconversation, but allow me to make fun of myself for a moment. Forgive me, I’m coping.

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Heartbreak Ridge- Dork Alert!

Slipping wigs and thriller hands.

Slipping wigs and thriller hands. Cardiff Kook 5k 2013

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Carlsbad 5000 2012- Zombie chic?

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Mission Bay 2013- T-REX ANGRY!!

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Napa Marathon 2014

And last but certainly not least…

Esprit de She 2013- This is the picture I like to torture my husband with.  I show it to him and say, "You totally married this."

Esprit de She 2013- This is the picture I like to torture my husband with. I show it to him and say, “You totally married this.”

So really folks, things could have always been worse.  What photos would you not want the public to see?

Coronado 4th of July 15k- One year later

The fourth of July brings to mind my childhood on naval bases waiting hours for the synchronized fireworks display, “camping out” with the family and sneaking off to McDonald’s to get sundaes.  July 4th banked a lot of happy memories for me. Last year I ran the Coronado July 4th 15k with my Glam Sister Monika.  Decked out in our Miss American Pie tutus we finished together happy and smiling, yet it was the first time I knew something was undeniably off.  We posted a 1:22:48, an 8:49 pace.  A struggle for me but a time normally pretty easy for Monika.  I heard it in her breathing, she wasn’t operating on 100%. We had no idea this would be the last race together before she was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer.

Coronado 4th of July 15k- 2012

Coronado 4th of July 15k- 2012

A year later, so much has changed yet so much of it has remained the same.  One of the first questions she asked the doctor when he first told her she had a tumor was, “Could I run a marathon?”  We were both signed up for the Marine Corp Marathon last October but because of her scheduled biopsy she would not be able to run the race.  A couple of amazing women stepped in and geared up in our Team Mokie shirts we ended up running the race in her honor.  It was a bittersweet experience.

Team Mokie - Marine Corp Marathon October 2012

Team Mokie – Marine Corp Marathon October 2012

Instead of being angry, or sad, Monika was annoyed.  How dare this tumor get in the way of her life!  Since her biopsy she has been working hard to get back her strength.  By December she was racing again.  It took chemotherapy to slow this girl down  enough for me to keep up!  I am no doctor, but I think exercise has really helped her with the effects of her treatment.

Cardiff Kook 5k- Feb 2013

Cardiff Kook 5k- Feb 2013

Mermaid Half Marathon- Feb 2013

Mermaid Half Marathon- Feb 2013

LA Marathon- March 2013

LA Marathon- March 2013

Although I have to keep in mind that cancer and cancer therapy effects everyone different, Monika has taught me a way of thinking that I hope I put into practice on a daily basis.  Adversity in life is inevitable.  How someone handles adversity says a lot about a person.  I could only hope to handle it with the grace and strength my friend has demonstrated to everyone around her.

Tomorrow we will run the Coronado 4th of July 15k again.  So much has changed and yet so much has stayed the same.

Camp Pendleton Mud Run Race Recap- 2013

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I went into running the 20th Anniversary of the World Famous Camp Pendleton Mud Run with high hopes.  This was the third year participating on team Will Run For Beer and we were enticed with the promises of “new obstacles.”  With the onslaught of obstacle infused races, I thought it was about time the “World Famous” mud run got a face lift.   One of the biggest complaints I heard from fellow participants regarding the 10k is that it consisted of a 5 mile run and only 1 mile of obstacles.

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Team Will Run For Beer 2011

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Team Will Run For Beer 2012

Running ability wise, my team members varied.  We didn’t stay together at all times and would wait to regroup if we had separated too far.  Marie and I recycled our Pittsburgh Marathon Star Wars shirts so our other team members matched our theme.  Carlos as Boba Fett,  Erika the Storm Trooper and Ben as ummmmm, Sexy Naked Vader.  Carlos didn’t have the easiest costume to run in, but  it sure looked great and was complete with a blow up jet pack.

Boba Fett Bounty Hunter

Boba Fett Bounty Hunter

Sexy Vader... thank God for strategically placed Race Bibs

Sexy Vader… thank God for strategically placed Race Bibs

The entire crew pre-dirt

The entire crew pre-dirt

I wasn’t exactly impressed with some of the new additions to the course.  After standing in line at the cargo nets for almost 10 minutes and not being anywhere close to the front we decided to bypass it completely.  For the second year in a row the “lake” was completely dry.  Instead, nets were placed low to the ground that we had to crawl under.  Although Ben had to carry me across the very first year when that lake was 6ft high, I have to say I missed it.  Maybe I just enjoyed a reason to be carried by the hubby?

The "lake" back in 2011.

The “lake” back in 2011.

The "lake" 2013

The “lake” 2013

Wall climb into a mud pit

Wall climb into a mud pit

Tunnels and my backside

Tunnels and my backside

I gulped down a Passion flavored Island Boost at mile 3 but mostly because it tastes great.  I could have gotten away with drinking water the whole time since I wasn’t exerting myself.  Since becoming an Island Boost ambassador though I’ve been more conscious about taking them more often just to provide feedback.  Besides wasting my liquid gold I decided that morning not to wear socks.  Runner FAIL!  Every time my foot submerged water it took on a ton of rocks.  I don’t normally run barefoot so I don’t have the built up calluses needed to handle rocks to bare feet.  Luckily I used the time waiting for team members to empty out my shoes.  I must have done this at least 5 times!  Yes my feet were in need of some major exfoliation, but that was a bit extreme.

I love me some Island Boost and Boba Fett photo bombing.

I love me some Island Boost and Boba Fett photo bombing.

Emptying out the rocks from my shoe AGAIN.

Emptying the rocks from my shoes AGAIN.

One very cool addition to the day’s events was a special kids version of the race.  Marie and Alex’s son got to participate.

Ewok spotting in the mud!

Ewok spotting in the mud!

What did I learn about myself this weekend?  I missed that five miles of running.  I’m definitely a RUNNER, not a Spartan, not a Gladiator, and definitely not a Mudder.   My biggest beef with this run were the long lines at each obstacle.  I understand these races need to make money, but a smaller field would definitely alleviate the issue.  I’m not against doing the obstacles.  They are fun and challenging.  I’m against waiting in line to do them.  I don’t welcome the break (unless it is to take rocks out of my shoe).  I’m an instant gratification type of gal.  I could spend less money for a boot camp and get my ass kicked 10 times harder.

Team Will Run For Beer 2013

Team Will Run For Beer 2013

Stone Brewing Company- Liberty Station First Peek!

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20130511-163105.jpgThis weekend my husband and I had the rare opportunity to visit the new Stone Brewing Company’s facility in Liberty Station prior to it opening up to the general public.  I’m crediting good karma for the opportunity.  We haven’t helped any old ladies across streets recently but we must be doing something right!   My first impression on the looks of the restaurant?  Wow.  This is no ordinary bar/restaurant.

Excited much?

Excited much?

Those who love the Escondido location but hated the drive to North County will rejoice.  Similar in style but charming in its own right, this restaurant will appeal to the ever growing craft beer enthusiast locally and abroad.  I almost wished Ben and I could get married all over again just to have the reception here.  The realization we would never be able to afford it came about fairly quickly.  So fancy!

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Main dining room

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Side Dining Room

Bocce Ball!

Bocce Ball!

You know that favorite unknown band you loved growing up?  Then once becoming popular to the masses, suddenly they weren’t as exciting?  Well, Stone has fallen under that category for me the last several years.  I cannot deny the impact they have had on the craft beer industry, especially in San Diego.  Stone has paved the way for all my favorite small breweries that have popped up since they has seen success.  For that they should be credited and celebrated!  They may not have started the Beer  Renaissance, but no one can deny they have been and continue to be a major contributor to it.  Although the tap list of other breweries was ever impressive, both Ben and I felt the need to stick with Stone for the day.

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Stone Mixtape Ale Vol. 4- Photo Bombed!

This new facility will be great for the local San Diego economy.  The jobs alone the restaurant created is a huge plus.  The staff was very eager and plentiful.  It almost seemed like they were undergoing some sort of try-outs to make the team.  One waitress was almost in tears as she dropped a plate and a seared scallop rolled underneath our table.  Our table staff insisted on taking away and replacing our silverware after each course even though Ben relayed, “Don’t worry, she’s ghetto.”  I’m not a fancy girl.  I’d had rather the staff sit at our table to shoot the shit than constantly fill up my water cup when there is a jug already at the table.  That’s just me though.  I’m sure there are plenty out there that like to be catered to.

Overall the I would rate the food delicious, with the main entrees offering the most bang for our buck.  We ordered the quail appetizer which was described to us as being similar to hot wings.  Four pieces came out.  Hmmm…  Yes, it was becoming ever apparent this would be our “special occasion” spot and not one of our neighborhood hang outs.  I had the chicken schnitzel and Ben got the tilapia for our main dishes.  We split both and I had absolutely no complaints about either.  Very damn good.  I looked to the table next to me and I think I would have been disappointed with the Lobster Roll, but all the other dishes looked worth trying.

Almond Crusted Tilapia

Almond Crusted Tilapia

Chicken Schnitzel

Chicken Schnitzel

Blue Cheese dessert

Blue Cheese dessert

Will we be back?  Absolutely.  For us though, it would this will be a good place to celebrate a birthday or two or bring guests to from out of town.  If we stopped in casually it would be straight to the bar since beer prices were very reasonable.  I see this place being popular and very packed so I’m thankful we had the opportunity to visit before the masses.

Pittsburgh Marathon Race Report

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Stylin' at the Finish

Happiness is… celebrating with friends after they finish their first Marathon

When it comes to running, I have this way of getting people to sign up for things they normally wouldn’t do by themselves.  I’d like to think I inspire people to try things out of their comfort zone, but it’s probably purely the peer pressure.  “Don’t be a wuss,” goes a long way in my circle of friends.  I cannot take credit for the Pittsburgh marathon though.   That was the work of my childhood best friend who moved there a couple years ago.  She recently became a Doctor of Psychology and doing her voodoo mind magic, conned a visit from me through my love of running (love you Marissa).

Happiness is… being with this gal!

The Running Bud:  My partner in crime for the race was Marie, my best friend’s sister and in turn my “might-as-well-be” sister.   She turned 40 this year and wanted to mark the occasion by running her first full marathon.  How could I miss out?!  Running 3 full marathons in less than half a year has never been on my list of things I wanted to accomplish.  In fact, it sounds crazy.  Crazy is unavoidable when you are given the opportunity to run with some of your favorite people on races important and meaningful to them.  I was honored to be her running buddy.  She has been one of my biggest Glam Runner supporters and of course was all in when I suggested we run in Star Wars costumes.  Running enthusiast and fellow dork- YES!

Chewbacca and R2D2

The course: I did not go into the race with any expectations of the course or city.  Any person I told I was running a marathon in Pittsburgh met me with blank stares.  Even a woman at the race who lived 50 miles from the city looked confused when I told her I was from San Diego, “you flew out here to do this race?”  I’m sure the perfect weather helped, but I cannot get over how awesome the course was. Old industrial buildings with fantastic architecture, neighborhood streets, several bridges crossing the Ohio, Allegheny and Monongahlea rivers, and rolling hills (flat is sooooo boring), it was all very new and interesting for this west coast girl.

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The support:  Fuel stations and medical tents were sufficient and the volunteers were diverse and friendly.  Since we weaved through neighborhoods, people parked their camping chairs on the side walks and cheered for EVERYONE who ran by.  I probably gave out more high fives than I have at any other race.  To see children’s faces light up as Marie and I ran by in our Star Wars outfits  was the best.  I played up to the crowd by doing my best robot impression to anyone who could tell which character I was. Every once in awhile Marie would do her best Wookie growl.  Good times!  Between miles 13 and 14 a fellow runner asked if I was having fun.  When I responded with an “absolutely,” he told me I must be doing something wrong.  “Why no sir, I couldn’t be doing it any better.”

Happiness is... doing the robot!  Forgot R2D2 doesn't have arms.  Doh!

Happiness is… doing the robot! Forgot R2D2 doesn’t have arms. Doh!

The Finish:  Our finish time was 5:17:43.  Great first marathon finish time for Marie!  The next day she wasn’t even walking funny, so in retrospect I think I could have pushed her a little harder.  We had not done any training runs together so it was hard for me to gauge how I should pace her.  I didn’t want her first full to be miserable.  Marissa’s husband also did his first full coming in under 5 hours.  Good job Ryan!!

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Smiles for miles. 26.2 miles to be exact.

Negatives:  I could only think of one.  The full marathon clothing selection was chinsy.  There was only one cute shirt to pick from.  I tossed my race shirt around mile 1.5.  My long sleeved tech shirt use is limited in San Diego and I need to save room in my closet for stuff I’d actually wear.

Eck!

Not too cute.

Do Over / Recommendation Factor: Hell yes, I would recommend this race to anyone!  If it wasn’t so far away for me I’d gladly do it again and spend more time in a city so rich in history. Great town, great race!  Thank you Pittsburgh!

The Art of Being A B.A.R.B.

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I’m a BARB (BAD-ASS-RUNNING-BUDDY).  I’ve been running regularly approaching on 9 years.  That’s correct, I started when I was 18!  Throughout the years I found myself running for various reasons.   In the beginning it was about setting and reaching goals.  Everyday was a chance to do something I had not done before.  After awhile I found myself fine tuning, making little tweaks here and there to see how my running would respond.  Every new PR was a fight to get.  In the last couple years I’ve settled into something different and all the while greatly rewarding.  I’ve had the privilege on more races and training runs than not to be someone’s running buddy and it has been nothing short of AWESOME.

I did not turn into a BARB overnight.  I learned from the absolute best.  On many occasssions I have had the company of amazing runners and friends that helped me through a mentally and physically challenging run. Through them I learned to be the best running buddy I could be.  Below are some tips if you strive to be a BARB!.

Know your limits.  Don’t offer to help someone through a run if you will have trouble covering the distance at the desired speed yourself.  If you are at the same level, be okay if it that person leaves if they are having a kick-butt kind of run.

Know your buddy’s race goals.  Does your buddy want to PR or just have fun?   If they want to PR you may not want to ask them their thoughts on our current political climate.  Talking and running are exhausting so if you hear your buddy huffing and puffing away don’t ask questions!  As having needed a running buddy, I’ve loved one sided conversations hearing about a person’s Saturday night and weekend plans as a distraction.  It’s okay to try to take their mind off the pain, just be mindful of if you are helping or hurting.

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Dress Up.  This isn’t necessarily a requirement for being a BARB, but it helps by making things fun.  Yes for most of us Junior High was A LONG TIME AGO, but do coordinating outfits ever get tired?  I think not.  Most of us are never going to win, so why take things so seriously?  Even if you are in it to win it, why not win in a tutu?  Entering shameless Glam Runner plug here.

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Listen.  You could learn a lot about your partner’s state if you just listen.  If I do have music on my runs, I ALWAYS keep the ear closest to my buddy unplugged.  Labored breathing 2 miles into a full marathon?  It’s time to slow the pace down.   This is also important from a safety perspective.  Cars, bikes, creeper in the bushes, it’s always a good thing to be mindful of your surroundings.

Remember it’s not always about you.  Running could be a very selfish sport.  At any given time you could lace up your shoes and make a run into anything you want or need it to be.  On the flip side, as a running buddy you have the opportunity to be selfless.  You have the chance to support someone else during a physically and mentally demanding race.  Best of all you are guaranteed to  create some crazy fun memories for you and a friend. Solidifying friendships over miles?  Yes please!

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Starting a Happiness Ripple

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Allison_Heartbreak_ridgeThis is my friend Allison on Heartbreak Hill during the 2013 Boston Marathon.  She is wearing the tutu I made for in the marathon’s colors for the year.  That smile wasn’t forced for the camera.  She actually runs that happy.  As with most others who ran that day, she worked her butt off to qualify.  What should have been a day full of celebration for her and many others will forever be tainted by a cruel ugly cowardice act.

I am feeling anger and sadness, both emotions I try to keep to a minimum in my life.  Life is too precious and short.  Admittedly I’m having a hard time shaking these feelings off this time.  What have I decided to do?  It’s a tiny gesture, but one I hope will start a small ripple of happiness.  Through the facebook Glam Runner page I will give away 5 Boston Marathon tutus (like the one created for Allison) to anyone who would like run their next race in honor and in tribute to those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.

In no way am I expecting to change the world but I have to believe the little things do count, right?

Curve Ball

Earlier this year my Glam Runner partner, fellow Girls On The Run board member and friend Monika coached and paced me to a PR at the Carlsbad Marathon. That’s been pretty typical throughout the course of our friendship. She has this way of leading me to believe a better version of myself was just around the corner if I just worked hard enough. When the Marine Corp Marathon registration opened up and she signed up minutes after me, I was ecstatic. It was ON!! My plan? I would train as hard as I could and hope I could stay with her for the first 20 miles. At her pace, I figured I’d still PR even if I slowed down the last 6 miles. We would raise money for Girls On the Run (the group that made our friendship possible) and have another awesome experience we could file away in our memory bank.

Carlsbad Marathon… Good Times!!

Life had other plans. On September 21st, Monika found out the root cause of her recent headaches and exhaustion is a brain stem tumor. All her family and friends, including myself, had theories of what might be causing all the physical ailments. Vitamin deficiency? Stress? Bell’s Palsy? Thyroid woes? Never in our wildest dreams did we figure brain tumor. Shock, fear and tons of sobbing filled those next few days (at least for me). Then in Monika fashion, with grace and humor she picked herself up, dusted herself off and all of us were forced to do the same. She made it known that if there was any chance she could go to Washington DC to run MCM, she would absolutely go. Due to the scheduled biopsy and necessary recovery time, we learned pretty quickly that those chances were zero.

As women tend to do, especially Girls On the Run women, we rally together in times of crisis. Amy Jerome, Executive Director of GOTRSD, stepped up to the plate and is going to bat for Monika to run the 26.2 miles on her behalf and in her honor. With just 4 weeks to train, Amy will be pushing herself to the limits. When another bib became available, Girls On the Run coach Allison Cordes also signed up for the party. Together we will honor Monika by running for her, for Glam Runner and for Girls On the Run. Through miles, love and friendship this is our way of helping Monika battle that unwelcome squatter in her head (Die Tumor Die!!). Not only does that tumor have to fight Monika, it has to fight ALL of us.

In another show of support, Amy and I will be fundraising for Girls On the Run.  Monika served as head coach for many seasons in Carmel Valley and has been on the Board of Directors since 2010. We would like to fund a team in Monika’s honor. If you would like to help in our fundraising efforts, please donate here:  http://www.active.com/donate/sdsolemates/TBaize1

Monika’s biopsy is scheduled for 10/8 and potentially will not be able to run for another 6-8 weeks.  A fellow runner and friend, Trasie, came up with the idea to start a facebook page where everyone logged their miles from her surgery date to the Marine Corp Marathon and dedicate them to her.  Everyone would then get a certificate with their miles completed and would be able to send it to Monika with words of encouragement.  https://www.facebook.com/MilesForMokie

I wish I didn’t have this purpose to run. I wish I coud run for superficial reasons like fitting into my jeans, or keeping me youthful.  But sometimes you are not given a choice.  I will run for her until we could run together again.  I will be a stonger person and better friend because that’s what she needs me to be.  When life throws you a curve ball, you gotta hit it out of the f*cking park.

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