Mermaid Series Sprint Duathlon 2014

Ever since I did this race in 2013 with my beach cruiser, I’ve wanted to do this race again with a real road bike! So, a couple¬†weekends ago I did ūüôā Read to find out how this race cation went!

photo 1This year not only did I have a road bike to race with, but a friend as well! We made a racecation out of it, staying in a local hotel in Capitola. ¬†Since I like to “race in style”, instead of having a stylish beach cruiser to ride, I decided to race in full blown sparkle…head to toe! I did wear triathlon shorts and an exercise tank underneath though to reduce the possibility of chafing ūüôā

And since this is a Mermaid Series, I of course decided to wear a sparkly outfit that resembled Ariel! My friend said I’ve done too many Disney races….but hey, at least I got lots of compliments during the race!!! I dubbed myself the official mermaid motivator, since many people said the sparkles made them smile (which is what I was hoping for!).

Packet Pick-up and Transition Set-up

This year, my friend and I picked up packets the day before at Whole Foods, which was very quick and easy. Last year I picked my packet up before the race, which was also very speedy ūüôā The next morning, we left the hotel around 6:30 and walked our stuff to the transition zone to set up. This year they had fewer areas labeled for each age group, so there was more freedom in where we could park our bikes.

We then headed back to the hotel so I could finish getting ready (aka fully blinged out) and to avoid standing in the cold ūüôā This was a nice treat compared to last year since I had to just wait. ¬†About 1hr before the race, we went to the start line to warm up and take pics ūüôā

1.5mi Run + T1 Time: 16:10

My friend and I planned to start together, but I told her to go for it since I was just going to go at my pace and have fun in my sparkly outfit ūüôā The first quarter mile was pretty much straight up hill, getting to the top, turning around to go back down the hill, running along the beach, up another hill, and into the transition zone. ¬†I went a bit faster than my long distance pace since I didn’t want to push it too much before the bike portion. I read that the course had changed and that there would be a hill about half way through. Once I got to the transition zone, I spun my number around, swapped my running shoes for my bike shoes, put on my helmet and gloves and was off running to exit the transition zone to mount my bike.

12mi Bike Ride +T2 Time: 48:54

So the majority of the bike course was fairly straightforward, light hills, some tight turns, but¬†it seemed that the “hill” wouldn’t be too hard. Well THAT was a bad assumption because even on the lowest gear, I went SO SLOW up the hill!! Plus the hill was in the shade from redwoods on both sides and on a not well maintained road (reminded me of my Tri for Fun Series Races, only up a huge hill). ¬†And once I got to the top for the turnaround, I went fast, but I had to avoid eating asphalt since I could have easily hit¬†a road crack wrong or an unseen road hazard on the shaded road. ¬†Scary!!!!! It was a morale killer on the way back since I felt like I started out so strong and then fell short on the hill. ¬†Even if I had done more biking, I have NO access to hills, so I would have still had a hard time either way. Once I got to the transition zone, I transferred back to my run gear to finish the race.

2.5mi run to the finish. Time: 25:45

¬†The run is pretty much the same as the first leg, only the turnaround is farther along Cliff Drive. ¬†My legs were fatiguing after running up the hill and near the top I saw my friend heading back already! I weakly cheered her on since I was already pooped and still had like another 1.5mi to go. Slowly but surely I made my way around the course, across the sand and through the finisher’s chute! After the race, we got some delicious food provided by Whole Foods: yogurt, granola, fruit, banana bread and coconut water. ¬†They also offered pancakes, but I wasn’t hungry enough to eat those on top of the huge yogurt container.

Post Race Fun

After we ate Whole Foods food, foam rolled (oh yea there was a foam rolling and The Stick station at the post race expo!), and showered, we walked to a nearby cafe to get some lunch.  Then it was off to the spa to have some beauty treatments! My friend got a massage and a facial, I just got a facial, but we both got the special tea service after both of us finished.

The next morning, we headed off to Monterey to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium (courtesy of some free tickets I got!). We loved checking out all the creatures under the sea (it really floats my marine bio boat!), especially the tentacles exhibit! If you get the chance to go, you should!!!

Have a great weekend!


Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2014: Disneyland Half Marathon Recap

Dumbo Double Dare Part 2: The Disneyland Half Marathon! Toy soldiers, villains and bling galore!!

photo 1My mom and I left at¬†4am again, got there ~4:40am and it took at least 15 min to get into the¬†parking structure.¬†Fortunately they didn’t charge us for parking this time, yay a FIRST!!!!

By the time I got to corral G, (dropping off sweats & last port-potty) it was about 5:20am, but I knew I had at least another 30 min+ before my corral would cross the start line. ¬†We ended up getting funneled on the left hand side (other side of fence) for our corral, but at least they didn’t make us walk all the way around. ¬†When it was time to move forward, we all just turned around and walked back down the funnel. ¬†My mom went¬†to the left¬†side of the corrals and followed me until my corral crossed the start line again ūüôā

Miles 0-4:CA Adventure Land & Disneyland

Apparently I hadn’t attached my hair extension very well (was slipping through my slippery hair), so for the first mile I was dealing with a tangle of a situation. ¬†I did manage to figure out a solution: put the attached hair extension under my tank top and tie it in place with a piece of ribbon I found on the ground. Worked for the whole rest of the race!

First photo-op I took advantage of was around mile 2.5, 3 toy soldiers! They were very energetic and great at cheering us runners on (shouting Oh-Rah) as we ran by!

Some of the other photo-ops with longer lines that I did not take picts with included: Prince Charming and the Step sisters, Maleficient (new), Darth Vader and 2 Storm Troopers, and a couple of the flashy cars in Cars Land.

Miles 5-9: City of Anaheim, Honda Center and Angels Stadium

By mile 5, we were¬†well out of the park and onto the streets of Anaheim. ¬†I was still a bit sore in my shins and left glute from the 10k the day before, so I was working on walk/running and getting through the rest of the miles. It was SO nice though having¬†a group (can’t remember name, something like Team Disney Party) offering us red vines, oranges and COLD SPONGES! So refreshing!!! I carried that sponge till about mile 9 and refilled it with water at each water station.

Around mile 7 we hit the Honda Center where there were again lots of older car models parked along the road. Its pretty cool listening to all different horn sounds and to the owners cheering us on!

Then at mile 9 we started our run through Angel’s Stadium. ¬†It was great having all these Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in the crowd again holding out their hands to I’ve us high fives as we run by. ¬†Always ¬†nice to have continual support from race viewers! Plus we got featured on the jumbotron as we ran by and got an up close and personal view of the baseball field!

During this entire chunk of course, since we are out in the middle of Anaheim, we got ALOT of cool groups that cheered us on: local high school bands, cheerleaders and even a spanish dancing troupe! Just want to give a shout-out to all of the wonderful water-station and cheering volunteers along this part of the route!!!

Miles 10-13.1: The trek back to Downtown Disney

Thankfully the sun was still hiding behind the clouds during this last leg so it was LESS FATIGUING than the 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon.  Last year around mile 8 the sun started shining through the clouds and made the last 5 miles pretty miserable for me.

Nothing exciting happened picture wise, BUT around mile 12.5 I was running back onto Disney property when I heard a guy sing from the sideline “And at last I see the light”, which took me a second to get that he was referring to me so as I ran I sang “and its like the fog has lifted!” I hope the dude heard me, it was refreshing to get a quick burst of energy from the singing gesture (now I can say I’ve sung during a Disney race!)! None of the other runners around me seemed phased by my singing, they probably thought it was weird, but oh WELL I loved it!

And soon enough, I was through the finisher’s chute and collecting my medals!

Time: 2:46:31 (didn’t have a time goal, but I thought it would be around 2:45)
Average Pace: 12:42 min/mi (pretty good for sore legs from a 10k the day before!)

Post Race

After I got my wrist band marked in the Dumbo Double Dare tent area and collected my third medal of the weekend, I made my way to the exit to find my mom. Just before leaving, I snagged a couple bags of ice.  After stretching, icing and applying BioFreeze I was ready to take some post race bling photos!

I loved this race weekend from people cheering me on as “Rapunzel” (more obvious character than pascal) and for my mom walking ¬†to all the viewer places to cheer me and others on during legs of the race! A huge shout out to my mom for driving me this entire weekend, love you and thank you!!!!

I conquered the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge, yeah!

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2014: Disneyland 10k Recap

Dumbo Double Dare Part 1: The Disneyland 10k! Can you believe I challenged myself to walk and not run?

photo 2My mom and I left our house at 4am, got there ~4:40am and didn’t have any traffic¬†getting to¬†the parking structure. I knew that the 1/2 would be different since there would be at least double the number of runners. We again cut over to the left side to pay for parking and got in super quick!

By the time I got to corral C, it was about 5:20am, but I knew I had at least another 20 min before my corral would cross the start line.  My mom apparently found a way to the left side of the corrals from the viewer side, so she followed me as the corrals ahead of me left and gave me one last wave when it was time for me to start the 10k!

Miles 1-3.1

photo 5The first 2 miles were in Anaheim, which was a bit of a surprise (since I didn’t look at the course) because I had intended to just run the first mile until we got into the park. I didn’t have a time goal because I wanted to walk the vast majority of the race to save my legs for the half as much as possible. So when I hit mile one (even though I was still in the city), I started my fast walk.

Just after mile 2, we headed into California Adventure land and I got my only “pose” picture with a Cars Land vehicle, a baby tractor! (it had the shortest line). ¬†Turned out pretty cute! Yes I’m sticking my tongue out ūüôā

Miles 3.2-6.2

Sometimes during the race I’d hear people thinking out loud saying something like, “dinosaur ridges?”, so I’d turn around and say “Pascal” ūüôā Got complimented on my ridges and look of my chameleon-esk type running outfit.

Walking the majority of the race allowed me to enjoy the course more than the speedier 10k I did at the Tinker Bell 10k since I got to “be” in the parks longer. ¬†Yes it would have been more fun taking lots of photo ops, but the theme of this race is Lilo & stitch and its not a movie particularly close to my heart (its cute, but I love Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid, Pocahontas, Tangled, and Frozen). ¬†Many photo ops had stitch, elvis, chipmunks or hawaiian shirt dressed people. ¬†Might have been more fitting had I dressed in a Luau costume ūüôā

Mostly I enjoyed the atmosphere of the race and watching the creativity of runners passing by. One girl went as full blown ewok and had fur arm sleeves, fur skirt and furry long socks (it was kind of funny running into her at the beginning of the race, half way through and finishing just after her)!

Time: 1:2803
Average Pace: 14:10 min/mi (pretty good for walking most of it!!)

Post Race

I did take a couple post race “posed” photos because its now a tradition of mine. ¬†Pascal is just too CUTE that I had to do 2 of my favorite poses ūüôā

Got my red wrist band for the dumbo double dare, part 1 of the challenge is now in the books!

Disneyland Half Marathon EXPO 2014 Recap and Costumes Revealed

Welcome to the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2014! ¬†Ok so at the end of last year’s Disneyland Half Marathon recap I may have said I wouldn’t necessarily do this race¬†again due to the time of year/weather, but¬†I’ve been living in a hotter climate and this time I’m doing the Dumbo Double Dare! Here’s how this expo went and how it wasn’t a dumbo debacle like 2013.


Bib & Shirt Pick-up

Record time, ever! Went to the expo Fri morning and arrived right at 9am.  Downtown Disney parking lot was still only partially full, so it was easy to find a parking spot in the shade.  Walked up to the underground area to pick up the bib, no lines anywhere and was in the expo with 5 min tops!

Picked up my shirts and LOVE the fit and colors! SO MUCH better than last year’s unisex sizes.

EXPO swag

As for expo shopping, I was hoping to get some dark purple ProCompression Marathon socks for the race, but they only had dark purple calf sleeves (not the same feeling when I tried them on) or lavender socks with yellow striped top. But my mom and I got a couple pairs of their new brightly colored running socks instead! I did get the other item on my list, a purple sparky visor from Sparkle Athletic!

My mom and I noticed that there was NO line to get into the official runDisney merchandise area, so we walked around (gawked at the prices) and decided we weren’t missing out on much on the previous races. Plus there was maybe a 6 person line for checkout? If I did want anything, I would have hit a perfect time to purchase. Next year, I will be buying the 2015 Princess Coast to Coast shirt since I will be doing that challenge ūüôā

Costume Reveal Time: Time to get Tangled!

For the 10k I’m going to be Pascal and for the half, I’m going to be Rapunzel! ¬†I actually hadn’t really seen the movie (brief segments on tv) when I first started making the costumes, but I bought it on iTunes and have watched it a couple times within the last week ūüôā ¬†Pascal is SO hilarious! Love that little chameleon.

For those of you wondering how I put the costume together, I’ll make a separate post that goes into more detail. In the meantime, you can look at my info graphics below (click to enlarge)!

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend!

MOO-nlight Half Marathon: Volunteer Experience

In the evening of the same day I did my second sprint triathlon, I volunteered at a water/aid station for the MOO-nlight Half Marathon run in Davis. In celebration of this weekend’s¬†super moon, I decided to finally post this recap.

full moon

FYI: While I’m so glad I gave back to fellow runners, I think there could have been more communication between people coordinating the race and the volunteers. ¬†If you volunteer for this race next year (because it is important to volunteer, I still encourage it), I hope that my email I sent to the race (shortened version of this post) will help make things better¬†in the future.


First of all, let me just say that as an athlete, volunteers are integral to making a race run smoothly. ¬†From cheering us¬†on, to making decisions for us when we¬†are dehydrated and tired (like when I¬†put out a¬†hand¬†for water but words dont follow), just know that on behalf of all us racing athletes out there, THANK YOU! Thank you for your time, for dealing with behind-the-scenes-issues you don’t show on your smiling face, and for just coming out to support us when you could be doing a million other things. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.


MOO-nlight Volunteer Experience (also see highlights of race at the end!)

The contradictory confirmation¬†email I received should have been my first indication that there would be issues. The email AND the attachment said to meet AT the water station and gave directions where to park. However, the email said to meet there at 7:30, while the attachment said 7pm. I showed up at 7 because I didn’t want to be late.

After I arrived (and everyone was just about there too), our volunteer box was nowhere to be found: No shirts, no glow sticks, no cowbells, no race vouchers (get $30 off one of their races). Our water/aid station leader had no idea that we were supposed to get any of those things. Furthermore, he said that he was told that volunteers would be parking at the start line and that he would be driving us to our water/aid station. A few of the volunteers went to the start line at 6pm to get there early (I dont know if they signed up as a volunteer earlier than I did or not), so they got glow stick necklaces, cow bells, and I assume their vouchers when they checked in.

I brought this up to our leader when we¬†still had at least 45 min before the first runner came by so he¬†called someone at the start/finish asking if¬†our box was still there. ¬†He told us we would have to pick it up after the race. Well, kind of defeats the purpose of Volunteer unity if we dont have shirts saying we are part of the event and we have to go pick stuff up that should have been waiting for us here. Why our team leader couldnt go pick it up in the 45 min we had to kill, nor why the guy who was supposed to bring us more cones for dividing the trail in front of our aid station (since this part of the route is an out and back, so we see runners twice), couldn’t have brought our box I also dont understand. ¬†Thankfully I did bring glow sticks of my own so¬†at least we could have some fun glowing ūüôā¬†Below is an¬†image of “enticement email” to potential volunteers (and our swag):

Screen shot 2014-07-13 at 10.40.47 AM

Did I mention we also had no bathroom/porta-potty? We were in a residential area and it was still almost¬†90 degrees¬†for the first hour. ¬†I found a bathroom 0.5 mi away at a local park before sunset, but it had a chain lock hanging near the open door, so I didn’t think it would be open until 10:30pm when we would be done (since most public park bathrooms seem to close at sunset). ¬†So basically I didn’t think I should hydrate for fear of having to hold my pee for 3 hours or having to drive somewhere during the race, leaving dehydrated runners just so I could¬†use the facilities.¬†Also note that when we did start having runners, MANY¬†asked if there was a porta-potty nearby (since pretty much every race I have gone to has a porta-potty near every water station, even if only 1). I had to tell those runners,¬†“I’m sorry we don’t”.

Runners Arriving

It started out slow, a few trickling in at a time, but after an hour, it was “rush hour”. Barely enough time to fill cups, put out on the table and have some of us hold them to hand out before they reached the table. ¬†I started noticing numerous cups piling up and overflowing the one trash can with the one¬†trash bag we were given. I asked our team leader if we had more trash bags, but no, we did not. So we used the city trash can for the time being while I tried stacking cups together to help condense the amount of trash spreading around. After 20 min, we got a water drop off (since we were running low)¬†and I got some extra trash bags from him, so I didn’t have to do the stacking technique anymore. I needed to make sure the cups were out of the path of the runners, so cleaning up was just as important as making sure they were hydrated. Last thing we wanted was for someone to slip on a cup. Once the trash situation was contained I went back to handing out water/gatorade until the final runners came by.

Final Runners

When the race was winding down, I got some of the volunteers to help me do a clean up job along the course (not far) to pick up the numerous cups, empty gel packets etc… with our bare hands. I probably had hundreds of people’s saliva all over me (thankfully I didn’t get sick, I really tried hard not to touch my face or anything, but its not like we had a place to wash our hands with soap or at least disinfect them….). We were just starting to break down the water tables when a runner came up to us. She said that she thought¬†she pulled a quad and asked us if this was an aid station that could call someone to pick her up. ¬†I told her she could sit on one of the water coolers, while I looked for something to ice her quad. All the ice had melted in the coolers, so I looked in our very small “first aid container”. That pretty much consisted of antiseptic wipes, bandaids, gauze and ointment. No pain killers, no instant ice packs (is that standard?). I told the other volunteers that I was looking for an ice pack, but couldn’t find one so I was going to check my car. Fortunately one of the other volunteers did have¬†one in her car, so we did what we could to help the runner until the driver arrived.

While the ice pack search was going on, I heard some of the other volunteers looking for our team leader. No idea where he went. Then they were trying to contact him and it took at lest 30 min or more before the girl actually got picked up (took time to find/call/tell our leader, get him to call someone, and for that someone to come). ¬†So glad she wasn’t in immidiate need of medical attention, because¬†I would have just called an ambulance.

Voucher Pickup

So after we picked up everything and put it in the trailer, we all followed our team leader in our respective cars to go to the start/finish area. ¬†The lady there said, “We don’t know why/how your box didn’t get to your station, but since it didn’t, we gave the shirts away. We can contact you if you would like a shirt.” She handed us our vouchers and I don’t think any of us left our names for a shirt. ¬†I mean, I really don’t need another race/volunteer shirt, but it would have been nice for us to look like a team¬†at our station to begin with. And again, why someone¬†at volunteer check in didn’t contact our team leader saying our box was still here or have someone take it to us is another thing I don’t understand. There should be multiple checks in place. I do understand this is a race with alot of moving parts, but I have volunteered at Tinker Bell Half Marathon¬†with an order of magnitude more runners¬†and they have a well oiled machine with their volunteer system. I know and have experienced that it can be done.

How the experience could be improved:

  1. Consistent Volunteer Directions: One time, one place, no contradictory email.
  2. Make sure the team leader knows what the volunteers are supposed to receive and if they don’t, go get it or have someone bring it.
  3. Have each team leader give a quick meeting on how their particular¬†station will be run. Including what to look out for and to make¬†sure enough supplies are there in the first place (like multiple trash bags). I ended up having the most knowledge on runner behavior (fatigue, sometimes speechless etc…) and water station dos/donts based on my race experiences, so I did what I could in disseminating information that would be helpful in running this station.
  4. If it is an aid station, make sure to have multiple instant ice packs on hand.
  5. If it is a water station that is in an area with no bathroom, please put 1 porta-potty there or tell us in the email that there will be NO bathrooms available.



So I want to end this sort of recap/constructive critique on a positive note, so that those of you thinking of volunteering aren’t turned away. ¬†I made the best of the situation considering and I hope that the runners enjoyed the race tremendously. Volunteering¬†was for them:

Still on the high of my race that morning, I was SO excited to be giving back to my fellow racers so soon. ¬†I loved yelling “wooo, good job, keep it up!”, complimenting you all on the super cute outfits you ran in, smiling at you¬†as you¬†passed by, and giving much needed relief when I handed you extremely thirsty runners some water. ¬†I loved being able to make your¬†day, even with little things e.g. a couple of you runners saw others with glow necklaces and wished you¬†each had one to wear, so I took the ones off my neck and clipped one around each of your necks¬†so you¬†could finish the last few miles in style. I loved cheering back when you runners would yell “We love our volunteers” because we know you are all so tired at mile 8/9, but you still managed to yell just as enthusiastically back at us. You are our inspiration, we applaud your efforts for taking on the challenge (especially this race is always in the heat and in the evening!), and we will do what we can to¬†help you get to that finish line. Even if it means finding an ice pack in our car and calling a medic at the start/finish to pick you up. We want you to be taken care of during your race journey. Race on!