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Rock the 80s 8 mile Race Recap

On Sunday I did a Rock the 80s 8 miler in Elk Grove! Read more to find out how the local race went!

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Pre-race & Packet Pick-up

A friend was visiting me in Sac and she was kind enough to wake up at 6:30 to drive with me down to the race! We left just after 6:45 and arrived around 7:20. The start/finish area was at a high school, so there was plenty of parking.  After we parked, I went to the bib/shirt pick up area, which went pretty fast, except the lady called me Chris…kinda weird even though my bib has my correct name printed on the back. In the last 20 min to kill before the race start, I applied sunscreen, dropped my bag off at my car and waited in line 15min to use one of the 10 port-a-potties for the 400 some people at the race.  I’m glad I got in line around 7:45 because I literally had a couple min to spare after leaving the port-a-potty to go to the start line and begin the run.  Many runners were concerned they would have to start late because of the enormous bathroom line…

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The Race

I started out slow since I was just over being sick with a cold a few days prior (which prevented running/working out for 10 days), but after the first couple miles I started to hit a groove and knew it would be a good race!

The weather was overcast and slightly chilly from the wind, so I never felt overheated.  We had a water station every 2 miles, had some “ghosts” hanging around the course (only one of them was super excited and cheering us on constantly), and 80s music playing. The course was flat, which was nice, but it wasn’t the most scenic route (lots of car dealerships we ran by and empty dirt fields).  There were lots of cops around each corner we turned to keep us safe from traffic.

Many of the runners wore bright clothing of some sort, a few in tutus, leotards, full on exercise video attire and side pony tails. Not like Disney races, but still fun for a local race!

I texted my friend every couple miles to let her know where I was in the course and was surprised to see her just before the finish line! She ran by me to pass me to meet me after the finish and I didn’t try to run any faster to catch her since I did not have fresh legs like she did.  It was nice having a cheering buddy 🙂

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After I met up with my friend again, I collected my medal, a piece of banana and a few free things from the booths. Then I headed to the car to stretch and take some post race photos! Overall I’m glad I paid $15 to get the medal and the upgraded technical shirt (cute!) since it was a fun local race! I used my $30 voucher from volunteering for the MOO-nlight Half Marathon) to get a big discount!

How was your weekend?

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Tri for Fun Series: Race 3 Recap

Saturday August 2nd, I did my third sprint triathlon…AND placed third in my age group AGAIN! This Tri for Fun race was #3 of 3 for the summer series. Read to find out how this race went in comparison to the prior two!

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Pre Race: Driving, Packet Pick-up and Set-up

photo 1Saturday morning, I ended up leaving later, around 6am, because the last couple of races I’d had LOTS of pre race time to kill. However, as soon as I got to the freeway entrance (about 5 min from house) it just spontaneously occurred to me that I had left my bike water bottle (special one way valve sport top) in the freezer.  You better believe that I did NOT want to have to deal with unscrewing a regular water bottle during the race, so I decided to turn around and drive home.  Fortunately it only put me about 15 min behind schedule. Luckily I still had plenty of time to pick up my bib and set up my transition area.  Just before the race, I did some yoga and then headed into the water to swim for about 8 min before my wave start.

0.5 mi Swim: 18:37 

There were more people in my wave than the prior July race, so it was another arms/legs frenzy.  I started out a bit faster than both prior races because I went into this race with a slightly different strategy. Just finish.  I’d been working on adding more running miles before my Dumbo Double Dare at the end of the month (so not fully “tri training”).  Plus I was also sore  at the start of the race. Three days before I ended up pushing myself to do deeper squats during my Body Pump class and the next day went to my second Massage Therapy appointment (to help work out all the bad kinks!).  I wasn’t sure how my legs would feel during the bike and run, so I figured I’d bust it out during the swim, which is lower overall impact on the body.  For the bike and run I told myself, “I’ll just take it one mile at a time”.

photo 3T1+ 16 mi Bike Ride + T2: 

It was during the beginning of this portion of the race that I spotted one of the girls in my swim wave and was able to confirm that she was in my age group.  Looking back now, I still find it odd that I decided to fixate on “beating” her, but it gave me motivation to push harder.  When looking at her attire, I noticed that she was wearing regular running shoes on a road bike. My instant thought was “she’s going to have REALLY tired legs by the run portion if she pushes it on the bike” because I’ve been there and DONE that exact thing.  I passed her early on around mile 2, making sure to keep a steady pace and knew that if she did pass me, I shouldn’t worry because I’d catch her during the run.  And that’s EXACTLY what happened. She passed me on the bike portion around mile 9 and I didn’t see her again till the final leg.

3 mi Run: 29:39 (and it was the fastest time in my age group!)

Again, my legs felt SO much less fatigued than the first race I did the bike portion in my run shoes.  For the first minute, I did walk just to rehydrate, refuel and catch my breath before starting the last leg in the hot sun.  But for the rest of the distance, I was running, not only to finish, but to just be done.  It was around mile 1.5 that I saw “that girl in my age group” again that I was “competing” against during the bike portion and she was walking up a hill.  Prophecy fulfilled.  I ended up passing her and decided that no matter what happened, my goal was to stay in front of her.  It helped keep up my motivation to continue running till the end.  When I running toward the finisher’s chute I was SHOCKED when I saw the official time showing that I was going to PR from race #2 by about 2 min!

photo 4Finish Time: 1:54:54

Yep PR’d by 2min 14 sec! Holy moly where did that come from? AND I ended up placing 3rd in my age group again! Had I known that the girl in 2nd was only 30 SECONDS ahead of me, I probably would have pushed it on the swim or bike a bit more (no way I could have pushed more during the hot run).  The girl in first finished about 1.5 min ahead of me and the girl I passed finished 4th and about 1.5 min after me. TIGHT race in comparison to the prior two!

Post Race Fun

One of my coworkers offered to have me come over again after the race to shower, change, and eat another huge lunch!  Another wonderful visit! She made burgers from local beef (she said she knows it came from one cow) with blue cheese, avocado, lettuce, whole seed mustard and toasted wheat buns. Had sides of pasta, some sort of grain like barley but not barley and ice cream sundae’s to top it off! Yummy! Another perfect end to the race!

Final Thoughts

Swim: So happy my swim sprint interval training continued to pay off! 

Bike: Since this was my third time on the bike course, I felt like I had a better intuition of all the challenges this portion of the race presented.  Overall, I felt comfortable because I was better able to take advantage of speeding down the downhills, downshifting to prep for the uphills and avoiding the uneven road hazards (numerous).  I felt like I was going faster and still less exhausted than last the last couple races.  

Run: Legs felt SO much more fresh with bike shoes, happy with losing 2 min! How did I manage that?

Cascadian Farm Protein Bar Review

Recently, I was able to try a new protein bar product, Cascadian Farm protein bars! In a nutshell, they are delish!

Cascadian Farm protein

As a lover of Cascadian Farm products, I was really excited to find out that they now have protein bars! These are a perfect snack to have after a workout or race! I was able to try two chewy protein bar flavors, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and Honey Roasted Nut. Both have a nice blend of crunchy/chewy texture, but I really like the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip ones the best! Mmmm chocolate… And did you know that you can Terracycle the wrappers?

Terracycle

To recycle your wrappers, please take one of the following steps:

  • Bring your wrappers to a Cascadian Farm event

  • Mail your wrappers to:Cascadian FarmAttn: TerraCycleP.O. Box 18932Denver, CO 80218

  • Become a TerraCycle® Brigade Leader. Complete details about TerraCycle® (including their fundraising program) are available at TerraCycle.com.

Check out your grocery store today to pick up some Cascadian Farm protein bars!!

 

Full Medal Runs: The Bling!

A few months ago, I first blogged about Full Medal Runsthen, I’ve participated in two of their races! Since my second race medal came in the mail last week, I can write my post about the bling 🙂

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A couple weeks after the Turkey Trot 10k, I got the gold medal you see above on the left.  The Purple Princess 10k medal was supposed to arrive around then as well, but Nichell informed us participants that she wasn’t happy with the way the manufacturer produced that medal.  It took a bit longer since she had to find a different company to do it, but I think it was worth the wait since it turned out great!  Overall, Full Medal Runs is a GREAT place to do virtual races since profits go to the charity that you sign up for and you get a nice ~3″ diameter medal (made of metal!). Plus when you receive your medal, Nichell packages the medals for protection in bubble wrap envelope. She also includes some goodies like bandaids, Road ID coupon and Emergen C.

If you are interested in their races, you can check out their website: Full Medal Runs.com and like their FB page! Also, they have a private running group for you to post your official race time/distance after completion (see their public FB page for more info).  Nichell just started her own blog, which you can read by clicking here.  She has a very toughing and inspirational story for how/why Full Medal Runs began   New races every day and participants are automatically entered in a giveaway every month (for the month run you sign up for!). From shoe bling to garmins, there are some really cool prizes! I encourage you to check out Full Medal Runs out today!

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Disclaimer: All opinions expressed are my own. I received half off registration for blogging about the virtual races.

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend: Volunteering for the Half Recap

Ever since I started running races, I’ve wanted to volunteer at an event. Volunteers are so important, from cheering runners on to waking up at ungodly hours of the morning to do hours of physical labor such as ripping out mylar blankets….(ok so that was me!).

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But seriously, I wanted to give back to the running community and what better than through runDisney?

What o’clock does my shift start?!?

Screen shot 2013-11-12 at 7.30.03 AMRegistration slots for a Disney race even as a volunteer go FAST! Needless to say I watched the runDisney website like a hawk waiting for volunteer registration to open. Which in this case for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend (1/16/14) was the evening of 11/11/13.  If you are wondering what some of the different shifts are, click the image to your left.  If you are an individual, you click a link on the runDisney volunteer page which takes you to a special place on Active for registration, like the pic.  Its first come first serve and you won’t know if you got your shift until a few weeks before the race.  If you are a group, you send an email and are on the lottery system.  Group volunteers do the water stations and I think the medals (at least that’s what it seemed like for this race weekend).  Anyway, I got two of my friends and my mom to commit to volunteering as well and fortunately we all got the shift we signed up for, Mylar/Chill towels!

While we all would have loved to hand out medals, we did get to spend time congratulating runners handing out Mylar blankets.  Plus, it was one of the later shift options available race day. We only had to wake up at 1 am, leave by 2 am and start by 3.  Hence the reason I did lots of exercising the day before, I needed to tire myself out to go to bed by 7pm.

Parking and Food

Tink_volunteer_food_14RunDisney does a pretty good job at making volunteering worth your while.  You get to park in the structure for free, as long as you remember to print out the parking pass they send via email, a long sleeved shirt to wear with “Race Crew” written on the back (for race day volunteers), breakfast (bagels, fruit, tea, coffee with optional syrup pumps), a water bottle and a snack pack.  Had we thought about it, we would have brought our own snacks to eat since I had eaten the same boxed snacks two days in a row already…and brought another bottle of water for when it got really warm out.  Then after your shift, you head back to the tent you checked in that morning, to check out and receive your free pass to any Disneyland park good for 1 calendar year.  Not sure how it works for expo shifts that are only a few hours long, but that’s how it worked for the long half marathon race day shifts.

Mylar Station

Our Team Leader for the Mylar Station showed up around 3:30 am to walk us all down to the finish line.  He had been there the day before for the 10k, but had otherwise never done a Mylar station at a race event (though he had experience with other shifts).   He told us we should start ripping out Mylar blankets from their tightly rolled up coils in boxes and aim to have about 2000 done before the start of the race.  Imagine an extremely large box of tin foil…only the foil had perforated edges.  The boxes themselves were heavy, each containing 200 blankets.  We had to pull the Mylar up from the box on the ground, find the perforation, rip, open the blanket, and stack.  It did take us till about 5:30am to get this done.  It was chilly outside, so once we finished and weren’t physically moving stuff around, all of us grabbed a blanket or two to stay warm. Plus a few of the neighboring volunteers at the medal stations grabbed a few as well.

Tink_volunteer_mylar_14For race start, we saw the fireworks go off in the distance. Then, we had about an hour to kill before the elite runners started crossing the finish. So, the four of us went to use real bathrooms at the Disneyland hotel to stave off using port-a-potties more than necessary.

 It was really cool to be volunteering at the finish line since we got to see the first finishers of the race! At first, the runners just trickled in.  Then about 2 hrs after the race start, we started to get a small crowd of finishers, but it was still manageable.  An hour later, it was like all hell broke loose.  We had half of our Mylar team out giving blankets to runners (we would swap to give everyone a chance to hand out blankets to runners) and the other half ripping more blankets out.  While we usually had spares to loop over the arms of the volunteers as ‘refills’, it slowly dwindled down as more and more runners crossed the finish.  There was about 20-30 min that we could not rip and open them fast enough.  We were all working so hard that I hope all the runners that wanted them during that time, got one.  It was chaos.  After this time of madness, it did start to slowly trickle down in numbers, giving the rippers a chance to catch up.

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It was during this time that my mom discovered these seemingly strange items in a box next to the mylar blankets piled on their wood flat.  They were metal contraptions that looped onto the top of gray finishers chute bars (about hip height) that held the mylar blanket spools so that you could rip the mylar blankets off more easily! Apparently our Team Leader saw them yesterday and didn’t investigate further to figure out why they were there.  Definitely would have made all of our lives easier since we were really sore the following day doing it all from the ground (bend over, stand up, rip and repeat).

All in all, we had a great time (though an exhausting time). My mom and I dressed up in our tweedle outfits again (but wearing purple volunteer shirts) for fun and we did get some compliments from the tired runners.  Some of the runners asked what the Mylar things were for (which we explained to those who asked). We also saw some great and hilarious costumes! Since it was a Tinker Bell race, many women and men were in tutus and wings.  We even saw a trio of males dressed as three disney princesses: Jasmine, Belle and Cinerella. My mom asked Belle if he wanted a Mylar blanket and he said “Why would I want to cover this up? If I’m gonna wear this, I’m going all out!”. Later we saw the trio get some promotional photos taken of them. I mean why not, they were hilarious and didn’t take themselves too seriously. They did wear their chest hair and facial hair proudly… I didn’t get my phone out fast enough, so I only got their backs in a couple photos below.

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Post Race

The advantage of being a race volunteer at the finish line is that once you are done with your shift, its easier to get back to your car and leave.  I heard that people working the water stations would end up getting stuck in the massive traffic in Anaheim caused by the road closures, meaning you wouldn’t get back until at least a half hour to forty minutes after the end of your shift.  We did hit some traffic getting out of the structure, but it could have been worse.  After getting some real breakfast, I hit the sack and took a 2 hour nap! All 4 of us had great fun though!

Would you ever volunteer for a runDisney race? What station would you choose?