The Fit Foodie 5K Race Weekend Recap

Last weekend I had the exciting opportunity of attending the weekend long events at the Fit Foodie 5K Race Weekend as an Ambassador.  And to make things even more fun, my BFF (and BRF) Sarah from Sarah ‘n Spice was also chosen to be an Ambassador, so we got to make it a super fun girls weekend!

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We headed out of Vegas on Friday morning and got into San Diego just in time for the Light Up The Night VIP Cocktail Party.  This was held at Florent Restaurant and Lounge in the Gaslamp District in San Diego.  At this party, we got to rub shoulders with celebrity trainers, instructors, and chefs and also got to sample some really yummy food and cocktails.

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After that it was back to our room to lay out our racing outfits for the morning and hit the hay early.

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On Saturday morning, we were up bright and early with a beautiful view on the San Diego harbor.

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We got dressed and headed over to the Hilton Bayfront for the 5K race.

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The course was awesome.  Right along the water and flat.  Perfect conditions for a PR!

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We walked around the Finisher’s Village a bit and then headed over to the stage for a hilariously fun warm up with The Run MC.  This guy is awesome.  I immediately recognized him from the Temecula Half Marathon (he also did the warm up and post race ceremonies for that race).  He is funny and energetic and has got some great dance moves!

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After that was a quick stretch with Kristin McGee and then it was time to head over to the start line.

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This was Sarah’s first race ever, so I was really hoping she would do great.  This was my last race of the year, so I was also hoping to perform well, although I really didn’t have high hopes for a PR.  While I’ve been staying on track with running, I haven’t done speed work in a few months, so I wasn’t sure if a PR was going to happen for me.  But as usual, I just decided to give it my best and have fun.  There were about 1,400 runners, so we were in the second start wave.  The first wave was off and about 5 minutes later it was our turn.

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The course area was pretty small, looping around different areas and then heading back to the start line.  There were a lot of people, so it was a lot of maneuvering around and there was one really bad choke spot where it was single file and I got stuck behind a couple of people, but other than that, the course was really nice.  I’m not a huge fan of 5Ks because I push myself so hard that my whole body hurts for pretty much the entire race.  I really enjoy the long distances better where I can get in the zone and pace myself.  But, at least with a 5K it’s over pretty quickly.  I forgot to start my Garmin, so I had no idea where I was at pace wise.  I just kept pushing and pushing until I got to the final stretch and then I pushed even more to the finish line.  I felt like I was going to die when I got done.  I grabbed some water and got out my video camera so I could capture Sarah coming across the finish line to complete her race.  When she came, I was so excited for her.  She did it!!!  She has been working really hard for this and I was so excited to see her accomplish her goals.  After a congratulatory hug, and some waters, we went over to the results board to see how we did.  She ran faster than she ever had and finished in the top 30% of all runners.  I couldn’t be more proud of her.  And I scored a PR!  Previous to this, my fastest 5K was 22:31 (7.15/mile) and that was back in May.  I hadn’t been able to beat that ever since.  So I was in complete disbelief when I saw my time for this race.  21:34 (6.57/mile).  Holy moly!  I broke under 7:00/mile!!!  Woo hoo! I got 4th in my age group, 8th overall female and 26 overall.  Not to shabby at all if I say so myself!

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Once we were recovered a bit from the race, we headed over to the Finisher’s Village.  There were tons and tons of booths set up with juices, bars, coffees, massages, running attire and a beer garden.

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We also did some post race workouts with Patrick Goudeau and some more yoga with Kristin McGee.  There were also several cooking demonstrations with Chef Robin Bashinsky and samples of the food he was cooking, as well as prizes given out all day by The Run MC.  All in all, is was a great was to spend the rest of the morning and we had a really good time.

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After some R & R in the room, we headed back over to the Gaslamp District for some dinner and drinks.  We had dinner at Berkley Pizza, a total dive, but with great food and an even better beer selection.

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Then we hit up Barleymash for our favorite Framboise.

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And one last stop at The Tipsy Crow for a drink before catching a ride on a pedicab for a little tour around the area with our hysterical driver Yadi from Lebanon (he was seriously the best!).

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On Sunday, we got up and headed back over to the Hilton for a 60 minute celebrity yoga session with Kristin McGee.

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She is so awesome.  She is super sweet and nice and a really great instructor.  She led us through a pretty tough workout (especially being post race), but it hurt so good!  We got to chat with her for a few minutes and she gave Sarah and I a couple of her DVDs to try at home. I’m really excited to try them out because I haven’t done yoga in a while and it really shows!

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After yoga, we had a yummy brunch consisting of egg white frittatas, chicken sausage, greek yogurt parfaits, oatmeal, fruit and delicious Stella Cidre.  It was held on an upstairs patio at the hotel overlooking the bay.  It was a beautiful view and a beautiful ending to our fun weekend.

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On top of all the fun we had, we also raised over $1,100 for City of Hope.  Our initial goal was $500 and we more than doubled that.  Thank you so much to everyone who donated.  It really means so much to us and to our dear friend Tom.

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All in all, it was really a fun filled weekend that I would definitely do again.  I really want to thank all of the wonderful people at the Fit Foodie 5K Race Weekend for giving me the opportunity to attend as an Ambassador.  I would definitely recommend this event to anyone looking to have some fun fitness and food wrapped up into one weekend!

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Fit Foodie 5k Race Giveaway!

Remember when I told you that I will be attending The Fit Foodie 5K Race Weekend on November 14-16 in San Diego as a Fit Foodie Ambassador??  Well, guess what?  The Fit Foodie Weekend organizers have been so generous as to offer up a pair of tickets the 5K race and Finisher’s Village!

This event is the ultimate celebration of food, family, and fun.  I am so excited to be a part of the event as a Fit Foodie Ambassador, if you are in the area, I hope you will join me!

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The Fit Foodie 5K Race Weekend is jam-packed with delicious food, cooking and fitness demonstrations, a yoga session, and a Power Systems Obstacle Course Bootcamp, led by celebrity trainer Patrick Goudeau.  Also expect to rub elbows with editors and contributors from Cooking Light and Health magazines who will be on hand to share tips and tricks for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Additionally, 10 percent of the sale of each ticket for the 2014 series will benefit City of Hope, a leading treatment and research center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases.

I appreciate your help and hope that you will join me on this journey to health, happiness, and giving back.  Hope to see you there!

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To enter to win, leave me a comment below telling me why you got into running!  Then follow the Rafflecopter link to enter!  Contest ends Friday (11/7) night at midnight (PST).  Winner will be announced on Monday, 11/10.  Good luck!

Temecula Half Marathon Race Recap

Last year, around this time, if you would have told me that I would run 5 half marathons in 2014, I would have laughed in your face. At the time, the longest I had ever run at one time was about 7 miles. My goal for this year was to run 1 (yup, just 1) half marathon. And here I am, with number 5 in the books. It is an amazing feeling.

But what is even more amazing than that, is that my husband just completed his very first half marathon. And let me tell you, this was not a beginner’s half marathon. Quite the opposite. And he rocked it. I am so proud of him.

We got into Temecula Saturday afternoon.

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We made it there in time to hit up one winery (Doffo), which I would highly recommend (and coincidently led to us purchasing the most expensive bottle of wine we have ever bought to date).

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We then went to Garage Brewing Company for a casual dinner. Great restaurant. Sort of like the Subway of pizza. You go to the counter, pick your sauce and cheese, and then they build your pizza for you out of the expansive array of toppings they’ve got right there for you to choose from. They had a really yummy Mango Hefeweizen that I got to go with the delicious pizza. Great little place! After that we hit the hay so we could be up bright and early for the race in the morning.

We got up at 5am the next morning and I was really indecisive on what to wear for the race. It was in the 50’s and the weather predicted it warming up to the high 60’s by the end of the race. I wasn’t sure whether to wear pants or shorts, or a long sleeve shirt or tank top. I consoled Runner’s World’s nifty little website where you put in the conditions and it tells you what to wear. It told me shorts and a tank, sop that’s what I went with. We drove over to the parking area where we would catch the bus to take us to Wilson Creek Winery (the start/finish area) and I immediately was so worried about my attire choice. I was FREEZING. My body was shivering. But, as the minutes ticked by, it gradually started to warm up.

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We picked up our race packets, got our bibs on and our bags checked and headed over to the stage area for a fun little warm up to Thriller (you know, it being Halloween season and all). After that it was time to go!

We lined up at the start line, gave each other a kiss and we were off!

If I had one word to describe this race it would be H-I-L-L-Y. Holy crap was it hilly. I don’t think there was a single flat section of the entire course. The first 5 miles was an out and back and were gradual hills. Then we ran past the start line for the back 8 miles. Those were the most intense 8 miles ever. The only thing that I could compare it to is the Xterra Trail Half Marathon I did. Every single hill was really, really steep and once you got to the bottom of a hill, there was another steeper, higher and longer hill in front of you.

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A lot of people walked the hills. Some people started out charging up them, and then started walking halfway up. I ran up each hill, but ran very, very slowly. In fact, I think someone walking up a hill passed me at one point.

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Honestly, as tough as the hills were to get up, they were ten times more difficult to get down. I really dislike running down hill. So much so, that I’d rather run an entire race uphill than have to deal with that kind of steep down hill ever again. It just makes my entire body hurt. Around mile 8, I was hurting pretty bad from all the up and down and I was really hoping that Vince was doing okay. We hit the turn around and a few minutes later I passed him on his way to the turn around. He was running with the 2:00 pacer! We high fived each other and instantly I got a second wind. That last 5 miles I felt much better. It was still hard work getting through the hills, but I started really concentrating on my form and was able to maneuver the down hills with considerably less pain that in the previous miles.

I finally reached the mile 12 marker and couldn’t have been happier. There were some people out on the course for the last mile with signs and cheering us on. I rounded the last bend, saw the finish line and ran like hell. When I crossed the finish line, I threw up my arms and smiled a big smile. It was over. I survived. I ran the entire thing without stopping. I got my medal and some water and waiting for Vince to finish.

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About 5 minutes later he came around that bend, crossed the finish line and threw his arms around me. He had also run the entire race without stopping (and he didn’t even drink any water the whole time!). I’m so proud of him. This was a really tough course, especially for a first half marathon and he crushed it.

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Our official times:
Me 1:55:17.5 (14th age group, 39th overall female, 99th overall)
Vince 2:00:27.1 (20th age group, 78th overall male, 135th overall)

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And, boy, I tell ya. The competition was stiff on this one. Those Californians…they are amazing. The overall winner’s time was 1:18:04.1. That’s a 5:58 pace. On those hills. He is a 35 year old gentleman from Encinitas. Blew us away with that time.

In the end, I was really happy I went with shorts and a tank top, because it really started to warm up. The course was beautiful. Most of the race was on dirt roads through wine country. Beautiful hillsides of vineyards and you could see the hot air balloons in the distance. Very lovely.

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After the race was over, we picked up our wine glasses and headed over to the tasting area. I really couldn’t stomach the thought of drinking wine at that moment, so I opted first for a glass of almond champagne to celebrate our finish, and then switched to beer. Great recovery drinks haha!

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When we were done with our tastings, we took the bus back to our car, and went back to our hotel room to shower. After that we hit up some more wineries. Bel Vino for one of the most informative wine tastings I’ve ever had from Dennis, along with a beautiful lunch outside listening to their live house band and enjoying the view of the hillside vineyards.

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Then off to Hart for some great reds and fun conversation with the wine pourers. And finally, Wiens for some yummy wine, but a not so informed pourer (can’t win them all).

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After that we hit up Crush and Brew for some dinner and beer flights (we were a little wined out at that point) and then we went back to the hotel room where we were asleep in bed by 7:30pm.

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It was a great little weekend getaway. I loved running with my husband. I am so proud of him and I love that we can have little race-cations. Good times, good times!

 

Did you race over the weekend? Tell me about it!

The Fit Foodie 5K Race Weekend

I am so excited and happy to announce that I will be attending The Fit Foodie 5K Race Weekend on November 14-16 in San Diego as a Fit Foodie Ambassador!  This event is the ultimate celebration of food, family, and fun.  I am so excited to be a part of the event as a Fit Foodie Ambassador, if you are in the area, I hope you will join me!

#tweetyourfeet_1

The Fit Foodie 5K Race Weekend is jam-packed with delicious food, cooking and fitness demonstrations, a yoga session, and a Power Systems Obstacle Course Bootcamp, led by celebrity trainer Patrick Goudeau.  Also expect to rub elbows with editors and contributors from Cooking Light and Health magazines who will be on hand to share tips and tricks for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Additionally, 10 percent of the sale of each ticket for the 2014 series will benefit City of Hope, a leading treatment and research center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases.

Tickets range from $55-$60 per event, or $155 for the whole weekend (seriously a steal!).  But if you use the discount code MOTHERRUNNER you can get a 10% off advance online ticket sales!  To purchase tickets, go to: www.fitfoodierun.com.

Be sure to follow The Fit Foodie Race Weekend on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fit-Foodie-Race-Series/177814812394419 or on Twitter at @FitFoodieRun for the latest news, contests, and promotions!

I appreciate your help and hope that you will join me on this journey to health, happiness, and giving back.  See you there!

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A Wedding That Should be Anything But Bittersweet

Last weekend two of our wonderful friends, Rocco and Marek, got married.  We are so incredibly happy for them and wish them all the best in their marriage.  Unfortunately we were not able to attend their wedding because Rocco and Marek are a gay couple and gay marriage is not yet legal in Nevada, so they had to travel to another state for the wedding.  I say “yet” because coincidentally Marek’s law firm, where he is a partner, is currently fighting the constitutional ban on gay marriage in Nevada.  I have very high hopes that the courts will make the right decision and overturn the ban.

I remember the very first time in my late teens that I heard of couple being denied marriage because they were a same sex couple, and without even reading into it further, the first thought that immediately came to my mind was, “How is that legal?”  How could a person or persons be denied something in the United States of America because of their sexual preference?  This goes against everything that our country was founded upon.  Our country, which should be on the forefront of freedom is lagging behind on this issue and it appears to me that the biggest protestors are the religious organizations.

The three biggest arguments I’ve seen in opposition to gay marriage are 1.  It’s a sin.  2.  It’s a slippery slope.  3.  The children will be adversely affected.

So, I’d like to take a minute to go through these three arguments.  Number 1.  Gay marriage is a sin.  Okay, so some religions believe that gay marriage is a sin and therefore it should be illegal.  Well, what about the other things that are considered a sin that are legal?  Devout Catholics believe birth control is a sin.  Should we make birth control illegal?  Muslims believe eating pork is a sin.  Should we outlaw bacon?  Mormons believe that premarital sex is a sin.  Should we throw all those couples in jail that have intercourse outside of the bounds of marriage?  I’m all for religious freedom, and all of these religions have existed very comfortably being protected by laws in the United States for a very long time, yet when a religion actively opposes gay marriage based on their beliefs, they are practicing such an appalling form of hypocrisy.  They are imposing their religious beliefs on an entire population that may not hold those same beliefs.  It is wrong and unconstitutional.

Number 2.  It’s a slippery slope.  How many times have you heard this:  “If we let gay people get married, then pretty soon people will be marrying their dogs.”  Really?  No, really?  Comparing the marriage of two loving people to such an atrocious act as bestiality is not only incredibly insulting, but completely absurd.  Gay marriage is marriage between two PEOPLE.  How would this ever become a slippery slope to allowing humans to marry animals of a different species?

Number 3.  The children will be adversely affected.  Do you know what adversely affects children?  Broken homes.  Do you know what kind of homes children thrive in?  Homes with loving parents.  Regardless of the gender of the parents.  With a 50% divorce rate in the United States, we really should be celebrating the fact that two loving people are willing to take children in and raise them as their own, since often times gay couples turn to adoption when choosing how to have children.  Do you really think a child would be better off in an orphanage or in the foster system than adopted out to a loving gay couple?  Absolutely not.

The most baffling thing about opposition to gay marriage to me is that people are opposing love.  LOVE!  There are so many horrible things in this world we live in and people are against love?!?  I just don’t get it.  So, I will continue my support for gay marriage and will celebrate the day when people in my home state can get married and have their marriage recognized right here in Nevada.  I am very optimistic that gay marriage will be legal in each and every state in my lifetime.

Congratulations Rocco and Marek!

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ET Full Moon Midnight Race Recap {and a LÄRABAR winner!}

If you’ve been reading my blog then you know the reservations I was having about doing the ET Full Moon Midnight Race.  If not, you can read about it here.  I decided to just go into it with a good attitude and make the best of it, even though I was really worried about running a race at midnight and probably not getting home until the wee hours of the morning, since the location was a 2 hour drive away.

On Saturday, I just did my typical thing, swim lessons with the kids, errands, etc.  I ate what I would normally eat, having dinner around 6pm.  I headed over to the Hard Rock Hotel around 7:30pm to pick up my race packet and meet up with my run club before boarding the bus to Area 51.  There was a costume contest for the race, and dressing up was encouraged, so it was fun seeing people that really went all out (and most of them were from my run club!).

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Around 8:45pm we started boarding the buses.  There were about 30 people from my run club (Las Vegas Runners) that participated in this event, so we all were able to ride the same bus together.  It was about a 2 hour drive to Rachel, Nevada, where Area 51 is, so I downed a cup of coffee right before getting on the bus but actually ended up napping for the last 45 minutes of the drive, which was so great and made me feel so refreshed when we got there.

Our first stop was to drop off the participants for the 51k and the full marathon at their start line.  These people are seriously rock stars!  I couldn’t imagine running a full marathon, let alone a 51k at midnight, but there were a ton of participants for those distances.  I was so impressed!  The drop off location also happened to be the location of the infamous Black Mailbox.  After making a pit stop and posing for a photo op with the Black Mailbox (which is not actually black by the way) the rest of us participating in the half marathon and 10k were off to our start lines.  The 10k race was an out and back, so they started at the finish line and the half marathon was a point to point, so we were dropped off about 13 miles up the road from the finish line.

The weather was absolutely perfect.  Between low 70s and high 60s.  It was a little cold waiting at the start line, but once we got moving it was wonderful and such a nice change from the hot summer weather in Vegas.  I put on all my glow sticks (this was the extent of my “costume”) and head lamp and got ready to begin.

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At this point I was wide awake.  The adrenaline had definitely kicked in and there was so much great energy from the participants and organizers.  There were several professional photographers getting people to snap fun photos and so many people were dressed up with fun alien themed costumes and accessories.  I also ran into my Body Pump instructor!  It really made for a fun time!

Before I knew it, the countdown was on for the start and we were off!  I really wanted to work on pacing myself so I started out slow and just tried to keep a nice steady pace.  The first couple of miles flew past and as the runners started to spread out I really got caught up in the moment and was enjoying the race so much.  If you’ve never ran a night race before, the one word I would use to describe it is peaceful.  For most of the race the people in front of me were far enough ahead and the people behind me were far enough behind that I was pretty much alone.  It was so peaceful being out there on this lonely stretch of highway with nothing but me, the road, the full moon and the stars.  I don’t race with music and I was really happy for that during this race because I would have missed out on this total Zen moment.  I don’t know if it was the sleep deprivation or what, but for most of the race it was almost like an out of body experience where I was floating up in the stars, lost in happy thoughts while my body was down on the road doing all the work.  It was incredible.

The half marathon course was basically 13.1 miles in a straight line along Highway 375 (aka Extraterrestrial Highway).  The first 6 miles were uphill, about 1,000 feet of climb and the last half of the race was downhill.  Most of the climb was gradual, so it wasn’t too bad and once I reached the halfway mark and crested the top of the hill, it felt so good to just fly down the road.  The road was closed to traffic for the race so we didn’t have to worry about cars.  And a meteor shower just happened to be happening that night, so it made for some awesome night skies.

There were 3 fuel stations for the half marathoners (and I had brought my own Pocket Fuel Naturals as well) but I didn’t end up fueling at all for this race.  I don’t know if it was because of the time of the race and I had eaten during the day, but I just didn’t need it.  I had my hand held water bottle and took sips throughout the race, but other than that I didn’t have anything else.  I was feeling so good during this race, and because I didn’t need to stop at any of the fuel stations, for the first time ever, I ran a half marathon without stopping or walking at all.  I was having a total Forrest Gump moment where I just kept running!

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The race went by so fast.  I remember passing the mile 11 marker and actually thinking to myself that I was a little sad that it was almost over because it was that enjoyable.  Usually when I get to this point in a race I just want to be done, but I really felt like I could have kept running forever!  I had my Garmin on me, but I didn’t check it even a single time, so I had no idea where I was at time wise.  This is how I’ve decided to run every race ever since I accidentally left it at home for the Moms Rock 10k (and ended up with a PR).  I will wear it just so I can check my distance in case the course isn’t clearly marked, but I have the lap feature turned off so it doesn’t beep at each mile and the display only shows me overall time and distance (if I choose to look at it).  For me, I would much rather focus on how my body is feeling then getting caught up in my pace.

Before I knew it, I was passing the mile 12 marker and it was the final stretch.  I could start making out the finish line and sprinted to the end.  When I crossed, I looked up and saw 1:53 and change on the clock.  I was really proud of myself!  I though for sure that I was going to be over 2 hours because I had felt so good for the whole race that I assumed it was because I was running slower.  I got my medal and posed for some photos with some of my friends at the finish line.

After that I was wandering around trying to find a bathroom and some food when I heard my name called on the loud speaker.  My first thought was, “Oh great, they must have lost my bag or something.”  I went up to the table and they handed me an award.  I asked what it was for and they said I got 1st place in my age group.  I couldn’t believe it!  I think my face probably looked about like this:

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I ended up with 4th place overall for the females and 1st place in the 30-39 age group with an official time of 1:53:26.  Several of the runners from my run club placed as well which made for such a great feeling for all of us!

I have to give a big shout out to Joyce from Calico Racing as well.  The race was so organized from start to finish and considering all the logistics (bus transportation, multiple start lines, road closure, time of race, etc.), she did an amazing job.  Did I also mention she hand made all of the placing awards?  It is such a cool award made out of Peridot (August’s birthstone).  Plus we all got a cool alien themed tech shirt!

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I rolled in around 6am and could only sleep for about 2 hours before my body just decided that was it, so I’m definitely still trying to get back to normal.  But, it was so worth it!  I was so worried about this race and it ended up being so much fun, and definitely the best I’ve ever felt in any previous half marathon race.  I really want to do this one again!

Also, we have a LÄRABAR winner!

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Congrats Sue!  Sue is also a blogger.  She writes This Mama Runs For Cupcakes.  Go check out here blog too.  You won’t be disappointed!

Summer Beach Vacation Recap

We just got home from spending a glorious week at the beach and it went by way too fast!  We rented a beach house on Capo Beach with my husband’s parents and his sister, her husband and their 8 month old baby girl.  The house was perfect.  Big enough for all of us to be comfortable and right on the beach (imagine being lulled to sleep every night by the sound of waves crashing from your open window where the salty sea breeze blows in each night).

We arrived on a Saturday and after getting settled, hitting up the grocery store and grilling up some burgers, we hit the hay.

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On Sunday morning, I met up with a local fitness group called Team 3LF – Love Life. Live Fit.  It just ended up being myself and the organizer, Brittany, but we did a great workout in a park right up the hill from the beach, which made for some great ocean views and lots of stair climbing.  It was great!

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After that, we loaded everyone up and headed down to Del Mar for the horse races!

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Sunday was family day at the track, so they had lots of fun things for kids in the in-field like bounce houses, pony rides and face painting (all free with admission).  The girls loved watching the horse races too and we all had fun picking who we thought would win.  It was a great day!

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On Monday, we had booked a whale watching boat tour through Newport Landing.  I had found a Groupon a few months prior, so the tickets were really inexpensive.  We weren’t sure what to expect because you never know with Groupon, but it ended up being well worth every penny!  We all loaded up on a boat and they took us about 20 minutes off the coast and sure enough we starting seeing several schools of dolphins.  We were able to get really close to them and they came and swam up right next to the boat.  They are very social!  We must have seen hundreds of them!

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Then we started seeing several whales too.  They were more off in the distance, but we saw probably about 20 whales.  The captain of the boat gave us a lot of educational info about the dolphins and whales that we were seeing so we learned a lot on the trip.  Towards the end, we also saw a group of lazy sea lions sun bathing on a buoy.

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Overall, it was really fun and I loved the learning experience for the kids.  That afternoon I went out for a nice 5 mile run along the beach.  The view was amazing and the weather was perfect!

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On Tuesday we had a beach day.  I went out for a quick 3 mile run barefoot on the beach and that was the only time I left the beach house that day.

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We spent the day building sand castles, hunting for sea shells, reading, cooking and relaxing.  It was a perfect day.

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On Wednesday, it was the much anticipated Disneyland day!  The kids had been looking forward to this day ever since we went last year.  Annalie was especially excited that she was tall enough (literally by a hair) to ride some of the rides this year.  Our first stop was Star Tours.  Disneyland has a great program called the Rider Switch Pass where if you have children in your party that are not tall enough for a particular ride, after waiting in line, they will give you a pass so that one adult can take the kids that are tall enough while the other waits with the smaller ones, and then you switch and the other adult can take the kids again, so each adult gets to ride the ride (and the kids get to ride twice) but you only have to wait in line one time.  We used it at several of the rides and it was wonderful!  Annalie loved Star Tours (she actually ended up riding it 4 times) and next up was Space Mountain.  She was so excited to ride a roller coaster but I was so nervous that she was going to get totally freaked out.  But, she was a champ.  She got a little scared but was still all smiles at the end.

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After that we hit up a bunch of other rides, the kids both took turns napping in the stroller and we watched the parade.  We lasted until 8pm, so we definitely got our money’s worth!

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On Thursday, upon the recommendation of some of our Vegas friends, we booked a tour and lunch at Stone Brewing Company.  Even though it’s a brewery, Stone Brewery is actually very family friendly.  They’ve got a nice bistro restaurant and gardens with fish, turtles, frogs and bunny rabbits.

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The tour was really interesting and lunch was fantastic, not to mention the beers were delicious.  The kids had fun searching for animals and Vince and I both got one of these great running shirts.

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On Friday we had another day at the beach.  I did another quick 5 mile run in the morning and explored this fishing pier for a bit.

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After that we played on the beach, collected rocks and went swimming the rest of the day.  I normally don’t like swimming in the ocean, but the water was amazing.  It wasn’t cold at all so we took Annalie all the way in.  I got this waterproof case for my iphone and was able to take some pictures while we were out swimming.  It was really neat!

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Our friend Heidi, who lives nearby, and her two daughters came over for dinner and we grilled up some yummy steaks and had a nice time catching up and roasting marshmallows for smores for dessert.

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On Saturday, sadly, it was time to go.  We got up, had breakfast, packed up the car and headed out.  The drive home was good and when we pulled into the driveway Stella immediately burst into tears saying, “I don’t want to be home, I want to go back to the beach!”  I could totally commiserate.  Coming home from vacation is always depressing!

It was a great vacation all around and even though I got a bit of the post vacation blues, the best way to beat them is to start planning for next year!