Running in the Rain

I woke up this morning to the sound of rain. I’ve always loved the sound of rain, especially if it means I’m tucked into my warm bed, so this was a special treat. I knew that sound meant that my long run would be delayed but I relished in it and laid cozily in bed for another hour, drifting in and out of sleep.

By the time I felt it was safe to start my run, it was nearly 11 a.m. Thankfully it was a cold rain (well, ahem, in the 50s…) so unlike most days, running at high noon wouldn’t mean extra dehydration and piling on the sunscreen. We’ve had a warm winter in San Diego – come to think of it, we haven’t had a cold winter in years, and we’re experiencing serious drought in Southern California so the rain is a welcome inconvenience.

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When I left the house I actually wasn’t convinced I was going to run 10 miles. I am running the Zion Half Marathon in 2 weeks so this was my self-prescribed longest run (the last two weekends I’ve run 8.5) before the race, but even knowing that missing todays run meant missing my only key workout for this race didn’t really convince me I had to do it. Even after two miles I wasn’t sure how far I’d go.

It’s safe to say that lately I haven’t been feeling the running magic. Not to say I’m in a slump…but more of a break. I haven’t felt runner’s high since CIM training. My focus has been on strength and elsewhere, not on running fast or pushing my body to new extremes. Usually, that’s how I find runner’s high, through some awesome effort that boosts my confidence.

But today, despite a nasty headwind and steady rain starting around mile 3, I felt happier than I have during a run in a a long time. I wasn’t running my fastest –  not even close – but I was running happy. Thankful to be outside breathing in the air, soaking in the rain on my skin, happy to be healthy and simply enjoying running. Runner’s high. 

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I also enjoyed the solitude. The normally jam-packed sidewalk lining the 101 in Encinitas was completely empty. Just a few fellow determined runners, a couple soggy looking dog walkers and a handful of ambitious surfers were my passing companions on my journey.

I’ve been consistently running for about 5 years now and my motivation and goals for running have shifted over the years, moving a bit one way, rotating 180 degrees and then heading backward. As I move away from time-related goals and the pressure of XYZ finish time, I’m learning to run more for the joy of the miles. Not every run can be like today’s, but I hope to find happiness in each and every one.

Do you run in the rain? 

Fitn – My Ticket to Getting Strong!

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When I was approached by a new company, Fitn, which is headquartered within just a few miles from my home, to try countless workout classes in San Diego all under one membership, I was pretty excited. Actually, it made my day (I literally told Asia this via gchat). I really, really love group workout classes and now that I’m focused on getting stronger in 2015, this was the perfect way to cross all of the things I had pending on my growing to-do list. Try a new barre studio. Check! Go to a weekly restorative yoga class. Check! Attend a fun spin class to get cardio outside of running. Check!

For me, group fitness classes are the perfect solution to strength training monotony. I’ve never been one to stick to a strength training plan on my own, whether it be a weight machine circuit at the gym or an printed list of strength moves that I bring with me or do at home. For that reason, P90X was so appealing to me because it took the guesswork out of transforming my body. However, I’ve also come to really like the accountability and community of a class. And we all know that having a friend or instructor counting on you to attend is a great motivation to get your butt out of bed at 5:45 a.m.

Group fitness classes also keep things interesting because they are different every time, unlike a DVD or home workout that repeats itself over and over. Fitn offers the ultimate in variety – under one single membership (priced at $1 for your first month and $99 thereafter for a limited time), you can attend as many workout classes as you want at a variety of studios. There are barre, Pilates, yoga, CrossFit, boxing, boot camp, TRX, and spinning classes. For example, here are all the studios located within the city of Encinitas that I can attend under my membership:

And Encinitas is not a big city! It’s convenient for me to attend classes in Carmel Valley or Del Mar near my work, or in Solana Beach or South Carlsbad, which are just a 10 minute drive away. That literally gives me access to over 30 studios within a 20 minute drive. It’s truly incredible.

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Fitn makes it really easy to schedule and check-in to classes with their free iPhone app. You can easily search for a class and then put in a reservation request (you will either be accepted or denied into the class based on the availability – so far I have always made it into a class but I am sure to reserve in advance as I would with any other class). Then, within 15 minutes of the start of class, open your app and check-in. Show the check-in screen to the front desk and they will check you in.  I’ve had no issues checking in and the studios treat me the same as the dedicated members.

So far my favorite classes are Xtend Barre and Yoga6’s Deep Stretch on Sunday nights. I leave Xtend Barre feeling strong and ready to start my day (plus quite sweaty since it is a bit more cardio-based than other strength classes) and I leave Deep Stretch feeling more relaxed than I have all week. I can’t wait to try many of the other options available to me all under this powerful membership!

This is the extent of my workout photos from Fitn classes - too busy working out!

This is the extent of my workout photos from Fitn classes – too busy working out!

Unlike companies similar to Fitn, I can attend an unlimited amount of classes at my favorite studio. I’m not restricted to 3 classes per studio per month. This means once I find something I love, I can keep going back! Literally every day if I wanted (but let’s be honest, the point is to keep some variety!).

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The icing on this amazing cake that is Fitn? They believe in the philosophy of paying it forward, fitness-style with their philosophy called #fititforward. For every class that I attend, Fitn donates a day pass to the Boys and Girls Club of San Diego to keep children active and healthy. Seriously how it could it get any better?

For now, Fitn is only available in San Diego and Orange Counties, but I’m pretty sure that it’s going to expand like crazy so keep an eye out!

Would you enjoy trying something like Fitn? Do you like trying new workout classes or prefer to stick to the same ones?  

I have been given a 3 month free membership to Fitn in exchange for promotional activities. However, all opinions expressed here are my own. I seriously love this membership so far and want to spread the love!

Getting Back Up

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Last weekend a pretty incredible thing happened at the Austin Marathon – the first place woman collapsed within meters of the finish line and crawled her way to the end. She ended up taking third place, but her determination was inspiring.

When I saw this article written about what went down that day and watched the emotional video, memories flooded back of that day at CIM. To see it happen to a professional so soon after it happened to me actually makes me feel a little better about the whole thing. She clearly was pushing herself to her limits (she had also just made a turn before collapsing) and she pushed herself just past the edge. (Watch the emotional video here).

In the hours and days after CIM, I was flooded with support over what happened. Two people even reached out to me to tell me that a very similar thing happened to them in the last few miles of a marathon! Knowing I wasn’t alone helped with the pain.  You and all my other friends and family knew how much that day meant to me. You knew how hard I worked and how much I wanted that BQ. Many of you watched as my confidence was built up before my first attempt in Eugene and then torn down bit by bit after failures there, at OC and the most heartbreaking, Phoenix. But, my confidence came back as I trained last year and I would have put money on my BQ dreams becoming reality last December in Sacramento.

Getting Back Up at CIM

Getting Back Up at CIM

But life doesn’t always go as planned. In more ways than one, I’ve learned that is quite true lately. Things that you think are absolute turn out to be false, relationships you thought were strong end, and the person you were rooting for fails or lets you down. Life isn’t about what happens to you, it’s how you handle it (thank’s Page’s dad!). For me, that has meant mourning the loss of a dream, acknowledging that my failure is not a reflection of my self-worth or identity as a runner, and moving on.

I actually have surprised myself by not signing up for another goal race right away. It’s time to put the BQ goal on hold. I’ve been relentlessly pursuing that goal for two years (which immediately followed the all-consuming 1 year long task of training and completing my first Ironman) and there are now other things that I want to pursue that don’t involve running or triathlon at all. So here I am, dusting myself off and getting back up, but not in the way that many might expect. I’m not giving up on running Boston one day. But right now, I can’t even tell you when I think I might try again.

Running and fitness are definitely going to be a big part of my life, but not in the same way for a while. This blog isn’t going away, but it might change a bit. I’d love for your to join me for the next journey.

Have you ever changed paths before accomplishing a goal? Have you ever put a goal on hold and later returned to accomplish it? What changed? 

A New Focus

With my #31in31in31 challenge complete, I started February with a new intention – to gain some much-needed strength. After spending all of 2014 focused on marathon training, the muscles that make me run close to an 8 min/mile for 26.2 miles are in pretty descent shape, but the rest of me isn’t quite as strong. While I did add strength throughout the year in the form of Club Pilates (1-2x/week) and P90X3 (3-4x a week for 2 months or so), I never really pushed myself as hard as usual, wanting to save myself for the next big run. That’s particularly the case when it comes to leg workouts. Sometimes I’d go to a lunchtime Club Pilates class after having run 10 miles that morning and there was no way I was going to be able to hold the squats and lunges as long as usual.

So in February I bought a Club Pilates package and was also approached by a few companies to try classes for free, which has worked out quite nicely! I’ve been able to get at least 3 strength training classes in a week and I’m already feeling the benefits. I’m still training for a half marathon – the Zion Half, which is in 4 weeks (March 14th), but I simply plan to finish the race and therefore have no time goals. My focus, for now, is strength!

Besides Club Pilates, I also tried a 1 hour triathlon-specific strength workout at Rehab United, a San Diego physical therapy and personal training facility. I’ve been to RU before for various reasons, but had never tried the class. I went with my friend Brooke, who has recently decided to sign up for her 2nd Ironman this year. After a cardio-focused warm-up, the workout was a circuit with 7-8 stations. We were to pair up and complete the workout at each station for a full minute, with 30 seconds to switch to the next workout. We then repeated 2x, with some variation to most of the stations. This class kicked my butt! We did things like planks with our legs on a rolling cart, squat and ball throws with 15-20 lb medicine balls, box jumps, lunges with a shoulder press, pull-ups/push-ups, and various core moves with a medicine ball. I was sore for 2 days afterward! I will definitely be going back with Brooke.

Class Pass Schwag!

Class Pass Schwag!

I also was offered a chance to try a spin class called The Rush through a promotion by Class Pass. I invited Asia as my guest and we enjoyed 45 minutes of heart-pumping, endorphin producing spinning while jamming to loud, energizing music. The class is synchronized with the beat of each song so you are almost dancing to the music the entire time. I had some issues with coordination at times, but overall it was really fun! You definitely will forget your worries during this class because you pretty much can’t focus on anything but trying to keep up with the moves.

On Saturday Mike and I went on a Valentine’s Day hike to the top of Black Mountain. It was fairly short hike (4 miles or so in total) but pretty much all up hill or downhill. We started a bit late so it was really hot (heat wave in San Diego – in the 80s on Saturday!!!) so I was glad it was a short hike. It definitely inspired me to get out on the trails more often!

Valentine's Dinner (Friday night to beat the crowds!)

Valentine’s Dinner (Friday night to beat the crowds!)

Valentine's Hike

Valentine’s Hike

On Sunday afternoon after my long run that morning, I took my first class as part of my new membership with Fitn (more on this soon!). Asia and I attended a Deep Stretch class at Yoga Six on Sunday afternoon. It was absolutely amazing. I left the class floating on air – I was so relaxed. This was a warm heated class so instead of being sweltering like some of the hot yoga classes, it was simply sleep-inducing. I didn’t mind holding the stretches for as long as we did because I was literally drifting off. I’ll be heading back to this one again!

Unfiltered sunset in Encinitas.

Unfiltered sunset in Encinitas.

What is your favorite way to cross-train or strength-train in the off-season? 

Sharing My Run Love (Including Rock n’ Roll Series Discount Code!)

As you may have noticed, my blogging has gone off schedule for a bit. I used to post 3 times a week, then it went down to 2 and now I’m just blogging when I feel like it at all. Having kept this space of the internet up for 4 years now (time flies!), I know it’s normal to go through ebbs and flows in desire to blog and that’s ok. I blog mostly for myself – because I love to write and because I think my blog helps keep me accountable to my training. I also blog because it has connected me with so many fellow runners. The most rewarding part of blogging is when I receive feedback that I’m inspiring others. That’s really the best part and every time I get doubts about blogging, I seem to receive an email from a reader which reminds me exactly why I do it.

Blogging has given me an outlet to share my passion with others. Even if my weekly recaps, race reports, recipe posts or random thoughts help inspire just one person to get active, that’s worth it for me! I’m excited because this year I am sharing my run love in 3 other ways other than blogging.

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First, as you know, I am a Rock n’ Blogger this year and I recently received my discount codes! I signed up for the Rock n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon and I was also given a discount code for others to use to receive $15 off any Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon or Marathon in 2015! Use code FITNESSFATALE (not case sensitive).

Second, I am co-chairing a new Wellness Committee at work. Our first order of business is to create a Charity Challenge event where our company is going to be training for a 5k! I’m really excited to help others get active as well as raise money for charity while we do it (every employee who raises $100 for the American Diabetes Association receives a free entry and team t-shirt). Besides the Charity Challenge, we’re trying to come up with other ways to get our offices more active and healthy – some ideas that have popped up are healthier options in our vending machines, a CSA box program, healthy potlucks, group walks or runs at lunch or after work, and lunchtime yoga. I’m looking forward to seeing what changes we can make in our workplace.

With my fellow Girls on the Run coaches

With my fellow Girls on the Run coaches in a past season

Third, I signed up to be an assistant coach for Girls on the Run! I’ll be coaching 1x a week for 10 weeks after taking 3 seasons off. This will be my 4th time coaching and I’m excited! I’ll be coaching Girls on Track again, the program for middle school aged girls, at the same location as I did for the past 2 seasons. I like this age because the girls are a bit easier to wrangle and have longer attention spans. I also really struggled with self-image (I’m pretty sure we all did) in middle school so it’s even more meaningful for me to work with young girls this age.

Cheers to a wonderful 2015 of giving back!

How do you share your passion of running with others?  Does your company have an employee wellness program of any kind? 

Surf City Half Marathon – Run Report

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Pre-Race Corral Selfie

I hesitate to call this a “race report” as it was certainly more of a training run than a race. And it was a blast! It was so nice to not worry about any of the pre-race logistics or deal with nerves. Instead,  Mike and I ran together without timing chips and enjoyed the scenery!

There were a few reasons why I ran this race at all – first, it’s one of my favorites since it takes place in my hometown and second, my dad and step mom (who live near Yosemite full time now that they rent out their OC home) came down for the race and it was a great way to spend time with them. There are more reasons why I didn’t “race” this race. 1) I need a racing break after a year of BQ searching 2) I have not done any speed-work or hard runs of any kind to prepare 3) I just finished running 31 days in a row, right after barely running for 3 weeks in a row on vacation 4) I didn’t feel like it!

With my Dad at the expo - awesome new grocery bags to take home!

With my Dad at the expo – awesome new grocery bags to take home!

The half marathon starts at 7:45 but we planned to start with my parents and their wave didn’t start til after 8 a.m., so we planned to meet them near the expo tent at 7:30. That meant that Mike and I had the pleasure of sleeping in until 5:45 and arriving around 6:45. We parked about 2 miles from the start and instead of waiting for the bus (which had a huge line), we jogged/walked to the start just in time to make our 7:30 meet-up time.

Time to Run!

Time to Run!

The start is so far away!

The start is so far away!

We started with the 2:45 pace group which was wave 8 or 9. I typically start in the first or second wave, so it was definitely a change to wait so long after the gun went off to go! We weren’t even in our corral for the National Anthem and I ran back to the bathroom after we waited in the corral for 10 or so minutes and yet still were pretty far away from the start. Once we did cross the start line, we ran a few yards with my parents and then started to make our way up. Our mistake was that the 2:45 group has a lot of run-walkers, so we would often get cut off mid stride by someone who suddenly decided to walk! Although we weren’t going super fast, we were going significantly faster than the 2:45 group so needless to say there was quite a bit of weaving.

And we're off!

And we’re off!

There’s not much to really write about the actual race. We stopped for the bathroom (and even waited in a line) which I never do in races (because I usually just hold it or am too dehydrated to have to go!), fully stopped 3 times to fill up our water bottles (one time I just took the jug from the table and filled it right up – I saved countless paper cups!), and took our time. Without a timing chip there wasn’t even a real need to prove anything or get a decent time. It was warm, but I didn’t really care. I don’t even know how long it took us to finish this race, but it was fun running side by side along a beautiful coastline with my husband for 13.1 miles of a race for the first time.

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Running on PCH

Because we started so far back, unfortunately I didn’t see any Oiselle teammates except for when I saw Emily who was racing the full marathon coming back on the other side of the road around mile 2 for me (guessing 15 or so for her). I ran over to the median and screamed her name and cheered her on. She’s a rock star and pulled out another BQ that day despite the warm weather!

After Mike and I finished we put our legs up for a while and then headed back to cheer on my Dad and Denice as they crossed the finish line. Then we walked the 2 miles back to a car for a total of 17.1 miles of running/walking for the day. I am so proud of my parents for running yet another half marathon, even though they weren’t able to train as much for this one due to my Dad’s international travel schedule for work. They are inspiring!

We all did it!

We all did it!

As I’ve always said, I highly recommend Surf City Marathon for anyone – beginner or someone looking for a PR. It’s a well organized race with a pretty fast course. And bonus points for burning off your Super Bowl feast in advance.

What have you learned from running a race differently than you normally do? Would you want to run a race on Super Bowl Sunday? 

31 Runs & 31 Planks in 31 Days

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We did it! I ran a minimum 3.1 miles 31 times for 31 days in a row in January to celebrate my 31st birthday! Possibly more miraculous is that Asia and ran all but 4 of these runs together! We also took a photo every single day. Some photos were pretty awesome – some were pretty mediocre, but they all documented a tiny bit of this adventure.

Dark nights, early mornings, some slow runs

Dark nights, early mornings, some slow runs

Beautiful Art in Encinitas

Beautiful Art in Encinitas

Most days we ran in the morning, meeting at 6:15 AM (the sun is up by then thankfully) and running 3.1 miles. Some days we made it to the Kook and back for 4.2 miles. I added in a few longer runs on the weekends (up to 8.4 miles) but nothing crazy. There was  little variety – we ran a 3.1 mile fun run with a group to kick off the Carlsbad 5000, we did a Oiselle Team meet up run one day, we met friends for a trail run one time and one night I ran around Mike’s work parking lot after I joined him and Brooke for their ACTIVEx strength workout. But other than that, there was a lot of Encinitas coastline to take pictures of. Luckily, it’s pretty freaking beautiful.

With Oiselle Flock Teammates at the Cardiff Kook

With Oiselle Flock Teammates at the Cardiff Kook

Around Mile 1

Around Mile 1

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I kept the planking up but started getting lazy about pushing it past 1 – 1.5 minutes each time. So ultimately I didn’t go for the 5 minute plank (but did make it 3:30 on an ambitious day). The planking became a habit within a few weeks in – I may have to make this a new post-run routine. I can always spare at least a minute to plank!

Final Stats: 

  • Miles Run: 119
  • Average Miles/Day: 3.84
  • Minutes Planked: 40
  • Average Plank/Day: 1 minute 29 seconds
  • Solo Runs: 1 (on the days Asia couldn’t run with me I either ran with Brooke or Mike or both!)
My only solo run - 8.4 miles to Solana Beach and back

My only solo run – 8.4 miles to Solana Beach and back

This was a fun challenge! It was nice to get out and move every day without feeling like I was waking up super early to do so. It also helped having Asia there to motivate me! After over a year of always training for something – Phoenix, RnR SD and then CIM, it has been nice to run just for the joy of it. The challenge has kept me motivated to continue running but the pressure is off. As long as I get in my 3.1 mile run, the goal has been achieved. I always feel better after the run, no matter how tired or unmotivated (particularly on those days we ran after a long work day) I felt before.

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So how am I going to celebrate!? By running a half marathon! Tomorrow I’m running the Surf City Half Marathon. It’ll be for fun clearly – I took 3 weeks off for New Zealand and then ran every single day for a month….. with no speed work of any kind. My Dad and Step Mom are running the race (it’ll be their 2nd half marathon), it takes place in my home town and a bunch of Oiselle teammates are running as well. It should really be a fun race! Mike is going to run with me and we plan to high five, cheer and take fun photos through 13.1 miles.

Post Pizza Plank

Post Pizza Plank

1 month of 2015 down, 11 to go. Still thinking about goals for the rest of the year, but for now, I think I’m off to a pretty good start!

Have you ever done a Run Streak or PlankaDay challenge? What is the minimum amount you’ll run to feel like you got exercise? 

New Year Challenge – 31 in 31 in 31

First 7 days of 31 for 31 for 31

The first 6 photos of #31for31for31

I went into New Year’s Eve without a solid idea of what I want out of 2015 fitness-wise. I came out of New Year’s Eve with not much more clarity on how the entire year will pan out, but at least I had a goal for January. Over champagne (or was it the Moscow Mules!?), Asia and I made a commitment to run 31 times for 31 days in a row, in honor of our 31st birthdays (Mine was on Christmas, hers was in September – close enough!). The hashtag #31in31in31 was born!

The idea of the 31 for 31 for 31 challenge came from a friend of Jeremy’s who was at the same restaurant as us on New Year’s Eve. He’s currently on the Run Streak of a lifetime – he’s run nearly 400 days in a row! He said that his minimum run is always 3.1 miles and he takes a photo each time. Although I’ve never had the urge to do a Run Streak before, it suddenly sounded like a fantastic idea (finally – a healthy choice made while intoxicated). We basically stole his idea, but made it a little easier. We’d run 31 days in a row, starting on January 1st, with a minimum of 1 mile a day. We also decided we’d take a photo. Somewhere in there, I also challenged us to do at least a 1 minute plank every day.

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NYE 2014

Asia and I kept our commitment and went for our very first run (and first plank!) on January 1. We’re 14 days in now and incredibly, Asia and I have run EVERY single run together! After not getting to see each other much for the last few months due to her wedding and honeymoon and our trip to New Zealand, it’s safe to say we’re caught up. Luckily, we live just 1 block away from each other, so we simply meet at the corner to begin our run.

Although we said we’d do at least 1 mile, we’ve kind of mentally changed the challenge to a minimum of 3.1 miles and that seems to be the number we hit most weekdays. It’s nice because it allows us to wake up around 6 a.m. (rather than some of the scary 5:15 wake-up calls I had during CIM training in order to get in 8-10 miles) so it doesn’t feel crazy early. Because we haven’t been pushing the pace or going very far, running every single day hasn’t even been difficult physically – I don’t feel sore or tired, just rejuvenated each morning. The hardest part is getting out of bed!

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Having someone to run with has been EXTREMELY helpful in getting my butt out of bed and into the cold, dark morning. It usually gets light within a few minutes of running and we’ve gotten a few great sunrises! There’s pretty much no way that I’d be running in the morning without this goal and without Asia, so to say that this challenge was just what I needed is an understatement. Also, I’ve challenged us to make it to a 5 minute plank – definitely something I wouldn’t have done without a goal. So far I’ve gotten to 3.5 minutes – almost there already!

Carlsbad 5000 Event

Carlsbad 5000 Event

Although most of our runs have been just Asia and I, we have had some fun ones as well. The first weekend we did a 4 mile trail run with our friends who ran Ragnar Trail Vail Lake with us, and this past weekend we did the 5k fun run as part of the Carlsbad 5000 kickoff party. We even managed to get our plank in that day after the pizza!

Post Pizza Plank

Post Pizza Plank

Unfortunately Asia has a business trip in January so we won’t be able to do all 31 days together but we’ll keep each other accountable. I’m almost sad we’re nearly halfway finished!

Have you ever done a Run Streak or a Plank A Day challenge? How long did you do it for? What was the minimum you’d run or plank?

Kicking Off Another Year of Rock n’ Blogging!

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My favorite race of 2014 was San Diego Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon, so I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the Rock n’ Blogging 2015 Ambassador group this year! This past Fall Competitor Group made it more official with an application process and accepted about 100 Rock n’ Bloggers across the US to help promote Rock n’ Roll (and related) events (read more about the program and about each of the ambassadors here) in exchange for race entries and other perks.

Two of the three races I’ve selected for my 2015 Tour Pass are the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon and the Carlsbad 5000. The Carlsbad 5000 is one of the most famous events in San Diego. It’s a 5K on the coast which boasts an extremely fast course and an impressive number of professional runners. The cool thing about the race is that rather than all participants racing at the same time, there are actually 7 separate starts and races, including 2 completely separate races for the elites, who race last. That gives everyone an opportunity to witness the elites whizzing by! For example, my start time will be at 8:42 AM and will only be for women and men ages 30-39. You also have the option to sign up for the all day 20k, where you can run each of the age-group races!

Team DOODS (Formerly WODS - name change due to two marriages)

Team DOODS (Formerly WODS – name change due to two marriages)

Asia signing up for the race!

Asia signing up for the race!

Competitor Group hosted a kickoff event yesterday at a local brewery which included a 5k fun run, opportunities to register for the race and get a first glimpse of the 2015 finisher medals, a raffle and FREE BEER. Why wouldn’t we go!? Not to mention, Pizza Port, the brewery at which it was held, has some of the best pizza in town. Asia, Jeremy, Mike and I went together but we had a few friends there as well. I also got the chance to meet fellow Rock n’ Blogger Smitha, who blogs at Running with SD Mom.

With Smitha

With Smitha

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Asia (who is a member of the Oiselle Flock) and I both wore our Off the Grid Knickers and she got to wear her singlet for the first time. We didn’t take the run seriously (it wasn’t by any means a race) – just had fun and enjoyed the ride. It was really a great event and it made me even more excited for the Carlsbad 5000 on March 29th.

Have you ever ran an event like the Carlsbad 5000? Would you do the 20k or the 5k if you were me!?

My Year of Running

I know it’s a week late…but this was too good to pass up! 2014 was a very busy year for me running wise so these year end recap questions I found on Abby’s blog (thanks to Miss Zippy) were too tempting to pass up. I started the year with an ankle sprain and recovered in time for a lackluster marathon at Phoenix, trained hard in the Spring for a great race at RnR SD, had fun in the summer with triathlon, travel and Bird Camp and came back in the fall for a very rewarding marathon training season that was worth the disappointing finish at CIM. I learned a lot about running this year and I’ve come out of it a stronger, more well-rounded athlete.

Best race experience?

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San Diego Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon. Mike and I both rocked major PRs and we had runner’s high all day. Several friends came out to cheer us on (thanks Allison, Brooke, Asia and Jeremy!) and I had a blast running the race. I had a smile on my face for almost all of the race, but particularly when I got a crazy second wind about half way in and cranked it to the finish. Mike even ran with Meb for about 9 miles which was pretty exciting!

Best run?

During CIM training I had several long runs with segments at goal pace, but it was definitely the 20 mile with 15 @ 8:05 average that really rocked. It was a beautiful solo run and a total confidence booster! I was giddy all day afterward.

Celebrating the best 20 miler of my life!

Celebrating the best 20 miler of my life!

Best new piece of gear?

I love my grey Oiselle Lesley Moto Tight. I’ve worn them all over the place this year – running, Pilates and hiking volcanos in New Zealand!

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Apparently you’ll have to zoom in to actually see the tights but this photo was too good not to share! (Mt. Cook, New Zealand)

Best piece of running advice you received?

This is a hard one! I’m definitely the type of person who reaches out to others for advice, so I’ve gotten a lot of it this year. During CIM someone commented on my blog with a tip for marathon racing involving breaking the race into smaller segments to make it easier to handle mentally. I used this tactic in CIM and it worked well!

But on a less technical note, some great advice I’ve received is to run in the moment. To not focus so much on the end goal and instead enjoy the journey. Although I’m not always good at following this advice, I certainly see its value.

Running trails with new friends at Bird Camp - running just to run with no goals

Running trails with new friends at Bird Camp – running just to run with no goals

Most inspirational runner?

She’s not just a runner (although she’s damn good at it), but my former coach and now Kona finisher Maria Simone is my inspiration. She  worked really, really hard and suffered some disappointing setbacks on her journey to her Kona qualification but kept pursuing her dream and eventually achieved it. She truly has taught me to never give up!

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? Fall down 9 times, get up 10.

What was your favorite running moment of 2014? What running advice did you receive this year?