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Hot but SO Worth It: My 2nd Half-Marathon – Ventura!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Ventura Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. All opinions are my own. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and/or check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I was SO excited to run this race. Let’s be honest, I was excited to run my first half marathon, but I was also a huge ball of nerves. I could barely eat on race morning. This time, I was ALL excitement and NO nerves. I was excited to go to southern California and I couldn’t wait to run! IMG_0022

The Ventura Half Marathon

Despite me not feeling as solid in my training, (I had some knee issues that turned out to be unhappy muscles) I was so ready for this race. I knew it was gonna be flat and fast, and I couldn’t wait.  The Ventura Marathon was a race that had been on my radar since this last winter. I wanted to run the marathon, but I knew I wouldn’t be trained enough in time, so I went with the half marathon, which I was equally excited about.IMG_0309

This was my first race in California and y’all know I don’t need an excuse to go to California! Now that I have run in California once, I want to do it again. The expo at the Ventura Marathon presented me with a LOT of other options. As I was dreaming about running them, Andy reminded me I can’t run all the races. I said “HOLD on, I can run all the races, maybe just not in the same year.” Haha! 

The thing about racing is it’s addicting. If you run for fun or competitively, you probably understand this. The race makes all the training totally worth it. You get cool stuff, you get to hang with a bunch of other runners and you can try to out perform your last time. It’s SO much fun. 6253225356296192w

It’s hard to believe this was only my second half marathon, I feel like I have run more. I guess it is all the training runs 🙂 I realized after this race that I need to run this distance (13.1 miles) more often. I will write more about that later, but in short I need to bite the bullet and run longer distances more often.

The swag is amazing, the course is flat, and it starts and ends at the beach…it is like the dream half marathon.


I also loved the pre-race expo and post race party, but more on that later. It was also great to be in California despite the heat. I loved the beach atmosphere and ALL the good food! When we arrived in California on Friday it was HOT. Saturday was cooler and then Sunday was hot & slightly humid, which is NOT normal conditions for southern California. 

The packet pick up, expo and the race start and finish were all right on the beach. I LOVED IT! IMG_0307

The expo was on Saturday and had a lot of vendors. There were other races to run, some were running accessories and others were snacks and a few food trucks. It was fun to be outside for the expo and be able to walk in and out as your pleased. There was a music stage and beer garden available both during the expo and on race day. They had some really cool race gear available for purchase too.IMG_0306

We explored the expo, I picked up my packet and then we spent the rest of the day hanging around and eating a ton of food. Haha. My recap of the weekend will be up later this week. IMG_0310 IMG_0319

The Race

Sunday morning was an early day. The half marathon had a start time of 6:30am, so I got up at 4:45am to eat, do some stretching and get dressed. The start line was super accessible, there was lots of parking and it was so close to downtown Ventura you could walk.  When I got to the start line, the pacers were lined up and you could put yourself with the correct time according to your pace. The sun was barely coming up, and it was beautiful!IMG_0211 IMG_0006 IMG_0011

The course was flat and fun. I started the race VERY strong. I was running an 8:40/mile! While I knew I wouldn’t be able to maintain that the whole race, I figured that I would average a solid 8:50/mile which would get me a MEGA-PR on my half marathon time. I was getting so excited. 6056571252506624w

I was feeling really good and running well until about mile 9.5. All of a sudden I got a side cramp… I NEVER get side cramps, EVER! I tried to shake it off, I tried to take deeper breaths, I even walked for about 30 seconds and nothing was helping. It was really hot by this time. It didn’t really get hot until about and hour into the race, and by this time it was about 1 hour and 20 mins in. I had to slow down quite a bit and lost a lot of the time I had gained. I was disappointed but did as much as I could to finish out the race as strong as I could. IMG_0212

The half marathon course was an out and back course. As I got closer and closer to the finish line, I noticed my mileage was slightly off. This was strange because I know I didn’t take a wrong turn. Others were noticing it too. The course ended up being 13.8 miles instead of 13.1. This made the end of the race much harder mentally. 

you can see the look on my face here, I’m like “come onnnnnn”

The people who ran this race were so cool and outgoing, it was like running with your buddies. It wasn’t a HUGE race but you had all the benefits of that big race. There were probably 2500 people running. There was plenty of room on the course and your weren’t falling over people at the start line or at the finish. There were spectators cheering us on along the course and they all felt like family too. They were genuinely cheering you on.

hi Andy!

I even saw Andy along the course right when it was starting to get really hard.  He ran with me for a split second and it gave me the mojo to push thru to the end. 

Comin’ in to the finish !!!!!!!!

I have never been so happy to see a finish line! It was so hot by this time, I was ready for some shade. At the finish, people were talking about the course being long he race organizers were VERY apologetic about it. It had never been an issue in the past so I wouldn’t be concerned about it in future years.4731881200287744w


The Ventura Marathon had SWEET swag. That is not the only thing that I look for when registering for races, but come on… if you are gonna run 13.1 miles, you should get SOMETHING for it, right?! IMG_0226

The medals were both fun and functional. They were a pair of aviator glasses and they also are a bottle opener! SO COOL! IMG_0215The post race fuel/snacks were some of the best. They had cookies and bagels, but they also had tons of fruit! Pineapple, watermelon and other fruit, which are my favorite kind of carbs.IMG_0038 They also had lots of whole water bottles for us to take which was great in the heat.

  I’m on the freakin’ beach here! It doesn’t get much better than that!

They also had FREE race photos! I have run other races before that had ‘free photos’, and there was only one photographer and you were lucky if they caught you. At the Ventura half marathon I saw tons of photographers and I got about 20 pics overall. The ones you see here with the Ventura logo on the bottom were the ones they took. Race photos are an awesome memory to have, and I love that they came included. 

They have a huge post-race party after the race that goes until 6pm, so you can hang around with friends or just bask in the post-run endorphins. IMG_0222We hung around for a while and met up with one of my friends who ran the marathon. IMG_0220I also tried to meet up with Brie, who was another BibRave Pro running the marathon, but we missed each other 🙁


It was a fun day and while I didn’t get the PR that I went into the race looking for, I am still happy with the outcome. I learned so much about myself and racing. Despite it being over 13.1 miles and being very hot, it was really enjoyable and I would love to run it again next year.

ventura half - conquer

Check out my BibRave review HERE 🙂 

I’ll see you all tomorrow! 
Stay Sweet!

My UV Half Buff [Review & Discount code]

Disclaimer: I received a UV Half Buff to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

As many of you may know, I am currently training for a half marathon. That means I’m doing a lot of running 🙂 It’s been a super hot summer up here in the PNW and I’m not complaining! While I love the heat, it does mean there is a lot more sweat and more accessories needed to protect you from the sun.

This is where my awesome new UV Half Buff comes in. 


Testing this Half Buff has been such an awesome addition to my training this summer! I have used it on almost all of my training runs since I got it and not only does it wick away the sweat, this one has UV protection so my fair skin and scalp don’t get sunburned! IMG_5178

I’ve used it as a headband

wore it around my wrist to wipe sweat


wore it underneath my visor to protect my scalp and soak up sweatIMG_5023

used it to create some cool running hair-dos  

(my ponytail is flipped underneath the Buff, no hair-tie required!)

and even used it in an ’emergency situation’ to prevent chaffing on my leg during a runIMG_4766

As you can see, this baby is versatile! The other thing I loooooove is it does NOT give me a headache. Many other headbands or head accessories give me headaches after wearing them for a longer period of time. Not my Buff! It also dries extremely quickly which is a huge plus. 

I also took my UV Half Buff to my first bikram yoga class. The room is 105 degrees, so the sweat is pouring. I had my Buff on my wrist to wipe off sweat and it worked great. 

You can use it for yoga, running, hiking, biking and almost any other physical activity. They come in tons of fun colors and patterns as well as a few featuring certain U.S. states. I have the Washington one, which features beautiful Mt. Rainer, and I would like to buy this fuchsia pink one because I love pink! IMG_4332

The Half Buff is not only functional, it’s also a fun and fashionable accessory that makes your workout that much more fun and exciting. I truly believe that if you like what you are wearing when you workout, you workout harder! Overall I love the UV Half Buff and I look forward to using it more in the future. 


If you want to check out the Buffs, be sure to use this discount code BIBRAVE10 for 10% off anything on their website! 

Let’s chat:
Do you wear a headband when you run or workout?
Have you ever tried a Buff?
(let me know in comments, click up top underneath title where it says ‘comment’)

below I have more info on the Buff for you along with a few other reviews from other Pros if you wish to check them out 🙂 enjoy!

Stay Sweaty & have an awesome weekend!

What other BibRavePros think: 
Rachel // Caroline // Amy // Jeremy

More info on the Buff- 
Half the length of original UV BUFF® headwear, the UV Half BUFF® option offers efficient thermal properties, built-in sun protection and moisture management. It’s a versatile, go anywhere piece wearable at least nine different ways. 

  • Blocks 95% of UV rays*
  • Exceptional Moisture-wicking with its 4-channel fibers
  • Soft, breathable Coolmax Extreme fabric
  • Cool in the summer, extra layer of warmth in the winter
  • Polygiene Active Odor Control
  • Quick drying