Tag Archives: half marathon

5 Tips To Help You Last Minute Train For A Race

Have you ever signed up for a race and then all of a sudden before you know it the race is next weekend?! I have! With a race around the corner, feeling like you aren’t prepared is no fun. Today I am sharing five tips with you that will help you get ready for are day, last minute. 

Continue reading 5 Tips To Help You Last Minute Train For A Race

Taking the Marathon to the Next Level – Rock N Roll Queretaro

The Rock N Roll Queretaro weekend is almost here!! I cannot believe it. I have been looking forward to this race ever since they announced it. Most of my fellow RockNBlog buddies are going to be running Rock N Roll San Jose this weekend, and I’ll be running here in Queretaro. screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-8-59-21-pm

Queretaro holds a very special place in my heart. This is the city where I did my study abroad during college. I lived in Queretaro for 7 months and had the time of my life. Being here again brings back a lot of amazing memories. I am so excited to run my second international race in this city. img_9189

In Queretaro, Rock N Roll is going big!!! The weekend features all 4 distances, a 5K, 10K, half marathon and a full marathon. The 5K is on Saturday and the other 3 races are on Sunday. I will be running the remix which is the 5K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday. 

The 5K course is the one I am most excited for – it goes thru all the historic parts of downtown Queretaro. I am gonna be stopping for all the photo opps of the pretty churches, the plazas and the gorgeous views. screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-8-52-52-pm

The half course looks alright. It’s not quite as scenic, but it looks like it will still be a lot of fun. The altitude is definitely going to be the hardest part of this race. Queretaro sits at about 6,165 ft — more than a mile above sea level. I didn’t train for altitude, this race is for fun, so I will take all the walk breaks I need. With the high altitude, there is less oxygen, so my body starts to hurt after a few miles. I take a walk break, recover, and then do it all over again 🙂screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-8-55-56-pm

The infamous Rock N Roll after party looks like it’s gonna be pretty amazing. They are having not just one headliner,  but 3 – Fobia, Miguel Mateos and Kinky!!! I am not familiar with all of them, but I do know that Mexicans throw amazing parties, so it’s bound to be a ton of fun. I can’t wait to run this beautiful city! img_3141

If you want to follow along for all of the fun during Rock N Roll Queretaro, be sure to follow me on Snapchat and/or Instagram.  My snapchat is @sweetblondefit or you can use the snap code below to add me. My Instagram is @sweetblondesfitlife or click here snapcode

Why not run another Rock N Roll race this year?! It’s not too late to join in on another tour stop. There is Denver, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Merida,MX and even VEGAS coming up! Use my rockNblog discount code SWEETBLONDEFIT to save on registration fees! rock n blog red

Half Marathon #10! The Inaugural Iron Horse Half

The inaugural Iron Horse Half Marathon was a beautiful run; I am so glad this was the way I got to celebrate half marathon #10! My two year run-iversary for running my first half marathon is coming up, and I cannot believe how far I have come in just two years. I ran my first half marathon in October of 2014 and just ran my tenth half marathon this last weekend. Another crazy fact: eight of those ten were run within the last year! 
 
The Iron Horse Half  was a point to point course on the Iron Horse Trail & the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. What makes this half marathon unique is that the course is nearly all downhill at a steady, gentle grade. I was very excited about this course and will share more about that experience later in the recap. IMG_7103

start line

Because it was a point to point course, the start line was 13-ish miles away from the finish. You were encouraged to park at the finish and take a shuttle to the start line. You could have someone drop you off at the start line, but there was no parking there. IMG_7086
 
Race morning, I parked at the finish line, picked up my packet and bib number and hopped on a shuttle with zero issues! It was very smooth. Once I got dropped off at the start, I checked a small bag in gear check & headed up a small hill to the start line. I wanted to use the port-a-potty really quick, but the line was UNREAL. I knew there would be a few along the course, so I decided to wait. IMG_7087
 
They did the race start in waves that were spaced 15 minutes apart to avoid crowding on the trail. I thought this worked extremely well. Before I knew it, I was off and running! 

the race 

The course was promised to be a slow and steady downhill course, and it was! There were a few sections that were flat and a few that were slightly steeper and allowed you to build up speed. It was not a ton of downhill that causes you to get shin splints or feel uncomfortable, it was very pleasant and made for ‘easy racing’.

The course was also unbelievably beautiful. It was all trails, which was a nice change of pace from a normal road race. It was full of green trees and bushes, rivers, beautiful landscapes and some sweeping views.  


The weather on race day was the perfect blessing, especially for August. Slightly overcast and not too hot. The trail had lots of shade, but did have some sections that would have been full sun if it wasn’t for the light cloud cover. I was glad I brought my handheld water bottle, although they did have plenty of aid stations along the course. 


Remember how I skipped the port-a-potty line earlier? Well somehow I missed the first port-a-potties on the course, so by mile 5 I was peeing my pants and had to become one with mother nature. Thankfully this was the perfect course to have this happen as there were lots of chances to dip into the woods and take care of business. Of course I didn’t want to have to do that, but you gotta do what you gotta do! 

Considering I had been slacking on long runs, it was no surprise to me that the last 3 miles were pretty difficult. I survived, but they felt long. I was so happy to see the finish line in the distance! I was about half a mile away from the finish line & all of a sudden a heard a buzz and a sharp pain in the middle of my back! I thought to myself, ‘did I just get stung by a bee?!’ I didn’t see a bee, but what else could it be?! It hurt so bad!! As soon as I crossed the finish, I headed to the medical tent & sure enough I did get a bee sting. Thankfully I was fine. There is a first time for everything right?! It was quite the memorable finish. 😉  My time: 2 hours 8 minutes.

Run it OR Skip it?

RUN IT! The course is beautiful and the slight downgrade the whole way is so refreshing compared to the other Seattle race courses with hills. Like every Orca Running race, it was well organized and had everything you could want. Amazing post race BBQ, great medals and fun swag. I definitely recommend this race! 

Check out future Orca Running Races and use code SWEETFIT to save 10% on any race/distance!!

North Olympic Discovery Half Marathon [Race Recap]

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the North Olympic Discovery Marathon 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!
NorthOlympicDiscovery Half thatmakesmyday
As I have mentioned before, June is a super busy race month for me. The North Olympic Discovery half marathon kicked everything off with a bang. The race takes place in Port Angeles, WA which is about a 2.5-3 hour drive from Seattle. I had a busy weekend with a baby shower and tickets to a soccer game on Saturday, so originally I thought I would drive over on Saturday night. I procrastinated on getting a hotel, and then looked into the drive times and found out that in the early morning it only takes about 2 hours to get there. So I decided to wake up (5:30am) and drive over on race morning. I was really looking forward to this race, and it did not disappoint!! 

the start line

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start area

This course is a point to point, so you do not start at the finish line. They had options to park at start or park and finish and get shuttled to the start line. I choose the latter. Since we arrived race morning, I did not get to attend the race expo. Bibs would be available for pick up at the corresponding start line. I arrived at the half marathon start and got my bib with zero problems. If you picked up your bib on race day, they gave you your shirt at the finish line. I loved that because then you didn’t have to find a place to stow your shirt while running! 

they even brought in a flag!
they even brought in a flag!
I ran into Emily, a fellow BibRave Pro, and we chatted it up before the half started. It was so great to meet her! Check out her recap here.
There were no corrals or waves with this race, however there were pacers so you could line up with them if you wished. 

me and the beautiful azsungoddess, aka - Emily!
me and the beautiful azsungoddess, aka – Emily!

the race 

I was very excited about this course, and it did not disappoint. You run along the North Olympic Discovery Trail (hence the name of the race) which is beautiful! Despite it being a trail and the race not having corrals, there was no congestion on the course. Because it is point to point, the organizers have worked it out perfectly so that everyone has enough room from the marathoners to the 5K runners.
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this was the most crowded it got
The trail is very scenic and beautiful to run on. It is paved, so you get the feel of a trail run with the surroundings, but not the terrain. You run past fields, over bridges and thru forests.
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You get views of the mountains and then of the water. It is so beautiful, it really lives up to it’s reputation!  
this award was well deserved
this award is well deserved
I looked at the elevation chart and knew there would be some hills, but I have to say I was not expecting them to be so intense. They are fairly steep which is good news and bad news. Good news because they are over quickly, bad news because they are so steep! 
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Sunday was also an uncharacteristically hot day in Washington. When we started the race at 8:30am, it was already in the 60s. While I was on the course it said it was 70, but it felt hotter. The temps just kept going up. Thankfully there was a lot of shade on the course and breezes along the way, but the heat made the hills more difficult and slowed my pace down.

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such a sweaty running selfie!
Thankfully they were prepared and had plenty of COLD water along the course. They even had some damp towels and people with spray bottles so you could cool off.  The aid stations were the best of any race I have run. Each had a theme and very enthusiastic volunteers. My favorites were the Star Wars stations. It made  for a lot of fun along the course and a few great photo opps. I had never seen this done at a race before & I loved it! 

guys, I found Chewy & the droids!
guys, I found Chewy & the droids!

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Despite the heat and the hills, I really enjoyed the course. There was tons of community support & spectators. The scenery was beautiful and the race organizers paid a ton of attention to details. Great aid stations, each mile was clearly marked, sidewalk chalk enragement on the pavement & plenty of port-a-potties!IMG_4834

about the cross the finish, enjoying the view!
about the cross the finish, enjoying the view! 

finish line

 Crossing the finish line was so glorious. The ocean was to my right and the smell of salt water was in the air.IMG_4862 I got my medal and had my own personal volunteer that escorted me to get water, asked if I needed medical attention and then direct me to the post race snacks. At first I thought I was in way which is why they were escorting me around, like “let’s get this girl moving” (haha) but it turns out they do it for everyone that crosses the finish line. How cool is that!? Anything you need, they will get for you. Took me a minute to figure that out while I was catching my breath haha. It was very nice, like finish line valet! 

more races need a foam rolling zone
more races need a foam rolling zone
Now onto the post race snacks…. OMG YOU GUYS – they had a full on buffet. I didn’t have enough hands for what was about to come at me!!! There was tons of cut fruit, muffins, croissants, chips and salsa, yogurt parfaits, yogurt, warm soup, NUTELLA, popsicles and tons of beverages. They had lemonade, coffee, iced tea, water bottles, vitamin water & chocolate milk. I was so thankful as I was hungry and it helped replenish after the 13 miles. IMG_4844 IMG_4845 IMG_4846
 
One last thing… 
The age group awards for this race are BEAUTIFUL. How do I know? There were awards for the top 3 in each age group for each distance. While I didn’t do horrible in my age group, I didn’t place in the top 3. However, Andy did!!! (go figure) He ran the 5K and finished 6th overall and first in his age group. I honestly don’t know how the guy does it. I super super proud of him, but can’t help but be a lil jealous. 

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most beautiful race award I’ve ever seen

Run it OR Skip it?

RUN IT! Well organized. BEAUTIFUL course. Finish line buffet. 😉 Great swag. PNW gorgeous-ness. Just a short trip from Seattle. What else could you ask for? Definitely a must run race. IMG_4857

Flat and Beautiful: Blooms to Brews Half Marathon Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry to Blooms to Brews as part of being a BibRave Pro. I value authenticity & honesty; all options are my own. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

This year seems to be the year of half marathons for me, and I am NOT complaining. I am getting more comfortable with the 13.1 mile distance and my training right now is maintaining conditioning and fitness to run 13.1 miles. Because of this I have been able to run so many races this year so far and I am loving it! In previous years, Spring races were never an option for me because I wasn’t trained enough yet by this time of year. There are so many great Spring races worth running, and Blooms to Brews is one of them. IMG_3676

Continue reading Flat and Beautiful: Blooms to Brews Half Marathon Recap

My Upcoming Races – Where will I see you?

How is it already almost April?! This year is flying by, must mean we are having fun right? I’ve got quite a few Spring races lined up. Here is a quick look into what I have on the calendar for April, May & June.

I’ll break it down by race, date & location, why I chose to run it and
share any discount codes I have!!! Of course, this is subject to change, meaning I may add races to this #runnerproblems

Race: Rock N Roll Carlsbad 1 mile150916_CleanImage-448x600
Date: 4-2-16 
Where: Carlsbad, CA
Why I’m Running: I have never run a 1 mile race! I am excited to see how quickly I can run one mile. I feel like it is going to be over super fast. I have a few friends running this with me, looking forward this new race distance and experience!

Race: Rock N Roll Carlsbad All Day 20K
150912_CleanImage-413x600Date: 4-3-16
Where: Carlsbad, CA
Why I’m Running: Really, I just needed an excuse to go to Southern California. This is a unique running distance too. Basically, you run the 5K (Carlsbad 5000), 4 times. The 5K is split into age groups, so you run with every age group. 12 miles split into 4 parts won’t be so bad. Plus, I am going to finish up this race with a trip to my favorite brunch spot in Encinitas, Swami’s! 

Race: Blooms 2 Brews
B2B letsrunthistownDate: 4-10-16
Where: Woodland, WA
Why I’m Running: The last 2 miles of this race are run thru tulip fields. Sign me up!!! Plus the course is flat. 🙂 I don’t run for beer, but you also get to finish this race off with a custom IPA that is brewed specifically for this race. I am turning the weekend into a race-cation. Going to visit Portland on Saturday and run on Sunday! I can’t wait!
Discount Code: flatandbeautiful â€“ $8 off any distance

Race: North Olympic Discovery Marathon (NODM)
Marathon PosterDate: 6-5-16
Where: Port Angeles, WA
Why I’m Running: The scenery. The Washington State Peninsula is beautiful and I don’t get over there enough. This course has won most scenic race course, so I can’t wait to see what it is like. I am running this with a few of my virtual running friends, so I can’t wait to meet them IRL (in real life)! I debated running the full marathon here, but decided to stick with the half. 
Discount Code: BibRave16 â€“ $5 off any distance 

Race: Snoqualmie Valley Half 
snoqualmie_valley_run_logoDate: 6-11-16
Where: Carnation, WA
Why I’m Running: It’s a flat and fast course thru the forest and beautiful Snoqualmie Valley. Carnation is about a 30 minute drive from downtown Seattle, but you feel like you are much farther away. I don’t mind hills, but I am looking forward to another flat course! This is also organized by my favorite race company in Seattle, Orca Running. They put on great races with awesome swag, I can’t wait!
Discount Code: SWEETFIT â€“ gets you 10% off registration

Race: Rock N Roll Seattle Half Marathon
Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 2.30.36 PMDate: 6-18-16
Where: Seattle, WA
Why I’m Running: I have been wanting to run this race for the last 2 years. Something has always come up, either I have been out of town that weekend or I wasn’t trained enough to run a half marathon in June. I am making it happen this year and I cannot wait! #RNRSEA is a really well known race and the course is beautiful! There is an 8K, half marathon and full marathon. I may bump my registration up to the full marathon but I’m not sure yet. We will see! June is an awesome running month in Seattle. I hope to see a lot of you at this race with me!!! 
Discount Code: SWEETBLONDEFIT â€“ gets you $15 off any distance


 

June is a popular race month. Right now I have no races on the schedule for May. I am hoping that will change, but I am not sure yet. I am considering the Color Run in Seattle (never done a color run) and the Brooks Trailhead 15K. Because June is really packed with races, it may be good to run all of May without a ‘race’. 

Which races will I be seeing you at???

My Better Half Race Recap

I had a “you know you’re a runner when…” moment when I signed up for My Better Half. It was super last minute and, I’m not gonna lie, I did it mostly for the bling and the experience. The good news is, it majorly paid off!

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. I really like hearts, the color pink, and sharing the love! To me, Valentine’s Day is not only about romantic love. It’s a day you can take to make your friends, family and people around you feel loved and appreciated as well. Since I love Valentine’s Day AND running, I decided running a race is how I wanted to spend the day. There are a few Valentine’s Day races in Seattle, and when I checked all of them out, My Better Half seemed like a really special race. It was more than just your average Valentine’s Day dash. 

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Not only was the bling and swag amazing, there were also many Valentine elements to the race. There were creative options for everyone. You could choose a 5K, 10K, half marathon or a half marathon relay. There were hilarious categories to pick from when you registered. You could register as ‘Lovers’, ‘Besties’, “Bromance”, or ‘Lonley Heart’. If you were in the lonely heart category, you could designate what you were seeking, ‘love’ ‘fun’ or ‘chaos’ on your race bib. In any of the other categories there was a place to write your partners name.

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No matter what distance you ran, you got a really nice pull over, and a medal.IMG_1871

There was also mention of a ‘tunnel of love’ on the course. I was so excited to see that! When registering, you also had the option to pay extra to write a love note that would be put on the course. How cute! The best part: if you received a love note, you could take it home with you after the race! We opted not to do this, but I loved the idea anyway. It was a ton of fun to read them on the course. 

IMG_1886 my better half

I didn’t really want to run the half marathon since it was only a week before the Glass Slipper Challenge at Disney World, but everything else was sold out. I knew I could do it, so half marathon it was! I was able to convince Andy to run it with me. (that’s true love!)  We had our active Valentine’s Day date all planned: a 13.1 mile run followed by brunch!

my better half
of course I had to wear all my pink valentine stuff! there were some great costumes too!

Race day it was cold, windy and kinda rainy. Typical for February in the PNW. Thankfully the rain let up by race start. The race route was around a park on Lake Washington. Beautiful scenery, calm and flat. The half marathon was 5 laps around. I was concerned it might be mentally boring, but I actually really enjoyed it because you knew exactly where the bathrooms and the aid station was. 

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I didn’t know what to expect with the tunnel of love, and was so much fun! It was right before the aid station and it was adorable. There were balloons, a fog machine and Valentine’s day candy. 

 

They had candy hearts in the tunnel of love, but these were not your average candy heart! They were personalized with runner sayings for valentines day like ‘worth the chase’, ‘sole mate’, ‘UR my PR’ etc. How cute is that?!?!?

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Another awesome swag bag item from this race: FREE race photos! 

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OH YEAH!

We crossed the finish line and got our magnetic medals. One of THE coolest race medals I have to date. I LOVE IT! Super unique and fun because it shows we completed this race together. 

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Then we headed to the post race food. A catering company that brought hot soup and they had a bunch of valentines day treats along with other snacks. This was all tent that was covered and had ‘walls’ to shield from the rain and wind. 

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There was a also a backdrop with the race logo where you could take pics. I loved that because everyone needs a race day pic! 

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As you can tell, I loved this race, It was a total blast! The swag was amazing and everyone was very, very friendly. All the thoughtfulness put into the race details was amazing. Orca Running,  put this race on and they have quite a few races the Seattle area. Because of this awesome experience I am really looking forward to running another race with them this summer.1446159549

I highly recommend My Better Half Marathon. Even if you are not a die hard Valentine’s Day fan like me, it is a really enjoyable race. Orca Running knows how to make it fun. I would definitely run it again! Maybe it will be our Valentine’s Day tradition 😀

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You can also check out my review of the race on BibRave.com!

XOXO
Stay Sweaty!!
Sarah

My BetterHalf