Tag Archives: race recap

All Day 20K, All Day Fun: Carlsbad 5000 Recap Part 2

I had a fun weekend of running planned at the Carlsbad 5000 in Southern California. On Saturday, I ran the 1-mile race, and then I was back on Sunday to run the All Day 20K which is about 12.5 miles. 

What is an all day 20K? It is an event unique to the Carlsbad 5000. Basically, you run the 5K (Carlsbad 5000), 4 times. The 5K is split into age groups, Males 40 & Up, Females 40 & Up, 30-39, and 29 & Under. If you are participating in the All Day 20K, you run with every age group. 

I picked up my bib and shirt on Saturday, so Sunday I just had to get there, check my gear bag and run. Parking on Sunday was not as easy as Saturday. There were many more people participating in the 5K, so parking was scarce. Had to park much farther away & barely made it to the Rock N Blog meet up before the first 5K.IMG_3519

It was so great to meet some of my fellow Rock N Bloggers in real life! DianeSmitha, Debbie (who I had met briefly at Blogfest), & Kristin. 

It was off to the first start line! I was trying to run the first 5K slow. I wanted to run negative splits, meaning I wanted to run each 5K progressively faster. I figured that having a break every 3.11 miles would make me less tired. 

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at the first start line of the day!

Wrong. The break every 3.11 miles actually made me feel more fatigued as the day went on. It was nice though because you could get fluids, use the bathroom and grab a snack every 3 miles, so I was well hydrated and fueled! 

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course view – as you can see the sun was just coming up

Crossing the first finish line, I grabbed a water and a snack and headed back to the all day 20K tent. Thankfully we had our own area that had port-a-potties just for us, snacks & water (incase you didn’t grab any at the finish line), tables, chairs and our own gear check. 

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all day 20K lounge

I loved that we had our own gear check because you could access your items in between each race. I kept taking off layers in between races. The port-a-potties were also nice because it kept you from having to be in huge lines. 

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ready for race #2!

Between races, I had anywhere from 5-30 minutes. It all depended on how quickly you ran the 5K. For me, the quickest turn around between 5K #2 and #3. I only had about 5 minutes between those two races. I literally went from finish line back to the start with no time in-between.  

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finish line #2

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About a mile into the 3rd race, I saw a gal ahead of me in a really cute outfit. I thought, “she has a pink hat like Jenny!” Then I realized, it was Jenny!! I was so excited. I sped up to say hello and take a runfie! 

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I spotted Jenny and her cute outfit!

Jenny (aka @runnylegs) is a fellow BibRave Pro and an Insta-friend. I love her outfits, she has the sweetest husband (more on that later) and her runs and posts really inspire me. It was so great to finally meet her!IMG_352212439184_10209587502994213_1278341234095093026_n

As I was going thru race pictures, I realized I ran right by fellow Rock N Blogger, Carlee! She was in front of my on the course and I didn’t even realize it.

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how did I miss that sparkle skirt?! 

I felt great all day. It was warm but not unbearably hot. The last 5K was the hardest of them all; the finish line felt so close yet so far. The last 2 miles were mentally hard. My legs were tired, I was getting hot, and I wanted to finish that last 5K fast. I wasn’t running as fast as I had hoped, but I stayed strong thru the finish. When I crossed the  finish line for the last time, it felt so good! IMG_3549

I checked my stats, and I achieved my goal of running each 5K faster than the previous one. While I didn’t finish in the top 250 of my age group like I had hoped, I still had a great race + lots of fun. The fun factor is what really matters. Carlsbad was beautiful, I got to meet a lot of running & blogging friends, and the swag was awesome. IMG_3536

I loved the course. We ran through downtown Carlsbad, right by the iconic ‘Carlsbad’ sign, along the beach for at least half the course, and had a downhill finish. The views were great. I was concerned about getting bored running the same course 4 times, but it was so beautiful I was glad I got to see it 4 times because you could really take it in.

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views from the course

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Crossing 4 finish lines in one day was such a crazy and cool experience. You got the race day adrenaline four different times instead of just once. There is no other way that I know of to be able to run that many races in one day! We got a 5K medal, and we also got a HUGE All Day 20K medal. Not only is it huge, but the detail is amazing. It has real sand!
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At certain races, Rock N Roll will bring out elite runners. This race is one of them, and the elite runners get their own heats which take place after all the ‘regular’ runners are done racing. The women race first followed by the men. I grabbed a coffee and met up with Jenny and Sean to watch the elites run. Getting to spend time with this adorable running couple was so great. You know those ‘best friends’ you have on social media, but they don’t know they are your best friend… that is how I felt. Only thing that would have made it better was if Andy was there. Jenny & Sean (@ultrarunnerSD) are both awesome and inspiring people! So glad I got to connect with them in person. Made me wish I lived in San Diego so I could run with them more. 12963852_10209587503034214_40629760095393671_n

Watching the elites race was so cool. They are so fast!! The Carlsbad 5000 course is referred to as ‘The World’s Fastest 5K’ because it is where the world record for a 5K road race has been set multiple times. 

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elite women lined up at start

Jess O’Connell, a fellow Ultima ambassador, was racing in the elite race. It was SO cool to watch her do her thing and cheer her on!IMG_3567

I even got to meet up with her after the race. I was totally fan-girling when I met her. I can’t wait to watch her at the Canadian Olympic trials this summer. IMG_3571

I had an awesome weekend out at the Carlsbad 5000. It’s a great race, in a great location and totally worth running. I highly recommend the 5K or the All Day 20K if you are looking for a unique experience or more miles. 

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pint glass is what you got if you ran both Saturday and Sunday

I can’t wait till my next Rock N Roll tour stop: SEATTLE! Join me! There is an 8K, half marathon and full marathon. Use code SWEETBLONDEFIT for $15 registration (any Rock N Roll race).rock n blog red

The Kirkland Shamrock Run [Race Recap]

What better way to celebrate St. Patty’s day then with a Shamrock run? I was extra excited for this race because my last experience with Orca Running was so great. The Shamrock Run did not disappoint! 
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I hadn’t run a 5K race in a long time. I debated whether or not to run it all out or just take it easy. I have never ‘raced’ a 5K to try to see how fast I can run it. I really just wanted this to be a fun 5K that wasn’t for time. My mom signed up to run with me, so I stayed with her. We ran/walked the 5K and had a great time. Not every race is competitive and go all out, some are for pure fun & that is what the Shamrock Run was for me. 

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can you tell it was cold???!

Start Line

There were tons of people in costumes and lots o’ green! There was even a bag pipe band! I’m telling you, Orca Running pulls out all the stops. IMG_2996

If you wanted, you could register your dog; they got a bib number, a bandana and a collapsible water bowl. They even got their own medal at the finish line! How cute is that? IMG_3008

The race started in 3 waves because the course narrowed and they wanted to make sure people had enough room. I never felt that the course was narrow, but that’s probably because they sent people out in waves! IMG_3007

The Race 

The course was mostly flat with 2 steady hills. One after the first .25 miles and another about half way thru the course. The hills pay off because the views are stunning. You get to see beautiful Lake Washington & Seattle. Somehow I didn’t manage get a picture because I was having too much fun running!IMG_3009

The last mile of the course is beautiful and flat. Once you reach the end of the course, you run past a park with a gorgeous view of Lake Washington. We even saw an eagle flying over us and it landed in one of the trees. 

mid-race selfie!
mid-race selfie!

There is a nice downhill approach the finish line and you finish waterfront. It was cold and windy, but the sun eventually came out towards the end of the race.race_1923_photo_32221063

Finish Line

Every participant got a long sleeve tech shirt, a finishers medal and a 5K magnet at the finish line. The magnet was a total surprise and a really unique item. IMG_3012IMG_3047

Every participant also got FREE race photos. There were so many photographers you guys! There were as many if not more as there are at races where you have to buy the pictures! Orca Running does this at every single race. It’s another reason their races are 100% worth running! 

crossing the finish line!
crossing the finish line!

The finishers area had snacks and lots of vendors. I even found a MORE KALE bell!!! You guys have no idea how excited I was about that.FullSizeRender-2

Orca Running also provided a photo booth again which I loved. It makes for a great place to take race pictures. This is something you can expect to see at every Orca Race. FullSizeRender-1

This race confirmed that Orca Running races are fun & have the best swag! There are no lame cotton shirts or lack luster race environments here. They are so awesome they even gave me a discount to share with you so you run one with me – see below! IMG_3014

Post Race

Another awesome reason to run a race in Kirkland is because one of my favorite smoothie bowl places in Seattle happens to be in Kirkland – Healthy Bonez! They make amazing smoothie bowls & juices, I highly recommend you check them out if you are in the area. Of course I had to pick one up post race! IMG_3029

Run it OR Skip it?

RUN IT! I highly recommend the Shamrock Run. It was a lot of fun, much  better organized and more picturesque than the other St. Patty’s day runs in the Seattle area. 

Sign up to run another Orca Running race with me!

Amazing swag, well organized races & FREE race photos! You won’t be disappointed. Check out all their races HERE & use code SWEETFIT to get 10% off your registration!!

Day 2: Disney Enchanted 10K – Every Mile was Magic

As I laid out ‘flat Sarah’ for the Enchanted 10K on Friday night, I was both nervous and excited. All these different thoughts were going thru my head. “Was I crazy for wearing this costume?” “How was I going to fall asleep?” “Did I forget anything?” “What is it going to be like?” “Would it really be a magical run?” 

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I was Elsa from her coronation day!

There were so many ‘firsts’ for me on this run. The Disney Enchanted 10K was my first Disney race as well as the first half of the Glass Slipper Challenge. To earn you glass slipper you must run the 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday.  It was my first run in a costume and my first run that started at 5:30am in the morning! So early, but as I would soon learn, SO worth it. 

I was nervous about the 3:50am wake up call, especially because my body was still kinda on West Coast time which made that 12:50am! My alarm went off on Saturday and surprisingly, I popped out of bed. It was the excitement that got me up. IMG_2177

We stayed on Disney property, but not in a Disney hotel, so I was unable to take the shuttle to the race area. I was nervous about the traffic because Disney said it would be bad, but it ended up being just fine! We arrived to the start area about 4:30am. There was plenty to do. I wandered around, taking everything in, then decided to jump in line to try to snap a pic before I had to head to the corral. IMG_2066

I was placed in corral A, the first group to start! Again, because this was my first Disney race, I had NO idea what to expect. Fairy Godmother was at the start line to give us the send off along with fireworks!!!!! 

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so MANY people! This was us walking out of the corral towards the start line.

We were off, and I quickly realized that the tag line Disney uses, every mile is magic, is so true! These were the quickest 6.2 miles I have ever ran. By quick I don’t mean speediest miles, I mean they were the most fun! The enchanted 10K was truly enchanted!

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Elsa & Anna! It was even ‘snowing’!

I ran by Elsa and Anna, Tinkerbell, Pocahontas, and then I arrived to the magical world of Epcot. It was beautiful! I had never been to the park, so my first time seeing everything was while running. Because it was still pitch black outside, the park was all lit up like it is at night. It was spectacular.

While I was running this race for fun, not for time, I decided that I would only stop for the characters I really wanted a picture with. When I stopped for my first picture with Pinocchio, it was so fast and fun, I was instantly addicted! IMG_2079

Next up was Lumiere and Cogsworth from Beauty & the Beast. IMG_2084

How cute are they?!?! 
The character stops were such a fun element to the race and completely unique to Disney. Also a fun way to grab a breather!

I found Cinderella on mile marker #4, so of course I had to snap a picture with her! 

The sun was just barley coming up and I was nearing the finish. I stopped to take one more picture of the Epcot ‘ball’ because it looked so pretty. IMG_2089

Before I knew it, I was crossing the finish line! IMG_2098

I got the beautiful medal, got more pictures taken, grabbed the post race snacks and found Andy. Disney is so freaking organized it makes the race and finish area much more pleasant. 

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example of the organization, the post race snacks come in a BOX!!!!

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In the post race party area, there were more photo opps, this time with princesses! I had no idea these would be there so I got excited. I am glad Disney knows it’s customers so well, we LOVE pictures!

IMG_2113Tiana was stunning! 

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I didn’t know if I should stay off my feet to get ready for the half marathon, or if we should hit up one of the Disney parks. This really friendly girl I met in line while waiting for pictures post race was a RunDisney veteran. She recommended we go to a park because you stay loose and don’t get sore. Besides, I was not running the half marathon to be fast, it was all about the experience! We went back to the hotel to freshen up and then off to Epcot we went! 

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Have you ever ran a runDisney 10K? How was the experience for you?

related posts: 
My First Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend + The Expo

The Sweetest Race! My Hot Chocolate 15K Recap

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

Running + chocolate sounds like a winning combo right?! IT IS! And that is exactly what you get at a Hot Chocolate run. Whether you run the 5K or the 15K distance, there is great swag, tons of chocolate and lots of fun to be had! IMG_2758

I was really looking forward to this race. I ran the Hot Chocolate 15K in Seattle last year for the first time and had so much fun I could not wait to go back this year. It’s a unique race and a fun experience. IMG_2764

Check out my race review on BibRave! 

The Expo

Andy ran the race with me this year, so we went to the expo on Saturday. I met up with Carleeh and we had a ton of fun checking out the expo booths, busting out yoga poses and eating all the chocolate. IMG_2785IMG_27682XU, my favorite compression brand, is an official Hot Chocolate race partner this year. They had tons of 2XU gear at the expo. Here are some compression calf sleeves with the Hot Chocolate logo! FullSizeRender

Since the expo is at the Seattle Center, if you have the time, you can make a day in Seattle out of it.  Andy and I went over to the EMP (Experience Music Project) after to check out some exhibits and grabbed a bite to eat. IMG_2826IMG_2806

Race Day

The Hot Chocolate has two different race distances, the 5K and 15K. The 5K starts an hour before the 15K; you get rewarded with more sleep for running the longer distance. 😀 The start area, corrals and gear check is really organized, so it makes race morning a breeze. 

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bundled up and heading to the start line area.

I really appreciate that the Hot Chocolate has corral starts. With so many people running, it if weren’t for the corrals, the start line would be a mess. Based on my time in last years race, they placed me in the “A” corral, the first to start! I don’t feel like I run super fast, but being in the first corral made me feel fast!IMG_2847

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waiting to start the race

The weather was crazy. Before the race it was partly sunny and windy, then it decided to start raining. Then it stopped and got sunny again once the race started. A few miles in, a downpour started, and then it stopped. It kept cycling thru sun, wind and rain all day. IMG_2848

The 15K

I don’t know what it was about this years race, but the miles flew by! Before I knew it, I was already half way thru the course. Maybe it was because I was familiar with the course from running last year. Or maybe it was because I have been running a lot more and my training is paying off. Or maybe it was new ON Running Cloudsurfers.IMG_2839

Whatever it was, I was having one of the best races ever! I went into this run with zero expectations. I hoped to run at least one second faster than last year, and halfway thru the race it was going much better than last year.

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feeling good on the course

There worst part of the Seattle Hot Chocolate race is miles 4.5 to 6.2. You are running up a slow and steady incline that is a steep enough grade to be hard and you just want it to end. Once you reach the switchback, you get a nice downhill beak. I felt stronger than last year, but this part of the race is just plain hard. You are definitely rewarded for the challenge though with some great views, so it makes the climb worth it. IMG_2851

Once you pass the 10K mark, the last 5K goes by really quick. I don’t know if it’s because you are that much closer to chocolate or because the hardest part of the course is over. There are two more small hills, but they are manageable. You definitely earn your chocolate!

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saw Carleeh on the course! Of course we had to take a selfie!!

I crossed the finish line, got the super cool medal, and grabbed a few bottles of water in the finishers chute. 

always have my favorite electrolyte!
always have my favorite electrolyte!

Andy finished shortly after I did, but unfortunately I couldn’t get out of the finishers area fast enough to see him in time.IMG_2857

The Chocolate

The finisher mug is one of the best parts of the race. The chocolate fondue is DELICIOUS, I could just drink it. Last year I wasn’t a fan of the hot chocolate, but this year it was soooo good! It started raining when we got our mugs, so we took some quick pics and then went to wait for our friends to finish under cover. IMG_2861IMG_2867The chocolate was the best way to celebrate my amazing race. I set a new 10K PR and was able to maintain an 8:41/mile pace the whole race. I wasn’t sure I was capable of that, especially with all the hills, but I did it! This makes me that much more excited for the race season that is to come! IMG_2895

Overall 

I highly recommend this race. Everything was very well organized from gear check to packet pick up to aid stations to the finish area. It is a quality race with great swag that both experienced and novice runners will enjoy. The chocolate aspect gets people excited and is a fun way to convince your friends to run or walk with you. IMG_2882

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!

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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

What Happened on My First Trail Run/Race

A few weeks back I ran my very first trail run which happened to be a race. I was not running this race for time, it was more for fun and to try something new. Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 1.23.48 PM

Leading up to the race, I didn’t really realize what I had gotten myself into. My friend Carleeh, a fellow fitness lover, invited me to do the run with her. She signed us up, so I didn’t really know it was a trail run. I knew it was at a state park, but the whole running on trails didn’t click. The night before the race I was looking up where I needed to go to get my bib on race morning and I realized, this is a trail run! I might be out of my league… Then Carleeh texted me and said she had a family emergency and wasn’t gonna be able to go. Now I was gonna be all alone?! “Okay, maybe I won’t go”, I thought. 

The series of thoughts that ensued after that was basically me talking myself out of going and then talking myself back into going. I was nervous, it was something I had never done before, I didn’t want to be alone, but I am also not one to waste a race entry or turn away because I had never done it before. So, it was decided, I would go to the race. IMG_6239

When I arrived on Saturday morning, there was an area to check in and get your bib. Before the race, there was a short talk explaining how the trail was marked and what to expect along the way. This really calmed my nerves. This race had the perfect amount of people, it was not overcrowded which I appreciated. I had been nervous about this because trails are narrow, it’s like running in a single file line, and I didn’t want to hold other runners up. If someone comes up on you, you just step aside and let others by. Everyone running this race was encouraging and kind, it was a very supportive environment. Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 1.23.01 PM

There were two distances in this race a half marathon and a 10K. I ran the 10K which is 6.2 miles. The first part of the course was almost all hills, some more intense than others. I saw this sign for “heart attack hill” and thought “that doesn’t make me feel any better!”FullSizeRender Some of the hills I had to walk up, but once we got to about mile 3, it leveled out and then there was a nice downhill section to get back to the finish line. IMG_6254 

Yes, they had an actual finish line and people timing you! How cool was that?! To make things even better, I actually came in second for my age group in the 10K! I was majorly impressed considering it was my first time. WOO HOO! race results 10K

It was a BEAUTIFUL run. I didn’t listen to music the whole time, I was just taking in nature’s beauty and enjoying the run. 

I am SO glad I didn’t sit this race out despite the nerves I felt. It was unlike any other race I had ever ran, and I had a ton of fun. If you have never tried trail running before, imagine running on trails that you would hike on. It was wooded, beautiful weather and nice and cool because we were in the shaded forest. There were some parts with big hills, stairs and even a few switch backs. 

The race was put on by Evergreen Trail Runs. They put on an entire trail race series with about a race a month that you can participate in on different trails through out the Seattle area. I definitely want to run another one, it was a great experience, well organized and lots of fun. You definitely don’t have to be a seasoned trail runner to have fun at these races. They packed in an aid station on the course and had snacks and water at  the finish line. There was also an on course photographer that took free race photos. They were only at one spot along the course, but I was majorly impressed they even had that. 

 

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I brought along my running belt, my full Buff and dressed in layers, which was necessary as it was pretty cold at the start. I wore my regular Brooks running shoes which were fine for the trail terrain. While they do make trail running shoes, you could run this race without them no problem. Feel free to check out my in depth race review, and review any races you have ran on BibRave

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official finishing stats per my nike+ app

Tell me: Have you ever ran on trails? Done a trail race? What did you think? Would you do it again?

XOXO
Stay Sweaty!!
Sarah

Today, Records Fell!! [Half Marathon Recap – Part 2]

To read about my experience leading up to the start of the race, check out part 1 of my recap HERE

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 3.55.27 PMI was in the 5th group to start the race so the race officially started for me at 7:10am. Your chip time started as soon as you crossed the starting line. They did not separate the half marathon runners from the marathon runners. I crossed the start line and it began! It seemed so surreal. 

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here I was rounding the first corner after the start line. Just leaving the downtown area of Portland

This was the biggest race I had ever participated in – both in mileage and the number of people. There were so many people everywhere! I couldn’t even run my regular pace the first couple miles because there were just TONS of people. That had never happened to me. Sometimes the first mile can be slow, but after that people tend to kinda spread out… not this race. 

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can you find me in this sea of people? CROWDED! haha

When I registered, I don’t even remember what estimated time I put down. But because I was totally new and had NO idea how my training would go, the time I put down ended up being slower than my average pace. Being a novice I really didn’t think it would make a huge difference, but it did because there were so many people. I was itching to turn the speed on for the first 3-4 miles. After mile 4 it started to spread out a little bit more. My 5K time was slower than normal, but that wasn’t because I was running slow on purpose. Looking back on it now, it was probably better to start the race slow, but I felt good and I felt strong so I could have potentially run faster! There were moments I wanted to pass someone, but there was just no room to do it. I have no regrets about this, it is something that I learned for the next race 🙂 Thankfully this was really my only challenge the whole race! 

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The whole family was in Portland for the weekend. My sister ran the race with me; my parents and my husband came to watch. We didn’t plan out where to see each other along the course, I just knew they would be there watching. I saw my parents at about mile 4, they were so excited to see me and cheered so loud. I could just see from their excitement how proud they were. I almost started tearing up….let me just say tearing up and running does NOT go well together. VERY hard to breathe haha 😐

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goin strong!

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I saw my husband the  most along the course. He just kept poopin’ up. I half jokingly told him before the race that he was my personal photographer & he took this job very seriously – I loved it! haha. (He took all the action pics that are shown here that aren’t watermarked) My husband was a sprinter in high school and college, so he is not a stranger to running, he just prefers shorter distances haha. It was SO cute because I would see him, and then all of a sudden I would see him again & I thought “woah that was fast” but I didn’t think much of it and just kept running.
Right before the pics that are above, I saw him SPRINTING along the marathon course. hahahahaha. I was literally laughing as I was running. Then once he got far enough ahead of me, he would stop and take another pic. Cutest thing ever! Thanks for the awesome pics babe!

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this pic was in the 7 to 11 mile stretch

So after mile 6, I knew I wouldn’t have any cheerleaders till the end of the course because of the way it was set up.  It was a down and back for miles 7 thru 11 and there was not much room for spectators. They were not the most scenic miles, but it was nice because you could really focus on running. I did see my sister on the other side of the course during this time, that made me so happy – she looked like she was having the time of her life!  

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the split in the course for half-marathon runners & marathon runners

At mile 11, the half marathon runners split from the marathon runners. Once we split off from the marathoners, I pretty much had the road to myself! When I passed the 10 mile mark, I was running longer than I had ever run in my life. Talk about a feeling of STRENGTH! I almost cried again….not good for breathing haha. I felt like the end of the race was so so close, I could barely believe it! 

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OMG MILE 12!!!!!!
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selfie @ mile 12 while still running! haha

When I reached mile 12, in my head I was like “OMG OMG OMG ONE MORE MILE!” I could NOT believe it. I actually had to take a running selfie! I was just so excited! I knew that I was running a pace that would allow me to finish in under 2 hours… I was in disbelief. There was no giving up now – and the crazy part was I didn’t FEEL like giving up – I felt like I had so much energy and was ready to bring this race HOME!

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nearing the finish line! So close yet so far!

The last little bit of the race felt like an eternity. I knew I was almost done, but the meters seemed to be passing slowly haha. I saw my parents again right before we entered the last stretch of the race. We were running on Naito Pkwy in downtown Portland, it goes right along the river. Then there is one final turn into the last .25 before the finish line.

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almost to the final turn!

The final stretch on Naito Pkwy, I saw my husband and then there was my dad.  He ran that last part before the turn with me… I FULL ON CRIED people. There was no stopping the tears, I was finishing, my dad was RUNNING….it was amazing. I will have to save it for another post, but my dad’s body has been thru hell the last few years. He has recovered from things that would have been huge setbacks for most people. Right now he actually has a fractured disk in his back… and here he was running a few yards with me as encouragement. Unfortunately no one got a pic, but that memory will be in my heart and my mind forever. It was beautiful. 

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about the enter the finishing area

As I was crying, I kept telling myself, “THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING, you are finishing a half marathon!” & then “run faster!” haha (cue the climatic music) 

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CROSSING THE FINISH LINE!

It was a little hard to tell exactly where the finish line was, so I just kept running until I saw medals because I wanted to make sure my time was accurate. haha. They said my name as I finished the race and I felt SO BAD A**! I crossed the finish line!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was so stoked I turned to the girl next to me and was like – WE DID IT! Congrats! She didn’t seem that excited. I asked her if it was her first one, she said no. She asked if it was mine, I said yes. But here is the thing, I don’t care how many half marathons you run, crossing the finish line after 13.1 miles is ALWAYS a reason to celebrate, whether you PR’d or not.

There were photographers everywhere! Felt like the paparazzi ….

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literally right after crossing the finish line and getting my medal. Crazy runner hair!

I was so happy and overwhelmed. I was pleasantly surprised because the finish area really wasn’t that crowded. They keep everyone out except for runners and volunteers, so that helped. I realized later on that since I finished before any of the marathon runners, the number of people in the finishing area was a lot fewer. That was nice because you could take your time and pull yourself together. I have in finish areas before where you get pummeled and you just want to get out fast. This was not that way – you could relish in the accomplishment that just happened. 

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my official finishers photo!!

I made my way thru and got water, some fruit, a finishers rose, 

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my finisher’s rose! matched all my pink for the day 🙂

 my finishers jacket, 

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a finishers coin, a tree seedling, my finishers shirt, 
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and of course my medal. 😀  There was too much stuff to hold! haha. 

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I was literally still in shock at what had happened. I think I looked like a deer in headlights. I reunited with my parents and my husband and my mom was like “YOU FINISHED!!! Aren’t you excited?!” I was so excited I was just trying to process what happened. Then the next thing I said was, I want a coffee hahaha. I waited a while a rehydrated with other liquids first. LOL. 

And my time -I could barely believe it! I was SUPER pumped about finishing under 2 hours. The day before the race, that was my “that would be so cool if I finished under 2 hours”, but I wanted to go into the race with no expectations as I was a total newbie.  I was elated that I finished sub 2 hours! 

Here is what my unofficial time is, it will be a few weeks till they are official. 

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So COOL that I was 26th in my age group!!!! I’ll take it! I also TOTALLY PR’d on my 10K time – WOOHOO! And I just BARELY made it under 2 hours. But again, I’ll take it. The strange thing is, my running app says differently by a whole minute…

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silly Nike, of course it was my fastest ever, I hadn’t run one before!

So it will be interesting to see what the official times are. Irregardless, I went into the race with no expectations because I know over the course of 13 miles, anything can happen. This being my very first race I am so happy with the results. I never thought I would say this, but I cannot WAIT to run other one! haha

We waited for my sis to finish & cheered her on. She finished like a CHAMP and I was so happy for her. We took it all in together. 

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this pic made me laugh… 

as you can see I got my coffee…

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serious pic 🙂

 We are half marathon finishers!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It’s still sinking in….

Afterwords, we ate at Porque No. It was some of the best Mexican food I have had in my life! (and I’ve eaten a LOT of Mexican food)

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cucumbers and guacamole! YUM

This food was amazing. I was famished so anything would have been good, but this was exceptional. It was the perfect time to be so hungry because there was so much good food! MMMM! 

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the best tacos EVERRRRR

If you are ever in Portland & you like Mexican food, you must try Porque No! Seriously, so so good. (added bonus star: my Mexican husband even approved!) 😛

After this my phone died (I guess all the excitement wore it out haha). The rest of the afternoon we walked around downtown Portland, did a little shopping and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon. The weather all weekend was just stellar. Prefect running weather (as long as you are out early), perfect exploring weather, perfect everything weather! 

After running and then being out all afternoon, I was pooped! Everyone was pretty exhausted from being on their feet most of the day.  We parted ways, and while I really just wanted to collapse on the hotel bed & play with the new stuff I bought, I knew I needed to eat dinner. 

Photo Oct 05-7So my feet and legs were sore, what do I do…. wear heels to dinner haha. They were some of my most comfortable pumps, but after we left the hotel to head out for dinner, I was like “sarah, you are crazy why did you wear these??”  We didn’t even go to a fancy place, they just matched my outfit perfectly, so I wore them.  Oh well – I survived and I felt pretty, so it was a win-win in my book.

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one of my friends sent me this shirt saying if she ever ran a half marathon, she would get this shirt. I just loved it! Isn’t it hilarious??  FREAKING 1. thats how the end feels too!

Thank you does not even begin to express my gratitude to all of my supporters that I had this last weekend. I am so so appreciative of everyone who took the time to send me a text message, comment on my Instagram or here on my blog. To those who sent good thoughts – they were felt. Thank you so so much. Even though you were not physically present, you were there with me and I so so appreciate all the encouragement and support. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

 I did not set out to run this for any reason other than to prove to myself that I could do it. I didn’t want attention or special recognition. I just wanted to show my old self that she wasn’t boss anymore – that I am stronger than yesterday and I can do whatever I put my mind to.

RECORDS fell — not only did I CRUSH those 13.1 miles and give myself a good PR to beat in the next race, I also ran my fastest 10K, and I showed myself that I am strong and I can do hard things. I faced fear and came out on top. I challenged myself and became a better person because of it. I saw that can conquer whatever I put my mind to. That was only possible by putting in the time during training and having discipline even when the results didn’t come right away. 

I never used to understand, but I now realize why people like running. Everyone has their own unique motive or reason for doing it, but in the end, it’s a you against you sport. When you stick with it, there is a freeing and empowering effect. It is unpleasant at times, but it teaches you so much in the process & you get to watch yourself get faster and stronger. So so cool. As an added bonus, you also get to hang with this cool community of people (aka fellow runners) I have met so many awesome people thru running. So grateful for that. 

Congrats to my sister for finishing her first race this weekend too! I’m so very thankful that we were able to do it together and have that memory!

Photo Oct 05-13Next week  I’ll tell you all what I ended up picking for my non-food reward for finishing the half marathon and how recovery is going! Be sure to check back for that!

XOXO
Stay Sweet!
Sarah