Griffith Park Half Marathon Race Recap

I gave a review of the Griffith Park Half Marathon the other day…but this race deserves a recap of it’s own.

Being married to a soccer ref can have it’s perks – including getting to stay in a swank hotel at the foot of the Getty Museum the night before a race….

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Morning view ain’t too shabby….

I tend to be a lot like Santa with my race prep- making a list and checking it twice, but Saturday was not that day.  I showed up disheveled, confused and ill-prepared.  My body was achy, sore and tired (sharing a full-bed with a squirmtastic child the night before probably didn’t help).  I checked in with the race staff fully prepared to add the “DNF” notch to my lipstick case with the goal of just running 30 minutes.

View of the San Fernando Valley...in the background was the first snow in the San Gabriel's

View of the San Fernando Valley…in the background was the first snow in the San Gabriel’s

The first 4 miles didn’t start out so well – 2 untied shoes, a stop to take off my long-sleeve shirt, my hair tie committing suicide by jumping out of my ponytail and off the side of a cliff (thank goodness I had a hat on but I was annoyed no less).

But by mile 5, things were clipping along.  Slow and steady I went trying not to aggravate any injuries or fall down the side of a mountain…you know, priorities.

The perks of trail running - WALKING up big hills.  Thanks John Carlisle for sending this!

The perks of trail running – WALKING up big hills. Thanks John Carlisle for sending this!

I felt good until about mile 9 when I decided I was kind of done with the whole thing….as I was going up a giant hill.  Funny how giant climbs make you go crazy.

Then I spied with my little eye a dude in a kilt and made it my goal to just beat him.  I don’t usually run with music, but plugging in a little C&C Music Factory will make anyone sweat and shuffle their feet a little faster.

Bat caves anyone?

Bat caves anyone?

In my mind everyone was sweating and dancing now, and my little tweaky joints had all but disappeared and I rounded out mile 10ish to find my babies.

Ahhh….my babies!

The not-so-overly dramatic wait for Mom to slog her butt to the 10 mile mark.  Check out the LA skyline in the background....

The not-so-overly dramatic wait for Mom to slog her butt to the 10 mile mark. Check out the LA skyline in the background….

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Is that my shadow?

Strawberry jumped in to pace me for 0.2 miles and then proceeded to accidentally body check Kilt Dude (KD) which allowed me to start up a conversation with him apologizing for the little bit of chaos.  We ran together(isn) for about 2 miles until we hit the big downhill at the end.

By then, I knew any hopes of a mug (curse you, my coffee will never be the same again), were out of reach and the competitive side of me kicked in…but I wanted to race, to compete, to do something to get my endorphin jollies on.  So for the last mile I gave myself permission to just take off and made it a 1 mile race.

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I had 3 kills in the last mile beating Kilt Dude and two others I had snuck up on as I literally sprinted my way to the finish.

2:02:20  finish (8 min slower than last year)
6th place woman (dropped from 3rd last year)
#nomuginsight

Are you a fun, casual runner or does your competitive side get you?

What’s the silliest thing you’ve ever run for?

I busted my butt in a 5k this summer to win a mason jar.  Don’t ask.  And yes I lost it about 27 hours later. 

2013 Griffith Park Half Marathon Race Review

13.1 Miles
2:02:xx
Didn’t DNF Strides

Saturday morning I woke up at the near buttcrack of dawn in a fabulous hotel in LA to run one of my favoritest favorite races – the Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon.  It was a part of the Hollywood Rock Star Challenge which I did last year, but this year, my legs and life schedule could only make the half marathon happen.

Since it was a trail race, I was sure to sneak out some TP from the hotel in case of a trail emergency….

Doin' the Charmin bear proud :)

Doin’ the Charmin bear proud 🙂

You can read my recaps from last year (here and here).  Last year’s race was not a fluke, and this race lived up to my exceedingly high expectations…yet again….

Starting line....

Starting line….

As a sign of hyper-organization I got dropped off at the start line about 40 minutes before the race started with a bag of random crap.  #waytoplanahead

Within 5 minutes I had my race packet and I sat there wondering if this would be my first DNF.  My body was playing some funny games with me from my head to my legs.

I love trail races because the atmosphere is so laid back.  I went to go check my bag in at the “bag check” (we will use that term loosely as it’s a trail race) and found the line backed up.  I quickly grabbed the duct tape to help the resident checker help the process and finished with about 45 seconds to jump into the starting line/corral which was approximately 43 seconds more than I needed.

I’ll recap my personal experience with the 13.1 miles in the near future.  But the highlights of the race itself:

-The People.  You just can’t beat the people at these smaller (there were 400 or so) races.  To see smiling faces from last year, serious competitors, and “I’m just going to be happy to walk it in 5 hours!” alike happily lined up at the start was so much fun.

-The Clover.  The course is mildly clover shaped meaning you do a lot of out and backs and can see plenty of people along the way.  It’s great to see the people killing it ahead of you and encourage those behind you.

-The Course.  Yes, it’s really hard.  But the best news is it’s really hard.  Maybe there’s something wrong in my head, but as much as I hate it…I have loved finishing both times because I knew it was not a walk in the park kind of course.

GRF_MAP_GoogleEarth_Image

-The Swag.  Yes it’s a trail race, but that doesn’t mean the swag is granola and recycled hemp t-shirts.  Keira (the race director) works with Patagonia and they must have collaborated to put the shirts together.  I received what I believe has to be the NICEST race shirt I’ve ever had.  Vanilla even asked me to wear it on our coffee date the next morning.  A fab water bottle, a bag, the cutest ceramic “medal” and a few snacks rounded out this fabulous swag bag.

Griffith Park Swag

-The Grub.  Before the race, a spread of coffee, OJ, pastries, bagels, etc. was available for runners and after….oh deliciousness.  A spread of sandwiches, kale salad, bananas, oranges, soda, OJ, water, and lots and lots of cookies awaited.  I could hardly contain myself.  This doesn’t even begin to describe the on-course supplies…lots of water/electrolytes and tons of food.  I snagged some ABC cookies from TJ’s and a banana at one of the tables – but there were chips, gel packs, candy, fruit and anything else you might want for fuel.

Check out the awkward gangly girl who's trying to eat the plate instead of the food....

Check out the awkward gangly girl who’s trying to eat the plate instead of the food….

The race in itself, was an….err….well….uhhhh….experience for me…but the logistics were awesome.  Thanks to Keira for giving me a bib to participate.  While I didn’t have the chance to get another Top 5 mug, I did have a blast running the race and was once again impressed by the logistics and fabulous people involved with the race.

To trail or not to trail?  What is your preference?

What’s your favorite post-race food?

True Confession Thursday: Spilled Water

Newsflash:  It’s raining in SoCal.

I snuck in a quick run between rain clouds and Cali-grade downpours (aka heavy drizzle).

I always find it ironic that when our “winters” hit (I’ll use that term loosely), the rest of the country and things get literally dark, gray and cold, we finally get “normal” weather.  Those rare rainy days are warmly welcomed as an excuse to make those recipes you’ve been eyeing for months and the cool, damp rain greens up the typically dry and brittle landscape.  So really, our winter is like most people’s spring/fall.

Rain’s so rare here that the boys were filled with theories about it on the way to school:

-The clouds are crying.
-God spilled his water glass.
-Someone hates me and wanted recess canceled.

Watch out world – I am apparently raising at least one conspiracy theorist.  Our forecast is calling for 3 days of rain…..including Saturday which is the Griffith Park Half Marathon:

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 12.15.26 PM.pngThis means two things:

1- Fighting over the Rainbow Loom will increase exponentially since being outside (which is approximately 95% of their play) is off limits.

2- While this Saturday’s race is my one of my most favorite races ever….the weather forecast tied with the elevation means….

GRF_MAP_GoogleEarth_Imagerace is looking like cloudy with a chance of falls.

Mud slinging, slip and sliding fun, fun, fun, fun, fuuuuun…(sung to the tune of the Tigger song).  Honestly I think this is the best thing that could happen.   I won’t possibly be able to run too fast and can really just HAVE FUN.

To be honest, things have been all crazy-like in the house with lots of stress, busyness, etc., so I could really use to just open up and have fun.  Last time I was on the hilly trails, I was flying high for days after.  So now it’s time to open ‘er up again….slow, steady, slippery fun.

Do you love running in the rain?
I do…and I still like puddle jumping too.  The boys asked when I stopped doing it the other day and I told them you should never stop.

Any races this weekend?

Just Around the River Bend!

Last week I got 20 miles in…slowly making my way back to normal and by slow, I mean REALLY slow miles.

Meh.

Instead of focusing on the long, slow recovery I’m going to focus on the exciting things around the corner.

This Saturday I have one of my most favorite races EVER:  the Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon.  

Source

Photo from last year’s race…

I wrote about it a lot…(I seriously loved it so much) here, here, and here.  The trail, the views, the people, the super organized race…it’s all super amazing and I’m super excited Kiera (the race director) is giving me a chance to run it again.

I do know that this year’s race will not be the same as last year’s – I’m not in the same shape as I was and am still recovering from an injury.  This is not the race to lay it all out on the course.  This is a fabulously fun race with amazing people and I am excited to just finish (someone do me a favor and remind me of this on Saturday morning, okay?).

If you’re itching to get some miles in this weekend on the trail, registration is still open at the moment.  Sign up here.

On December 14, the boys and I are heading to Irvine to run the Rengade Race Series Troutman Sanders Santa Run.  Not only are there prizes for running fast, but there are also finisher’s medals (kid’s are thrilled) and costume prizes.  It’s a super family friendly race, and….prepare yourself…I’m actually working to put together costumes with the boys.  I NEVER run in costumes (or if we’re honest even dress up for Halloween), so this is a big deal in the casa.

I was looking up costumes for Vanilla and we found this gem and I almost died:

leglamp1Fear not, I doubt I will be as creative, but we are all working on something!

If you are interested in joining the crew and I for the Santa Run,be sure to register here and use the code SHEILAREP

What is the best running costume you’ve ever seen?

Any ideas for the costume contest?
I had one idea, but I was told it was lame sauce.

True Confession Thursday: When Runs Suck

I’m that annoying runner.  When I’m running, I’m usually in my super happy fun place.

Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at 10.55.34 AM.pngWhen I run, “The Hills are Alive” and I’m mentally singing “I Feel So Pretty”.

Tra la la la la biker dude who almost hit me.  You can’t make me mad, because I’m running.

Big fat cheesy thumbs up to the kids walking groggily – Be cool stay in school!

I smile, I say hi to those around me and wish them a good morning/afternoon/evening.

But my last run was no such thing.  I got up early to beat the heat/sun intent on testing out my leg/endurance to see if I’m ready to run my most favorite trail race ever in 10 days.   After about 9 trips to the bathroom I finally set out and for 4 miles all I thought was, “This sucks.  I can’t run 5 miles.  I can’t even run 3.  I’m quitting racing.  I’m backing out of everything for the next few months.  I’m never going to run again.”

Clearly, I’m a very logical, grounded runner.

Remember two weeks ago when I loved running 4ever and ever and it was so super, mega gr8.  Apparently my relationship with running resembles that of 12 year old BFF girls.

So I walked.  I pouted.  I fought of nausea.  I questioned my ability to hold my bowels.

“What if I puke right now?  What if I crap my pants?  What if I’m puking and then start to crap my pants.”

But somehow, I just kept running….

I decided to quit at 5.  But at 5, I realized it wasn’t 100% awful, just 90%…and so I was going to do 6….I played this game with myself for 9 miles.

Actually it was really 8.98 on my GPS so I kept running in small circles until it got to 9.

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Source: Someecards

After I felt like a champ and totally didn’t regret the run it felt like a run that sucked.  I was even more nauseous, shaky and felt like junk all over.

What do I know about sucky runs?

-They don’t happen every single time.
-I’ll get over it.
-The next one isn’t usually as bad.
-I still got the miles in.
-Now I can get myself a treat from Starbucks.  #allworthitintheend

How do you recover from a craptastic run?

What’s the worst run you’ve had lately?  Tell me stories because misery love company.

True Confession Thursday: Travel Woes

Let’s face it, life as a full-time working mom has it’s challenges from time to time. 

or some of the time

or all of the time.

I love reading about dedicated, diligent running schedules and finding the time to get in crazy, amazing miles.  But the reality is…

this isn’t my reality.  

I ran about 4.5 miles on Monday evening.  The sun set super fast so I had to dash my last one out in 6:45 to abate my “getting assaulted on the side of the road” (yes this happened locally about 2-3 years ago and still has me petrified) fear and left my hip/hammy with much to be desired after bolting downhill for a mile.

Add a crazy busy work week, including traveling cross-country and conversations like this happen:

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Yes I was trying to find somewhere to stash my bags so I could run in the tunnel under Atlanta airport.  Lucky for the person next to me on the 4+ hour flight home, I wasn’t able to find somewhere to do that.

Yes I know I’ve seen the sign:
someone-busierBut I’m running out of hours, and perhaps even more challenging – hours of daylight!

To be honest, what is most frustrating is that the busier I am, the more I need a little “sanity run”.   I’m in the middle of mapping out my upcoming races, but I do know I need more than 10 miles a week to make such things happen.

So I need your help – what’s your most creative way to squeeze in workouts?

Dino Dash Race Recap

There’s a lot I could say about Sunday’s Dino Dash race, but let me just cut to the chase.

Each of the kiddos ate a giant breakfast of PR’s with a side of PR’s.

We clearly showed up meaning serious business...

We clearly showed up meaning serious business…

I took the harder way to the race start by running halfway there.  The kids, however, saved their energy and enjoyed their extra hour of rest by truly resting met me at the start line via car.  Luckily there was a great Expo going on because one of the kids ignored my, “Hey please eat breakfast” request which was clearly asking far too much and skipped his breakfast.  Fear not, turkey sausage and fruit were found so he was fueled for his race!

Thanks to Melissa's for providing the tiniest, sweetest apples ever before the race!

Thanks to Melissa’s for providing the tiniest, sweetest apples ever before the race!

I felt like an NBA center in the starting corral given that most participants only came up to my shoulders…and many to my belly button.  We set off and Strawberry took off like he always does and I kept yelling, “Slow down you’re going too fast!” every time I saw him on the course since he looked like he was sprinting.

Turns out no one listened to me that morning and my advice was not heeded – he was his usual Type A self and decided to try and keep up with the racing club kids and proceeded to…..

Checking out his finish time....

Checking out his finish time….

officially finish at 23:52.

It’s about 3 minutes faster than he’s ever run when he was pacing himself.  I was so proud of him – especially since we have not been running together lately – this was pure “play” training.  The smile on his face and swagger in his step the rest of the day was totally priceless.  Though it might have been less swagger and more calf soreness.

What about the rest of the crew?  Vanilla, Chocolate and I spent a good chunk of time enjoying the race.  They were just enjoying hanging around the other kids and running….mostly because the race is about 60% elementary age children.  The boys both finished in 28:11 & 28:14 which were their first sub 30-minute races.

We finished to a band, music, and FABULOUS post-race entertainment (food, games, and more crap than I know what to do with to fit into the house).  The highlight was when we discovered Chocolate has an amazing hula hooping talent and put on a show for a large group when he was doing all sorts of hula hoop tricks for a contest.

IMG_5081If you are in the area and have kids – this is a GREAT race to do with them.  From my experience, both the Dino Dash and the PCRF races are the most family friendly local races….they are great for kids who are new to running, hate running, just want to walk, their teacher made them do it, and families can do the race together.

Running for yourself is fun…running while watching kids dig deep and prove themselves right is priceless.

What’s the best PR you’ve seen someone else run?

Have you ever run a very-kid laden race?