Race Recap: Hollywood Half Marathon

Last Thursday I made a very last minute decision to run the Hollywood Half Marathon up in…errr…spoiler alert…Hollywood.

I haven’t run a half marathon since last November and you can easily count my weekly mileage on your fingers and maybe a few toes, so I knew it was not going to be easy, but for what can only be defined as totally insane and personal reasons I decided to do it anyway.

The Race Itself:
Expo it was small, efficient and the most awesome part – YOU CAN TRANSFER BIBS (thanks to Pam for helping a girl out…)!!!  Parking was okay (I found street parking pretty easily), but most importantly, as I was waiting to cross the street back to my car I was literally standing next to Hugh Laurie who was dining 2 feet from me at a street cafe.  Hello Dr. House….

Hugh Laurie Wallpaper

Race Day Pre-Race – I’m a genius and set my alarm for 4pm instead of am, so I was pretty frazzled getting to the race.  I parked at my uncle’s office and walked to the start line (I parked halfway between the start and finish which are about 6 or so blocks apart).

I couldn’t find the port-a-potties so I begged and offered to pay for anything at a 24 hour diner to use the bathroom and get ready (yes I was literally changing into my running clothes and ditched my old sweats I slept in on the side of the road).  I ate a pack of margarita Clif Shots for breakfast and ran to the starting line.

This was also about the time I regretted eating dinner around 8pm, drinking sangria and beer and having fallen asleep around 1am.  I am clearly the queen of good choices and sound judgement…and no I wouldn’t have changed anything because it was fun.

Starting line....

Starting line….

Race Time –  The race itself was well run and organized.  It started pretty close to on time and started in the dark and headed east so you got to see the sun rise.  You saw some of the Hollywood scenery and had a few minutes running towards the iconic Hollywood sign as well.

The course is a mostly flat out and back but has these little “offshoots” down side streets which makes for a LOT of turnarounds.  I kind of wished they had run us up to Los Feliz and ran the straight away there to get some miles in. It might have had a bit more incline, but it would have made for a much prettier view and way less side street turnarounds being needed.

With 10,000 people on a turnaround laden course, things got pretty congested.  This was further compounded by the fact that somewhere around mile 10, the half marathoners met up with the 10k walkers and it was packed.  It was the worst game of run-Frogger ever.

Post-Race – It looked like there was a lot of entertainment and food after the race, but I was literally grabbing my grub and hitting the road to get to Strawberry’s soccer game before it started.  As bananas, crackers and water bottles were being tossed my way I asked for a bag and a volunteer shoved this in my face.

Pardon the blur, post race sweat was all over that mad cell phone....

Who needs a bag for your goodies if you have a box….pardon the blur, post race sweat was all over that mad cell phone….

I saw bands playing and people looked to be having a good time and the finish line.  I, on the other hand, was squeezing my cheeks, huffing and puffing while I beelined for the bathroom informing my mother that this was not a “I’m going to crap my pants false alarm, it’s the real deal.”

Moms are awesome because she just laughed and listened.

Ironically I saw this later - I snapped a quick selfie for mumsie dear after the race and realized later the bathrooms were RIGHT behind me.  DOH!

Ironically I saw this later – I snapped a quick selfie for mumsie dear after the race and realized later the bathrooms were RIGHT behind me. DOH!  Oh and I never sent her the picture.  Hi mom!

My Experience:
I knew this was not going to be easy…and it totally wasn’t! I intentionally didn’t wear a watch and made it my unofficial goal to just stay ahead of the 1:45 pace group.  Around mile 6 I started chatting with a man who I had been running next to for a while.  Apparently he had trained about as much as I had(n’t) and was going with the “don’t die” approach to his race as well.

We started talking about local races, work, running, life, etc. and before we knew it we had hit mile 10 and gotten pretty far ahead of the 1:45 pace group (who had been on my tail the whole first half).   Things got pretty rough at mile 12, but somehow we powered through and finished.  I barely looked at the clock  as we peeled down the finishers’ chute and guessed a 1:42-1:43 finish…so I was pretty pleased to see my official results rolling in at 1:41:49.

Turns out good company makes for a pretty mean negative split.  Go team.

More than anything this was just that reminder I needed that I am capable of doing  bigger and better things with my legs, and with a little effort and training I could actually be a lot better than I give myself credit for.

In other news, 3 bathroom trips and 1 Starbucks detour later I pulled up to the soccer game just in time to see Strawberry score a goal.  #familywins

Have you ever impromptu raced?

Has your GI system ever hated you right after a race?  What was your best remedy?



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….


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….


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.


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)

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. 

iTryathlon Race Recap

Saturday was the Renegade Race Series iTRYathlon.…and there’s so much to say – so you’ll hear more about it later, but mostly I want to give you the adult race recap for now…and the kid experience down the road….


First of all, I’m a total non-triathlete (this race confirmed this), but I really looked forward to this event to really try and stretch myself.  With about 3 weeks from “I’m going to do this” to race day, it wasn’t much time to physically train, but it was enough time to mentally piece myself together.  Good news – I got lots of pictures.  Bad news – I’m probably going to post most of them here….

If last year’s race was well done, this year’s was even better.  Between my much hated race day packet pick up (hello, race pickup party of 4 = chaos) and some major organizational errors like having the wrong bib number Sharpie tattooed on my body (sadly I can’t pass for an 6-year old boy, maybe an 11-year old one, but definitely not 6).

Margot and I at the starting line of the race.

Margot and I at the starting line of the race.

Performance Deets

5k – 21:03
Transition 1:  57 seconds
Bike (9 miles) – 33:58
Transition 2 – 2:03
Swim (200 yards) – 4:45

-Kid Zone. It’s truly, truly inspiring.  Let me tell you – this was no picnic for Strawberry.  His swim got incredibly rough (enough that a lifeguard had to jump in and I had to swim next to him to finish him home) and he was fighting mental wall after mental wall but knowing he tried his best (not doing THE best) was so important.  I watched Vanilla power through after getting tripped and taking a nasty spill at the starting line.  In addition, Vanilla and Chocolate officially became triathletes when they finished the race.

Proud yes...but Vanilla is still mad at the kid who tripped him at the starting line and made him fell.

Proud yes…but Vanilla is still mad at the kid who tripped him at the starting line and made him fell.

-2nd Place for Breakfast.  Apparently we put a little 2nd place AG sugar in our breakfast this morning because little red and I both snagged the title.


Check out who’s arms are 9 shades darker than her mid-section? #runnerstan

-AG Alma Mater.  In a super fun turn of events the woman who placed first in my AG was wearing a sweatshirt from my alma mater (University of Illinois)- and turned out to be a graduate as well- so it was an awesome added bonus to represent.  We were sure to make a scene and high five about it in front of everyone at the awards ceremony.

I-L-L- I-N-I - Representing some serious midwest alma mater

I’m pretty sure we’re having too much fun for the moment.  We had just awkwardly publicly high fived I-L-L- I-N-I – Representing some serious midwest alma mater

-Awesomesauce.  I think one of the greatest things in life is watching kids realize just how amazing they are.  All afternoon long, Chocolate kept mentioning how awesome he felt about the race.  When I did the last “tuck in” before I went to bed, I had to peel his medal from his sweaty little fist.  Awesomesauce indeed son.

-Familiar Faces – One of the best thing about these moderate-sized local races is you get to see a lot of familiar faces. From chasing Margot most of the race to seeing Heather before and after, and seeing Julie and Kelly volunteering on the course – it was most definitely comforting to see so many familiar faces along the way.

Chatting it up with Heather post race - whatever I was saying was clearly very dramatic.

Chatting it up with Heather post race – whatever I was saying was clearly very dramatic.  “Died, I almost DIED I tell you!”

The Not So Highlights
-Dead Legs.  Wanting to quit at mile 2 on the 5k because my legs hated me.  I was watching the speedy Margot peel away. Honestly around mile 2.5 I was done and wondering where I was going to have any energy left in my legs to finish the rest of the morning’s festivities.

Even if it's disguised as a triathlon - 5k's still suck.

Even if it’s disguised as a triathlon – 5k’s still suck.

-That’s Ugly.  So I took the bike to pool transition a little too fast and was totally winded when I jumped in.  Note:  This is bad.  I literally couldn’t keep my face in the water.  I swam with my face out most of the time and was incredibly awkward.  I knew that there was a cluster of us in my age group so my goal was to just go.  I’m pretty sure at one point I heard the kids on the side line go: “Is she okay?  Why is she doing that?” about my swimming.

Channeling my inner Dory with some, 'Just keep [ugly] swimming....

Channeling my inner Dory with some, ‘Just keep [ugly] swimming….

The end of the swim was such a fog and I was completely in over my head with the water, and the physical ability to get my breathing and body to align…it was scary ugly and just plain scary by the last few minutes.  I just knew that I had 2 women nipping at my heels and was trying to make up as much time as possible.

I've never been so happy to climb out of a pool...

I’ve never been so happy to climb out of a pool…

When all was said and done I went from iTryathlon to iTrySleeping

IMG_4506A huge thanks to Renegade Racing for letting the boys and I participate in this event.  They might have provided this opportunity, but we would have been there either way because we love their races, and particularly this event.

Long Beach Half Marathon Recap: Full of Surprises

13.1 miles
Surprising Strides

Long Beach 2012 has come and gone, but will not be forgotten.  Especially since my legs are sore enough to remind me that the race went a little quicker than I anticipated.

First off, let me tell you a story on how NOT to prepare for a race.  Saturday was a day of heat, sun and soccer.  I was not very good about eating (unless you count cupcakes and butternut squash ravioli with a salad) or hydrating.

Such a pretty sunset should have yielded a pretty night. Notsomuch.

My evening was uber stressful as somehow my children managed to break 2 glass plates and a full 1-liter bottle of balsamic vinegar on the kitchen floor.  And of course, they couldn’t happen at the same time, so instead of cooking and eating dinner, I spent 1.5 hours cleaning up glass and mopping up balsamic vinegar off walls, the carpet, garbage can, fridge, etc.

Words were exchanged (mostly me apologizing for totally losing my patience) and we all ended up in a pile of tears on the floor.  And I literally mean every last one of us sobbing in a puddle of emotion. I ate a craptastic “dinner”, couldn’t find my running stuff so I threw whatever I could find in a bag and figured the race would be what it was.

What time is it? Way the truck too early.

I stayed awake from midnight to 2am worrying about work and realized that I was going to have to do this with 2.5 hours of sleep.

Luckily I met up with some fab ladies at 5am.  Sarah, Kristina and I carpooled up to Long Beach listening to the aptly named “Wake the Shizzle Up” playlist.

After waiting in line for the bathrooms repeatedly (not kidding I went 3 times) we happened to bump into this little lady.  That super sneaky Monica was doing a surprise marathon.  She looked a little nervous, but totally killed it and got a new PR.

We eventually hopped the fence into the first corral and took super awkward photos.    I’m sure no one was annoyed at all by us doing either of those things.

Sarah and I. I’m pretty sure I took a better picture than this after giving birth.

I took off with the intentions of running 8-8:15 minute miles.  After the first 7:40ish I realized I need to pull back, but apparently didn’t.  I don’t know.  Remember when I said I couldn’t find anything.  That meant my watch.

 I had no idea how idea how fast I was really running most of the race.  I just followed my body’s lead and around mile 8 I was feeling like hot stuff and turned up the heat.  Around mile 9.75 I met up with Sarah and we kicked it for a few miles.

At mile 11 I realized I could pull a PR out of my butt if I ran 7:30 miles for the last two.  Turns out, that I could run one 7:30 minute mile and I coasted through the last one finishing with a time of 1:41:01.  1 second slower than my previous PR.  You can imagine how happy I am about that 1 second.  I’m still pretty surprised by the pace – I was really expecting that “listening to my body” would put me around a 1:50ish pace.

1st tapped keg PR!  Between that and the ProCompression socks we were well on our way to recovering.

Kristina ran her 2nd fastest race ever with a super speedy 1:34 something and Sarah busted out a 1:41:41 shattering her PR.

After the race Sarah and I found out we both reached a new type of PR when we went to the beer area and got beer from the first tapped keg.  I mean, if you run fast enough to get your beverage out of the first keg then, hey, you know you must’ve hauled it.  This the PR that matters.

Speaking of beer, kids, let’s learn a little lesson here…don’t mix yogurt and beer.  Why I thought this was a good idea post-race is beyond me.  My stomach hated me for the rest of the day.

Fun times.

As I’ve said before, Long Beach is my favorite local race.  I just love the course.  From miles 2-4 I couldn’t hear anyone talk, but was surrounded by the sound of pounding feet like a herd of angry elephants taking the Port of Long Beach by storm.  It was darned near breath taking.

A well staffed, stocked and supported course along the beach is just fine by me 🙂

Tell me about your races this weekend.
Any PRs?