#theghostrace BRIDGE THE BAY Recap

When @Lululemon and @Strava get together, it’s usually pretty epic. Remember the last challenge where you ran XX number of miles and got a little something for your achievements?!? Yeah, I remember it vividly because I missed out on it. Luckily Paula was able to participate and loves her “prize” and wears it often. 

Well, they did it again and it’s called The Ghost Race. Throughout cities in the U.S. and Canada, routes have been mapped out as courses for the ghost race. The Ghost Race is taking place from October 13-22. It’s about an 8k for each course, which for my metric adverse folks, is 4.97 miles. You begin by registering on theghostrace.com and joining the Strava club and you’re all set! You run the course, make sure that run is recorded in Strava and that’s pretty much it. 

In the lovely Bay Area of my home state of California, we are lucky enough to have 4 cities to choose from. The folks at Lululemon, especially @LululemonSF, decided to throw out a challenge of completing all four courses. This is where the wacky, crazy, hijinks come in. I text my boy Brian, @pavementrunner - on a Friday night because what else would dads of multiple kids be doing on a Friday night? - to ask him if he would be down to tackle a couple of the routes in the Bay Area. Remember, there are 4, in diff. cities which are pretty spread out. 

Now if you’ve followed us for any amount of time, you know we’re not ones to shy away from running challenges, especially ones that involve multiple races in the same day, different states, etc. So, guess what happened? Yup! All 4 cities in one day. Why. The. Hell. Not. 😜🤣 The folks at Lululemon have deemed this “BRIDGE THE BAY.” Only we’re doing it all in one day.

So after quick planning, mapping and texting, we virtually shake hands on completing this crazy, hopefully, more fun than painful, challenge. We decided to use Instagram Stories to document the day so if you followed along this past Sunday, we hope you enjoyed some of the sights (and sounds) of the adventure.

Serious. #sockgametight

We started out in Walnut Creek, a lovely city in the East Bay (our previous home), at the butt crack of dawn. It was cold and dark but we were prepared with trusty headlamps. The routes are mainly out and backs and this one led us along the Iron Horse Trail. It was eerily quiet and Brian casually made a joke about a mountain lion that I freakin' couldn't get out of my head the entire time we were out there. Yeah, thanks, Bro!

Oh and did I tell you that we brought different outfits to change into for each of the 4 cities? Nuts. Completely bananas but that was the best part about scheming this whole thing out.

The run wasn't that bad and it was over before we knew it. We obviously didn't rush since we knew we had a long day ahead of us and about 15 more miles to go. We changed into outfit number 2 before jumping in the car and driving to the next city, San Jose. But first, Dunkin!

Outfit #2. #keepittight

We arrived in San Jose and the sun was up and shining bright. We took a bit of time eating parts of our energy bars, pb&j sandwiches, etc. Then we set off. If I had to pick a favorite course of the 4, it would have to be this one. We ran along a shared paved path with tons of runners and bikers. It reminded me of the parkway we have out here in Sacramento. 

 

We kept posting to social at the completion of each course. Again, we changed, set the map on the GPS, hopped in the car and drove. This was probably the longest drive of the day. We made good time into the City and surprisingly found an awesome parking spot near the start of the 3rd course. 

Outfit #3. I told you!

We found the start and I kept remarking how beautiful the day was in San Francisco. If you're not aware, September and October are San Francisco's summer months. It even got pretty warm out there along the marina. If you've run The San Francisco Marathon before, you'll be familiar with this route as it follows pretty much the same path and turns you around back to the start. 

No fun. No fun AT ALL. Pumpkins at Ghirardelli Square, No @Karlthefog in sight and we even saw friends along the marina! We talked the entire time about doing this again next year and we totally fell off the rails. We see you, #THEGHOSTRACE 2018, we see you!

Peace out SF 

15 miles down and to be honest, we were really feeling it. Getting in and out of the car, driving for long stretches, and maybe knowing that we had 5 more miles to go made that 3rd course hard to swallow. 

We changed again, and set off for the last course to finish off and "BRIDGE THE BAY." 

The car ride wasn't that bad from SF to Marin. Oh to be a fly on the window of the car on this day....

I didn't know what to expect for the last course and that was a good thing. You see, i've never really run on trails before and little did I know, I was about to get a crash course in trail running 101.

 

I look like a natural trail runner, no?

It was very pretty up on that hill and when Brian showed me where we'd be running and ending up at, I was a bit nervous. I was motivated only by food, the imaginary "finish line" and the sheer joy of completing another crazy running challenge. 

We found the starting point of the loop course which took us along the Miwok Trail. Right off the bat we started climbing and walking. It was breezy and warm. As we ascended we decided that we would try to run along the somewhat flatter portions of the course and the downhills. This was just so we wouldn't take more than the time we allotted ourselves to complete the loop. 

The views on this last course were AMAZING! I was hurting, yes, but i kept going up because I wanted to see more. The Sutro tower, the top of the Golden Gate Bridge, the freakin' Pacific Ocean?!? Man, it was so worth the climb. I got schooled on running trails and had a blast.

We were so happy to be finished, still standing and with smiles on our faces. Hey, guess what? I didn't die! If you click on the pic of Brian above, one wrong move, and you're taking the hard(er) way down the mountain. Yikes! 

Dat view tho!

I must say the 20 miles was daunting back when we were scheming about this whole crazy adventure but chunking it up in 5 mile bites, wasn't so bad. Was it tough, hell yes. Yet it turned out to be very rewarding as well. I spent a good part of a day, with a really good friend, doing what we both love. Thanks LululemonSF and Strava for putting on yet another fun challenge. 

This Is Yog....#THEGHOSTRACE

Lessons about Stroller Running

I realized the other day that by the time we have had our Bugaboo Runner (read the review here) a full year I most likely will have logged close to 1000 miles, maybe more. 😳(I need to replace the tires, I'm sure. Hey Bugaboo wanna send me some tires?!?!  😜). Not many to some, but to me that number is astounding!  That's a lot of Asher crying, laughing, and sleeping. Yet the biggest things that I've loved about becoming an almost 100% of the time stroller runner (yes even my long weekend miles have been with the stroller most of the time) is the things that I have learned about stroller runners in general:

 

1. Stroller running moms and dads are badass!!!  Come on, pushing anything at any pace takes strength, perseverance and sheer will. The desire to get those miles regardless of how much your body wants to turn around and not finish the run.  

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2. We got speed!  Yup, when you see a runner with a stroller do not immediately assume they are slow. And remember when a stroller runner passes you DON'T say "I need to pick up the pace" or "I can't let a stroller pass me". Give a hi-5, cheer them on. Consider it a good thing they pass you, that stroller runner is putting in some serious hard work out there!  Their hard work to catch up to you only means you too are putting in hard work!  There are some speedy, quick like lightening stroller runners out there too. If you don't believe me check out (Erinamg, momslrb, littlebeastling, runfargirl, runemz and nycrunningmama) on Instagram. 

3. We hear your complaining about being behind a running stroller when you are on a training run or during a race. We are pushing a stroller, not hard of hearing. Those two are not mutually exclusive FYI. Also, if you groan about being behind a stroller please make sure that you pass them and ARE faster than the stroller. You don't want to get your ankle clipped. 😂. Just kidding, we try not to bump into anyone. Ok ok, I've thought of it before though.  

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4. Stroller running providers a regular running partner. There is no texting or calling back and forth to coordinate the run. There really isn't any compromising on miles or pace. The running partner is sitting right there in the stroller. Heck they are probably running entertainment too. Asher has started to clap for me while on training runs. Well, at least until he falls asleep. He's like my own personal cheerleader.

5. On the flip side, Stroller running makes it hard to run solo. It's a love/hate relationship with the stroller. One the one hand, there is the fabulous opportunity to bond with your child(ren), to incorporate strength training or even ensure that afternoon nap. Yet, when you do get to run by yourself, it can be lonely. It's always a battle between making the run "easier" and having a little company.

6.  Last but not least, I've learned stroller runners love a good hi-5, a pat on back, a "good job". As I've said over and over, pushing a 25-35lb stroller PLUS the weight of your child or children is tough!  When you see a runner on the race course, training on the street give a little wave, smile, cheer. It truly does help us run a little taller, forget about the struggle for a little while and push on.

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RUNNER TIP #3 for Parents - Let's race!

Racing the 9 year old to the stop sign which ended up being 200m. He won, I had the stroller to push. Extra work! 

Racing the 9 year old to the stop sign which ended up being 200m. He won, I had the stroller to push. Extra work! 

Speed work. How do you get that in when a track isn't readily available near you? Yes, of course we could drive somewhere about 30+ minutes away, but I'll be honest, well at least I don't want to. Not to mention with 4 kids and a very very busy schedule for all of us, we had to figure a way to get some sort of resemblance of speed work in while the kids were in tow. This is how "Let's Race!" came about.  

The concept is so simple and I am sure many people do it. As with all the tips, planning the course is a must. Where we are going to run, the number of stoplights, the distance between those stoplights - are all vital parts of getting anything close to what we can call speed work.

We live and run in suburbia so stoplights are a fact of life. Some streets have more than others which can be helpful with the youngest child. Once we have the street planned, we pack up the youngest and the rest of us lace up the running shoes and head out for a warm up. When we are approximately 100m (sometimes more) from a stoplight one of us says, "ready, set, GO!"  Off we go at a fast speed but not full on sprint. Basically we are racing to the cross-walk button. Once there, the 30 seconds to 1 min wait time is the recovery and once we get the green light the next cycle begins again. 

Sometimes the pace is slightly slower than we want. The 5 year old can run fast but not as fast as the 11 year old...yet! Peace yo!

Sometimes the pace is slightly slower than we want. The 5 year old can run fast but not as fast as the 11 year old...yet! Peace yo!

The end result?  Enough pick ups to help us feel like we got a little speed work in, heck, with the older children some of those "race to the light" dashes are at sub 7 minute pace!  We'll take it. The children have a blast racing us or each other. I'll be honest, we throw the races at times. It puts a smile on their faces and they enjoy "teasing" us a bit feeling that they are faster than mom and/or dad. Pretty soon they will be. It's a definite win win. Everyone gets outside. Those who need it get some sort of speed work. Best of all we are together as a family. 

Give it a try, snap a pic. Tag us!  We would love to see the blur of family feet as they race to the stoplights!   

Entering the world of XC by Gabriel

     A cross country meet experience is like no other.  Cross country meets are very competitive, very unlike the races I have done with local racing organizations and rundisney.  In my first experience, I saw and learned a lot!  First of all, don't let the lower mileage deceive you.  My first cross country (XC) race was "only" 1.5 miles so i was very confident that I could run it "fast".  I went out way to fast at the beginning and along the course there were hills.  The terrain was uneven, dirt roads.  The 1.5 miles were probably some of the hardest I have had to run.  Second, competition is tough.  I saw many kids fall along the route, but even more I saw runners push each other out of the way which caused some runners to fall.  One girl had blood on her face, but she kept running.  A teammate got her leg scraped up!  I didn't know how tough it would be on the course.  My parents told me competitive sports are not "nice".  They can be fun and a great experience, but it is a competition and it can get "ugly".  I saw that during the race.  It makes me a little nervous for my next meets.  

     I took away a lot from my first XC meet.  I learned that it is very important to walk/jog the course before the actual race so that you will be prepared for obstacles, tight areas, changes in terrain and so on.  I learned it is very important to warm up properly, but to also stretch a little after warming up.  I learned that I have work to do with pacing myself in races such as how fast to go out.  The biggest thing I learned was to have fun.  Even though we all want to win for ourselves and our team, it is very important to have fun and use each meet as a place to grow for the next XC meet.  I am happy and proud of my first XC meet results even if I didn't place.  I ran hard and put my all into it.  I have work to do, but I look forward to the next XC meet.  

Without Limitz

I must admit that I have always been envious of those who obtained ambassadorships from companies related to the sport of running. I thought, "One day it would be cool to be an ambassador for x." Well I'm ecstatic to announce that I, along with a handful of other AWESOME athletes, have been chosen to represent Zensah as Ambazsadors (see the nifty play with letters there?) for 2015. This is wonderful news and feels like a shot of adrenaline. I can't wait to represent and spread the word about Zensah products while doing what I love. 

Running has given me the opportunity to meet so many amazing athletes who share the love of running. A company like Zensah also shares this love and makes functional, great looking products that are perfect for an active, athletic lifestyle. It's these new relationships that motivate and inspire me to train harder, perform better, and run #withoutlimitz

I am truly honored to have been selected and can't wait to see what this year brings.

2014 Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Race Recap

A friend one told me that not every "race" is a race. I believe this to be true, especially at this weekend's 2014 Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Halloween Half Marathon. I had no expectations of running this race for a super fast time, just for fun. It has Halloween in the name so what do you expect? The race capped off a Halloween themed weekend in Southern California that began with a trick-or-treat party at Disneyland. 

With this race being a Halloween themed, I decided I had to dress up in costume to run it. I've seen previous years photos online and it looked like so much fun. So about two weeks before the race, I decided on an easy Charlie Brown costume. I only had to buy a shirt since I had a baseball glove and red hat already. My wife thought I was silly for running a half marathon with a baseball glove (which is not easy by the way). Again, not overly concerned with time but more about keeping up with the theme. 

Flat Runner ready for tomorrow.

Flat Runner ready for tomorrow.

The expo at the L.A. Convention center was, as always, easy to navigate. The bib and t-shirt pickup were seamless and quick. It's always a good idea to not spend all day at these expos because it does wear you down being on your feet for so long. After a quick stroll visiting the vendors, we made our way to the hotel to unpack and get settled in. The Downtown L.A. area is nice and we strolled around a bit to find coffee and ended up seeing the Start and Finish areas of the race near the Staples Center. The night before a race, after the kids are asleep, I always get my race gear ready for the morning. I take this time to re-read the Final Race Instructions and look at the race course map one last time. 

Race morning, ready to Rock! 

Race morning, ready to Rock! 

I used the mile to the start line as a warm up jog and saw a few zombies and a ninja turtle making their way to the start area. I knew this was going to be a good time. If you can't already tell, I really enjoy seeing people dressed up in costume. I made my way to my starting corral and saw a few friends. A quick shout out to the #SA2LV crew. These guys and gals know how to get things going. They were dressed up, snapping pics, catching up and having a good time at 6:30 in the morning. Who else but runners would act like this? A couple of friends even ran the both the 5k and Half Marathon! Big ups to @pointonemiles and @pavementrunner and @vegasrunnerguy (and others) who took on this amazing feat! 

So we were off and running down the streets of L.A. The weather was perfect with some cloud cover and cool temps. We ended up running around the L.A. Memorial Coliseum which was really large. What was nice about this race is you get to run opposite of other runners so you are seeing all different kinds of costumes as you proceed along the course. I even hi-fived a couple of other "Charlie Browns" along the way. Very cool and a big boost of encouragement. 

I planned to meet my wife and two youngest kids on a corner around the mile 12 marker and it took a bit longer for me to get there due to some slight calf cramping just before the incline of the mile 9 bridge over the Los Angeles River. Ouch. I should've stopped here at the first sign of trouble (more on this later). I slowed it down a bit and met up with the family and stopped for some hugs and kisses before moving on. I'm very blessed to have such a great support team and it's nice to see beautiful faces at this point in any race. 

Lots of hugs and loves at mile 12.

Lots of hugs and loves at mile 12.

Since I was at mile 12 at this point, I looked at my watch and I thought i was doing pretty good for not having a time goal. I didn't want to go all out sprinting because i knew my calf was not in a mood to cooperate. Well, it decided to stiffen up at about the 12.6 mile mark and I had to stop and stretch it out. For a loooong time. Sad, yes, but it didn't matter that much at the time because in my mind I knew i wasn't running this for a time goal or trying to beat a PB. Any other day I would've rushed it, cursed, and probably injured myself in the process. Having this care free mindset pre-race made all the difference. I actually smiled and enjoyed runners sprinting towards the finish in their Skeleton, Superhero and Where's Waldo costumes while I was stretching out my calf. I finally felt okay enough to jog through the finish with a smile on my face and the feeling of accomplishment. 

Running with a Baseball glove is tough! It really messes with your gait.

Running with a Baseball glove is tough! It really messes with your gait.

Race Bling!

Race Bling!

Another Rock 'n' Roll Race in the books and an awesome way to end a fun Halloween themed weekend! It's crazy, to wake up at the butt crack of dawn, get dressed up in costumes to run 13.1 miles (some even more) and have fun doing it. We're proud to be a part of this running community and it's a very special group of people. 

#RWRunStreak is over!

This past Friday was the Fourth of July and the end of the Runner's World Run Streak. The goal was to run at least a mile every day for 40 days. We are proud to say that we accomplished that goal and had a great time doing it. 

Even with work, school and a Disneyland vacation sprinkled into that short time frame, we all were able to hit that goal. It was challenging but a good lesson in commitment and discipline for the boys. We are looking forward to next year's #RWRunstreak and might even create some of our own in between!

Sacramento Buffalo Chips 4th of July 5 -miler

Sacramento Buffalo Chips 4th of July 5 -miler

At 4 years old he participated. He even ran his first 5k!

At 4 years old he participated. He even ran his first 5k!

Jacob, 8yo, Gabriel, 11yo. 

Jacob, 8yo, Gabriel, 11yo. 

Rockin' and Rollin' in 2014

Ever since I started running, I’ve always wanted to race in a Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon Series event. The logo, the bling and the fact that they’re held in the biggest cities in America all contributed to my desire to race. 

This past Christmas I received what I consider to be the best gift anyone could get in a Rock ’n’ Roll Series Tour Pass!! I already registered for the RnRSF Half Marathon in April and now I have the luxury of completing registration for the three remaining California Rock ’n’ Roll races: San Diego, San Jose and Los Angeles. I am even contemplating making the San Diego event a marathon race. 

Yes, you read that right. I will attempt to run all four California Rock ’n’ Roll Races in 2014. A Cali Rock ’n’ Roll Tour if you will. The best part is that my wife got me the Tour Pass, is 100% behind me and is extremely supportive of my goal. Heck, we’re even trying to run some of these races together!