#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

2016 California International Marathon (CIM) Recap

The marathon is 26.2 miles. That's a whole heck of a lot of miles to be traveling. On foot. Running. Or in my case this time, sometimes jogging, sometimes walking. Traditionally, people train to run these things. Call us crazy but there are thousands of us who like torturing ourselves, I guess. Why we do it is another story and everyone has a different one to tell. We’ll save that for another post. 

But before we get to the nitty gritty of the race itself, let’s first review how the weekend started out. 

There was a an official shakeout run on Saturday, which a bunch of #werunsocial folks participated in. I even got to meet Katrin, Woot! It was a nice 3 miles around the Capital on a cool sunny morning. We hit up the expo afterwards where I bought a hoodie. #treatyoself, David, you’re about to run a marathon tomorrow!

So nice meeting Heather, @runs_4reeses_pieces!

Following the shakeout run, a bunch of folks met up for coffee at a nearby Starbucks. We chatted, talked race plans, and enjoyed hot beverages. Fun times.

#CREW

Leading up to the Race

I began my training cycle for this race back in August and committed to achieving a Personal Best (PB) or Personal Record (PR) which was anything under 3 hours and 52 minutes. That time was achieved back in June of 2014. My “A” goal was to finish the race in 3:45. I felt my body was ready to take on the training cycle at the required paces. That was until about 2 1/2 weeks before the race. I developed pain in my lower left leg (calf) and just couldn’t recover well enough to be 100% on race day. 

The training plan I used this cycle was the Hansons Marathon Method. True, I may not have stuck to the plan to the exact T (for example: running a 9 mile tempo instead of a 10 mile tempo, at times). But, the plan has worked in the past. Like I said before, I used this method and even set a PR with it. This is why I thought, “Wow, that was great! I’m going to use it again and try for a faster time.” I’m glad that I had a plan but now I realize that I need to try something new. Not to knock a specific plan (to each his own, right?) but my take away is that I understand how a training plan is a necessary tool for a successful marathon. 

Race Day

#flatrunner

With fastie, @alexiaruns, at the start area.

Obligatory pre-race crew photo!

Some of the #9Run6 family. Way to go ya'll! @mcrunnerchris, @wholeheartedrunner, @bradbernel and @shibamom93

I just didn’t feel strong enough for this race. There were lots of rolling up and downs in the early miles which really beat up my quads. I was sore for days after. It’s hard to train for hills when there aren't that many where we do a bulk of our training. Also, I think that not completing more long runs - and when I mean long, i’m saying more than 16 or 18 miles - was a major factor in how I performed. My body just didn’t know what it felt like to be out there that long. 

The time it took me to run the first half of the marathon was respectable. You never want to go out too fast in a marathon. Sure, if you’re feeling good, go for it but be careful. That feeling can, and usually does, come back and bite you in the ass. Hard.

Me. At mile 25. Whatcha gonna do?

That leaves me with the second half of the race - the dreaded “wall” and the finish. My wife, as supportive as ever when it comes to training and racing, told me that she would be at mile 20 (the “wall”) to cheer me on. As I approached that mile marker, I frantically looked for her. It didn’t help that Mile 20 was a relay exchange point which meant that many people were lined up on both sides of the street. As I passed the relay exchange point, I finally saw her with running friends, cheering. I slowed down to a jog, and then a walk, hanging my head a bit low and shrugging my shoulders as if to say “well, I made it this far…” I had nothing left emotionally. I was just glad to see her. Our good friend Jen encouraged a kiss and I was happy to oblige. I needed that something to keep me going for the last 10k. Thank you Jen for capturing what, to me, was the best moment of my race. Not crossing the finish line, not toeing the start line but being supported when it counted the most. 

Highlight of the race. #TRUTH

Earned. 

Happy Birthday Pretty! #prettyneedsinstagram right @tanoshegirl?

I crossed the finish line with pride. Even after a gosh awful 14 minute mile 25. Hey, I finished twenty six point freaking two miles of running! I’ll easily take this race as a lesson learned. I’m always thankful, never taking anything for granted, that I’m able to run another day.

Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Weekend Recap and Review

5k

For the past couple of years, I've looked forward to running the #stripatnight otherwise known as the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas half marathon. While this was the first year that the crew didn't run a half marathon race the morning of, we still had a fun-filled weekend nonetheless. 

When you walk down the steps of MGM and see your boy holding the exact same GoPro setup, you know the weekend's about to be LIT! Christmas came early for us this year!

When you walk down the steps of MGM and see your boy holding the exact same GoPro setup, you know the weekend's about to be LIT! Christmas came early for us this year!

If you missed out on what I referenced above - running a half marathon the morning of the RnRLV half marathon - you can read about those ridiculous antics here and here. We just couldn't let the weekend go without running #alltheraces so we decided on running the 5k Saturday and the half on Sunday. 

Saturday we ran the 5k race which is held off the strip at the SLS resort (which is, helloooo? swagalicious!) There was a @sparkleathletic / @werunsocial meet-up at 5pm before the race which started at 600pm. If you didn't already know how we get down at these meet-ups, here are a few pics of the FABULOUS running friends I finally met in real life (IRL). 

L to R: @bengal_alumna - so fun to finally meet you!, THE @nycrunningmama - totally made my day!, eating pre-race donuts with @ejag777, @katrunsdc and @sas_rubel, @jen_wp - loves BoyzIIMen so she's cool with me!

On to the race. I was running with a little, crafty runner who likes to create out of this world running costumes. Maybe you've heard of her? It's @carleemcdot! She re-created the famous Welcome to Las Vegas sign and ran with it - around her entire body! You have to see it to believe it. 

Yup, she ran the entire 5k like that. Unfortunately we didn't "BEAT THE SIGN!" One second short.

Yup, she ran the entire 5k like that. Unfortunately we didn't "BEAT THE SIGN!" One second short.

The game plan was to run fast enough at the beginning to make for a couple great photos and then ease up on the gas a little and cruise the rest of the way, but after all the excitement, it looks like we didn't ease up as much as we wanted. 

After the race we took the monorail back to our respective hotels and met back up for dinner. 

Half Marathon

At this time the past couple of years, we we're likely running a morning race at either Disneyland or in San Diego. Instead, we had tons of time to explore other parts of Las Vegas. We heard that there was a Lululemon outlet nearby and since our homie @sharpendurance was coming to par-tay in Vegas, we decided to do a little shopping. 

$20 shorts for #RnRLV runners? Yes please! 

$20 shorts for #RnRLV runners? Yes please! 

We had more time to kill after scoring majorly at the Lulu outlet so we made a short trip to visit a very special lady and her new bundle of Joy at the hospital. This was a major highlight of my weekend. Our very dear friend, @katrinaellep had just delivered her baby girl a couple of days earlier and we were blessed to get a chance to see her and congratulate her on becoming a Mom. Her hubs, Gary was out doing the awesome Dad thang and getting stuff for mom and baby. #BEST

Congrats Katrina! She's beautiful!

Congrats Katrina! She's beautiful!

Social doing social things. 

Social doing social things. 

TRUTH!

TRUTH!

After brunching it up, we made it back with plenty of time to get ready for the race later that evening. I was so excited that I even forgot to post a #flatrunner pic: 

There was a very loud #werunsocial meet-up at the pre-race concert because how could there NOT be?! Oh and what better way to do a meet-up than with the one and only Snoop dee-oh-double-gee as the background music on stage. The lighting was much better than the night before so I snapped more pics with running friends who weren't able to make it to the 5k meet up  and / or they just came in from their morning races (i.e. Disneyland Avengers). Now you see that running two half-marathons in one day in two states isn't so crazy anymore. No?

New this year from our friends at @runrocknroll was a wave start which worked to relieve much congestion at the start in the corralls it means that not everyone in your crew gets to run together. It's okay because this race is really all about the people, partying and less about the fast race times (unless that's your goal, of course). We ended up seeing friends out there on the course anyway. 

We had all the fun out there on the course and why it took 11 miles for us to grab a beer on the strip and run is beyond me! The Las Vegas Strip is only shut down twice a year and one of those times is reserved for runners like us. Running the Las Vegas strip at night is an awesome feeling and I highly suggest you register and run it at least once. 

 

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.  

image.jpg

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.  

image.jpg

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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2015 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Recap

It's been a week and we're just now coming down from the high that was the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend. This will not be a full-on run of the mill race recap in the traditional sense since you can read about great ones HERE and HERE.

We met so many social media friends IRL (in real life) and we had a blast talking about Disney, running, kids, etc. which reminded us why we love this community so much.

Think of this as a photo recap of the fun times our family had this past weekend. Let's get to it!

Asher and Elias at the runDisney Kids Races. 

If you've ever wanted to know what it's like running the Disneyland Half Marathon, check the video out. Warning, spoiler alert!

runDisney Race Registration Woes

dumbo medals.jpg

There have only been a few times I've been critical of runDisney and the way they handle their business. The races are all very well ran, the support is top notch but the registration process leaves a lot to be desired.  

These races are becoming increasingly popular and so the number of people not being able to get into these races in also increasing. It used to be that those who wanted it the most were rewarded with a race bib. Whether it was for a multi-race challenge or not, if you were ready and waiting at 9 a.m. (most even earlier) you could log on and register with ease.

That ship has sailed. The benefit, or perk if you will, of being a Disney Annual Passholder (AP) is having early access to race registrations. Yes, I understand that this is a benefit, not a guarantee, that can be taken away at any time, yadda yadda. But for now it exists.  Most AP early registration periods are a week or two before the public has a chance to register. It's given that the number of people wanting to register for this race who hold AP's is greater than the allotted number of slots available. Yet, it’s maddening when the system doesn't reward those who are the most hungry. If you stayed up on dates, set multiple alarms, did research and were well prepared for registration and still didn’t get in, I feel for you. If you did all of that and still registered other, non-AP holders for races, then shame on you.  I don’t know what the solution is and i’m sure there are plenty of people who have ideas. One race registration per Annual Pass, anybody?

Two weeks ago, the early AP registration period began for the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend and as usual, the links to the 3rd Party registration site, Active.com weren't up. It took a few, very looong minutes for them to appear. Rumor has it that the links were up and running on the East Coast before they were on the West Coast, where the race is being  held. There goes home field advantage.

Regardless, the time spent refreshing pages, frantically completing online forms, made the playing field a total crapshoot. The servers did not perform well. Heck, they didn’t perform at all. The Dumbo Double Dare (DDD) challenge was what most people wanted to register for. We were in that group of people. More importantly, we wanted to register our two oldest sons for their very first 10k race. No success with that distance either. We were prepared, patient and hungry and we were not rewarded for our efforts.

I was only able to register for a single half marathon before all others were “sold out”. Our hand was forced. Do we register for another Half Marathon now or take a chance on DDD on public registration day? When the servers go crashing down for an audience that is supposedly smaller than the general public, something is wrong.

Fast forward to public registration day. The servers held up commendably compared to two weeks ago. The number of people attempting to register is much bigger (yes, I know there are more slots available) but I can’t help think a huge ball was dropped on early AP registration day. So, our family of six is now registered for the 2015 Disneyland Half Marathon weekend - thanks to a 3rd party Disney blog, I found a direct link to the active.com registration page no less - and it was a very stressful  process.  It shouldn’t have to be.

We won’t officially be doing the Dumbo Double Dare challenge but we’re running the same exact races. We have three of those awfully cute Dumbo medals to look at already anyway.  It wasn’t about that. It’s about the 10th anniversary of the Disneyland Half Marathon, and more importantly our kids’ first 10k race.

The challenge is on runDisney to fix a broken system. I'm not saying the system isn't fair. It is. We were all given advance notice and multiple reminders. Again, i'm not sure what the solution is. There's an idea of moving to a lottery system. Yes, it means we may not get in but it is a "cleaner" process than what we have now. If the registration process is handled the way the races are managed, we'd all be a little better off. 

Did you have a good experience registering for the race? What do you think needs to be done to alleviate this stress?

 

What a start to 2015

Going Goofy

All the coffee in the world couldn't keep us up after the past two weeks of runDisney racing we've completed. We started our race calendar out in cold, rainy Orlando, Florida. Wait what? Yes, the weather during the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend was not ideal and it was challenging but we sucked it up and raced the 10 Year Anniversary Goofy Challenge. This consisted of a Half Marathon on Saturday and a Full Marathon on Sunday. 

Running my 1st Marathon at Walt Disney World!  The Expo was manageable and packet pick up was a breeze. 

Running my 1st Marathon at Walt Disney World! The Expo was manageable and packet pick up was a breeze. 

Because we were running the GoofyChallenge, I just had to. 

Because we were running the GoofyChallenge, I just had to. 

The Half was so much fun. We agreed to take it easy, save our energy for the Full and snap a few pictures along the way. The course was fun running through two Walt Disney World parks. While it was tempting to run fast to escape the chilly weather we stopped at most of the character stops along the course to preserve memories. We couldn't have asked for a better race. We talked, took pics and even ran with new friends along the way. So far, a great way to start off the new race calendar.

Yeah, it was as cold as it looks. Brrrrrr!

Yeah, it was as cold as it looks. Brrrrrr!

The way @runDisney themes their picture spots was so fun. There was even a fog machine working.

The way @runDisney themes their picture spots was so fun. There was even a fog machine working.

Obligatory Cinderella Castle pic right after running down the entire Main Street, U.S.A. 

Obligatory Cinderella Castle pic right after running down the entire Main Street, U.S.A. 

The following day, after another early wake up call we made our way to the start line of the marathon. This is the Super Bowl race of Marathon Weekend and the fact that it was Paula's very first marathon made it even more exciting. I couldn't help but feel proud of what she's been able to accomplish. Registering and training for your first marathon is daunting on it's own but doing it as part of the Goofy Challenge is borderline crazy.

Mary and Bert picture spot along the Half Marathon course. 

Mary and Bert picture spot along the Half Marathon course. 

The sun started to peek out and lit up our Donald medals. Better late than never i guess. 

The sun started to peek out and lit up our Donald medals. Better late than never i guess. 

Since we used the Half Marathon to take pictures the previous day, we focused on the run at hand and kept the phones tucked away. This race holds a special place in my heart since it was my very first marathon as well and running through the four Walt Disney World parks is really something special. The course is amazing. Running around the Walt Disney World Speedway was insane. We felt good running together and could feel the challenge that was Goofy around the later miles of the race. 

It's nice that rare characters get to come out for the runners along the Marathon course. 

It's nice that rare characters get to come out for the runners along the Marathon course. 

A special thing happened at around mile 19 of the race when Paula's sister surprised her by showing up with our four sons to cheer us on. Her sister and I worked together to complete the surprise which was a perfect boost at the perfect time. We finished the race with smiles on our faces, and even jumped over the the finish line holding hands. (At least we attempted to jump. I don't think either of us got that high). We recovered from the race by exploring some of the resorts on the Disney property and walking the junk out of our legs. 

This is why we signed up for WDW Marathon Weekend. The 10 Year Anniversary Goofy Challenge Medal. Goofy spins inside the zero! Coast to Coast challenge, here we come!

This is why we signed up for WDW Marathon Weekend. The 10 Year Anniversary Goofy Challenge Medal. Goofy spins inside the zero! Coast to Coast challenge, here we come!

 

May The Course Be With You

Immediately after returning home from WDW Marathon Weekend we did laundry, packed up the suitcase and headed down to Disneyland for the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend. Since it was an inaugural race, we just had to sign up for it. Coming off of the Goofy Challenge, paula's first marathon, Walt Disney World park touring, and traveling, we vowed to have a fun race and soak up the fun of an inaugural race. 

#shutyourface! It's  @carleemcdot . Meeting friends at race Expos is so much fun. 

#shutyourface! It's @carleemcdot. Meeting friends at race Expos is so much fun. 

Since we didn't have anyone to watch the young ones on Saturday, I did the Star Wars 10k solo. It's part of the Rebel Challenge which consists of a 10k on Saturday and the Half Marathon on Sunday. So let's stop and recap a bit: two @runDisney challenges in two weekends, two different states, 4 races and 58.6 miles of racing. It sounded like a good idea last year when registering for these darn things. The race was fun. Again, I brought my phone and took pics along the course with the cool characters throughout the parks. The course was awesome. We ran inside the parks (some backstage) for the most part and the support was excellent.

I made sure to catch a picture with Chewie! I was in the front pack so the line wasn't long at all.

I made sure to catch a picture with Chewie! I was in the front pack so the line wasn't long at all.

A little Kids Race action on Saturday after the Star Wars 10k. 

A little Kids Race action on Saturday after the Star Wars 10k. 

The Half Marathon on Sunday was exciting. The course was brand new, and we enjoyed it tremendously. Beware fasties, it's a very fast course and you could easily get carried away and throw down a Disney PR if you tried. I'm a big Star Wars fan and seeing all of the cool creative costumes put a smile on my face. The best part of these races is running them together with @prvilladelgado. When we run together, we finish together. It was an amazing race and one we will continue to do in the future. 

It's already been a fast start to 2015 and it's a good sign of things to come. We are tired. So very tired and will rest up in the mean time while planning the rest of our calendar. Was it stressful flying cross-country, and racing at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland two weekends back-to-back? Of course but we wouldn't trade it for anything. Earning a Coast to Coast medal (running at least a half marathon in WDW and Disneyland in the same calendar year) in two weeks is pretty darn cool IMHO. I'm proud of what we just accomplished and even more proud that Paula ran her first marathon. Most importantly we had fun doing it.

Meet  @jilliankmf . She's a runner and she's awesome. Oh and she PR'd her 10k this weekend. Boom!

Meet @jilliankmf. She's a runner and she's awesome. Oh and she PR'd her 10k this weekend. Boom!

I'm not gonna lie. This is a big reason why we run these races.

I'm not gonna lie. This is a big reason why we run these races.

Some people take their medal pic in front of the castle. We take ours here. 

Some people take their medal pic in front of the castle. We take ours here. 

#Disney2LV Weekend Recap

I’m a runner. Today more than ever do I truly, honestly believe that statement. Close your eyes and think about what makes you the happiest: spending time with your significant other; eating a juicy steak; longs walks on the beach. For me, it’s running. Outside, short or long distances, in whatever weather Mother Nature wants to give to me.

This past weekend, I and few other ‘crazies’ participated in what was dubbed as #Disney2LV: two half marathons, in the same day, in two different States. It’s not that unusual to run a half marathon; it’s become the fastest growing running race distance in recent years. What is unusual is running two in the same day. In different States.

After registering for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas ½ Marathon and later finding out that the Disneyland Inaugural Avengers Half Marathon was set for that morning, I immediately questioned whether running both in the same day was possible for me. I heard of this type of craziness before and thought to give it a go.

Truth is, a lot of folks were going to be doing this so why not join in on the fun? I was excited to toe the line and had the shakeout run the day before to calm the legs. My two oldest sons and I ran the Disneyland Avengers 5k the day before and had a blast.

It's Black Widow. This line was 20 minutes long. 

It's Black Widow. This line was 20 minutes long. 

Hulk. Who else?

Hulk. Who else?

Elias with the Iron Man Hand Repulser Pose. He has it down!

Elias with the Iron Man Hand Repulser Pose. He has it down!

Asher admiring his race bling.

Asher admiring his race bling.

Being a Disneyland Half Marathon and heavily themed with Marvel references, it was only fitting to get dressed up as a Marvel character. I guess I’ve been on a dressing up for races kick lately. I purchased a Hulk shirt and Hulk hands to wear while running. Paula had to buy very little and two bullet bracelets was all that she needed for a Black Widow costume. We ran and battled against some fierce Santa Ana winds for the majority of the course but seeing all the different costumes people thought up was a fun part of the 13.1 miles. I especially liked the Ant Man and Wasp couple I saw.

Immediately after finishing we were interviewed by the media team at runDisney. We made the recap video!

Immediately after finishing we were interviewed by the media team at runDisney. We made the recap video!

Speaking of the course, it was new for runDisney and Disneyland races and I appreciated the change of scenery. I would’ve enjoyed the course a lot more if I wasn’t shielding my eyes from flying debris and garbage. I hate to think that this race will be consistently windy because of the landscape and the time of year it’s held.

We ran the half at a good pace and chose not to take pictures with characters. I know, boo! But since I ran the 5k with the boys earlier, I figured we covered that already. We made good time and had fun running together. We finished and were immediately interviewed by the runDisney media crew and our soundbite made it into the official runDisney recap video. It was a fun well organized race from the expo to the finish and I wouldn’t hesitate on recommending it my fellow running friends especially if you’re a Disney and Marvel fan.

2LV

After getting cleaned up we headed to the nearby Santa Ana airport to catch the flight to Las Vegas. I met up with a few other ‘crazies’, talked running shop and took off. It’s nice to be in similar company with other like minded individuals who share the same passion for running as you do.

It's  Andrea Barber . She's a 'crazie' too. 

It's Andrea Barber. She's a 'crazie' too. 

@pavementrunner workin' the ProCompression booth at the Avengers Half Expo

@pavementrunner workin' the ProCompression booth at the Avengers Half Expo

I must admit that I hate travelling alone because the entire family shares this same passion for running. It’s just nearly impossible for all of us to travel all of the time. I got settled in to the hotel, grabbed a bite to eat and put my feet up for a couple of hours before getting changed for the second Half Marathon of the day.

It was really cold and I wasn’t prepared at all for the temperature outside. Thankfully and luckily I saved the mylar blanket that was given out at the morning Disney race. I used it to keep warm (and during the first mile of the race). I now know that this is the Kentucky Derby of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Series. There were over 40 corrals and tens of thousands of runners!

Packet pickup was made super easy by organized booths for same day pickup. The pre race festival was jam packed and the energy in the air was ultra high. This energy continued on throughout the race. The majority of the race was held on the famous Las Vegas Strip hence the hashtag #StripAtNight. The city is amazing lit up at night and we had the Strip all to ourselves. It’s an honor to run this race and I enjoyed every minute of it. I ran into some friends who were also on their way to completing the same #Disney2LV challenge. Running with friends makes 13.1 miles in cold desert weather somewhat bearable. All I could think about was getting chapstick for my cracked lips and a fat ass cheeseburger as a post race reward dinner.

Cold, tired and hungry. Disney2LV adventure complete!

Cold, tired and hungry. Disney2LV adventure complete!

Upon finishing, I took the obligatory selfie and picked up my post race food and of course my Rock Star Heavy Medal. That’s finishing 5 Rock ‘n’ Roll races in the same calendar year. Shout out to those who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame and then some! I was proud of my accomplishment but was kind of sad to celebrate it sans the family. It wouldn’t be too long before I saw them and showed the boys my racebling.

Rock 'n' Roll Heavy Medal no. 5 Rock Star

Rock 'n' Roll Heavy Medal no. 5 Rock Star

I slowly made my way back to the hotel, got cleaned up and headed out for that post race reward. 

The weekend now seems like a blur and writing this is bringing back all of those special moments. I ran with the ones I love the most, met new friends and ran with them and accomplished something I wouldn’t think of doing in a thousand years. Yeah, i think I’d consider myself a runner.

Recent Accomplishments

We've been a bit busy recently with a couple of races on back to back weekends. First up was the Rock 'n' Roll San Jose Half Marathon Weekend. As with all Rock 'n' Roll events, this one was organized and set up perfectly. I signed up to run the Remix Challenge which only a few select Rock 'n' roll cities get to be a part of. The Challenge is running a 5k on Saturday and running the Half Marathon on Sunday. 

Found a friend and paced him to his goal 5k!

Found a friend and paced him to his goal 5k!

I met a friend at the 5k start and helped pace him to his goal of finishing in under 24 minutes. While i didn't expect to run quickly at this race, it felt good to move my legs fast as a shakeout run for Sunday. 

We attended the expo which was as always, a stress-free bib pickup experience. We didn't spend too much time on our feet since a goal of mine was to help Paula achieve a Personal Best in this half marathon distance. 

This course is fast and flat. A great course to get a PR, if that's what's your after. We felt good going out of the start and the middle miles ended up being our fastest. We are always amazed at what our bodies can do. We train hard, eat right and this helped us meet our goals this day. We've raced more than a handful of times and understand that there are days where you just don't have it. This wasn't one of those days. It feels good to cross that finish line knowing that you helped someone crush their own personal best!

OktoBREWfest 5k

This past weekend we raced again, this time more of a less stressful type of race. The A Change of Pace OktoBREWfest 5k was held on Saturday night and we ran this with our two oldest boys. The event is themed, well organized and best of all, had a start time of 6pm! The medals for this race have been bottle openers the past two years and the designs are very cool. Last year, i ran the 5k with our oldest, Gabriel and he placed third in his age group and this year he repeated his podium finish and placed second! I ran with Jacob and he ended up placing fourth in his age group! You can only imagine how proud we were when the race was over.

We waited around for the awards to become final and while it's a bit weird to receive a pint glass as a reward for an 11 year old, he did receive a sports water bottle also. The pint glass will make a nice addition to my collection.

Bottle opener finisher's medal and award winner pint glass

Bottle opener finisher's medal and award winner pint glass

We stress to the boys how important it is to live an active lifestyle. For them to say they want to race with us makes it all worthwhile. Hey, winning cool prizes and earning fun medals doesn't hurt either.

We love racing together

We love racing together

2013 in Review

5 medals each: WDW Marathon Weekend, Dumbo Double Dare, Disneyland 10k, Disneyland Half and Coast to Coast.

We started our year off with a bang right from the start. The races at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend were our first of the year and we even created our own hashtag: #oneraceamonth2013 to boot. I ran the Marathon, Paula the Half Marathon, our two oldest boys the Mickey Mile and our youngest (at the time) the Kids Dash. Did I mention that Paula was 4 months pregnant at the time of her Half?

Next up in February was the Super Bowl Sunday Run back here in our hometown of Sacramento, CA. This was a 10k race in which we ran a relay. In March we ran a fun race named the Veggie Chase 5k where runners tried to beat the pacers dressed up as vegetables. The two older boys' first 5k of the year was the Elk Grove Running of the Elk in April. We ran this race together as a family and had a blast. 

Another 5k family race came around in May which was the Cinco de Kilometros de Mayo (5k of May). We love running locally and especially supporting our local running store. At the end of June, my oldest son and I ran the Run for Independence 5k in very hot weather. I must say, i was very proud that day. A month later and about 6 weeks postpartum, Paula and I ran the Fab 40s 5k in which we ran sub 30 min. Again, she never ceases to amaze me with the things she is able to accomplish. 

August's race was the inaugural Disneyland 10k which was the first half of the new Dumbo Double Dare challenge that runDisney has created for Disneyland Resort's main race weekend. The very next day, September 1st, was the second race of the challenge, the Disneyland Half Marathon. We squeaked in two month's races in two days, see what we did there? That entire weekend deserves a recap of it's own. Can we say Coast to Coast?

Paula ran another half marathon, a Rock'n'Roll event, in early October. I was amazed at how organized this race was and it has lead me to sign up for more races with them.  More on that later on. I ran a cool race in Davis, CA called the Oktobrewfest 5k where the medals given out had a bottle opener integrated in the design. How cool is that?! In November, Paula and I ran a Turkey Trot Half Marathon where she achieved a PR in that distance. Last but not least, I ran another 5k this month in December, and achieved a PR myself. The following week Paula and friends ran a neat Santa run where everyone dressed up as Santa, beards and all, for a good cause. 

Whew! That was a lot of racing this year and it feels like we could have done even more. We figured that signing up for races is the hardest part next to getting that first step out the door. Once you commit by registering or signing up for the race, you feel a bit more obligated to train. It was a great year of running, especially getting our kids involved in the sport. They see and feel the benefit of staying active. We set goals, finish races and earn medals. All while having a good time. Together, as a family.