Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Race Weekend Recap

I vowed never to run the full marathon at the San Diego Run Rock 'n' Roll ever again. I kept that promise until earlier this year when I asked my good friend, Brian what his plans were for the San Diego races. Before he could answer, I interrupted by saying that I wanted one of the cool snazzy Marathon Finisher jackets by Brooks. The next thing you know we were both registered for the Full Marathon!

Did I just really do this? There I was, registered for the full marathon - which actually holds my personal best time - all for a stinkin' lightweight jacket. I knew going into this race that I wouldn't be able to come anywhere near my PR time of 3:52:xx but I still needed to go in with some training under my belt. Plus, it was a great excuse to meet up with running friends that we don't get to see too often. 

Happy #nationaldonutday! I had to partake because, Donuts!

Custom Bibs in hand: #WeRunSocial 5k and #BeerMe Full (obviously)

I ran in this box and all I got was a pair of socks. Hey, #freeninetynine

#flatrunner ready to roll

5k

San Diego has to do it big especially since it's the 20th Anniversary of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series. They have a 5k, Half Marathon, Half Marathon Relay and a full Marathon all happening over the weekend. 

Team #RocknBlog before the 5k. Oh hi, Ashley!

I've never run the 5k here in San Diego before - last year some of us were crazy enough to run #Fontana2SD. I was excited to knock out two races this weekend to earn the #remixchallenge medal which are much bigger than last year. Good on ya, RnR for upping the medal game this year!

Yup, that Meb. 

The 5k was a blast and we used it as a shakeout run for the Full the next day. Best part is we caught Meb - you know, the hometown hero, Olympian, Boston Marathon Winner, legend Meb - after the race and took an epic selfie with him. Awesome dude. 

My highlight of the day was surely the brunch we had after the race. Old and new running friends walked with us down to the Hillcrest neighborhood to an EPIC place called Snooze. OMG! Let's just say my FLIGHT! of pancakes was off da hook, bomb diggity! I can't stop thinking about them. 

Smores, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Blueberry

Brunch so good we all had to take a pic of our food. As social runners do. 

We met up with Carlee and Ryan at our hotel and walked to the Expo to pick up bibs and this is when our evil plan began. You see, we have so much love for each other that we hate running alone, especially if it's not a goal race. Brian and I asked, knowing that she was already registered for the Half Marathon, what distance she was running. She smiled, we smirked and so it began. She knew our M.O.  We wanted her to upgrade to the Full and run with us. While walking through the expo, she contemplated the upgrade. Thanks to more convincing (more like Peer Pressuring), and talking to the @SparkleAthletic crew, she was in. And as a matter of fact, we also got the Sparkle Crew to upgrade also! #SCORE! 

We hit up dinner with a few close friends at BASIC pizza. Again, San Diego came through with awesome food and good beer. Knowing we had an early wake up call the next day, we picked up a couple of items for the morning and retired for the night. 

Ready for race no. 2 #BeerMe

Marathon

Our alarms were set for early o'clock and somehow I was just so very tired. We met in the lobby and caught a ride to the start. The ride was quick and easy and we had enough time to get settled, snap a few pics on the way to the front of the corrals and check our bags. I shook the legs out a bit with a quick jog on the East side of the corrals and then met up for one of the most OUTRAGEOUS group pics ever. 

The BEST Threesome Around.

Cookie Monster. Only in SD?

Yes, we roll deep. Check out @builtbybiel with the AMAZING wings in the back!

ProCompression Ambassadors came out in FULL FORCE! #keepittight

Last year, our group was big. This year, it was ginormous. There was a nice ProCompression Ambassador turnout and we were rocking the June Sock of the Month out there on the course. 

After a few selfies, hugs and well wishes, we jumped into the corral to get the 4 hour party started. That was our target finish time. Since Brian is training for a crazy ass Ultra at the SF Marathon next month, he was using this race as a training run of sorts. Remember, I'm in this thing for the jacket. 

Our dear friend, Kristin is coming back from an injury and really just wanted to see what she was able to do with the full distance. The gun goes off and we all naturally fell into our own paces. Turns out, Brian and Carlee ended up out in front and Kristin and I fell in line just behind them. I was comfortable where I was at and let Kristin know that there were no hard feelings if she decided to jump out ahead to see what her legs could do. 

Thx Kristin. My road dog for 26.2 miles. I enjoyed every minute of those 4 hours! 

We ended up running (and walking some) of the entire race together. I honestly couldn't have finished the race with the time I did if it weren't for her. The miles really did fly by since we were talking the whole time. Not until mile 21 (where I always seem to cramp up) did I feel like registering for this race was a bad idea. We had the opportunity to jump down to the half but didn't. 

Hwy 163 at mile 21. No JOKE!

After offering to punch the cramp out of my calf at the base of the uphill climb, we trudged on up the BAD ASS hill that lasted for dayz! Hwy 163 is a terrible portion of the course and will put you in check if you don't respect it. There is even a "Come at me Bro" sign on the road. I didn't take a pic of it because I was busy cursing out my calf. Otherwise I would've been cursing at the sign. 

Marathon finishers. 

We enjoyed the last few miles of gradual downhill onto the finish and crossed the line. I couldn't have been prouder of myself and my running partner. It was difficult but very, very rewarding. 

Another highlight of the trip. Finally meeting the #stuftboys. Follow @stuftmama. You're welcome.

Our pedicab driver was blasting the JAMZ on the way to the hotel! 

I picked up my coveted jacket, medals and post race snacks and we headed back to the hotel to check out and get ready for the...

After the Show its the After Party

Runmatchy with @danielecrago and @staceyannec

Enjoying the views with friends @blingwhore

We arrived at the Float Bar at the top of the Hard Rock Hotel in the Gaslamp district for the @WeRunSocial post race party. The views of downtown SD were amazing. First thing on the agenda? Get a Beer and food. We met up with other finishers, spectators, etc. and celebrated our successes. There was a photographer on site who shot a bunch of candids and some fun group pictures as well. I can't wait to see how they turn out.

Crew with @jenn13.1 and @ejag777

The Sparkle Athletic crew got hustled into running the FULL also and crushed it! @elisewallace and @thisiscarrie

Cheers! Brianne rocked 13.1 and her husband killed 26.2! Killer jackets!

Missy prefers the dirt but conquered the pavement today! EPIC photobomb by Tiffanie

I was looking forward to this the whole weekend. Finishing the race and hanging with the crew is the perfect way to top off the weekend. I don't know if I would ever do the full here again (unless I get "tricked" into it). But hey, that's what I said the last time I ran the full. Go figure. I would love to run the Half Marathon Relay with Paula and that would complete the series for me. San Diego still remains one of my favorite cities to run in. I highly recommend coming down and running one of the races here at the birthplace of Run Rock 'n' Roll. 

Happy 20th @runrocknroll

Peace, San Diego, it's been real. 

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. 

 

#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

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!