#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

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. 

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. 

 

A Different Perspective: The BOB Stroller for Children with Different Abilities

Asher is all smiles sitting next to his older brother, Elias

Asher is all smiles sitting next to his older brother, Elias

A speaker is a nice to have especially when our youngest is soothed by music.

A speaker is a nice to have especially when our youngest is soothed by music.

As a runner, when you have children you know the running game changes.  The days of solo running or "travel light" running are few and far between.  Being a mother runner or father runner means ushering in either a single or double running stroller and all runs with the stroller are then strength training runs, not just for the fact of the added weight, but children want interaction.  An infant might get fussy and older children are either chatty or want to stop and pick up every little speck of nature that you whiz by.  Therefore, preparing for those stroller runs takes thought.  Snacks, blankets, entertainment - which for some that means toys and others it might be a tablet or something similar.  It's all about the bonding with your child/children but also making sure those miles can happen.  

Yet, what type of planning is needed for a child who has special needs?  Does one need a specialized running stroller?  What does it all look like?  As a mom of 4 children I can tell you my stroller running mindset was flipped on its head when my 4th was born and was diagnosed with a rare chromosome deletion.  All that previous experience, although helpful was at times not helpful.  Shopping for a running stroller took more thought and consideration. Reclining options for reflux, feeding tubes, respiratory issues. Seat support for muscle tone. The list goes on.

Perfect amount of leg room and support which comes in handy for Elias to stretch when needed and Asher to have for his leg braces.

Perfect amount of leg room and support which comes in handy for Elias to stretch when needed and Asher to have for his leg braces.

When my first son was born, we had purchased a straight forward, utilitarian jogger.  The two other sons after him also used this stroller.  We packed the typical snacks, drinks, toys, etc.  When my fourth was born, he hated, yes hated the stroller.  The seat was to far recessed for him, didn't offer a lot of support and I couldn't see him at all.  We barely could get down the block without him screaming.  One day I ran 3 miles with him screaming half the time.  I was in tears, he was in tears.  I just kept thinking maybe I'm not moving fast enough, maybe he will eventually tolerate this, maybe he will go to sleep.  None of those things happened. After that I knew that the stroller had to go.  Besides the fact that he came with extra stuff - feeding machine, breathing machine, extra blankets, clothes for his reflux and so on, he did not like not being able to see someone he knew.  We were able to find a stroller for this past year that allowed him to always face me when running which was atypical because with most strollers, only infants in carriers are to able to parent face in a running stroller.  Him being 3 it was a challenge, yet him being small for his age helped him parent face for this last year will minimal stuggles. He has hit a growth spurt as of late which made him a little taller causing us to realize the parent facing time would need to transition to a conventional running stroller fairly soon.  

In comes the BOB Duallie stroller!  I will admit, at first the double stroller was intimidating.  Obviously it is so much more than a single in size and weight.  I'm not a tall woman, 5'3" at best so upon opening the stroller for the first time I was unsure I would even be able to push it. Yet, I was ready to take on the challenge of the push and of having him no longer face me when running.  The perk?  His older brother would be sitting right next to him which has proved more valuable than almost anything.  With my nerves high, I set out for my first double stroller run about a month ago and have since run 65 miles with my new BOB. 

Portable Nebulizer. Right where he needs it.

Portable Nebulizer. Right where he needs it.

I will let you know that the Duallie has been great, yes it really gives me an upper body workout, but it has been perfect in piling in all the items that are needed with a child with special needs.   There are plenty of pockets to put extra clothes and medical needs. The inside pockets next to each seat has been great to store his portable nebulizer.   Easily accessible and in the best location to use when needed.  The pockets, along with the oversized canopy make it perfect to set him up for a breathing treatment and to keep running.  Typically at a stoplight, I can set him up for a treatment when needed, fold down the large canopy that covers him almost entirely and keep chugging along down the street.  It has been a time saver when running with my youngest and he is needing a treatment. *Side note: He is very familiar with his breathing treatments and although he cannot not talk or hold his nebulizer accessories, he is very good about communicating his need for treatment and has learned how to turn his body to receive the treatment.

Wonderful oversized canopies which might be perks for some parents for napping. For parents of children with special needs it is for so much more: sensory stimulation decreased, wind protection so nebulizer machine can be used while running, etc

Wonderful oversized canopies which might be perks for some parents for napping. For parents of children with special needs it is for so much more: sensory stimulation decreased, wind protection so nebulizer machine can be used while running, etc

I should back track a little before continuing on with storage. Each seat has a sort of trunk "brace" for lack of a better word. For my child, with low muscle tone and in need of a little extra trunk or waist support it has been wonderful. He doesn't slouch or fall to the side having that little extra around his hip/waist area. 

Large basket deceptively simply but keeps things dry and debris out

Large basket deceptively simply but keeps things dry and debris out

Back to storage, the large, easily accessible basket in the undercarriage cannot be overlooked. During the past month, I have been running when it then starts to rain. Most of the time it has been a quick sprinkle but less than week ago it was a downpour. Besides picking up the pace because my kiddos were with me, all his medical needs were stored in the stroller and I didn't want them to get wet. Well despite me getting soaked, everything yes everything in that basket stayed dry. I was amazed and grateful.  

 

Another benefit, has been the multiple positions the seat can recline.  Yes, this is not a new perk and many might think how beneficial it is for their child without special needs, but I want to bring light to how huge an aspect this is to parents with children with needs.  As with many children with health and/or developmental needs, angle and reclining position make a big difference in whether the child screams the entire time or smiles or even falls asleep.  Our son has both serious respiratory and reflux issues along with developmental delays.  The first day we took the stroller out, he was fussy and had 2 big, messy reflux incidents.  I'll admit, I felt defeated.  Starting, stopping, cleaning him up (which was a struggle because he is a non mobile 3 year old so I had to hold him while trying to clean up "breakfast" with the other hand).  I wasn't sure the stroller was going to work for him.  Yet, later that day, I put him back in the stroller (yes he was fussy) and after a little over 5 minutes of raising and reclining the seat and we found the perfect angle.  Small, incremental adjustments that to some might drive them crazy, but this family is so grateful that the BOB strollers are able to recline easily and in such a variety of angles.  Since that first day, we has never (knock on wood) cried in the stroller again, has not had a reflux issue and has even taken a nap.  Winning!  

Toys clipped to the red rubber rings, food pouch on the side. We are set! 

Toys clipped to the red rubber rings, food pouch on the side. We are set! 

Just a sampling of the necessary gear we pack in our Duallie.  

Just a sampling of the necessary gear we pack in our Duallie.  

It is the small things that with use, we have come to truly appreciate about the BOB Duallie.  The red rings for toys to be clipped to since our youngest doesn't have the fine motor skills to hold items for a long period of time, not to mention his excellent skill at throwing things overboard.  I know all parents can relate to that skill.  The option of having a swivel wheel or a fixed wheel.  Swivel when we are walking, cooling down after a run is great, because it makes turning two kids and a stroller that equals nearly 100 lbs easier.  Yet, the fixed wheel while running offers so much more stability for him, a smoother ride helping him stay upright and having no reflux issues.  The high weight limit is also a perk.  It allowed me to transition the youngest from a parent facing, single stroller to a forward facing double stroller because he was able to sit next to his brother.  Without such an experience, I am not sure how the transition would have happened.  

I have to expand a little on the maximum weight and height topic just slightly.  I had posed the question: Does one need a specific stroller for children with special needs?  The answer is yes and no.  Depending on the need, but for our son who is 3, he is quite small for his age.  A specialized stroller would be extremely big for him, he would sit very recessed in the seat, little to no pockets for things that he would need and many other things.  The BOB Duallie has been wonderful in transitioning him to forward facing.  He's getting taller, he's gaining weight but he is still a little guy who is just not ready to be in a specialized running stroller.  And really, for his medical challenge, he might not be ready for such a stroller for many many years.  So we owe a thank you to our new BOB Duallie for giving Asher - giving us the next step in our stroller running adventures.   

The family, minus the husband.  How 90% of my running happens: stroller and bikes running all over town. 

The family, minus the husband.  How 90% of my running happens: stroller and bikes running all over town. 

Disclaimer: We received this stroller from BOB Gear in exchange for our honest and unbiased review. All opinions are genuine, truthful and our own based on use with a child having special needs. 

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.

image.jpg

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!   

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!

image.jpg

We've talked about it before and it's probably obvious - having 4 children and full time jobs makes training challenging for both of us. Yes, we try to include the children in our workouts and runs as much as possible, but we never want to force them to participate (they have to be willing) and there has to be training times where we can run to our best ability and then some. They say, if you want to be fast then run fast. So we have to have days where we can "run fast". (By no means am I saying Dave and I are fast, just working hard to be fast. 😉).  

So how can we both run in one day, after work and not be in he dark you ask?  We call it #runnerswitch. After work, dinner is either really simple, leftovers (yup we do that) or prepped beforehand (hello crockpot!). While the family eats dinner, one of us gets ready and runs 4-6 miles to a selected park. The family meets the runner at the park and "tag your it!", the other one runs the 4-6 miles home. It's the best way we can equally get training time and the kids get outdoors for an hour+!  Win win!!!  

With the weather getting warmer, daylight longer #runnerswitch is back!  And we love it. When this time of year comes along we get to spend almost every night of the week running and playing at the park.   It's a family affair for sure where everyone gets to  participate in physical activity, enjoy the outdoors and enjoy each other's company. It is extremely important to us to model for our children healthy living which also means balance. We do not force our children to run, play soccer, tennis, etc but emphasize keeping active even if it's climbing, jumping and running around a park. Fun and family is what it's all about. 

If you have children, how do you and your partner get training runs in?  How do you involve your children in running and/or staying active?    

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.

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.

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. 

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

#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.