Monday, November 30, 2015

Cyber Monday Deals for Runners & Fitness Enthusiasts

Because it's a great day to save some cash, right? Whether you're shopping for a runner in your life or trying to score some goodies for yourself (because there's nothing wrong with that!), here are some of my favorite companies, races, and products offering some stellar deals today! Except for (some of) the race codes at the bottom, I am not benefitting nor being compensated for sharing these sales - they're all just products I love and believe in, and hopefully you will too!

Attire / Accessories

Y'all know I love my Sparkly Soul more than words can say, and now you can jump on a super sweet deal. 20% of all headbands and with an order of every $50 (after discount), you get another free one (select colors apply). Hooray sparkles!

So admittedly I haven't actually purchased anything Orange Mud yet, but as a local So Cal company, I'm already sold (sorry, I missed Small Business Saturday!). But after lots of trail runs with some super OM fans, I'm just about to click 'Checkout' on my OM cart! 

Raw Threads has some super cute Disney, Star Wars, holiday-themed attire (including some suprise grab bags) and there's tons to love! They are super comfy and soft, and one of my favorite go-to tanks stores. There might be some things in my cart already...

Specifically on these beauties below, the We Run Social (WRS Boom) sock is 40% off with code WRS. I just got mine in the mail on Saturday and I CANNOT wait to rock them at some races soon! Love. 

Select items up to 60% off - I'm eye-balling a new watch, as my old baby is slowly telling me it's time to retire her, so I'm certainly checking out some deals today! Oh, the temptation. 

Runner's fun paradise - necklaces, ornaments, medal racks, you name it! Free shipping (lower 48 states only) with code CY15. 

Take 25% off everything on their website with code TG2015. 

Race Discounts

Santa Hustle Race Series - Various Locations + Virtual // Various Dates
Save $5 on any race distance/location or the virtual race with code MJOHNSTON15

Holiday Half Marathon - Pomona, CA // December 12 - 13, 2015
Save $10 today ($5 any other day) with code HHMAMB15MJ

ZOOMA Women's Race Series - Various Locations // Various Dates 
Save 15% off of any 2016 ZOOMA Race with code CYBERMONDAY.

Surf City Marathon & Half Marathon - Huntington Beach, CA // February 7, 2016
Save 10% off registration of the half or full marathon with code SCMJOHNSTON10

OC Marathon and Half Marathon // Costa Mesa, CA // May 1, 2016
Use code OCGIVING for $10 off either the half or full marathon. Please let them know I referred you - Megan Johnston - when you sign up! Code valid until Tuesday, 12/1, 11:59 pm.

Good news! My code from 2015 is now also good for the 2016 Arizona, New Orleans, and DC races! Save $15 with code RUNMEGANRUN

Spartan Race - Various Locations // Various Dates
Code CYBER will save you up to $40 off of 2016 Spartan races ($20 off all Sprint races, $30 off all Spartan Supers, $40 off Spartan Beast) and 30% off Spartan gear!

You can check out all my other race discounts here

What are you hunting for on this fine Monday morning?

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Race Recap: Inaugural Riverside Turkey Trot

Riverside, CA | November 26, 2015

I'd been eye-balling a turkey trot race for a while, but couldn't decide on which one to do. I'd done the local Claremont trot two years ago, but as soon as I heard about this inaugural race and it offering a 15K, I knew I was in. 15Ks are hard to come by, especially around here, so I was super excited to not only be running, but to get another chance to pace this race. I was in for the 15K and Doug then signed up for the 5K -- look at us both getting our pre-turkey sweat on!

The race also offers a combo challenge - 15K and then the 5K and you get a bonus medal. The 15K started at 7 am for that reason, and then the 5K not until 8:45 so you had a solid hour + 45 minutes to finish the 9.3 miles, jog back to the race start (.10 miles, if that) and start again with the 5K. 

15K course map.
5K course map.
While race day packet pick up was offered, Doug and I made our way down to south Riverside (Arlington Park, home of the Citrus Heritage races) on Sunday morning to get our stuff, as we figured it was one less thing to worry about on race day. 

Since the start times were so drastically different, I left home by myself about 5:45 to be at the start line at 6:15 to meet up with the other pacers and get things in order. It was mighty cold, and I'm glad I left my long sleeve tech shirt on and didn't even get warm until mile 8 (which says a lot because normally my arms are warm in the first two miles). Doug and his coaching buddy Eddie followed along about 8 am for their later start time. 

There was a good number of people lined up for the 15K - again, the selling point being that 15Ks are hard to come by! Final results show just over 350 finishers, which is a pretty great turn out for that race, and then another 900 for the 5K alone. Fantastic, in my books, for an inaugural race. 

As the 12:00 minute pacer, I was looking forward to a good, fat-burning slow run and just wanted to enjoy the morning, as cool and perfect as it was for a race. There were a couple of folks who lined up around me, but only one guy, Dave, actually hung with me the entire race as we talked about races, running the 50 states, his daughters and running partners, and literally killed the entire race just talking. Sometimes those are the best ways to distract yourself during a race! 

Running along the Santa Ana River trail was absolutely beautiful and a great change in scenery. I'll be running at Fairmount Park for Lace Up again next weekend, so it was nice to have a slight change in scenery but also to familiarize myself with the area and what I'm getting into for next weekend's half marathon! We were a little fast coming into the second turnaround at mile 6, so got to slow up a bit and enjoy the last few miles - my Garmin came in about .10 miles short (9.2) so we were tracked at a slightly speedier pace than what we maintained. I was relieved to see that another pacer or two had also caught the course short and that it wasn't just me! 

After the next pacer came in and I could pass off my signs, I headed backwards along the 5K course (also the last 1.5 of the 15K course) to find Doug and run him in a bit. I ran with him for another half mile or so until he hit the monster downhill into the finish, and then ran back up to find his friend Eddie (his second 5K ever, and his first was just five days prior!) to run with him the rest of the way in. An extra 1.8 miles for me to round out to an even 11 for the day! 

Medal adorableness.
We hung out at the finish line for a bit and then made our way out to head to a (light!) breakfast before getting on with our Thanksgiving day excitement (Disneyland + duh, dinner!). A great race, Eddie PRed and Doug ran just about his target time for the 5K. A success all in all! 

Race Pros:
- Great course; mostly flat and fast with few rolling hills
- Fantastic medal + tech shirt for both 5K and 15K participants 
- Pacers for both races 

Race Cons:
- It's totally a pet peeve for things to say "1st Annual" because for as much as you intend for it to be an annual thing, you never know... plus, having an "inaugural" medal makes it that much cooler! But that's minor. 
- 15K course slightly short 

Seriously, for an inaugural race(s), I have no major complaints whatsoever. I loved the course, the company, the volunteers that were out (high schoolers) spending their Thanksgiving morning with us! A super job well done to the Riverside Road Runners for a great race and a great Thanksgiving morning!

Did you Turkey Trot this year? How was your race?

Race Recap: Inaugural USA Invitational Half Marathon

San Diego, CA | November 21, 2015

I always like to preface races with the fact (if it applies) that it's an inaugural race, as I really feel that drives a lot of how my recap shapes up. I signed up for this race in like, April, when it first opened, as a hope to get it as cheap as possible - but I believe that registration was still upwards of $110 or so, so not a cheap endeavor as it is. 

What I did love about this race was the concept of it being promoted like the Boston Marathon of half marathons - you needed a qualifying time per your age group to be able to sign up. 

I'm really glad that my age group went up just six weeks before the race, otherwise I wouldn't have cut it! (My current standing 1:50 PR isn't in my name, womp womp). But you know they mean business when there are such crazy cutoff times, amIright?

Unfortunately, there was no race-day packet pick up, but I heard the expo was pretty small and lackluster anyway, so I didn't miss too much. A friend of mine picked up my bib and jacket for me so I could just meet her at the start line. I drove down Friday night after work and went to my old supervisor's house to crash on his couch for the night - thanks Darrell! After a long drive down into San Diego, I got there about 9 and crashed practically right away for a night on the couch and a 4:45 alarm clock.

The race started at 6 am - aside from Disney, I don't know many races with that early of a start line for a half, but I realize thta it's probaby due to city permits and getting so many streets in downtown San Diego closed off or partially closed off for a few hours on a Saturday morning.

I got to the start line about 5:15, walked the five minutes to the start line from my free street parking, and hung out waiting for Jen. Lucky for me, Carlee was almost there too, so I got to catch up with her fabulous self for 20 minutes or so while we discussed how small the race looked and what it'd really be like... 
Love this girl so much! Follow her on IG for some real inspiration.
I decided to start the race with the 1:55 pacer. Surely if I could run a 1:59 the weekend before at Surfers Point without feeling like I was working for it, then surely I could manage a 1:55 and just push myself a bit, right? I made my way into the corrals, found my way up to the 1:55 sign, got my Garmin set... and it died. DIED. Right there, despite being charged completely on Thursday night. Well, that's super - guess I'll run with 1:55 guy and hope he stays consistent enough for me to hold on to such a time. 

If you've done Rock 'n Roll San Diego, the last 3-4 miles of those courses (this year's version, at least) are the first four of this course. Re: rolling downhills become rolling uphills in/out of downtown and through Balboa Park. The hills aren't crazy steep, but long enough grades that they're tough - I hung with 1:55 through the first mile marker and felt so great that I actually powered past him on the uphill. I demolished those hills, taking on the mantra of someone I'd talked to the weekend prior - power the uphill, power the downhill, recover on the flats. So I did. I was well ahead of 1:55 through the mile 5 marker even and feeling good! I played leapfrog with another IERC runner, who I'd pass on the uphill and he'd blast past me on the downhill. At mile 5, 1;55 almost caught me but I powered on down and got a few yards a head. Here, you come down Washington Ave on a crazy long downhill (almost a full mile) before running into the 5 freeway and making a sharp right. It was here that I saw people slamming on their figurative brakes and making U-turns around some cones: Meb was out giving high fives and cheers! Hello, if this wasn't the most appropriate time to stop for a photo!
Runner life bucket list item = complete! 
 It was here that 1:55 caught up to me, passed me, and I never saw him again. I tried really hard to pump myself up again, but it was just about mile 7 that the hills caught up to me, the sun came out and it got warm fast. 

The last five miles are just roads down around the harbor and airport, and are less than thrilling. Aid station volunteers were awesome, but these back roads kinda sucked. Case and point? Mile 11 was down the backside of the back road of the Hertz Rent a Car at the San Diego Airport. Um, woo? 

It was at 11.8 that the 2:00 pacer passed me by all of three steps to which I said "Oh hell no!" and turned on the last bit of my guns to stick at least a few feet ahead of her. I knew she had started a little behind me, so I was closing in on just hitting a finish time with a 2 in front. At 12.5 I turned on a little bit more, to which she said "Finish strong! I always tell people... do you want the 1:59:49 or the 2:00:37?!"
Guess what my finish time was.


I wish I were kidding. Girl jinxed me! 

At any rate, for an inaugural race, there are some high points but some things that I hope they continue to work on. I know they've mentioned that as the race gains popularity, they hope to make the qualifying times even more competitve - but the infrastructure of the race itself could use a little bit of work. 

- Free race photos, huzzah! 
- Nice finishers jacket (see cons, though) 
- Awesome freaking medal
- Fantastic volunteers

- Post-race snacks were kinda... gross. Honestly, I grabbed a banana and called it a day, but while there was a whole buffet of things, most folks I saw after the race were walking right by them
- Jacket wasn't quite as advertised. On the website, it looked much more like a windbreaker-type jacket, but in the end was a track jacket with a simple screenprint and no pockets! They were also running huge on people - I guess I lucked out - and mine shrunk a little in the wash.
- For being a "USA" based race in a heavily military-based city, I wish there were some military dedication or thanks for service for those running and/or watching and/or in the area. 
- No gear check. 
- Continue developing expo (again, as I've heard, given that I didn't get to experience for myself)

Overall, the race was good. I don't know that I'd pay the price again, but maybe down the line as they continue to make improvements from a first-year race. Given the course is a point-to-point, gear check wouldn't be difficult to add and is certainly a benefit to out-of-town folks who don't have spectators to hold on to their things. 

How do you feel about a qualifying half marathon? Did you run this race? Your thoughts?

Friday, November 20, 2015

Cowbells Aren’t Enough: Spectating an Ironman

I’ve known of people who have done an Ironman – running circle acquaintances, former Ragnar teammates, but I haven’t actually known someone who has completed at Ironman. But meet Jacky – and the other 9 IERC athletes – who did that this past Sunday. I know a ton of Ironmen now! Some to better degrees than others, but regardless, when you’re on a 140.6-mile journey in one day (let alone 17 hours), who cares who you know on that sideline right?
(credit: Ironman Arizona Facebook)
Monica and I made our way out to Phoenix on Saturday – once I hauled back from Ventura - (left Rancho Cucamonga about 12:45 pm, so 1:45 pm in Arizona) and got to Phoenix about 6:30 on Sunday evening. We’d been tracking our athletes the entire car ride, so we knew who was kicking tail and where people were in their run. We knew we’d only be there for the run, and as disappointing as that was, that’s where you saw the grit. The determination. The pain. And the finish line.
We picked up Kasey as our official Ironman sherpa, since she lives just a few miles from the course and is all over the tri circuit in Phoenix so she knows Tempe like the back of her hand. It helps she went to ASU, too, so she knew the whole Mill Ave and Tempe Beach Park area.
We caught up with our other IERC spectators about mile 25.8, just around the final corner into the finish chute and right where the runners head into their turnaround for loop 2, so two varying degrees of people out on their run. There were about a dozen of us at that point – wives, friends, moms – all out cheering on our folks all day in the rain and crazy weather that Tempe had in store. It rained on and off while we were out there, but nothing like what our athletes had endured the previous 12 hours at that point.
Jacky had no idea Monica and I were coming out – she knew we wanted to but that, much like most of our club, she thought we’d be streaming online and cheering from our couches. When we caught her at mile 25.9, she hugged her mom and made her way down the IERC line and THEN PASSED US. We yelled “HEY!” to which she turned back and screamed, realizing it was. The video is priceless – and NSFW, as there’s a little Ironman-in-pain cursing. But it’s priceless and worth your watch, especially for her freakout. 

Tips for Spectating Ironman Arizona Along the Course
Mind you, I was there for the run and run only. This is based on course info, things I know, and other snippets collected!

The swim: There's nothing like seeing thousands of athletes of varying skill levels dive into icy water for an open-water swim first thing in the morning. Swimming 2.4 miles is hard. Swimming 2.4 miles with 2800 other athletes? Harder. The  Arizona swim was previously known as the “washing machine” as it was one large, mass start (yes, seriously), but now is waved by anticipated finish time.

The pros start at 6:45 a.m.; amateurs at 7. Spectators can look down onto the water from the easternmost Mill Avenue bridge. Athletes also must pass twice beneath the Rural/Scottsdale Road bridge. There’s also plenty of places for spectators to sit along the bridges/walls to watch river-side.
The bike ride: Each loop (athletes complete three) is a little more than 37 miles. A great spot to watch the riders is at the corner of Rio Salado Parkway and McClintock Drive in Tempe. Athletes will make this turn twice on each loop, so there are six opportunities to see your favorite racer. And it's just a short walk up the concrete path to a turn-around on the run course.
The run: After dismounting their bikes at Tempe Beach Park, athletes transition to the two-loop run. There are plenty of spots to make yourself comfortable – depending how many times you want to see your athlete, or you can keep moving, too, and catch them in multiple spots along the way.
Athletes go under the Mill Ave Bridge seven times to cheering fans, friends and family members who are close enough to offer high-fives. You'll be inspired, and that stretch is a big lift for the athletes, too.
Spectating Details, Tips and Tricks
When to Go: The start is at 7 a.m. and athletes have 17 hours to finish the course, with cutoffs along the way if they're not on pace to finish by midnight. The pro men will start coming in just more than 8 hours after their start, with the pro women not far behind.
Study Up: Know the course, know where you want to be and where your athlete needs you to be (if you’re there for specific people). Figure out road closures – especially at Arizona, because it’s in the heart of Tempe, and road closures were all over the place. Thankfully we had our sherpa to get us around it all, but you’re not always so lucky!
For Inspiration: Be at the last turn before the finishers’ chute to see athletes in their most tired, often weakest, but proudest and strongest moments. See the smile on their faces as they turn that corner and hear Mike Reilly’s words. Also consider being at the finish at midnight. It's so uplifting to watch the final finishers. It is even customary for the pro winners to come back to the finish line to welcome the last competitors – an amazing testimony to athletes and their support for one another, professional or not.
Athlete Tracking: Spectators can track their favorite athlete at Click on the "Race Coverage" tab and type in a name or bib number. It will show the athlete's progress during the race as well as a projected finishing time. Note that this has a HUGE lag, because, duh, everyone is using it at the same time. Plan ahead based on your athlete’s last marked checkpoint.
Must Haves: A portable phone charger (because it will inevitably die as you try and update the athlete tracker); SNACKS (especially if you have little ones with you); weather-appropriate layers or attire. Signs, cowbells, noisemakers, high fives and a LOT of energy. Your athletes (and others!) will need it!
Parking: There are plenty of parking garages and lots on and around Mill Avenue, which is where we got in with no problems even at 6 pm on race day. Walkable to finish line and plenty of other points along the course.
More general Ironman tips hereCongratulations IERC family! We’re proud of you!
She did it! And KILLED it in 12:43! 
Have you ever gotten to spectate an Ironman? Other tips you have?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Race Recap: Surfers Point Half Marathon

November 15, 2015 | Ventura, CA

Surfers Point is another small, local race put on by Elite Sports California. I got to run my first ESC race at the West Hills Half last January, and I’d heard good things about Surfers Point, so I was excited when I was given the opportunity to pace and check it out finally. After running Ventura in September, but seeing that this course goes in the opposite direction, I was more excited to see some of the Ventura coastline you don’t get at Ventura.

After Saturday’s Lace Up 10K, Tina and I headed home for pizza, showers, and to get her to the airport. I was in the middle of doing laundry and getting things together when I realized that the expo for Surfers Point ended at 2. It was already 1:30 at this point, so I figured that since I was now really in no rush to get out to Ventura (just under 2 hours away), that I’d stick around for Doug and grab dinner with him after the football game was over.

I made it to Ventura about 8 pm and had grabbed a cheap hotel room with Patty, who I’d paced with at Revel two weeks ago. I rely on naps – I won’t lie – and after being up and going since 4:45 am with no nap, I passed out probably before 8:30. Patty asked me in the morning if the trains had bothered me, to which I replied, “What trains?” I was out cold.

We got spoiled with some beautiful weather – I had one light jacket on but shorts, compression socks, and my Beast Pacing shirt otherwise and it was beautiful. There was rain forecasted to roll in about 11 am, but you wouldn’t have been able to know given how clear it was. Spoiled – thank you, Southern California!
Small races are great because they allow for an easy morning-of packet pick up. There’s no gear check advertised so Patty and I were a little uncertain about that, but more on that in a bit. We were meeting with the pace team at 6:30, so we left our hotel at 6:15 for the quick walk around the corner, to get our bibs and shirts, and get situated before meeting with the team. My check in went something like this:

Megan: stands at the table for 5+ minutes waiting for someone
Staff: I need some folks to help check in!
Girl: jumps over
Staff: Okay, so you’ll start by asking for their last name and then finding them on the list, highlight… carries off, kind of walks away
Megan: I’m Megan _____, bib 713, right there.
Girl: Okay, so then…
Megan: I need my bib.

The bibs were sorted numerically with cardboard dividers labeling each section (700-720, for example).

Girl: grabs cardboard divider
Megan: No, I need the one that says 713
Girl: OH! Laughs awkwardly. And then what?
Megan: I need my chip.
Girl: Reaches into box and grabs any ol’ chip.
Megan: No, I need the chip that reads 713 too.
Girl: Oh!

Hands me chip, then stands there as if she expects me to walk away.
Megan: Can I get my shirt and bag, too?

So that was a hard process. I couldn’t tell if this girl was just a volunteer or part of the race staff, but it seemed really difficult to just get my bib and find out more about gear check (it existed, just not open yet).  We met up with the pace team, got our mandatory pre-race photos and get situated. The marathon started at 7 am, the half at 7:15, and the 5K/10Ks at 7:30. We saw the marathoners off (all 140 of them), got our stuff in gear check, one last porto stop and made our way into the starting chute with the 350 half marathoners. 

So I was scheduled to be the 2:30 pacer but earlier in the week someone dropped, so Vanessa asked if I'd be able to handle the 2:00 group. Mind you, the fastest I've ever paced was 2:10 and that was just last weekend at Revel. But yes, I know I can run a sub-2 on a pancake flat course and maybe this was the mental push I needed to prove that I can do it somewhere besides Fontana. Sold. 

We spent a little while in the chute, as they released "waves" 2 minutes apart - totally unnecessary in my opinion, as the race was tiny and didn't need such far-apart releases. I had a few folks who said they wanted to make sure they stayed ahead of me, or somewhere near me, but only one man, Charles, who started with me. He had run Santa Clarita the weekend before, but wanted to stick as close to me as he could. He dropped off at the second or third water stop. Sad.

So yes, I quite literally almost ran this entire race by myself. I had folks in, around and near but no one actually running with me for 11 miles! Sad times. I met a fun couple from Kansas City at mile 7 or so, and a lady who very loudly said "Oh, shit!" when I passed her because her goal was to make sure to stay ahead of me. A girl caught up to me at mile 11 and was stoked because she had started 2 minutes behind me and had CAUGHT UP TO ME. Girl was killin' it and just wanted to hang tight with me til the finish - at mile 12, I told her to turn on the gears. She gave a big smile and kicked it up a notch! I wish I had caught her name to see her final finish, but she rocked. 

The Course
Save for a few dents and dips in the road, this course is nearly flat as flat gets. There's one good incline just after the turnaround, probably mile 7 or so (turnaround about 5.2), but is gradual enough that it really cannot affect you at all! 

My Garmin indicated lowest elevation was 7 feet, highest was 78 feet. Pancakes. 

Miles 1-5: The race starts at Promenade Park, near the Ventura Pier, and heads north along the bike and walking trail along the beach and the coast. The race is early enough that there were not many folks out yet, so not too much road traffic to dodge, which was nice. The coruse heads up along a side road that parallels Highway 1, so you get to see the water literally for 13.1 miles. 

Miles 6-10: The turnaround for the half (marathon is two loops of the same course) is at 5.2ish, so it's just double-backing the way we just came. No sweat. This is the one "big" incline (re: where those 70 feet in elevation change come from), but also along the point where you're so close to the water, you get misted if the waves crash hard enough. That was pretty delightful. I know I picked it up along here but it was such a beautiful day and I couldn't believe I was so spoiled with two oceanfront courses in the same weekend

Miles 11-13.1: Somewhere around mile 10, you pass the start/finish line and head down towards the pier, much like where Ventura starts and finishes. Luckily I knew this area from September and knew it was flat, asphalt, and easy peasy to hang on to. Girl who was trying to crush her sub-2 goal caught up to me about 11 and hung tight until I told her to get moving at mile 12 and she did! I hit mile 13 at 1:58 something, so I stopped and walked the last .1 in as slow as I could muster.

That's ridiculously tiny, sorry! My final time was 1:59:02, though my Garmin read 1:59:39 at my finish, so I'm not sure where I came in short - a little too fast for the pace target (1:59:30 should have been the fastest), but I'm stoked that I was able to pull off this sub-2!

Pretty consistent, and you can tell where I certainly picked it up some! The best part for me, aside from helping a few folks make their goal at the end, is that this 1:59 didn't feel hard. It felt quite comfortable, which means I'm making some really good progress with my training and that maybe there's a PR in sight for me at Surf City (did I just say that aloud?).

Best post race food? I tell ya what, it's not Saturday's salad and mushroom empanadas. It's THESE!

Heck yes, street tacos. I devoured these suckers at the finish line while waiting for the next pacer to come in so I could pass off our pace signs and hit the road back to Rancho to get on the road to Phoenix! More on that tomorrow. :)

What's the BEST post-race food you've gotten? This seems to be a theme this week...

Monday, November 16, 2015

Race Recap: Lexus Lace Up Palos Verdes 10K

Lexus Lace Up Palos Verdes 10K
November 14 | Palos Verdes, CA 

Photo courtesy of Lexus Lace Up

I was obviously going to be doing this race all along, but when Tina said she'd be in town I knew I had to jump at the chance to get to run with her! Even better, when I got moved from pacing 2:30 to 2:00 on Sunday, I knew I shouldn't be running the half on Saturday, so I took the opportunity to run the 10K instead (a hilly course throughout) and spend an extra hour (and 9 minutes) with my bestie. 

Tina and I left the house about 5:15 to make the hour-ish drive down to PV and find parking. Turns out we found the one parking lot that required you to take the shuttle down to the race start, so we found some random porto-potties first (hooray no lines!) and made our way to the shuttles. Turns out, one of the four hired bus drivers showed up that morning, so the poor man was angry and frazzled as he was the only one carting people back and forth. Needless to say, there were tons of us still on the top of the hill at 6:45 when the half and 10K were supposed to start at 7 (5K at 7:05). A member of the race staff came running over and told us the race would be starting late. 

We caught the second run of the bus driver and got down to the race area just about 7. Easy peasy packet pick up -- I love that these races are small enough (1,000 runners among the three distances) so race-day pick up is a breeze -- t-shirt, bib, bag, check! Gear check wasn't an issue either, as nearly everyone else (save for a few of us, like Tina and I!) had already been settled for a while.

Finally, about 7:20 we were off. Tina runs 4:1 intervals lately with some knee issues, so I told her I'd stick with her and have a fun, easy day! She just got a new interval timer so it wasn't cooperating so I all of a sudden was counting minutes - which I think helped keep me distracted too. Sometimes we'd walk an extra minute, so I'd have us run an extra minute! The rolling hills were enough to keep your muscles in check but for a girl from Phoenix, these hills were a new concept for Tina! I used to live down near this race, so I knew exactly what was coming for us. 

The course is pretty non-descript, just a main road along the coast - but the views are certainly something to behold. 

Miles flew by for me, Tina powered up hills as best as she could and we were at the turnaround before we knew it. The only super crappy hill is the long one just after the 10K turnaround, and it was even before this point that I decided I was glad I didn't do the half that day. The 10K was just what I needed and challenging enough to get a good workout in.

Tina said her PR was somewhere around a 1:11 - she knew she hadn't broken 1:10 yet, so I kept banking on the fact that if we kept our intervals up at a decent pace, she'd PR that day! I didn't tell her this and she wouldn't let me tell her at the one point I wanted to, so I kept pushing our intervals, pushing pace just a little (sorry Tina!) and got her to run the last .2 all the way into the finish! PR, yo! 

We found our way through the finish area. Unlike Irvine, this parking lot was super tight, so tables and tents were right on top of each other. We found our way to gear check, post-race snacks (animal cookies might be my new favorite post-race munchie ever) and got changed to find our way to the food truck and beer garden.

On our way, I commented that one of the things I love about this series is the ability to check your results on the TV screen right then and there. For the first time ever (of the two previous Lace Up races I've done) they had a volunteer sitting there to type in information. Clearly this girl was from a local high school group or something and she was just taught how to type in bib numbers and pull up results because when she first pulled up Tina, her results said "11:06:07." The girl goes, "Um, yeah, like 11 minutes, right?" We laughed and said that wasn't humanly possible (1:47 pace). So we pulled up mine, which said the same thing, and she goes, "So like, 11 hours then?" Um, no hunny, I didn't start running last night. *sigh* We figured they'd upate later on that day. On to the beer! 

I'm not usually the one to take my  beer, but it was cold and actually sounded kind of good - I only drank about half my Sierra Nevada, but oh well. There was also supposed to be post-race brunch from Scratch, but it turns out the space (parking lot) where the race was wasn't permitted for a food truck, so they just had a booth set up. Post-race brunch? More like a salad and some kind of mushroom empanada thing...

Ew. So we packed up, walked our way back to the bus, and headed home. Good thing we had leftover pizza from the night before anyway! 

I'm so glad I got time with Tina and am so glad we got to run together too! We haven't since Ragnar Del Sol in February (also the last time I saw her, nonetheless) so this was just what I needed! Final results came in later on Saturday to confirm Tina's ~3 minute PR (formerly a 1:12:xx in the end!) and now a smashing 1:09 and change. What an awesome way to spend her morning with me! :)

What's the worst post-race food you've ever been offered?

I serve as an ambassador for the entire Lace Up series and as such, was provided my race entry complimentarily. All opinions are my own and do not reflect the opinions of other ambassadors nor the Lace Up organization.