Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tips on Spectating a Race

Now, please hear me out - I am NOT saying that I am a professional spectator (especially seeing as I only officially spectated my FIRST race a few weeks ago), but as part of the BEST CHEERING STATION AT THE LA MARATHON (voted on by the 4 of us in our cheer squad) as well as running numerous races myself, I thought I would throw out some tips if you were ever planning on spectating a race (which I highly, highly, HIGHLY suggest) that you may not automatically think about.

1. Signs

Making a sign specific to the race or current events is KEY. Obviously there are still great generic ones, but the ones that stand out tend to be the ones that are particular to that area or time.

For example, a couple days before the Phoenix Marathon two llamas were running around Phoenix. Apparently it was a slow news day, so quite a few news channels were covering the malarkey. Soon after, the Twitter-sphere got a hold of the #LlamaDrama and hilarity ensued. Well, hubby decided his Phoenix Marathon sign would be a hand drawn picture of a llama (yes, he is a very talented artist). Someone with the Phoenix Marathon actually saw him making it and took his picture (which was featured on both their Twitter and Instagram accounts).

Source: @PhoenixMarathon's Twitter Feed

When we were spectating the LA Marathon, Michael came up with a couple location specific signs. LA residents totally understood the "At least you aren't sitting on the 405" sign and the fan favorite was "Even PRETTY WOMEN cried on Rodeo Dr" (which was PERFECT since we were on the corner of Rodeo Dr).

I was trying to get OUT of the picture and
ended up looking like Sasquatch in the background...
Photo Credit: Andrea

2. Cowbells/ Noise Makers

Before spectating myself, I would have just said USE YOUR VOICE, but after yelling for hours on end, having something you can shake helps you to be able to wake up the following morning with some sort of voice left. I love that some races are giving cowbells out at the Expos. I mean, like Christopher Walken says, "GOTTA HAVE MORE COWBELL".


The issue with those cheap cowbells is that they aren't of the best quality. While shaking mine at the LA Marathon my little bell portion would get stuck. Not only that, but the metal actually ended up scrapping skin off of some of my fingers (the rough life of a spectator...). I have seen some online that look BOSS GETTIN' IT! They have a big handle and look pretty legit. I think I might need to invest in one of these if I plan on spectating any more races (or maybe I should just get one for the hubby when he comes to watch me ;)).

Shoot, you could even customize it with stickers or bling!

3. Running Clothes

Although you won't be running the race, you should probably dress like you were planning on it. You will be on your feet the entire time. I would recommend comfortable shoes (I wore running shoes that I have "retired". They are still great shoes, but have hit their 500 mile mark so I probably shouldn't run in them any longer.). I wore Pro Compression socks too, which help alleviate the swelling your feet and legs may normally get from standing for long periods of time.

Of course I still laid out a #FlatSpectator outfit ;)

Whether you are going to be standing in one stop all day or chasing your runner around the course, make sure you are dressed for the occasion. (I also brought a book bag with me with a couple extra layers in case it was cooler during the morning hours or I needed to swap out a sweaty tank top from the heat.)

4. Snacks/ Goodies

If you are spectating for friends who are running, make sure to take orders of what they might want (remember it is important to tell them where on the course you are planning on being - that way they know how far along in their race you will be and what would work best for them at that point). We carted a cooler with us (and even had runners we didn't know ask us for goodies out of it).

Photo Credit: Michael

For example, Ivie requested peanut butter filled pretzel nuggets and a replacement visor, while Linzie wanted Girl Scout cookies and Coke. Another crowd pleaser were the orange slices, cold wash clothes, and mini bottles of water. (And when I am running I will ALWAYS stop for a Red Vine or Otter Pop. I mean taking candy from strangers on a race course isn't as sketchy, right?!)


I have to say, I am a little embarrassed that it took me so long to spectate a race (I guess my selfish thought process is "If I am going to be at a race course, I might as well be running"), but now that I have, I know how rewarding it can be!

Are there any tips you think I left out? 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Healthy Habits UPDATE

I made it! 40 days of my Healthy Habits! 
In case you missed my original post, I decided I would ADD and SUBTRACT a couple habits for the Lent season (I am not Catholic, but figured it was as good a time as any to try some lifestyle changes).

I ADDED flossing, a plank-a-day (increasing in one second increments every day from 1:01 to 1:40), and working on my handstand. 

I SUBTRACTED sweets and media after 8pm on work nights (phone and computer curfew on the nights I worked the following morning).

I need to be honest, I accidentally slipped ONCE... Ryan and I went to get Mexican a couple weeks back. On our way out he grabbed me a sucker like he normally does. Without thinking about it I put it in my mouth. About 30 seconds later, as I was just getting ready to say how tasty it was, I realized it was a sweet and spit it out! 

Other than that one incident I think I held true to everything daily. 

Although I don't eat a lot of sweets, I think removing sweets was the hardest of the things I changed. Thankfully my fiber chewies seemed to curb my sweet tooth when I took my vitamins after dinner. 

I still can't do a handstand, but I did attempt them every day. I watched a couple YouTube videos showing me some tips. I would start with a downward dog with my feet against the wall and then walk them up. One at a time I would take a foot off the wall and hold it (at least I got the feeling of doing a handstand). I would also put my head and shoulders on the wall and try to kick my legs up. Neither have been successful in making me a gymnast, but at least I gave it a go for 40 days.

I think the only habit that will stick around is the flossing. I "try" to do it daily anyway, but this was a way to get me back to EVERY day. Hopefully I remember to do it now that Lent is over. I am sure my dentist will be happy about this one too (although I never really have any teeth issues).

Obviously I know I can always have more core strength, so planks are a quick and easy way to work on it. I will probably do another Plank Challenge soon, but for now I think I will take a break on the daily option.

I did like the electronic curfew. I have always heard that you should try and shut down your electronics at least 15-30 minutes before you go to bed to help with sleep (the light and stimulation tend to keep your eyes and mind going, going, going). I found that with my 8pm curfew I would end up going to bed close to 8:30pm so it sort of forced me to get more sleep at the same time. I think I will try to continue to refrain from using the phone or computer in bed, but probably won't be as strict with the time cut-off. 

(Oh yeah, I did have one work night that I had to use my phone after 8pm but that was because I was picking up my mom from the airport and her flight got in around 9, so I had to have it on.) 

I found turning my phone to "Do Not Disturb" from 8pm-5:45am helped. If I didn't notice my phone lighting up with a notification I was less tempted to grab it and then continue playing on it. I think I will continue to keep that schedule on my phone for now. 

Did you give up or add anything for the Lent season? If so, how did it go? If not, what would be something you would like to change (even if it was only for a 40 day period)?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Carlsbad 5000 Race Recap

This morning I ran the Carlsbad 5000.

Me with my bib yesterday in Downtown Carlsbad

Although I have lived in North County for 7 years and even though this is part of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series, I have never done this race before. They claim it is the "World's Fastest 5K", so why not give it a go and see if I could get a PR out of it?! Not to mention it is right in front of my office and I am very, very familiar with the course.



They break up the races by age (and sometimes gender). I was in the Men & Women 30-39 race. The start time was 10:32am (sort of random, but hey, I'll go with it - come to find out they had to do it around the train schedule, which did NOT work out well when a computer system crashed at the train depot and the were having to hold up runners so the trains could go through the course).


I think this was one of the latest start times I can remember. And with it being so close to the house I didn't have to head down to Carlsbad until close to 9am (YAY for sleeping in!). I technically had 5 miles on the schedule for today, so I decided instead of trying to fight for parking and deal with the road closures due to the course I would just park in South Oceanside and run over to the starting area. I could tell, even an hour and a half before race time, that this was going to be a warm one.

#FlatCarlee gets laid out the night before so I don't forget anything

I decided I would leave a little early to see if I could catch some friends running in the 29 and under race that was set to start at 9:11am. I left the house around 8:40am, drove the 3ish miles to South Oside, parked, and had run a mile over to the starting area by 9am. Talk about easy peasy!

I was able to cheer on Alicia, Smitha and Jayme during that race. All three of them were doing the All Day 20K (running 4 of the 5Ks back-to-back), although Alicia had to miss the final race due to a vacation (not a bad trade off if you ask me :)). I ended up being able to see them all within the first half mile of the course and then made my way over to the finish line to cheer them in!

Smitha and Jayme cruising' during their THIRD 5K!

The winner of the 29 and Under (his time was 14:XX)

Alicia finishing strong!

Yup, the runners had to stop for the train...

Here comes Smitha and Jayme!

Two Pair Don't Care!! LOVE IT!!

As I was standing in the sun, hooting and hollering for all of the runners (I may have been teared up when the itty bitty kids were haulin' booty to the finish) I could tell the heat was going to be an issue. My new Pro Compression socks were attracting the sun like no body's business (I guess that's what I get for wearing a dark pair on a hot day).

Once I saw all my friends and found the hubby (he stayed home for a bit to eat breakfast while I came down early), I made my way over towards the starting line. On the way I found the funny gnome who is normally at the Turkey Trot and some of the street fairs, and HAD to get my photo with him (or her).

We are used to seeing him her it, but apparently lots of you think it is creepy ;)

There were plenty of port-o-potties, so I made sure to make a quick pit stop (in one that was located in the shade) and then met up with Smitha and Jayme.

Picture from Smitha

While we were chatting I looked over and saw Leslie! WHAT?! I thought she had given up running road races (especially after Phoenix ;)), but come to find out she had signed up in November when she was originally thinking it would be a PR attempt for her. We all grabbed a quick picture and then made our way into the starting area.

Picture from Smitha

Leslie mentioned she was thinking about running with the 8 minute mile group and trying to catch the 7 minute mile group. I was really hoping to PR this race (my current PR is 22:26), so thought I would see how that plan would work out. (Little did I know that with the crowds at the beginning Leslie and I would get separated shortly after crossing the starting line.)

This race was slightly different in the fact that I didn't look at my watch much. Around a half mile in someone near me commented to a friend that they were currently running a 7:07 mile pace. I figured that was too fast, but attributed it to the shade on the beginning stretch and the adrenaline that I never can seem to reign in at the start of a race.

I heard my watch beep for Mile 1 and I knew I was in trouble. We were running in straight sun at this point and it was toasty (even though we were running next to the ocean, it still seemed to be a dry heat).

We made it down to Tamarack for the turn around and saw a water station. I didn't stop for any, although I think I should have grabbed a cup to pour on my head to cool down a bit. I have to say, I really loved that you could see runners on the other side of the road. There were a ton of people cheering for their friends and loved ones, it was cool to see.

I saw Ryan again around Mile 2. I wanted to give him a thumbs down because I already knew I wasn't going to PR. Around Mile 1.5 I glanced at my watch and saw a pace of around 7:50 and knew my PR shot was out the window. Sure, I was still going to finish the race, but with the 21:XX time goal out the window I didn't want to push it crazy hard especially with my upcoming races (Ragnar SoCal Ultra in 2 weeks and then the Eugene Marathon 4 weeks after that).

We ran down to the Army Navy Academy, chucked a U-ey (our way of saying we did a U-turn), and then made our way down to State Street. A left onto State and we were heading towards the finish line. Apparently I was too fast (even though I felt slow) for Ryan to catch me coming towards the finish, but he did get a shot of me crossing the finish line...

You should ALWAYS cross a finish line with your arms raised HIGH!

An official time of 23:47.


Like I said during my "Negative Thoughts" post, a year and a half ago I would have been THRILLED with this time. I mean my pace was 7:39 a mile! But today I was really hoping for a 21:XX finish time (closer to 7 minute miles). I guess that just means I have room to improve, right?! And like a friend reminded me, I just ran a 20-miler two days ago, so I guess I wasn't necessarily running this one like it was meant to be my PR and the only thing I was training for.

Even though I was slightly disappointed with my time, this is a great race. It is super close to home, a beautiful course, and (relatively) cheap. And whenever you get a chance to run with friends it is a great day! I would LOVE to petition the powers at be to MOVE THE START TIMES EARLIER! (Believe me I like sleeping in, but I would prefer to run in the cooler temps! I mean the elites are running at NOON! That is crazy warm, even if they are only running for 15 minutes ;))

Leslie and I after we finished

Isn't she purrrrrty?

We got a towel for signing up for the 2016 race ;)

The participant tee

30 Year Anniversary BLING

Oh yeah, and how could I forget?! I got this email on Friday, so obviously we HAD to sign up for 2016 ;) I mean a 5K for $20?! YES PLEASE!! And hey, maybe I will try for that illusive PR then...

And registering at the packet pick-up got us free towels?! DUH!

And since I still had a mile left for my morning run, I ran back to the car as Ryan rode his bike with me (that was how he got around the course today). He even stopped to take an "action shot" of me running, in case we didn't have enough from the race - ha!

Do you enjoy running local races?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Workout Recap - Week 13

Sunday, March 22nd – 5 mile run (the first 3.5 miles were with the hubby)1:33 Plank, Foam Rolled & Stretched

Monday, March 23rd – 5 mile run, 1:34 Plank, Foam Rolled & Stretched 

Tuesday, March 24th –  PiYo Sweat with my mom, 1:35 Plank, Foam Rolled & Stretched

Wednesday, March 25th –  5 mile run, 1:36 Plank, Foam Rolled & Stretched

Thursday, March 26th – 18.6 mile bike ride1:37 Plank, Foam Rolled & Stretched

Friday, March 27th20 mile run, 1:38 Plank, Foam Rolled & Stretched 

Saturday, March 28th – REST DAY, 1:39 Plank, Foam Rolled & Stretched

Gotta keep hydrated while maxin' & relaxin' at the pool!

Even with my mom in town, I still managed to get in all of my workouts. This week everything seemed to be a little harder than I would have liked. My long run was rough, I had a head full of negative thoughts for my short runs, and PiYo was more difficult than I remembered. At least one positive is that I didn't let those things keep me from completing any of my workouts...

How were your workouts this past week?