Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Races

It's that time of the year again, time to recap all of the races I ran in 2017. This year was definitely not a year of a ton of races (although there definitely were quite a few), but the ones I did held a special place in my heart. I got in 19 races total - five Marathons, seven Half Marathons, one 20K, two 10Ks, one 5K, one 1-Miler, one Ultra Relay and one 25 Mile Bike Race. I was even able to run away with a HUGE Marathon PR and my second Boston Qualifying time (which will hopefully qualify me for the 2019 Boston Marathon). But, for me, I enjoy celebrating the finish lines (and who I share them with) more than my finish times. Running has brought so much into my life (including so many amazing friends, a strong work ethic, a way to push myself towards goals I once thought impossible and a platform to encourage others through), and for that I am forever grateful! Now, let's recap the races I participated in throughout this last year, shall we?!

Carlsbad Half Marathon

Pasadena Half Marathon

Phoenix Marathon

Los Angeles Marathon

Rock 'N' Roll Carlsbad 5000 All Day 20K

Ragnar So Cal Ultra [Part I / Part II]

Cinco de Mayo Trail 10K

Fontana Days Run Half Marathon

Rock 'N' Roll San Diego Marathon

San Francisco Marathon

Disneyland 10K

Disneyland Half Marathon

Chicago Marathon

Bike The Coast 25 Miler

Rock 'N' Roll Las Vegas 5K

Rock 'N' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon

San Diego Santa Mile (with Santa's Little Helper)

Del Dios Trail Half Marathon

San Diego Holiday Half Marathon

And with that, 2017 comes to an end! It has been an honor and a privilege to run all of the races I have. I thank God for the ability to not only run my little heart out but to also be able to do it with a HUGE smile on my face. Running is something I truly enjoy and am beyond blessed to have found an obsession a hobby that allows me to meet so many amazing people and see so many amazing places. Running has given me a platform, running has given me a passion, running has given me peace of mind, running has given me pleasure, running has given me a push to pursue dreams that I never knew I had (or thought I would be strong enough to tackle). Here's to 2018 being even more amazing!

PS I was able to tally up my mileage from the year and beside the 19 races, I was able to get in 1,955 miles (yes, I did count about a week before the end of the year and then made sure my runs hit specific mileage so I could end on an even number ;)). {January: 161.45 / February 127.2 / March: 138 / April: 144.21 / May: 129.62 / June: 157.27 / July: 211.74 / August: 220.98 / September: 194.85 / October: 94.9 / November: 165.17 / December: 209.61}  I'll take it!

How many races did you run in 2017?

Saturday, December 30, 2017

December Books

One of my goals for 2017 was to read 17 books. Well, had I known my reading speed (or the fact that the library would quickly become one of my new best friends) I probably would have adjusted that number slightly ;)

In case you missed the recent posts, I blogged about the books I read in January HERE, February HERE, March HERE, April HERE, May HERE, June HERE, July HERE, August HERE, September HERE, October HERE and November HERE. There were EIGHTY-THREE in the first eleven months, so when I add December's FIVE that brings the total for the year to EIGHTY-EIGHT! If you're interested in what I read (and how I'd rate them) or need some possible suggestions on a book to grab, make sure to give my previous write-ups a quick glance over when you have a minute!

  • Living Life to the Full by Ellen Charnley - I was gifted this book by the author when I went to a pre-race shakeout run in Las Vegas hosted by lululemon. It was awesome to hear a little bit about her experience (being a triathlete, having open heart surgery for a congenital heart disease she was born with, and chasing down her goal to become an Ironman) and reading more of the details in her book was inspiring. Her story is pretty amazing and I think it's a must read for anyone who might be heading towards an upcoming surgery, attempting an Ironman or is facing any challenge (an athlete or not). Ellen's story reminds us to never take a single step or breath for granted and to give it our all every single day. I would give it an 8 out of 10. 

  • What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton - I had seen a few friends reading this (or listening to the audio book version) and was intrigued. I have been on the wait list for it at our local library for a couple months but it finally became available so I grabbed it. I will be the first to admit that politics is not something I talk about frequently. It probably stems from the fact that my family NEVER spoke about it (my parents are polar opposites when it comes to their political views {one parent marching in parades for their party while the other is a single issue voter}). With that being said, just because I don't discuss it openly often doesn't mean it doesn't matter to me. I really enjoyed this book. I realize that a lot of the book was about Hillary (and less about the election), but in a society where reality TV runs rampant and everyone wants to know the nitty-gritty details, I understand why she showed us a little of what is "behind the curtain". I enjoyed learning about her, the policies she wanted to push for if she became president, etc. I also appreciate the fact that she went into "the emails", "the Russians", etc. This is not a short read (the book is upwards of 500 pages) but I felt as though it was very informative. I walked away with an immense appreciation for HRC and everything that she has accomplished in her political career. Not to mention, it's pretty cool that she references my dad and brother in the book (not by name, but they were part of a group of union plumbers who went to Flint and installed water purifiers that she talks about). I would give it a 9 out of 10. 

  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson - This book had been getting a lot of buzz so I figured I'd grab it from the library (after a couple weeks of being on the wait list of course). I wouldn't say this is your typical self-help type of book. The author breaks down ways to focus and prioritize your thoughts effectively (how to pick and choose what matters to you and what does not matter to you based on finely honed personal values). And although the title mentions "not giving an f", the struggle is actually in figuring out what things to care about and what ones to leave at the doorstep. The counterintuitive approach definitely made me think (such as realizing you will ALWAYS have problems in life and the enjoyment comes from solving them, making sure you are accepting of failure because it allows for growth, and understanding that death is inevitable so while we have the time, we should truly LIVE!). This is a great reminder to pick your battles (whether internal or external) wisely and prioritize the things that you truly value in life. I would give it a 7 out of 10.

  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celesta Ng - I had seen this book pop up on a couple of my friends' IG stories (and since the wait at the library was like 17 people long when I jumped in the queue I knew it HAD to be good), so I grabbed it once it became available. I didn't know anything about the author or the book prior to picking it up, but was hoping for a good "story" I could get lost in (the recent books I've read haven't been novels and I just wanted something to entertain me for a while). This was a fairly quick read and kept my attention the entire time. There was quite a bit of build up and back stories to tell, but when it got good, it really got good. It sort of reminded me of a Real Housewives type story - full of all the suburban drama. I'll be honest, I didn't want the story to end. It was suspenseful, tense and totally absorbing. I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan - I'll be honest, when I was on Amazon earlier in the month grabbing the link for Little Fires Everywhere, I scrolled down on the page to see the "if you like this book you might want to check out these" list and when I saw this one I may have gotten a HUGE smile! You see, the premise of the book is sort of like #CarleesTreasures. Okay, so I may not have a goal to return all of the lost things I've found throughout the year, but still, I thought it was a fun idea and since it was available at our library I scooped it up! When I got into the book I thought it was a little slow, but by the end I loved it! It was awesome to see how all of the characters and items intertwined. Like I mentioned, it might not be exactly like #CarleesTreasures but this book definitely made me smile! I would give it a 9 out of 10.

And with that, my December (and 2017) books have come to a close. I would consider it a VERY SUCCESSFUL year of reading! If you have any suggestions on books to grab, let me know! I'm always down to throw them in my queue! PS The hubby and I got quite a few books for Christmas, so I'm stoked to get into them, but am worried the library may miss me ;) 

What are you currently reading?

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Walt Wednesday

Some people do a "Wordless Wednesday" post, where they simply share a photo or image, but I thought I'd make a little series out of my Wednesdays. And since I love alliteration so much, why not go with Walt Wednesdays (obviously everyone can use a little break from the seriousness, scariness and sassiness of life - and what better way to help put a smile on your face than with a cute wiener dog picture, am I right?!)... So, without further ado...


When life gets overwhelming, how do you de-stress?

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Workout Recap - Week 51

Sunday, December 17th – 3 mile run with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Monday, December 18th – 10 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Tuesday, December 19th – 60 minutes on the stationary bike & 3 mile run with the hubby

Wednesday, December 20th – 7 mile run with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Thursday, December 21st – 13.1 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Friday, December 22nd – 10 mile run with the hubby

Saturday, December 23rd – 4 mile run with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled

The hubby's family flew into town on Saturday (his mom, sister, her husband and their three kids), so we swapped his long run {which falls on Sunday} to Friday, moved his short run that normally should be on Friday to Saturday and then will move the rest day that should be on Saturday to Sunday (which works out better because we are jam packed with things to do on Christmas Eve anyway). The training plan the hubby is using is a template... life happens and we try to adapt as best we can. I'm so proud of him and his dedication to his training! He is gonna ROCK Phoenix in two months!

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, December 22, 2017

Friday Favorites

It's been a while since my last Friday Favorites (due to my #12DaysOfCarleesChristmas and recent race recaps) and although I'm sure you enjoyed all of the potential winnings, I know I missed sharing some of my favorite things with the class ;) #ShowAndTell So now that the giveaway series is done (hopefully you won some amazing goodies or at least ordered some with the awesome discount codes), it's time to get back into "normal" life. Let's do this thang!

San Diego Beer Chase

I was contacted about this relay a couple weeks ago (unfortunately we will be running the Phoenix Marathon on the same day or else the hubby and I would definitely be doing it) and thought some of you might be interested! Think of it like Ragnar + a beer tour! [PS They also have a similar relay in Bend and Centennial.]


The San Diego Beer Chase is a one-day six-person running relay of approximately 50 miles, consisting of 12 legs of varying distance (4-8miles per leg). The course starts in Escondido and travels over and down the coast line to the finish in downtown San Diego. On a 6-person team, each person runs 2 legs; On a 3-person team, each person runs 4 legs... you get the idea. Each time you exchange at a brewery, you will have the option to enjoy a 3-4oz sample of beer. This is not required, but I'd expect many people to enjoy this opportunity. Every team must have a designated driver that is not drinking until the van is parked for the last leg of the race. Sounds like a running party to me!


There's a local organization that I wanted to spread the word about. Fill-A-Belly is a non-profit grassroots potluck in the park every Tuesday evening, rain or shine. It started from an idea Molly had when she was asked by a homeless person for a meal or money to buy food. Although she didn't have anything to give at the time, she thought "I have a kitchen, I can cook." and the idea blossomed. She talked to her sister, Morgan, and brainstormed what they could do to help the homeless in the community. The two sister’s endeavor started as sack dinners and has grown to a two city operation offering friendship and a warm meal to upwards of 200 people a week. They have dinners in both Carlsbad and Encinitas.

Veriglow Headlamp

I was contacted by Veriglow a couple weeks ago to try out their camping headlamp. One of the selling points was that it casts the widest light of headlamps on the market. I decided I'd take them up on their offer and test it out while camping in Zion a couple weeks back (PS I would have normally shared about this in an early Friday Favorites post but I haven't had one since our trip due to my race recaps and the giveaway series). Let me tell you, it lived up to the hype! Not only was it super bright and wide (when the hubby and I were walking next to each other my light overpowered his {you couldn't even tell he had one} and was plenty for the two of us), but the battery is rechargeable! The hubby also took it on a recent rock climbing trip to Joshua Tree and used it on some of their night climbs. He said that there was more than enough light for all the guys to share the one lamp. Oh yeah, and it's water resistant so you don't have to worry about your sweat or possible rain in the forecast damaging your headlamp. I know there are a ton of uber expensive headlamps on the market, but for under $16 (on Amazon), this is definitely one of my faves and one I'd totally recommend!


Walk n' Wag

I received an email earlier this week from our local running store (FYI - I always suggest folks go to their local running store to be fitted for shoes. They can see how you run, check your gait, etc, and recommend the best shoes for your form.). They have three stores and one of them (unfortunately not the one closest to us) has a Wag 'n Walk program that I thought was pretty FAN-FREAKIN'-TASTIC! The running store teams up with a local shelter, has them bring dogs to the store, and then the community helps out and walks the adoptable pups! Not only that, the running store has a giveaway to cover the adoption fees for one lucky person! This is a WIN-WIN if you ask me! I know not all of you are near Temecula, but I thought maybe it could be an idea you could float to your local running store or running club!



I had seen these AWESOME s'more maker on my friend's Instagram account a couple weeks ago and my mind was BLOWN! This s'more roaster is changing the way you enjoy the most lovable campfire treat when you roast everything at the same time, resulting in toasted grahams, thoroughly melted chocolate, marshmallows done to perfection, leaving you with the best tasting s'more you've ever enjoyed. Their patent pending s'more roaster cradles your treat, holding grahams, chocolate, and marshmallow securely while you rotisserie your s'more over a heat source. Can you say AMAZEBALLS?! Well, the lovely ladies of Sparkle Athletic saw my love for this contraption and got me one as a Christmas gift to say "thanks" for the work I do with them. The hubby and I are stoked to try it out on our next trip!

Source@skylerwallace's Instagram feed

What are you loving lately?

Thursday, December 21, 2017

GUEST POST: Find Your Stride Coaching (& GIVEAWAY)

Because a lot of folks decide to embark on a fitness journey for a "New Years Resolution", I thought it would be the perfect time to let an AMAZING woman from my #BadAssLadyGang do a guest post for you all... You see, Kristen is a FREAKIN' ROCKSTAR! She not only is a new mom, but she is a personal trainer, an Ironman, and will be heading to Bean Town with me in April because she is also a Boston Qualifier! Recently she became a running coach and I thought it would be awesome for her to quickly share about her journey (why she wanted to become a coach, why someone might want to utilize a coach, why you should potentially ask HER to be YOUR coach). Not only that, but she has an AWESOME giveaway going on where you could WIN training! So, please help me welcome Kristen to the stage ;).

I've had the honor of running THREE Ultra Ragnars with this WONDERFUL woman!

Find Your Stride Coaching

I've been a runner for a long time, but for 10 of those years I always had a coach expecting me to show up for practice by 3:30pm every day. I never had to think about my workout (except worrying about what I had for lunch...), plan my day around when I'd be able to fit it in, or worry that I'd not know what to do next. And then I graduated college. I no longer had a coach, scheduled practice time or a written plan. Yes, I was a runner for ten years before I had to venture out into the running world on my own and had some idea on how to make myself better but I made it harder on myself by joining the distance side of running instead of sticking with the sprints that I knew so well. I'm motivated by goals, so of course I jumped in head first, signing up for my first half marathon not long after and muddled through building endurance. Once I decided a marathon was in my sights, I knew I needed extra help. That's where Coach Scott came into play.

Kristen in college prior to a meet

My personal experience with a coach:

I won a free three month trial with a running coach about a year into my distance running endeavors. I had just completed my second half marathon with two more on my schedule for the year and a goal of my first marathon the following spring, so it was great timing. Right away we had a great conversation about where I currently sat with my paces, what my next races and goals were and how we could get myself there. He uploaded my workouts through a training app and I recorded my completed workouts in the same app so he could evaluate my performances. He was always readily available for a chat if I had questions, concerns or just needed extra motivation. That year I ended up making great strides and took another 8 minutes off my half marathon times and completed my first marathon. I felt like I could accomplish anything I set my mind to and I owe Coach Scott quite a bit for helping me get my distance running career started.

Kristen during her first full marathon while training with Coach Scott

Why I wanted to become a coach:

I wanted to become a running coach to be able to assist others in reaching their goals. Through the years I had many coaches help me get to points in my running career I never thought I'd accomplish... from being on the Varsity team, making it to State, crushing a school record, qualifying for nationals, completing my first marathon, etc. I had this dream a few years ago and it finally took hold in June when I became a Road Runners Club of America Certified Running Coach.

I believe that as runners, we're a very goal oriented group of people. We set goals, then set out to accomplish them. Having a coach who can guide you in the right direction can help you realize that your dreams are not only in reach, but might not be quite big enough. Aspire to dream, then work your tushie off to not only reach those goals but surpass them!

Kristen cheering on one of her clients at a race

My purpose as a coach is to optimize your running performance and reduce risk of injury while creating your training plan.

Benefits of hiring a run coach:

1. Minimizing your risk of injury - Up to 80% of all runners have an injury at some point in their running or racing career. While hiring a running coach isn't a guarantee of no injuries, it's another set of eyes on your plan that can catch an oncoming injury before you become sidelined. The HARDEST thing as an athlete is to take time off, but adding in a few extra rest days here and there can save you from frustration and having to take more time off later from an injury.

2. Maximize your training - Hiring a coach can help both new and experienced runners learn how to avoid common training errors. These errors include running too much too soon, having proper paces for specific workouts, learning how to pace during a race, not including enough rest/ recovery days, and when and how to schedule long runs. The key is to work hard on hard days, and take it easy on easy days.

3. Providing motivation and support - Coaches are with you from day one as your biggest cheerleader providing guidance on how to nail workouts and races, as well as easing pre-race anxiety during taper time. They should help you decide when to race again and support your goals. Also, having someone to report back to after a workout helps keep you accountable and often motivates a lot of people to prioritize their workouts to get them completed.

4. Improving performance - Coaches can take recent race performances to gauge your speeds for different workouts. These speeds will help you get faster over time, thus improving your race performances. Coaches can also discuss pacing during a race. If done correctly, the runner will race smarter which will also help to improve race times.

5. Coach does the "hard part" while athlete does the fun part - Having a coach means the runner gets to just run. They don't have to agonize over how to create the plan. The coach will remind you to add in the use of a foam roller, stretch, warm up, cool down, and strength training. There are so many little things that are easy to forget to do, or not plan enough time to do when you don't have someone reminding you. These little things can make a huge impact on injury prevention and performance!

The nitty gritty details:

I'm giving away a free month of training to two runners, and three free months to one runner! Once you've won, I'll reach out to you with an athlete questionnaire and we can get started on conquering your running goals together. You MUST turn the questionnaire back in to me by January 25th, with hopes of beginning your free month by February 1st. Even if you don't win and you'd like more information, you can go to Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway will run through Wednesday, January 3rd at 11:59pm PST. The winners (the first two winning a month of coaching and the third winning three months) will be contacted via the email address on their Rafflecopter account and have 24 hours to claim their prize. All entries are verified, so be sure to complete them or a new winner will be selected.

Have you ever worked with a running coach before?

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Walt Wednesday

Some people do a "Wordless Wednesday" post, where they simply share a photo or image, but I thought I'd make a little series out of my Wednesdays. And since I love alliteration so much, why not go with Walt Wednesdays (obviously everyone can use a little break from the seriousness, scariness and sassiness of life - and what better way to help put a smile on your face than with a cute wiener dog picture, am I right?!)... So, without further ado...


When life gets overwhelming, how do you de-stress?

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

San Diego Holiday Half Marathon Race Recap

Saturday morning the hubby and I ran the San Diego Holiday Half. This was our third time doing it (recaps: 2013 / 2014).

The course may not be that scenic, but the finish ends at Torrey Pines and the beach is FAN-FREAKIN'-TASTIC!

Although I'd love to say our final race of the year ended on a high note, that'd be a lie! But, let's not get spoil the ending... 

The hubby asked me a couple weeks ago if I would help pace him to his first sub-2 (meaning running a half marathon in less than two hours). I was ecstatic because normally he is totally okay with "just running", so to see him wanting to hit a time goal was pretty out of the norm for him (and really exciting for the type-A, goal oriented runner in me ;)). Obviously I agreed to it and we figured this would be the perfect course to attempt it at because it was net downhill (there are definitely rolling hills throughout the race, but overall the course loses more elevation than it gains). 

The race even touts itself as a great course to nab an end of the year PR (but more on that later)

Thursday afternoon I made my way down to San Diego to grab our bibs. I really was bummed that there's no race-day pick-up because it took me all of SEVEN MINUTES to grab our bibs and our shirts, yet with traffic it took me TWO AND A HALF HOURS to get down and back. At least I was able to donate some used running shoes at Road Runner Sports while I was down there (we're trying to simplify, so even though I'd love to hold on to my old shoes FOR-EV-ER, I figured someone else could get some miles out of them... and I probably don't need eight pairs in rotation at once ;)).

This #FlatCarlee was all about Christmas! Vintage Ugly Christmas Sweater PRO Compression socks, red Handful bra, red Sparkle Athletic
, baseball tee that I made (grabbed a blank one from Dick's Sporting Goods, then the hubby mocked up a spoof on Elf's "Smiling's my
favorite" and my friend printed it on her cricket so I could iron it onto the tee), a hat I made out of felt and hot glue, white and red QALO
silicone wedding bands
, red Momentum Jewelry wrap, red RoadID, PROBAR BOLT chews, a Nathan Handheld, my Garmin
Forerunner 735XT
, and Brooks Ghost 10 with Sparkle Athletic Shwings.

Saturday morning came rather early. The course is point-to-point, meaning you start 13.1 miles away from the finish so either need to park at the finish and get bused to the start (which is what we did) or park at the start and get bused back once you're done. The buses were running from 5:15-6:45am. With limited parking spaces at the finish, our game plan was to be at the parking lot by 5:30am, then sit in the car until about 6:15am before jumping on the bus to the start.

The weather was much cooler than the weekend prior (we ran the Del Dios Trail Half Marathon less than a week prior and it was dry, windy and HOT) so we stayed in the warm car as long as we could (with a stop to the finish line port-o-potties).

When we got to Del Mar (where the race finishes), it was 46*,
which may not sound cold, but to us weather wimps it is ;)

When we went to the bus line around 6am, the parking lot was already closed because they were out of spots. (They mentioned you could park in the neighborhoods, but I'm glad we got there plenty early to nab a convenient spot.) 

Funny faces on the bus ;)

The buses seemed to be running smoothly (we had to wait a couple minutes for another bus to arrive, but they seemed to have the shuttle system down to a science). This year the buses were legit greyhound type rides (in years past we actually took a party bus complete with stripper pole to the start). The sunrise on the way to the start was GORGEOUS (but since we were about 10 rows back from the windshield I wasn't able to truly capture it).

I think even had we been in the front, the picture still wouldn't have done it justice

Since the last time we had run this race, they changed the starting line slightly. In previous years it had been in the grocery store parking lot across the street, but this year it was on a side street in front of a hotel. The course distance didn't change (it was literally across the street), but the hotel did open up their ballroom for runners to hang out in - which was SUPER APPRECIATIVE! In years past this race has been VERY COLD (especially for SoCal standards), so to have the option to stand inside before the race can be a game changer!

I had an AMAZING idea while waiting for the race to start... If you tuck
your mylar blanket in your PRO Compression socks, the bottom won't blow
around and you can keep in your warmth easier! (Although the hubby said I
looked like a burrito, but I was a warm burrito, so I didn't care...)

Eventually it was time to jump in our corrals and get the party started. There were 4 corrals. The way they designated which corral you should be in was by the first number on your bib (1000-1999 in Corral 1, 2000-2999 in Corral 2, 3000-3999 in Corral 3, and 4000-4999 in Corral 4). I believe this was based on your estimated finish time that you provided during registration, but there was no one checking bibs to make sure folks went into the proper corral. 

The hubby did a little stretching, we sang the National Anthem, and then we were off. 

We look ready, right?!

The only BIG hill during the race comes early (within the first 2 miles), but we were ready for it. Like I always say, I would much prefer hills to be in the beginning of a race than at the end (I'm looking at YOU, Chicago Marathon), so it wasn't a huge deal. With the adrenaline of the race pumping through your veins, it is fairly easy to tackle at a decent pace. We crushed it and I kept telling the hubby how proud I was of him and how strong he was running. 

Overall downhill, but you can see the ups along the way (the elevation chart from my Garmin data)

Now, let me be clear - this is NOT a scenic course. For the majority of it, you are running next to the freeway. But, I guess since there isn't much to look at, you can just put your head down and charge to the finish line. 

Not too inspiring, right?! And if even rained on us for a bit!

The bike path isn't super wide (maybe 6 or 8 feet), so it can get congested in areas (particularly around the small aid stations), but thankfully it seemed like most folks around us self-seeded properly and were going a similar pace so we didn't have to worry about going around too many people. The race did offer pacers (ranging from 1:25 to 3:00 finish times), so when pace groups came through you'd have to watch out because it could be a tight squeeze, but only one of them passed us (and it was the 1:45 group around mile 4... which we shouldn't have been in front of anyway - OOPS!).


Because we have run this course before, we knew what to expect. For the most part you are running in a straight line, inland to the beach. There is a short jaunt off the main drag where they have to add in some extra distance, so you do a little out-and-back down a side street. Well, in years past this out-and-back was longer than this year. As soon as we turned, the hubby mentioned that it was short. Where we normally would run there appeared to be a gate now, forcing us to turn sooner than in years past. This is around maybe Mile 11.5 or so. Well, since we knew they couldn't be making up the distance by running past the finish area (since cars had to be able to get out of the parking lot), we knew with about a mile and a half to go that the course was going to be short. Up until that point my Garmin was spot on with the mile signs... Then the Mile 12 marker was gone (I'd assume it's because they knew the course was short and would be wrong).


The closer we got to the finish line, the more frustrated the hubby got. You see, his previous fastest time during a half marathon was 2:05ish and he was on target for a HUGE PR (personal record)... but now it would be on a course that was less than 13.1 miles. He was ticked that he put in all of this work and it "wouldn't count" because it wasn't going to be official. I told him once we got closer that we would grab our medals and then finish the distance in the parking lot before grabbing our post-race goodies. #RealTalk - For a guy who rarely every cusses, there were a few f-bombs dropped. 

My friend Asia was spectating and caught a couple pictures of us

So, we grabbed our medals (which I will get back to in a minute), and finished A QUARTER MILE in the parking lot! Yup, it wasn't just a few feet short... it was WAY SHORT! I know that a lot goes into getting a race USATF certified... and this race is supposed to be certified (USATF Course Cert. CA13132RS), but they didn't stick to the originally approved course!

I think I was saying "Thank you" to Asia... NOT sticking my tongue out ;) 

And here's the thing... It has now been over 3 days since the race finished... AND THEY HAVEN'T EVEN ACKNOWLEDGED THEIR ERROR! If you remember, the hubby and I ran the Del Dios Trail Half Marathon less than a week prior. Due to the unexpected wind and heat we had, they ran out of water at some of the aid stations. Not only did they admit the mishap (which they announced both at the end of the race at via email the following day), but they offered everyone a 25% discount for one of their upcoming races! The limited water didn't effect everyone, yet they still did their best to make up for it... This short course effected EACH AND EVERY PERSON running! And yet nothing has been said on their Facebook page, via email, etc... (PS I'm not expecting a discount or refund or anything, but addressing the issue would be nice... because if they don't, who says they will correct the error for future races?!)

I'm not sure if they think "if we ignore it, it'll just go away" or what...

Anywho, after we finished the legit distance, the hubby still had an AMAZING PR! We finished in 1:47:57 (our time with the race was 1:46, but the hubby said he will go off what my Garmin recorded since it was the proper distance). 

Do you see those paces?! We had SUB 8 MINUTE MILES!!

I joked and told him that I think he has been playing me a fool this whole time... We ran an average pace of 8:14 (even with over 800 feet of elevation gain) and he ROCKED IT! Sure there were a couple times he had to stop to stretch his calves or a few spots where he was laboring a little more than he wanted to, but overall he felt STRONG! 

So proud of this guy! He is a FREAKIN' ROCKSTAR!

Let's get back to the medal real quick. Seeing as I donate the majority of them to Medals 4 Mettle (I have kept my full marathons and Disney ones), I am not huge into what the bling looks like, but I've gotta say, I was disappointed. Had it only been the part that said "San Diego" it would have been fine... but when they added the cheap surfboard that has a "Holiday Half" sticker on it, it made it look chintzy. Again, not a make-it or break-it point for me, but seeing as we were already disappointed when we reached the finish line, this was just one more bummer to add to the list.

I just wish it didn't have the cheap surfboard dangling down...

Oh yeah, and while we are at it... the participant shirts... HOLY CRAPOLY! I think they may be the ugliest I've received! At first I thought they were a gradient from red to black, but seeing them on the course they're more pink to black... And the long sleeve shirts had a HUGE hood on them... Ryan and I joked that maybe they went with whatever was on sale... and maybe the hoods were "in style" because they're sort of like Jedi hoods and Star Wars had just come out... U-G-L-Y!

I don't even know if I want to use it in a future quilt from Project Repat...

So, I'd say we will not be returning. From having to drive over an hour each way to pick up our bibs and a pretty boring course to chintzy medals, ugly participant gear and, most importantly, a SHORT COURSE, this one gets a MAJOR FAIL in my book! Normally I'd say maybe you could do it as a no-frills race for a fast time, but with a short course, you can't even use it as a legit PR (and this isn't a cheap race {we registered in September and it was still over $100 for the hubby}).

Have you ever run a race that was short?