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Why do I always seem to leave my heart @TheSFMarathon?

If you have been a follower of my blog for any length of time, you know that the San Francisco Marathon means the absolute world to me. It is no secret when I decided to start taking my social media and running and making them work for me that they had been the first ones to see the power in my story and given me this amazing platform to be able to share my story. This is also the first time in over three years that my focus was not tied up other places and that I got to focus on my running.

The training cycle had been interesting for this. I dumped a lot of races that I would do just to do during the spring and early summer in Portland due to both personal reasons and I wanted to focus my energy on this race. I think this was a smart move, but towards the end of the cycle I was dealing with a super tight IT band.

So I was literally walking into this not knowing what would happen.

My adventure started at the expo. If you have ever been to a SF Marathon expo, this by far is one of the easiest most runner friendly expos ever. You start with the shopping area to have a chance to get any TSFM goodies that suit your fancy. Then you can head to the back to pick up your number and gear bag. Your shirt is located at the next table and I had zero wait.

The shirts are my favorite shirts every year and I am still wearing my first one pretty constantly. Long sleeve green layers and they fit so well.

Anyhow. Friday I worked the app both to tell runners about the runner tracking application. It was a mix of 13882213_10154301816162978_8595770882640453964_ntechnical support and being an ear to some of the runners who came in a little nervous. I always have a blast working the expo as an ambassador because I get to talk to so many runners from all over the word and see some of the most inspiring people I have met, my fellow ambassadors.

Sunday’s race morning started with the very short walk from The Green Tortise which has played host to me for two of my three years. It is so simple to get to the start line from about half a mile up the road. I checked in at the ambassador tent and found one of my favorite people on the planet and got a long overdue hug. Then I made my way to drop my bag which was super easy; as all you have to do is look for the truck that corresponds to your bib number.

I found my wave rather quickly but was starting towards the back. It felt like it took forever to get to the start. But being back at the main start line this year is amazing. I ran the second half last year and the energy isn’t the same.

The first few miles went almost perfectly according to plan. Your first few miles are in the waterfront section; from the Ferry Building, past Pier 39 to Marine Park and into Crissy Fields. This is truly breathtaking as you can see the Golden Gate Bridge breaking through the fog.

The first major hill is leaving Crissy Field and I knew going in I was going to need to conserve energy so I took it slower, but I could tell that my having to pull back on training because of my IT band was going to hurt. But I did not loose that much time here.

Now, one of the landmarks of running this race is being on The Golden Gate Bridge. Please note, if you are looking to PR, sometimes the congestion is going to get to you. It did for me here. But it is worth seeing it. Even in the fog, it will truly be something you will never forget. I did end up getting my pace killed at this point but I was ready for it.

You can check out a video here:

After making the tour of the bridge you have to head to the part of the course I compare to almost all other courses, Baker Beach. The fog was pretty thick but being able to see the ocean from that angle is always something that sticks with me.

The course is very well supported and you barley have to look before you make a water stop. You do need to be patient at the water stops; some of the water stops got overwhelmed by runners. Just be patient, and you will still get your water.

I was struggling at this point of the course because of how my training got fouled up so I decided just to do what I could and peel back to enjoy the race more.

After Baker Beach you head into Sunset which is an up and down part of the course and pretty residential. I enjoy seeing the true nature of SF.

The finish line is in Golden Gate Park and it is stunning. I was 49 seconds off of where I had hoped to be on this course and I am perfectly okay with it. I was more emotionally tired then anything because this is the first time in a long time that I got to push myself and run for me. I pushed hard, I tried to fight back from loosing the time I had banked (and I had a good chunk of it)

I have tried for the last three years to sum up how much The SF Marathon means to me, but I have truly as they say left my heart in San Francisco. This race truly reminds me what I am capable of when I set my mind to it.

Taking the Bridge (From my Go Pro)
Taking the Bridge (From my Go Pro)

I am so honored to be part of the ambassador family. Please stop by and check out their recaps.
Sheena: The SF Marathon – a half marathon+ of emotion
Erin: the 2016 San Francisco Marathon race report – DNS

Dear #WhatHill- I <3 you so #runsea16

Dear #WhatHill-

I am BACK.

You keep trying to beat me down. You keep trying to get me to say you are not worth it.

But you are.

I am back as the returning vet to the 2016 Seattle Marathon Ambassadors. IF you have read my blog for any length of

I actually got a photo of #whathill
I actually got a photo of #whathill
time; you know this is one of my favorite races. It is also such a challenging course. It is also ran by a group that is dedicated to running a top notch event for runners (even when its 23 or so degrees at the start).

And there is

#whathill

If you have ran the event you know. It comes right around the mile 8 mark in the half. You turn the corner coming off of the amazing Lake Washington; you are hitting your groove.

And then smack.

It hits you like a ton of bricks.

It goes straight up.

Like a brick wall.

Reminding you that this course is not that easy.

But it is also quite tough.

So Thanksgiving weekend, #Whathill and I get to tango again, and my entire goal is to be ready for it. I was hoping for a PR last year but it did not happen. This year; I want to finish what I started.

And Seattle is the best place to do it.

#Whathill,
I am coming for you. This time, it will be mile 18 something as I am running the full and shooting to beat my last dance in Seattle.

And I can’t wait.

17 New Events From The Color Run are open for registration

I have talked about this before. I love The Color Run, I love what they stand for and they just opened up registration for 17 more events in 2016. (I am counting down the hours to Portland)

 

The Color Run Baltimore
The Color Run Eau Claire
The Color Run Lafayette
The Color Run Night Lansing
The Color Run Madison
The Color Run Montreal
The Color Run Seattle
The Color Run Shreveport
The Color Run Twin Cities
The Color Run Birmingham, AL
The Color Run Chicago
The Color Run Nashville
The Color Run Omaha
The Color Run Philadelphia
The Color Run Pittsburgh
The Color Run Racine
The Color Run MLB All-Star 5K, Presented by Nike
The Color Run San Diego

 

Make sure you register soon to get in on all the fun.

Race Recap: Hot Chocolate 15K proves to be a wet, cold, challenge

One thing I have had to learn as a pacer.

Sometimes you are going to get wet.

This one I got super wet.

I have always wanted to do the Hot Chocolate Races. Cost and travel made it less then cost effective. When Beast Pacing gave me the opportunity to be able be a pacer for the 15K I jumped all over it.

I got to the expo on Friday and it was small, but really well organized. If you did not have your information you could have a volunteer help look it up for you. Then you picked up your goodie bag which had your race jacket, which is a change from the normal hoodies that they had been doing. There had been a few vendor booths and a chance to purchase race gear.

Sunday morning started with finding my pacing crew and picking up my pacing kit. I have to thank Beast and Ram Racing for the nice shirt and the 2XU compression sleeves.

Bag check was very easy and simple to get through. The volunteers had been eager.

The start line corrals had been between Key Arena and the Armory which made it very narrow but still a well organized system. The only down side is I was pushed almost all away back to the corral behind me.

Now the course. This course is TOUGH. I thought Seattle Marathon was tough, that is actually a walk in the park

My amazing fellow 12:00 pacer
My amazing fellow 12:00 pacer
compared to this. You start with a quick run through downtown before you hit the roads behind Pikes Market. This is one sharp down hill and one sharp up hill back to back before you hit the tunnels that take you to Aurora Avenue.

And Aurora itself?

If you live in Seattle you know what this entails. This was a series of up and down hills including a long climb right up after the bridge. I heard some people mention how the elevation map made it look like stairs, it had not been. It was a straight set of hills. I was not ready for how tough that side would be.

The course is well supported even in the pouring down rain. The volunteers went out of their way to encourage the runners and the pacers alike even though it was pouring down rain and windy. (We actually had thunderstorms)

I finished a few seconds back of pace, but still had runners coming up to me thanking me for running and holding my sign which meant a lot. I ran with Marie, who is one of my fellow Skirt Sports Ambassadors and she was truly a difference maker. It was nice to have a pacer with me and we kept each other in line all away through.

I finished and headed for the post race, which consisted of the famous food and chocolate finishers mug. We did not have much of a festival area so I was in and out quickly.

This is a fun race, its well organized and a bit of a challenge. I am actually excited for next year.

Seattle (Half) Marathon Recap: #whathill earns its name

I have made it no secret, that Seattle Marathon is one of those events that I love, and I hate all at the same time. It has always been one of those races that has challenged me, but also helped me find how strong I really am.

This year was no exception.

Let’s start with the expo. The expo was actually smaller then previous years, but I really liked it being smaller because it made it easier to move around and get through. You start in one room to pick up your number, and then you head into the expo to enjoy the fun and get your shirt and goodie bag. The shirt was a bit of a challenge this year as they had been considerably bigger then last year. The goodie bags are always awesome and chalked full of runner friendly goodies.

As an ambassador for the Seattle Marathon, I actually had the pleasure of volunteering at the Kids Race registration pick up Friday night. This was a complete thrill because I spent a lot of time talking to young runners who had been so excited, and parents both. I would love to help out with that again next year just because the kids are so worth it.

As for the race.

If you remember the recap from last year, it was seriously cold last year. This year improved a tad bit, maybe by 5 degrees.

But I was smarter this year and I was well dressed for the weather.

The race itself is beautiful. It starts at the Experience Music Project and takes you right through the center of

The trek through downtown Seattle.
The trek through downtown Seattle.
downtown Seattle.
I actually got a photo of #whathill
I actually got a photo of #whathill
I was actually running really well in this strech and nailed my run walk perfectly. Its fun to run through downtown Seattle when it is still sleepy. You notice little things a lot more, you notice the bright and pretty window displays more. You notice the skyline more.

After downtown you hit I-90. You actually get to run in the freeway. They close down the express lanes and you get to run through the tunnel. The full marathoners get to run the floating bridge, but the half marathoners turn off after the tunnel. Last year I don’t remember ice being an issue, but there was enough moisture in the air that it was. That slowed me down quite a bit.

Once you head through the tunnel you head out towards Lake Washington which by far is the best part of the run. It does have a few little rolling hills, but there is a peaceful feeling as you run by the lake and there is a layer of fog on the lake. I started to rebuild my speed and I was pretty happy.

Then #whathill

We all know what hill I am talking about. We don’t need the description. Its the hill that goes straight up. Then turns, and goes straight up again, with one more up before you head straight down to the arboretum.

Knowing it better then ever. I made sure my walking intervals had been right on the money. The hills are beautiful but they push you and challenge you. I kept the slower but steady pace I was planning for.

The Arboretum is many peoples favorite part of the race. Scenically its mine. But the up and down hills make you focus in on what your body is doing and pushing through. And honestly, not falling on your head on a crack in the road way. I got sidelined in here somewhere because of the fact I really had to go to the porta-potty.

Speaking of. I always have to laugh. Mile markers are also porta-potties. Every one of them.

The last three miles take you back into the downtown part of Seattle including a wicked downhill and around the Seattle Center before you get to come down into Memorial Stadium to finish in the 50 yard line.

I am a huge fan of the post race area. You get your medal, and get a space blanket before heading into the bowels of the stadium where they have all the food you need, a place to change into warm clothes, a chance to pick up any more Seattle Marathon Souvenirs. It is the perfect place to warm up and get your wits about you before heading back to the cold.

I love how well supported this race is. One thing that is never in short supply is fully stocked water stations with amazing volunteers. It has always been near the top of my “must-do” list. The event is ran truly with runners in mind.

And I love the fact that it continues to challenge me. The last five miles remind you how tough you are, and how beautiful of a town Seattle is. Time wise it was the best race I have done this year and I am so much closer to my “bigger goals” for 2016.

I will be back. It is my yearly reunion with my strength.

All Aboard The Rescue Train.. Join us at Race For the Rescues

This is George your heavenly canine reporter encouraging all of my four footed earthly friends to get their owners to board the “The Rescue Train”. I was rescued after my first two years of living chained to a wall wondering if the big guy next to me might regard me as his lunch.

The “Rescue Train” will be arriving at the Portland International Raceway on Sunday October 11th bringing a fun Copy of PDX Logofilled morning of running or walking for you and your entire family. The Race for the Rescues offers a Kids race, 5K, 10K and a special 1 mile Dog Walk. You can also get your morning exercise in and run with your owners in the 5 and 10K. A beautiful finishers medal will be awarded to all those who complete the kids and 10K distances and a specially designed Tech race shirt will be given to all adult participants.

Some of your favorite vendors will be there which means lots of treats, water bowls and special attention. You will need to be on your best behavior even around those pesky cats that may be looking for a home as well as some of your brothers and sisters in fur who are currently up for adoption.

Food carts, a beer garden and special quests including the Timbers Street Team with some special prizes, and live music by Bridgeless and Summer will be on hand for your family. The entire event and festivities will be hosted by Claire Coffee, star of NBC’s Grimm.

This is the second annual event and 100% of the profits will benefit local rescue groups including “Lovers
Not Fighters” Pit Bull Rescue, “Must Love Dogs NW”, “Pacific Pug Rescue” and “Project POOCH”. High paws to all of you and others to that help to find us loving homes.

Going to grandmas or have other plans for that day, don’t feel like you lost your last bone, you and your
owner can help out the cause by registering for the virtual “Couch Potato” race. Entrants will receive
their shirt by mail shortly after the race.

To register simply paw your way to Race For the Rescues

Enjoy your day and keep in mind all of your fellow tail waggers you will be helping.

Editor Note: My mom; Kathryn Wilson wrote this blog in honor of our late rescue George. We will both be there in hise38077e83bdda17a9c04f52076c8159a honor and to help other rescues.

Ruby the RuniCorn takes on @Thecolorrun #shineon

My name is Ruby; and I am a Runicorn.

I am not just any unicorn; I am one of the many runicorns that you might see riding along with walkers and runners at your local Color Run event.

I got my name and my new home on Friday during packet pick up at Kohls here in Portland. Packet pick up is great.

Thats me! Ruby when I came home Friday night.
Thats me! Ruby when I came home Friday night.
You bring your confirmation, they scan it and assign you a bib. You pick up your shirt, headband, samples, and temporary tattoos.
They also have a small merchandise store set up so you can get your t-shirts, souvenirs and you can bring home your own runicorn.

Saturday morning arrived bright and early when I got shoved into my travel bag and took the long journey to Portland International Raceway.

Once you arrived and made it to the race area, you had a lot of booths with great vendors who wanted to give you free stuff, but we had been running a tad bit behind schedule so we headed straight for the start line.

The start line was well organized, they let groups of Color Run faithful out in intervals so the course would not get crowded. They even had bubbles! I went with my owner and her friends for the adventure. One of the neatest things about The Color Run is you see people of all sorts of ages, sizes, abilities, shapes and colors. This is truly the race for everyone and its the race where everyone supports one another and really does cheer each other on.

Our new owner tells me that the course changed this year, and it was closer to a 5K distance. It also did not have any gravel which made last years fun course even better.

Me, my owner and my pals at the Yellow!
Me, my owner and my pals at the Yellow!

You started with a cloud of glitter. For some reason I didn’t get hit with the glitter (and I am a Unicorn I LIKE GLITTER.) But the rest of the color stations all made up for it. The color volunteers are top notch and so energetic that this unicorn might of been caught dancing a few times. I think my faviorte was the Blue.
Once of the things my owner loves about The Color Run is how much they try and improve things every year. This year there had been two opportunities to get water, which was great because the course was hot.
When you finished you got your medal, and your color packets. This year it included one packet of glitter. The medals are new this year and they are quite awesome.

The post race party at The Color Run is epic and is something you have to witness. We got in on one of the last color throws, which was the most epic one I have ever seen. I got colorful.

I know my owner loves The Color Run; it truly a fun way to get out there, get active and truly celebrate (even if you don’t have a reason to celebrate) and it’s an event that gets better and better every year.
Make sure you check out The Color Run if it comes to town. Check out the schedule by clicking the banner below.

And if you use the code MLC768541

You save $5.00

And by the way…. I looked awesome

IMG_7772

Note: I have had the pleasure of being a Color Run blogger for the past two years and I am now a Color Run afiliate. By my opnions are truly my own. I love this race.)

$5 5k- Laurelhurst Edition: Not my prettiest 5K, but the prettiest 5K

If you have been with my blog or any length of time you know I am a HUGE fan of the $5 5k Series that is put on by the Portland Parks and Recreation Team. It is meant to be a family friendly, all abilities friendly and more important budget friendly series of races that feature Portland’s pretty amazing parks system.

Laurelhurst was one of my favorites last year. This year I had every intent on running most of them but my schedule has been nuts. But I was not going to miss this one.

The 5K here actually is challenging. The course takes you from the cottages (and bathrooms) and you head up and around the lake. Going up and down some little climbers before you take a straight uphill jaunt by the street before coming back towards the cottages. And you complete the course 3 times. It is truly beautiful, but just be aware when you sign up for this one that it does have some challenging hills that some kids did not like.

The nice thing. Is this race offers a pretty flat kids dash which is completely free. And no matter what race you IMG_7644finish; you get a finisher ribbon.

I have not been focusing on my 5K time for awhile and I honestly have not ran since SF. I really just flat out have not felt like running all that much. So I went into this with zero expectations. I started off really solid but the hills got the better of me and I felt the fact I have not ran as much as I should be doing. I ran decent, but no where close to a PR, or where I could be if I had been focusing on a 5K speed run.

This event is so fun. After the event people stay and root for each other, adults without kids cheer on each other. There is indeed some competitiveness, but its a supported environment.

The thing to know about $5 5K’s is they are no frills, but fun races. You will get little treats from the vendors to keep you fed, but you will get a number, a finisher ribbon, a well organized family-friendly and well supported event.