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Race Recap: Hot Chocolate 15K (I still hate Aurora Avenue)

I love and love hate being a pacer all in one breath. It is a challenge to get your timing down and sometimes it can be more stress then it is worth.

But then you get to meet and inspire people to push past you and beat their goals.

That… That is worth it.

My third year being a pacer for the Hot Chocolate 15K was defiantly the case of the ups and downs.

I had a late train so I made it to the expo with about 10 mins left on Friday night. I did not have much time to look around. I picked up my bib and then my legacy prizes as this was my third year (pin, medal, hat, special thing for my bib.) and I picked up my shirt. The shirts this year are a quarter zip and they are super small so be aware if you are ordering that they run super small. I actually love the purple of the shirt in general. I did not get a chance to explore the expo as it was already time to go.

Race morning for pacers starts at 6:55 with picking up our signs, shirts and getting final instructions before

Our Pacing Team
taking the corals. I also got to reunite with some of the Skirt Sports sisterhood which always leaves me feeling stronger and better off.

There was only one slight major change from last years course and that was the finish which I will run through later.

The art of pacing this course is knowing when to bank and when to stay steady. The first couple miles down back behind Pikes Place Market is an up and back on its way to Aurora Avenue.

I mentioned Aurora Avenue in the last two years recap; once you get past the Mercer Island Bridge it becomes tough. It is a pretty straight up climb to the top of the hill and that climb is almost a mile up. Last year I hit the hill later then I should so it ended up costing me a of mad dash running.

I hate that stinking hill. There is no good approach to that hill other then knowing that no matter what you do it is going basically kick your butt.

But this year I went into the hill with a 1 min. bank which is what I had set the goal for. This way I could pull back on the hill and save energy for the last few miles.

I had people with me through out the race. Most people set the goal to be in front of me which is ultimately awesome.

The course itself is scenic at points (especially Mercer Island Bridge) and getting to run the back end of Pikes Place is a trip. Hot Chocolate is also a very well supported event that has water stations properly spread out and staffed.

I came to mile 8 within 10 seconds where I should be. But I did not realize that mile 7 ended up short because they made up between 8-9 and 9 was .3 long and it knocked me off pace.

The finish line moved from the mid point of Seattle Center to right next to MOPOP (Museum of Pop Culture or Experience Music Project). You filtered through to get your medal and you could get some water before heading back to get your bag from bag check and then head to get your Hot Chocolate mug which has goodies you can dip in chocolate.

You also had the chance to get some post race photos, shop in the race shop, get goodies from sponsors ect.

I enjoy this race. But I enjoy pacing even more. A lot of people came to me thanking me for being out there and being willing to run. Right there, that is worth it. Being able to give back to a sport that I love so much and really feel like I am making an impact.

I will be back. And I think I can do even better next year.

Race Recap: Not such a love letter when it comes to @SeattleMarathon

What is the opposite of a love letter?

A Dear John Letter..

A few years ago I wrote a love letter to the Seattle Marathon. Those words at the time had been true. This year…. Well I will let the letter explain it.

Dear Seattle Marathon:

This weekend did me in.

You actually got me to question my love for running.

This year you announced a new course change and the words keep hearing are brutal, awful and relentless. From the second you make the turn off fifth avenue it feels like either you are dealing with a constant uphill climb or a violent sharp up hill. There had been a few downhills but there was no way to find your pace or your stride. The old course would give you chances to recover and get into a stride.

The time on the trails in Sam Smith had been heart breaking. So many runners on a wet path, it was congested and dangerous. I was going at a pretty good clip but got a couple shoves from behind because the path was so crowded. It was heartbreaking and frustrating all at the same time

I never thought I would say this. I miss #whathill. You could pace yourself and be ready for that beast.

I am glad you had such a dedicated crew of volunteers and medical crew. They made that race. They had been encouraging when it seemed like it was time to throw the race away.

I am really proud of how hard I fought through it and finished strong even though mentally I was just shot. But I left the race not excited. I left it flat and not loving running so much.

Your bling left me feeling uninspired and the white shirt is just not something that I would wear on a normal basis. The expo seemed smaller this year as well.

I love you Seattle but this is the first time I have come out of a race wanting to rethink my love of running. I still kept within my goal time frame but it was because of the first three and the last two miles and I was on the super slower end of my window.

I don’t know if I am coming back to you next year. We will see. It will take a lot of rethinking of training and running to convince me to come back in 2018.

– Its not you.. Its me.

Post Script: I really do love the Seattle Marathon and will always consider it a major part of my journey. this year was rough. I know this race is capable of being an amazing crown jewel of the city of Seattle. I was just very disappointment this year and am rethinking my next year plan.

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


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.

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.

Join @TheSeattleMarathon for the running party of the summer: Seattle Marathon 10K

Note: I am a 2015 Seattle Marathon Ambassador.

On August 22nd, at Green Lake Park the Seattle Marathon will host the party of the summer; the Seattle Marathon hosts the Seattle Marathon 10K and kids run takes over historic Gas Works Park. And the Seattle Humane Socitey charity athletes will be there.

The Course

The course gives you great scenic views of Seattle and allows you to enjoy some of the best of Seattle historical buildings, and of course the waterfront as you are making the turn at the Ship Canal Bridge.

This is a dog friendly event (as long as they are on leash.

One of the biggest draws about doing a race in Seattle in the middle of the summer; the weather. The average high is 75 degrees and Gas Works can be quite breezy.

They also offer akids fun run for any kid which is a great way to bring the entire family together.

I have not had the chance to run this race; so this year will be my first year to do it; (as a Seattle Marathon Ambassador to boot) and I am excited. This is also a Seattle Humane Society Charity Athlete headline event. Make sure you look for their table there and check out what they are doing (as it is amazing.)

Until race day, the 10K only costs 45.00 and gives you your choice of color of short sleeve tech shirt. (Really your own color choice is awesome. I know zero races that do this). For readers of this blog, there is a discount code available. Use the contact me button at the top of the page and I will send it to you ASAP.

Seattle 10K

See Jane Run Half Marathon/5K Giveaway and Discounts

One of my bucket list races has been The See Jane Run Half-Marathon in Seattle and thanks to a little bit of dealing. They have given me some great things to share on my blog.

I had been eying this race for awhile as it was going to be the perfect final tune up for the trip to San Fransisco. 11001781_10153119709529662_1046587527869082598_nSeattle is the only thing that is really close in terms of the amount of hills and how challenging the course is. And the course itself, is AMAZING. It starts at Gas Works Park, takes you through the Ship Canal Bridge, through the Fremont District, and on the ship canal bridge.

For as much as I have ran Seattle, this is a different course then I have ever ran which is one of the reasons I really wanted to get involved. I love Gas Works, I love Fremont. (Correct me if I am wrong but I think you even get the troll).

For those of you who are in the bay area. The course is just as pretty. I have not spent much time in the Alemada area. But its all through the bay side of Alemeda starting and finishing at Washington Park.

And guys, you are welcome.

Both races offer a 5K option.

The races offer a goodie bag, a glass of champagne. (You get to keep the glass), chocolate, shirt. The half marathon features a finishes medal.

Not only do I have a discount code for the race, I have a discount for their shop. But I have a free entry to giveaway. Check raffle copter below.

Discount codes:

25% off any of the races (not the triathlon): SJRAMB15296

10% off any purchase at seejanerun online: SJRAMB15296

And because its a Seattle run, I could not imagine a better way to tie in more Seattle Humane Society goodness. If you donate 5.00 to either my or my Seattle Humane Society Charity Athletes page. You can get 5 additional entries to the raffle.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

San Fransisco
June 21st, 2015

July 12th, 2015

Note: See Jane Run has offered the chance for a reader to win an entry to one of their events. They have provided one entry code. The winner will be drawn from all entries and have 24 hours to respond otherwise it will be re-drawn

Five on Friday: 5 Races to Run on 2015 (And Discounts!!!)

The Friday 5 Link Up that has been hot on running social media has really got my attention and has me dreaming right now. It has me dreaming of all the races that I want to run in the future. This is the first time I ever did the link up because I wanted to throw my 5 in.

1- The San Fransisco Marathon: (July 26th) I have made no secret that after I ran it in 2014, that I have a lot of love for this race. photo34 Last year I had the honor of being an ambassador for them and I am proud they asked me back for a second year. You can read my recap . I will be honest, this is a tough course. It tested me and kicked my @@# hard. But it I can not explain how flat out beautiful being able to run The Golden Gate Bridge, being able to over look the ocean and all the time you spend in Golden Gate Park is. It really did teach me a lot about how tough I could be when the chips had been down. I mean, this race got so crazy for me, my water bottles started to leak for the first time in five years. But I met some of the most amazing people during the course of the race weekend, got to see things I never imagined I would see (someone ran a half marathon in bondage gear), I got hugs from random strangers, met the best #hostelrunners, and just in general had such an amazing experience. I am anxious, excited and just flat out ready to be able to try this again. I am putting everything I have towards making this my marathon PR time.

And I have a discount on this one.
You can use TSFM2015Bonnie to save 25.00 on the any of the events.

2- The Seattle Marathon (November 29th): I am not an ambassador for them. (But I wish I was) And honestly, this is the race I love to grumble about. Some of this course is really tough and the two years I have ran this it has been so cold. But it holds a special place in my heart as this is where my marathon PR is. This is a stunning course to run as it takes you through Lake Washington, you get to run on the floating bridge, and you really get to see some of Seattle’s best scenery. One of my faviorte parts other then Lake Washington is getting to go in the Freeway Tunnel. You get some of the best echo’s as people love to scream. What I have always loved about this race as it has always stayed affordable, I would really put near or the top of the list when it comes to being a well supported course. Every where you turn you have people cheering for you, people wanting to see you do good. On top of this, the Seattle Marathon staff is super when it comes to communication and customer service to their runners. This course is also one of the best when it comes to being slower runner/walker friendly and they even allow walkers to start together earlier to ease a bit of the congestion.

3- The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon (April 26th): Three of my 5 marathons are from this event. And being it is my first marathon it will always hold a special place in my heart. I have said this before, I can’t explain this marathon until you are there and you run it. This supports the Oklahoma City Memorial Museum and is the biggest fundraiser that the memorial has every year. This is a race you are truly running for a reason. This race starts with 168 seconds of silence to commemorate the victims of the bombing (which leaves runners in tears) , and as you go through out what is a surprisingly scenic, beautiful course you see names of all of the victims. This one also BY FAR has the best water stops. (Gorilla Hill?). The only draw back on this one is the corrals get congested. But I think a lot of this comes from everyone wanting to be so close to the action at the start. The course is beautiful, and not as challenging in comparison to Seattle and San Fransisco, but the weather can push you hard. I can never recommend this race enough to all abilities, all ages and someone who really wants to run for a reason. I promise you OKC, I will be back.

4- Vancouver USA Marathon (June 21st) : The last two years the universe has thrown me curve balls that have kept me from running this one. But I have ran the half twice, and it is always one of my favorite events. And if you ask any of my local running friends, its near the top of their must do list. The half course is scenic (other then a small trek through Vancouver industrial district) as it takes you on the Columbia River and through Fort Vancouver. I also like how the community comes out to support the event, and if you can’t tell this is a common thread in races I have listed. The course has a couple rather challenging spots, but this is a good race for anyone just starting our on the half marathon trail because so many people will be out there doing this for their first one. One of the major post race benefits of this race is you also get the chance to attend the Summer Brew Fest that share the space with the finish line area that weekend for free. I mean FREE BEER? What is better then that? This one is brought to you by Energy Events, and it is a company that really does a lot to help in their local running community. In terms of local Portland races, I can’t put anyone at the list higher then Energy Events.

5- Run to Stay Warm (November 22nd) : : When I am talking to friends in Eugene, this one is my favorite to talk about. Run to Stay Warm is a very small race that takes place in the heart of University of Oregon territory.

2013 EWEB Start
2013 EWEB Start
This is a half-marathon/10K/5K option that takes you through Eugene’s big trail system. You spend time on the water, you go by Autzen Stadium, in some of the best parts of Eugene. The thing that always gets me about this race is every penny out of this races goes to raise funds to help people pay their heating bills in Eugene who might have challenges paying the bill. I run this race every other year (this is one weekend away from Seattle). This is another race that is very all abilities, all ages friendly. This is also a great way to break into the half marathon scene without breaking the budget as the half marathon is 35.00. This is another one where the volunteers are part of what makes it special.

Those are my five. I know I can’t make running all five work this year because of the wierd financial things going on, but they are five that are special to me for all different reasons and the five I will always talk about and recommend.

And one special bonus code. How would you like to run the
SJRAMB15296 saves you 25 percent on entry fees? Look for something more on this race later on.

@SeattleMarathon Half Marathon Recap: Baby it’s Cold Outside

This could very easily be summed up in one word.


Actually freaking cold would be more like it.

I ran the full in Seattle in 2012, so I went into this kind of knowing what to expect. This year I had the honor of representing the Charity Athlete Team for the Seattle Humane Society in honor of George which made this event just that much more meaningful.

The expo for the Seattle Marathon has always been one of my favorite expos. It takes place at the Westin in downtown. You start by picking up your bib number in one room and then you go into the main expo hall. The expo itself is actually kind of small compared to some others. But the one thing I have enjoyed about this expo is the fact that it is smaller, it features some great local race companies and really focuses on all the things you need before, during and after the run. You also pick up your shirt which this year is a great blue long sleeve, and a jam packed goodie bag full of samples and coupons.

When I woke up Sunday morning I knew this was not going to be really fun. It was windy and cold. I was still recovering from a cold so my training was already questionable and the weather was not on my side.

Before I continue, I need to thank someone and I do not know her name. I mis-placed my money to get on the Monorail. It just slid into a part of my backpack that I could not see where it ended up. I know she was one of the staff members for the Seattle Marathon, as she had a notebook with her that had all the information in it. I was in line right behind me. She gave me the 2.50 which saved me the mile walk. She is an amazing lady.

The start line is at the Seattle Center right near the Experience Music Project and this is one of the most well ran start lines I have ever ran. They separate the walkers from the runner by giving them their own start time and the pacer signs are so clear that you know where you need to be. The runners also seem to be really on top of staying off to the side if they are talking walk breaks.

This course has always been one of my favorites. The first couple miles take you straight through the middle of downtown Seattle to the I-90 Bridge.

The I-90 Tunnel. Also probably one of the warmest parts of the course.
The I-90 Tunnel. Also probably one of the warmest parts of the course.
Yes. You get to run in an actual freeway. (For those who want to tell me to run in a freeway, Seattle makes your wish come true.

The full marathon runs the length of the bridge. The half gets to run in the tunnel which turns into an festival of echos. Everyone starts cheering and that is all you hear. There is also a well placed hydration stop in the tunnel.

Once you exit the tunnel, the half marathoners go on to the access road and head towards Lake Washington. This by far is one of my favorite parts of this course. Its through a quiet residential area and marina that overlooks the lake. I almost had an issue here because I was so zenned and zoned out I did not see a crack in the road and almost went rear over tea kettle.

The Lake Washington Sunrise
The Lake Washington Sunrise
The Lake Washington Sunrise[/caption]Because we had been running so early some of the views had been spectacular of the Lake. Several people (myself included) ended up taking their cameras out for some photos. This is the one thing I will always say about the Seattle course, is its one of the most scenic courses in the NW.

That being said, the second half of the course, I forgot how much of a challenge it really is. Once you make mile 7 you go up what is considered one of the toughest hills in the NW running scene, and then it is a constant up and down as you go through the Arboretum. But to the ice we had a quick off road section as the ice had made the first part of the uphill climb impossible. I was worn out, the cold weather was getting to me, my nose didn’t stop running.

The final part of the course is flat until you hit a nice set of downhills and flats in the last mile. This is the only really industrial area in the entire course. Then you come ac cross the finish line at the 50 yard line of the Memorial Stadium field which still had snow. You collected your medal for the military volunteers which is a special thing. (Especially because this qualified me for my Strength in Numbers medal from Jost Running, which goes to benefit military members needing mental health services.)

The recovery area is well organized and inside the core part of the arena’s expo center. They have booths of food, soups, drinks. The sponsors have booths, the charities including my loves at the Seattle Humane Society have booths. There is a place for people to change, check their times and grab any souvenirs.

For the fact this race is so challenging. It is still one of my favorite races. It is well organized, very runner friendly and its so welcoming to everyone no matter the speed or ability. Despite the cold, I still pulled off a decent 2:38 (which being I haven’t trained well, I have been sick ect).