Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Why I Blog About Running

When I decided to run my first half marathon, I found a training plan online, followed it loosely and was able to finish and claim my medal.  I though it was going to be a one and done.  I never imagined I’d actually want to do it again. 
The next year while planning a birthday trip to San Diego I realized there would be a race happening the same weekend.  I began to search for information.  Where did the course go?  What did the shirts and medals look like?  What did other people think of the race and series?  Where I ended up finding the best answers to my questions were personal blogs.  A race website can tell you anything they want to and it’s their job to make their race sound good but I wanted to hear from real people if I should spend my hard-earned money on any particular race.  I was soon hooked on reading other people’s race recaps and reviews.  As the years and races went on, I began to think about starting my own blog.
It wasn’t until 2 years and 10 half marathons later that I decided to take the plunge.  Mainly as a way to remember and keep track of my races but hey, if someone actually read it and it helped them decide to sign up for a race then that was great too.  Regardless of whether I pay for the race or get a comped entry I always make sure to tell it like it is. The good and/or the bad.   
Over the years I’ve blogged about crafts and trips too.  I used to be big into scrap-booking as a way to remember trips and events but eventually got away from it due to how time consuming and expensive it can be.  With blogging I just have to type up my recap, upload a few pictures and send the link out over social media (and hope that people are going to read what I wrote).  I’ll admit it’s not always that simple and there are times where I’ll skip witting about races because I just don’t have the time but overall, I feel like my blog is a good place for people to get my honest opinion about the races I have run.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

2019 Shoreline Half Marathon

On Sunday, July 14th, 2019 I ran the Shoreline Half Marathon in Ventura, CA.  This was my first time running this race.  I was going to be in the area later in the day for a family BBQ so I figured I might as well head out early and run beforehand.

Ventura is about a 2-hour drive from my house so I was glad the race offered free morning-of packet pick-up.  I left my house at 4:30am to make sure I’d have time to find parking and get my bib before the 7:15am start time.  There were several parking options listed on the e-mails I received ranging from $10 parking at the start/finish line to further away free parking that included a free shuttle.  I had planned to try and get parking at the start/finish line for $10.00 but as I got close, I noticed people parking along the street in front of the Ventura Beach RV Resort.  I didn’t see any no parking signs so I parked there too.  It was a less than 5-minute walk to the start/finish line and I was in line to pick up my bib by 6:15am.
There were only 3 people in line in front of me for packet pick-up.  We received a reusable tote bag, shirt, water bottle and granola bar.  I asked about a gear check and the ladies handing out bib said they weren’t sure if there was one.  I walked back to my car and put my swag bag and jacket away.  It was 60 degrees at this time.  When I returned, I used the remaining time to use the restroom and take a few pictures.  There were 7 Port-o-Potties as well as free standing camp restrooms.  At 10 till 7:00am they announced that the gear check was now open.

Walking back to my car
The course
The marathoners started at 7:00am with about 100 people.  At 7:15am the half marathoners started.  The corals were self-seeded but a few minutes after the first group took off all the rest of us did too.  There were just under 300 people running the half.  There was a 10K and 5K as well.

We started out on the bike path and ran north along the coast.  Eventually we were just running on the side of the road.  At times the view was blocked by houses or RV's parked right on the edge of the street.  

So many surfers!

I want to live here!
After running 6.55 miles we turned around and ran back down the way we had come.  The marathoners ran this loop twice.  The aid stations had water and Gatorade and were spaced out about every mile.  There was no nutrition on the course.  

Half way done!

After crossing the finish line, the medals were just laid out on a table so we had to grab our own.  The same thing for the water, just bottles sitting on a table.  After walking back toward the packet pick-up table, I found bananas and granola bars.  

Included with our race entry was a plate of street tacos and a free beer.  I’m not a beer drinker but it looked like there was 805 and a citrus IPA.  I did take advantage of the free tacos and had one chicken and one carne asada.  After I ate, I had someone take my picture in front of the back-drop and then I was out of there by 10:15am.  

There were several photographers at the starting line and on the course but the race photos were not free.

Have you run the Shoreline Half?  What did you think?              

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

2019 Sugar Daddy Half Marathon

On Saturday, June 15, 2019 I ran the Sugar Daddy Half Marathon.  Named for being on Father’s Day weekend and for the free ice cream at the finish line.  This is the 4th year for this race (which also includes a 10k, 5k and kid’s races) and I have run this race every year since the first making me a legacy runner.  
Walking to the start/finish area.
I arrived around 5:15am so I could get parked and pick up my bib and shirt.  I really appreciate that race day packet pick-up is offered (for free!).  It was a cool 59 degrees when I got there. I parked easily and then it was a short walk to the start/finish line area.  There was a small line for packet pick-up (maybe 5 people).  Instead of walking back to my car I used gear check for my shirt and jacket right before the race started.  Bags are not provided but I knew this ahead of time and had brought my own.

I took a few pictures of the start/finish line area, took the Runners Lane group photo and before I knew it, it was time to run.  The race started exactly on time (6:20am) which is always nice.  I snapped a few pictures while out on the course.  This race is run on the Paseos of Santa Clarita so there are no cars to watch out for (just bicyclists). 

The aid stations were spaced out well and well stocked.  They advertise this race as “cup-less” but they always have tiny shot glass size cups of water and electrolytes which I think is the perfect size anyway.

I was very happy with the weather this day.  Although it was humid, it stayed cool.  Unlike past years when it’s been close to 100 degrees at the end of the race!  

I’m a mid to back of the pack runner and there was still plenty of snacks and bottles of water left when I finished.  Including home made chocolate chip cookies!  

I made my way over to the Ben & Jerry’s truck to get my free ice cream.  There was only one flavor left (I think there was 4 to start with) but I like all ice cream! 

After snapping a few photos, I headed out.  It was around 9:15am.  It’s such an accomplishment to have completed a half marathon before a lot of people have even gotten out of bed!

One of the nice things about this race is the free race photos.  And the medals are always awesome and huge!  I will continue to run this race (and keep my legacy status) for as long as I can.