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Divas Half Marathon Race Recap

Almost every runner is familiar with the big name race series- Rock’N’Roll, Ragnar, Vacation Races, etc. One of my goals is to try at least one race from each of them at some point. The fact that the DIVAS half marathon series hosted a special edition half in a town just 25 minutes from my house seemed like the perfect opportunity to sign up this past February.

From the start I planned on my DIVAS experience being a one and done. For one, the races are extremely expensive. For my $200+ DIVAS Temecula Wine Country registration I did get a LOT of swag, including a beautiful medal and jacket, light up tutu, tiara, feather boa, and wine glass. The race ended at a vineyard and four wine tastings were included as well.

Divas Half Marathon Medal

The giant medal that doubled as a mirror. How Diva is that?

The other reason I banked on this being a once-in-a-lifetime experience was the whole “diva” theme. Simply put, I am not a Diva. Quite the opposite in fact. When we were handed tiaras and feather boas at mile 13 so that we could cross the finish line wearing them, I started to giggle. When the buff, shirtless fireman put my medal around my neck, I couldn’t look him in the eye for fear of cracking up. The whole thing was a little ridiculous.

Swag, pomp and circumstance aside, the rest of the race was just okay. Temecula wine country is BEAUTIFUL, and the first half of the race didn’t disappoint. We ran past gorgeous shaded estates and equestrienne stables. But the second half was on a packed dirt trail; a narrow out-and-back surrounded by boring pasturelands. I felt like an ant in a line following my colony, and I couldn’t wait for it to be over. I’m sure the wine tasting party at the end would have been a lot more fun had I gone with a group of girlfriends, but I felt awkward by myself so I quickly finished my glass and hopped back on the shuttle.

Divas Half Marathon Race Recap

I embraced my (non-existent) inner Diva, if only for a day.

The DIVAS race capped my first post-partum training cycle and was a fun reward for my return to running regularly. While I don’t see myself running this race again, I was happy that I crossed the event off of my list.

❤ Jessica

 

 


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Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

Boy that was a long blogging break! I can’t image why the hiatus…

Adorable Baby Girl | HelloRunShine

Oh wait, yes I can…

In order to get caught back up I will be writing very brief race recaps from the past six months. There are quite a few, due to the fact that late-pregnancy boredom found me registering for aaalll the races. Currently I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight and fitness level and feeling pretty strong. So for fun, let’s start the recaps back in January when I had just barely started running again after the birth of my second daughter.

2017 Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

I was extremely nervous to run a half just eight weeks post-partum. Even though I had started walking the week she was born and running at four weeks, it was a far cry from a standard three month training cycle. I was very thankful that I had signed up for just the half marathon instead of the challenge. Getting away from a newborn for 24 hours would be challenging enough.

I chose a simple, conservative costume that hid the fact that I still had almost 30 extra pounds hanging around (fun fact: I gained 50 pounds in each pregnancy). Other than the headband, all of my gender-bent Han Solo pieces were store bought.

Han Solor Running Costume RunDisney | HelloRunShine

Chewie, we’re home.

To be honest I don’t really remember the race other than the relief of crossing the finish line (legacy status: maintained!). What I was most proud of was the social steps I took that weekend. I overcame some shyness and introduced myself in person to a group of runners I have come to know over the past year through a runDisney Facebook page. I had a great time hanging out with them in Corral A before the race and meeting up for drinks and rides in the park afterwards. Our small group grew throughout the day and cumulated in an epic inaugural meet up of the Storm Trooper Crew (more details about the Crew coming in a future post).

Womens Star Wars Running Costumes | HelloRunShine.com

Han & Darth Evel

Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Race Recap | HelloRunShine.com

California Adventure Mickey!

Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Race Recap | HelloRunShine.com

I couldn’t have been happier with the result of my first post-baby half. I felt like the effort to stay active during my pregnancy made finishing possible. And just a few weeks into the year I had taken great strides towards my New Year’s goal of saying “yes to friendship and adventure”. It was a great start to 2016!

❤ Jessica

 

 


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2016 Running Goals

So 2015 was a pretty awesome year with the arrival of Baby Girl #2, taking over as the Oceanside Moms RUN This Town Chapter Leader, and running four half marathons (three during my pregnancy). The only downside was how physically limited I was for the majority of the year because I was pregnant. I can’t wait to MOVE in 2016!

2016 Running Goals | Hello RunShine.com

It was hard to do much towards the end of my pregnancy with The Belly in the way! This picture was taken on my due date. Baby Girl came six days later.

I decided that this year I would push myself in ways I have never done before. Physically with a real training plan, socially by saying “yes” to adventure and friendship, and mentally by saying “no” to unnecessary commitment and worry.

In order to design a comprehensive training plan I decided to start by writing out my 2016 running goals. Here they are!

  • Train consistently. Do not skip workouts.
  • Train for a half marathon using speed and hill drills with the goal of obtaining a new PR.
  • Travel to a race (far enough away that a night’s stay is required).
  • Run a marathon – eek!
  • Cross train with swimming, biking, stand-up paddle boarding, etc.
  • Volunteer for at least one race.
  • Cheer on fellow runners at a race as a spectator.
  • Continue to grow the size and participation levels of the Oceanside MRTT Chapter.
  • Keep running gear organized.
  • Complete running costumes at least one week before races.

I can’t wait to get started on it all. What are some of your running goals for 2016?  I look forward to connecting with and meeting as many runners as possible, a major part of my “social” goals!

❤ Jessica


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Oceanside Turkey Trot Race Recap

For the past few years our neighborhood has hosted an impromptu “Wobble Before You Gobble” Thanksgiving day walk. While I always enjoyed it very much I’ve been dying to try the official Oceanside Turkey Trot. This was the 10th anniversary of a race that’s known as the eighth largest Turkey Trot in the country, and the medal and race t-shirt were adorable (not to mention the unbelievable registration price of only $36). It was enough of a push for me to sign up even though I knew I’d be just a week or two postpartum (I ended up being 12 days, to be exact).

In an effort to increase activity in my own chapter, I encouraged the local San Diego, Carlsbad, and Menifee/Murrieta/Temecula chapters to join one large Moms RUN This Town team. We ended up with about 28 team members and I have a lot of ideas of how to break this record next year! We tried to organize a group picture between the end of the 10K and start of the 5K, but it was a little difficult to coordinate everyone. It was fun hanging out with the small group that I did manage to meet and I loved everyone’s outfits/costumes.

Oceanside Turkey Trot Race Recap

Festive Turkey Day outfits and crashing surf

It was cool and cloudy that morning and the the tide was very high! One of the best parts of this race is a course that goes right next to the ocean, and the waves were actually crashing up against the seawall and over into the road. I walked the race veerrrry slowly and took in the scenery and costumes.

Oceanside Turkey Trot Race Recap

Free race pictures! How cool is that?

As I finished with my new slowest 5K time, I thought about how far I had come and how proud of myself I was. A year ago I probably wouldn’t have met up with anyone at a race, let alone organize a group as a MRTT Chapter Leader. And after my first daughter was born I waited MONTHS before I got back into regular exercise. It just goes to show that when you finally find your groove, your tribe, anything is possible.

Oceanside Turkey Trot Race Recap

My outfit details – shirt: Raw Threads, skirt: Sparkle Skirts, headband: RunShine

Thank you Oceanside for putting on a a fantastic event. I can’t wait until next year. I guarantee Moms RUN This Town will be making a legit run for the largest team!

❤ Jessica


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Avocado Half Marathon Race Recap

It looks like I’ll just barely make my goal of adding all 2015 race recaps before the new year!

Pros:

-Location! Fallbrook is a beautiful city in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains. I love going up there for the rolling hills, big trees and general change of scenery. This race was only 20 minutes from my house, so packet pick up the day before was convient and driving to the race was a piece of cake.

-Small Town Feel: I have a soft spot for small races that have a local feel to them and the Avocado Half hits this mark. I love how the race started from the Live Oak park, a personal family favorite. Most of the volunteers looked like high school students and the local marching band and pep squad were out on the course cheering on runners.

-Medal: Okay, this is a seriously cool medal. The race was on Memorial Day weekend, hence the flag.

Avocado Half Marathon Race Recap

‘Merica

Cons:

Course: Because Fallbrook is so beautiful, I was expecting the course to be more scenic. It mostly followed a business route main road. There were a little bit of trees and open space near the residential areas, but I really didn’t care to run past fast food restaurants and dental offices. The two out-and-back segments just weren’t that interesting. Side note: the 5K route (which comprised of the first segment shared with the half) was the worst I’ve ever seen at a race. An out-and-back straight down then straight up the highway road. I felt bad for the participants.

Course support: I’m not usually a back-of-the-pack runner, but by May I was well in to my second trimester and slowing way down. Nonetheless, I was within the course limits and there were still several hundred people behind me. Which was why I was completely shocked when I got to the second water stop and they were out of water! The next stop was out of cups, and volunteers were holding up giant jugs of water for runners to put their mouth up to the spout. This is completely unacceptable to me. I held out as long as I could before I had to give in and try and cup some water in my hands around mile seven. At mile 9 I was excited to see cups and water, until it turned out to be a clear, unmarked mystery sports drink. The day was cool and overcast but that was still the least comfortable I’ve ever felt finishing a race. Luckily I had scored one of the only parking spots in Live Oak park, because I heard stories of runners waiting over two hours to get bussed back to their cars. Basically the race directors need to step up the planning and organization.

Overall, I was proud to complete my third half marathon of my pregnancy at a local race. I have other plans for Memorial Day in 2016 so I will not be back to Fallbrook. Supposedly the course is changing next year, and I will be excited to see the new route because that will absolutely influence whether or not I would return in the future.

Avocado Half Marathon Race Recap

Baby’s Third Half Marathon

❤ Jessica

 


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La Jolla Half Marathon – Race Recap

Back from a blogging hiatus and ready to wrap-up my spring race recaps!

It’s hard to believe that the  La Jolla Half Marathon already happened four months ago. Looking back at the pictures I don’t even look pregnant! Part of the San Diego Triple Crown half marathon race series, La Jolla boasts beautiful scenery, a few epic hills, and a great North County vibe. The race starts at Del Mar (I decided to go EARLY and park at the start, best decision I could have made) and ends in La Jolla Cove at the Ellen Browning Scripps Park.

La Jolla Half Marathon Race Recap | Hello RunShine

I had so much fun meeting up with some Moms RUN This Town Mamas before the race!

Race Highlights:

*Memories! So many great memories are wrapped up in that course for me. From hiking in the Torrey Pines State Reserve, visiting my husband while he was a grad student at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, learning to surf at La Jolla Shores, and living nearby the Cove while I was in college, each mile I ran held something dear to my heart.

*Scenery. It’s hard to beat any race with ocean views!

La Jolla Half Marathon Race Recap | Hello Runshine

Last flat stretch before THE HILL to Torrey Pines

*Finish line festival. This was one of my favorite race finishes. Sitting on the grass listening to live music with an icy chocolate milk and a beautiful new medal sure felt joyful, especially having successfully completed the race 12 weeks pregnant! The only downside of the whole experience was that this was the first race I’ve run that included a free beer at the finish (a San Diego microbrew, no less!) and I wasn’t able to indulge, ha. No worries, I’ll be back next year La Jolla to improve my time and drink my beer!

La Jolla Half Marathon Race Recap | Hello RunShine

❤ Jessica


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Running For Two

By now it’s probably no secret that I’ve had a very special running buddy joining me for the last 20+ weeks! I decided to share the news officially on my blog and all social media outlets so that I can talk about it openly. Baby number two will be making HER debut sometime in early November!

Running While Pregnant

Homemade “Running For Two” shirt at the TinkerBell Half Marathon!

Running while pregnant the last few months has been quite an eye opening experience. While I tried my best to stay active through my first pregnancy, the fear of the unknown may have stopped me from exercising way sooner than necessary. This time my goal is to keep going as long as I safely can, and that includes long runs. So far I’ve run three half marathons (one in my first trimester and two in my second), a 15K, and a 10K. Although I had to do little adjustment at first other than taking some walk breaks every half mile or so, around 17 weeks I slowed waaaay down. I’m now doing true run/walk intervals (currently 2:30/30) and my longest run this past month has been about four miles. It’s not that running is too difficult yet, but I admit it is hard to go out for a “quick” training run knowing it is going to take 40% longer than it usually does. The recovery process is definitely getting more challenging as well. In the future this might be beneficial because it will force me to develop better habits instead of rolling my quads for 30 seconds and calling it a night.

Ideally I would still like to participate in the Beat the Blerch virtual race I signed on September 12. I know, I know, virtual races can be completed at any time. This one last realistic goal for this pregnancy will hopefully help me stay on track and keep up my fitness level as much as possible until baby girl #2 joins us in November.  Once she’s here, I plan to hit the ground running!

I’d love to hear from experienced mamas who continued running throughout their pregnancy! Please feel free to share your stories, tips, and words of wisdom.

❤ Jessica


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San Diego Holiday Half Race Recap

Hello lovlies! It’s been a long time since I posted an update of any kind. The last few months have been filled to the brim with holidays, races, and orders. I have a lot to share and I’m so excited where RunShine is headed! Before I get ahead of myself though I’d like to recap my last two races, starting with the San Diego Holiday Half. I know someday I will be happy I spent the time to record some of these awesome memories.

San Diego Holiday Half Race Recap | RunShine

Serious Christmas Spirit

 

I had all intentions of treating this race as a light training run in preparation for the upcoming Star Wars Half Marathon. So I came dressed in my holiday racing best, including a tech gear ugly Christmas sweater that ironically got me a lot of “how cute!” compliments. Good thing I wore the sweater because the morning was chilly, super chilly. I think it was 29 degrees outside at the starting line (I know, I know, if you’re from just about anywhere else you are probably rolling your eyes, but for here that was freezing). As I lined up I found myself standing next to the 2:00 pacer. Here’s my confession: between my last half (Avengers in November) and this race, I had barely trained. Just a few sporadic short runs. Overindulging in holiday food and drink had taken a toll on my overall fitness, and I was generally exhausted from three months of nonstop activity. I had no business of even thinking about it, but as I looked at that pace sign, I thought, “why not”?

The course was FAST. We started 13.1 miles inland and ended at the coast, with a straight, slightly downhill path almost the entire way. I honestly don’t remember much about the race because I was so focused on that 2:00 pacer. Around mile six, just when I thought I was done for, the 1:50 pacer and a small group blew past! No wonder it felt like we were sprinting for the first half. After that I was able to slow my pace considerably and for the first time I pictured myself crossing the finish line with a sub-two PR. I admit I was hurting pretty bad by the end with a leg pain I had never experienced before, and I spent the last mile pleading with myself “just make it to that lamppost, just make it to that tree”. Pain gave way to pure joy when I crossed that line at 1:57:31. I could not believe it! I thought that a sub-two half would be a goal I’d work towards over the next few years.

San Diego Holiday Half Race Recap | RunShine

PR Smiles!

 

The elation carried me through the long wait for post-race refreshments, the long wait for my race t-shirt and goodie bag (I opted to have my bib mailed to me, and these things did not accompany it), and the loooong wait to be bussed back to the start. By the time I got off the bus and walked the half mile back to my car, I was limping and had a visible bruise at the site of my leg pain(I still have no idea what that was all about). It didn’t matter though, I’ve never been happier. Not only did I have a proof of time that would place me in the front corrals at Disney races for the next two years, I finally realized that with proper training I have the potential to be even faster.

With dream conditions to set PRs, great race medals and race shirts, and a perfect amount of runners (approximately 2,500), I highly recommend the San Diego Holiday Half to anybody. I can’t wait to sign up for this one again!

❤ Jessica


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Avengers Half Marathon Weekend Recap

It was awesome. It was windy. It was awesomely windy! I can’t believe I’m back from my first runDisney race. While the memories are still fresh, I though I’d share a recap of this first-timer’s experience.

Expo

There’s not much to share in terms of the expo. Since I was only running the half and not the 5K, I chose to go on Saturday afternoon. There were no lines at all, and very little merchandise left. I was completely expecting this and was not disappointed in the least. I really didn’t have a personal connection to the Avenger’s theme (confession: had I not watched the “Avengers” movie last week I would have had no idea who most of the characters were), so it wasn’t too important to take home any of the official goodies. I heard that most of the items, like the large themed Dooney & Bourke purses, the half marathon pins, and the desirable “I Did It” t-shirts were gone within hours of the expo opening on Friday. It remains to be seen if I will brave the first day expo madness for Star Wars. I did enjoy walking around the non-crowded “unofficial” side of the expo and talking with many of the vendors. The only thing that came home with me was new Sparkle Skirt.

Avengers Half Marathon Race Recap

No picture lines at the expo!

Accommodations/Planning

After the expo and a large late lunch in Downtown Disney (at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, mmmmm) my running buddy and I were able to leisurely walk back to our hotel in about 25 minutes. By the time we got back to our room, unpacked/prepared for Sunday, and took a quick trip to the convenience store, it was just about time for a quick snack and then bedtime. I think I would recreate this schedule exactly for future races, instead of scheduling dinner reservation and then worrying about being out too late. We stayed off property at the Castle Inn and Suites. This hotel is older, but the rooms have been remodeled fairly recently and they were clean. My only complaint was that the outdoor corridors were very loud at night as kids went running down them to their rooms. This wouldn’t be a big deal if you weren’t trying to go to bed at 8:30!

Race Day

3:30 in the morning came quickly, but there was only a minute to register sleepiness before total excitement kicked in. After getting dressed, eating (Cliff Bar and spoonful of peanut butter for me) and making a cup of coffee to go (we brought along our own mini Keurig machine. Best. Idea. Ever.) we were off. For anyone who is worried about traveling by yourself to a runDisney race and finding your way, you can squash those fears. As soon as we stepped outside we joined a large group of runners making their way down to the start. First you walk through the open space that becomes the “family reunion area” after the race, where there’s a stage with an emcee and a few spots for pictures. After a few minutes of walking around we heard the announcement to start making your way towards the corrals.

runDisney Avengers Half Marthon

“H” is for how many people are going to take off at one time?

Oh man, the corrals. They seem to be an ongoing hotbed of discussion and controversy in social media groups. Since we had not completed a race in time to submit a proof of time, we were automatically placed in the last corral (H). Even though we were early (at the starting area by 4:30), there were a few hundred people in front of us. This ended up being no big deal as THOUSANDS of people arrived later than we did and lined up behind. This picture does not do the view justice. The mass of people went back as far as you could see, then doubled back on the sidewalk past where we were standing at the front. We settled in and prepared to wait for the 5:30 start. Time passed quickly with the help of the emcees and fellow runner enthusiasm. There were about six minutes between corral starts (give or take, with A/B and C/D going outtogether) and we were off at 6:00.

Almost our turn! Notice the sun is almost up.

Almost our turn! Notice the sun is almost up.

The first standout memory from the race was the intense wall of wind we met head-on. I remember thinking “my Minnie ears are never going to survive”. At the beginning the crowds were very thick but not unnamable. There were narrow spots inside the parks were you were forced to come to a complete walk, but this ended up being a good thing for me. It forced me to slow down and take it all in. I was running through DISNEYLAND! I noticed Christmas decorations and cast members and characters. The lines for character stops already looked gnarly, and as I was worried about how much time I’d really have starting from the back I chose to skip those and take a few selfies instead. In the future, with an earlier corral start I would love to get at least a few.

Avengers Half Marathon

Castle Selfie (probably should work on taking non-blurry shots)

Once out on the streets things opened up and I had no problem moving at my own pace (well, except when the wind felt like it was pushing me backwards at times). I got a kick out of the spectators lining the way, from cheerleaders to Cosplay groups to grandmas in lawn chairs. Lots of cheering and high-fiveing kept things fun. Now, after the race I heard lots, and I mean lots, of complaints about the two-mile stretch through the dry river bed trail. While it wasn’t the most exciting part of the course, I certainly didn’t hate it. I ducked behind an extremely tall Captain America who blocked the wind and paced me to Angels Stadium. It had never occurred to me that we would be running INSIDE the stadium on the warning track. That was a very cool surprise and gave me a huge boost for those last few miles. Despite the wind, I felt like I was running a very fast race and at this point decided to give it my all for a good time. I’ve only glanced at my Marathonphoto finisher pictures so far, but it looks like I’m flying down the home stretch, giant smile on my face (I will update this post with a photo once I purchase my pictures). Final time: 2:11:45. Not bad for running in winds strong enough to blow over port-o-potties and every mile marker sign, not to mention stopping for about a dozen selfies along the way. After receiving my medal the photographer told me “you look way too happy for someone who just ran a half marathon”. Damn straight – I was thrilled!

Avengers Half Marathon Costume Idea

Captain America Minnie Mouse

After a snack and a shower I got to experience the second best part of a runDisney race. It’s hard to describe how amazing it was to wear my medal in the park afterwards. You see dozens of other runners doing the same thing, and you can’t help but smile at the not-so-secret club you belong to. Of course there’s the celebratory reward meal (lunch at Blue Bayou) and snack indulgences (I didn’t get a chance to try a Doll Whip, which might be my only regret from the weekend). I hadn’t been to Disneyland since I was a kid so seeing it dressed up in all its Christmastime glory was a real treat. This is a very busy time of year for the parks, so while we didn’t go on tons of rides we picked the very best. My favorite ride hands-down was the Haunted Mansion with a Nightmare Before Christmas twist. The original plan was to stay for fireworks, but since it was starting to get difficult to walk as the day went on, we called it a night around 7:30.

I’m sure there are experienced runDisney veterans who could tell you a laundry list of minor gripes, from the way the expo was run to the course layout. Partially because I have nothing to compare it to, and partially because I had such a blast I am choosing to remember this weekend as perfect. Zero complains from me. Well, maybe just one. I have to wait two months before I get to do it again!

❤ Jessica


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Throwback Thursday: Glory Days

Like many runners, I ran cross-country in high school. Freshman year was the first time the brand-new school had a team, and there were eight of us. Practices were simple, neither us nor the coaches had any idea what we were doing. “Run to this point and back” were the only instructions. We ran without water or watches, in cotton t-shirts, and fueling usually involved a candy bar from the vending machine. The size of team grew over the next three years, but nothing else really changed. The irony of it all? I was fast back then! This picture is from my sophomore year, when I placed second at the league meet with a time of 21 minutes and some seconds (way too long to remember anymore).

Cross Country #TBT

It’s been fourteen years since I raced. I tried channeling 16-year old Jessica in this morning’s 5K run and pushed myself for a faster time. I think teenage me laughed a little bit, but hopefully still feels proud! I’m certainly a lot healthier than I used to be, and the vending machine snacks and poor training are distant memories. 28 minutes and some seconds is quite a bit slower, but all things considered still feels pretty awesome.

❤ Jessica