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Monthly Archives: June 2014

The Town’s Half Marathon

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In eight weeks I will be running The Town’s Half Marathon in Oakland, I have to admit I’m extremely excited about this run.  It’s  been just about four short years since my first race and I’ve fallen into a habit of repeating the same ones each year.  I decided that this year, I wanted to branch out, run different races and visit different cities while doing it and the inaugural Town’s Half is the perfect fit.

Why am I so excited for The Town’s Half Marathon? First and foremost I love running in the bay area, admittedly I haven’t done much in the East Bay, it’s time.  I ran the Livermore Half Marathon and loved the whole experience from the expo to the finish line festival. The Town’s Half  is being put on by Project Sport, who also produced the Livermore Half, so I know it’ll be just as fun and organized.  I’m not even going to pretend that I don’t enjoy the race swag and The Town’s Half definitely has some awesome swag…….along with the finisher’s shirt and medal all runners will receive a Brita water bottle at the finish line, which is at the steps of City Hall and will include a post race wine and music festival.

 

2014 Finisher's Medal

2014 Finisher’s Medal

The expo will be held at Jack London Square, if you’d like to stay close to the expo the Waterfront Hotel is an option.  If you would like to stay closer to the start/finish line you can look into the Oakland Marriott.  Some of the places to explore in Oakland include China Town, Lake MerrittOakland Museum of California as well as the Sunday Farmer’s Market at Jack London Square. I love trying new restaurants, some suggestions I’ve been given include the popular Aunt Mary’s Cafe where they serve home-cooked food and were featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.  The Brown Sugar Kitchen is known for their Chicken and Waffles, late night bites can be found at Ruddy’s Can’t Fail and I plan on visiting Fentons Creamery for my post race ice cream treat.

If you would like to join me and run the town, you can register here and save 10% with promo code: Heather, hope to see you there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Livermore Half Marathon Recap

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Back of the Participant Shirt

Back of the Participant Shirt

 

I had first heard about the Livermore Half Marathon in late February, I contemplated running it as I absolutely love any reason to run in Northern California and the mention of wine at the finish line didn’t hurt either.  One big problem,  I had just arrived back home after spending a week in Florida for the Princess Half Marathon and my 2014 race budget was all but busted.  That’s when I saw that Cookies on the Run was giving away a race entry, you better believe I tweeted and tweeted and tweeted my way to as many entries as I could get before the entry deadline.  Long story short I wasn’t the first or second name drawn but one had already registered and the other one was unable to run it…let’s hear it for lucky number three!!  Thank you Cookies on the Run!

I received my entry eleven days before the race, I was super excited and then I realized I was registered to run Rock n Roll San Francisco the following week.  I had never run two half marathons back to back, let alone two with big elevation changes, I wasn’t sure how I would hold up.  I spent the better part of those eleven days debating if I was going to run it.  The day before the race I checked the weather for race day and there was almost a 100% chance for rain; if you have read my past posts you know all about my aversion to hills in a course; well my other huge aversion is rain.  I knew if I cancelled because of the rain and it didn’t end up raining I would kick myself for months. I took to Facebook and asked for some sage advice from my runner friends.  I have to say I was totally reminded one of the biggest reason I love the running community, my wonderful friends flooded me with tried and true advice.  Friday morning I still hadn’t decided if I was going to run or not but I packed my bag before work and put it in my car….I figured I had until I got off work to decide if I was going to head up to Livermore that night.  I debated most of the morning and finally decided I was as prepared as I could be to run in the rain and I didn’t want to regret passing on the race, I booked myself a room and right after work headed up North.

I arrived in Livermore about 6:30 which gave me plenty of time to get to the Bankhead Theatre Plaza for packet pick up.  There was a free parking garage right across the street which made getting to the expo extremely easy, I was in and out of the outdoor expo in a matter of minutes.   Tony wasn’t running but he drove down to meet me for dinner, we ended up at Sauced BBQ Spirits AMAZING!   After dinner I headed back to the hotel, laid out my race day clothes and called it a night.

Flat Heather

When I woke up on race morning it was gloomy but no rain yet.  I made a game day decision and changed my outfit up a bit, I changed out my capris for long shorts and replaced the long sleeve shirt under a short sleeve shirt for my usual tank and I brought the long sleeve shirt just in case AND I went with a yellow Sparkle Athletic skirt instead of the purple.  My hotel was only about ten minutes from the start, I parked in the garage I had used for the expo it was extremely fast and easy.  When I got to the staging area I decided I didn’t need my long sleeve shirt so I checked it at bag check, walked around a bit and chatted with other runners before the start.

The start and finish line

The start and finish line

The race started right at 8:00 under an extremely overcast sky, I just kept hoping the rain would hold off until I was done running.  I felt good starting off, the first few miles went smoothly and were mostly on residential streets.  Right before mile four we entered a beautiful park area, I believe it was Sycamore Grove Park and that led right into Veteran’s Park, this was my absolute favorite part of the race!  We exited the parks right before the 10k point, right by the restaurant at Wente Vineyards, the grape vines along the course were just stunning, this is what I was running for the beauty on the course….and the bling.

 

Wente

Wente

I had started feeling twinges in my right calf somewhere around mile five and by the time I was at mile seven they were full-fledged calf cramps, I spent a bit of time trying to stretch them out and trying to walk through it.  From mile seven to mile eleven I was only able to run stretches of .15 before it would cramp up again.  I was upset and frustrated but it was during this time I saw the most amazing thing I had ever seen on a course, I was overjoyed to get this photo, you have no idea.  Best race photo ever (at least I think so)  a wild turkey on the course!!!!

Awesome right!!

Awesome right!!

Around mile eleven I also started worrying about the three-hour course limit, I had been on pace to finish well before that but the cramps really slowed me down so I spent those last few miles pushing myself to run as much as I could and checking the time on my Garmin.  I pushed myself to run the last 400 meters through the finish line with my calf completely cramped up, it was incredible painful but I was happy to be done and right within the three-hour course limit.  I collected my awesome medal, wine glass and sampled a few after run treats from the sponsors.  My legs were extremely sore from the cramping so I decided to pass on the post race festival (I heard it was amazing) and opted to grab a quick bloody mary at Sauced before heading back to the hotel to clean up.  As soon as I got back to my hotel the sky opened up and the rain came down, thank you Mother Nature for holding out.

 

Not quite the outfit I had planned on

I am so happy that I didn’t let my fear of having to run in the rain stop me from a well organized race.  So far this race/course are one of my favorites that I’ve run this year.  I can’t wait to run the Livermore Half Marathon again in 2015, hopefully minus the cramps.  If you’re interested in running next year, early bird registration opened last week you can register here.

The Bling, I love it!

The Bling, I love it!

Participant shirt and wine glass

Participant shirt and wine glass

National Running Day

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Today is National Running Day, when I went to Banso to make my badge for this year I thought of all of the reasons I run.  I chose a somewhat cheeky but real reason for my badge, I love sweets and I love nothing more than following up a half marathon with a cupcake from Kara’s Cupcakes in San Francisco.  Here are some of the other reasons I run.

I run….

for my son:  I first started running again back in 2010, I found out that I was pre-diabetic and I knew I had to make my health a priority so I could be the best Mom to my son and lead by example about making exercise part of your daily routine.

for my sanity:  I am a single mom, I deal with a lot of stress from being the sole provider for my household, being the bad cop every time it’s necessary, his school, my job, trying to balance my personal life; it can be overwhelming and when I run I can shut it all off.

because I can:  This seems like a very simple reason but I think of it often.  Being in good health is a gift and I will run until the day I am no longer able.

for alone time with myself:  Sometimes I try to sort out a problem I’m having, other times I spend in reflection; I’ll think about all the wonderful things I’d love to share with my Grandparents if they were still alive.

for wine, beer, cake:  Enough said

because I love it:  I love to run, I love the feeling I get when I push myself further than I thought I could go, watching the sun rise, runs where I chat with a friend.  I truly love running.

I’ve been neglecting the blog since my Princess Half recap, here are some other tidbits related to National Running Day.  I registered for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco Random Draw today.  I’ve wanted to do it for the last two years, today I decided this year I was going to give it a shot.  Random draw takes place end of June, fingers crossed.

 

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I do have some rather exciting news, I am an Ambassador for The Town’s Half Marathon in Oakland.  I’m extremely excited to help spread the word about this run, 2014  will be the inaugural year and the course has been carefully crafted to showcase the best of Oakland; Jack London Square, Uptown, Downtown, Piedmont Ave, Claremont, Lake Merritt and Grand Ave.  Runners will also receive a tasting glass, a tech tee and a seriously awesome medal.  Mark your calendars for August 16, Register here and save 10% off registration with promo code: Heather  I hope to see you there!

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Hemingway Run:

Or, as i'm now known, Dad on the run!

Scootadoot

fitness, food, friends, fun

Heather in the Middle

I blog about Running and CrossFit and finishing in the middle of the pack....mostly