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Author Archives: Heather

Sport Hooks Raffle Benefiting Alex’s Lemonade Stand

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I have received a generous donation from Marcey at Sport Hooks and I am happy to be able to raffle off one Castle 5 hook holder to one lucky person  that makes a $20 donation to my Alex’s Lemonade Stand Fundraiser Page between now and November 30,2013.

I love Sport Hooks medal holders, they are stylish, durable and easy to hang.  Don’t miss out on this opportunity to donate to an amazing charity and have a chance to win the medal holder.

Sport Hooks Magical Miles Holder

Sport Hooks Magical Miles Holder

Alex’s Lemonade Stand ‘s mission is to find a cure for all childhood cancers and that requires working with researchers from near and far! Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation believes in funding the best and most promising research into all types of childhood cancers, and have funded projects at 78 leading hospitals and institutions across the United States. To date, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, has raised more than $60 million toward fulfilling Alex’s dream of finding a cure, funding over 300 research projects nationally. They also have important programs to help families struggling with childhood cancer.

Being a mother I am thankful everyday for my son’s health and can not imagine just how difficult it is to have a child with cancer. Please consider making a donation to such a worthy cause.

Mermaid Run San Francisco: Sirena 10

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View of the Golden Gate Bridge from the top of Fort Point

Last Sunday I participated in my fourth Mermaid Run in San Francisco.  The Mermaid Run is my favorite event of the year for many reasons,  in 2010 the Mermaid Run was my first 10k ever, it takes place in my favorite city in the United States, the course is stunning, the weather is perfect for running, it has a  smaller participant field, it is one of the most organized runs I’ve participated  in, the energy is amazing and the swag is awesome!

Participant shirt, Finisher Necklace and my bib

Participant shirt, Finisher Necklace and my bib

2013 was an exciting year for the Mermaid Run San Francisco, they added a new distance, the Sirena 10, a 10 mile option.  More exciting than the increased distance was  the course, it would include an out and back along the Golden Gate Bridge.  I could not pass up an opportunity to run across the bridge, Sirena 10 it was!  Registration opened up right around my birthday so my Son gave me one of the best gifts ever, registration for this run….thank you Rob!!

Pre-race photo op

Pre-race photo op

This year the race was being held on Sunday morning so I arrived in San Francisco early Saturday afternoon and headed straight to the Sports Basement Presidio to pick up my packet which consisted of my bib, participant  shirt and a Mermaid Run headband.  Packet pick up for this race is always well organized and efficient so I was in and out in 15 minutes leaving me with plenty of time to enjoy the city before grabbing some Korean hot pot for dinner and calling it an early night so I would be well rested for my run in the morning.

Sirena 10 Runners lined up at the start

Sirena 10 Runners lined up at the start

My hotel was a little more than a mile from the start at the Marina so getting there in plenty  of time for the 7:30 am start was problem free for me, a 15 minute walk down Divisadero Street and I was there.  It was chilly and windy  waiting for the race to start but all of the runners and spectators were having a great time chatting and enjoying the amazing photo ops the Marina has to offer. This year the three distances (10m, 10k & 5k) had staggered start times to account for the difference in the course for each  distance, right at 7:30 the Sirena 10 runners were off.  We headed out Yacht Road and on to Mason Street towards Crissy Field, right away I noticed  that there wasn’t any crowding on the course and was extremely thankful in the staggering of start times.  I passed the 1 mile marker before I knew it where we took a left on Crissy Field Avenue towards  the Presidio.  This is the part of the course I had been dreading, the next two miles would get us to the base of the Golden Gate Bridge and that meant one thing, uphill.  I’ve mentioned in previous posts that the one thing I love in a course is lack of hills but once I made my way up Long Ave to Presidio Promenade/Bay Trail to Fort Point Historic Site and caught my first glimpse of the bridge, the hills were forgotten.

My first glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge from Bay Trail

My first glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge from Bay Trail

Many of us stopped to take pictures with the amazing view of the bridge behind us before continuing on to mile 3 and our run across the Golden Gate Bridge.  I am not going to lie, this is what I had been waiting months to do.  Many years ago I had walked across the  bridge and last summer Rob, Tony and I rented bikes and rode from San Francisco to Sausalito but I wanted to run it, and run it I was about to do……well after I took in the absolutely AMAZING view, took a handful of pictures which included a shameless selfie or two.

The view right before mile 4 was breathtaking

The view right before mile 4 was breathtaking

Right about mile 4 I found my happy pace and started making my across the bridge.  I was in awe of not only the view but also the amazing women that were already making their way  back across towards the finish.  I happily clapped and cheered on the lead runner and several of  the others behind her as I made my way to the end of the bridge on  to Vista Point and mile 5, the turn around point.

The view from Vista Point

The view from Vista Point

Heading back towards San Francisco we were running towards traffic, I had quite a few people wave and honk as they passed and I got a little excited when the Bacon Bacon truck drove past, thinking to myself that bacon after the run sounded good.  The run back felt effortless to me, I was truly  lost in the moment and taking it all in.  Before I knew it I was at the end of the bridge and mile 7.  One really great thing about having to go up hills at the beginning of the race is that they are downhill on the way back.  It was back down Bay Trail and Long Avenue then we merged in with those running the 10k on Marine Drive, we made our final turn at the Warming House at Fort Point and ran the last two miles into the finish where we received our finishers necklace and post race refreshments.

I am a Mermaid Athlete

I am a Mermaid Athlete

This year by far was my favorite Mermaid Run!  The course was stunning, all I kept thinking to myself while I was running is how lucky am I that I get the opportunity to run in such an amazing city with such magnificent views and have perfect running weather in early November.  With the hill factor I was concerned that I would be off my pace and have a much longer time than I wanted but much to my surprise that didn’t really happen, I was only 5 minutes off my normal 10 mile time.  I definitely rode my runner’s high well into the day.  The Mermaid Run San Francisco remains my favorite event of the year and you can bet I’ll be back next year, I hope the Sirena 10 will be as well.

In front of the Palace of Fine Arts post race

In front of the Palace of Fine Arts post race

Oh and if you’re wondering, I did have that bacon after the race.

Endure Jewelry Gift Certificate Raffle

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I am so excited to announce that I will be raffling off a $50 Endure Jewelry gift certificate to those that make a donation of $25 or more to my Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation fundraiser before November 30, 2013.

Endure Jewelry Company has amazing running inspired necklaces, bracelets, rings and apparel.   After finishing my first half marathon I rewarded myself with their 13.1 pendant, since then I have added the Fairy pendant as well as the four leave clover pendant.  There is not one day goes by that I am not wearing an endure necklace.  The Designer, Sunny Arada is a former NCAA Cross Country and Track and Field Athlete, she currently coaches and runs marathons & half marathons.  If you’ve stopped by the Endure booth at the run Disney expos you’ve probably met her.

Here are a few pieces that are designed for those of us that love to run Disney.

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tink3 tink4Raffle entry is simple, make a donation to my Alex’s Lemonade Stand Fundraiser before November 30, 2013 and you are entered to win.  You will receive one entry per $25 donation, make sure you put “Endure” in the comments section when making your donation.  Not only will you have a chance to win the Endure gift certificate, most importantly you will be making a difference in the lives of those affected by Childhood Cancer.  The winner will be drawn on December 1st, 2013.

 

Barbells for Boobs

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Gary O, Tony, Me, Fox, Christina & Brian

Gary O, Tony, Me, Fox, Christina & Brian

As you may be aware, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, CrossFit boxes around the world host a fundraising event called Barbells for Boobs to raise money for Mammograms in Action Grant Program.  On October 26 my box, CrossFit FTF hosted it’s annual Barbells for Boobs event.  I make it a habit to give to multiple charities throughout the year but breast cancer strikes extremely close to home, both my Grandma and Aunt survived breast cancer; of course I was happy to participate!

Barbells for Boobs was founded in 2009 by Zionna Munoz after her best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 26.  Because of her young age her doctor didn’t recommend screening until she was 40, it was only due to her persistence at being screened that the cancer was discovered.  The challenges her friend encountered trying to access breast health care services as well as her survivor spirit is what inspired Zionna to create Barbells for Boobs and the Mammograms In Action Grant Program.  Their mission is simple, TO SAVE LIVES THROUGH THE EARLY DETECTION OF BREAST CANCER, REGARDLESS OF ONE’S AGE, GENDER OR ABILITY TO PAY.

Me & Fox

Me & my partner Fox

Our WOD (CrossFit acronym for Workout of the Day) would be a partner WOD, “Badger” meets “Grace”.  Although CrossFit is defined as “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement” we have benchmark workouts, named after girls and Hero WOD’s named after Military, Police & Firefighters who have given their lives in the line of duty.  Badger is 3 rounds of 30 squat cleans, 30 pull ups and 800m run, Grace is 30 clean & jerks for time so our WOD was 3 rounds of 30 squat clean & jerks, 30 pull ups and 800m run, to be split equally between partners.

Some of the teams doing work

Some of the teams doing work

 

The men of FTF Barbell for Boobs

The men of FTF Barbell for Boobs

The women of FTF Barbell for Boobs

The women of FTF Barbell for Boobs
Strength and beauty in all ages, shapes & sizes

Strength and beauty in all ages, shapes & sizes

Most of the teams coordinated their outfits incorporating lots of pink, knee high socks and tutus.  One thing about FTF, we work hard and play hard and anytime we can combine the two all the better!  We cheer on and encourage our fellow athletes, it’s about everyone performing to their best ability, getting the WOD done and having fun.   We are so much more than a gym, we are a community, a family.  I can’t think of a better way to honor the women in my family than doing work with my FTF family.

I Run This Park

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While I was out doing my 10 mile run yesterday morning all I could think about was just how lucky I am to have such an amazing place to run.  I figured it was time to give some love to the place I refer to as “My Park”.

Dry Creek Park in Clovis is where you can find me on training days, in the 100+ degree heat of the summer as well as during the chilly winter when the temperature dips into the 30’s; I run on Saturdays and walk my dog there on Sundays  Thing is it is so much more than a park to me…..it is my sanctuary and my thinking place, I’ve never gone for a run and had a problem be worse after I’ve thought on it for a few miles out there.  Here is my park in pictures.

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Getting out for a run before the sun rises

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Maggie enjoying a chance to play in the water during a walk

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Shelter with a sitting wall that is a great location to add in a little CrossFit and do some box jumps

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I passed this creek area for three years before I discovered it was there

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Beautiful color when the leaves turn in the Fall

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If I’m running my long run this is right about mile 4

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On a walking day with Maggie

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Lots of places to sit and relax

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I love watching the sun rise during a run

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After a 7 mile run a few weeks back

Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon

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Outside of the Expo at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center

Outside of the Expo at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center

On October 6th I completed my fifth half marathon;  the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half.  This was my first non-runDisney half and honestly I was a little nervous about branching out.  I knew that if I wanted to get more that two or three half marathons in a year I had to go out of my comfort zone that is runDisney.

In early Spring my Twitter feed was full of tweets about the Rock ‘n’ Roll races and I started doing some research.  I discovered that most of my runner friends had run a Rock ‘n’ Roll event and had nothing but good things to say about their experience; furthermore it was pointed out to me that RnR San Jose was a fast, flat course and if I love hearing one thing about a course it’s the word flat.  It was decided then and there, I had to run this race.  Luckily my birthday was a few weeks away and my sister gave me my entry as my gift, yeah I know, awesome gift!!!

The view from my room

The view from my room

I live approximately three hours from San Jose so I booked a room at the host hotel, The Hilton San Jose.  The hotel was a no brainer since it is attached to the San Jose Convention Center and that’s where the expo was being held.  Tony decided to run with me, so we met at the convention center on Saturday afternoon to pick up our packets.  We had printed our waivers before we arrived so the process was quick and easy.  We presented our waivers as we entered the convention center where we were given our bibs, t-shirts and gear bag.  We had to go through the rather small expo in order to exit the convention center, that took us just about 20 minutes start to finish….easy peasy.  After the expo we wandered around Downtown San Jose and wrapped up our night with dinner at Morton’s which is starting to become a pre-race dinner tradition.

San Jose Museum of Art

San Jose Museum of Art

On race morning I was up at 5:30 and headed down to have a light breakfast in the hotel restaurant before heading out to the corrals just two blocks away.  It was sunny and brisk when we lined up in our corral just about an hour before race time.  The corrals were much smaller than I was used to, I actually enjoyed that they were a lot less crowded than I had experienced  in my past races.  There was music playing and the air was full of excitement as we were waiting for the race to kick off.  The race started right on time with each corral starting about every three minutes, before I knew it we were on our way.

A picture of the crowd before the start

A picture of the crowd before the start

Me and Tony pre-race

Me and Tony pre-race

Tony runs just about a minute faster mile than I do so when we run together I push myself more and we meet somewhere in the middle of his pace and mine.  Knowing how running with Tony pushes me and that this was a flat course I was hoping for a PR.  The first 4 miles flew by as we ran through the Downtown area.  We passed through residential neighborhoods, the spectators were amazing.  There were people set up on their front lawns playing instruments, others were having a block party of sorts enjoying their coffee and cheering us on.  I loved this.  What I also loved about the course was it was wide open, no crowding issues what so ever.  When we came up on water stations they were set up on both sides of the road and if you chose not to stop you could continue running through the middle.

Shortly after passing the mile 4 marker I started getting dizzy and a bit nauseous, but I continued to run thinking it may just be the heat as it warmed up quickly after the start and the sun was beating down (San Jose did hit a high of 86 degrees that day).  I made it a point to drink at the next two water stops, the dizziness went away but as soon as we made it to mile 7 I started getting calf cramps.  I tried to stretch them out, walked a bit but every time I tried to run I couldn’t go more that a tenth of a mile before the cramping began again.  We passed by a corner market and Tony went in and bought me some salt and an electrolyte drink hoping this would help.  After walking a bit more we tried to run again and I was still cramping up, looked like we would be walking the rest of the race.

To say I was upset and disappointed would be an understatement.  I had been so looking forward to this race and WANTED that PR.  I tried to take it all in as we continued along the course, the bands, the spectators and the beautiful city that San Jose is.  It was hard I don’t know how many times I told Tony that we hit the 10k mark right at 1:15, if we had kept going at that pace I would have met my goal.  I had also dedicated this run to my Grandmother and my Aunt who are breast cancer survivors and I felt like I let them down, basically I spent the last six miles of the race feeling very much like I failed.  After what seemed like hours we came up on mile 13 and ran the rest of the way in to the finish, where we received our medals and post race refreshments.  I had been looking forward to enjoying the post race Atlas Genius concert but after the race I just wanted to get back to the hotel, clean up and have some lunch before the drive home.  We stopped for our post-race photo and headed back to the hotel.

Post race, I was happy it was over

Post race, I was happy it was over

It took me a few days to accept that I had just had a bad run.  It’s happened on training runs before, I know we all have them, I just wasn’t prepared for it to happen on race day. I do want to be clear, I had a bad race, me alone.  Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose was an extremely well run event with a fantastic course and amazing spectators.  I will be running other Rock ‘n’ Roll races in the future and watch out San Jose I’m coming for you again in 2014!

Live Ultimate Quarter Marathon

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November 2010 I ran my very first 10k at Crissy Field in San Francisco, since then I’ve run a total of three 10k’s there and every time I’m in the city I run Crissy Field if there is time; it’s my favorite course.  I was excited to see that there was going to be a new run, the Live Ultimate Quarter Marathon/5k on June 30, Tony and I registered right away.

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A view of the Golden Gate Bridge from Crissy Field

Parking was plentiful when we arrived at Crissy Field about an hour before the 8:30 start time.  We made our way to the start area, across from the Sports Basement where they had late packet pick up as well as various sponsor booths set up.  We had picked up our race packets the day before so we took our time taking pictures and enjoying the view.  Tony, being just six weeks post op rotator cuff surgery and is still in a sling so we decided that he would walk and I would run the race.

Me and Tony before the race

It was a very warm 65 degrees as we lined up towards the back of the starting corral.  The race started right at 8:30, with all runners (quarter marathon and 5k) starting at the same time.  The course was extremely crowded as we ran the first three quarters of a mile along Old Mason Street towards the Marina, then we turned towards the bay and ran down the path of hard packed sand and pebbles on Marine Drive towards the Golden Gate Bridge. I quickly fell into my pattern of running 3 minutes walking 1.5 minutes.

As we approached mile 2 the trail became uneven asphalt with various potholes, it is important to pay attention while you’re running which can be difficult with the sheer beauty of the course.  Although it isn’t the halfway point of the route, once you pass the Warming House at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge it is the turnaround point as you head back towards the Marina.  At mile 3 those that were running the 5k took a left along the path on Old Mason and ran into the finish; at that point crowding wasn’t an issue anymore and you could run without having to go around other participants.  It was an unusually warm day in San Francisco and between miles 2-3 and 5-6 the sun was beating down and I noticed I wasn’t the only runner dripping with sweat.  Running along the Bay miles 1-2 and 4-5 we had a breeze to cool us off.

There was one water stop along the course right about mile 1.5 which was also mile 6, I heard some grumblings about there only being one stop but even with the heat I found it sufficient as I normally don’t hydrate during any run 10k or less.  Once I got to mile marker 6 I knew there was only a little more than a half mile to go, I took my last walk break and ran the rest of the way to the finish line.  I finished in 1:21:51,I collected my medal, my timing chip was removed from my shoe by a volunteer and was able to get a banana and a couple of Live Ultimate Green Teas for Tony and I and I headed back to the finish line to wait for him to come in.  I didn’t have long to wait as Tony came in at 1:39:33, a great time for walking the whole race his right arm in a sling.

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Overall it was a well put together event, it started on time, the course was clearly marked, there were plenty of volunteers as well as emergency personnel on hand if needed and there were plenty of after race refreshments.  I would have liked to see more than one volunteer at packet pick up and I was very disappointed with the sizing of the participant t-shirts, although stylish and extremely soft the men’s ran large while the women’s ran at least two sizes too small.  I would also suggest starting the race in two waves, allowing the Quarter Marathon runners to start 10 to 15 minutes before the 5k to alleviate course crowding.  I hope Live Ultimate continues this race each year, it would make my must do list.

 

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Me and Tony post race

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