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Almost two weeks ago the Hubbo, George and I “ran” the Route 66 Half Marathon. I say “ran” because really we walked a lot and ran some. I only cussed a little so I’m calling it a good day! But really, the 10th Anniversary of the Route 66 Marathon was a great weekend for me despite my lack of training. We volunteered at the Expo, Ran the 5k, took shots during the 5k and half, and made some great memories!




Here’s a quick and condensed version of contents this blog.
Medal = Awesome!
Course = Hilly!
Swag = Awesome 10 Year Anniversary Jacket!
Expo = Great!
Volunteering = Tiring, Rewarding, Fun
Blogger’s panel = Fun
5K on Saturday = Most Fun 5k I’ve Ever Ran
Weather on Sat = Cold and WINDY as F!
Weather on Sun = Cold but warmed up to be nice

And now, a more complete review. 

The Medal

PictureRoute 66 2015 Half Marathon Medal
As always, I start my recap with the medal. I'm definitely a "I'm-Doing-This-For-the-Bling" kind of runner and Route 66 Marathon never disappoints!
This year was the 10th anniversary of the race so they did a throw back to an earlier medal and added a slight remix. I lucked out that this is one of the styles that we didn't already have. 
The yellow coin in the middle is a double-sided spinner which I think it the remix part. 
This year volunteers also got a medal. (See pic below with purple ribbon.) When I volunteered last year, I got a nice coin, but it was fun to get an actual medal this year.
5K runners also got a medal. (See pic below with red ribbon.) Since the race is obviously Route 66 themed, the medals are always themed after classic cars that would have traveled the open road. This medal was from the 2011 event and called the Flying Goddess. Rout 66 took a vote on which medal should get a come back and this one won loud and clear! 

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Volunteer Medal
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5K Medal and Bib

The Course & Swag

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The course was hilly. I knew it would be hilly. I didn't train for this race so I'm sure I felt the hills even more than I normally would have. The hills aren't huge, but there are a lot of them and it's a constant rolling/going upward feeling the entire race.

My friend George from came in from Las Vegas and took this photo on the course. It's definitely a favorite photo-op on the course!   

The swag was nice this year. For participating in the 5k I got a medal and a tech shirt. For participating in the half I got a jacket, a medal, and tons of free shots and beer on the course! More on that later. 

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The Hubbo and co-workers modeling the jackets.
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I, on the other hand, made some questionable modeling choices on race day...

The Expo & Blogger's Panel

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We volunteered at the Expo on Friday afternoon at the packet pickup booth. That was a crazy, busy, fun, fast few hours! 
After my shift was over I participated in the Blogger's Panel for the second time. It was really cool to meet the other bloggers and get to discuss one of my hobbies. This year they had two panels. A Friday night panel and a Saturday afternoon panel. 

Overall, the expo is a good size. You have your typical vendors there. One cool thing about the Route 66 Expo is that the Marathon Maniacs set up a booth. So you can buy your gear in person and try it on. Very helpful! If you'v ever tried to buy a MM or HF singlet, you know the struggle! 

I also go to take a spin on an Alter-G treadmill! It was so crazy feeling! 
When you try this thing out, they put you in these crazy space pants that are made of a neoprene like fabric that zips into the air bag like portion of the treadmill. Then the machine calibrates to your weight and then you tell it what percentage of your body weight you want to run with. I took it down to 60% of my body weight and I felt like I could run forever!

5k Race Day!

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Saturday was the 5k and it was cold and windy! We knew we were just going to do the 5k for fun so we joined up with some friends. Before we even hit the first kilometer, we decided to take a detour. 
For shots!
That's right, we hoped into a local diner/bar and took a shot of whisky! 
That's definitely a first for me to go to a bar and order a shot. 
Route 66 is known as a party course and we did our part to contribute to the reputation! Nothing says party like messy hair, shots at 8:15am, and all before we even hit the first mile! #RockStarStatus
Even though we ran/walked the entire way, stopped in and ordered 6 shots, and had to tab out, we managed to finish the 5k in under 50 minutes. Not bad. 

Half Marathon Race Day!

PictureBasic Corral Selfie!
Sunday was the half marathon. It started our super cold, but eventually warmed up to be nice. 
We ran/walked the entire way but somehow I managed to take very few pics. I'm slacking on my blogging duties!
Route 66 is known as a party race and it's no joke! We had beer, shots, donuts, and various other goodies on the race to help us keep our spirits up. I had fruit loop vodka y'all! 
Quick shout out to the citizens of Tulsa for getting the party started early on a Sunday morning! 

Back to the race. The course was hilly! Being as I was vastly under trained, it didn't long before my body was over it. But we got it done, had fun along the way, and eventually crossed the finish line. It was a personal worst for the Hubbo and I but we were just happy to be out there and complete another race. 

Overall, the weekend was great! We had great company, lots of fun, lots of drinks, and made some fun memories! This is exactly why Route 66 is my favorite race ever! 

Question! What's your PR and PW?

 
 
PictureBasic corral selfie
On Saturday the Hubbo and I completed our 4th Tulsa Run. This race has been a Tulsa tradition or 38 years now. But it wasn't always my favorite. If you recall, last year I ran this race and then wrote this open and honest recap about my experience. If you didn't read it, I'll summarize it for you.
Not pretty.
Fast forward to this Spring when a mystery package showed up at my house. It was from the Race Director (RD) who saw my review on Bibrave.com and wanted correct an issue I had with my shirt, so he sent me a new one. I was immediately impressed and took him up on his offer to meet up and discuss the race. 

After that meeting, I knew I had to give the Tulsa Run another chance. You can read more details about our meeting here.

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Tulsa Run thanks to Bibrave's BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews. As always, all opinions, typos, and silly pictures are my own.

Disclaimer #2: I had already decided to give the Tulsa Run another chance based on my conversation with the RD before Bibrave had officially partnered with the Tulsa Run and I received an entry into the race. 

If you are one of those people who just likes a quick rundown of a race recap here you go! If not, keep reading below for pics and a full recap.

  • Pre-race communication = Great, lots of emails
  • Packet Pickup/Expo = Super Easy and Quick
  • Medal = Totally awesome
  • Bib = Super Cute
  • Water Stops = Plenty of stops, plenty volunteers, plenty of water!
  • Post-Race Food = Fun pre-made snack box! 
  • Shirt = One of the best ones I've received yet
  • Finish line = No problems! 

The Medal

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I ALWAYS start my recap of the races with the medal because it's my favorite part of the race. 
I am loving the medal this year for a few reasons. 
1. It's the first medal that I have that is a sun catcher
2. It also glows in the dark!
3. It's bigger than the other Tulsa Run Medals
4. The race landed on Halloween so it's Halloween themed and I LOVE Halloween!

The Course

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The course this year was very similar to last year's course. Since it didn't change much I knew what to expect. Hills, rolling Tulsa, hills.
The Hubbo and I have really slacked off on our training so we knew this would be a challenge. But we went in with a plan to do a run/walk combo for the race including walking most of the hills and it wasn't too bad. I think knowing what to expect really helped make this course not feel as difficult this year. Last year it was sort of a shock to the system after running a relatively flat course the first two years.

The Shirt

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The Tulsa Run shirt curse has been lifted!!!!!!
For the first three years I ran this race there was something wrong with my shirt each time. Which is partly what prompted the RD to send me a new on this Spring. But this time I picked up this super awesome shirt and it is perfect! No more shirt curse! 

The bib is really cute too!

Water Stops/Post-Race Food

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Last year there were issues with the water stops, water at the finish line, and the post-race snacks.
I'm very happy to report that was not the case this year.
We had plenty of water stops and for the first time since I've started running this year, they had electrolytes on the course. Hello Gatorade! 
Last year one water stop and the finish line ran out of water. This year the RD promised that would not happen again and the Tulsa Run team did not disappoint! 

When we crossed the finish line a volunteer handed me a nice cold bottle of water, each water stop was fully stocked and ready to go, and at the finish line I was handed a pre-packed box of snacks and on my way to meet up with my friends. It was so nice and easy. I really hope they keep the snack box idea again next year. 

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What's in the box?!?

Overall Experience

PictureSarah, Heath, Laura, and Cassie!
Even though the Hubbo and I were under trained and I got my slowest 15k time (we did it to ourselves) I still had a great time at the Tulsa Run. The weather was great, the costumes were awesome, and everything that went wrong last year was vastly improved this year. I even got to meet up with some fellow BibRavePros before the race and we briefly chatted with the RD! 





Question! Have you ran a 15k before? Have you ever raced in a costume?

 
 
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If all goes according to plan the medal and shirt in the picture will be added to my collection on Halloween later this month. That's right, I'm running the Tulsa Run again this year.

I know, I know! I can hear some of you thinking right now "Isn't that the race you said you'd never do again?"

Yes, yes it is. But let me explain. (You can read my post from last year here.)

My recap from last year was definitely an open and honest recap of my experience. But, I've learned a very valuable lesson as a runner/blogger. There are two sides to every story. Luckily for me, I have this blog to share mine. Unlucky for race directors, they typically don't get to share their experiences.

In April, I came home from work to a mystery package in the mail. It was addressed to me from an office in downtown Tulsa. I was so confused at first but when I opened it, I found a Tulsa Run shirt from last years race. I also found a hand written note from the race director. He had read my review on Bibrave and noticed my comment about my Tulsa Run Shirt Curse and sent me a replacement one! I was immediately impressed with his effort. No race director has ever reached out to me personally to correct something that was wrong. I follow a lot of run blogs and read a lot of race recaps and you just don't hear about things like that. 

In the note it also said he would like to discuss the race with me so I emailed him and we set up a tie to meet at a local Starbucks. We spent a little over an hour discussing what happened and what they are doing to fix the problems from last year so they won't be repeated this year. 

Here's a quick rundown of issues/updates.

  • Last year they ran out of water at water stops on the course.
This year they have invested in HUGE water station systems and the RD feels more than confident that they won't run out of water with this new system. I had the chance to see it at the Tulsa Run kick off and I agree, it should be more then enough.

  • They haven't had electrolytes on the course in the past.
This year they will have Gatorade on the course! 

  • They ran out of water at the finish line last year.
Turns out, someone had locked the keys to the Pepsi truck that was full of bottled water for the finish line in the truck! They ended up tossing a young man over the truck so he could help get everything unlocked and get more water at the finish line. This year more than one set of keys will be handy. :) 

  • The post-race food at the finish line was less than impressive last year.
This year they have partnered with another company and everyone will receive a box lunch type set up as they walk through the finish line. No waiting on people to fill a plate, no bagel crumbs, just grab your box of food and go. This is similar to what huge races like the Nike Women's Half Marathons do to keep the crowd moving post-race. 




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So after meeting with the RD in April we've kept in touch here and there over the summer and I'm really impressed with the effort he and his team are putting into the race. After our initial meeting at Starbucks I had already made up my mind that I need to give this race another shot. So I am.

Later this summer I also found out the the Tulsa Run has partnered with BibRave to be a partner race so I've had to opportunity to share a discount code with all of you.

Bibravetr will save you $5 off the 5k or 15k.

After learning about what went down "behind the scenes" last year and hearing about all the effort for improvements they are making this year, I've decided to give the Tulsa Run another shot. 

The race is on Halloween this year and I'm thinking I want to wear a costume! What should my costume be this year? I'm taking votes, leave a comment below and give me some ideas! 

Question! Have you ever given a race a second chance after a not great experience?

 
 
PicturePhoto Cred: Fleet Feet Sports Tulsa
One week after I completed my last full marathon, The Hubbo and I ran another race here in Tulsa. The Golden Driller Marathon. Well, I ran the half and he ran the full. He's crazy! I opted for the half because I knew I would be sluggish from my full, but definitely wanted to be a part of the inaugural year. 

I'm really glad I opted for the half for a few reasons.
1. It got HOT HOT HOT that day. 
2. We had tickets to a 2:00 PM performance for the Phantom of the Opera and I wouldn't have finished a full marathon in time to go home and shower and get back to downtown Tulsa to see the show with my family.
3. I was just mentally over the full marathon distance.

And now, on to the recap!

The Medal

PictureFull Medal vs Half Medal
Y'all know I'm all about the bling! The one and only lure to running the full at this race is that their medal was bigger than the half medal. Which is the way it should be in my opinion. The bigger the effort, the bigger the reward! 
The Hubbo ran the full and I ran the half so we have both at home. 

I live in Tulsa and see our giant Golden Driller keeping watch over all of Tulsa all the time so this medal was a little more special to local people than it might be to other. That Golden Driller, he's famous you know! ;)

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Here he is! Keeping watch over all of Tulsa!

Golden Driller Facts

Here are some fun Golden Driller Facts according to Wikipedia!
  • Born in 1953
  • The Golden Driller is 76 Feet Tall
  • He clocks in at 43,500 pounds
  • He's the fifth tallest statue in the US
  • He's worn a shirt, tie, shorts, and a kilt for various promotions

Parking

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Parking was easy and free. The earlier you get there the better spot you could get like with any event. There really isn't a bad parking spot at this location. The race was kept small so there won't be overcrowding in the parking lot as well as on the course. Sitting in our car, we could easily see the start/finish line but also had easy access to leave too. 

The Course

Typically when a race is put on using the Riverside Trail system, it typically starts on the east side of the trail. There is a major construction project in Tulsa that should continue well into 2017, so most of the races have been shuffled over to the west side of the river. Which is a little more industrial in parts and less populated too.

The half marathon course had one hill that you went over twice since it is an out-and-back course. The first time you hit the hill at Turkey Mountain is the hardest. But at least you get that out of the way in the first 3-4 miles. The rest of the course is pretty flat. 

The full marathoners had a mind-numbing course. They did an out-and-back, with a couple out-and-backs mixed into the major out-and-back! Confused? Yes! Mind-numbing? Yes! Hopefully next year they can come up with a better full marathon course. So glad I didn't have to run that one. Poor Hubbo did though! 

The Swag

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This is a small local race put on my my running club. It has the typical local race swag. 

Shirt. Check!
Medal. Check!
Bib. Check!
Post-race food and drinks. Check! 

My Results

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I ran the first 6 miles with my buddy Tom and then we had to part ways because he was doing the full and I was doing the half. After I left Tom, I really started to crash. My feet hurt, I was hot, my Garmin quit around mile 7, and I was just mentally ready to be done. I think my experience was impacted more by my current running state. I've been feeling a little running burn out and my efforts show that. But I still finished, and for that, I'm excited! 


Time: 2:54:47
Division Place: 40 out of 49

This ended up being my slowest half to date. I'm not even mad! I was glad to be a part of the inaugural race in my hometown, glad to pick up some more bling, and glad to see my racing season wind down so I could give my body some much needed rest! 

Question! Have you ever been a part of an inaugural race? 

 
 
PictureThe Wicked Witch, The Hubbo, and I
You guys! 
It's been almost a full month since I've published a blog! How did that even happen? 
So many things have happened since then. I've ran a marathon, ran a half marathon, updated my blog discount page, and so many other cool things. Today I'm going to tell you all about marathon number 7. Garmin in the Land of Oz Marathon which takes place about 4 hours north of Tulsa, in Olathe, Kansas. (Oh-lay-the)

This is actually my second time to participate in this race, but last year I ran the half marathon. 
This year I ran the full marathon for one reason and one reason only. The medal. You might recall that I wrote this post. 
It's still true. I only ran 26.2 mile to get the Dorothy Medal. It totally completed my incomplete collection! 

Before we get into the recap I have to say that this race was one of my all-time favorite races to date! Not because of the medal, not because of the course, but because I got to run most of it with two new friends and it was a blast! 

The People

PictureTom, Kristy, and I in the corral!
Usually, I start my recap with the medal because it is my #1 favorite part about racing. But not today medal, not today! 

I should start this section by telling you that I randomly ran into Tom ( @toms66stuff ) on the way to Olathe at a gas station. That's not creepy at all! 
I first "met" Tom on Twitter and briefly ran into him at the Route 66 marathon 2 years ago and then ran a few miles with him at Route 66 last year too.  
At the gas station we chatted for a few minutes before I left to get back on the road. I had already walked out when it hit me that I should see if he has dinner reservations and invite him to join us. #SouthernHospitality 
Turns out, he and his wife didn't have plans or reservations so they joined us at dinner and then he and I ran the entire race together the next day. Almost in matching Marathon Maniac singlets. Almost.   

My Twitter pal, Kristy (@pghrunner ) , and I decided a while back that we would both run this race so we could meet in real life for the first time! Kristy and Tom joined me, the Hubbo, and about 30 of our running buddies for dinner the night before the race and we had a great time with everyone. See pic below. 

Originally, Kristy was going to do the half but ended up switching to the full. She ran the first 13 miles with Tom and I at our pace and then picked it up a bit so she could get back to the hotel and catch her flight. We had so much fun! We talked the entire way, ate bananas, and tried to avoid the rude lady on the course. I seriously didn't want the first half of the marathon to be over because I knew I'd have to say goodbye. But, we're for sure going to plan another race so we can meet up again soon. 

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Run Gingers Run! Oh and Run Tom!
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Kristy and I before the race.
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Just me and 30 of my running buddies carb loading...No Big Deal

The Medal

PictureDorothy, Toto, The Yellow Brick Road, and a Twister!
This is it. This is the ENTIRE reason I ran the full marathon and not the half marathon. Even though I was facing a little runner's burn out, I wanted to complete my Garmin Medal collection. Sort of. Last year I ran the half and got a Wicked Witch medal. This year it was Dorothy. In the past, the full medal has been rotating other characters until this year, and it was DOROTHY!
I don't mind that I don't have the Scare Crow, the Cowardly Lion, and the Tin Man. Those were cool medals too, but if I'm going to do this race twice, I'd rather have Dorothy and they Witch. 
Mission Accomplished! 

The Course

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The course was a little challenging this year. Not for the typical reasons though. Sure, we had rain and wind, but the most difficult part was the mud and mud puddles. 
This is one of the flatter marathons I've ran, but it did have  some hills. 
We ran a lot of the race  on a small paved trail system through a wooded area in Olathe, and that is where we ran into the mud. We had no option at times but to run right through it or walk carefully through them. I was glad to have the rain on one hand, because I was getting hot around mile three. Shortly after that is when we started getting some rain. We were really really muddy/dirty when we finished though. I wish I would have taken a picture of my shoes because it looked like I had just rain a wilderness trail! 
The cool  thing about the course, is the last 100 yards or so they turn it into a Yellow Brick Road! 

The Expo/Swag

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There isn't really an expo. There is a packet pick up at the host hotel. It does have 3-5 vendor booths, but that is really about all. So don't expect much at the Expo.

The swag was a gender-specific tech shirt which was really cute this year.
I would take a picture to post on the blog, but it's lost somewhere in the laundry pile from hell so this picture of The Lion, The Tin Man, and The Scarecrow will have to do! 

Parking and Aid Stations

Parking is free and there is plenty of it! Just get to the starting line a little early for the closer parking spots and to get in line for the bathroom.

The aid stations were really good! In the later miles they were stocked with water, Gatorade, Gu, other snacks and Vaseline! Some were even handing out plastic baggies for your phone! 

My Results

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This was my last marathon for a while but I'm pleased with how the day ended up. Overall it is my second fastest marathon! That's almost a PR, right?

Marathon Number 7:
Time: 5:34:36
Place: I have no idea
Overall Rank: You aren't even reading this anyways 
Weather: Humid, Rain, Muddy! 

Question! What is your second fastest 5k, 10k, Half Marathon, or Marathon Time?

 
 
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I don't even know where to begin with this race report. It's so hard to believe that the Honolulu Marathon has come and gone and it's already been over a week since race day! Sorry to keep you all waiting so long. After the race we spent the week in Honolulu being tourists and relaxing with our friends. More on that in another post. If you have read my blog for a while, you all know that I always start with the medal, so here we go! 

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Honolulu Marathon thanks to Bibrave's BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews. As always, all opinions, typos, and silly pictures are my own.

The Medal

PictureHonolulu Marathon Medal 2014
The picture on the left is the front of the Honolulu Marathon Medal and the picture on the right is the back. I think this is the first medal that I have that is two-sided! 
When we crossed the finish line we were handed a shell necklace right away. Then we walked further into the finisher area and picked up our cotton finisher t-shirt and medal. It was a pretty smooth process. 
The medal is about the size of my palm so it's not the biggest medal I have, but not the smallest one either. I love how it perfectly represents Hawaii and even though the sponsor (JAL = Japanese Airlines) is on the medal, it's not the main focus of the medal. I hate when races do that! 

The Start/Finish Line

PicturePhoto Cred: Honolulu Marathon Facebook Page
The start of the Honolulu Marathon is like no other start I've been a part of! The race starts at 5:00 AM so it is still dark for a couple of hours at the beginning of the race and instead of using a starting pistol THEY USE FIREWORKS to kick off the race!!! How awesome is that?! 

The starting corrals are different in the fact that they do not assign corrals. You just line up using the honor system and the signs they have posted showing about where you should stand if you plan on finishing in the 4 hour range, the 5 hour range, and so on. We lined up towards the back of the 5 hour range. 

The finish area was in Kapiolani Park. There were vendors selling more race gear, food tents, the finisher shirt tent, the medal tent, and even a GIANT Jumbo Tron which was on a time delay so you could watch yourself finish the race! 

We saw so many people running in costume during the race. We saw a bride  and groom, Japanese Anime characters, Hula girls, and even a man and woman who did the Tango the whole race!! (Yes she had a red dress on and walked backwards!)

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This was taken after the first water stop at mile 2.5ish!

The Course/Weather

PicturePhoto Cred: Honolulu Marathon Facebook Page
I couldn't have asked for a better course and weather for this race! We were slightly nervous going into this race because of the heat but it turned out just fine. The course was mostly flat with the slight hill around mile 8 or 9. I wouldn't really call it a big hill. Just a gradual incline as you are running near Diamond Head. You hit it on the way back as well, but we almost didn't notice it at all. This is definitely a flat course with plenty of scenery to keep you occupied! We even saw a rainbow on the course! Seeing that rainbow during the marathon made my whole day! Well, that and the Malasada! 

The weather was definitely in our favor for this race. I know you all already know, I'm not a hot weather runner. But who could pass up the chance to run a race in Hawaii with NO time limit?! Not this Ginger. As we walked out of our hotel we immediately noticed the light rain. I remember thinking to myself that I never even considered checking the weather because, you know, it's Hawaii! So I was pleasantly surprised to have the light rain. It rained off and on for about 75-80% of the race. Thank Goodness! Around mile 19-20 the sun came out and that's when I started to really slow down.  It would  have been a super long day if the sun was out the entire time! 
I can't remember what mile we were at but we did have some strong winds but they didn't last long. 

The Swag

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Every runner in the finish area was welcomed with the smell of warm and fresh Malasadas! They were really good and it was all I could think about for the last few miles. It is sort of like a  funnel cake ball covered in sugar. 

All finishers got a cotton t-shirt, a medal, a malasada, a shell necklace, and our bib.

I kinda wish the bibs were a little more fancy being as they are pretty plain, but with over 31,000 runners and the fact that they  even let people sign up for the race at the expo, I understand why they  would want to keep them simple to keep costs down. 

The Expo

PictureFredrik and I at the Honolulu Marathon Expo!
We landed in Honolulu on Friday afternoon before the race. Hawaii is 4 hours behind Oklahoma so when we landed at 3:00, it really felt like 7:00 PM and we had been traveling since 4:00 AM. Long day! So we waited to hit up the expo until Saturday. When we got there it was like we stepped into a different world! It was so crazy and awesome to see that everything was in English and Japanese! This race has a very strong presence from Japan so it makes a lot of sense to have all the signs in both languages. I've never ran a race that has been so diverse and it was really cool to experience that in Hawaii.

During the expo I had a goal of meeting a couple people. One of them was Fredrik who works with the marathon marketing team and does social media. I asked a few volunteers if they knew who he was or where I could find him and no one seemed to really know. Finally I just sent him a message through Twitter and 10 minutes later we were chilling in the expo! 
It was great to finally put a face with a name being as we had been tweeting back and forth for several months leading up to the race! I was totally expecting him to look like a Native Hawaiian but turns out he's not. He's a tall, thin, white guy with an Aussie (I think) accent! 

The expo was definitely big enough for all the runners and vendors and really easy to navigate. It was also easy to get to from our hotel so that was nice. 

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My other goal was to meet Sam with FlipBelt. I just recently got my very own belt and fell in love with it immediately! You can read my review here. 
She's a totally cool chick who is super relaxed and fun to talk to. I wish we could have stayed and talked more about running and everything but her booth was very busy selling out of belts so I let her get back to business! If you ever see her at an Expo be sure to stop by and say hi! 

My Experience

PictureTypical Corral Selfie!
Due to the warmer weather in Hawaii and being as we ran a marathon just 3 weeks prior to this race, we planned to take this one easy. We planned to use an interval method so I could avoid getting too hot and because we knew there was no time limit to worry about. We ended up running the first 3 miles non-stop and then picked up our intervals of running 3 minutes and a brisk walk for 1 minute. I also decided that since we were taking it easy, I would give live tweeting during the race a try! It was a ton of fun and I got a lot of encouragement from all my Twitter buddies! If you ever run a race for fun, you should try it once just to do it. I had so much fun going through all my tweets/notifications after the race! 

We ended up finishing in 6:24:00.

I really think we could have finished in under 6 hours even with our run/walk method but we had a few stops on the course and I'm pretty sure they  were 10+ minutes due to long lines at the bathrooms. 

This is a huge race! It had over 31,000 runners and even though there are 26 miles to spread out, you never really spread out. You have to be on your game the whole time to  make sure you don't bump into people. You've been warned! 

The first few miles of the race are in the dark and have you running around downtown Honolulu. We saw a lot of businesses decorated with large Christmas light displays which made the race feel fun and festive! 

The course takes you along the shore line not too far from Diamond Head and there are a few opportunities to see the ocean. It was so beautiful! What was even more beautiful, was seeing all the green mountains off in the distance with the low rain clouds hanging around. It gave the race a cool ambiance and backdrop that made everything feel all majestic and stuff! Don't even get me started on the fact that we saw a rainbow during the race. I almost died!! 

Around mile 19 or so I hit the wall. Our walk breaks got a little longer and our running was a little shorter. I was still having fun and the volunteers were still cheering loud and proud. So overall I was doing ok! I've just come to the conclusion that marathons are just hard! I have one more full marathon planned in 2015 and then I think I'll retire and stick with half marathons. We'll see!If full marathons aren't your thing, and you want to run a race in Hawaii, the same race organizers hold the Hapalua Half in April. 

I seriously can't recommend this race enough! If you are looking for a special race for a milestone or an anniversary you MUST. DO. THIS. RACE!
The course, the scenery, the fireworks, the rainbow, the ocean, the list goes on and on! 

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How you think I feel during a marathon...
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How I really feel during a marathon...

Question! Where is your next race or vacation or race-cation?

 
 
Picture2014 Route 66 Marathon Medal
Before we get too deep into my Route 66 Marathon recap, I won't keep you waiting to see if I reached my goal of a PR and a 4:45 marathon. 

Nope! It didn't happen and that's ok. 

I will say that while I'm a little bummed I didn't get a PR, I know that sometimes you win some and you lose some. This was just not my day and that's how it worked out this time. It just means that there will be another time and another race worthy of a PR! 

I don't regret sharing with my blog buddies what my goal was, albeit an ambitious one. For me, sharing my goal with you all made it real and it made it a solidified plan in my mind and it made it feel doable. I received so much love and encouragement on social medial from all  my fellow BibRave buddies and everyone else before and after the race and that was totally amazing and worth every painful step! My recap below will bring you on the adventure of marathon #5. 

The Bling

PictureRoute 66 2014 Medals
I ALWAYS start with the bling because it's my favorite part of any race and since this is my hometown race, I was able to collect a lot of it this weekend.  Between the Hubbo and I, we bought home 8 pieces of bling and 10 shirts! 

Starting on the top row on the left is my 5K medal. These are a definite improvement from last yeas's 5k medal. It's about the size of my palm! 
The next medal on the top is my Marathon Maniacs medal for finishing the full. This is another cool feature of this race. If you are a Half Fanatic, Marathon Maniac, or 50 State runner, and if you register in time, you can get a special medal that shows your club affiliation! The leaves on the outside of medal actually spin which is a cool feature of this large medal! 

The smaller coin on the bottom row is my volunteer coin for helping out at the Expo on Friday. I took a shift of handing out bibs and a shift of handing out shirts and had a blast meeting most of the runners! 

The red and blue coin in this picture is my coin for completing the Center of The Universe Detour. Two years ago when I ran this marathon for the first time the CoU detour was around mile 17, but this time it was after mile 25 and I love that they moved it! 


The Center of The Universe Detour

PicturePhoto Cred: Route66Marathon.com
One of the little extra things that makes this race special is the optional detour that runners can take around mile 25.5. If you want to, you can elect to run up to the Center of The Universe which is famously located here in Tulsa and if you do, you get an extra coin and you get the bragging rights of running the World's Shortest Ultra, a 26.5 mile  race! 

The CoU is an architectural anomaly that is a cement circle and if you stand in the middle of it and talk normal, your voice will echo all around you, but those outside the circle can't hear the echos! I've done it before and it's kinda crazy! 

Technically, I've ran more ultra marathons than I've ran regular marathons since 3 of my marathons have been over 26.2 miles. According to some runner's opinion, an ultra is typically a minimum of 50K and up and I've only ran one of those. 

The Course

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It's no secret that this course isn't flat. Most people will describe it as challenging but not impossible. It definitely has a lot of rolling hills because that is how most of Tulsa is built. It is a course you can PR on and BQ but you have to work for it. You have to train for some rolling hills if you are going to do this race. 
The course also shows off some of best parts of Tulsa including Cherry Street, Brookside, Midtown, TU, and Downtown Tulsa all in one race. It's definitely a good representation of our city. 

The Expo

PictureBart Yasso at Route 66 2014
This expo is one of my favorite expos of any race I've been to. I've been to OKC, Garmin, Little Rock, and a few others and this one is still my favorite. I even volunteered at the Expo on Friday handing out bibs and then shirts. 
This expo is in a space that is big enough to roam around and it's not crowded at all. There are also plenty of vendors there from races, to Addaday, to KINDBars, to many others. 
They also have extras that make this race special, like Bart Yasso speaking at the Expo, a Blogger's Panel which yours truly got to be a part of this year, and they even collected old running shoes to donate this year. 

My Experience

PictureThe Hubbo and I in our matching Maniac Shirts!
I knew when the Hubbo and I completed the 5k on Saturday that the marathon was going to be a little hotter and harder than I would like. I think I say this in EVERY SINGLE BLOG post, but I'm not a hot weather runner. I'll take 30 degrees over 60 degrees any day! Especially a race day. On Sunday before we even got to the starting line it was 58* and 93% humidity. Not good for this Ginger. Some people thrive in this type of weather and that's good. Everyone has a different ideal race temps. But from what I heard from my running buddies, it was a tough day for everyone. 

Looking back, I really should have realigned my race goals and started with the 5:00 hour pacer, but I decided to go with my original plan of going with the 4:45 pacer and shoot for the best I could do.
I managed to hang with that pace for 10 miles, but around mile 4, I was completely drenched in sweat and knew I wouldn't be able to hang for another 22.5 miles at that pace. 

Around mile 10 at a water stop my running buddy Tara and I left the pacer and our other friends Roy and Paul and decided to slow it down. That was good for a while then we started doing run walk intervals. At mile 20 Tara was ready to run it in so we parted ways. Around mile 21 I started getting cramps in my foot and my right quad. They would literally stop me in my tracks and I'd have to sit down on the curb to stretch them out before I could keep walking.  It was not cute. 
I was hunched over on a curb stretching and a fellow maniac came upon me and asked if I was alright, I let him know I was fine just battling some fun cramps. He told me he couldn't tell if I was stretching or curled up in a ball crying on the side of the road. Looking back, it must have totally looked like I was curled up in an upright fetal position when he came up on me. Also, not cute! 

I managed to limp my way through miles 21-23 and somewhere after that I ran into my running buddy Amber. We had lost each other around mile 4. I have never been so happy to see someone I knew in a race! I just needed someone to help me take my mind off the pain.
Not only was I dealing with the cramps but my feet hurt like hell! I'd stop to walk because I was hot or cramping and all the blood would drain down in my feet until it was too painful to walk. The only thing that helped that feeling go away was to run, but every time I ran, I'd get a cramp. It was a vicious cycle. My feet even got numb and tingly at one point. Again, not cute! 
We managed to run/walk our way to the finish line.
Despite all the heat, humidity, hills, cramping, walking, and stopping to stretch I managed to run my 2nd fastest marathon in 5:43:20. 

More Pics from Route 66

PictureRunning Buddies Tara and Tom!
My running buddy and fellow Okie, Tom, took this photo around mile 14ish. Look at how wet my hair is with sweat and how red my face is! That should tell you that it was a warm one for me! 

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Roy, Paul, Tara and I in the corral and ready to go! 
I saw so many people over dressed for this race. So many turtle necks on under singlets, so many long tights and running jackets and gloves. My running club subscribes to the saying "dress like it is 20* warmer than what the temperature says."
So if the temp is 57* outside, dress like it is 77* outside. I wouldn't be wearing a running jacket, and gloves when it's almost 80*! 

Questions! Have you ever gone for a PR and Missed it? 
Does your hometown race have any fun "extras" like the Route 66 Detour?

 
 
PictureAmber, Hubbo, and I
Last Saturday the Hubbo, my fellow Ginger-in-Crime Amber, and I ran the Jenks Half Marathon here in Jenks, Oklahoma. It's just across the river next to Tulsa. It was my 11th half I've completed. This one may sound familiar if you've followed this blog for a while being as I did this exact same race last year. Now that I've completed 11 half marathons, I feel so lucky to be able to say that. 


The Medal

PictureJenks Half Marathon Medal 2014
Being as this race is a fund raiser for a local school's cross country team, I totally understand their medal selection. This race is also very affordable for a half marathon. I signed up 1 week before and it was $38 with fees. 
The medal may not be much to write home or blog about, but the race has good intentions. I do wish they would have changed it up a little since the medals are almost exactly the same as last year. The only difference is that last year it said "34" and this year it was "35" for the 35th anniversary. 

The Course

PictureHand drawn map. Seems legit.
This course has rolling hills. These types of hills are good for training because they aren't so steep or drastic that they take everything you've got to complete them, but they are enough to be a good workout. The first 6 miles of the course seem to be the worst of it. From 6-9 the hills lighten up a little. And from miles 9-13 the course seems to level out a bit more and you can push it a little harder. Overall, even though it is kinda hilly, I still really love this course. It doesn't hurt that we get to run by a small airport and watch the planes land as we ran by. 

This is a picture of the course map they were handing out at packet pick up. It makes me laugh so I wanted to include it. If I wasn't from around here, it would probably make me a little nervous to run this race, but trust me. I survived and never heard the Deliverance music! 

The Swag

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There isn't an expo for this race. You pick up your shirt and bib at a local running store. Inside by race packet envelope I did get some dental floss so that was pretty snazzy. Here is a pic of the shirt. This picture doesn't do it much justice because it is actually  more of a royal blue which I really like. After the race we were immediately handed a bottle of water by a very enthusiastic volunteer. He was also out on the course and kept things fun when we passed him. The post-race food was decent too. Full sized granola bars and full sized candy bars. 

My Experience

PictureAmber & I Crossing the Finish! #FlexBreak
I knew going into this race I wasn't trying for a PR. I was hoping to practice my marathon race pace to see how I would hold up on all those hills, but plans changed. The day of the race we had some very windy conditions. Wind gusts of up to 25 mph according to my weather app. I was going into this race knowing I was going to run it with the Hubbo and Amber and for the first few miles we just weren't feeling it so we changed our strategy to just have fun, take pictures and beat the 3 hour cut-off time. Mission accomplished! 

Question! Do you ever run races to just have fun?

 
 
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Let's be real honest right up front, I hated just about every minute of the Tulsa Run this weekend. And honestly, it left me wondering if I'll do it again next year. 
You can read last year's recap here

I'll be honest and say that I wasn't mentally in the game for this race either, which also made it tough. I've never mentally quit so hard. I did finish the race but it wasn't pretty. There was a lot of hills, a lot of walking, and a lot of negotiating with myself over those 9 miles on Saturday. 

The Course

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I know you are use to my recaps starting with the medal because that is my favorite part of each race, but we HAVE to talk about this course.

Let me point out a few things first....

1. This year they changed the course to a more traditional route. The last two years I ran this race it was pretty much just an out-and-back on a mostly flat course with a big hill at the end.
2. I live in Tulsa, I train for all my races in Tulsa, and I'm not a stranger to the fact that Tulsa is hilly.
3. This is my third time to run this race. 

Now, back to the course. The picture above is courtesy of the Tulsa Sports Commission. That elevation map is a little scary. The word on the street is that due to an upcoming construction event taking place along the usual route, the course was changed. I'll just say, I'm not a fan of the new course. It felt like if we weren't coming down a hill, we were going up one at all times. Not to mention the race stared at 9:00 am which is a pretty late start for a race and I noticed a lot of traffic that had to wait on runners. I will say that this course was way more scenic than previous years but you paid for it in hills. 

Now here is a factor that the Tulsa run has no control over. The weather. It has been unseasonably warm here in Tulsa for a couple weeks. When the Hubbo and I pulled out of the drive way an hour before the race, it was already 69 degrees. When we got back in the car after the race, it was 85! Too hot for this Ginger who is not a hot weather runner! To put it in perspective for you, the first year I ran this race it was so cold, I wore a hat, gloves, long tights, long sleeve shirt, and a jacket the entire race! This year I wore a tank top and shorts and still overheated. If the race had started earlier, or the weather had been better, maybe this race wouldn't have been so hard. I will say that one week before this race, I ran an 18 mile training run which was very hilly as well and that seemed much easier than this race for some reason. 

The Medal

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The first two years I ran this race, the medals looked pretty similar. But this year, they a change to the overall layout of the medal and I like it. The color scheme and logo are the same, but the different shape gives it a different vibe to the medal. Couple that with the fact that I don't have a lot of rectangle medals and I consider this one a win!

The Shirt

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The Tulsa Run always has a long sleeve technical shirt as part of the swag you get for running the race. This year was no different. This year's shirt is great and all, until I put it on and found a giant hole had been cut in the arm of my shirt. It looks like it had possibly been cut with scissors when they were trying to open a box of shirts or something. 

I am sure that I have a Tulsa Run Shirt Curse because there has been something wrong with each shirt I've received over the last three races. Every. Single. One! 
The first year all the shirts were too small for everyone!
The second year I ordered mine a size larger trying to avoid the too small problem but when I noticed how big it was at the expo, they wouldn't let me trade it in for a smaller size. It was a men's shirt! Not a unisex shirt.  Why do races do that even though women outnumber men at most races?
This year, I got my shirt with a big hole in it. 

::Insert Sad Music Here:: 

The Water Stops/Post Race Food

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This is where the Tulsa Run needs to get their shit together. The water stops were awful again this year. Last year one of the last water stops ran out of water! How does a race that has been around for over 35 years not have a good system down for water stops??? 

This year, at more than one water stop, I had to stand there and wait for a volunteer to fill a cup with water so I could take it and continue walking while I drank my water. 
Then when I crossed the finish line they were out of water! How in the world do you run out of water at a finish line?!? 
Luckily, a volunteer had just walked over to the finish area and opened 1 case of water as I was about to exit the race and I managed to get a bottle. There were several people out on the course after I was and I really hope they had a truck load of water brought in for the people who finished after me.

Then as I'm going through the post-race food tent I was surprised to see that they had really skimped on the food this year. They had bananas cut up in to small pieces which is fine, but they had bagels they had also cut up into such small pieces that the box of bread looked like nothing but crumbs! Then they also had granola bars that they had opened and cut up into very small pieces as well. It was sort of embarrassing. This is a huge race with over 9,000 people participating and I was embarrassed to be from Tulsa and have the Tulsa Run represented that way. The Hubbo and I signed up for this race when it was first available (meaning the cheapest rate) and it was still almost $40. 

I would rather skip the post-race food all together and see that money be donated to charity. I would like to say THANK YOU to all the volunteers who works so hard to provide this race for us! Races couldn't happen without people like you! Also a big shout out to the Beer Stops! Yes, stops as in plural. Towards the end of the race at two different locations there were tables set up with cold beer. I figured I needed to do something to jazz this party up so I happily obliged and drank a cup from each station. It made me forget how hot I was for a split second so it was totally worth it! 

Overall Experience Summary

Overall, this was just not my day. It was too hot, too hilly, and I'm still adjusting to my new meds while running. Also I couldn't get my Garmin to connect until I had already ran .75 miles. I finished the race in 1:53:52 which is not close to a PR for me, but I'm totally fine with it because I walked, I finished, and I brought home another medal and that is all that really matters. 

Question! Have you ever had a race run out of water?

 
 
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This weekend the Hubbo and I took a trip half way across the US and ran the Ventura Half Marathon in California. This was my 10th half and the Hubbo's first visit to Cali! Even though the trip was really quick we had a great time and got to meet new people and see some friends!
We started our trip by getting up way to early for a vacation day (4:30am) to catch our flight out of Tulsa. We landed in LA around lunch time on Saturday, rented a car, and drove on the 405 towards Ventura in the middle of the day! I was more excited about it than the Hubbo was which was weird because I was driving! For a girl from a small town with one stop light, that's a pretty big deal! The race was on Sunday and then we got up on Monday and made the trip back home. Here's how it all went down.

The Medal

Picture2014 Ventura Half Marathon Medal
You guys know from reading my previous race recaps that I always start with the medal. One, because it's my favorite part and two, if you don't read any further I want you to check out this bling! The 2014 Ventura Half Marathon medal was voted on by the runners a few months ago. I'm super excited because this is the one I voted for! If you look closly at the left hand side, you can see that they added a bottle opener. I love it and it looks really good on my medal hanger. 

The Course

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If you are looking for a PR for the Full or Half Marathon, this is the race for you! The course is flat as a pancake! In one of the emails I received from the race, they listed facts about the finishers from last year. In 2013, 21% of the full marathon finishers qualified for Boston
I'll just let that soak in for a bit....
Here's the elevation map for those of you who would like to verify for yourself that it was, indeed, flat. The course is basically an out-and-back for the full and for the half. It's not too scenic though. I thought we would be running right on the ocean side, but I understand that this is the better option for a safe race and I like to keep living sooo...

The Expo/Beach Party/Swag

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This was the first race that I've been to that had an outdoor expo and I loved it! The beach party was in full swing on Saturday when we arrived to pick up our packets and was a little different than I was expecting. They had vendors at the expo, a live band, beer for sale, and of course, packet pick up. Picking up our packets was super easy, we just had to look up our bib numbers ahead of time and get in the right line. They emailed us a link to look up our bib numbers in the days leading up to the race. The expo was small but super convenient being as it was right by the starting line and right by the hotel we stayed at. If you do this race next year, definitely stay at the Crown Plaza right by the pier. It's perfect! 
According to the race the race photos are free but they haven't been released yet. That is an amazing perk for a race since the photos are usually super expensive! 

The People

PictureGeorge, Me, Hubbo, Clarinda, Katie
You guys! This was the best part of the whole weekend! We got to meet up with our friends from Twitter that we first met up with at the Mustang 50th Anniversary Half Marathon this April in Las Vegas! 
Here is a fabulous picture of all of us that George managed to get. You all might remember George since he was the RunGingerRun Buddy of the month of August.
Also in the picture is Clarinda from Enjoyingthecourse.com who manged to get a PR in the half this weekend! Congrats!
Katie is the one rocking the cute outfit with the lei and super fun skirt that she made herself! She always has the best running costumes and makes her own skirts! You can see some of her other skirts here. Oh and Katie got a PR too! 

PictureShane + Sarah = Race Twins!
I also got to meet a new Twitter buddy, Shane, who was running the half. It turns out he's running the Honolulu Marathon in December too! It's like we are race twins! Can you see the resemblance? 

Shane is awesome because he just celebrated his birthday this week and ran 41 miles in honor of turning 41! Just days after the Ventura Half! 

Happy Birthday! 

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I also got to meet an Instagram buddy, Mr. Eddie, who lives in Ventura! He said he can practically see the finish line from his house! How cool is that?

I don't know what's going on with my eye in this picture. I promise I'm not trying to be a member of KISS and no, Mr. Eddie didn't punch me in the eye either. 

My Stats/The Weather

PictureMid-Race Selfies are the best!
Going into this race I knew I wasn't in PR shape. I only had 9 weeks to prepare and I ended up missing almost 3 of those weeks. I definitely don't mind running a race just for fun. You can see that George and I managed to have a little fun on the course! 

Time: 2:21:26
87th out of 172 in my Age Group
Average Pace: 10:48/mile
Overall Place: 513
Total Women: 1048
Total Men: 606

I was doing pretty good until mile 11. The sun was really shining and there was very little shade. We all know I'm not a hot weather runner so between the heat and lack of shade, I started to get goose bumps which is a bad sign. So between the bathroom break at mile 3 and walking a little in the last two miles, I'm still really happy with my results! My goal going into this race was to be under 2:30 and I did it and had fun! Boom! Done!

After The Race

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After we were done visiting with everyone at the finish line, we went back to our room rested for a bit and showered. Then the Hubbo and I set off on our adventure to explore the beach and downtown Ventura! After lunch we went to the beach and took some pictures then decided to head into downtown which wasn't far from our hotel and we stumbled upon a local shop called Very Ventura. I chatted with Angela who owns the shop with her husband. They were really nice and gave us recommendations for a good place to eat for dinner. I bought a cute tank top that was printed by a local artist and the Hubbo bought a wooden decorative piece that spelled Ocean or Beach depending on which side you are looking at, which were also done by a local artist. We found so many cute things and if we had checked luggage instead of just carry-ons, we would have come home with a lot more stuff!

50 States Map

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The Hubbo and I have a very relaxed goal of eventually running a race (half or full marathon) in each state. Here is a map of what we have accomplished since we started running in 2012.
This year alone we will have ran in 4 new states,
Kansas, Nevada, California, and Hawaii!  

Question! What race is next for you? How many states have you raced in?