Race-cation | Southern Califiornia Getaway

One of the best reasons to choose a race in a different city is the opportunity for a race-cation! You know, where you sign up for a race and plan a trip around it!  Because I love to run and I love to travel even more, it's no wonder most of my races are out of town.  I love being able to combine two of my favorite things!  Mostly, these are just weekend getaways like for the L.A. Marathon and sometimes they are full-on family vacations, like for Disney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon in DisneyWorld.  Either way, it's always exciting to get away and run in a new place!  

Last month I got to race the Ventura Beach Half Marathon and we made a nice little family trip out of it.  The kids had already started school, so we let them play hooky and we left Friday morning.  We headed straight to L.A.'s The Grove shopping center where Elysse had an appointment with a personal shopper at the American Girl store!  You can read all about her amazing experience and my recommendations when visiting this store HERE.  While Elysse and I shopped and had lunch at the American Girl Cafe, Jason and Diego spent their afternoon catching PokeMon Go at the nearby La Brea Tar Pits.  They also grabbed a bite to eat and even did a little shopping too.

In case you didn't know, Friday afternoon traffic through L.A. is insane.  We thought because we were leaving a few hours before rush hour that we would be ok, but it was still really congested and it took us quite awhile to get from Los Angeles to Ventura.  When we finally arrived at our hotel, I realized just how chilly the evenings are in Ventura and we were not prepared!  Elysse still got in the pool before we headed to dinner.  She's crazy and maybe I'm a little crazier for letting her get in.  But hey, it's a vacation! 

Saturday morning, was packet pickup and our family day at the beach.  The first thing we did, was head to Old Navy to get some sweaters because the morning was cold and cloudy and I knew the evening would also be chilly.  Then we headed to Trader Joe's to grab food for our beach picnic lunch later.  At this point, we're all starving, so we had to find a place to eat a late breakfast on Main St. Finally, around noon, we made it to the beach.  Packet pick up was right next to the pier and super quick to find and get my bib for the race the next day.

After all of this, it was finally time to relax at the beach for the day!  The weather was cool but it did get pretty sunny once that morning fog rolled out.  We spent the day lounging, making sand castles, and gathering shells.  Diego had gotten a skate board while in L.A. so him and Jason practiced skating along the bike trail.  It was seriously one of the most chill out days at the beach we've ever had.  Even though it was too cold for actual swimming in the ocean, it was a blast!  We were all so stuffed from our big breakfast, that we didn't even have our lunch or snacks until we got in the car to leave.  

As soon as we got back to our hotel, Elysse was ready to jump in the pool again! I don't know how she has so much energy.  But, because we didn't swim in the ocean, we figured why not! So her and Jason stayed at the pool while Diego and went up to the room to get a head start on showers and get ready for dinner.

Sunday was race day and it was perfect!  You can read all about my race recap HERE.  Unfortunately, with school on Monday, we decided to head back home soon after the race was done.  After my race, we headed back to the hotel to check-out and for me to get myself all cleaned up from the half marathon.  After breakfast we decided to take the scenic route and find the Musical Road in Lancaster, CA.  It was originally made for a Honda commercial.  It's a quarter mile bit of road that when driven on it, it is supposed to sound like  William Tell Overature or better known as the theme from the classic Lone Ranger tv show. Was it worth taking the scenic route for this? Absolutely! There are only a few of these musical roads in the world and even though it wasn't perfectly in tune, it was still a fun little side track.  

Click the photo to see and hear our drive over the Musical Road! 

Click the photo to see and hear our drive over the Musical Road! 

We also got to see one of the largest wind farms in the world as we drove back to the interstate.  We had no idea we'd be seeing that, but when we kept seeing so many rows of windmills, I quickly googled and found out it was the Alta Wind Project, also called the Mojave Wind Farm, the third largest onshore wind energy project in the world.  Pretty neat bit of trivia :) 

All and all, our family race-cation was a much needed break from the busy months we'd been having with packing and moving and the kids starting new schools.  I highly recommend when looking for your next race, consider making it a race-cation! I'm sure the idea of traveling and getting away will be a nice motivator as you put in those training miles! 



Ventura Half Marathon | Race Recap

You guys I PRed!!! Woohooo!! I am so excited to give you all the details from the Ventura Marathon & Half Marathon event earlier this month.  I got to participate in this awesome race thanks to RacePlace.  As an ambassador for RacePlace, I was offered this race entry at no cost, but this review and recap are my own thoughts and opinions.  

The marathon and half marathon took place on Sunday, September 11 but they had fun events on Saturday too.  There were also various bike race distances, an adventure race, 5K, kids races, and K9 Shuffle!  Packet pickup and expo were held outside right next to the pier and there was a live band and some food trucks too.  It was definitely a beach party atmosphere!  

We left Vegas Friday morning.  Totally let the kids skip school for this trip!  Every year we take a 3 day weekend getaway to the beach right before school starts and this year we just didn't make it. So, this became a fun little race-cation!  More on that part of our trip in another post ;) 

We kept to our plan and got to the beach right around 11am or so after our huge brunch at Cajun Kitchen Cafe right on Main St. in downtown Ventura.  First stop was packet pickup.  Like I mentioned, the expo was held outside right next to the pier.  It was super easy and quick to get my bib and swag bag.  I loved the goodies we got! Just look at all the stuff I got! I really like that hat and the bag is great too.  Roomy and useful.  I gotta say I was getting tired of the drawstring bags mot races are giving.  Plus, race photos were free! 

The expo itself wasn't super big but that was fine with me.  I don't particularly enjoy those big expos where it's inside and stuffy and there's a ton of people all around you!  Anyhow, once we were done looking around and getting the kids some ice cream we spent a relaxing day on the beach.  Dinner was my usual carb-loading pizza with some protein and lots of veggies ;) 

Race morning was smooth and easy.  Jason was just dropping me off, so parking was not an issue for us, although it seems there was plenty of parking options.  The folks that were directing traffic were friendly and showed us where he could park to drop me off.  I had forgotten my Garmin in the room, so we had turn around and grab that for sure!  I got to the race, which started right in front o f the pier, with just enough time to get my headphones on and line up near the 2:30 pacer before we took off.  Everything seemed organized and relaxed. 

I went into this race with zero expectations and just happy there were no hills and it was a flat course.  My training had not been as regular as it should have been.  I did get my long runs in each week, but only running 2-4 miles once or twice during the week. So you can imagine my surprise when I ended up passing the 2:30 pacer and felt great around mile 5.  I was so sad when around mile 6 I had to stop and pee in the port a potty.  I considered not stopping, but of course, that just made me have to go more! LOL I sped up a little bit to try to catch up to the pacer again but I reached the turn around point (it was an out and back race) and still didn't see them.  I slowed down a bit and maintained a steady pace until about mile 10.  At this point in a half marathon I always feel anxious and ready for it to be over.  I found a really nice groove and kicked it up a notch.  Once I spotted the 2:30 pacers I took off.  I was a woman on on a mission!  I came up to them and they told me I was doing a good job.  I replied back with a thanks and told them I had been trying to catch up with them the whole race!  It was great to hear them cheer me on as I kept going and passed them.  I knew I was going faster than usual, but I was still feeling great.  I didn't want to look down at my garmin and see my pace out of fear of slowing down once I saw it! Crazy, I know.  I just ran for myself and only when I crossed the finish line and stopped my watch did I see I had a new record!  I finished in 2:24:26 beating my previous record of 2:25:27.  I don't know how it happened, but I'm so happy it did!  Maybe I can finish my next half in 2:20 ;) 

Thanks agin to Raceplace for the race entry and to the race directors and volunteers who made this my best half marathon to date!  And of course, thanks to my ever supportive family for coming along and cheering me on!  They're the best! XO