Vegan Food on the Road, Cross Country, & Costume Party Run Update

Ignite

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a Team Ignite Athlete, but I thought it was kind of cool how they jazzed up my picture, so I thought I’d share. I’ve been using the InRefresh Electrolytes, and loving it, especially in this humid, hot weather we’ve been suffering through enjoying lately. I didn’t carry my own fluids during the Costume Party Run, but I tried to hydrate as much as possible, both before and after the race, using InRefresh.

Costume Party Run Update

Speaking of the Costume Party Run, I received an email from Ken at Superhero Events. He thanked all the participants, asked for feedback about the race, and promised that it would be even bigger and better next year. The improvements will include providing tech shirts instead of trucker’s hats, and reducing the amount of distance spent running through the parking lot of Qualcomm. Hurray! Those were my only two, admittedly minor, complaints. And they are going to make the finisher’s medal even bigger! Next year, it will be the size of an actual 45 record. Huge! Can’t wait for next year. Hmmm, what should I go as?

Vegan Food

Cross Country

Cross Country practice started on Tuesday! I am always excited to get the season underway, meet the team, start training and planning for the upcoming year. The fact that practice started on the worst day, weather-wise, that we’ve had yet didn’t put a damper on my excitement.

Vegan Food - Costume Party Run

It looks pretty, but it was hot, humid, and even smoky! Though the weather managed to get even worse for my own run the next morning. Just gotta say, 70% humidity is HUGE in the desert! It just doesn’t happen. Until it does.

Vegan Food - Costume Party Run

Vegan Food on the Road

I always get excited when I travel to Encinitas, because I know that I’ll get to eat at my favorite restaurants. After we checked into the hotel on Saturday, Alan and I walked over to the Roxy for lunch. I was in the mood for hummus for some reason, so that’s what I ordered. The Hummus and Pita appetizer, plus a side salad (I didn’t take a picture of it but it was HUGE!).

Vegan Food

I couldn’t even eat the whole thing (the picture is missing a slice of hummus because I couldn’t wait–I reformed it into a 5 pointed star instead of 6). We burned it off by walking to Moonlight Beach to check out the renovations that had been done. They recently built a new dressing room/restroom/concessions complex, made some changes to the landscaping, and enlarged the picnic/playground area. It looked really nice.

Now that Native Foods has opened in Encinitas, there is never any doubt where we’re going to have dinner. I did post a teaser photo on Instagram, though.

Vegan Food

Alan and I both went old school. I had the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger, he had the Chicken Run Ranch Burger. And we shared an order of Native Fries. And we each had a piece of apple pie. I had to fuel for my race, didn’t I?

Vegan Food

Vegan Food

Vegan Food

Honestly, I think I kind of overdid it at dinner. Fortunately I didn’t have any stomach issues during the race, but my tummy didn’t quite feel normal. Too much delicious food!

After the race (if you missed my recap click here) and a little rest, we headed to the Lotus Cafe for a late breakfast. I was delighted to see that they’d added a full line of breakfast items to their menu, including my favorite, Tofu Scramble. It was really very good. It was served with vegan breakfast sausage (I don’t think I’ve even tried that before!), and potatoes. It did a great job of refilling my tank!

Vegan Food

Even better than the food though, was who we got to eat with.

Vegan Food - family

Vegan Food - family

And especially

Vegan Food - Family

As you can see, Samuel is wearing a specially designed helmet that will correct and round out a flat spot on his head. According to my son, this has become more common since they now tell parents to always put an infant to sleep on their back. If they turn their head more often to one side than the other, it can develop a flat spot. The helmet will correct it, but he has to wear it for four-six months. Since that will encompass football season, my forward looking son and daughter-in-law had the helmet made in blue and are awaiting receipt of various Charger logo stickers to dress up Samuel’s helmet.

Vegan Food - family

I was mostly concerned because, for a baby who always has a smile on his face, Samuel didn’t look very happy. I was afraid the helmet was making him sad. They assured me that he was simply tired, and it was true that after a short nap, the true Samuel-face reappeared.

Vegan Food - family

I drove home feeling completely happy and satisfied on all levels. I successfully completed my half marathon within seconds of my two hour goal (I’m simply not going to sweat that 11 seconds), had great food the whole weekend, and best of all, got to spend time with my family. Life is good.

I’m a little late asking this, but I hope you’ll still tell me..How was your weekend? Did you compete in any events, eat at any great restaurants, spend time with family? It was such a long weekend that you may have had time to do all of the above!

Race Report: The Costume Party Run. Mission Accomplished (almost)

costume party run

What if you planned a race that would take place in the summertime. It would be a half marathon (with a 5k alongside) that would start at 6:00 in the morning. The course would be a huge loop through a parking lot, then out on a boring street for several miles, a turnaround to head back along that same bland route. The last three miles or so of the half marathon would again be through the parking lot. Instead of a t-shirt or tech shirt, you gave out trucker’s hats. You’d hand out no other swag, you’d offer only water and green Gatorade on the course. Oh, and no age group prizes, just over all trophies for each race.

But let’s say you have a concept. Two really. The first is to call your race the Costume Party Run and encourage everyone to dress up. The second is to offer what may be the world’s largest, blingiest finishers’ medal. Ever.

Having experienced this I can tell you. You would have the MOST AMAZING RACE EVER! Or close, anyway. You would have about 2,000 runners, the majority in costume, out there mainly to have a good time, celebrate running, and to get their picture taken.

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you may have already seen the costume that I chose. I know I’ve been teasing you with it for weeks. I decided on the Shoe Dog, the mascot from Road Runner Sports, both because he is a Dalmatian, and you all know how much I love my spotted running partner, and because as a sponsor and host of the race expo, Road Runner Sports and the Shoe Dog seemed appropriate and fun.

After stopping by the expo on Saturday to pick up my race bib (and trucker’s hat), I found the Shoe Dog and threw down the gauntlet.

costume party run

costume party run

He didn’t seem too concerned.

After the expo, we headed to Encinitas to check into our hotel. We almost always stay in North San Diego County no matter where our event takes place. The race was at Qualcomm Stadium, very close to my son’s house, but about a 20 minute drive from Encinitas (that’s at 5:00 in the morning, probably twice as long any other time of the day). It’s just our favorite place to be.

We walked to lunch (full vegan food report coming in a day or so…we ate at some of our favorites, including Native Foods, the Roxy, and the Lotus Cafe), then down to the beach to see the renovations that Encinitas has made at Moonlight Beach. This sounds like a lot of walking, but it was probably about a mile. Not too bad for the day before a half marathon.

When we finally settled in for the night, I laid out my costume (for the photo op of course). Since I couldn’t stand the idea of wearing an actual collar, I had decided to wear a bandana around my neck. I did want the tag though, so I took it off of the collar and tied it into my shoelaces. It is an old one of Sydney’s (my Cattledog), that has the wrong phone number.

costume party run

With the race starting at 6:00 am, we set the alarm for 3:30. That gave us an hour to drink coffee, have a bite, get the bodily functions out of the way before heading south. I am saying “we” even though I was the only one running the race. For the first time that we could remember, Alan was the official spectator, cheerleader, and cameraman. In the past, he has either run the race or announced it. I kind of liked it!

As I set about putting on my costume, I dug through my suitcase for my sports bra. Uh oh. I’m not sure exactly how I managed to do this, but I forgot to pack one! Not a lot of choice here, I ended up running the race in a lightly padded sweater bra. If you look closely at the pictures, you can probably see my bra straps. Um, if you really wanted to.

We arrived at Qualcomm about 5:10 to see a long snake of car taillights streaming into the stadium parking lot. Fortunately, it moved quickly and it was easy to find parking. I added the finishing touches to my costume, grabbed my bottle of InRefresh, my inhaler, and my Huma gel, and we headed toward the sound of the music. It was pretty easy to see we were in the right place.

costume party run

costume party run

costume party run

costume party runcostume party run

costume party run

It wasn’t long before they called us to the start line, though I noticed the deejay had a few folks still moving on the dance floor (yes, there was a deejay and a dance floor). As I got into the chute, they were just taping down the timing mats, which kind of worried me since it was about 10 minutes before race time, but I needn’t have worried. The race started exactly on time, after instructions that the half marathoners were to follow the cop on the motorcycle, and the 5k-ers to follow Michael “Blackson” on a bike.

As I mentioned, the first two or so miles were around the stadium parking lot, but I didn’t mention that there were two bands and a music station out there. That helped a lot. Since it was a big loop, you passed them twice on the way out and twice on the way home.

As for me, I was a little concerned during the first mile. I felt like my heart rate was too high, and I felt a little shaky. Fortunately, I settled down, pretty close to my goal of about nine minute miles. I drank a little bit at each water station throughout the race. They were available every mile, stocked with water and Gatorade, so lack of fluids was never an issue.

I did notice one little mix up (that didn’t matter to my race). At the point where the 5k was to split off, there wasn’t a sign, just Michael “Blackson” standing there telling the 5k runners to head right. The problem was that a few got by, I heard one ask a photographer as we headed out of the parking lot where was the 5k supposed to run. Oops! I set him straight, but I’m afraid he got an extra 1/2 mile in his race.

The weather was perfect. Starting at 6:00 is a great idea, it stayed cool (around 70 degrees) and cloudy the whole race. Heading out onto Friar’s Road, which fronts the stadium, there is a slight uphill. I should point out that this course is really, really flat. Basically the only hills were when we’d run over a freeway, or the slight undulations of the road. In fact, it was so flat it was pretty boring. It is on the outskirts of San Diego, not downtown, not walker friendly, so there was nobody on the sidelines. There were a couple bands, which helped.

I hit the turn-around at about mile 6.5 and that is when the race started to get fun. Not because I was feeling so wonderful. I had to use my inhaler shortly after the turn-around, but because now I could see all the runners, in costume, coming behind me. It was great! So many people had really taken the time to be creative and have some fun with their costumes. I would estimate at least 75-80% of the runners were in some sort of costume, and as you can see, some went all out.

Right about that time I took my first Huma gel (review coming soon), and I began to feel better. I was on pace for my goal time of two hours, my asthma seemed under control, and I was having a good time. What more can you ask from a half marathon?  Doesn’t the timing seem ripe for a “but then…?”

Meanwhile, Alan had taken a short run, then placed himself at the finish line both to support me and to take pictures of the crowd (blogger’s spouse duty). He got some good ones.

costume party run

Okay, here it comes. But then…I got to mile 10 and I could feel the asthma. As I’ve said before, it’s not a full-on asthma attack. I can just feel it coming. I feel like my extremities aren’t getting enough oxygen, I start to slow down, and I know if I keep going my airway will close. So before that happened I started walking, took a puff on the inhaler and, after about 20 seconds, got started again.

I felt pretty good. With about 2.5 miles to go I was running close to race pace. A lady bug pulled up alongside me and recognized me as the Shoe Dog. I ran with her for a bit, the she slowed down at a water station. I kept plugging along, trying to do the math in my head. If I could hold this pace, I could make it. Could I hold this pace?

About a mile from the finish (I could actually see the finish line because of the looping parking lot course), I saw Alan cheering me on (and taking pictures, of course). He said he’s see me at the finish line and I went on. I again could feel my body starting to slow, wanting to slow. Right at that time three young men came running from behind and encouraged me to keep going. Which is all fine and good, and I really tried, but, you know you have to breathe to be able to keep going. Another short walking break, inhaler use, then back at it. Now I was worried that I would miss my goal.

When I finally got to the last third mile or so, I was able to pick up the pace (I looked at my Garmin and saw 7:38! Kind of scared me!). I wasn’t sure if my lungs or my legs would last, but I was going to give it everything I got. I could see the finish clock ahead of me. Would I make it?

costume party run

costume party run

I told Alan to “get my tail” in the picture!

After I crossed the finish line, it took me a few moments to pull myself together, catch my breath, and walk it off. Then I looked at my Garmin: 2:00:10. So. Freaking. Close. Less than a second a mile. The time I spent walking. (My official time is 2:00:11). More on my feelings about that later, but first:

costume party run

Bah-ling!!! Seriously this baby is six inches in diameter, and weighs a ton! The disco ball is suspended in the middle, and the outside looks like a vinyl record. They kept their promise. This is the biggest, coolest finisher’s medal I’ve ever earned!

costume party run

costume party run

I met a couple other Dalmatians:

costume party run

I also got to meet Melissa, a fellow Fitfluential and Sweat Pink Ambassador! Fortunately she “spotted” me and asked it I was Debbie. She had seen other Dalmatians, so it wasn’t as easy as it sounds (I think I saw about a half dozen other ones). As you can see, she is proudly sporting that Disco Ball Medal too! I’m looking forward to reading her race report.

costume party run

I came prepared to hand out some information about KindRunner, but the opportunity just didn’t arise. As you know, I’m a KindRunner Ambassador. I thought it would be a great idea to bring some little flyers or a card to give to runners who expressed interest in KindRunner. I mean, free 3-way shipping, a custom fitting process, a huge selection, personal service, plus the chance to give back by returning your old shoes (and receiving $10 Kindness Cash Rewards when you do), what’s not to love? I still think it is a good idea, and I’m going to hand out some of the flyers to my cross country team at our first practice this morning.

costume party run

After we got back to the hotel, I fixed up another bottle of InRefresh Electrolytes, took a short nap, showered (tried to dry my bra over the air conditioner), then we checked out and met my son and family for lunch (more on that later). I wore compression socks, keeping them on all night, so my legs felt pretty good the next morning. Actually I felt good all over except:

costume party run

My second toe is sore and swollen, and, I’m pretty sure, black under that polish. I haven’t lost a nail in years, so I’m kind of considering this a badge of honor! In the meantime, though, it just hurts.

What’s Beautiful, Goals, and Accomplishments

As you know, the Costume Party Run was my goal race in the Under Armour What’s Beautiful program. My goal was to run a 2:00 half marathon for the first time since I turned 50. I trained very hard to achieve that goal, and in the end missed it by 11 seconds. Less than a second per mile.

You know what? It doesn’t bother me at all. Not a bit. I did the training, I worked hard, I accomplished what I wanted to do. I ran the very best that I could. As my friend Jody would say, I am Enough. I am completely happy and satisfied with my race.

costume party run

A little disclosure here. I am an ambassador for the Costume Party Race. I received a free entry, and in exchange I wrote about the event in my training recaps and race report. My opinion is my own.  I also chose to dress as the Shoe Dog on a whim, I have no relationship with Road Runner Sports (except as a customer). Although, I think they approved:

And I impressed them with my time:

Oh, and while they had no age group awards, and many people were there just for fun, they did keep track of the finishing places, and, this Dalmatian just happened to WIN HER AGE GROUP!

Whew! Sorry for the long post. I hope I kept you amused! How was your weekend? It was a long one, wasn’t it? I hope you had great summer fun! Tell me about it!

Training Recap, Costume Party Run, Week 6

Just a reminder that Google Reader is going away soon. You can follow me on Bloglovin’ or Feedly!

 

With only three weeks to go until the Costume Party Run, my training is heating up. Literally. Even though the mornings are relatively cool, averaging about mid-seventies when I start my runs, we are getting into the 80s by the time I finish. I’m really not complaining (too much). It’s going to get a lot hotter before we see any relief, but the challenge right now is adapting to the warmer temperatures. I find that by the time I finish my runs I am dragging, making me feel like I’m going backwards in my training. Isn’t it supposed to get easier?

weekly training recap

One thing that is helping me is the new electrolyte drink that I’m using. I wrote about Ignite Naturals and InRefresh a few weeks ago, and since that time I have become a member of Team Ignite! I am excited to represent a product that I am so confident about. InRefresh has no processed sugars, artificial ingredients, GMOs, or preservatives, and it is clearly marked vegan right on the label. I am also excited to try Reload Energy Gel, which is made from highly digestible fig paste, which is a natural source of energy and electrolytes. I will be sure to share my report as soon as I get a chance to try it out! In the meantime, if you would like to try any Ignite Natural product, you can use the code IN0640 to save 10% on any purchase.

Ignite Naturals Training Update

 

One thing I forgot to mention in my What’s Beautiful progress post was a report on my exercise induced asthma and the results from my doctor visits. As you know, it is frequently the asthma that keeps me from achieving my time goals in racing. It has been an issue since I first started running marathons right through my most recent half marathon. For many years I followed a course of preventative medication that included several inhalers, but I stopped all of that a while back when I stopped racing as frequently and just relied on my rescue inhaler (albuterol).

About a month ago I made an appointment with the doctor that I used to see for my asthma. Because it had been more than five years, he wanted to do all the allergy tests (that I had passed the last time) over again. That took three weeks (apparently my insurance insists that each appointment be at least a week apart), and with two notable exceptions, I still came up allergy-free.

I did, however, show a slight reaction to tomato and avocado! Of all the foods that I would not want to have to worry about, those two would top the list. Tomato, because I like it and it is in so many things, from salads to sauces, and avocado, because I love it, and it is such a great source of healthy fat. And, as I noted to my doctor, I’m a California vegan. I need avocado! I also showed a slight reaction to cantaloupe, which I also like, but would be much easier to avoid.

My doctor did note that it was just a slight reaction, and that since I’d never noticed any symptoms before it probably wasn’t anything to worry about. He did suggest that I try cutting those foods out of my diet for a month to see if my asthma improves, then gradually add them back in and check for changes.

The problem in my mind, is that I don’t regularly have asthma. In fact, the only time, with the rare exception of the occasional tough speed workout, is during races. So I haven’t made any dietary changes yet. I plan to start about a week out from the race, and completely cut tomato and avocado out of my diet (that even hurts to say it!).

The doctor also gave me a prescription for montelukast, which is the generic version of Singulair. This is the medicine that Alan takes, that he swears by, and was really all I wanted from my visit to the doctor. I’ve been taking it for several days now, and though I can’t feel a difference yet, I’m hoping that come race day it will help prevent the asthma.

As I also mentioned in my previous post, I am getting along in planning my costume for the race. I just ordered the final item, a white singlet, that should be here in a couple days. Then I’ll be ready to add the spots! I was thinking that I might add a collar to the costume, but as my husband pointed out, anything loose like that could create a problem during a race, rubbing or chafing on my neck, so instead I think I’ll dig up a bandana that I can tie loosely and remove it if starts to bother me.

Costume

As you know, I am an Ambassador for KindRunner, which officially opened for business on June 1. If you missed my post about KindRunner, it is an online running store that promises to combine the convenience of online shopping with the service that you usually only receive from your local running store. They also have an amazing concept, where you can return your old running shoes and receive “Kindness Cash Rewards” toward a future purchase. Those shoes will then be donated to Soles 4 Soles or the More Foundation group to be re-purposed and given to someone who really needs them.

I am an Ambassador, but I am also a customer, who recently had an opportunity to experience a bit of the customer service that KindRunner offers. On opening weekend, I hoped to purchase a new pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 16s. Unfortunately, they didn’t have them in my rather large size. Using the “Ask an Expert” tab on the site, I was able to get an immediate response to my question about the availability of my favorite shoe. Yes, they were out of my size, but were expecting an order within a few days.

It was closer to a week, but when the shoes came in I received a personal email from Pat Jacobs, the General Manager of KindRunner, letting me know that my shoes had come in (in purple!), but he didn’t want to put them online until I had a chance to order my pair. He gave me his direct number and asked me to call. I did and in a few days I will be the proud owner of a new pair of purple Mizuno Wave Riders! I think I’d better add some purple felt to my costume 🙂

weekly training recap

I’ve been ready to send some of these babies back in for a while. Now I’ll have my chance!

Weekly Training Recap

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Strength, Superball Class plus I shot a video for my Friday Fitness post (yes, that counts).

Wednesday: I started by running three miles with Penny. It was hot and I was supposed to go back out and run some intervals on the road. I just couldn’t do it. Instead, as I headed back out the door I made myself pick up the pace, telling myself that I only had to run at race pace. I managed to hold it for three miles at about 30 seconds faster that race pace. I did stop at the halfway point for a minute or so, but got right back going again. Yes, I am a little proud of myself.

weekly training recap

Thursday: Rest (supposed to be strength, but I coached the class and did not participate)

Friday: Rest

weekly training recap

I rested on Friday, but these two didn’t. Their ages add up to 188 (93 on the left, 95 on the right). They both still play tennis, the man on the left does Pilates and just came from Tai Chi class. The man on the right works out twice a week too.

Saturday: Trail run with Alan and the dogs. Four miles with Penny and Buddy, then I took Olivia and Lily out for another mile.

weekly training recap

weekly training recap

I passed these grapevines on the second part of my run. It is just a small little vine, right on the street, in front of a house in my neighborhood. Admission: I tasted one. It was good!

Sunday: This is where I asked myself, isn’t it supposed to get easier not harder? I ran two miles with Penny, then headed out for another 10. The weather was pretty cool, about 75 degrees when I started at 5:45. It did get hotter as the sun came up, but never too bad. But I struggled to keep going. Well I didn’t really have a choice because it was an out and back route, but I had to make myself little promises to keep going (make it to the stoplight and you can walk for a minute). I did finish my 12, then filled up my bottle with some ice cold InRefresh to help get some electrolytes and fluids back.

My total miles were 23 for the week, but more importantly, I got all my workouts in. Next week is building to my last long run of 14 miles before I taper down for the race. The forecast for next weekend is 109. It will be interesting.

weekly training recap

The only picture I took while these guys were swimming because they thought that skinny dipping was a fun idea. Fortunately, summer at a county club = not many people around!

Weekly Training Recap

This picture was taken the next day (obviously, they are clothed). Grandpa was having a great time celebrating Father’s Day.

How did your training week go? Any great workouts, races, or competitions? Please share!

Disclosure: As a KindRunner Ambassador I received a small discount on my purchase and I will at a future time receive products for review. As a member of Team Ignite I receive a small discount on the products I purchase. All opinions are my own.