Revisiting the Run in the Name of Love 5k

A little over a week ago, I was thinking about what a fun time I had at the Run in the Name Love 5k when I ran it with Elise in 2012. I realized it was happening again this year on June 15 and when I emailed my running coach my recap of my week’s running, I asked him what he thought of me throwing it into my schedule. He said he thought I was in good shape (could possibly even PR) but I would have to finish up my week’s long run after the race (I was used to that … yep, this training cycle has now included 3 long runs that have had a race thrown in the middle of them). Awesome! I hit up my friend Hillary to see if she might want to come down and run the 5k too, she’s not been training for races but I thought it would be fun to go to Carmel together and I knew she’d be game to add 8 miles after the race (she’s crazy like that). Yep, she was in – so I hopped online and paid the measly $35 registration fee.

Sunday morning, Hillary and I headed down to Carmel. I picked up my bib (and long sleeve tech tee) while Hillary registered. We then hung out in the car for 15 minutes or so since it was a little chilly and we didn’t want to warm up too soon before the race. We also saw John H. (fellow SCE runner and running cartoonist). Then we ran 2 miles for a warm up, I ran a few strides, we hopped in the port-a-potties, and had about 2 minutes before the race started – perfect!

Long sleeve (and medal)

Long sleeve (and medal)

For the race, I turned off the auto lap (and since there were no mile markers, I don’t have true splits – just what Strava marked as my miles). My only real concern with this race was that I would take the first mile way too fast as it is a steady downhill (in 2012 I ran a 6:11 mile here and then lost all steam, slowing to an 8+ min/mile in the end). And yep, I was flying in the first mile. I saw lots of women (and men) pass me, but when I glanced at my watch I knew I shouldn’t go any faster. My first mile was 6:08! I knew I should stay around 6:45 for the rest of the race, but I didn’t look at my pace ever (a few times I glanced at my watch in the second half of the race but only looked at mileage).

After the first 1.5 mile, there is a little climb. It’s very small, maybe only 20-30 feet. But after cruising downhill it feels like more. I passed a few women up this little climb. There was one woman who had been glancing back at me trying to keep ahead. I told myself to hold back and pass her later but I ended up passing her on this speed bump. There was a handful of women directly ahead of me and I passed most of them except a speedy girl who looked about 12 or 13 (she rocked the race and ended up taking 3rd woman!). My second mile was a much more reasonable pace: 6:49. The rest of the course has some little rollers but I held on to my pace, slowing down just a few seconds: 6:55. My final tenth of a mile was at a 6:07 pace. As I came up the finish I knew I was finishing under 21 minutes(!) but wasn’t sure of my exact time because just like at Carlsbad I didn’t actually stop my watch right away.

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Close up of medal

I took my medal and food bag. While I didn’t think my results would be posted yet, I was surprised to find they were (nice work SVE Timing!). I saw my official time was 20:56 (a few second faster than I thought!), that I had finished 1st in my age group, and 4th woman overall. I had no idea that I was going to finish in the top 10 women let alone the top 5! This was also a 9 second PR, only 2 1/2 months after my last 5k PR. I was STOKED! I then met up with Hillary. We decided to start our 8 mile “cool down” by jogging back to the car and dropping off the goody bags/medals and getting a long sleeve.

Hillary & I on the podium (and a 2nd place runner who we didn't know - but congrats to her too!)

Hillary & I on the podium (and a 2nd place runner who we didn’t know – but congrats to her too!) Photo credit: John H.

We then ran part of the course back to make it back just as they were starting the awards. We also found out that Hillary placed 3rd in our age group and we both got the cool beer mugs as prizes. Because it was misty and cold, we took off right after our awards to continue our run before cooling down but later I learned that John H. also placed 3rd in his age group! Nice work Team SCE! We finished the run off by going back to the car to drop off the mugs and then running some of 17 mile drive and exploring part of a new trail. This meant we ended up running 794 feet in elevation after the race (thankfully we ran pretty slow!). We finished up our morning with some coffee and quiche at Carmel Coffee Roasters. Pretty sweet race morning.

This is definitely a race I recommend running if you live in the Central Coast. The race is a tribute race and co-organized by Big Sur. It is extremely well-organized. For $35, it included a closed course, a long sleeve tech tee, a timing chip, a medal, and a food bag with a bagel and cream cheese, cookie, and fruit cup (I’ve paid more for longer races and not received that). The tech tee was a bit large (but they acknowledged that and it sounds like it won’t be a problem in the future). Additionally, the timing is well done and its relatively small, capped at 1000 runners. They had plenty of port-a-potties and I never saw a line for them. They even had a potty around 2ish miles in the race – rare for a 5k! The event also includes a 2k walk/run, and participants of the 2k are invited to bring their pups (they even get a free dog bandana, how cute!). And the beer glass is a great prize, I used it later that day!

Cheers to a fun race prize!

Cheers to a fun race prize!

Do you run 5ks? What is your favorite one?




The Carlsbad 5000 – World’s Fastest 5k

*warning: long recap… I guess I needed to make up for my lack of posts lately*

Those of you who keep up with my blog know that I am running the Ragnar So Cal on Friday April 4. After I confirmed that this worked in my schedule and joined the team, I learned that was the same week as my spring break and I would be lucky enough to spend the whole week in So Cal visiting my parents and seeing a couple close, old friends. So then I decided to look and see if my favorite 5k (this was also my first race ever) might fit into my schedule and lucky me, the Carlsbad 5000 was scheduled for Sunday, March 30. So yep, I had to sign up.

Days away from Ragnar!

Days away from Ragnar!

I originally planned on running this just for fun. It’s a fast course (I mean it’s not called the World’s Fastest 5k for nothing, the men’s and women’s world records were made there), but I hadn’t considered training for a 5k. The beginning of 2014 I was still reeling from some slower races and didn’t have speed goals in mind (see my posts about running goals here, here, and here). But then I had a great couple of races and PR’ed at the Super Bowl 10k. So I emailed my coach and asked him what he thought about training for the race and trying to PR (granted I gave him 5 weeks…). He said this was a short time and it would be hard training but it was possible. So I decided, why not? I didn’t tell anyone that my goal was a PR at this race and only let a few people know that I was throwing in some speed work for this race. I didn’t want to race for anyone else, I wanted my goals to be my goals alone. And I think this worked out well.

March training schedule

March training schedule

Five weeks later and I was ready to race. My mom and I did a quick trip to the expo on Saturday. It was way less crowded then 2012. And I was stoked to see Graced by Grit there! The hubs, my parents, and the coach all told me not to stress about this race and to keep as relaxed as possible. (All my best races have been ones I have not thought of as “A” races and so I’m usually pretty chill about them.) I told myself my only goal was to beat my most recent Carlsbad 5k time (2012: 23:35). Of course, my real goal was a PR and ideally a sub 21. But by focusing on my 2012 time, I took the stress off myself.  I woke up about 30 minutes before we were leaving and tried to keep calm. My stomach had other plans. Boo.

Fleet Feet Racing Kit ready to go (plus my awesome sports bra from Graced by Grit)

Fleet Feet Racing Kit ready to go (plus my awesome sports bra from Graced by Grit)

We got to Carlsbad and I did an easy warm up with a little bit of speed. Nothing fancy. After tracking down the port a potties, I left my long sleeve and sweats with my parents and headed to the start. Right before the race started, I saw Haute Running Mama (HRM). It was great chatting with her a few minutes for the race and this also kept me from freaking out. She was doing the all-day run (Carlsbad 5k has 6 waves: Men’s Masters, Women’s Masters, Men & Women 30-39, Men & Women 29 & Under, Women’s Elite, & Men’s Elite and they have an event that allows runners to run in all waves except the elites) and used this as part of her last long run before Boston (so exciting!). Before I knew it, it was go time!

My first mile felt good. Of course I started too fast, but it’s hard when you are surrounded by so many fasties. I saw my pace in the high 5 minute range and pulled way back – I was looking for 6:45-6:50 for that first mile (actual 6:44). After the turn around, there is a slight climb and we were running into the headwind. I tried to keep my pace right on but slowed down a hair (6:48). The last half mile or so is a nice little decline and now I also had a tailwind. Throughout the race my mouth was dry and my stomach didn’t feel great. I kept telling myself it’s supposed to hurt so just go.

carlsbad 5000

Rounding the corner about to finish.

Just about half a mile from the finish, HRM saw me across the way and yelled for me to keep going. This totally helped and I picked it up. I passed a few women (had Jenn in mind here saying “you can catch her!”) and came into the finish (6:42 pace, not sure of actual time as I messed up my watch at the end). As I came down toward the finish I saw the clock said 20:5X and I thought maybe if I really push it I can pull into under 21 (not knowing exactly how far off from the gun start I was – it ended up being a 5 second difference). After I crossed the finish like, I hit lap but not stop on my watch and didn’t realize it right away. Once I stopped it, I had a time of 21:17, which was definitely a PR but I wasn’t sure what my real finish time was. I later found out it was 21:05 (in the top 250 for the unique medal, 27th in my age group of 266, and 53rd woman of our wave of 755 – pretty good!).

Post race

Post race

After my race and a little cool down run, my parents and I hung around to see the elites race. This was really fun and they are so FAST! We also got to see the Men’s American 5k record broken! Bernard Lagat ran a 13:18 race, breaking the whole record of 13:24 (from 1996!). Then a little brunch and mimosas at Swami’s to finish up the morning.

Women's Elite

Women’s Elite

Men's Elite

Men’s Elite



It was really great to run this race and have my parents there. They have been to several of my races but never one where I felt I did my best, so I was happy to share that with them. I felt like I raced strong and smart. And I know that I can definitely train for a sub-21 :D

Pretty sweet medal and shirt this year :)

Pretty sweet medal and shirt this year :)

Anyone else run the Carlsbad 5000? Any new PRs?

Central Coast Runners – Awesome Upcoming Races!

Hey my local friends (and those who want to run in this awesome part of the state), I have two super exciting events to share with you!

The first is coming up soon, on March 9. Remember when I told you all I am now a part of Fleet Feet Santa Cruz Racing? Well this race is put on by them as part of series of local events. I won’t be running this one but I will be volunteering! So you’ll get to see me along the race course – isn’t that reason enough? ;) The Off Road Ramble 5k & 10k is part a 3 race series and yep, you want to race them all!

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 9.56.16 AMThis race starts with a Bagpipe serenade and then brings you into the scenic Pinto Lake County Park, look at these views!

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 9.56.23 AMYou can register now, its only $35 for the 5k, or you can register for all three of the Fleet Feet races here. (If you register by Feb. 28, you’ll save a little cash too!)

Ok, maybe a March 9 race date is a little too soon? Or maybe you need more local racing in your life? That’s good because I have one other race to share with you. It’s presented by a good friend of mine and will benefit Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The Spring it On 5k takes place April 12 and not only does it have an awesome race, it has a pancake breakfast, a bounce house and Easter Egg hunt for the kiddos, live music, and a photo booth (fun!). The entire community is pitching in, donating services and goods for a really awesome cause.


You can sign up for this super awesome event HERE. You can also download a PDF and mail in your registration here. Local sponsors of the race include Fleet Feet Aptos, Santa Cruz Track Club, Buzzword Productions and our local Whole Foods. I really can’t say enough good things about this race, it’s just a great opportunity to run some miles and support an amazing cause. (A little shout out to Trinity for putting it all together, you rock woman!)


So will I be seeing you at either of these events (or even better at both!)??

Jenny’s Light 5k – Running for a Great Cause

Well, I guess the hubs was right – if I don’t stress about a race, I run better. For two weeks in a row (last week the Tinker Bell Half and this weekend’s 5k), I have gone into races with no real goals, no expectations, and come out with good results.

A few weeks back, the gals I run with and I decided we would “fun run” a local fundraising 5k/10k. Ok, actually I was all for supporting the organization but I didn’t want to race. However, after all the ladies said we would just be running this race for fun, no goals, no racing, I was in. The cause is the non-profit organization, Jenny’s Light. This organization is named for Jenny, who took her son’s life and her own due to postpartum depression. You can read the story of Jenny and her family HERE. Jenny’s Light raises money to raise awareness and understanding for perinatal mood disorders and to support those who suffer from it (including the families). This is such an important cause and I would have happily donated money without running any day. But to get to run while raising awareness? Even better!


Sunday morning, SCE ladies and Stacy (a co-Body Pumper who ran her first race at this event!) met up and headed over to Los Gatos for a race with a nice late start of 10am. (Yes you read that right, 10am!) After picking up our bibs, we jogged a nice little warm up while cheering on the kid runners. Our own Trinity and her 3-year-old daughter ran this together and looked crazy cute while doing it. Then it was time for our race.

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Jenny’s Light 5k Course

Earlier in the week, I had told my friend Leslie I would support her through the race since she needed to use it for pace work, aiming to average a 7:15 pace. I thought I could probably do this and it would be a good tempo run for me. The start was a little crowded and we had do a little weaving to get into our pace groove, but pretty soon we were in a comfortable space. The course winds around Vasona Park on the paths so they are a little narrow, but just fine for this size race. Our first mile was right on and we picked up a little speed on the second mile. It was pretty comfortable since we could chat a little, cheer on other runners, and thank the volunteers on the course. In the last mile, Leslie pulled ahead because she’s a speedy lady and I decided to stay where I felt comfortable. I didn’t pay too much attention to my watch, just keeping an eye on Leslie and Trinity ahead of me. I realized when I saw the finish line, I could possibly eek out a sub 22 minute 5k and pushed it a little more. I ended up finishing at 22:02 official time (21:58 according to Garmin but I think my watch auto-paused at one of the hairpin turn arounds). This was the best time I’ve had in a 5k since PRing over a year and a half ago.

Screen Shot 2014-01-26 at 2.05.47 PM


I was pretty happy to finish strong and feel good overall. I had gone into this race with no expectations and came out with a strong finishing time and placing 4th in my age group. In fact, all the SCE runners had good races too! Trinity and Leslie took 2nd and 3rd overall women, respectively, and several members placed in the top 3 of their age groups. We hung out at the finish to cheer on our friends. It was great when Stacy finished and the announcer let everyone know this was her first race and she’s only been running for a month! (Leslie made sure that happened, so awesome!) Then we saw Hillary’s hubs finish first in the 10k and SCE member Sam take 2nd overall woman.

SCE gals post race (Photo credit: Leslie)

SCE gals post race (Photo credit: Leslie)

We finished our morning with some delicious cupcakes from Buttercup Cupcakes (yum!) to celebrate Hillary’s birthday and some coffee (we had all been craving some all morning). It was a perfect Sunday morning and a great way to rally behind an important cause.


Mermaid 5k and Exciting News

Over the weekend, I ran the Mermaid 5k in San Francisco. I sort of considered racing and seeing what I could do, but it wasn’t the right race for that. The Mermaid races are great for runners trying out racing or having good support while you run. They give out great swag (cute shirt and necklaces) and winners can get some good stuff too (my friend ended up with some nice Sport Basement and Whole Foods gift cards).

Nice new shirt


Leslie and I got to the race about an hour before the start. We hung out in the car to stay warm and then jogged to the start for our warm up run. We found a SUPER long line at the porta potties so we jogged back to where we parked to use that bathroom. We still had a pretty decent wait and then jogged back to the start. By the time we got there, the race was just about to start and we couldn’t really seed ourselves. So the first half mile or so, I sprinted to get where I wanted to be in the race. Well that was dumb because then I burned myself out and couldn’t maintain a very good pace after that. (Also, in my hurry I didn’t start my watch so I have no idea what my splits were.) I finished at 22:20-ish and got a third age group placement (got a nice little hat for that). While not a race or even close to PR, it was a good little tempo run.

My 3rd place age group finish and Leslie's overall win.

My 3rd place age group finish and Leslie’s overall win.

After the race, Leslie completed a cool down run by heading to Starbucks and breakfast. Then we hung out for the awards because Leslie won the race! Then it was time to head back to Santa Cruz because I had a lot of packing to work on … which leads me to my good news…

As of this morning, the hubs and I are HOMEOWNERS! (This also explains why I have been more quiet on the blog, teaching, running, and home buying means not much time for blogging.) We are very excited to take this next step and love the neighborhood we are moving into – we even have friends who live across the street and up the block. I can’t wait until we are settled in and ready to go.

Sami is ready to move!

Sami is ready to move!