24 February 2015

Run-Seeing in London

This weekend's long run was extra special because I'm in London! I'm here for work meetings until next Sunday, and I loved having the new run scenery. I went to London once before 8 years ago, but it's different to be here on my own and to explore without a tour group.

On Sunday, I headed out to run in the perfect 40 degree temperatures. My plan was to run toward the River Thames and then to turn right to see Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and Hyde Park. Running off the jet lag felt great and run sightseeing is the best! I'll leave you with photos for the rest of the post.

 London Eye along the River Thames

 Big Ben. One of my favorite photos (so much going on!)

 Approaching Buckingham Palace.

 The park around Buckingham Palace.

 Gardens in front of Buckingham Palace.

 Buckingham Palace.

 Exiting the Buckingham Palace and surrounding parks area. Pretty road.

 Kensington Gardens fountains.

 Kensington Gardens fountains.

 The Princess Diana Memorial Fountain.

 Swan in Hyde Park along the Serpentine.

 My dorky selfie with the Horse Guard.

Enjoying a flat white with brunch post-run. So good.

12 February 2015

Race Discounts: SF and SLO Marathons

I don't know about you, but I always look for discount codes before signing up for a race. I'm excited to share that our SF Marathon Ambassador codes this year are good for a whopping $25 off the entry fee! It's good for either half marathon or the full marathon.

The SF Marathon events hold a special place in my heart; the 1st half marathon was the race that turned me into a runner back in 2009. While visiting from Michigan and staying along the Embarcadero for a conference, I watched the runners finishing the race and discovered the course went over the Golden Gate Bridge. That day I said I would run a half marathon someday and it would be SF, and four years later I succeeded in that goal. By the time I'd trained for that half marathon I was hooked on running! Now that I happen to live near the city - I still lived in Michigan when I traveled here to run it the first time - it's become a tradition.

This year, I'll be tackling the full marathon for the first time and earning my 52 Club sweatshirt. I'm pumped! Join me for the race on July 26, 2015, and see how great the course is for yourself.

Use this code for $25 off your SFM entry fee: TSFM2015PAULETTE

Finish party (main finish line) with a view of the Bay Bridge.

Also, if you are still considering the SLO Marathon or Half Marathon events, sign up soon! The race is on April 26 and coming up fast. I'm training for the half and hope to go for the PR that day.

Use this code for $10 your SLO entry fee: FERAMB

SLO has released the medal preview - I can't wait to earn this one.

Don't hesitate to email or tweet me with questions about the events. I'd love to help!

03 February 2015

Race Recap: Surf City Half Marathon 2015

We spent this past weekend in Huntington Beach for the Surf City Half Marathon. This is a race I've wanted to check out since moving to California, and I was lucky to get a free entry from the race company for helping out with The Town's Half giveaway and race report last summer. Kevin came along and paid for an entry so we could both enjoy the event.

Huntington Beach was really nice; this was our first time there and Kevin's farthest point south so far. We stayed near the expo and start line at the Shorebreak Hotel and loved it. Comfortable and relaxing. After a late night drive on Friday, we slept in and then went for a little shakeout run along the beach on Saturday. The scenery on the beach path was gorgeous and the sun was awesome. It's almost always sunny in the Bay Area too, but I swear this was brighter. 

Beach path run.

After the run we cleaned up and visited the expo, which was in a tent along the beach. It was a pretty large expo and had the usual types of vendors, but we felt like there were many less free samples. Picking up our bibs and shirts was very quick and there was no line when we arrived around 2 pm. The most eventful part of the expo was taking a photo on the surf board backdrop.

Surf's up!

The rest of Saturday was spent hanging out at The Bruery tasting room, eating pizza, and resting in the hotel. We picked up our Reserve Society membership order at The Bruery and tried a few beers by sharing a tasting flight. I really wish we could have had more, but that whole running thing was getting in the way...

On Sunday, the half marathon started at 7:45 am (later than the marathon.) It was pretty warm in the morning and only got hotter; I really think this race would benefit from an earlier start time. It wasn't HOT compared to other races I've done, but I prefer nothing above 65 degrees and it was mid-70s with extra heat from the bright sun. Somehow there were people running in long sleeves and/or pants which blows my mind.

The wave start was very smooth and they put about 2 minutes between each one. You found your wave based on your bib number. It wasn't patrolled, but people seemed to do well at self-seeding and I didn't have any crowd problems running at the start. One thing I found strange were the runners with strollers who started from the front corrals because they were causing a bit of congestion and tripping people. Then again, I'm always getting passed by people with strollers and I'm sure they were in the right wave.

I have been feeling drained lately and had decided a couple of days before that this would be a training run pace, and I stuck to that goal. There was definitely no targeted training or tapering for this one and my mileage has been increasing over the past few weeks. The race started with a long straightaway down the PCH for a couple of miles. We turned right and looped through a little residential neighborhood with a little uphill and downhill to enjoy. We then headed back to the PCH and turned right to keep going out farther. 

About 3 miles or so later we turned around for the out and back section. From there, we stayed on the PCH along the water until the finish line. Talk about a long, straight route! I find things like this pretty brutal because there are no turns or hills to anticipate. On the bright side, we had the ocean view to our right. The marathon made yet another turnaround onto the beach path to do a second out and back section before finishing. 

I was using it for a training run at long run pace, so I don't have any exciting tales to tell about pushing myself or feeling like I wanted to fall apart. I finished in 2:16:35; my time is much slower than usual partly due to the training pace and partly due to one portapotty stop and one rock-in-my-shoe stop that together totaled 3-4 minutes.

Feeling fancy with two medals.

More beach path scenery from the shakeout.

After finishing, we headed to the expo tent to get the 'California Dreamin' medal, an award for running both an SF Marathon event and Surf City. It's a fun bottle opener. Next we went to the beer garden area where we were surprised to find that each participant got 2 beers. They even had a selection: some super light beers like Bud Select and a few Kona Brewing beers. I enjoyed the Big Wave Golden Ale and Fire Rock Pale Ale, both from Kona Brewing. 

Race Details.

The Support. The water stations were about every 1.5 to 2 miles and well-stocked with volunteers, water, and Vitalyte. There were plenty of portapotties along the course, and I didn't even wait in line when I needed to go. That said, I had trouble finding the portapotties near the start because they were farther away from the corrals (also, why I had to stop during the race.) They handed out Gu Chomps around mile 7.5. There were not many spectators along the route, but the scenery made up for it. 

The Finish Line. As mentioned above, the finish line had a great beer tent. They also left the expo tent up including the Nuun booth, Fig Bars table, and tables to get the special double medals. This was a convenient way to organize people after the race. The finish line also had a band playing in the beer tent area. 

Swag. The shirts are cute and came in men's or women's specific cuts. The women's are v-neck, which I like. The medals are little surfboards and very high quality, plus the extra 'California Dreamin' medal is awesome. Last, they handed out packets in race specific reusable shopping bags.

Shirt and medals.

And that's it! Overall, it was a very fun weekend in a beach town and the race events were super well-organized. I'd recommend the event and think it could be a great PR course if you run well in warmer temperatures. 

29 January 2015


I'm excited to share not one, but two big announcements from the past week!

First, I've been chosen for the San Francisco Marathon Ambassador team for the third year. This race continues to hold a special place in my heart as it was my first half marathon back in 2009 as well as my first 5K in 2005. It's a race I want to run every year; I love the city, the views, running the Golden Gate Bridge...really I love everything about it. 

I'm planning to run the marathon this year for the first time - it's about time I run the main event. Last year my injury caused me to drop to the half, but this year I'm all in! 

The SFM Ambassador team for Ragnar SoCal. I love these guys!

Second, I've been accepted to the Skratch Labs Taste Agent program. I first found Skratch when crewing for Western States last summer, and I've been addicted ever since then. I love the flavor, the hydration benefits, and the cookbooks. 

The company wants to fuel and hydrate athletes, and they use all natural ingredients and actual fruit to flavor the products. The Feed Zone Portables cookbook is full of information about how to fuel for activity and has easy recipes that can easily be carried along for lunch or workouts. I'm excited to be part of the team and to check out even more of the new products - such as the cookie mix

My very first Skratch purchase back in June.

I'm also part of Oiselle Team and the San Luis Obispo Marathon Ambassador teams for 2015. It may seem like a lot, but I truly believe in all of these companies/events and am happy to be sharing my love with others. 

Happy Running!

22 January 2015

Trail Run Fever

About 2 weeks before Christmas I started running trails more often again and I'm happy to be back. Boy, how I had missed the dirt. It's amazing how much more inspired I feel by running on trails, being in the trees, and climbing to awesome views.

I've been joining people from Go Far Run Group for early morning Rancho San Antonio trails once a week for the last few weeks, and I'm hoping the habit will stick; getting up early is not my forte. It's dark at the start and the sunrise view as we climb is beautiful. We've been doing a 7 mile loop many people call the 'Tulip' thanks to its shape on the map. Someone commented on my run saying it looks more like a Venus Fly Trap, and I think she is right; that just doesn't have the same ring in my Strava activity title as 'Tuesday Tulip.' 

The Tulip Loop at Ranch San Antonio

This past long weekend I visited two new parks that were each fantastic in their own way. I went to UVAS Canyon in Morgan Hill, CA, with Go Far on Saturday to enjoy the little waterfalls and creek along the trails. I felt like we were in a rainforest.

 Little Falls in UVAS Canyon.

Bigger falls.

 Another waterfall that would be bigger with rain.

Hamming it up with Marcia's selfie stick! (Photo from Marcia)

Loving the moss covered rocks and trees.

On Monday, I climbed to the top of Windy Hill Open Space Preserve with Sophia and Laurel. It's about 1400 feet in 3 miles so it definitely feels like a climb, but the way back down is really fun and the view is worth it. We only took photos right at the top and not on the way up.

 Top of Windy Hill.


The plan is to hit Rancho again for Saturday's long run, and I'm looking forward to it. Next weekend we are heading to SoCal for the Surf City Half Marathon, and after that I may try to add in a couple of shorter trail races. 

Happy trails!

15 January 2015

Catching Up

I've been missing in action for a couple of weeks, and it's time to play catch up. Now that it's January and I'm back from travel I need to get back into a good rhythm with the blog.

Last week, I traveled to Ohio to visit family and to Pittsburgh, PA, for the wedding of my close friend, Gia. I'm incredibly excited and happy for Gia and Dave, and the wedding was beautiful! I was a bridesmaid and had a great time hanging out with the bridal party all day. I honestly thought I was going to lose it when Gia walked down the aisle, but I somehow managed not to cry (much). There is just something about a bride walking down the aisle that makes me cry, which is even worse when it's a close friend or family member. Here are a few photo highlights.

Bridal party on the way to the salon.

I loved having my hair done, and the stylist did a cool curl plus braid style.

Photo op with the bride.

 Wedding party bus selfie.

College friends at the reception.

My college girls the morning after (minus a couple who had headed out.) I miss them!

The wedding was conveniently near our families, so we spent time with both my parents and Kevin's family as well. Our nephew, Braxton, is getting so big and is as adorable as ever. 

It's been good to settle back into life and work the last couple of days, and the zero degree temperatures in Ohio were a good wake up call; I have to remember not to take the awesome weather we have here in the Bay Area for granted! I didn't run outside at all while I was home because the air was brutal. I went to my first track workout in ages last night, and today I enjoyed the 60 degree running weather and one of my favorite trails. 

Do you run outside in zero or sub-zero degree temps? How has 2015 been going so far?

31 December 2014

Happy 2015!

My race schedule for 2015 is already shaping up to be busy, and I'm excited to re-run some favorites and add new races to the list. My big goal for the year is to add track workouts back to my training and get back to the sub-2 hour half marathon time - maybe even a PR. My brain is still toying with the idea of a fall 50K if the hip flexor holds up to climbing, but we'll see how it goes. One thing at a time.

Here are the races I'm looking forward to in Spring 2015:

Surf City Half Marathon (Huntington Beach, CA) on February 1, 2015 - Kevin and I will be heading to SoCal for the weekend to enjoy this race along the ocean. I've had my eye on it since moving to California so I'm pumped to add it to the schedule.

Oakland Half Marathon (Oakland, CA) on March 22, 2015 - We've become attached to doing this race each year because it's logistically easy and we love the grassy area with beer and music at the finish. It's a smaller event too, making it lower key but well done. And as an added bonus, the half starts at 9:15 am so people can take Bart to the start line and avoid difficult parking situations.

SLO Half Marathon (San Luis Obispo, CA) on April 26, 2015 - It'll be my first time running this event and I'm an ambassador, so I'm excited to meet the rest of the ambassador community. I've heard only great things about the race and it's another one that has been on my list for a couple of years. I can't wait to run there, and this will also be my target half marathon PR race.

Eugene Half Marathon (Eugene, OR) on May 10, 2015 - Who doesn't love running in Tracktown USA? I had a blast at this one in 2013 and have been itching to go back. Combine the fun half course and finishing at Hayward with the great craft beer in the area, and you have the perfect long weekend.

Because this is also my last post of 2014, I'm throwing in photo highlights from the past year. Despite the hip injury and lack of running PRs, it's been fun and full of support from running friends new and old.

SFM Ambassadors Ninja Loop in January 2014.

Our college friend, Mike, ran his first half ever in Oakland.

SFM Ambassador Team 'AfterNUUN Run' at Ragnar SoCal in April.

My only PR of the year, but I'll take it! 10K PR at the Mermaid Run Easy Bay with Natalie.

Me, Kev, and Derek at Surfer's Path. Kev ran his marathon PR, I ran my first half post-injury.

Meeting Kara Goucher! And cheering at Payton Jordan.

Crewing for rockstar Matt at Western States.

The action shot, crew, Matt and pacer Ruben at Foresthill.

Dinner with Bart Yasso and SFM Ambassador friends during race weekend.

Another fun Ragnar NWP weekend with Oiselle Team ladies.

Bird Camp in Bend, OR, the happiest place on earth.

Ragnar Napa with an awesome group, probably my fave photo of the year!

And last but not least...

Running NYCM for Every Mother Counts. Easily my fave marathon so far.

That closes out 2014. Bring on 2015, I'm ready! What are your big plans?