Race Recap: San Francisco Giant Race Half Marathon

The San Francisco Giant Race Half Marathon – I didn’t know that I was going to run this race until a couple weeks before when I won two free race entries through the official scavenger hunt that the race ambassadors hosted (shoutout to Leana @lerunssf and Lizzie @busylizziesf!). Despite a couple of personal setbacks (and being an A’s fan), the race was awesome and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun race to run in San Francisco.

Events

  • Half Marathon
  • Half Marathon + 5K Challenge
  • 10K
  • 10K + 5K Challenge
  • 5K

Expo

This expo is unique – you get a chance before the race to walk around Oracle Park to pick up your bib, shirt and bobblehead. There were a lot of photo opportunities (#forthegram – duh!) and a lot of cool vendors. I got to be one of those “cool” vendors for the Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon and the Biofreeze Berkeley Half Marathon (15% discount code if you read until the bottom here). Here are my tips for the expo:

  • Go on Friday, it’s less stressful.
  • Plan out parking beforehand. I ran there so parking wasn’t an issue for me but I know others who paid $18 to park in the parking lot. Know that there is less expensive hourly parking on the street in Mission Bay if you’re willing to walk and put in the extra effort.
  • Dress in layers. I was FREEZING.. granted like I mentioned above, I ran there so I could only do so much.
  • There were a couple Oracle Park concessions booths open if you looked. I can smell popcorn from a mile away so you know that I was not leaving without a bag of popcorn. Other runners stopped me and asked where they could buy popcorn and I happily pointed them in the right direction.

The Swag

The swag – AWESOME. All runners get a shirt, bobblehead and medal (psst.. you even get more medals if you complete the challenges). To be honest, I really didn’t want a bobblehead but I opened it and I LOVEEEE it. It almost makes me want to be a Giants fan (lol).

The Course – Half Marathon

This race was an ugly one for me. I went in VERY confident as I knew the course like the back of my hand and I knew that I was capable of beating my half marathon PR from July. We started outside Oracle Park and headed north on Embarcadero. My new Jaybird Vista headphones immediately disconnected and I was without music from the first mile through the rest of the race.. oh well. From there, there are a few hills going up from Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghirardelli Square to Fort Mason before a downhill heading through the Marina to Chrissy Field. This is around where my ankle started to hurt and I noticed my pace starting to fall behind where I planned to be so I pulled back. The stretch going towards Chrissy Field was against the wind and the way back was all on the dirt path on the water side of Chrissy Field. This was probably my least favorite part about the course but runners were able to see the Golden Gate Bridge so I guess that was nice.

The course returned to pavement in the Marina and at this point, my ankle was killing me. I’ve never taken a DNF but I really contemplated taking one as we ran back up the Fort Mason hill before returning back on the Embarcadero. With only a few flat miles left in the race, I decided to finish it out. If I have one real complaint about the course it’s this.. on the out-and-back return, I had to constantly dodge the 10K walkers. There weren’t a few, there were a lot. And they were EVERYWHERE. Maybe it was the ankle pain that had me in a bad mood but this was really frustrating and needed more organization.

The Weather

We couldn’t have had better San Francisco weather. We’re talking 59/60 degrees at the start and mid-60s at the finish with clear blue skies. But as with any San Francisco day, plan accordingly for all types of weather.

The Post-Race Celebration

The races finish on the ACTUAL FIELD and it was such a cool experience. We walked around a bit, grabbed some snacks and hung out on the grass after. I didn’t find the free beer but I was also in so much pain that I didn’t look very hard. Another important note, the concessions were open again – am I the only one that gets this excited by unhealthy food?!

The Results

My personal result? 1:50:34 – all things considered, I’m pretty freaking proud of this. Even though it was 7 minutes slower than my PR and 10 minutes slower than my goal, I have no idea how I pushed through the pain and managed this time. Not sure where this puts me for Chicago as my ankle hurts pretty bad now but hopefully it will feel better after rest, ice and rehab.

What’s Next?

Here are two great fall races (and discount codes) in the Bay Area:

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Review: Jaybird Vista

Disclaimer: Jaybird sent me these headphones as part of their Vista campaign, in exchange for a few posts on Instagram. This review consists of my own opinions.

Product: Jaybird Vista
Price: $179.99
Review: Image result for 5 stars
Find it here: Jaybirdsport.com

Guys, I am LOVING the Jaybird Vista headphones. Previous to running with these, I’ve run with the Beats Powerbeats, Apple AirPods and most recently, the Jaybird RUN. I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews on the Jaybird RUN (mostly regarding connectivity) but I never experienced any issues. In fact, I chose the Jaybird RUN over both the Powerbeats and AirPods. In my first week of trying the Jaybird Vista, it seems that all of the features that I loved with the Jaybird RUN are the same, if not much better.

Price

At $179.99, these headphones aren’t inexpensiv but the quality is definitely there. I’ve never experienced any issues with my pairs, whereas I had my Powerbeats die after about a year and a half, which I was told is fairly normal.

Easy to Use

I love when things are simple. I opened the case and connected the headphones to my phone via Bluetooth. Done in under a minute! Another aspect to note is the case – it is MUCH lighter and smaller than my case for the Jaybird RUN. As a result, this case is much easier for me to take on the run if I really need to.

Weather Resistance

According to Jaybird’s website, “Vista’s EarthProof capsule construction has been given the IPX7 fully-waterproof and sweatproof rating”. I don’t fully know what that means but I have never had an issue with functionality due to weather… but I also live in San Francisco so I am not running through extreme weather conditions. I can speak to sweatproof though – no issues there.

Fit

It may sound cliche but I knew that these headphones were a good fit from the moment that I tried them on. They felt AMAZINGLY comfortable. My Jaybird RUN headphones are comfortable but these took comfort to another level. They also come with two other sizes for fit if the preset option is not for you.

Battery Life

Here’s where I see the most significant improvement over the Jaybird RUN. Where the RUN offers 4 hours of run time on a full charge, the Vista gives you 6 hours on a full charge. Additionally, a quick 5 minute charge adds 1 hour! My RUN headphones occasionally died during my full marathons, even though I run under 4 hours. I’m excited to run with the Vista in the Chicago Marathon!

Sound

Because I use these headphones when I run outside, sound quality is not really as important to me. I like to hear my music but it is more important to me to stay aware of my surroundings. These took a little time to get used to because they seem to block out more outside sound than I’m used to but I was fine after a couple of miles!

I will be continuing to #powermypassion with Jaybird as I train for my upcoming races. How do you power your passion?

Race Recap: The San Francisco Marathon (2nd Half) 2019

Still trying to catch up on my race recaps for the year but better late than never!

The San Francisco Marathon continues to be one of my favorite races – I love seeing so many friends along the course and running through our hometown streets (literally, the course runs past our home). 2019 was my third year running the race, my second year as an ambassador and my first year not running the full marathon. With the Chicago Marathon on the horizon and my injury not fully healed, I decided to play it smart and register for the half marathon.. but more to come on that.

Although I try to keep this recap as unbiased as possible, just a disclosure that I was a race ambassador again this year!

Events

  • Full Marathon
  • Half Marathon – First Half
  • Half Marathon – Second Half
  • 5k Fun Run (Saturday)
  • 5k Race (Sunday)
  • Ultra

Expo

This expo is fun – I highly recommend going on Friday so that you can take your time, walk around and enjoy yourself. This year, I went on Saturday after the 5k Fun Run to help out at some of the tables so unfortunately, I didn’t spend a lot of time looking around. Pro tip: If you think that you’ll run the race the following year, make sure to register at the expo for THE LOWEST price + an additional discount.

5K Fun Run – Saturday

Instead of the free official shakeout run in years past, the race hosted a 5K Fun Run this year. The course wrapped around Fort Mason, also where the expo is also located. It felt a little cramped with the number of runners but it was a nice way to shakeout before the Sunday races (assuming you don’t go too fast here). Know ahead of time that this fun run will probably not be your 5k PR.

Half Marathon (2nd Half) – Sunday

I was pretty relaxed about this race since it was a half marathon and I had zero intention of truly racing it (lol in hindsight). I definitely don’t recommend being as relaxed as me.. if I left just 5 minutes earlier, my Uber/Lyft would’ve been half the price – watch out for the pricing surge on race morning. Luckily, I arrived with just enough time to use the bathroom, talk to a few friends and then line up in my starting corral. The corrals were crowded – I had friends who couldn’t even make it to their corral and had to start outside the corral gates so plan to arrive early!

The second half marathon course turned out to be as fast as I hoped that it would be – there seems to be an argument among local runners about which half is easier between the first and the second.. and let me tell you after my experience, it is 100% the second half. We start off on a long downhill in Golden Gate Park followed by some rolling hills, though I don’t remember noticing anything significant. From there, you leave the park and have another nice long stretch of downhill as you run towards the Mission-Potrero Hill-Dogpatch area. Know that there are uphills along the way but every time you go up, you run down after. Although the second half is not as “scenic” as the first half, you get to run by the new Chase Center and Oracle Park (formerly AT&T Park) on the way to the finish line.

Now let’s talk weather.. I heard a lot of complaints about the weather being too hot. Maybe it’s because I didn’t run the full marathon or maybe it’s a result of the three years I spent in North Carolina but I didn’t find it to be that bad. I recall low to mid 60s maybe? Plan accordingly.. dress for warm weather and pay attention to hydration!

And my personal results? A HALF MARATHON PR OF 5 MINUTES (1:43:18), on a day where I thought I was just going to jog and barely make it to the finish line. Honestly, I don’t know if I’m more shocked that I PR’d unexpectedly or that I finally executed negative splits. The half marathon distance is still my least favorite distance but I feel a lot better about the distance after this race execution. Now I can’t wait to see what I can do when my injury is finally healed!

What’s Next?

Here are two great fall races (and discount codes) in the Bay Area:

Race Recap: 2019 Across The Bay 12k & 5k

Recap coming SUPER LATE (oops!). This was race #2 in the Run the Bay Series Challenge – it was my 4th year running the race and my 1st year running the 5k.

Events

You can choose to run the 12k or 5k and I still highly recommend choosing the 12k. Even if you need to walk most of it, the 12k takes you over the Golden Gate bridge along a really pretty course.

Bib Pick Up

Runners are able to either mail their bibs or pick them up from Decathlon – I highly recommend choosing the mail option.. though I keep forgetting to do it for myself.

Course

So I’ll only talk about the 5k course this time since that’s what I ran. The course was ok – you start at Aquatic Park and run up the big Fort Mason hill, then down Marina Blvd before turning around. It’s not a fast 5k course but you pretty much know that going into it. There are only two aspects that I would change – finish line ribbon and awards for the 5k. I finished in 7th place for Women Overall and 15th place for Overall so my changes wouldn’t have affected me but it was majorly disappointing to the runners that I raced hard against. Like I mentioned earlier, I highly recommend the 12k and will hopefully run that distance next year depending on my training schedule and injury status.

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What’s Next

Interested in running the Run the Bay Series Challenge? Register online with code RepresentKH to save 10% and run the East Bay 510k on Sunday, October 13th. Remote options are available.

Gear Review: 2SPORTIFY Natural Foot & Shoe Deodorizer

Disclaimer: 2SPORTIFY sent me a bottle of their Natural Foot & Shoe Deodorizer to try out and review.

I run a lot, and that means that I have a lot of smelly shoes. Sorry, not sorry.. it’s the truth. I have always wanted to try out a shoe deodorizer but I never got around to it. It was a combination of laziness and not wanting to figure out a scent that I like.

Truthfully, I was hesitant about trying even this one out but I was very pleasantly surprised. I don’t always have the best sense of smell but I found that it smelled good and removed the smell from my shoes. You can use it on shoes, yoga mats, cars, gym bags and etc.

The product is a 100% natural essential oil blend that includes peppermint, tea tree and eucalyptus.

Ready to try it out?

You can buy a bottle for $12.90 on Amazon, check it out for additional information.

Race Recap: San Jose 408K 2019

Finally, my first time running the San Jose 408K in person! I opted for the virtual option for the past two years so I was excited to be able to actually run it this year with the rest of the Represent Running/Decathlon ambassador crew. It did not disappoint!

What: San Jose 408k
When: February 3, 2019
Where: San Jose, CA
Distance: 8K

Bib Pickup

The pickup locations were hosted at the Decathlon store in San Francisco and in Santana Row in South Bay. Unfortunately I couldn’t make either of the pickups, but luckily I found a friend to help me out! The race series also offers receiving your bib by mail for $10 – always super worth it but I never remember.

Parking/Logistics

Everything was easy as it usually is with the Represent Running races. The race started at 8AM and I arrived around 7:20AM with more than enough time to spare to use the bathroom, get to gear check, take pictures and warm up. Side note: the race is point to point so I had Cade drop me off at the start line and then drive to finish line to wait for me. For those who drove themselves, they had the option of running back to the start line or taking a shuttle.

The Race

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I think this was my first official 8K so naturally it was a PR (lol). The course was flat and fast going from Downtown San Jose to Santana Row. We lucked out and missed the rain; I was even running with direct sunlight in my face for a bit (that part wasn’t so lucky). The course got a little boring to me at times, especially since my music cut out after the first couple miles, but it was an overall good race. I finished in 4th place for my age group, missing 3rd by only 6 seconds!

Post-Race/Swag

The post-race festivities were cool – after all, you’re in Santana Row! The race provided special offers from the restaurants that were specifically for runners… like bottomless mimosas. Additionally, runners received a race shirt designed by Cukui, a race medal and FREE RACE PHOTOS! Super worth it, IMO.

Up next in the series: San Jose Shamrock Run – sign up with code RepresentKH to save 10%!

Race Recap: California International Marathon

Two days later and my legs are feeling it!

Marathon #6 is done and it was a brutal fight to the finish. It brought my fastest time and my worst pacing. In a quick summary, I’ll give the good, the bad and the ugly before getting into my recap. The good – I beat my half marathon PR by 2 minutes and my marathon PR by 6 minutes. I think I proved to myself that I’m capable of running at my BQ pace but more to come on that. The bad – my pacing needs work, I’m still the queen of positive splitting (hence beating my half marathon PR in the first 13.1 miles of this race.. whoops). And the ugly – the hills in the first half were killer, everything felt perfect until about mile 19 when my legs decided that they just couldn’t take anymore. But hey, I still managed to finish with a PR!

Events

  • Full Marathon
  • 5k

Expo

This expo is everything that you would expect an expo to be. A lot of vendors and a lot of runners. I went in with the expectation to take my time looking around but it was too overwhelming for me. I picked up my bib, took a few pictures and left pretty quickly.

Starting Line & Shuttles

I dreaded this part, mostly because it was 38 degrees outside but it actually wasn’t that bad. I woke up at 3:45am, got ready and then lined up for the shuttles between 4:45-5:00am. The shuttle ride was easy and I was quite comfortable in my sweats and jacket. Our shuttle arrived at the starting line around 6:00am, where they recommended that runners stay on the shuttles to keep warm. I left the bus at 6:00am to use the bathroom but I was able to get back on and wait on the bus until 6:30am. Our group used the bathrooms one more time before ditching our extra layers and lining up for the start.

Course

Hills, hills and more hills. Going into the race, I knew the course was rolling hills but I didn’t expect there to be so many and for them to take such a big toll on my legs. The truth is, the hills felt really easy and fast. So I went for it. My goal going into the race was 3:40 but by the halfway point, I started thinking that it was a BQ day for me (3:30). Everything was feeling really great until it wasn’t. By mile 19, my legs were done. My feet were hurting and the only thing that kept me going were the spectators. There were spectators along the course but there were so many in the last four miles – thank you to all of you for getting me to that finish line!

Takeaways

While I can’t say this race went well for me, I am definitely happy with the outcome and I can’t wait to try this race again in the future (maybe for a BQ?!).

Race Recap: 2018 East Bay 510k & 5k

Another Run The Bay Challenge (San Jose 408k, Across the Bay 12k and East Bay 10k) completed! I ran the 10k last year so I decided to run the 5k this year, especially with CIM coming up in another seven weeks!

What: East Bay 510k
When: October 14, 2018
Where: Berkeley/Emeryville, CA
Distance: 10K or 5K

Bib Pickup

Bib pickup was quick. The pickup locations were hosted at Sports Basement locations in South Bay and Berkeley. It was a little inconvenient for those of us in San Francisco but we teamed up to carpool and make our way across the bay.

Parking/Shuttles

Parking was easy as usually! The 5k started at 7:30 AM so we arrived at 6:30 AM, which ended up being really early. We were so early that we were the first ones to use the porta-potties (fun fact).

The Race

Well I can’t say it was the easiest 5K that I’ve ever run, but it was apparently the fastest! The course was relatively flat with a lot of annoying turns, starting in Berkeley and finishing in Emeryville. I also enjoyed chasing my friends for the entire race – we finished in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th for gender!

Post-Race

My one complaint about the post-race festivities was the lack of awards. We had waited around for awhile since there were awards announced in the past but eventually found out that they weren’t happening. Bummer but oh well, can’t wait to try again next year!

Race Recap: 2018 Rock n Roll San Jose Half Marathon

Flat, fast and fun. Put this race on your list.

Events

  • Half Marathon
  • 10k
  • 5k

Expo

This expo was good – not great but not bad either. I expected a bit more since it was a Rock n Roll race but I was also glad that it was not overwhelming. Parking was easy and we were able to get the $10 rate card validated at a nearby restaurant.

Starting Line

It was crowded and many runners did not line up in their assigned corral. I was in corral 4 but was surrounded by runners who were assigned to corral 10+. If I run this race in the future, I would definitely register with a faster predicted time.

Course

It’s not necessarily scenic but I love everything about the course. From growing up around San Jose, I loved running through the neighborhoods such as downtown, Japantown and Santa Clara University, where I did my undergrad. The course is completely flat and had spectators along parts of the course. It did get a little hot with the last few stretches being completely in the sun but I’m not complaining.. I still ran a PR! Runners then finish in downtown San Jose, where there is a large finish line festival waiting for them.

FIT & Flirty: Meet This New ABS-olutely Chic Athleisure Brand

I recently had the opportunity to partner with this trendy new athleisure brand as they prepared for their launch date today! FIT & Flirty’s founder, Anna, is a fellow Sweat Pink sister, a fitness fanatic, and is all about helping everyone to live their best life. Keep reading to find out more about her new line (there may be a discount code included too)!

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About FIT & Flirty

FIT & Flirty is a chic athleisure brand created to celebrate fitness fanatics and champagne lovers through a collection of bubbly, athletic inspired designs.

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Every fitness journey is something to be proud of and we need to celebrate that more often because we’re awesome! We can live a healthy lifestyle with a clean diet while also still enjoying a glass of champagne (or maybe a beer, though I do enjoy poppin’ champagne)! This is what FIT & Flirty is all about and I can definitely get behind that.

Designs

FIT & Flirty is launching with six different designs or mantras, there is a little something for everyone. I personally went with the Weekends are for Leggings, Running & Champagne Poppin’ racerback tank because it spoke to me. The designs are also available in a tri-blend tee, boyfriend t-shirt, crop top and cap sleeve shirt. Links to each of the designs are below or check out the slideshow for pictures!

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Interested?

Today is the first day of their launch so head over to their website, check them out and show them some love. Then, if you find something you love (which I know you all will), use code SWEATPINK5 to save 15% off your purchase – valid until September 15, 2018.