Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Roses en La Playa

This last weekend I ran the Roses en La Playa 5k in Santa Barbara. I had been eagerly awaiting this race so that I could set a more challenging 5k PR and I think I accomplished that goal.

The race was on a beautiful Sunday morning right by the beach. Fog hung over the water and the islands were at full visibility. God was really showing off that morning. As has become habit, Daddio and I ran the 5k together. Daddio is an awesome running partner, he has the experience and know how and he really drives me to push myself. We arrived an hour early and did an easy jog down to the harbor and back, just loosening up. Fifteen minutes till the race, we did a couple hill sprints at the speed we wanted to start. I was feeling awesome and had some really high hopes.

At the starting line, there were two extremely annoying college students yelling and making ridiculous noises while the race officials were trying to give the last minute instructions. I was immediately determined to beat both the guys on the course. The instant the official yelled go, Daddio and I were off. We were getting swept up in the tide of quick runners and also doing our best to avoid walkers. Within the first quarter of a mile Daddio was telling me, “let’s not get too crazy”, which caused me to glance down at my Garmin and see that we were going much faster than planned.

Almost the whole first half of the course was uphill, but it was an out and back, so we got to cruise back down that hill all the way back to the finish. I felt good and the hill wasn’t feeling too challenging till the last quarter of a mile. We started being passed by the lead runners on their way back, so we cheered for them and I kept my eyes on the turn around ahead, ready to hit the down hill.

The turn around was a little uncoordinated, they had the arrows going the wrong way, so the people heading into the turn were trying to dodge the people coming out of the turn, while others ignored the arrows and did it however they wanted. From there it was a matter of working with gravity rather than against it. That’s when we started picking up speed and picking off runners. We first aimed for people right in front of us and than I started aiming for people much further ahead. I caught sight of the annoying college students and pushed hard to pass them and then pushed hard to get out of hearing range of them (seriously annoying).

Daddio enjoying the morning
I set my sights on a gentleman with a unique running form moving at the very good pace and told Dad, “I want to beat him”. For the last quarter of a mile, we slowly gained on him. I was starting to think he was going to get away from us when he started his descent down the last steep hill that led to the finish, so I dug in and pushed harder. Daddio started falling behind, so I started to slow down till I heard from behind me, “get him, get him,” I took off. I felt like I was flying. I passed him a good fifty yards from the finish with people from the crowd saying, “Nice sprint!”

I think I was flying!
I felt ecstatic to see my finish time 26:24, over 4 minutes faster than my New Years 5k. Another great race in the books!

Like usual, the race was well stocked with food and water at the finish line. The times were posted online in record speed and pictures were up within hours. Another awesome thing about these local races is that they obtain free race pictures from Santa Barbara Pix, the usual photographer and all we have to do is go online, pick a picture we want and email them our request. I absolutely love that!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Team Mobility

Last February I started running again, in May I started training, ideas of a marathon bouncing around my head. When I heard that Free Wheelchair Mission was teaming up with the LA Marathon to start a charity team, my decision was made. Within weeks I was registered for the LA Marathon and joined Team Mobility to raise funds for Free Wheelchair Mission.

Free Wheelchair Mission is a wonderful nonprofit that has designed a hardy wheelchair that they manufacture and ship around the world and distribute for free to those in need. It’s a wonderful organization that I have supported in the past and I was excited to team up with. I set the goal to raise enough funds for 15 wheelchairs and with the help of my friends, family and coworkers, I have gotten closer and closer to that goal. With just three weeks left, I’m still three wheelchairs short!

If it wasn’t for my pledge to this charity, I don’t think I would have made it this far. I’ve jumped from one injury to another and have been battling PF for months now, but the charity gave me a goal, a purpose for my running other than just a personal accomplishment. I think it is a wonderful idea to get behind a cause when you set your sights on a bigger race. It’s definitely rewarding to know you are making a difference in other’s lives while also doing something to improve yourself.

If you would like to donate or learn more about Free Wheelchair Mission, please visit my fundraising page:

Every little bit helps!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Super Bowl 4 Miler

I love Super Bowl! Combining Super Bowl with a morning race is a serious win for me. When I heard about the Super Bowl four mile race held yearly just a couple miles from my house I was pretty stoked. I talked Daddio into letting me veer off our weekly training plan, so we could run it. I’m sure glad I did! The course was great, it was a beautiful morning and the weather was perfect.

Since the race was so close to home and we were sacrificing a long run for it, we decided to do an easy jog to the race and an easy jog home, which would put us just over 7 miles for the day. Not the distance I was hoping for, but I had to also factor in the intensity of race pace.

When we got to the park and went through registration, we received our event t-shirt, which made us look at each other for a moment. What were we going to do with them? They were cotton, so they would be too heavy to wear over what we currently had on and I was rocking my Cowboy’s jersey and really didn’t want to cover that up, so we ended up placing them in a tree of all places (they were still there when we got back yay).

The race took us on a nice big four mile loop that was part street and part trail. The first three fourths of the race wound through quiet neighborhoods and the end took us through Lake Los Carneros Park, bringing us right up next to the lake. It was all very well planned and executed. The neighborhoods were quiet, not many cheer crowds or spectators and the group of runners numbered under four hundred, so we got pretty well spread out after the first mile. It made for a peaceful low key race.

Look at Romo run

Since we were running it just for fun, we kept things mellow. We would pick someone out ahead of us, usually someone that stood out for some reason or someone who looked like they were struggling and make it our goal to catch up or pass them. Our first victims were two girls in matching outfits, way too hard to resist. Later it was a guy in a blue shirt from the local gym that proclaimed he was a trainer, and then it was a mother and son and so on and so on.

We both felt good and we were having a good time. Within the last half mile, we set our sights on a little girl who had to be less than eight years old, running with her dad and we slowly started gaining on her. We passed her on the last hill, when the father told her the magic words “The finish line is just around the corner”, she took off like a shot. I picked up the pace too, but she left us in the dust.

We finished strong, all smiles and even enjoyed a hotdog at the finish line to commemorate the event. I gave a shout out to another girl in a Cowboys jersey and we mingled for a little while, before jogging home. It was a morning to remember.

Daddio enjoying after race fruit and hotdog!
Our finish time was 36:51, an automatic PR being my first four mile race. I’m looking forward to beating my 5k PR in just a few weeks.

Happy running!

Saturday, February 4, 2012


The Santa Barbara Trail Runners and the Santa Barbara Athletic Association set up a screening of the film Unbreakable this week. If you haven’t heard about Unbreakable it is a documentary just recently released about the Western States 100 and the four main competitors in the 2010 race that ran themselves into the ground to claim first place. I’ve been eager to see it since I heard about it in December.

One hundred mile races fascinate me and capture my imagination. I’ve always dreamed of running one. I guess you could say it’s on my bucket list, but of course, I need to survive a marathon first! I hate going to movies alone, so I almost didn’t go. All my none running friends had no interest in sitting through a running documentary and most of my running friends were busy, including Daddio. Which reminds me, I’d like to give a shout out to my awesome parents, it’s their 37th wedding anniversary!

At the last minute, I decided to ask my coworker Gina to see if she was going and she was! She invited me to tag along with her, her husband and friends. I gladly accepted the invite and I’m sure glad I did. The movie was inspiring and kept me on the edge of my seat. I had purposely avoided reading anything about the Western States 100 2010 race, so that I wouldn’t know who won. I loved seeing how they handled the distance, how they reacted to up hills and down hills, how they coordinated their aid station stops and how they handled the heat. It was a lot of fun to see. I have so much to learn about ultrarunning!

I do have to say that the highlight of the night was when Anton Krupicka walked into the theater. There were rumors that he was flying in for the screening, but his original flight was canceled, so I really wasn’t expecting him to show. I have to admit I got a little fan girly seeing him in person. Our screening had a Q&A session with half a dozen accomplished trail runners, including Anton and the creator of the file JB Benna. It was an awesome night!

If you are even considering seeing it or buying it, I recommend that you do. It is totally worth it.