Lexus LaceUp Ventura 2014 Recap


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I LOVE when new running events come around my town mostly because we’re so tiny up here and rarely does anything really rad come our way (we’re late bloomers around here=)). That’s why I was super pumped when I became part of the Lexus LaceUp Ambassadors representing Ventura County!


Last Sunday was the first event of the Lexus LaceUp Race Series in Ventura! (Other events are in Palos Verdes on 11/15, Irvine 12/6, and Riverside on 12/13).

As I drove to the packet pickup at RoadRunner Sports in Thousand Oaks, I realized that I hadn’t run a half marathon since March (I always run the Great Race Cheseboro), and before that, Santa to the Sea last December! I actually love the half marathon distance and think I should run it more often! I feel like it makes me a more confident runner.

Packet pickup was easy peezy, as the volunteers and the folks at RoadRunner were efficient and friendly.


I stayed and helped greet people at the entrance for a bit before heading off to a day of fun with my family (Re: eating Bavarian pretzels with cheese sauce and drinking craft IPAs at Barrelhouse 101. Oh, and caprese sliders. Because my life hasn’t been the same since eating those bad boys.).

After a long day out, we were very happy to come home. I promptly painted my nails and set out Flat HCR.


The next morning (Can we talk about how much I loved having that extra hour of sleep?!?!), I woke up at 5:00 to give myself enough time to eat breakfast and chug several gallons of coffee before the start.


Mmmmmmm… whipped cream in my coffee never gets old.

The Incredible Husband and I (Who am I kidding… it was mostly him) got the girls dressed, fed, and loaded, and we managed to make it to Ventura before I peed my pants before the race started.

We parked in our secret parking spot where I ditched the fam in search of the porta potties. Luckily, there were no lines! (Although I didn’t take pictures, so I may or may not be telling the truth.) ;)

The expo and the start of the race was on the grassy area just south of the Ventura Fairgrounds that borders the beachfront.


How beautiful is that sunrise?!?!



I made my way over to the ambassador tent where I didn’t take pictures with my new running friends (FAIL!). But I did manage to take a bundled up selfie!


Because it was a smaller race (as all races are for the first go-round), gear check was super fast and efficient! I met up with some of my girlfriends from the ‘hood and chatted about how our non-training regimen for this race was going to be comical! (Again, no pics. I may or may not have any actual friends).

About 5 minutes before the start, my ambassador friend Edward and I made our way over to the start corral and lined up with the 1:40 pacer. It was actually a little windy and chilly, so when 7 o’clock came and went, I started shivering just a little bit.

It’s never fun when a race doesn’t start on time, but race organizers made sure that they communicated with us immediately at 7 that the start would be delayed due to lame-os who parked where they weren’t supposed to on the course and that the police were working to remove the vehicles. Communication is key, though, and by 7:13, after using the portas onelasttime, we were one our way.

I thought that I’d try to maintain a 7:45ish pace because I am running the Santa Barbara Marathon this Saturday, but I quickly found that my head was not in the game. As I ran down Harbor Blvd., I was still cold and my confidence from my sucky summer/fall training got the better of me, so I dropped away from the 1:40 pacer. Also, the start was full of 10Kers and halfers, and I was nearly run over by a man racing with a jogging stroller (in his defense, the course was narrow at that point, but in my defense, if he was planning on running so fast, he should have toed the line), so I decided it wasn’t worth fighting for the pace.

After running about 1 mile south, the course turned back up towards the start along the beachfront. I was already having head problems, so running back through the finish chute at 2-something miles was no bueno. <–This is not a joke, and I think it might be one of the cruelest things that can happen to a runner who is already struggling mentally.

Then, the course ran up the bike path and across the railroad tracks, where I was greeted with a steady, crisp headwind. Actually, it was more of a breeze, but considering temps haven’t been south of 70 in quite some time, I my So Cal weenie bones were cold! It was rather refreshing!

Eventually, the 10Kers turned back towards the start and the halfers peeled off towards the Ojai bike path. This is the same bike path at the end of one of my favorites, the Mountains 2 Beach marathon.

Man, those miles were lonely. The out and back on the bike path nearly did me in. At the turnaround, I spread my wings and tried my hardest to pick up the pace (without working for it, obviously.)<–I’m a lazy runner.

I don’t think I ever breathed hard during the entire race, but mentally, I was on the struggle bus.

After too many hairpin turns, I was finally on the home stretch (again!) to the finish! I crossed the line in 1:43:24.

Because I didn’t work at all for this, but rather, I ran at a comfortable pace based on effort alone, I was happy to see that my splits coincided with the elevation chart:

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 8.42.19 PM

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 8.42.19 PM

I immediately met up with Eddie PR City:

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 8.57.58 PMSource

And then found my family. Mini Me and the huz both ran the 5K, which they loved!


Yes, she ran with her hair down. Because, she says, it feels like she’s flying when she does that.

I’m not usually one who hangs out for a while after races, but the post-race party in Ventura was epic!

Food trucks and beer? (NOTE: for those of you where were wondering, Sierra Nevada was serving one of their IPAs as an option!!!!!!!) SIGN ME UP!!!





I used my food ticket for a delicious kale/minty goodness juice called the Frankenmint from the Good to go Juice truck. Usually after a race, I don’t have an appetite until a couple hours afterwards, so I was glad to have a juice option.



I would drink that green thing every dang day if I could!!!

The husband got a tasty grilled cheese/avocado sandwich from one of the trucks, but the winner of the day (that I didn’t try) was a breakfast burrito that one of my veggie friends ordered where she subbed the meat for the roasted brussels sprouts!<–How absurdly tasty does that sound?!?!

And then there was the beer.


And plenty of space for people to sit and hang out either in the shad or in the sun!


The bands were great, too!



I love beer.

Also, I love this friend:


She PRed in the 5K!!!!!!!

So I guess it was a good day to set some records!

Also, if you’re in the market for a new car, the Lexus vehicles that were on display were gorgeous! The seats on this one were a really pretty dark red color!!!


Also a nice touch was that white structure behind the car. It was a charging station for electronic devices!

After hanging out for a while, the family and I stopped for one last picture.


These guys are the best. My husband, especially. And I’m always so proud of Mini Me for wanting to run these 5Ks. She’s a pretty amazing 6-year old. As for Blondie, well… I just love her so, so much. She just goes along with everything we do.

Final Conclusion:

I’ll definitely run this race again. And I’m not just saying that because I’m an ambassador. I really thought that it was a fun day! For the first year, I cannot complain. There are little things that I’d tweak, but the race organizer has already sent out a feedback survey, so I’m sure her inbox is full of ways to make this event even more rad and an even bigger success next year. If you are still looking to race any of the remaining three races, use code RunLaceUp9 for 10% off!

Are you running any holiday races this year?

What is your favorite cold-weather running gear?

What is your favorite running song right now? (I’m making my SB Marathon playlist.)

Rad Runs 10-miler 2014 recap


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A couple weekends ago, I made a last-minute decision to run the Reyes Adobe Days 10-miler (Rad Runs). I’ve run this race every year, and every year, it’s had a different course. If you remember from last year’s recap, race directors were forced to change the course days before the event due to the wildfires nearby. It has always been one of my favorite local races because of its hilly goodness, but since the race directors changed this year, I was hesitant to register because, well, my time and money are valuable.

money running beerSource.

Race bibs, amIright? But if the race is a dried out, old biscuit, then it makes me frown.

Mostly because I’ll have to spend more money to drown my sorrows in more beer instead of toasting with a celebratory pint.



My other motivating factor was that running a 10-miler would give me a good idea of where I am fitness-wise. My training hasn’t been happening, and I have three races left this year to get through before I will reevaluate my goals and training. I really just want to get through them injury-free.

So, for the whopping price of $30 (4 non-happy hour pints), I figured I had nothing to lose.

New this year, packet pickup was at Future Track in Agoura Hills (<–LOVE that store and its people!) the day before or at the start line the morning of.


I have to say that the race organizers were exceptionally helpful and nice. They kept thanking people for running the race. As it turns out, quite a few people are hesitant to run  races under new directors, so for their first year running RAD, the turnout was low. (<-I kinda like smaller races because they’re more mellow and have more of a hometown feel to them, but I definitely understand the value of the dollar and a well-executed race.).

Mini Me took a page out of her Auntie’s book and spent our time at FT gazing at herself in the shoe mirror.


Girlfriend has been OBSESSED with mirrors lately! Is this a 6-year old thing?

Elsa Blondie, on the other hand, was attached to my side. We picked up our goodies, checked out the shirt, and took a quick pic to document that time I went to pick up my race packet and ran into a princess.


As part of my pre-race ritual, I set out Flat HCR and painted my nails right before I went to dream sweet dreams for the night.


The next morning, I set my alarm for 5 AM for the 7’oclock start. I woke up excited to get my race on and took care of the morning essentials.


The start line was about 15 minutes away, so I left my house around 6:15 to make it there in time to pee onelasttime (is there such a thing with runners?) and do some quick warmup drills.

Arriving at the start line, I found no issue with parking across the street in a business center lot. Can we take a moment to appreciate the ideal racing temps?


No joke, I have run this race every year, and every year, the weather has been different. I guess that’s October in SoCal!

I made the quick walk across Agoura Road and warmed up a little bit by jogging easy around the parking lot and doing some dynamic stretches before taking care of my requisite final pit stop.


It may not look like it, but these portas were just enough for the race size. No lines=winning my Saturday.

I also walked around the expo a bit.

After that, I put my phone back in my car.

This race was so stinking mellow and fun. At the start line on Agoura Rd., we gathered up, Annemarie, the new race director, thanked all of the runners for being there in a rebuilding year, and sent us on our way!

Because I had no idea what my pace should be since letting myself go over summer and into the start of Fall, I settled into an even 8:00 mile pace. The course was gorgeous, running down Cornell Road (the shortcut from Kanan Rd. to Mullholand I used to take when I went to Pepperdine) and around Malibou Lake, and looping back again. The temps invariably drop in the canyon, and because my muscles weren’t A.) used to <gasp> cold air AT ALL (temps were in the 90s the previous couple weeks) and B.) used to running up and down hills, it took a grand 8 (of 10) miles to feel like the wheels were finally turning.

That’s okay, though, because I used the time to work on my mental game (I cannot stop. I cannot stop. This is for fun. Smile. God gave me legs for a reason.) and work to avoid getting beat by a dog.

Yes, a dog.


Not just any dog, friends. Meet Paul (the dude) and Tucker (the dog). They would catch up with me just for Tucker to stop to smell the roses a gazillion times until we met one last time on the home stretch along Agoura Road. Paul was so nice and gave me final-kick tips and motivation even though I was cursing about how I couldn’t make it the last .5 miles.

“You can do anything for less than four minutes.”

In the end, I’m pretty sure he let me win and backed off as I kicked it into out-of-shape high gear to cross the line in 1:19:33. Tucker the Dog finished in 1:19:34.


Not a record, but certainly nothing to be ashamed of considering the un-flatness of the course and my current fitness level.


After I finished, I asked someone to take my picture and then walked around the expo for a little bit.



Then, I ran back a little over two miles to take photos of the gorgeous course. I didn’t make it back to Malibou Lake, but the miles I ran were just as beautiful in the hot sun as they were in the sunrise.

From the first and last miles of the course:





The Santa Monica Mountains are even more stunning as the sun rises (when I was running the race)!

The cyclists were stoked for the race. Because Cornell and Mulholland were closed in one direction, they were able to ride free and clear of cars!


The course was very hilly, but the hills were just long enough to make me want to slow down before dropping back down again. Rolling hills are actually fun to race on!




At the end, I thanked Annemarie for executing such a fun race! The 10-miler is one of my favorite distances, and this particular course did such a great job of reminding me how lucky I am to live in the Conejo Valley.


I’ll definitely be be back next year!


Who’s with me? RAD Run 10-miler 2015, anybody?


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