Gruß vom Krampus: Krampus Cross Country 10k Recap

Some girls shop online for cute clothes and shoes, I shop for my next race. Call me crazy but I am constantly on runningintheusa.com perusing my possibilities to explore a new trail or road. I found Sasquatch Racing through Instagram to my surprise and was even more pleased when I received a free entry into their Krampus 10k event.

An early start prompted a thirty minute drive up the peninsula, to the Marina district of San Francisco. The sun had cast off it’s pajamas, had his coffee and was in full force of making the day a clear and beautiful one. Work kept me from an early bib pickup and beer sampling at A Runner’s Mind in SF the Friday before Sunday’s event, but Sasquatch made race morning a breeze!

Ample parking was found just a short walk from the start. A few stairs took me away from my car and towards a road leading to a grass field that would host the start and post-race festivities. A small table stood on one side of the field where two volunteers were checking off names in exchange for bibs. I easily collected mine, as well as a black tech shirt, exhibiting the Krampus event logo. With a few minutes until the start, I decided to ditch my jacket and a nice volunteer offered her surveillance as I ran. As I did not want to throw my jacket into a pile of bags others had left, I graciously accepted her offer.

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Start and Finish

Race

A member of the Sasquatch Racing team had us off and running just after 8. I had to laugh as I crossed the start and he yelled, “Keep going! You’re almost there!” (Note: This is funny at the start of a 10k but not on mile 14 of a marathon!)

Immediate elevation gain stung my lungs and I was taken off guard. Have I not been training long distance since July? Oh boy! It was fine once I got my pace after the first mile.

Surrounded by giant redwood trees and bay air replenishing my lungs, I was taking in the beautiful views of San Francisco’s Presidio and even catching glimpses of the water. Sasquatch Racing had advertised small silver medallions placed along the trail that would serve as tokens to collect prizes at the end of the race. I am not sure if it was my more modest pace or the scenery stealing my gaze, but I never happened upon any prize winning medallions.

From packed trails, to roads and wood walkways, this course offered a nice variety of terrain over the span of six miles. A number of volunteers helped to direct our pack and safely maneuver traffic. I headed down a road to be greeting by the distance frontrunners, 3 males, one of them donning the bib number, 666.

I made my way along some more wood walkways with deep gradual steps. A set of stairs stood between a short cul-de sac turn towards the finish. I grabbed some Gubrew, thanked the volunteers and made my back over the befriended ground.

I was able to cheer those along that were still heading out as I ran back. Over the wood turning to asphalt, and dirt, I felt stronger heading home. The trail felt more alive with different forms of energy coming from nearby walkers, trail yogi’s and other race goers.

I was able to pass a few people and was happy to come up upon the former ascent, descending toward’s the finish and Krampus.

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Too fast for Krampus 😛

After crossing the tape, I was greeted by strands of flowers, and volunteers waiting to place the woodallions around finisher’s necks. I grabbed a quick photo with Krampus himself and caught a glimpse of the winner, Bib 666.

Post-Race

I headed towards a small lineup of tables, where volunteers had made little goodie bags containing Beanitos chips, Bare baked apple pieces, Kettle chips, and pieces of candy such as Twizzlers and Nerds. Reps from Noosa yogurt were handing out samples of their rich and delicious pumpkin variety, as well as Bark Thins giving out small bags of their snacking chocolate. Hint water handed out bottles of their refreshing fruit water.

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Post-Race Nutrition 

I want to give a huge shoutout to Sasquatch Racing for putting on a fabulous event. It felt like one big family, between the Sasquatch crew, volunteers and the race goers helping put out a fun and safe atmosphere throughout the course. Registration and parking was easy as can be, and the course was beautiful.

With multiple races throughout the year, I look forward to checking out more of their events in 2018!

The Runologist

That Time I Ran Between A Rockstar’s Legs: RNR 5k Recap

It was time to take RNR Las Vegas off my race bucket list and turn it into a reality for 2017. After registering for the half-marathon over the summer, I toyed with the idea of adding the 5k to my itinerary in order to receive the Remix Challenge medal.

Expo

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Entering the Expo

After a quick monorail ride from the MGM Grand, the expo was located just a few steps from the Convention Center station. Volunteers and a collection of signs pointed participants in a counter clockwise loop, the bib pickup being stop #1. Next, I was ushered towards a shirt table, where I was given my pre-selected size in a plastic drawstring backpack that contained some samplings of SmartyPants vitamins and a Black Forest Gummy packet.

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Countdown to Chocolate!

The next section of the expo was dedicated to Brooks gear allowing eager attendees to try on the latest in footwear or buy Las Vegas specific wear. The most popular item to be noted at the 2017 expo was the neon yellow, Vegas Strong shirt.

As I stood in the merchandise line, it took close to an hour. I felt as if I were waiting for one of Disney’s newest attractions! I wish I had been in possession of a Tourpass as one of the perks was an express checkout lane for holders.

Vendor booths took up the rest of the expo with retailers selling anything from clothes and shoes to nutrition. This would be my thirteenth half, and by now, I like to think I know what works for me, so I passed on through.

As I neared the exit, a small section was devoted to Rock n’ Roll event registration. Medals that screamed, “I would look really good around your neck or fastened on your wall one day,” glistened as they hung from their mounts right above the registration tables.

With computers open to the registration page and my debit card placed in my hand so conveniently, I headed to the desk and signed up for the evening’s 5k. Aren’t you supposed to go big or go home while in Vegas? With only a couple hours before the run, I headed back to my hotel in order to rest before a nice 3 mile shakeout.

Pre-Race

Taking the monorail back to the SLS Station proved to be an interesting ride. The cars were full, sardine cans on steroids full. When the monorail came to an abrupt stop, there was no need to hold onto anyone or thing because no one was going anywhere. What must have looked like the word’s largest parade of clowns exiting a car, I headed out of the station and through the hotel with my fellow runners.

Across the street, stood lines of runners trying to gain access into the Festival Grounds. While I appreciated added security checking bags, this process was slow. Only a few lanes were open to 7,000 runners. I did not even possess a bag but could not see an expedited way through.

I paid a quick trip to a huge row of indoor bathroom stalls. These were a nice touch and it was pretty funny to see fellow runners taking selfies and hear their commentary.

Once at the start, I noticed security attempting to keep runners honest but still I saw a few people surge ahead toward their desired corral. Since it was only a 5k and the road was wide enough, this did not cause any problems that I noticed during the run.

Race

The course took me out along Industrial road. This course leaves the eyes searching for a little bit more, but with a quick three miles, there is not too much time to overthink the lack of scenery. Since it was an out and back, I was able to cheer on the front runners which is always fun!

On a road littered with potholes, I focused on the handful of stations along the course, complete with music and flashing lights. While these were DJ’s rather than live bands, it was still nice to have some entertainment on course. Before I knew it I was already returning back into the festival grounds and even ran between a rockstar’s legs!

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Over the roads and through the legs… 😛

This impromptu decision turned out to be fun and the perfect shakeout before Sunday’s half! I collected my medal, finisher’s snacks and turned in for the evening. While the Goo Goo Dolls were scheduled to perform just after the 5k instead of at the start of the half, I was a tad too chilly to sit and enjoy.

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Concert Stage

With a little more entertainment, runner specific monorail trains and more security lanes, RNR is close to having a flawless 5k event. I enjoyed a chance to stretch the legs over some flat and fast road while adding some nice hardware to my collection. With tuned strings, I was ready to rock the remainder of the weekend.

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Selfie with my medal

The Runologist

Everything Happens For A Riesling: Wine and Dine Half-Marathon Review

After munching on the 10k the previous morning, I was ready to take on the main course of the Wine and Dine weekend. I put on a white shirt, tights and a bavarian hostess dirndl to complete the ensemble. While it is not an iconic Disney character, I dressed to support Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival!

I walked to the front of my hotel and once again found a bus waiting to take me to the Magic Kingdom parking lot! I managed to arrive even a couple minutes earlier than the morning before, giving myself plenty of time to listen to the DJ, gaze at the event stage before parking myself on the ground of my corral. There was talk of the previous morning’s lip-sync battle and I easily could have enjoyed a second round, but pretty soon it was time to start running.

I was excited! It was a new day with a different course and my first stop would be Animal Kingdom, giving my eyes the opportunity to take in what they could of Pandora.

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2017 Half-Marathon Route

Race:

4 miles stood between the start line and entering into Animal Kingdom. These first few miles took participants along tree-lined back roads. While the sun had no quite woken up yet, I felt energized with grass and trees surrounding me, unlike the rubble and machinery that had lined the 10k course.

Fairly early into the course came the first character stop, Fairies, from Peter Pan and Tinkerbell’s spinoff adventures. I carried on, running into Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa before seeing King Louis and Rafiki. Can you tell I was nearing Animal Kingdom from the genre of character stops?

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Running through Animal Kingdom 

I entered the park, running through Harambe Market, getting a quick taste of what is modeled after Africa’s informal sector. Themed markets lined our path and dancers from Festival of the Lion King greeted me with smiles and waving hands.

Eroding marketplaces soon turned primitive with a wooden walkway being the only natural thing amongst a sea of jungle. The path changes to asphalt as I entered the Valley of the Mo’ara. Still surrounded by jungle, the path opens up and the Ayram, (which is Na’vi for the floating, “Hallelujah Mountains”) come into view. These lofty rock formations, tower over-head and certainly take your breath away! (Was it the Ayram or the last four miles I had run?)

I was so excited to run through Pandora and every detail exceeded my expectations. While I did not receive any Banshee assistance to the finish line, I carried on towards the Tree of Life, then into Dino territory.

A quick exit into the parking lot, led runners to a couple of longer stretches along the highway. With the sun trying to peek through the fog, it was hot and I now had an explanation to why I could not find a drive.

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Hanging with some of my favorite bears! 🙂

I stopped for a quick photo with the Country Bears and wish I had done the same for Mary Poppins’ Penguins. As we approached mile 9, we came onto a circular on ramp that would take us on an overpass towards Hollywood Studios.

Just as the morning before, Oswald greeted runners as they entered the Studios behind Tower of Terror and onto the boulevards. Runners followed the same path towards Epcot, so I could find relief in the familiarity of the course.

Instead of going straight into the theme park as we did the morning before, runners took to the water’s edge and followed the path along Disney resort hotels. Genie greeted runners by the Boardwalk and the course finally entered into Epcot.

I was hoping for the shorter route by the U.K. and Canada to take us to the finish but realized we were running all the way around World Showcase. I had to walk a few steps, devastated by the realization of the lengthy world travels ahead. I kicked myself into gear with only a mile left, Dopey and Mushu cheered me along.

I was relieved when I was practically under Spaceship Earth, a short sprint to the finish line. In a little over two hours, it was nowhere near my P.R. from the beginning of October but a few minutes faster than last year’s Wine and Dine. I can blame my head cold and the humidity but I am okay that this was not my race. All runners will have those days and this journey is about realizing the worst has not yet happened and the celebration of victories are just on recess.

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Flying 

This course has been my favorite I have run at WDW thus far. While I am partial to Disneyland races as they supply more park miles within their courses, this race returned a similar vibe to those events hosted in California.

Finish Line:

I collected my half medal as well as my Two Course Challenge passport, commemorating nineteen race miles, and multiple countries visited. I replenished with water but left the contents of my snack box (Oreos, applesauce, tortilla chips, cheese, dried fruit) to be consumed at a later date, as I had scheduled a rendezvous with some sweet potato pancakes.

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Photo Courtesy of RunDisney

Post-Race Party:

What makes Wine and Dine race weekend extra magical, is the Post-Race Party which is held Sunday evening after the race. All half participants received a complimentary ticket and had the option to buy additional tickets for non-runner family members and friends.

As this would be my only visit to a theme park for the Wine and Dine weekend, I was especially excited. While the party did not officially start until 10 to give the kiosks time to restock and employees to kick the non-runners out, early entry started at 8. I arrived a little before and was able to get into the park.

I visited some of the International booths making sure to replenish my muscles with protein and carbs and of course some libations! 🙂

 

As the park slowly started to clear out, I headed towards Norway to get in line for Frozen Ever After. I only had to wait about twenty minutes while the ride normally boasts an hour at the least.

On my way to ride Test Track, a line was forming to take pictures with the Three Cabarellos. Between minimal wait times for rides, special character photo opportunities and a DJ to keep the evening fun and alive, the party proved to be a sweet, final course to a decadent weekend.

The Runologist

(Getting the Show) On the Road

Welcome to my blog! I have struggled to pick a topic for my first post mostly because there is so much on my mind when it comes to the running world. Conversations about the sport, sustenance, and the newest foam roller to be added into my collection causes many eye rolls by most of my friends and family. While most of the people in my life will not care to hear about Clif’s Nut Butter Filled bars or that seasonal Gu flavors have been released, I look to my fellow runners, both the seasoned elite and the Couch to 5K newcomers to continue the exchange. I cannot wait to share with you my adventures through both the easy miles as well as the grueling ones, gear, and nutrition. Before I give away too many spoiler alerts, I’ll give you a quick introduction to myself and my journey thus far.

As a graduate from the University of Southern California, studying creative writing and film, I have always been taught, “write what you know”. So here it goes, this is what I know. When I was younger, I used to hate running. I remember the mile in elementary school might as well have been a marathon. I considered it long and arduous and it felt as if construction workers were building houses on my lungs. Running was so terrible that I used common illnesses to excuse myself from the task. I even started to create fake diseases to keep my streak alive. In fact, it was not until college where I incorporated a treadmill into my workouts and completed a couple of Nearly Naked Miles, that running started to work its way into my life.

During my sophomore year I decided on a whim to sign up for The Color Run. I was not looking to cross a 5k off my bucket list, but an excuse to encourage myself to explore the city of Los Angeles and it’s surroundings, meeting new faces in the process. While it introduced me to the city of Glendale for bib pick-up, then later a visit to Dodger Stadium for the actual event, The Color Run acquainted me to the running community and the ability to complete a 5k without prior training. While I am not trying to suggest running without training or toot my own horn, it was a moment of pride and accomplishment and helped to pave my career thus far.

This slow three mile jog soon turned into me running a 10k, wishing I was turning off for the 5k finish instead of starting a second three mile loop. As easy as it is to take the shorter route, especially on those days where your legs weigh a ton each, nothing beats a new PR, that mile thirteen marker, or lacing up your shoes and getting after your goal the next day.

I cannot wait to share with you my journey, mile by mile, from 5k to half-marathon, everything in between and perhaps beyond. It is amazing how far one can get with some air in their lungs. Lace up and I hope to see you out on the roads or trails soon!

The Runologist