Road to the Cali Combo

I completely forgot to post about Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego, so in lieu of doing a retrospective post on that one race, I’m gonna do a recap post on our entire California race series! We had signed up for a tour pass for 2014 right after they announced the Cali Combo limited edition medal (because who doesn’t want a California bear with little running shoes?!), and decided to use the pass on the Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego, the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose, and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles.

Brian and I actually started our racing together at the 2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego, so we have a bit of a soft spot for it in our hearts. I’ve had the thought that it might be cute to run it every year and see how many consecutive years we’re able to be in attendance, but now that we’ve moved to San Francisco, it’s just logistically much more difficult. Sure, we’d still have friends to house us, but we’d be driving 9 hours to get to SD, when the normal 7 hour drive to LA to see my parents is already super draining. Or we’d have to fly and then rent a car, which is soooo expensive!

Anyways.

Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego

I believe we drove down to San Diego on Saturday, May 31st. All race expos are essentially the same, so I’ll save you guys the lengthy description of that, with the exception of – there was a digital caricature artist there this time, doing portraits for free! So of course, Brian and I got ours done, and it now hangs proudly on our refrigerator.

After the expo, we wandered into the Gaslamp District for food. We’d been to Gaslamp before on previous trips, but always late at night for the bar scene. Seeing it in the day is an entirely different experience.. you could almost say the contrast is like… night and day! *rimshot*, I’ll be here all evening, folks!

Terrible puns aside, the Gaslamp District is really a cute, kinda old-school feeling area to kill a few hours, which is exactly what we did. There were lots of interesting shops and galleries to wander into, plus it runs the gamut on food choices. Trying to stay somewhat paleo, Brian and I opted for Burger Lounge, which actually has a Paleo Burger!

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The Martin Luther King Promenade is pretty interesting too. I’m not sure how we missed it on our previous trip to the Rock ‘n’ Roll SD, since I’m sure we walked through Gaslamp that time too.

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The race itself wound through the same course as last year. For some reason it didn’t feel like as many people came out to spectate, although it’s still the cream of the crop of the Rock ‘n’ Roll races we’ve done, in terms of audience participation. The course definitely did feel easier though, which was surprising given that the only ‘training’ we had done in the last few months was Crossfit! We even PR’ed! 😀

A San Diego local news station was at the finish line, interviewing runners, and we happened to walk by and get pulled on camera! It was 2 seconds of fame for sure, but we were able to announce our PR to the whole world! Of San Diego, that is.

Aloe Blacc was the headliner of the post-race entertainment, and for once it was a name that I recognized, so I insisted that we stay for at least a few songs. We ended up staying for his whole set! Aloe Blacc, with his charismatic and energetic stage presence, put on an AMAZING show. Despite having just run a half marathon, I was on my feet dancing around the entire time (as were a lot of other people).  He was just so upbeat, you couldn’t help yourself but boogie!

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And of course, no race is complete without the post-race fatty binge, which we did at Spike Africa’s. It’s every bit worth the walk from the finish line. Their seasoned kettle chips are delicious, and the sangria is superb as well!

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Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose

This race was the first of our two October half marathons, and we hadn’t run in forever! Which, at this point, honestly isn’t really much of a surprise. Luckily San Jose is super flat, so the only worry we had was about whether my stomach would hold up ( I haven’t previously talked about it, but I have a rather weak stomach, and almost every time I race I get terrible stabbing pains. We’re still not sure what causes it, but I’ve been tweaking my pre-race diet to see what could be the issue).

Our friend Brian (yes, it’s super confusing) who lives in San Jose graciously allowed us to crash at his place on Saturday night, so we wouldn’t have to drive the hour down to San Jose at 4am in the morning. It’s lovely to have so many conveniently located friends, who are so kind about letting us stay over for our races!

I didn’t actually get any pictures of my own, so here’s one pilfered from the MarathonFoto site 😉

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I had bought the visor at the expo, and let me tell you – it is such a lifesaver! I don’t ever wear sunglasses because they make me dizzy (and Brian usually takes his off halfway through the race because it gets too slippery), so a visor is perfect for keeping the sun out of my eyes. Definitely worth the 20 bucks or so that it cost.

We PR’ed again in this race, which wasn’t super surprising since the course is so ridiculously flat. Here’s the elevation map, if you don’t believe me:

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It was definitely one of the most relaxing races I’ve ever run (and also, sadly, uninteresting, since San Jose just really isn’t all that exciting of a place). The highlight though, was that after the race, we were able to meet up with a few friends who live in the area for lunch at a Korean restaurant in Sunnyvale. Plus points for proximity!

Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles

This is another race that we’re second-timers at. We made Superman costumes last year, so this year we definitely had to dress up again! Since we had our RunDisney Avengers Half Marathon in November, we decided to do race-costume double-duty, and make awesome Avengers costumes. Brian was to be Hawkeye, and I would be Black Widow.

This meant that we spent the entire week before the race (because obviously, we procrastinated until last minute to start working on our costumes 😦 ) frantically cutting and painting and sewing. I’m really proud of my work on Brian’s costume – his shirt was made pretty much entirely from scratch by sewing red fabric, zippers, and clips onto a black t-shirt with the sleeves torn off, and his quiver was made from a cut out sheet of cardboard, which Brian painted black. I pretty much eyeballed the whole thing and it came out great!

Here’s the best picture I have of our costumes. You can’t really tell, but my jacket has Avengers patches sewn on both arms, and Brian has an Avengers patch on his chest. Those were cut out of a sheet of sticky black foam, which was then stuck to a felt circle that was sewed onto the shirt. Brian’s patch actually came off during the race, so we ended up hot gluing the foam to the felt, which worked a lot better. Also, you can’t put the foam through the wash – the stickiness washes off, so the patch disintegrates (which was kinda a duh moment after the fact… ).

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Our lovely friend Danna came to cheer us on during the race! We’d never had one of our friends watch our race before, so it was super exciting, and just really sweet of her to wake up so early and drive and find parking and walk all the way to mile 9 to meet us, and then from there to the finish line. She even made us a sign, and brought us Powerades!

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The giant hill in mile 9 definitely felt easier than it did the first time around, although due to some cramping I had to walk part of mile 10 and mile 11 -_- Every time that happens, I always tell myself that I’ll train next time, and eat cleaner before the race, but it never happens. Sigh, a difficult to learn lesson indeed.

After the race, we met up with the rest of our LA friends and got KBBQ at Hae Jang Chon, as is pretty much tradition with all races we’ve run in LA. Afterwards, our friends insisted on taking us to Salt and Straw, which is an ice cream place a short drive away from KBBQ. Note: parking is super difficult in that area, but the ice cream is the cream of the crop for LA! (although I’m still more particular to BiRite and other SF creameries)

So now, all’s left is to wait for our medals to show up in the mail! 🙂 I believe we got both the Double Beat and the Rock Trio medals, in addition to the Cali Combo. Anyone have any ideas what to do with all the medals? I feel bad just stashing them away in a box. I’ve seen interesting ideas on Pinterest about making them into magnets and such, so we might just give that a try!

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