#34 - Spring Equinox


34 down only 18 to go.

When it comes to my diet, apparently, I have to learn the same thing over and over. My good friend Marilyn, from Tucson, got in Friday morning and stayed with us for 3 days. We pretty much ate out breakfast, lunch, and dinner those 3 three days. I so know better and even one restaurant meal usually equals weight gain for me. Also, note to self: yes – a glass of wine a night is good for the heart but 3 glasses of wine is bad for the ass (I’m pretty sure I knew this). I gained 3 pounds in 3 days. My Fitbit confirmed what I suspected – menopause has slowed my metabolism to a crawl. I don’t care, it was totally worth it. I would take 3 pounds for getting to eat and drink too much with Marilyn any weekend.

Sunday we went whale watching. We saw minke, gray, and even a humpback whale. As cool as it was to see the whales I enjoyed the dolphins (which I learned are a kind of whale) even more. We saw hundreds of them. They like to play in the wake of the boat.


Lets go surfing!

We also took the ferry to Coronado Island, Sunday. Marilyn gave us a gift card to a fancy place called Il Fornaio and it was delicious (thanks Marilyn!). Note to self, tiramisu is not diet food (I’m pretty sure I knew this). We also went shopping and Tim got me a cool stretchy fabric belt to hold my phone while running (thanks Tim). I hope to review it next week.

#34 - Spring Equinox

A lovely day

We had to get up at 4am to be at Huntington Beach by 7am for our race. Luckily traffic was light and it was a perfect weather day.

So – have you ever made somebody so furious that they washed your car? We had a very strange experience while waiting for the beach parking lot to open. As always, there was a line waiting for the gate to be raised. The garage door we were in front of opened so Tim pulled forward to let the guy out. Oddly, he then parked next to the curb and Tim backed into line again. The guy stormed over and from my side of the car started screaming at Tim to move the car away from his house. Tim told him that he would move as soon as the lot opened. The guy went nuts and started screaming in my face. I rolled the window up because he was acting like a crazy tweaker, so he went over and started screaming at Tim from Tim’s side of the car. He yelled something like, “Do you want to get wet?” and then stormed off into his garage. He came back with a hose and started hosing down the car. I took a picture of his address and license plate in case he did anything more violent then wash our car. I never seriously feared for our safety but he made me really mad because I could tell that Marilyn was scared. The parking lot opened and Tim parked just ignoring the psycho car wash.

#34 Spring Equinox

Why does a skinny, American guy have a SUMO license plate?

We have actually done this exact course before. Some people might think that doing the same course twice in the same year would be boring but I loved it. I knew the course well enough not to get lost but not so well that it bored me. I also remembered the course well enough to know that it ended in a slight downhill, which is my favorite way to end a race. I liked not having to think too hard about this race. My goal was to finish faster than the last time I ran this course, which I did by over 8 minutes.

#34 Spring Equinox

A nice addition to our before picture

This race was an out and back done twice for the HM (once for the 10K and 4 times for the full marathon). The first section is a slight incline and coming back a slight decline. I like out and backs because I enjoy seeing Tim. On a double out and back I get to see him 3 times.

This is what the start of a low key race looks like.

#34 Spring Equinox

I hope superman didn’t hurt his shin

#34 Spring Equinox

Don’t worry. I won’t be in front of Tim for long

Even though I was feeling nauseous I was able to get into a zone and run the first 9 miles without stopping. Warning – crude language ahead. I have become convinced that the secret to a good run is a big dump on race morning. Although it works, I don’t recommend the, too much wine before a HM, method.

#34 Spring Equinox

I love the Go Mommy crowd

Luckily, Marilyn agreed to take pictures for us because I would not have gotten a picture of this awesome guy. Around mile 9.5 he passed me while I was walking uphill. There are no words to express how lame it feels to be passed by someone who is juggling. He shamed me into running again. I managed to pass him and keep him behind until the end. My mantra for the last 3 miles of the race was – Don’t be passed by a juggler. I think he was doing the full marathon.

#34 Spring Equinox

Look at that concentration

Tim usually does a full speed sprint once he sees the finish line. Thanks to Marilyn we have the first pictures of Tim at the end of a race.

#34 Spring Equinox

Go Tim!

Tim often comes out and runs the last bit of a race with me then peels off at the finish line. He tells me that I’m looking great, that I’ve got this, that I’m almost there, etc. I grunt and maybe nod but he knows that means, “Honey, I appreciate you coming out to encourage me, it helps a lot, I love you.”

#34 Spring Equinox

Another picture we couldn’t have gotten without Marilyn

#34 Spring Equinox

I like this picture even though it makes me look fat

Almost finished and I see this. Apparently, Marilyn was busy making friends with people who had poster board and sharpies. I hope she knows that my grunt and nod to her meant the same as my grunt and nod to Tim.

#34 Spring Equinox

Our first sign

Yay – another HM completed, time to party. And by party I mean take 2 Advil, send Tim and Marilyn off to eat dinner at Amplified Ale Works, and crawl into bed at 7pm. I pride myself on never being sick so it was pretty embarrassing to be sick while a friend was visiting. Sorry Marilyn – I know I am irritable when sick.


  • No T-Shirt


  • Close Parking
  • They have my favorite Gu (Salted Caramel)
  • Next to the beach
  • Last quarter is a slight decline
  • Fun people watching
  • Good aid stations
  • Friendly runners and volunteers
  • Good Vibe
#34 Spring Equinox

A nice addition to our after race picture

Obviously we liked this HM enough to do it twice. I loved rerunning the course. Although I really like the A better World Running events I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that anyone can do this for free. There are bathrooms and water fountains all along the beach path. But no medals or caramel Gu. That said, if you don’t care about getting a t-shirt, I would recommend this race. It is put on by a nice group of people and has a good feel. It is also inexpensive by CA race standards. I find small races like this more fun and personal. You might even see another A better World Running race report before this project is over.


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33 - St. Patricks day - T-Shirt


33 down only 19 to go.

This is going to be a fairly short post because there was nothing exceptional about this race. It was our hottest race since last summer so that made it more of a challenge. We picked up our packets on Saturday. The expo was lame but packet pickup was quick and smooth. They had a nice t-shirt without crappy sponsor names all over the back. It’s actually a shirt I would wear. The expo had a disturbingly republican theme. There was a republican party booth that was registering people to vote which seemed out of character, to me. There was also one of those awful, “family pregnancy crisis center” booths that display plastic fetuses and tries to intimidate women out of getting abortions with scare tactics and bad science. I think it is a terrible idea to have politically polarizing booths at a race expo unless you have both sides represented.

33 - St. Patricks day - pre-race

Too hot for sleeves at 7am

This race started about 20 minutes late which was even more annoying than usual because the high for the day was 93°. In March!

33 - St. Patricks day - Tim

Tim in Protestant and Catholic colors

I wasn’t feeling very well so I encouraged Tim to take off before the first mile. This was by no means a scenic course. In fact, I found it ugly. It was run through the cambered, potholed streets of El Cajon. Volunteers did their best to control traffic but they had to stop runners numerous times to let cars through. Traffic was heavy so most of the run had vehicles spewing exhaust in the next lane. The only scenic part of the race were all the runners who dressed up for St. Patrick’s Day.

33 - St. Patricks day - warning

I love shenanigans

I’m glad I had my music this race. It started to get really hot after the first hour. This HM course is an out and back. I was a little worried when I saw Tim because sometimes heat triggers his a-fib. He was soaked when I saw him so I was afraid he was pushing too hard but I later found out that he had poured water on himself to keep cool. There weren’t many spectators (maybe because it was so hot) and even the volunteers were a mixed bag. Some were very friendly but others were kids on cell phones who obviously did not want to be there.

The after race party was also underwhelming. Post race food was a water and a banana.

On a more positive note the medal was outstanding. It was huge and has a great St. Patrick’s day design.

33 - St. Patricks day - post race

This necklace is too heavy

After the race I collapsed in the shade like I usually do. On the other side we saw a guy puking and not looking good. The volunteers at the finish were a bunch of kids obviously talking about him and pointing but doing nothing. Tim got him two bottles of water and got him into the shade. Volunteers – if you see someone puking and disoriented ask if you can help, don’t just point and snicker.


  • Political right wing booths at the expo
  • Started late
  • Ugly, boring course
  • Being stopped for traffic
  • Running next to traffic
  • Uncomfortably cambered roads
  • Minimal food after the race
  • No medical personnel that we saw


  • Nice tech shirt
  • Huge, cool medal
  • Festive St. Patrick’s Day runners

I think it’s obvious by now that I would not recommend this race. It had very little to offer. It did have a nice medal and tech shirt so maybe if you live in the area, collect medals and really want an excuse to wear a green tutu, this race might be worth it for you.I like races for the run itself and this HM was hot, hilly, smelly (exhaust), ugly, and run on awful slanted roads. It may have been because I wasn’t feeling great but I found this race boring. I have written before about races that just have a great vibe, well this was the exact opposite. Besides the negatives of the race itself I thought it had a no energy, no magic vibe.

Please leave a comment and let me know I’m still being read. I love comments.

32-SD Half - T-Shirt


32 down only 20 to go.

I love expos. Yay shopping! I love clothes shopping and book shopping. I even like grocery shopping. But my favorite shopping of all is running gear shopping. At most expos Tim puts on his – I am patiently waiting – face while I dart into every booth promising not to be too long. This time, much to my surprise, Tim did more shopping than I did. He got a visor with a no sweat in your eyes promise (it worked) and a magnetic pouch stuff holder (a bit bouncy) and a white t-shirt that is almost the same as his favorite brown t-shirt, except white, so better for summer. Both of us did a biomarker test that supposedly scans where your body is out of balance by simply putting your hand on a sensor then recommends essential oils to fix the problem. I’m skeptical. I had all sorts of things out of whack (I’m not skeptical about that) and had seven different oils recommended. Tim bought me an oil called slim and sassy for metabolic function and fat burning. It couldn’t hurt and it did smell good. Thanks Tim. At the physical therapy booth I got a feet and leg massage. I found out that my left leg is longer than my right. Interesting. I also got a free french braid that looked so awful that I took it out as soon as we got home.

Packet pickup was quick and easy. Yay – a tech shirt without a million (or any) sponsor logos on the back. Living in San Diego we didn’t mind that there was no day of race pickup. I have noticed that most larger races don’t have morning of race packet pickups. That makes sense from a logistical standpoint but must be a hassle for anyone who wants to do the race but not stay in San Diego the night before.

Even though we left the house a half hour later than Tim wanted we were there in plenty of time. He always wants to leave early because he is afraid that we won’t get a good parking place (I also like to chill out after driving – Tim). The race before this one we were so early that the race director wasn’t even there yet.

32-SD Half - Before

Tim’s new visor and t-shirt

I like it when someone sings the national anthem before a race but this time it was more annoying than pleasant because the singer took the opportunity to preach to the crowd. I found it very off putting and I could tell by the scowls of some around us that I was not the only one. I thought it was inappropriate. This HM prides itself on attracting, not only people from different states but people from different countries. I wonder how Jewish people and Buddhists felt about having to hear the good news about Christ our savior before their run?

I thought having the speakers and MC on the bridge was brilliant.

32-SD Half - Start

Don’t Jump

While standing in our corral, waiting for our wave to start we met Nessa, a woman doing her first HM. She was so excited that it was contagious. She made me realize that I have lost sight of just how amazingly cool it is that we get to do a HM every weekend!

32-SD Half - Nessa

Nessa ampped to be doing her first HM

Although we have been vacationing in San Diego for almost 20 years and now live here, almost all of our time has been spent in the beach area. This race started in the downtown Gaslamp district. This is such a cute area that I want to come back and do some exploring (shopping) when I’m not running.

One thing I like about big races is all the crowd support and distractions. I’m glad I ran with my phone because Tim didn’t take any pictures this race.

32-SD Half - Signs

No witty caption necessary

I passed this woman then ran back to get the t-shirt of the week photo.

32-SD Half - For a good time

Tim ran with me for just over 4 miles before kissing me goodbye.

After the Gaslamp district we ran by the harbor then over a bridge. I still love bridges! Unfortunately we also went under a bridge where the scenery was an angry homeless guy smoking.

32-SD Half - Bridge

A view of a bridge from a bridge

This race had great musical entertainment. I bet it was a long day for the dancing dog. That costume must have been hot. He was moving.

32-SD Half - Band

My People

32-SD Half - Band

Mariachis – am I back in Tucson

I love San Diego. Between checking out new places and taking pictures time went by really fast. I enjoyed myself. Even though I am not very competitive and would usually rather chat than run hard I do like to race for the finish line. I spotted a woman a bit ahead of me that I thought I could catch so I put on a full sprint. She sped up but I passed her by seconds. Kind of obnoxious but hey, it’s a race.

Yay – I found Tim easily. After the Huntington Beach snafu we had a plan but didn’t have to use it.

I think this was our biggest medal yet. And heavy. I know we have gotten behind on our medals page. It should be updated soon. I never used to care about medals but I’m starting to get into them.

The after race organization was great. Chocolate milk, they had chocolate milk! And they handed it to me just past the finish line. Nothing is better than chocolate milk after a long run.

32-SD Half - After kiss

Couldn’t be happier

In a most sadistic move, you had to climb a set of stairs after the race to get your goody bag of snacks. Luckily, at the top of the stairs they had benches and volunteers handing out baby wipes. This is the first time I have seen baby wipes at a race and I love it. It felt so good to wipe the salty sweat off my face. We sat on the bench, ostensibly to wipe our faces with our newly acquires baby wipes but really because stairs after a HM = bench, yay. We started talking to a guy we had met at one of the A Better World Running races. Already, we are getting to know some of the race hobbyists in CA. Meeting new people has been one of my favorite parts about our 52 HM project.

32-SD Half - After

Cool mural (at the top of the stairs)


  • Being preached at before the national anthem
  • Quite Pricey
  • Running next to road and freeway exhaust
  • Awful tasting drink on the course (Ultima)


  • Easy packet pickup
  • Great expo
  • Nice course showcasing the Gaslamp district and harbor
  • Great crowd support
  • Fun musical entertainment
  • Nice sponsor free tech t-shirt
  • Huge medal
  • Chocolate milk
  • Baby wipes!
  • After race bag of snacks
  • After party with $1 beer in all Gaslamp resturants
32-SD Half - Street drummers

My favorite band

I wold definitely recommend this race if you don’t mind spending more for a quality product ($125). All the music, great bling and touches like the chocolate milk and baby wipes don’t come cheap. This would be a great destination HM. It is relatively flat, a lot of fun and with 6000+ people you will never be running alone. We give it two thumbs up.

#31 - Marina - t-shirt

  • February 28st, 2015
  • Long Beach, California
  • Rock the Marina
  • Sharon: 2:53:54
  • Tim: 2:26:40


31 down only 21 to go.

My favorite part about this race vs. last weeks race (Fourmidable) was that I could walk the next day. And it didn’t rain. All week the forecast predicted rain so I was prepared for an Oregon moment. I wore the running rain jacket that Tim bought me as part of my incentive package for moving to Elkton. He knows how much I love running clothes. A slight downside to our HM project it that, because we get a tech shirt just about every race, I will never again be able to justify buying another running shirt.

#31 - Marina

Please don’t rain

Because this race started at 6:30am and was in Long Beach we had to get up at 3am, again. Our upstairs neighbor must hate us when an alarm goes off at 3am on Sunday morning.

This race is put on by Charlie Alewine. He puts on inexpensive, small, low key events every weekend in much the same way A Better World Running does but he also has t-shirts and trophies. He is a really friendly guy and his races have a great casual vibe. We need to find a group like this in San Diego. This was the smallest race we have ever been in. Only 6 people in the HM and 8 in the marathon.

The course was both a loop and an out and back. It was a loop around the park and then an out and back along the marina, 3 times. Tim ran with me for the first loop so I didn’t get lost. Even so, I may have gotten lost if another woman in the race (Jackie) was not running just in front of me for most of the race.

I could tell from the start that I was going to be slow. My legs felt heavy after the first mile. That’s a sure sign that I wasn’t fully recovered from last weeks race. Tim said his legs didn’t feel fresh either. I’m not surprised. My legs were – it’s hard to walk – sore until Thursday.

#31 - Marina - bike rack

Love this bike rack

This was a beautiful run if a little crowded. The race started at 6:30am so there wasn’t much traffic or many people for the first loop. There was some sort of rowing event going on and I found myself dodging walkers carrying oars. Also traffic picked up and it became more challenging to cross the road that connected the park loop to the marina.

#31 - Marina - Flag

Great place for a flag

I caught up with Jackie and we ran together for a loop around the park. It was nice to have someone to talk to. She was doing the race with her friend but, like Tim, her friend was faster than her so they just cheered each other on the out and back. They are doing the LA Marathon only 2 weekends after this race.

#31 - Marina - Friends

Good luck in LA
(Jackie, on left, and Miriam)

I stopped to fill my water bottle and take a puff on my inhaler and Jackie pulled away. I managed to keep her in sight which is probably what kept me from getting lost around the park. She slowed down the last mile so I managed to escape being last but only by 30 seconds.

#31 - Marina - 5mph

No problem

Even though his legs were heavy and he ran with me the first loop, Tim won a trophy for 3rd place. Yay Tim. If he hadn’t run with me the first loop I think he would have gotten second. Tim seemed rather embarrassed to have won a trophy for what he considered such a slow time.

#31 - Marina - Trophy winners

Our shocked 3rd place winner
Allison (1st), Miriam (2nd), Tim (3rd)

This was a fun race. People hung around afterwards to talk and eat. The woman who won was doing this as a warm up for the LA Marathon. In fact, everyone but me and Tim, who did this race, will be running the LA Marathon. We have been talking about doing a Marathon towards the end of this year. I’m trying to push for Tucson as out first full marathon because we could party with our Tucson friends afterwards.


  • I found the course slightly confusing
  • Had to cross a busy street
  • Dodging rowers walking with oars


  • Friendly race director and runners
  • Scenic, mostly flat race
  • Inexpensive
  • Nice medal and T-Shirt (and trophy)
  • Good food
  • Early Start
#31 - marina - after

Yay – it didn’t rain

I would definitely recommend this race. It was a lot of fun. Very casual but still well organized. We hope to do some more of Charlie’s races in the next 5 months. We both enjoyed this race and really liked the race director.

#31 - marina - mural

I love murals

#31 - marina - tile wave

Tile wave – cool

Please leave a comment or ask a question.