#43 Avocado Half


43 down only 9 to go.

Welcome to the final 10 countdown.

I’m a little worried about Tim. This is the third race in a row that his afib has slowed him down. I’m actually surprised that he ran at all because he was home from work sick for the 3 days leading up to this race. Monday he went to Urgent care and they gave him the Z-Pack.

Friday we drove to Fallbrook to pick up our packets and carb load at a Thai restaurant. Packet pickup was in a local brewery. It was quick but crowded.

Another early morning. At least the race was only an hour away.

#43 Avocado Half

Once this project is over I should burn this shirt

This race had some major water problems. It didn’t really affect me because I run with a handheld but after the race (in the forever bus line) I overheard quite a few complaints. First they ran out of cups. The volunteers did the best they could, even holding up giant jugs so people could cup their hands and get a drink. Then some of the aid stations ran out of water. They also ran out of water bottles at the finish. Oh dear. I think running out of water is the worst fail a race can have because it puts the runners health at risk.

The road at the start of the race was one of the most slanted we have run on. I hate slanted roads and tried to run in the middle. The run was pretty. Lots of trees and rural scenery. It was also very hilly. The race had two sections of out and back. Tim ran with me for a while so we were together on the first section. I got a high 5 from him on the second section out and back. I think this is the first time I have been ahead of him on the way back.

#43 Avocado Half

This guy ran 100 miles over the school year
(I thought he looked young to be an ultrarunner)

Towards the beginning of the race we had a cool encounter. A woman ran up to us and yelled, “Hey – 52 T-Shirts!”. I forget what race we first met her at but that was fun.

These 3 dancers were my favorite. They were singing and dancing their hearts out. On my way to the turnaround they were doing a rap and on my way back they were doing the hokey pokey.

#43 Avocado Half

You’re making me tired

I want to assure everyone that I am not a horrible wife who abandons Tim when he has an afib episode so I can beat him. We have talked about this and both of us agreed that it is best if we run our own races. When I stay with him during an afib I am a worrywart and drive him crazy asking if he is OK every 5 minutes. I’m more annoying than helpful. I know he knows how to take care of himself but I still fret.

This race ended with a long downhill. That’s my favorite way to end a race. Yay gravity.

There was a place close to the finish that had a good view of incoming runners. It’s not often that I get a chance to get a photo of Tim as he sprints the end of a race.

#43 Avocado Half

Here he comes

#43 Avocado Half

and he rounds the corner

#43 Avocado Half

Pretty sure he’s telling me to stop taking his photo

I usually don’t care that much about the medal but this one was impressive. Besides being a colored flag (memorial day) with an avocado, it was huge.

#43 Avocado Half

I’m thinking about turning my medal into a belt buckle

There was no problem getting the bus to the start but getting a bus back to the parking lot took a lot longer. The line snaked around the parking lot. We were waiting for a bus for about 45 minutes. We got a chance to talk to some of the people in the bus line. There was a lot of complaining.


  • Ran out of cups at aid stations
  • Music through speakers was all staticy
  • Ran out of water at some aid stations
  • Very slanted roads
  • Long wait for bus back to car
  • Volunteers yelling “last hill” when it wasn’t
  • Ran out of after race bottles of water


  • Scenic
  • Great volunteers doing all they could for runners
  • Downhill finish
  • Huge cool medal
  • Wearable tech shirt
  • We got an avocado
  • Bag check
#43 Avocado Half

I’m not sure I would know it was an avocado out of context

Oddly enough I really liked this race. It is only the second year and they definitely have some things to work out but everyone seemed to really care and that made all the difference. This race had a fun vibe even though so many things went wrong. I would mildly recommend it. I hope they get the water situation figured out next year. I think it had my favorite medal. If you do this race and you think you might be in the mid or back of the pack I recommend carrying your own water. Also be prepared for hills.

Fun fact: Fallbrook California is the avocado capital of the world.

Sharon’s Super Easy Guacamole
  1) Smoosh a ripe or overripe avocado with a fork
  2) Add your favorite salsa
  3) Mix

#43 Avocado Half


Only 10 more chances to leave a comment.

#42 Mojave

  • May 16th, 2015
  • Mojave, California
  • Mojave Marathon
  • Sharon: 2:59:00
  • Tim: 3:00:00


Well I’m older now but still runnin’ against the wind
– Bob Seger


42 down only 10 to go.

Before I launch into this weeks windy race report I have some exciting news. Well it’s exciting news to me. And probably to Tim as well because I will be using his body for my homework. I’m starting massage school in July. This is something I have wanted to do for a while and will fit in nicely with my current skill set. “She has a skill set?”, you might be thinking. Yes, yes I do. I’m an ACE certified personal trainer, a certified Yoga instructor as well as a Reiki master. In Tucson, clients would sometimes ask me if I know a good massage therapist. Maybe next year I will actually start working again instead of spending all my time trying to beat the computer at Scrabble (expert level, thank you very much) and glaring at smokers on the promenade. I could offer personal training followed by a massage, packages. The message school is only 6 blocks from our apartment. It’s so nice to be back in civilization.

This race was in Mojave (4 hour drive) so we got a motel (Motel 6) Friday night. Thinking it would save time, I suggested that we eat at Del Taco. What is wrong with me? In my defense I have eaten at Del Taco before running in the past and been okay. Del Taco is my favorite fast food restaurant. I have discovered the common denominator in a fast food, bad tummy, run, is french fries. We have made a wise decision not to eat fast food before races anymore.

I was looking forward to this race because I love the desert but it had a few unexpected challenges. This race turned out to be harder than anticipated due to crazy wind. The first half of the race was run into a viscous headwind.

#42 Mojave

Just a bit of wind

This was a hard, dusty, dry, trail race on some annoying trails. The first trail was a jeep road which sounds great but was actually a weird rolling pitted surface. It took extra focus not to twist an ankle. This was my favorite part of the race because it looked so cool. We ran through a Joshua Tree/Windmill alien looking landscape. They sure had the windmills in the right place.

#42 Mojave

Joshua Tree, Windmill forest

I thought the course could have been better marked. At one intersection there were 3 possible routs and they had an arrow that appeared to me to be between 2 of the directions. I stopped to ponder this and took the path I thought I saw someone on in the distance. I ran for a while without seeing anyone or any markers. I was pretty sure I was going the wrong way (I wasn’t) so I ran back until I saw another woman. I ended up doing 13.8 not 13.1 miles. This section was next to the railroad tracks and was rocky. It was rocky and sandy.

In the distance I saw Tim. I was afraid that he was having an a-fib problem again but he wasn’t even walking. It looked like he was waiting for me. He was. There was a rattlesnake (in full rattlesnake mode) right next to the trail and Tim was worried about me because he knows how oblivious I can be towards the end of a race. My hero.

#42 Mojave

Look closely

While I was happy to see Tim, running with him can be a bit frustrating, especially towards the end of a race. If I’m running with someone I like to talk and run, Tim is a silent runner. I like to listen to my music for the last half of the race. After repeatedly trying to start a conversation I turned on my music. That always seems to be Tim’s cue to say something, so I turn off my music thinking we will have a conversation but no – he had only one sentence in him. This happened a couple of times. The last half of the race was run on a road. This intersection at least had volunteers to ask whether to take the road or trail.

Usually I have nothing but praise for the wonderful volunteers donating their time for runners but the volunteers at this race were a mixed bag. This race was a fund raider for the track team so a lot of the volunteers were students. There seemed to be no middle ground. About half of the volunteers were great and enthusiastic but the other half were teenagers who didn’t even pretend to want to be there. A note to race directors. Please do not force students to “volunteer”. Rude, sullen teenagers who make no secret that they resent having to do this does not make for a great race experience.

Because we were single file on the road I ended up jamming out to my music and pulling ahead of Tim. I didn’t realize that he was having an allergy problem. Tim is very allergic to the desert. [ I also had an a-fib issue the last few miles. – Tim ]

It was nice that they had an indoor hanger to sit in after the race but there were was a serious lack of food. They had sandwitches for sale ($7) that looked like they came from a gas station. Really – you need to feed runners after a race. Too rub it in they had free pizza for volunteers only so kids were sitting around eating pizza. We couldn’t get out of there soon enough.


  • Crazy wind
  • Hard to run on trail
  • Some volunteers were so unhelpful they bordered on rude
  • I thought the course was poorly marked (Tim thought it was OK)
  • No food at the end unless you bought it
  • No seconds on the timing (First time I have seen this)
  • Cheap medal
  • A general tired lame vibe


  • Parking near start
  • Day of race packet pickup
  • Incredible views of windmills and Joshua Trees
  • Many volunteers were eager and helpful
  • Nice looking cotton t-shirt
  • A jumping castle for kids
#42 Mojave

Sharon contemplates stealing pizza

I didn’t hate this race as much as this report would suggest but I don’t recommend it. I loved the views but overall this was a race that had too many negatives. There were just too many people who obviously didn’t want to be there or care. I got a real – lets get this over vibe. Even though they had a nice after race space it didn’t seem like anyone was hanging around. Still, running through Joshua trees and windmills is pretty cool. If you decide to do this race bring some food. And watch out for rattlesnakes.

#42 Mojave

There are no words to describe how much I love getting comments

#41 beachmania

  • May 9th, 2015
  • Long Beach, California
  • Beachmania
  • Sharon: 2:31:15
  • Tim: 2:40:10


41 down only 11 to go.

I hope you are all sitting down for this next sentence. I won this race! This is the first time I have ever won a race. This is also the first time I have beaten Tim at a race (during this project). I also set a PR for this project. Unfortunately, I have to follow up my badass sentence, “I won this race” with the not so impressive details. This was the smallest HM we have ever done. There were only 4 people in this HM and 6 in the full marathon. So I beat Tim (who had to walk because of his afib) and 2 women who were running their first half. I’m still pleased with myself.

Last week I was so annoyed at missing my PR by seconds that the week leading up to this race I didn’t drink and the night before the race I made a yummy vegi curry. I never want to run on Jack in the Box fumes again. Charlie Alewine puts on small, low key events around the LA area. This is the second race of his that we have done. He is a great guy and within driving distance although we did have to get up at 3am. for the 6:30am. start.

#41 - Beachmania

I love flannel shirts (this is a new development)

At this race we met an amazing ultrarunner named Ed Ettinghausen, otherwise known as the Jester. At one point in time he had the record for the most marathons (135) in a year. He has the current record for the most 100 mile races in a year (40). Next weekend he is running his 100th 100 mile race! Even though it was next week he gave us a commerative wrist band. Thanks Ed.

#41 - Beachmania

Good luck on 100×100 – You’re awesome

He was a really nice guy and a great talker. He ran with me and Tim for the first half and with Tim for the second half. He was doing the full marathon, so this was just a short run for him. He was partially responsable for my PR because he ran just a bit faster than I usually would but he had such great stories and was so interesting to talk to that I didn’t want to let him get away.

This was the perfect race for me. The weather was cool and overcast. I find that I have a hard time running in direct sun. When I used to run in Tucson I thought 80° was perfect, now I prefer it around 60°. Most beaches, that have paths, have one multiuse path. This beach has a bike path and a pedestrian path for walkers and runners. The footpath had an elastopolymer base like a track. It was an amazing running surface. I was beyond impressed. There was a stunning ocean view as well as amusing people watching for this entire race. Charlie had an aid station set up at the start. This was an out and back course done twice for the HM so there was essentially only one aid station, however, the course had bathrooms and water fountains. Because I was talking with Ed the first loop went by really fast. The 3 of us pulled into the aid station. Ed hit the bathroom while Tim went to pay for parking. I filled my water bottle and took off because I was focused on getting a PR. I kept expecting them to catch me but they never did. I found out later that Tim had an afib episode and Ed walked with him, which I thought was really cool. I guess they had almost caught me when Tim’s heart started racing.

Not everything about this race was perfect. That would be boring. There was a bike race that started at 8am that morning. Because there are separate bike and running paths it wasn’t really a problem except at one intersection where I needed to cross and bikes just kept streaming past. I finally just went weaving around annoyed bikers. If I hadn’t I would have been standing there for 20 minutes.

I only stopped to walk once around mile 11, although I did stop for longer than I should have when I filled my water bottle at the aid station. I thought my distance was going to be a bit short but my Garmin hit 13.1 miles the exact moment I touched Charlies table.

#41 beachmania

Don’t I look proud


  • Bike race made the road crossing dicey


  • Fun, low key event
  • Beautiful course
  • Great to meet “the Jester”
  • Reasonably priced
  • Nice Shirt
  • Nice medal (and trophy)
  • Amazing running surface
  • Free Photos
#41 - Beachmania

Smallest HM ever

I highly recommend checking out Charlie Alewine races, especially if you live in the LA area. All of his races are relatively inexpensive events with scenic courses, nice medals and a t-shirt without sponsor logos all over it. You might even win a trophy. Tim got 3rd place at the last race of his we did. We are having a hard time finding a race near us on the first week of June so I think we are going to this one again. The t-shirt isn’t even the same every time because he has different colors. Both times we have done a Charlie race the vibe has been great. He is a really nice guy putting on quality races every weekend.

#41 - Beachmania

See you next week

Please leave a comment

#40 OC Half


40 down only 12 to go.

Happy anniversary to us. May 1st was our 17th wedding anniversary. I love that May Day is both a celebration of spring and a cry for help. Tim took me to a lovely, fancy pants place called Oceana Coastal Kitchen. It was only a couple of blocks from our apartment. Did you know that you can forget how to walk in high heels? It felt like I was walking like a truck driver who dressed up as Barbie for Halloween.

#40 OC

Look – they make Barbie’s shoes in my size

We had a seat with a bay view on one side and a jelly fish tower on the other. The food and service were great but the wine was even more amazing. It was called Silver Oaks and was the best wine I have ever tasted. And I have drunk a lot of wines. On the way home we stopped at Lahinas, the dive bar behind our place, for a mai tai (my favorite drink). While there we saw Nicole, our friendly neighborhood ice cream lady and she insisted we do a shot called Surfer On Acid with her. I hadn’t heard of it either. It’s Jagermeister, coconut rum, and pineapple juice (oh my).

Saturday morning we had a CPR class at 8:30am. I don’t recommend doing a CPR class hungover. After CPR we went home, packed, kissed the cat and drove to our hotel (The Best Western) in Costa Mesa. Because our race started at 6:15am and our bus left at 4:15am we decided to get a hotel, so that we didn’t have to leave the house at 1am. The hotel was only 2 blocks from the end of the race. They were super friendly and had a late checkout as well as a late breakfast buffet for runners. It was one of the best hotel experiences we have ever had.

I saw that this race had a net downhill so I secretly made it a PR target. Well, not so secretly, because I told my friend Marilyn and Tim. So, of course, I did something stupid to sabotage myself. I often want to eat crap food when I am hung over and on the way back to the hotel from packet pickup we went past a Jack in the Box. Yep – suddenly I had to have a Sourdough Jack (no bacon, extra pickles) and curly fries. Why, Sharon!? Race morning both of us woke up feeling like people who rarely eat fast food feel like when they eat Jack in the Box for dinner. Even though I felt awful I still made a vow to try and PR. Is the suspense killing you? I missed my PR by 9 seconds. 9 seconds! I had a 2:35:07 PR on December 28th.

#40 OC

I felt worse before this race then after

One of the things that bothered me about this race was all the petty little ways they tried to make extra money. Not only was there a fee to park on race day but there was a expo parking fee. There was also a fee if you were picking up someone else’s bib. This just reeks of trying to figure out how to squeeze a little more money out of runners. That said, the packet pickup was quick and easy for such a large race.

Race morning our alarm went off at 3:30am so we could catch the bus at 4:15am. We could have caught a 5am bus at the hotel but Tim didn’t trust it because it wasn’t on the official race shuttle list. So besides starting the morning out with Jack in the Box tummies we were also bickering. I’m very suspicious of couples who say they never argue. I suspect they are either lying or don’t communicate at all. We communicated while getting ready for the race, on the bus, and during about the first 5 miles of the race.

#40 OC

You’re not helping

I had a fever and a tummy ache for most of this race and truthfully the race details are a little fuzzy. I remember being grateful that it was cool and overcast. I know the first half went through a ritzy neighborhood because I asked Tim to take a picture of some of the houses.

I'm glad I don't live here - imagine having to clean a house that size

Besides great houses and ocean views there were some amusing signs and costumes.

#40 OC

2nd race in a row with a dancing banana

The worse part about this race was that it was way too crowded. They didn’t wait at all between waves. Often a race will start bunched up but then spread out. This race was crowded for the entire run. There were even traffic jams a couple of times where we almost came to a complete stop, once under a bridge and once on a bike path. I spent a lot of extra time weaving around people. My Garmin said that I ran almost 13.5 miles instead of 13.1. Oddly enough, I felt better as the race went on and only stopped for a walk break once. I even ran negative splits.

#40 OC

You guys are not funny (OK – maybe you are a little funny)

I really thought I had my PR. I ran as hard as I could! I was so close. At least my consultation prize was chocolate milk. My big takeaway was don’t eat at Jack in the Box the night before a race [or ever – Tim].


  • Assigning a bogus bus time to get people to show up early
  • Not having our hotel shuttle on the list
  • Parking fee at both expo and event (just greedy)
  • Race was way too crowded
  • Sponsored by a non-alcoholic beer


  • 6:15 start helped beat the heat
  • Scenic course
  • Bag checks
  • Wearable t-shirt
  • Fun course signs and costumes
  • Plenty of port-o-pots
  • Nice medal
  • Chocolate milk
  • Looked like a fun after party but we didn’t stay
Just another after photo

Just another after photo

I’m not sure if I recommend this race or not. There were some things about it that irritated me (but I was in an irritable mood) like the parking charges, the bus mess up and how overcrowded the race was. On the other hand, it was a net downhill course through a scenic area with an amusing crowd and chocolate milk. Like all big races it was spendy. It looked like it had a good after party with beer and bands but we wanted to go home and left shortly after finishing. If you do this race I recommend staying at the Best Western. You can walk to the bib pickup and avoid the parking fees.

Please leave a comment.