A Mother’s Day Giveaway: The 13er and $50 Skirt Sports Gift Certificate

A Mother’s Day Giveaway: The 13er and $50 Skirt Sports Gift Certificate

First things first: I’m calling this a Mother’s Day giveaway because I will select and notify the winner shortly after Mother’s Day — but it isn’t in any way limited to moms. All ladies are welcome! (And so are the dudes, in fact: by all means, read on!)

“Oh, it’s only a half”

I often say that the half marathon is my favorite distance to race. It’s just long enough to pose a challenge and require training, but not long enough to destroy my legs and ground me for weeks.

Heck, you could do 13.1 miles for your long run and still feel the satisfaction of having covered an admirable distance — even if no one gave you a finishers medal for it.

Except for one detail: I feel like calling it a “half” kind of diminishes the accomplishment. Oh, it’s only a half. How many times has someone asked you if you’re training for a marathon and you’ve said that? (I feel particularly irked at myself for saying those words when people ask me if I’ve done an Ironman. “No, I’ve only done a few halves.” We race for 70.3 miles and then we end up saying we’ve only done a half — simply because a race exists that is twice as long? Why isn’t the 5K called a half-10K?)

As the ladies at Skirts Sports say (and I wholeheartedly agree):

13.1 ain’t half; it’s a whole damn race and a milestone we’re going to celebrate.

In this particular case, I’d like to celebrate Mother’s Day by giving one lucky reader a free entry for the Skirt Sports Virtual 13.1er (remember, we’re not calling it a “half”!), which comes with a $50 gift certificate!


Race details:

Distance: 13.1 miles
Place: Virtual or in Colorado
Date: the Colorado event will take place on June 14, 2015, but you can run the virtual any day June 13-16.

Run with friends, solo, or as part of another half marathon (er, 13er!) in which you’ve already entered to participate that weekend!

Registration (worth $85) gets you:

  • a 13er Finisher skirt
  • a $50 gift certificate to Skirtsports.com
  • a race bib
  • samples from race sponsors


The giveaway

Easy-peasy ways to enter, via widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified on my Facebook page and by email, so keep an eye out!

And whether you win or not, consider giving an entry to this race to your Mom, friend, significant other – or, why not, to yourself! (At the $125 registration level, you will receive a $125 gift certificate, making this race practically free; and at the $250 level, your gift certificate will be for $275.)

Not only isn’t that half of anything, it ain’t half bad either!

Training update: 4 weeks to the hottest 70.3; 5 weeks to swimming with sharks!

Training update: 4 weeks to the hottest 70.3; 5 weeks to swimming with sharks!

I can’t believe it’s been a whole month since my last race(s)! Coincidentally, that’s exactly how much time I’ve got left until my next race. Funny how your perception of time changes when you think of it that way:

I can’t believe in just one short month, I’ll be racing Ironman 70.3 Hawaii!
Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 1.55.02 PM

It’s hilly, isn’t it? I feel underprepared… but I also feel like that’s a normal way to feel, you know? I always have doubts before a big race, but then it is what it is and it goes the way it goes. No point in stressing about it.

Still, I feel like I haven’t been riding my bike as much as I did four weeks out of, say, Challenge Rancho Cordova last year. I especially feel like haven’t been riding enough hills to prepare for this brutal course.

The run should be OK, I think. (Notice how I have feelings about the bike and thoughts about the run? What’s up with that?!?) It will be hot, hilly, humid and difficult. But I’ve been keeping up with the weekly long runs since RunLiv and RnRSF, and this coming weekend I’m running four legs in The Relay. I’ll live!

And the swim… it’ll be nice, warm, and something like this:

Speaking of nice and warm, you know what isn’t? The Escape from Alcatraz swim. Happening just three days after we come back from Hawaii. Talk about a shock to the system! But I’ll think (about sharks) and worry about jumping from a boat in 50-degree water later. Most importantly, I will not whine. I get to cross two incredible, world-class races off my bucket list and I plan to do my best to enjoy them!

April Training

Here’s what it looked like:
Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 9.05.08 PM

Favorite run:
Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 9.28.13 PMThe 8 x 200 repeats I was instructed to do at 40-46 seconds; with 400 meters very easy jog to recover. I ran them all between 39 and 42 seconds and felt great! (Afterwards, not so much…)

Plenty of beautiful trail running this month, too, and we even saw a snake yesterday (not pictured).

Favorite ride:
ALL of the rides on my new tri bike! It is such speedy fun! And running off the bike feels so much better than running of my old road bike. Definitely worth the investment!

New favorite post-training snack:
PickyBarIceCreamMicrowave a Picky Bar for 30 seconds. Pile tons of your favorite ice cream on top! Eat.

My favorite flavor combo is Smooth Caffeinator and TJ’s vanilla Soy Cream, plus possibly some Chocolate Coconut ice cream. It’s serious business. Try it.

Mmmmmm, now I want a snack. Talk soon!

The 2015 Rock ‘n’ Roll San Francisco Half Marathon Was a Blur

The 2015 Rock ‘n’ Roll San Francisco Half Marathon Was a Blur

Kind of like this:

I have a few good explanations:
[or bad excuses, same thing]

1. I ran a half marathon the day before and gave it my very best; my legs were toast.

2. Wake up was at 4 a.m.

3. It was my birthday and I was basking in the glory of graceful aging.

4. Maybe I had a couple of beers the night before, too.

None of this matters much because I signed up for this race with the one and only purpose of having fun. I love running, I love running races even more — especially when HusbandRuns comes along. What better way to start off a birthday?

Except I feel bad because:

  • I didn’t take very many photos, and
  • After so many years in the Bay Area I still don’t know parts of San Francisco enough to be able to tell you about the course in much detail.

So instead of pretending to be the RnRSF expert, let me give you the quick rundown of what I remember best about this race. I hope it’s at least a bit useful.

5 Things You Should Know Before you run RnRSF

1. The race starts at 6:30 a.m.

So unless you are traveling from very far out of town and have no other choice, you’d have to decide between springing $$$$$ for a hotel in the city or waking up at 4 a.m. The course is point-to-point and there are shuttles picking up runners from Civic Center (the Finish area) to take them to the start. The last shuttle was listed as leaving at 5:30 a.m.

2. The start-area porta-potty lines are huge

Either go in one of the many available near the shuttle pick-up area, or plan to go on the beach near the start. Or both.

(For the modest, don’t worry: pre-6:30 a.m. is still pretty dark, no one will see much — or care.)

3. Parts of the course will be quite crowded

There were 15 corrals this year, each starting a few minutes apart. Even then, the first mile felt packed and so did running over the Golden Gate Bridge.


There were nearly 7,000 runners in the 2015 event — up from roughly 5,000 (if I remember correctly) in 2013, the first year Rock ‘n’ Roll took over the even from the US Half. The course was different back then, but I was in the same corral (#2) and we had definitely spread out more by the time we had to run over the bridge.

4. You’ll run ALL of the hills!

You probably know this already. I knew this. And I was still annoyed at the darn hills, they were steep. (On tired legs, running down was notably more painful than going up.)

There are five big climbs (200 ft or more each): the first one is in the beginning, the last one towards the end. The middle one is up and over the Golden Gate bridge, that one is at least fun! Thankfully, you don’t have to go down on the Marin side of the Bridge and climb back up, just go around Vista Point. Perfect for picture-taking.

5. It’s not a PR course

Speaking of picture-taking and hills… You might as well mark this race as one to run at a comfortable pace and allow yourself to stop and digitize as often as you’d like. The course is hilly, crowded and (parts of it are) too pretty to waste on an all-out-must-PR effort.

I chose to take “mental Instagrams” and enjoy the day instead of whipping up my phone for photos all the time. Though I did ask HusbandRuns to stop at Vista Point and jumped up and down until we got this photo of my happy self:

Good times at #RnRSF today! Killer hills on tired legs and fabulous views!

A photo posted by Aleks Todorova (@aleksruns) on

We kept a fairly even 9:30-9:45-ish pace the whole way and made it to the finish after 2:07:54. Not my slowest half and not my best — but a great start to a new day and year of running for this ol’ lady. Cheers!

Rock ‘n’ Roll San Francisco Half Marathon results:
Time: 02:07:54
Pace: 9:46
Clock time (Corral 2): 2:12:12 –> lucky, huh? But note nearly a five-minute difference from gun time; I’d expect a similar delay for each following corral.
Overall: 2139 (out of 6910)
Gender: 821 (out of 3995)
Age group: 117 (out of 647)