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jetBlue Long Beach Marathon & Half Recap

jetBlue Long Beach Marathon & Half Recap


Well hello again so soon! For some reason I’m still awake after a 2:15 am wake up and have both the dishwasher and laundry machine going so I figured I better take advantage and write a blog post about the race.

First though I have to show you my favorite coffee mug.

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Don’t mind the spiffy manicure. I’ve fixed that, but do believe in your dreams because that’s where it all starts.


There’s some serious business going on at Trader Joe’s. I went there yesterday and saw purple sweet potatoes for the first time ever.

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These are different than the ones I’m obsessed with, but are still fabulous and cheaper. I’m sure they’re out of stock by now since that always happens with cool new things they get in at Trader Joe’s, but I just thought I’d pass it along.


After we bought the first two season of soccer pictures we now are too cheap to order them anymore. That didn’t stop Andrew though from telling me to pose the boys and take a few myself on picture day. Too bad all of the ones I took had some issues.

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Okay. Holy smokes. This is the first time I went back and looked at this picture. It’s pretty darn funny, isn’t it? That hand placement though. That’s not what was actually happening in the picture (he was just running by), but seriously. I should send this to The Ellen Show or something, right?

Oh and this past week’s kindergarten letter said to have the boys help sorting things around the house since they’re working on that at school. I put them to work sorting my new and old Handful bra pads. Ha ha.

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Let’s move on to race chat shall we?

It’s been so long since I’ve run and done the whole carbo loading thing that I was a little nervous about doing it the right way. I got some really great nutritional advice from Coach Elizabeth and Katie for the days leading up to the race. I also found this cool article from Runner’s World about the right way to carbo-load before a race (thanks to Google). It’s got some great tips and ways to figure out how many carbs you should be getting.

The Right Way to Carbo-load Before a Race

Since I had those fabulous purple sweet potatoes that Frieda’s sent me I thought the right thing to do was to use all three to make my favorite baked purple sweet potato. The first two went down a little like this with cinnamon and Nuttzo peanut free Powerfuel (Friday and Saturday). The other one was topped with cinnamon and coconut oil and was eaten on my walk from the car to the race festivities this morning.

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This morning I had to be on the road by 3:20 am. The experts say you actually should wake up around 3 am to start fueling and eating. I took full advantage and did just that while I was in the car with a Love Grown Foods brown sugar Super Oats instant pack with some egg whites and a scoop of NuttZo.

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I also had coffee and then that last purple potato closer to race start time.


I felt like today was going to be a good day, but I was still nervous and really didn’t know what to expect. I haven’t done any speed work or really followed a plan since school started in August. I’ve just been trying to get the mileage in when I can. I knew I felt good though this morning and I really wanted to give it my all whatever that would be.

Some self thoughts on my drive were:

Heck yes this is going to hurt and you’re going to take it.

Yes you’re getting older and slower, but that just means you have to work harder.

You better bring the fight girlfriend.



Since we got multiple heat advisory emails from the race I opted to not wear the normal Pro Compression marathon socks and went with the low socks. I haven’t been running in anything but them lately anyway so I figured it was a good call.

I also figured it was a good call to take a picture in the port a potty line. It’s pretty much the perfect photo opportunity.

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Because of the heat, they gave all the half marathoners the option to start with the full marathon runners at 6:00 am instead of 7:30 am. There were a lot of people who took advantage of that and it was a lot more crowded at that start than I remember from last year (that recap is here).

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The only picture I took on the course was this one. It was just too pretty to not get my phone out and take a picture. This was around mile 5 or so I think.

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The course is nice. There’s a good portion of it that’s right along the boardwalk and then down on the beach. There’s also some residential areas with a couple turn around spots during the second half. It’s a pretty quiet and flat course. I like that. I actually like everything about it.

Not to mention mostly everything is really easy. The logistics of getting there and parking really close to the start and finish, finding the race day packet pick up location, short bathroom lines, etc. They also had a ton of water stations all along the course. That was key. The only issue I had was trying to get to the freeway afterwards. There were a bunch of street closures that I obviously didn’t read up on so it took a very long time.

But, the race itself and everything about it is just darn fabulous. It’s definitely a good, fast course and smaller compared to other races. It’s one of my favorites.


I felt good right away on the course besides already feeling a little thirsty. I knew I wanted to really go all out to see what happened. I felt good and kept a pretty consistent pace all the way until mile 13 when I started feeling myself want to slow down. My pace was pretty good so I wanted to try to keep it up, but my long runs in training have been slow and I haven’t paid any attention to pace so I wasn’t sure I had the endurance built up.

I had a GU at mile 12 and mile 21. Mile 21 is where I was really starting to feel tired. My legs were tired and my chest started hurting just because I haven’t breathed that hard for that long for a very long time. Ha. The struggle is real friends.

I had to zone out a little bit to just try to push to the end. I knew although I was tired that I had it. I was hoping for under 3:30 and just had to keep it going. That’s totally the magic of the marathon though. You have to push past a lot (both mentally and physically) to get to that finish line. Heck yes it’s hard and it hurts, but you’re a changed person once you get there.

I was so excited to cross that line today.

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Seriously, sooooooooooo excited.

They had a really great finish line set up, but I didn’t stay long since it was hot out there and I knew I had a long drive back.

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I did manage just a couple pictures though. One was of the bling. They don’t mess around.

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My other one was a failed attempt of my standard Mizuno shoe race photo. I went with the Wave Sayonara 2 today.

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I had some chilled Vega recovery accelerator waiting in the car.

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Once I sat down I finally checked the time on my Polar V800.

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About halfway into my drive home I got this message.

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I mean really. I just ran a freaking marathon Polar Paul. Give me a break already. Ha.

Oh and once I got home I had yet another reminder of why we don’t ever buy new furniture.

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That would be permanent marker on our kitchen table after I tried to get it off. Just lovely.


Okay, so now time to get a little sappy before I go. I had a lot of time to reflect during the race and during the drive.

My fastest days are definitely behind me, but I’ve come a long way from the whole pituitary tumor and the second round of recovering from hip dysplasia.

Life is so different these days, but I feel like today was my true test. The past handful of marathons that I ran I didn’t love. I didn’t have the confidence or desire to really fight for the finish and I made excuses for myself. I just didn’t have the drive I used to have. Today I had to see if it was still there.

I was worried that today was going to be the same, but it wasn’t. It was brilliant.

I fell back in love with competition, the spirit of the marathon, really fighting for the finish and racing my heart out.

The funny thing is that my fight is just a lot different now. I’m older and a bit slower and have so many other things that are priorities above racing that I can just enjoy it, embrace it and love it. Does that make sense?

My time today was 3:28:38 and not long ago I would’ve been so disappointed in myself. Isn’t that just silly?

Today that time is treasured. It’s the fastest time I’ve gotten in over a year. I loved every second of pain and fight that went along with that time today. It’s been way too long since I believed in myself enough to put it all out there.

My faster days and days of running a bazillion marathons in a year are behind me, but the days of giving my all, fighting darn hard for the finish, believing in comebacks, loving and truly embracing the marathon, being kind to my body, trying my best to age gracefully and most importantly being a better mama, wife, daughter, teacher and friend,

THESE days are the BEST days and they are yet to come.

Change is good. Life is good. This is just the beginning.

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Thank you jetBlue Long Beach Marathon for being a game changer today.


This post took me long enough to write that I finally saw my race results posted online. Holy heck my time was good enough for 2nd place in my age group and 4th overall female finish. Who knew? I’m so excited. It’s definitely time to celebrate!


Woo hoo!

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  1. 1
    natasha says:

    Wow thanks for the TJ potato heads up. I am finding the Stokes variety in random places and TJ’s also has kabocha so I can stock up for a bit cheaper.

    Finally! I need to hit up TJ’s soon since I hear they have some great fall goodies.

    Hang in there and thanks for your inspirational posts.

  2. 2
    Monica says:

    Kristen congratulations on a great race. I ran the half and was so disappointed in my time. I really thought even with the heat I would PR. I had a brain tumor removed 5 years ago this month. I try and do a run every October to show myself how far I have come. I read your post and want to thank you for helping me put things in perspective. I need to celebrate each race as an accomplishment. I love running. I am much slower than you, but I still love it. Thank you!

    • 2.1
      STUFT Mama says:

      Monica- you are amazing! The heat was tough out there. Congratulations!!!!!! The next one is yours. Maybe we should sign up for Surf City. 🙂 Hope you’re celebrating!

  3. 3
    Kathy says:

    That is simply MARVELOUS!!! You are AMAZING!! 2nd in your age group and 4th overall female???? I mean seriously….AWESOME!!! Every thing is Awesome!!! (Oh, yea sing it out like the Lego Movie girl!!)

  4. 4
    Laura says:

    Awesome job, Kristin, loved the race recap! I love the soccer pics, the second one is too funny 🙂 I have never seen purple sweet potatoes here, do they taste the same as the regular ones?

  5. 5
    angela says:

    I’m in complete awe! I think your time is amazing (I’ve been stuck at 3:35 for the past few marathons and I just want to see 3:30 at the finish line)! I’m also the same age as you but I want to believe that I can get a bit faster even though I don’t put as much time into my training due to kids, work and life in general. But I’m totally ok with it and I just put my heart into the 8 weeks of training that I can put forth and hope that it’s going to work. Thank you for posting!!

  6. 6

    Awesome job dear! So fab!
    (And thank you for the TJs note 😉 I hope they do have them since my grocery is not getting any in and I’ve only had the few Frieda’s sent me!)

  7. 7

    MAJORLY jealous of your TJ’s!!!!

  8. 8

    HAHAHA definitely send that into Ellen 😉
    You’re so inspiring!! So amazing! Great job!!!
    Regarding the permanent marker on the table- have you tried isopropanol or Gu Gone?

  9. 9
    Joe says:

    There’s just so much to respond to! First off, the soccer pic – perhaps they should be playing rugby instead! That photo is priceless, and blackmail worthy in about ten years.

    On to the food – purple sweet potatoes are on my to try list. And I just cooked a kabocha squash over the weekend – I couldn’t believe how sweet it was!

    Now on the marathon – congrats to you! Your life requirements overshadowed your training cycle, and you still managed a sub-3:30. Pretty awesome. One day earleir, on the east side of the country (Hartford, CT) I ran a 3:28:50, so you beat me by 11 seconds! Nice!

  10. 10
    Amy says:

    I’d second the Goo Gone recommendation. Or try Goof-Off, which is similar, but in spray form. I’ve successfully removed marker from hardwoods and carpets with that stuff. And gum – that stuff gets gum out of carpet, too. Of course, the smell makes me think it causes some sort of terrible cancer, but at least your stuff will be cleaned up :-).

  11. 11
    Emily says:

    You give me hope, lady!!! Way to lay it all out and kick butt!

  12. 12
    Christine blancher says:

    Hi… Have you tried a Mr. clean eraser? I got sharpie out of hardwood floors with one. God bless you and your family

  13. 13

    Congrats on the great finish! And I think what you’re saying makes PERFECT sense! It’s the journey that’s important.

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