ASICS LA Marathon Weekend: Shake Out Run and Brunch with the Elites

So as if the ASICS LA Marathon VIP party wasn’t enough epic-ness, the next morning we got to have even more fun. Good morning Santa Monica!

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I have gotten a lot of nice comments on Instagram about the below photo. This makes me laugh because what it does NOT show is that I was exhausted after four hours of sleep, severely dehydrated, had a serious headache, and well, the sun was blinding me. But hey, it’s for the sake of Instagram, right?

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I chugged coffee and met my crew in the lobby where we headed over to where we would be having brunch for some instructions and schedule chat.

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Coach Kastor explained that we would be running down towards the finish line to where our final turn onto Ocean Avenue was, then running back and having brunch. It was about 2.5 miles total.

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Yup, that’s Deena Kastor in front of me in the pink. I totally kept up with her the whole time. Kidding.

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I did however end up running with Alysia Montano, She’s freaking awesome yall, and not to mention HILARIOUS. I could just listen to her talk and tell jokes all day. She has a 7 month old so we mostly chatted babies which was fun!

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We made it to where our turn was and stopped to listen to coach Kastor for a minute who was telling us how far we would have to the finish at this point, etc. It was crazy I would be making that final turn the next day at the end of my marathon!

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We made our way back to the hotel and I snapped a shot of the pier before we headed in for brunch.

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Our brunch location is part of the hotel, but it’s right on Ocean Avenue and kind of open, it’s hard to explain. it had a cool bohemian vibe and since the weather was so nice it made it even better! They had a beautiful spread of food waiting for us, and we were told to eat….so I was first in line. Don’t judge, my body thought it was two hours later than it really was.

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I made my way outside to a set of sofas and began to chow down. I felt kind of like I was in high school and didn’t know what table I belonged at, so I sat alone and just hoped someone would come sit by me. WELL, in a few minutes I would feel like a super cool kid because some awesome ladies one by one came over and sat by me. I felt like I was dreaming. First Deena Kastor and Alysia joined me. We all started chatting about random things, just moms talking about our kids. Then Queen Harrison joined us. Then about midway through the meal, Sara Hall walks in and sits down RIGHT NEXT TO ME. NBD. I suddenly couldn’t even eat. I was afraid to say something stupid. I really DID feel like I was in an awkward high school situation, it was hilarious and surreal at the same time.

Soon, coach Kastor stood up to give some final words of advice on our race the next day. We were going to be experiencing record high heat, so he had a lot to say about hydrating and taking it easy. Sadly I don’t remember all of it, I was too busy geeking out and secretly taking and posting pictures of my “new friends.”

Alysia and Queen (and Andrew Kastor)

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Sara and Deena and you can see Shadrack Biwott (he has run a 2:12 marathon and a 1:01:24 half!)

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All of the elite athletes went around and shared one piece of advice for everyone running which I thought was really fun. I recorded some of what Ryan Hall said, but not all because I was running out of camera space (foreshadowing….) He is so chill and laid back when he talks, he cracks me up.

After the talk was over, I had one mission, and that was to meet Ryan Hall. I have always looked up to him for his work ethic, attitude, and for being an outspoken Christian who stands behind his faith. I had rehearsed what I wanted to say to him, but of course my mind went blank when I introduced myself. I told him I really admired him for his faith and beliefs AND THEN I STARTED CRYING. How embarrassing. I’m just so thankful to have good Christian athletes to look up to, that it just came out. Ug. I die. Anyway, I pulled myself together and told him I had a baby five months ago and this was my first race back. He told me I looked great for recently giving birth, so now he is my new favorite person. So I didn’t want to take up his time and asked if we could take a selfie, I went to take the picture, AND MY MEMORY WAS FULL!!!! You have GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! Of ALL times! I panicked and started flipping out (on the inside) and random started deleting apps. I think I deleted Twitter and WordPress, I just didn’t care, I NEEDED space! I FINALLY got it to work and got my picture. Whew. Crisis averted. But OMG what luck.

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It was a great run and brunch, and I can’t believe I got to hang out with so many amazing people. My greatest takeaway is that these are folks just like you and me (except they are really freaking fast!) Other than the tips they all gave at the end, we didn’t even really talk about running at all! I had such a fun time, a huge thank you to ASICS and their athletes for coming out to run and hang out with us the day before such a big race!

QOTD: Do you do a shake out run before a big race?

ASICS LA Marathon Weekend: VIP Party Like a Rockstar

After we had happy hour at the hotel, it was time to board the shuttles and head to the VIP party. I was super excited about it, because I have never attending anything like it before. It was being held at the Devoe House, which is Marilyn Monroe’s old house! It took a good while to get there, but we made it to through Beverly Hills and then went up, up, up! We could see the house all lit up on the side of the hill before we made it up the drive. Of course ASICS had decked it out in the coolest running stuff!

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The pictures don’t do it justice, but check out the view!

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We headed inside and I was the dork taking pictures of everything. Since I only knew a handful of people there, it was a bit odd not having a bunch of people to talk with.

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Shoe chandelier above the bar? Amazing!

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I headed upstairs to go to the bathroom, and I thought an “oh my gosh I am at a party in Marilyn Monroe’s house” selfie was appropriate. Not sure why the tub was full of water? They unfortunately had most of the house blocked off and we just had access to the rooms across the back and the back patio. They also had the pool covered which was probably a wise decision!

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I made it back downstairs, grabbed a drink, and of course took more pictures.

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Food was also being passed around, but word on the street was if you didn’t hang out near the kitchen you wouldn’t get any. I was too excited to eat anyway so I didn’t care!

There was another bar outside, and a DJ up on the second floor balcony.

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Soon it was time to light up the night. For the special 30th anniversary of the race, there would be lights going up at each mile marker of the course, one by one. How cool is that?!?! We got to see the actual ceremony at the house as it happened which was very cool.

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This was taken during the lighting ceremony. You can see Andrew and Deena Kastor on the left, they got to help turn the lights on.

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It’s kind of hard to see, but can you see some of the lights shooting straight up into the sky? I’m sure it was easier to see looking up towards the hills as opposed to looking down into the city. If you check on ASICS and LA marathon on Instagram, they both posted some pretty spectacular shots! All I have to say is…seeing the lights from left to right, made 26.2 miles seem REALLY far!

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It was such a cool idea and a fun way to kick off the race weekend and I am so glad I got to see it from up in the Hollywood hills! I chatted with some folks for awhile then headed back inside. My body thought it was 11:30 even though it was 9:30, and I was told I could go back on a shuttle at 10:00 to the hotel. I was sure to grab my super generous gifts from ASICS, )a pair of the official ALAM running shoes, some socks, and a very soft blanket) before leaving.

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How cool that ASICS was stamped into this concrete on the counter? (That would be a watermelon margarita by the way!)

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I grabbed some donut bites covered in chocolate, powdered sugar and toffee bits (oh yes) before heading out to the shuttle.

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I hated to leave on the early shuttle but I was so. darn. tired. From flying and the time difference, and I knew I had a busy weekend that I needed rest for.

I am so grateful that I got to be a part of such a fun night that I will never forget. ASICS is so generous and this party was no exception. It was fun to see how some people get to party in LA, and it was definitely an experience to remember!

QOTD: Have you ever been to a cool party like this one?

Rock ‘n Roll New Orleans VIP Experience

Bobby and I were able to take advantage of the VIP experience at Rock ‘n Roll New Orleans a couple of weekends ago. I have never done VIP for a Rock ‘n Roll race, and was excited to compare it to others I have done with different races.

The morning VIP breakfast and lounge was at the Hilton New Orleans. When we picked up our bracelets we were told it was “right next to the start line” but we ended up passing it up because they were doing construction so we saw no signs for the VIP or anything outside the hotel which would have been helpful, also it wasn’t exactly right next to the start, we saw a bunch of people a couple blocks down but turns out that was the 10k start so it was kind of confusing It was freezing so we were really happy to get to go inside once we finally found it!

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The race started at 7:30 and the VIP lounge opened at 6. We had the option of driving to the finish and parking our car and taking the VIP shuttle back downtown, but the shuttle left the finish at 5:45, which means we would have had to leave the hotel around 5:15 to make sure we didn’t miss the one shuttle, so waking up at 4:15 didn’t sound fun, I wanted that extra hour! So we decided to walk to the start, and take the VIP shuttle back downtown after the race instead. (We were able to get a late hotel checkout at Hotel Monteleone, so we had until 1:00).

We were directed upstairs where our wristbands were checked for the second time, and they had food for us. (Yogurt, bananas, bagels, coffee, water).

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Then they had a room with tables for us and plenty of room to stretch as well.

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It was really nice to just relax and sit in the warmth and drink some coffee before heading outside. At 7:00, I decided to go to the bathroom because I knew the line would get long, and I was right, it was already out the door and some of the stalls were running out of toiler paper. I was very thankful to not be using a port-o-potty though! After that, we shed our outerwear (reluctantly) and got our gear bags ready. We turned them in to the VIP gear check, and hung out in the lobby area as long as possible. Well, until 7:20. We then walked out to the start and it wasn’t so bad standing outside for only a few minutes.

Fast forward to after the race.

We crossed the finish line, got our medals and snacks, and headed to the VIP tents.

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We picked up our gear bags at our own private gear pick up, went ahead and got on the list for free 10 minute massages, and went to change. My hip was hurting so badly I didn’t even bother having Bobby take a picture of me with my medal. I realized it and then took a selfie inside the women’s changing tent.

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They had separate men’s/women’s changing tents as well as own our bathrooms. I was so glad I brought a full change of clothes, I felt way more comfortable and warm having on a comfy outfit. By time I came out and went to the bathroom, they were calling my name for my massage woo hoo! I was really excited about it since I was hurting, and was sadly disappointed. Fail.

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They had 3-4 tables with two people doing each 10 minute massage, and I just am glad I wasn’t paying for the massage or I would have asked for a refund. The massage was so light they were barely touching me. The stretching felt good, but that’s about it. Sad smile

Oh well, moving on, it was time to EAT! I have been thinking about food and mimosa’s all morning and it was time! The food and drinks were under the big white tent, along with a charging station with lots of different phone cords. I thought this was a nice touch!

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The temps were in the low 60’s with a light wind. I was comfortable in my long sleeves, but just in case, they had heaters stationed near some of the tables, another nice touch!

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To the left is the massage tent, to the right the gear check tent….Complete with Bobby hovering waiting for his massage (in the red shirt).

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We had a great view, too. The stage was just off to the left of this picture with the live music.

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The drinks were yummy, the food was alright, but the day was absolutely gorgeous. It was so nice to sit and relax and unwind while listening to the music.

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After I finished my first plate (and second drink), Megan came hobbling up. Poor thing didn’t have a great race either and was injured as well.

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We chatted for a bit and then said our goodbyes. I got to talk to a few more of my runner friends, and then lunch was brought out. Lunch? I thought the food I had already eaten was it. Nice! They put out pulled pork, dessert, and a few other things, so…another plate for me!

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The VIP shuttle was running every thirty minutes, and since we had to checkout at 1:00 we decided to take the 12:00 shuttle. I would have loved to stay longer (VIP was open until 2:30) but we had to go shower and check out. We we led out as a group by a competitor group employee to the VIP bus and so there was no waiting in line for the other buses which was really nice!

We headed back into the French Quarter, and the driver stopped along Poydras St. to let people off where they wanted, so we literally only had to walk one block down to our hotel, whereas the regular busses were only dropping off at one point. I was expecting a much further walk so it was nice!

We showered and we re out at 12:58, perfect timing! We had a really great day and a fun race made even better and easier by the VIP experience. Sure there are a couple things I would have changed, but overall we had a really good time and were thankful for the ease of the day due to being a VIP. Also, all the extra food and drinks didn’t hurt!

The only problem is now I am spoiled and want to do it for every Rock ‘n Roll race!

QOTD: Have you ever paid extra to do something like the VIP experience?

*Don’t forget you can use code LOOKINGGLASS15 and save $15 on any RnR US half or full marathon except for Vegas, and also save on Canada races!

Disclosure: I was provided with VIP entrance by Rock ‘n Roll, however all opinions are my own.