Category Archives: Running

Class Pass

Have you heard of Class Pass?  It’s an online fitness membership that gives you access to a variety of fitness studios for a monthly fee.  You can check out as many studios as you want, and can attend each one up to 3x each month.  Class Pass just started in Orange County and I recently had the opportunity to try it out for a month.

class pass One thing I noticed right off the bat was how easy it was to schedule and book your classes.  You can filter by date, location, or class and then just click schedule on the one you want.  Class Pass will automatically add a reminder to your Google calendar, and you have up to until 12 hrs before class to cancel (canceling any time after that will result in a $20 cancellation fee).

Since I already do a lot of crossfit and running, I wanted to use Class Pass for things I wouldn’t normally do like yoga, barre, and spinning.  Here are the classes I took:

Spinning at YAS:

One of the things I liked about YAS was the fact that it you didn’t have to rent shoes or pay for any extras which was nice.  However, I found the class to be a bit lackluster and the instructor not the most motivating, so it was a bit of a disappointment.

Vinyasa Flow at EKAM Yoga:


I’m definitely NOT a yogi, but I love the way my body feels after a good yoga class.  The environment at EKAM yoga was warm and inviting, and I loved how my legs felt looser after the class.  I’m definitely planning on returning to EKAM Yoga in the future for some more classes.

Spinning at Full Psycle:

class pass full psycle

I’ve taken Full Psycle classes in the past and LOVED them.  I don’t spin there too often due to budget, but every time I go to class I get a killer workout.  The leaderboard can be a bit intimidating at times, but all the instructors are super motivating and deliver a kick-ass workout.  Plus, I love how they send you your stats after each class.

Pure Barre:

A few years ago I was all about the barre, attending classes 3-4x a week.  Then I got more into running and crossfit and barre kind of fell by the wayside.  It was fun to return to a barre class and revisit that all-too familiar thigh shaking feeling when you are pulsing in low squats.

Overall I really enjoyed my experience with Class Pass!  In the future I’d love to give it a go again, mainly because it got me back into yoga again which was much-needed.

Interested in checking out Class Pass for yourself?  Here are a couple of ways:

You can try a 1-week trial of Class Pass for only $10.


You can sign up for your first month for $100*.

If you are interested in checking out new fitness studios or just looking to shake up your routine, then I highly recommend Class Pass!  It’s the perfect way to start spring off on the right note.

*Affiliate links included.  Thanks for supporting Sweet Potato Bites!

Big Sur Half Marathon

So my running page hasn’t been getting a lot of love lately.  And that’s not due to lack of running!  In fact. I’ve been running more than ever and ran the Big Sur Half Marathon just over a week ago.  I’ve been training pretty hard for this race for the past few months and it’s taken me awhile to put my incredible experience into words.  So here’s the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay race recap.

big sur half marathon medalAt the beginning of summer i knew I was ready to train for a race again.  We had gotten through our wedding and honeymoon, and now was the perfect time to dive back into training.  Karla had signed up for the Philadelphia Half Marathon that was taking place November 22nd, so the Englishman and I decided to run the Big Sur Half the week before on November 16th.

I should preface too that this race does not run through Big Sur, but rather old town Monterey and out along the bay – it’s still a beautiful course, but if you want the sweeping Big Sur views, you need to run that one in April.

We drove up to Monterey Bay on Saturday and arrived at the expo around 3pm.  I contemplated getting a half marathon sweatshirt, but at $50 a pop, I decided against it.  We grabbed our bibs and then headed to our hotel to get settled.

big sur half marathon bibI was nervous about the dinner situation since at home my pre-long run dinner had always been pretty textbook: pasta or potatoes + eggs and toast.  I found an Italian place a short walk from our hotel and when I called them they said we could just walk in as they weren’t that busy.

Only that wasn’t the case.  The restaurant was PACKED with an over 2 hr wait.  I frantically began searching other places to eat and might have had a small meltdown where I declared that I was going to “poop my pants” during the race tomorrow (which I’m sure my husband appreciated).  We ended up at the Sardine Factory which cost an arm and a leg, and I ended up ordering short ribs, mashed potatoes and asparagus.  Not ideal, but I figured the potatoes couldn’t do too much damage.

Sunday morning we woke up bright and early and were ready to race!  The race conditions were perfect – upper 40s at the start and gradually warming into the 50s.  I brought a throw away cover up to wear at the start and then wore compression sleeves for a little extra warmth.

Our hotel was about a mile from the start so we walked over there to warm up and loosen our legs a bit.  Soon enough we were placed in our corral, I gave the Englishman one last kiss goodbye and we were off. I was running my 2nd half marathon!

My main goal for this race was to break two hours, but my “A” goal was to go sub-1:55.  Based on my training, I figured I could do it, and the plan was to stick in 8:45 min mile range and progressively get faster.  Well I started the race a bit faster than intended but my legs were feeling great so the first 6 miles were more in the 8:15-8:30 range, as evidenced by my splits below.

big sur half marathon miles 1-6

The course had rolling hills with one big incline on mile 4, but since I had been training on hills all summer and fall they didn’t phase me at all.  In fact, I found myself passing people on hills more often than not.  We weaved through Pacific Grove and then found ourselves along the coastline which was beautiful.  Nothing beats the sound of splashing waves while you are running.  This was before I began to throw down the gauntlet.

big sur half marathon on monterey bay pic

I was feeling really good at this point so I started to kick it up a notch.  Mile 8 was the turnaround point so I tried to keep my splits as close to 8 minute miles as possible.

big sur half marathon on monterey bay splits 2

After the turnaround we started to hit a nasty headwind and I started doing some calculating in my head.  If I could pick up the pace a bit, I’d come in under sub-1:50, which was something I never thought was possible.  It was around this point I started looking for the Englishman as I knew we would cross paths.  Sure enough I saw him, we exchanged high fives and it was just the boost I needed to get through the final miles.

I’m not going to lie, those last miles were HARD.  We had a strong headwind, my legs were getting tired, and I knew I had to stay under 8 minutes if I wanted to break 1:50.  I started thinking about all my friends and family who had sent me good luck wishes before the race (and were subsequently tracking my run). I thought about my running partner in crime Karla who stuck it out with me throughout all of the long runs.  I thought about my wonderful husband, the Englishman who put up with me and all my crazy training antics (and who ran the race with me even though long distance isn’t really his thing).  I wanted to do this for them, and more importantly, for myself.

big sur half marathon miles splits

We finally made our way out of the headwind and headed back down Cannery Row towards the finish line.  When I saw the final marker that said 1/4 mile to go I just went for it and sprinted my way across the finish line.  It was all such a blur at that point.

big sur half marathon on monterey bay pic 2

I looked at my garmin in disbelief, got my medal, and then cried.  I could not believe I broke 1:50.

big sur half marathon garmin

The Englishman finished in 2:05, which was a 10 minute PR for him and we made our way through the food tent collecting bananas, apples, cookies and everything else the wonderful race volunteers were handing out.  We then hobbled our way back to our room and enjoyed the Sidecar Doughnuts we brought from home as a post-race victory treat.

I’m still in shock that I broke 1:50 which is why it’s taken me so long to write this recap.  I only really started running in 2009, and even then I never thought I’d ever run a half marathon under 2 hrs, let alone 1:50.  I’ll write a separate post on my training and how I prepped for this race, but I truly believe that if you put your mind to something, you can achieve anything.  This was a race that I ran with my heart more than my head, and it’s something I’ll cherish forever.

If you ever get the chance to run the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay, do it!  It’s one of the most well-executed races I have ever been to and the course is just stunning.  There was a ton of entertainment and crowd support along the course as well which was just icing on the cake.  We spent the rest of our day celebrating and checking out the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

big sur half marathon aquariumSo what’s next? I currently don’t have any races on the horizon right now and I’m just going to enjoy my PR.  BUT now that I’ve had my taste of sub-1:50, sub-1:45 is definitely next.

Surf City Run 5K Recap

It’s been a long time since I wrote a race recap hasn’t it?  In fact, until the 4th of July, I hadn’t raced since December.  Between wedding planning, getting married and going on a honeymoon, there just wasn’t time to commit to any races.  But in between all the madness the Englishman and I have still been running on a consistent basis, so we decided to revisit the Huntington Beach Surf City Run to see if we could beat our times from 2012.  Here is the Surf City Run 5K Recap.

I have a complicated history with the Surf City Run.  I first ran it in 2011 and crashed and burned two miles in and ended up taking multiple walking breaks throughout.  In 2012 the Englishman and I ran it together, but he had only just started running regularly so we took it easy and finished in a respectable 29:30.  I skipped out on the race in 2013 and was finally ready to revisit it in 2014.

Thanks to crossfit and consistent running, I’ve noticed that my running paces have been getting faster and faster, and began to believe that I could smash my old 5K PR of 28:02.  After completing a training run in Maui in 24:00 and a mile time trial in crossfit in 6:54, I began to realize that a fast 5K just might be in the cards.

I went into the Surf City Run with no expectations but to come in sub-25.  I had been doing longer runs consistently with an 8:00 minute mile average, so I figured a sub-25 was possible.

The night before the race I did everything you weren’t supposed to do – had wine, ate different food, and stayed up way too late enjoying the company of my husband and friends.  When I woke up in the morning I felt tired but not too bad, so I decided to give the race my all.  We even managed to look bright and cheery for a pre-race picture (note the sweet photobomb).

Joe and Allie Surf City RunWe got to the race a little before the start and had time to stretch and use the bathroom.  Soon enough we were lining up and the National Anthem started playing.  The Englishman and I agreed we would stick together at the start, but since he knew I was gunning for a PR, he told me to just go ahead if I was feeling strong.

The horn blared, I started my garmin and we were off.  The first mile was pretty congested and I spent a lot of time weaving in and out of people (I need to learn to run the tangents better), but finally I got into a groove and was on my way.  After the first mile my watch beeped with a 7:49 pace and I knew a PR just might be in the cards for the day.  And judging by my face in all these race pictures, I was definitely giving it my all.

Surf City Run Second MileAs we moved into the second mile, my legs were feeling strong and I started to slowly pass people one by one.  I’d spot my “rabbit” and work towards them until I could pass them comfortably.  My watch beeped again.  7:01.  What? I couldn’t believe I was running that fast.

Surf City Run Last MileThe third mile was by far the hardest – the race ends on a small incline so I knew I had to leave a little in the tank to get up the hill at the end.  My lungs were burning by this point and I felt like I might throw up but I kept pushing on.  Finally, I rounded the curve and saw the finishing mat.  I sprinted as best as I could across the line and crossed it in 22:45, a new PR by over 6 minutes.

Surf City Run FinishingThe Englishman wasn’t too far behind, crossing in 24:57 which was also a new PR for him.  Both of us were red faced and gasping for air but feeling incredibly proud of our progress in two short years.  Racing 5Ks are no joke!

Surf City Run 5KAfter years of running around a 9:30 pace for races I was finally able to break through that elusive 28 minute barrier and really give it my all.  I attribute this to the following:

Smarter Training – I stopped running as many miles per week and when I did run, I made those miles count

Crossfit – Crossfit for sure has made me a faster runner.  Strength training really pays off and I think it’s crucial to becoming a stronger runner.

Speedwork – The Englishman and I really started to focus on speed.  Sprints during crossfit, running 400s on the track and fast tempo runs.  I plan on incorporating a lot of speedwork into my half marathon training plan.

This race was the perfect confidence booster I needed as I prepare to dive into half marathon training again.  Big Sur Half on Monterey Bay I’m coming for you.  Sub-2 or bust! (I get heart palpitations just thinking about it).

Running Playlist

Finally a post about running!  After December I found myself plagued with a minor knee injury followed by getting hit by a cyclist, so my running was a bit sporadic at the beginning of the year.  But now I’m happy to say I have my running mojo back, and have an awesome running playlist to boot!

Renegade Santa Run Race90% of my runs are usually with the Englishman or friends so I don’t normally listen to music, but there are those few times when I do just crave a quick solo run, and that’s where the running playlist comes out.

I know people say all the time that music can affect a workout, and I totally believe it.  When I put on my running music I’m energized and ready to take off.  And since some of my running goals this year include getting faster and setting some PR’s in shorter distances, this playlist is perfect.  This also reminds me that I need to start up my track workouts again.

Track Ladder Workout CDM

This running playlist contains a few songs that are on the higher end of the BPM spectrum, which is why they are in the middle.  I typically take a couple of songs to warm up, and then if I’m doing a tempo run, I play these songs to really get me moving.

This particular running playlist runs for an hour, but when I’m in the mood for a quick down and dirty run, I’ll usually just play a warm up song followed by some fast BPM songs and then a cool down.  If you are in the mood to get your heart rate going, this playlist definitely delivers!  All of these songs can be found on iTunes as well.

Running PlaylistIf you couldn’t tell by this playlist, I definitely have an eclectic taste when it comes to running music, but that’s what makes it more fun!

What’s your favorite song to run to?  My current fave is Blood Sugar by Pendulum.