OC Half Marathon 2017 Recap

WHAT A RACE! I cannot believe I completed my 3rd OC Half Marathon, my 2nd as an ambassador. Crossing the finish line on Sunday. I was beyond thrilled to be crossing. The race started very rough but I really pushed myself to get a PR of 4 minutes. My training for the OC Half was not as much as wanted but of course incorporated plenty of speed work thanks to Orangetheory.

We parked at the start line as we have found over the years, it works the best for us (meaning I HATE waking up early). As we were getting our gear ready it started to not only pour, it started hailing. We were in shock because just days ago we had 90 degree weather as we sat by the pool. We tried to wait it out until we had 15 minutes to go and needed to get moving. The rain was a slow drizzle as we made our way to the start line. As we were waiting in lines at the porta potty, it started pouring. Not gonna lie, I may have stayed in the porta potty longer than needed just to avoid the rain. We got stuck in one of the last corrals and ended up starting about 15 minutes after the first wave.

The first few miles were crowded but I stayed a steady pace for the first few miles. At miles 2ish, you turn the street and hit the mansions alongside the beach. It is my favorite part of the race and the time when it started pouring again. I was trying to run around puddles until I got splashed by someone else so I decided to embrace the rain. My clothes were soaked, my shoes were heavy filled with water but around miles 4 I realized that despite the rain, my body felt good. At miles 6, I realized my pace was still very steady and no aches or pains had started yet. Around miles 5 is usually where my back or knee starts to hurt so I enjoyed the fact that I was not hurting just yet. By miles 7, the thought of a PR really started to pop into my head. Thankfully by this time, the rain has stopped as well. Between miles 8 and 10, I just kept telling myself a PR was in site. The mantra that kept me going through was “You are going to hurt after either way, you might as well hurt with a PR.” After Ragnar (maybe one day I will get to that recap), the hill at mile 11 seemed like nothing. It even seemed smaller than I remember. By mile 11, I was start to ache but being that close to the finish line, I put on my favorite songs and pushed myself to the finish line. I crossed the finish line 4 minutes faster than my PR and 14 minutes faster than last year.

At the finish line, I got my favorite – chocolate milk, along with the other snacks before taking a few pictures. I met up with the hubby and some Orangetheory friends. We did not stay too long after the race because we were wet and just wanted to get back to our car to change into dry clothes. I really felt this race was even more supported than last year. As usual, it ran flawlessly. From sign up to race pickup and actual racing, it just ran perfectly.

As I crossed the finish line, I was filled with such amazement at what my body continues to accomplish. This race reminded me why I run, sign up races and genuinely like running. It has made me excited to do more races in the next few months. For now, I am going to bask in my PR and enjoy our vacation to Puerto Vallarta this weekend!

Thank you to the OC Marathon for having me as an ambasssador for another year, to the race coordinators and the wonderful volunteers! 

“Those are just excuses”

“I haven’t worked out in 4 days”

“My legs, arms, mouth, fill in the blank are sore”

“I am tired”

“It’s too late”

These are just a few of the statements my husband heard on our run last night. While some of them were true, half way through I started spouting off some of them to him. He simply said, “Those are just excuses.” And yes they were. He said that, I started running again and did not stop until we finished. Did I struggle? Yes. Was I tired and sore? Definitely. But did I finish? YES! I tried to use my excuses to justify not doing it when I was capable just standing in my own way.

In the first mile I started telling myself there was no way I would be able to do the half marathon (Run Revel) on Saturday if I was struggling already. My negative thoughts spiraled into thinking that I haven’t trained enough and I should back out of the race. Until my husband snapped me back (as he does 99.784715% of the time I act mildly crazy), I was letting my excuses lead my thinking because of one tough run. Sometimes we try and reason with ourselves by making excuses. What does that get you? Absolutely nothing. So the next time you feel the excuses starting (this applies to everything beyond fitness), stop and ask yourself – Are these just excuses? to stop the cycle and focus yourself back on track.

OC Marathon Coupon Code 

I am not in training mode for the OC Half Marathon yet but it will be here before you know it. The OC Half and Full Marathon 2017 prices increased on November 1st but if you missed the price increase, I have a coupon code to share with you today. You can get the same price before the price increase by using the coupon code below:


Tell me: What is your most used excuse? Mine is always “I am too tired”

I am an OC Ambassador.. again

Over the weekend, the husband and I ran a local 5K race. The race was rough. It was hot and it was significantly uphill but the post race high kicked in immediately after. It has been 5 months since I ran a race (the OC Half marathon) but this was the perfect start to my upcoming races. I have been doing consistent running at Orangetheory which made the sprint to the finish line yesterday feel just like an all out pace. Outside of Orangetheory I have been running at the gym and am excited that it is finally cooling down at night for some outdoor runs. In terms of races, I have a lot of exciting stuff to look forward to.

OC Marathon 2017

I am so thrilled and honored to be a part of the OC Ambassador team again for 2017. I don’t know yet if this will be the year I will do the full marathon but the half is a likely race. This will be my third year completing my favorite half marathon to date. This year they are adding the “OC Combo Crush” which is a challenge to complete the 5K on Saturday and the full or half marathon on Sunday. This lover of medals would love three medals for two races!! Be sure to sign up online and chose ‘Samantha Bruce’ under ambassadors.

OC Marathon Ambassador 2017

Run Revel Canyon City

Our next big race on the books is Run Revel in November. This is my first Run Revel and I am thrilled to be running with the husband. I have been ensuring that my training involves a significant amount of stretching my calves and KT Tape to prevent shin splints. Especially being that the race is downhill, I want to ensure my shins are kept in the best shape I can to prevent injury.

Ragnar So Cal 2017

Our So Cal Team from 2015 is getting back together. We entered in the lotto where I thought the chances were small that we would be picked but we were lucky to be picked. The team will be re-uniting in April and while I am not looking forward to a lack of shower for the weekend, I am looking forward to redeeming myself from the last race. The beach, spring weather and running 200 miles – it sounds so crazy but so exciting.

Happy Monday!

Half Marathon Playlist

Another weekend over but this weekend was an exciting, productive one because it was the last weekend before we leave for our honeymoon. There was plenty of computer work and studying in preparation for our trip. (for 17 days!!!) I have been trying to pre-write as many posts as possible and complete my studying for the ACE before I leave. Most of Saturday was filled with packing and getting ready for our trip as much as possible. Sunday was spent with teaching a cycle class, an Orangetheory class and celebrating Mother’s Day.

Half Marathon Playlist

I am stopping in today for a quick post to share my latest playlist. I have shared before how much music is a part of daily life for me. Therefore, when running a race, making a perfect playlist is important. Having music that will help motivate you is essential to help push you along to the finish line. I wanted to share my half marathon playlist I used for the OC Half.

Half Marathon Playlist Planks and Planes

Rockstar – Miley Cyrus
Stitches – Shawn Mendes
Super Bass – Nicki Minaj
Gold Digger – Kanye West
Black Magic – Little Mix
Never Forget You – Zara Larsson
I Know What You Did Last Summer – Shawn Mendes
Girls Chase Boys – Ingrid Michelson
I’ll Make a Man Out of You – Donny Osmond
The Night Is Still Young – Nicki Minaj
Drunk on Your Love – Brett Eldridge
I Lived – OneRepublic
Sit Still, Look Pretty – Daya
Lose Yourself – Eminem
Yeah 3x – Chris Brown
Sugar – Maroon 5
Hollow – Tori Kelley
Don’t Let Me Down – The Chainsmokers
Hell No – Ingrid Michelson
Without You (ft. Usher) – David Guetta
Nights on Fire – David Nail
Ride Wit Me – Nelly
Alien Ant Farm – Smooth Criminal

Check out more playlists on the Fitness Page!

OC Half Marathon 2016 Recap

Where do I begin? First and foremost, the OC Half Marathon is truly one of the prettiest courses. When I figured out that I wasn’t going to get a PR, I sent a txt to my mom saying I would at least enjoy a scenic run. Scenic it was. I love every single part of the race from the start at Fashion Island to crossing that finish line at the Costa Mesa Fairgrounds. As mentioned on Monday, the expo was great. The expo got me even more excited for race weekend. The expo is like a first day of school to me. I get little butterflies, just want to lay my outfit out and hurry to bed to get to the morning.


The first two miles went by quickly. I enjoyed hitting Pacific Coast Highway and running along side the beach after mile 2. I ran the first 5K with the hubby who was just kicking butt and I felt my knee already tightening up. I told him to go on without me and kept my pace until the 10K. I love running through the residential and commercial areas of Newport Beach that the first 6 miles went by quick. Even slowing down a bit, I was still on track for a PR until mile 8. It went downhill (and definitely not literally) from that point. At mile 8, I felt like I was in slow motion as my knee gave out. Thank goodness, I didn’t fall hard as I got myself up and hobbled off to the side. From that point, I still thought I could meet my race goal. I walked to the next aid station, drank a lot of water and started jogging. A few minutes of jogging became a consistent half mile walk with a half mile jog. At this time, I hit the Newport Beach Bay which provides views of the bay, boats and beautiful homes. I took some pictures in my walking breaks and by mile 9, I knew my PR was gone, I expected positive splits and decided to enjoy the rest of the race. Especially knowing that hill in mile 11 was coming, I knew it wasn’t worth it to push myself. At mile 11, luckily there is a large aid station to help distract from the large hill coming. Unfortunately, last year my legs were ready for any hills thanks to Ragnar. This year, that hill was a beast. I jogged up the entire hill and slowed down once I reached the top but I did it! The last two miles went quickly as there were more supporters leading up to the finish line.

I can say that for the first time in a race, I stopped at every single aid station. Besides my knee, my body felt great. Usually negative self talk will creep in when I see my goal is not obtainable but I knew I would finish. I was proud of everything my body had gotten through even if my time was a little slower than planned. It wasn’t my worst race, it wasn’t my best race. I finished 10 minutes past my half marathon last year but I crossed that finish line smiling with a fist pump!

 After crossing the finish line, I saw the hubby who had PR’d by over 15 minutes! I was so proud of him, it made the finish line even better. I got my amazing medal, took a few pictures and headed to the VIP tent with the OC Marathon to rest my knee.

A special thank you to the OC Marathon supporters – the Ambassador team, the police officers, all of the support aid and those who signed up for the race through me! I look forward to this amazing race against next year. 


Race Weekend

Race weekend came and went just like that! We spent Saturday at the expo for the OC Marathon before enjoying the beautiful weather! The packet pickup is so simple for the race that you can get in and get out quick if you wanted. I appreciate a race that is very organized. At the expo I stocked up on more of my favorite headbands – Bic Bands! I’m determines to get one in every glitter color they have.. I might almost be there! We walked around the expo to get Gu and look for tape for my knee. We enjoyed some of the vendors before leaving in the early afternoon.

When we left for the expo, the weather at home was overcast and drizzling but by the time we drove to the beach, it was perfect. A light breeze, blue skies which makes for great race weather. So after the expo, we enjoyed the beautiful weather with a walk along the beach and a delicious lunch at my favorite restaurant in Newport Beach. Crab Cooker, always has been and always be one of the best meals I can have! Fresh fish, coleslaw and potatoes are a pre-race meal I would eat every single time!

Our evening was much more low key as we got ready for the race, setting our stuff out for a 4:30am wake up call. One of the things I was excited to add to my race outfit- my new Fitbit Alta!! I got an early (Dog) Mothers Day present from Emma and the hubby. My Fitbit Charge was getting a little worn and since they released the Alta, I have been lusting over it! Even better I got to see how I liked it through a 2 hour race! Another thing I added to my flat runner was KT tape and I am so glad we did! It really helped support my knee throughout the race!

I will post my full race recap this week & my Fitbit Alta review soon but for now I am going to eat whatever I want, live in compression socks and ice the crap out of my knee. See you tomorrow!

Thinking Out Loud: Wayfarer

I realized that my post here is really two separate posts but being that it is Thursday, it is the perfect day to link up with Running With Spoons for some Thinking Out Loud Thursday!

Favorite Podcast Right Now

I stumbled across my latest obsession – The Skinny Confidential Him & Her Podcast. Why didn’t I stumble across this podcast just a few weeks earlier so I could have enjoyed during training. It will be perfect to catch up during the tons of flights we have during our honeymoon but I have a feeling I will binge listen to them all before that. I like this podcast so much because it feels like I am just listening to friends talk and I LOVE the topics they hit so far. When I was listening to my first podcast, they were answering a question about what to do when you feel uncertain about your future after college. They advised that of course, it is natural to feel undefined about your future. I loved that Lauren mentioned creating a list of ideas that do define you.

What Defines You?

When thinking about what I would put on my list, 3 broad categories immediately come to mind. I’m sure you can guess the first two – fitness and traveling. Another one that naturally follows with the group fitness is teaching. If I was to list out all of the things I am it would cover many areas – runner, instructor, traveler, cyclist, accountant, etc. We all are a lot of things that define us and its important to focus on what we are, rather than what we are not. During my regular internet browsing a few months ago, I stumbled across a word that is interchangeable for me with wanderluster.

Wayfarer Planks and Planes

“A wayfarer is someone who travels, especially on foot. The term entered English in the mid-1400’s as a combination of way meaning “a path or course leading from one place to another,” and fare, a verb meaning “to go; travel.” (Source)

For me, travel defines me. Travel makes me happy. Travel gives me experience. Travel is why I write this blog. Travel is indescribable. So basically, this will be my favorite word for awhile.

OC Half Marathon

I can’t believe the half marathon is in 3 days! RICE has been crucial in helping my knee. While it doesn’t feel perfect, it feels better than it did last week. I also learned that Rest is the hardest part for me. I wanted to do intense workouts. I wanted to participate in all of the classes I taught. Rest however is what is helping and what the next 3 days are about. Race pick up on Saturday will be a nice day to enjoy at the beach after the expo, before hitting the hay early with a 4am wake up call. The resting will definitely continue to the honeymoon where I will have almost 3 weeks to  give the knee rest from running and cycling.

Tell me: What would be on your list of things that define you?

A Runner’s Nightmare: Injury

As I’ve been getting more and more excited for the OC Half Marathon, I’ve really been hitting my stride in my work. Then two weeks before the race, the thing that all runner’s dread… an injury.

I taught my usual cycle class on Saturday morning and spent the rest of the day doing errands and relaxing. On Saturday night, we started out on a sunset run but a few miles in, I felt that pull in my knee that made me worry. I was so worried, I stopped and stretched my legs out. I knew better than to keep pushing it so I slowed my pace down significantly as well as stopping to stretch every half mile. When I finished, I felt better and chalked it up to the double workout. When I got home, I iced my knee, threw on the compression socks and rolled it out before bed.


When I woke up on Sunday morning, I woke up to the runner’s nightmare, despite being awake. My knee seemed to be more than just sore muscles but an injury. I taught cycle class at an easier pace than usual and made sure to stretch that night but the pain kept coming back. After googling my symptoms like crazy, I am fairly certain the problem is my IT band. Thank goodness, the middle of this week was supposed to start tapering off my mileage. I will just have to take it easier than planned. I think as an athlete and runner, it is hard to accept an injury. Even harder is having to actually rest in the RICE method. Icing, compression and elevation is easy but the R should stand for rough because resting is the hardest part. I know that in the long run, this is necessary and prevents the injury from getting even worse. Looks like a lot of yoga and swimming will be filling my next two weeks.

Weekly Workouts: Half Training

Before the injury, my workouts were filled with the start of reducing my mileage, increasing strength training and rest. Although next’s week workouts will look a lot different, this is a great lead up to the half marathon and I am happy with the training I did leading up to the race.


Thursday – 4 miles

Wednesday – 5 miles

Thursday – 30 mins elliptical & arm/ab workout

Friday – Rest

Saturday – 1 hour cycle class in the morning, 6 miles

Sunday – 1 hour cycle class & leg workout

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – 1 hour cycle class

Here’s to an easy rest week before the half marathon! 

Weekly Workouts & Running Updates

A little late on a Wednesday but still a Wednesday nonetheless! I am getting more and more excited about the OC Marathon coming up in a few weeks. Running has continued to be a huge stress release during the week and something I crave throughout a rough day. The two things that are really helping with my running – I finally found my Garmin and I got new Asics!


I shared on Instagram, that I got a new pair of GT2000 Asics a few weeks ago. After a couple of runs, I am so happy with these shoes. They feel great and haven’t given me a single problem (knock on wood because I do not need any issues). Funny thing about these shoes, I would not have been caught dead in them a few years back. For some reason, I have never liked extremely bright shoes. I have always preferred grey, black or white with a very small hint of color. I have noticed slowly my eyes getting just a little bit more color with each purchase. This time I just went for it. I saw these shoes, loved the mint and went they fit perfectly, I just had to have them!


Another great find – my Garmin. That poor watch has been sitting in a box being unused. I am so happy to have finally found my beloved Garmin 220. I had misplaced it when moving and found it about two months ago. However, somehow the charger ended up in a completely different place. The worst part, I discovered it two months after the fact, in a box I walk by 10x a day. Go figure! I am just glad I have in while training and will be thrilled to have it during my race.

Weekly Workouts: Half Training


My half training this week was exactly as I wanted (and needed) it to be. With only Less than a month until the OC Half Marathon and let me tell you, I am super excited. While my mileage is about a week behind schedule, my pace on every run has been above par. So I am hoping the two even each other come May 1st. Per the usual, my strength training and cross training were consistent this week.

Wednesday – 1 hour cycle class

Thursday – 5 miles

Friday – Rest

Saturday – 1 hour cycle class followed by 2 miles run

Sunday – 1 hour cycle class and leg workout

Monday –  Two 1 hour cycle classes

Tuesday –  1 hour cycle class and 1 mile run

Wednesday –  5 miles

Check back tomorrow for a Travel Thursday post! 

Current Running Playlist

Only 2 months until the OC Half Marathon! Did you miss signing up for the OC Full or Half marathon before the price increase? No problem! Use the code “SAMANTHA10OFF” and reference my name (Samantha Bruce) to get $10 off! Sign up today and start running!

I have been so happy with the perfect weather we have been having in California. Although we have a little rain in the forecast, overall the weather has been ideal for running. My training has had some great and not so great days but hey, they can’t all be perfect. With the wedding and family obligations in the past, my main focus right now is my fitness. Of course I want to hit my “A” goal of finishing but I am really training to accomplish my “B” goal of getting a half marathon PR. My back issues have crept back but I am trying to stay on top of my pain management with visits to the chiropractor and acupuncturist. Luckily, (as always) music has helped me get through my workouts lately!

I have mentioned this many times before but if you looked at any of my playlists, I think the best word to describe them would be eclectic. My running playlist the last week has been no different. I like hitting shuffle and knowing that every song that comes on will pump me up! This playlist is a mix of today’s hits and a few throwbacks thrown in!
Running Playlist Planks and Planes
Tell me: What is one word you would use to describe your playlists?
Check out my other playlists on the Fitness page!