Bibrave Race Review: Equinox Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry into the Equinox Half Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

This past weekend, I got my first weekend away in a long while. I sat for my Internal Medicine Certification Exam on Thursday and promptly celebrated with a ‘racecation’ to Ft. Collins, CO for the Equinox Fall Half Marathon.

Friday afternoon (after much needed sleep and cleaning my house), I flew out to Denver, rented a car and drove an hour to Ft. Collins. I stayed at a Candlewood Suites Hotel, because I still have the resident mentality of where’s the cheapest place to stay. Plenty of space, cable TV for plenty of football and nice people. I found a nice little place called Domenic’s a mile away and went for dinner (if you’re visiting Ft. Collins or live there, go check it out on Harmony St, the Pork Belly appetizer was amazing!).

Saturday morning, I drove down to Loveland for the Kickin’ Kawasaki 5K (different blog post for a different day) before heading to the Loveland Outlets to do mandatory shopping. It’s always a plus to find your running shoes $40 off and some running stuff you don’t need, but convince yourself that you do! Afterwards, I headed for a shower at the hotel and to a sports bar to watch some college football.

Packet Pick Up: fairly small and only from 2-7 pm on Saturday at Sierra Trading Post. The location of it wasn’t the best- it was in a mall type location so parking was limited. It reminded me of why I hate mall parking lots. You also had the option to get your packet mailed to you for $20 or reserve your packet for pick up on race day for $10. All runners received a long sleeved 1/4 zip jacket, however, I was seeing some people not get theirs, so I’m not sure if there weren’t enough and they’d get them mailed to them. The one issue I had with the bibs is that the timing chip was literally taped to the bib (and by taped I mean packing taped). When Sunday rolled around, some people found their bib had no chip attached to their bib. There wasn’t a real expo sort of speak, since there was less than 800 runners for the Half Marathon

The swag of @greeneventscolorado fall equinox half #bibchat

A photo posted by Christine (@cginpnw) on

 

Race Day

Come Sunday, I woke up bright and early and wanted to throw my phone against a wall a few times. After getting changed and ready, I drove over to Pourde H.S. and parked. Since the race is point to point, runners are bussed to the start, which was at the Mishawaka Amphitheater, a good 45 min drive from the High School. Buses ran from 6-630 from the HS for the half marathon and a little later for the 5 K, which started around the 8 mile mark for the half marathon. No one could be dropped off by personal vehicles and one spectators could be on the busses. After arriving, I dropped my bag in bag check (which would bussed to the finish) and used the port-a-potties. There was also water and coffee available for runners. I met up with fellow Bibrave Pro Katherine and we chatted up until the start.

The Course

The race started right at 8, no frills or fan fare to it. Katherine and I separated and off we went. The entire race is downhill, which is nice when you have minimal training.  The course is very scenic and I can see why people like it from that aspect. Having no phone service made it nice to get  into the grove of just running. The first 2-3 miles we had one lane of road to work with, but afterwards, it narrowed to something that seemed to be the length of the shoulder of the road. The roads weren’t that busy, but what made me nervous is that there were blind curves where you couldn’t see if traffic was coming. Since it was a one way in/out sort of situation for traffic, the roads weren’t shut down. From a safety perspective, I wish that a lane of road would have been completely shut down for the race. I also didn’t see any medical on course. I saw a few police on motorcycles, but nothing more than that, not even at the rest stops.

Rest stops were every few miles. Primarily, at miles 3.2, 5, 7.5, 9.2 and 11. The last 3 were placed after the 5 mile start. We never saw any of the 5 mile runners (or at least I didn’t).

Scenes from @greeneventscolorado today. No phone service on course! #bibchat

A photo posted by Christine (@cginpnw) on

 

Post Race

I finished in 2:37, and quite frankly, given the lack of training, wasn’t bad. The finish was at the basin of the Canyon. At the finish, you received a medal and commemorative glass, which was your cup for water post race. I grabbed my bag and went and found food. Donuts, fruit, bagged snacks, etc were available. Runners received a coupon for a free slice of pizza, which was otherwise $5. It looked good, but the line was long for it, and not worth the wait, especially since I had to get back to the hotel and shower. There were tents set up for vendors and merchandise for runners and spectators. They were also doing awards, which included getting a poster and something engraved. Buses were transporting people back to the HS, which was about 15 minutes or so. I was able to get showered and checked out of the hotel.

Overall, I think it was a decent race. I think the race needs to look at closing off more road so runners have more space and for more runner safety. I also think they need to relook the location of the packet pick up. The line was long early on and getting in and out was a mess. However, it’s a scenic race for sure that lets you enjoy Colorado, especially when it’s nice out

Post race swag from @greeneventscolorado #bibchat

A photo posted by Christine (@cginpnw) on

 

 

Destination: Santa Barbara

Running and Wine. Two things in my life that should theoretically go hand in hand. Come May, 2017, I’ll be in Santa Barbara for a weekend of running, wine country and everything in between! Destination Races has eight races, which include locations like Santa Barbara, Virginia, Napa to Sanoma, and British Columbia. All include a race in a place with Wine Country galore!

What’s to look forward in just over 249 days? And why should you look into Running for some wine?!

  1. Good exercise
  2. Post race wine tasting
  3. Scenic running through Wine Country California

Destination also provides a whole bunch of race options: run the whole race, or register as a team. Wine tasting or no wine tasting (but why would you go to wine country and not taste wine?). VIP experiences, extras all weekend.

If this doesn’t sell you, join me in the VIP Experience. Whatcha get?

  • Personalized VIP Race Bib
  • Express Packet Pick-Up at Race Expo with VIP Gift
  • Transportation to Race Start from Select Pick-up Locations
  • Pre-Race Energizing Breakfast Items at Start Line
  • Exclusive Warm-Up & Stretching Zone with Private Restrooms at the Start Line. Start line VIP area provided by The Burger Barn.
  • Private Gear Check with Pick-up at Finish Line VIP Tent
  • Access to VIP Tent at Post-Race Wine & Music Festival
  • Complimentary Invitation to All Race Extra Events
  • Private Wine Glass Pick-Up in Festival VIP Tent
  • Complimentary Recovery Brunch at Festival VIP Tent
  • Post-Race Food & Wine Experience
  • Contribution to Local Charity

Hopefully, this floats your boat! And if it doesn’t take $10 off with BIBRAVE10 and look for us in the orange on race day!

As always, race reviews happen over at Bibrave!

 

Product Review: What’s Your Buff?

Disclaimer: I received an Original BUFF® to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Buff products have become a regular product in my house. So many different options, so many to choose from! Needless to say, when they’re on sale, it’s not good because I find more I like!

Not sure which one to choose? Let me take you on a Buff Tour

  1. The Original Buff: If you’re looking for something long, take a look at this one. Good for headbands, bandanas, neck and ear coverage and for looking like a pirate! Also, good for making hats, and for Moe the cat to get ready for his daily exercise and for you to keep the sweat out of your face!

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Check out @buff_usa. It's tried and tested by @life.of.moe. #buffie #bibchat

A photo posted by Christine (@cginpnw) on

 

2. The Half Buff: Just like the full buff, only half the size! Good for hotter days, or if you don’t like something so long. Easily foldable, washable and based a whole lot of fun designs. Think of 2 of these equal 1 full buff!

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3. The Wool Buff: good for cooler and colder weather. Keeps the head and neck warm. Hey, it’s football season, end of biking season and the necks want to keep warm and the sweat off you! Different lengths and different colors to have fun with

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4. The Reversible Thermal Buff: Perfect for the Minnesotans, Montanans, Canadians, Alaskans and anywhere with cold, snow and the brave soles who have long, cold winters. Get two fun colors in one, the chance to choose which one you want at any point in time and a warm neck and ears!

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5. The Buff Hoodie: Perfect if for some reason your coat is hoodless or it starts raining/ snowing/sleeting/hailing after you’ve gone to work. Even better if you work out after work or lunch and the weather pulled a fast one! Hood with a buff around the neck, that keeps you dry and warm

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What’s your Buff??

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Happy Fall!

As Fall approaches us, signing up for fall races or finding fun things to wear while working out is always better with some discounts! So enjoy!

Bibrave races I’ll be at!

  1. Equinox Fall 1/2 Marathon and 5 miler (Ft Collins, CO): 10% off with BibRaveRocks: the shirts are fun and I’ll be there!
  2. Honolulu Marathon (Honolulu, HI): $50 off with BIBRAVE.We’re even doing a Bibrave Shake Out Run on 12/9! Learn more here!
  3. Santa Barbara Destination Races (Santa Barbara, CA): $10 off with BIBRAVE10. Who doesn’t like wine anyways?! I’ll be there to enjoy the fun with you!

Some more from around the web

  1. Harvest Marathon: $10 off with BIBRAVE
  2. Philadelphia Rock n Roll Half Marathon and 5K: $20 off the half with PHILLYMAG and $10 off the 5K with PHILLYMAG5K
  3. Orange Mud: 10% off hydration packs with DAYOFF10
  4. UCAN Snack Bars: 15% off with BIBRAVE
  5. Jack Rabbit: End of season running sale with extra 20% off with EOSS20. eBates fan? Make sure to go through Ebates or install the cash back button that hangs out next to the browser for another 4% cash back!

BibRave Product Review: xx2i Australia Sunglasses

Disclaimer: I received a pair of xx2i Australia1 Sunglasses to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

As a runner, you know a good thing once you see it (or run it, try it, etc). When the chance came up to try another pair of xx2i sunglasses, I threw up my virtual hand to volunteer! I’ve tried the xx2i USA and the Hawaii’s and loved both pairs.

My Australia’s showed up in the mail a few weeks ago and was my first official piece of Bibrave Pro mail since moving to Spokane. We had the option of black, black/white and tortoise frames, and I went with the classic black (although the black and whites would have been a good color combination too!).

Decisions, decisions. @xx2i Australia or Hawaii today? #bibchat

A photo posted by Christine (@cginpnw) on

The Australia sunglasses have a polarized lenses, which helps with adjusting to sunlight. It also has a light frame (easy to forget that you’re wearing them), but stay in place the entire time you’re running, running errands or out and about. Additionally, they come with a removal padded insert that can help with extra protection. The insert easily pops in and out (I tried placing and removing the insert a few times, without issue). I haven’t had a need for the insert, so I’ve not used it, but it seems a bit on the bulky side to me (short runner problems!).

I’ve had a chance to wear the Australias on a few runs out in Spokane, where it doesn’t feel like death outside. They really stay in place well and don’t slide around, even without the insert. I’ve also had no issue with lense fogging and the the polarized lenses are spot on! I’m a huge fan of the way xx2i incorporates the light frames and the durability into their products, it really makes them easy to wear and ‘forget’ that you have anything on

Neighborhood run with my @xx2i! Might as well take advantage of heat for @honolulumarathon! #bibchat

A photo posted by Christine (@cginpnw) on

What’s even better about these lenses?? 8K optical technology. In English, it means that you can still get a clear image of what you’re looking at, even with the glasses on (at least that’s what I get out of it :-)).

Taking a rest day or going out and running errands? Feel free to take the Australias with you. They can double as a casual pair of sunglasses that give you the cool casual feel around town (and make people jealous that you have a pair and they don’t). They hold up in the 90+ degree heat in Spokane well and have a good fit to them!

The specifics: they retail for $124.99 and have a lifetime warranty (because xx2i is awesome like that). Also, you get 365 days to try them out and if you’re aren’t satisfied (but I promise you will be), you can return them, no questions asked. And because we love you, use xx2irocks for 50% off (I mean come on, why wouldn’t you want to try them!!).

Join use on 8/16 at 9pm EST/6PST for #bibchat with xx2i! I promise they’ll be around to answer questions and to help you find the best pair of sunglasses for you!

 

 

 

BibRave Product Review: Amphipod Hydraform Bottle

Disclaimer: I received an Amphipod Water Bottle to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Summer is in full swing as I write this, likely my last review as a Cleveland resident before moving to Spokane, Washington. It’s been consistently in the 80s here recently and I’m sans gym membership (no LA Fitnesses in Spokane unfortunately, it’s been a good run!). That just means more reason to get out and enjoy the long days after work and get some runs in on the pavements. And with summer, all the more reason to stay hydrated!!

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When presented the option to try an Amphipod water bottle, I was intrigued. I’ve tried a few other hydration options that I’ve liked, but I’ve never been able to find a hand held water bottle that I’ve actually liked. Enter Amphipod Hydraform Ergo Lite. We had the option of doing a 16 or 20 oz bottle and I went 20 oz.

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The nice thing about the Hydraform Ergo Lite is that it’s made for function and safety while keeping in mind runner’s input at the same time. It’s light weight, so for me, I don’t mind carrying it on my runs (though, I’ll probably end up keeping it for shorter runs). Also, it has a pouch on the side of the carrier, big enough for an iPhone 6 (especially if you need to call for help!). I had no problem carrying my phone, IDs and cash/credit cards- still plenty of space. Another perk? A clip for your keys! No more worries about dropping your car and apartment keys into the port-a-potties or down a sewage pipe.

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Now, drinking from this sucker. The mouth piece is a one way thing, so either suck or squirt. Easy as pie! no struggling to twist off a lid or go searching for a water bottle. Also, there’s more than enough room to through on some gels if you’d like

Because of being int the midst of moving, I haven’t had the chance to try longer runs or races with it, but I’m more than looking forward to a few of the ones I have scheduled already on the west coast. I’m already looking forward to trying this on some longer runs. My only suggestion would be to make the carrier insulated for the warmer weather so it would keep the water cool on the run, especially with the summer weather.

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Either way, go find yourself an Amphipod water bottle and see why we love it! Join us on Tuesday at 9EST/6PST with Amphipod to chat for an hour!

What are other pros saying: Sarah  Alex   Jessica

Follow Amphipod online:

IG: @amphipodrunning  Twitter: @amphipod  Facebook:  Amphipod

Bibrave Race Review: Vermont City Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Vermont City Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

After a few days of digestion of this weekend’s Vermont City Marathon, it’s fair to say that I learned a lot this weekend. With 40+ half marathons and 7 marathons in the book, I’ve been able to say I’ve finished all of them until now, no matter how ugly the weather, circumstances, etc were. This weekend, the deck of cards dealt a different hand!

I ran marathon 1 of the year in March and towards the end of that race, started to feel some heat in VA. Between know and then, I’d been able to do a few half marathons, but due to work, I wasn’t getting runs in until 730 or 8 PM at night. I was looking forward to Vermont City as a chance to visit Burlington and just have some fun during a long run!

Vermont City has a Marathon, 2 person marathon (read 13.1 miles each) and a 3-5 person relay. Registration varied from $99-$135, depending on when you registered and you could register at the expo if there was space available, as there were caps.

I flew out to Burlington the day prior to the race. I had 2 regional planes (read, I had a soft bag that I could stuff in the overhead bin. When I arrived in Burlington, it was in the 70s-80s. Even before I left the airport, I was hearing how this was the hottest year ever for the race and that the days leading up to the race, organizers were thinking of moving/canceling the race. I picked up my rental car and headed to the Sheraton for the expo. It was a small race expo, but there were plenty of merchandise, vendors, etc there, including a bunch of local places, which I appreciate. It was easy to pick up your bib, shirt, etc. They even had a shirt exchange site if you could find your size you wanted and a message board for relay teams that were looking for last minute runners. I also had a chance to meet Jess Cover (the communications person for VCM), who was awesome. She told me about the adjustments that they’d made for the race and their plans for the heat (extra ice, adjustments on course, etc).

I stayed at the Holiday Inn Burlington and headed to check in after the expo and relax. I had my stuff all laid out, filled out the medical info on the back of my bib and got organized. I spent the evening in downtown Burlington. I hit the sack early in anticipation for an earlier wake up call.

I woke up around 6 and got ready in the hotel. Since I was at one of the race hotels, they had water and light breakfast stuff out for runners. They also had shuttles bussing people to the start, which I took full advantage of. I got to Battery Park and checked my bag (extra shirt and plenty of fluids for after the race) before utilizing the porta potties. The race started at 803 for runners (800 for hand cyclists) and it was already in the mid 70s and at a yellow health level for the EAS. As we headed off, I lost one of my 8 0z water bottles on my spibelt (bummer). Plenty of spectators sending us off. We weaved through town and dealt with the weather. It was sunny, no clouds and as we continued on, you could feel it getting warmer and the heat from the pavement. I could feel it getting warmer. The first water stop was 2 miles in or so. We continued to mile 3, where we hit some of the communities. As we got to mile 4, we headed out onto highway that’s closed down once a year for the race. This is where I started struggling. No shade at all and it was getting hotter. By mile 5 (and I was way behind on pacing), we were at a level red for the emergency system. I had already seen 2 runners being pulled off course by EMS and the bike medics were asking people if they were doing ok. We hit some more water stations and the turn around just after mile 6 which had ice and gatorade. By the time I was heading back, I could see the rear of the race coming the other direction, which was disheartening. I hit mile 7-8 off the highway and worked my way through some of the neighborhoods. The residents were awesome and had sprinklers out for runners and their own water stops for runners, which was much appreciated. By mile 10, I was walking more than I was running. I was also feeling like I was starting to not sweat and my calf was nagging me. It took about 40 minutes for me to do 3 miles and the heat was getting worse with the humidity.

I made it to Oakwood Park (mile 13.5) and the halfway point of the race, just past the 2 person relay exchange. At that point, I thought the best decision for me was to stop and pull out of the race. It wasn’t something I personally took lightly, but I was worried that aid stations would run out of fluids, as I had seen the last few prior to stopping starting to not have a lot left by the time I got there. I took the relay buses to the finish line to get my bag and found massage therapists for runners. I had them work on my legs, and as I was there, a family member of a runner checked his phone to find out the race had been cancelled at noon (4 hours into the race) and that anyone beyond a certain time frame wouldn’t get an official time. I wondered a little bit, found some food, bought some ice cream and headed back to the hotel for a shower.

As I reflected on everything, I did a twitter blast to try and find the other bib rave pros running the race. None of us officially finished, but we found out the timer had been left running for people to find family members on the course. Here’s where I thought some things could use a little bit of fine tuning. No one can control the weather. This is up there as one of the top 2 hottest marathons I’ve done (the Chicago 2010 Marathon being the other). I wish that there would have been a direct text alert system to runners so they knew what was going on, in addition to the Race Joy app. I think it would have helped with some of the confusion and so we knew what was going on. I don’t always set up push notifications because it kills my batteries. I’d also do colored flags to correlate with the signs so it’s easier for runners to see on course.

I personally agree with the decision to call the race, as I saw at least 5 squads take people off course. At this point, it’s a matter of me figuring my next step. I’m getting ready to move out west and I have some halves set up. I’ll also have more time to adequately train, so hopefully I’ll be able to get out and train better in heat. I have a December marathon set up for Hawaii, so hopefully I can get some redemption there. All in all, I think there’s a lot to learn here. DNFs happen and I’m lucky it took this long to get. Remember, safety always first, even if there’s disappointment around it. Regardless of what you thought about the outcome of VCM, I really think Vermont City is a race worth signing up for. The staff is wonderful, communicated well and really tried to make adjustments to the race given their circumstances. The only thing I would add is they need to consider a one person half marathon (I would have been all over that!!). I thought their communication post race was spot on. They took the time to explain their rationale, debunk any online rumors and answer any questions about local New England Double and Vermont City Grand Prix. Curious? Read it here in their Letter from the Race Director

Thank you Vermont City, for showing us how classy race organizers can be, how awesome your city and community are in their love for runners and how one can still have a good time even when the weather isn’t kind to us

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