Red, White, Boom and a BBQ!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Red White and Boom Half 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!

July 4th has come and gone, BBQs and fireworks have happened, and I finally knocked off Minnesota off my 50 state half list. Last week, I headed off to Minneapolis for the Red, White and Boom Half Marathon. It was my first half marathon on a holiday and my first weekday half marathon race (it only took 90+ half marathons!). I spent Tuesday getting caught up on adulting (microwave delivered, fuse blown that required an electrician and a worn out Moe the cat).

I flew out to Minneapolis Wednesday morning and got in just before noon. I arrived to some pretty humid MSP weather and Ubered my way over to packet pick up at Summit Brewery in St. Paul (10 minutes from the airport). Had a fun conversation with my driver and who else gets to say packet pick up is at a Brewery?! Pick up was small, which I was ok with. I’m a fan of no frills pick ups where you’re in and out, not pressured to buy anything. They did have some gear for purchase and bib look up. Beer fan? Beer tastings were available too!

I headed over to my hotel in downtown Minneapolis, just a short walk from the start. After checking in, I found some lunch and explored downtown some. I went for a quick shake out run in the hotel because of 90* and humid weather. After some dinner, I hung out in the hotel room for a little bit and went to Whole Foods (because let’s face it, I wish I had one in eastern Washington) to find some pre race breakfast for the 4th. Because of the heat and humidity, the race was good about communicating with us about race updates, which is always appreciated.

Race morning started bright and early. The half marathon started at 630 AM and the 5K started at 6:50. For quite a while, I was worried we were going to get rained on, though we got lucky, in that the rain held off until after noon. Because of the humidity and weather, we actually started out as a yellow flag on the EAS system and runners were given the option to downgrade from the half/relay to the 5K at no cost. While in the starting corrals, I actual ran into Mary Jo (a fellow Bibrave Pro) and we chatted prior to the start. The start was at the Mills Ruin Park and it’s actually in a residential area. The organizers are mindful of the community, so there wasn’t loud music or an MC on the microphone due to it being so early. After the national anthem, we were off and running. We went through West River Park and Theodore Wirth Parkway until you got to Victory Park before making your way back through the streets of Minneapolis. Be ready for some hills the first part of the race (all before mile 6), some fun facts along the way and some fun people and volunteers along the course. By 9 miles in, we were red flagged to run with extreme caution, but overall, us 2000 runners were able to finish. Aid stations every 1.5-2 miles, though with the humidity, every mile would have been nice to have. Something I did miss were something like oranges or bananas, or even sponges. The last 2 miles were back along the Mississippi River where we started with the finish being across the Stone Arch Bridge (lined with flags)

The race finish was hopping and the place to be. It was a big old BBQ and a party waiting for runners to finish. You were met with medals, water, chocolate milk and popsicles at the finish (red, white and blue of course). The post race party was filled with games (corn hole and hanging donut contests), post race recovery, BBQ and a whole bunch of family fun. There was plenty to do for runners, family and friends a like!

Overall, a fun race and a race to look at for Minnesota. Looking for a holiday race with a great post race party?? Come looking at this one! Great communication, good course. I bu wish there were a few more aid stations on course. Be prepared for some humid weather, but be prepared for it in the midwest. Great people, great atmosphere and a fun time

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Red, White And Boom (fireworks I hope?!)

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Red White and Boom Half 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!

It’s 4th of July week, which means it’s Red, White and Boom Half Marathon week!!! This is the first time I’ve done a half marathon during the week, and it’s throwing me for a loop (on top of not having a working microwave and a surge that I’m pretty sure blew as well). I leave tomorrow for Minneapolis and am praying to the weather gods that what ever thunder storms are happing can kindly hold off, or just leave the area all together. Fingers crossed!

Still haven’t signed up yet? Hurry up and use 18RWBBIBRAVE for 5% (good up until 6 pm TOMORROW or 50 uses for the 5k and 50 uses for the half marathon)!

If you’re traveling like I am to the race, be ready for some humidity and possibly some rain so hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! This morning, race staff emailed out about starting the race at flag condition yellow, so take a look at the EAS System of what to expect at each color flag


Wondering how much fun the race is?? Take a look at what happened in 2014 on their recap video too (credit: Twin Cities in Motion)

Wondering what type of 4th of July fun is going on? Head over to the Parks and Rec website to figure out what other fun is happening after you race

 

You Strava, I Strava, We all Strava!

Disclaimer: I received an upgraded membership and swag to Strava in order to review Strava 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!

Strava. You know, that thing people use to keep track of all the activities and all the things. No? Not quite?? I’ve been on strava for the past few years, though have actually been doing more actual outdoor running in the past year to actually be able to utilize it. Not convinced? Take a look at what you can keep track of. Emails once a month after a month wraps up to see how well you did the past 28-31 days or see how you’re doing for the year. Not just a runner? Biking and swimming are options too!

Looking for a way to stay motivated? We all know winter is cold and miserable and summers can be rough (in Eastern Washington, we have fire season, cue the smoke), so challenges are always a plus. Strava has challenges to help keep you going! Distance challenges, climbing challenges, challenges for fun that get you discounts to favorite activity or retail places (Lululemon, good running places, entry into drawings for race entries). Did I mention I got a 25% off discount to a favorite running place for completing a challenge?!?

Another reason to love strava? different ways to support different causes. This month, add a rainbow emoji to your work out title for your runs and your route becomes a rainbow. Get a special badge for completing the #bravelikegabe run on her birthday.

What else to love? Connect with a whole bunch of cool people, get and give encouragement and join meet ups and challenges, see who’s going to certain events and join groups for local/national groups!

Overall, love my strava, will connect it to every Garmin I own to keep an update on my activities (or use the app on my watch). Looking to download the app? Head over here for iTunes/Apple!

 

 

 

Race Review: the Ottawa Marathon, 5K and 2K

This time last we, I was in Ottawa falling asleep after finishing marathon 11. Spring Marathons are always difficult when you live somewhere where you snow and ice all winter. I spent most of February running inside due to Spokane weather if that says anything. After working a 10 day stretch, I flew out to Ottawa the Thursday before race day by going through Salt Lake City and Toronto. I ended up getting to the hotel around 830 after getting through the airport (and finding myself some Tim Horton’s).

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Reasons to love Canada πŸ€—πŸ€—

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On Friday, I walked over to the Expo that was at the Shaw Center in downtown Ottawa. The poor girl at bib pick up was running around getting my 3 different bibs, since I was running the 2K, 5K and Marathon. 3 shirts (2 of which are the same), 3 bibs, but not a whole lot of swag in the swag bag. I went wandering through the expo and ended up with a fun sweatshirt that was 25% off (and cheaper in USD when compared to CAD). Decent amount of vendors, but a lot of stuff that seems the same when compared to other expos. I spent the rest of Friday walking around Ottawa, exploring the grounds of Parliament and finding some good food.

Saturday was a double race day. If you were being incredibly ambitious, you could sign up for the lumberjack challenge, which involved doing the 2K, 5K and 10K on Saturday plus the Marathon on Sunday. I wasn’t feeling that crazy, so I did everything but the 10K. The 2K took all of 10 minutes and was an easy jaunt around town. I spent it trying to not trip over little kids weaving in and out of people, and it was actually semi obnoxious. After finishing and dashing to bag check to switch out bibs, I headed over to the 5k start, that was a little more organized. Having corrals that were sent off every few minutes helped thin things out. Plenty to see on the 5K including Parliament, downtown Ottawa and the river. Water stops about half way through, but I feel like I had an additional stop due to the 10K being part of the course. After you finished your race, you went through the finisher chute and got fluids, medals and then directed to food, where they handed you a bag with bagels, a banana and some chips

Sunday was the main event. I was up bright and early and out the door around 615/630 to get to the marathon. It was a 7 AM start, 2 hours ahead of the half marathon. The start was in the same location as Saturday’s events downtown and when I got to the start, the energy was buzzing and exciting. Corrals were set up by color and time to keep things smooth. Guns went off at 7 AM, after the Canadian National Anthem. The first few miles of any distance race, I usually get a feel for how I’m feeling and what I want to do. I ended up falling in with the 4 hr 30 min pace group with the goal of staying with them as long as I could and then aiming to beat my NYC Marathon from last year.

The course itself is a mix of city and scenic, relatively flat, though there are some hills. The first 5K was along the Rideau Canal before we weaved through town and towards the Ottawa River. We kept on pushing though and crossed over into Gatiineau for 10K. Along the way, we passed the Canadian War Museum and the National Gallery. It was about here ( just over 14 miles in), that I fell off the 4 hr 30 min pace group and slowed down some. I made the mistake of not having a throw away shirt and then over dressing, so I spent time losing a long sleeved shirt that I ended up tossing because I didn’t want to carry it for the next 11 miles. Definitely sad about that one because it was one of my good shirts. We followed the Ottawa River some more before hitting some more scenic parts of the race, in addition to passing Riddau Hall and 24 Sussex. The last 10k was spent coming back into town and covering some ground we had already seen. The last 3-5K we joined up with the Half Marathon, as we shared part of the course. Final course time was 4:49:04 (approximately)!

On course, water stops seemed to be every 3-4K. It got warm quick, and I wish we had stops every 2K or so to accommodate. Aid stations had water and Nuun, with some that had gels. I’m part of the gatorade/powerade fan club as Nuun doesn’t sit well with my stomach. I was wishing they’d at least alternate to help us out a little bit. One of the big areas to look at is the post race area. We were met by water and medals and then had a good 1/4 mile minimum walk to the runners area. Only downside is that they were essentially handing out half of a bagel and a bag of chips because so much food was out. The only beverage available in the post race area was beer, which doesn’t go well with me. I wish there was more bottled water and something like chocolate milk for runners because I was dying. After you exited, there were food trucks available, but I feel like there should have been more available for runners that you didn’t have to pay for.

Overall, a fun race and definitely one to consider. Fun bibs, fun crowds and good medals!

What’s in a Streak?

Disclaimer: I received an annual Strava Summit subscription and Strava merchandise to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews

Data. Every runner’s dream! I picked up running in medical school as way to destress and forget about life for a bit. I tried keeping written logs, no logs, other website logs and couldn’t find a good balance. Once I started the life of marathons, I ended up getting a Garmin, and over time found Strava, where I linked my Garmin to keep track of all my cardio!

Strava is an online/app based site that allows people to connect, keep track of workouts and take parts in challenges, earn digital trophies and so much more.

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Run, bike or swim….what are you tracking??

Challenges and trophies happen monthly, weekly and within groups themselves. NYRR has virtual races that can even get you guaranteed entry in their races that are tracked through Strava. Complete certain challenges to earn discounts on products as well! Complete a challenge and get trophies for your trophy case.

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Looking to keep track of your yearly miles? Do that too! Indoor miles, outdoor miles, spinning miles, whatever floats your boat

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The Streak, Bibrave Style

The month of May, Bibrave is having a running streak! Wondering where to ‘meet’ a bunch of online friends who like running and want to do some streaking running style. It’s not your typical Bulls NBA Championship of the 1990s, the UCLA Bruins NCAA Basketball streak under John Wooden or the current OSU Buckeyes Streak of beating Michigan. It’s a way to streak and have a fun time doing it.

Follow Bibrave on Strava and come join the streak:Β strava.com/clubs/bibrave

Red White and Boom! Coming for you Minneapolis

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Red White and Boom Half 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!”

Minneapolis. I’m so familiar with their airport, I know where all their restaurants are and their terminals are like the back of my hand (because hey, traveling to the East Coast on certain airlines puts you through MSP multiple times a year). The last time I actually got to enjoy MSP was when I ran a 15K at least 5 years ago. I’ve been looking for a half marathon to get Minnesota off my half marathon list so why not a mid week half marathon over the 4th of July to get it done?

I’m beyond excited to run the Red White and Boom half marathon. All of my half marathons have been weekend races, so a mid week race will be interesting to say the least (get my long run done early??). Twin Cities Racing puts on a decent amount of races in The Minneapolis/St.Paul area and I cant wait to go out for a few days.

Red, White and Boom is a two day event and the half marathon takes you along the West River Parkway, Victory Park and Stone Park Bridge. Post race? Enjoy a cook out at the post race party and fireworks to celebrate July 4! A local? Be sure to visit Summit Brewing Company leading up to the race.

Want to start off the 4th right? Register for the half or 5 k here! Use 18RWBBIBRAVE to save 5% off the half marathon or 5K (to the first 50 registrants from each distance!)

 

Shamrock Portland: A weekend, 2 races and a bunch of Bibrave Pros!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Shamrock Portland 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!

St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone and I got to spend it with some awesome Bibrave Pros in Portland! For the first time in awhile, I got to race on St. Patrick’s Day and I had kind of forgotten how fun it is to do a race around a fun holiday. I flew out to Portland on Friday. It’s a short flight for me and I was able to leave in the afternoon so I had the morning to get some errands done. After getting in, I took an Lyft to my hotel downtown and got checked in. I ended up walking to the Oregon Convention Center to get my bibs and look around (and be jealous of the Leprechaun capes for one of the other races)

Saturday rolled around and I got a solid 10 hours of sleep (always so needed after coming off a few night shifts at work). Since it’s finally deciding to thaw out on the West Coast, I went for a run outside along downtown Portland. The ability to run without a bunch of layers on and gloves was a treat! Running through downtown, I could see the post race Shamrock Portland party being set up and you got the feel it was going to be epic!

I finished up at the hotel and showered before heading back to the Expo. I got to meet up with fellow Bibrave Pros Bridget, Jessica ad Tim. The expo actually has a good deal of vendors set up and a whole bunch of swag to get your hands on. Bibs are assigned to you at the expo, so you bring in your QR code, it gets scanned depending on your race distance and there you go. I was signed up for the 5K and the half marathon, so it was quick and painless. You then got sent to pick up your shirts (long sleeved!) and is actually one I’d wear out and about. Lots of free food samples, Great Clips doing green hair for kids (and adults!), the Children’s Hospital was there as were some of the running shops. After catching up and getting some pictures, I headed off to get some lunch and then watch some basketball at the hotel. I ended up going to church and finding dinner before calling it a night

Sunday came around and I was up bright and early. I changed and my plan for 16.2 miles and a long run kind of got nixed. I stopped by the front desk at the hotel and asked for a late check out and couldn’t due to a large group coming in and any check outs after noon were charged a fee. Sigh. I walked to the start line and lined up for the 5K that started at 8 AM. The course itself was out and back through downtown, though it had a short little out pouch off some of the side streets in order to get the .1 miles. Before the turn around, I ended up seeing Jessica on her way back of the 5K! We turned around after going up part of the main hill of Portland. We ended up coming back into down and crossing the finish and being led into the main post race party. Since my hotel was close, I walked about 1/3 mile back and switched bibs and ended up also changing into a tank top from my long sleeves.

Instead of coming back and lining up for the half marathon at 9:20, I lined up for the 15K at 8:55 AM. Prior to the 15K, they played the Irish National Anthem, which was pretty cool. We started right on time and went the same way as the 5K. The race takes you along SW Naito Parkway and to SW Barbur Blvd and it’s pretty much all uphill the first 5 miles or so. From SW Barbur, you head into George Himes Park and get some good views of the city from up above once you hit the highest point of the run before you head down hill and along some of the winding road ways of Portland. On your way back, be prepared to see the half marathoners coming up the hills you’re already done with, though their a few miles further along due to them adding some miles before joining up with you. The last few miles of the race are downhill, so overall your quads, hamstrings and hip flexors are put the ringer. Every mile and change, there were aid stations with water and Nuun. Plenty of volunteers and a well marked course.

By the time I finished, the post race party was picking up. The half marathon was starting to finish and the 8K was finishing up just down the road. I found Jessica and we watched Tim finish the half marathon. Plenty of music, food trucks and free food and post race beer for beer drinkers present. I ended up getting another 2 miles or so in, so I’ll take a 14 mile run over nothing. When I checked my results, initially they had me as a DNF for the half. Word of waring, if you switch distances, try and get your changes done at the expo or the week prior to the race. I was able to email Shamrock Portland and within a day or 2, it was switched and I came up under the 15K.

Overall, I thought it was a great race, lots of energy and a good course, though be ready for some hills. The big thing I’d work on is the time of the races (they have a 5K, 8K, 15K and half marathon). I was actually signed up for the half marathon, but it didn’t start until 9:20 (25 min after the 15K). I was set to run the half up until about 740 AM race morning and ended up not being able to get a late check out at the hotel (partly my fault for not checking on check in) and I wouldn’t have had enough time, especially with the hills, to finish and get back to the hotel, shower and check out without being charged. For us out of towners, I think an earlier half marathon time would be better, especially since we have more distance to cover. I also think it’d be awesome if they could come up with a challenge with some of the distances or even come up with a two day event! If you’re in the area, definitely look this race up!

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