Shamrock Portland and an Irish Jig

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Shamrock Run 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!

Nothing says happy Thursday morning like finishing up an 8 day stretch at work and happy weekend like getting ready for a race weekend on St. Patrick’s Day Weekend! Shamrock Run Portland is almost here and I’m excited to get out to downtown Portland, OR this weekend for some running! Yesterday, I successfully got a fellow BRP, Jessica, to do a double race day with me and do both the 5K and the Half Marathon on Sunday. Let’s face it, more is better right?? Don’t forget, all races get medals!

Looking for some fun around Portland? Here’s some fun stuff to take a look at!

Some important things for race weekend:

  • Expo is Friday, March 15 from 9-7 pm and Saturday, March 16 from 9-3 PM. Be sure to get your bib!
  • Race times are staggered on Sunday, so be sure to know when you’re racing!
  • Know where to park and how to get to downtown Portland if you’re driving in

Get ready to get your run on this weekend and have some fun! Still time to register online and save 15% with SHAMROCKBR10!

 

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Bibrave Race Review: Napa Valley Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Napa Valley Half Marathon race 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

Race weekend has come and gone and this was probably one of my favorite California races to do! If you’re looking for something with great scenery and downhill, definitely look into the Napa Valley Half Marathon and Marathon. This year was the 41st running of the full marathon, but the debut of the half marathon, which made the trip worth it.

I flew out Thursday afternoon and ended up delayed an hour and change out of Seattle due to maintenance issues. I made it to Sacramento in one piece, picked up my rental care and drove just over an hour to Napa. If you have a choice between SMF and SFO, flow into/out of Sacramento over San Francisco. Less of a head ache, same amount of time to get where you’re going. I got to the hotel somewhere after 9 pm and got checked in before finding some food. After getting some sleep, I spent Friday getting a much needed run outside, as I’ve been cooped up on the treadmill much of February due to snow and ice in Spokane. I’ll take a cloudy, nearly raining run any day! Got to run on the Vine trail, which started just outside of my hotel and have some fun with it.

After getting a shower in and some shopping, I went into downtown Napa for some lunch and spent most of the day hanging before heading down to happy hour at the hotel and then on to dinner.

Saturday morning, the marathon had a shake out run that started at 830 AM. It started with a raffle, in which I won a hat! You could also win wine and KT Tape, which was fun. We had the option of 3-4 miles on the Vine Trail and after finishing up, could head to the expo. I met up with fellow Bibrave Pro Brenda, who flew in from Massachusetts for the full (it’s always fun meeting up with other pros!). I picked up my bib, shirt and bag, walked around the expo a little bit before heading back to the hotel for a shower. I found some lunch and then went off the Hendry Winery for a tour and wine tasting (do it if you can, ended up getting to taste quite a few different wines!). After getting to church, I went to the Pasta dinner where we had some pretty fun speakers. At that point, I called it a night and changed into my sweats at the hotel.

Race morning started early. I was up around 430 to change and make the shuttles to the start. The half started at 7 am and the shuttles left at 5:10/5:15 in the morning. The start was at the Coon Creek Winery and having VIP access was helpful. Had some breakfast to munch on and indoor bathrooms to boot. Weather was overcast, but in the 50s, which I’ll take any day. If you checked bags, there were busses to take them to the finish. We started right at 7 am and were at the half way point of the marathon (they started further up and at 730 AM). The course was pretty much all downhill. One kind of hill close to the start, but really nothing after. Nice change for me after the amount of California races I’ve run with hills all over the place. The first 10 miles or so were on the Silverado trail before we turned off a few times to some other roads and finishing at Vintage HS. One thing that needs looked at is the amount of water stops. I think there were only 15 total between the half and full and the first one on the half didn’t come until 3-4 miles in. They were pretty spread out and I don’t know if it was planned like that or something happened with volunteers. I feel like they could have had some more, especially towards the middle/end.

The race finished at Vintage HS. You were greeted with medals and water, led to some food and then could go find some soup (which was much appreciated!). At the finish, you could search results, listen to some live music and hang out. There were shuttles back to the hotels and another area HS if you parked there or were staying at the Marriott/Hilton/Embassy Suites. The one thing that needs looked at is the post race shuttles. There was at least a 30-40 min span with no hotel shuttle. I ended up getting an Uber back to my hotel because I was getting cold, and it showed up as one of the shuttles was showing up. I think there was a communication issue or something, but people going back to the hotels were getting frustrated for sure.

Overall, a great race. I’m glad there’s now a half marathon option to go with the full. Fun race and definitely a must do. The few things to work on is making the half/full marathon shuttle buses pre race more spaced out to account for anyone who might miss the first string buses. Also, more aid stations and fixing the post race shuttle bus situation back to the hotels. If you’re looking for an excuse to get to Napa, here you go!

Napa Valley Race Week!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Napa Valley Half Marathon race 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!

I’m heading back to California! Over the winter the past few years, I’ve noticed increased California trips to get out of the winter weather, and the snow that is taking over my yard in Spokane (I’m running out of places to put it! I just finished a 10 day stretch at work and the Napa Valley Half couldn’t come at a better time!

This year, the half marathon is in it’s first year for Napa Valley and I’m so looking forward to it. The course (between the half and the full) has something like 6 wineries on it. Is it wrong to hope they have wine at some of the aid stations?

Big things to look out for this weekend:

1. Follow Napa Marathon on Social Media (Facebook, Twitter and http://www.napavalleymarathon.com) because we’re looking at rain this weekend (seems to be recurring theme for my CA races this year!). Hopefully no course changes though

2. Bib look up: be ready for the expo!

3. Shake out run: good way to get the legs loose: meet up is on Saturday Morning at the Marriott. RSVP here!

4. Don’t forget your bib. Expo happens from 9 am to 8 pm with a whole bunch of fun stuff. Check out what’s happening!

5. Pasta Dinner: get some good carb loading and hear from some awesome runners on Saturday night!

Things to do in Napa:

1. I’m probably spending most of Friday finding some wine in the area, not going to lie

2. Hot air balloon rides

3. Wine train, this sounds kind of fun!

4. For more, head here http://napavalleymarathon.org/race-information/

Hope I catch up with anyone running while there and look for the Bibrave orange!

Bibrave Product Review: Mission Groove Super Bites

Disclaimer: I received samples of Food Groove Mission Bites 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!

Snacks. Let’s face it, we all need some, whether it be pre race/post race, during the day, after work, you are it. Bring in Food Groove Mission Super Food Bites. I was excited to give these little guys a try.

Mission Food is based out of Dallas, Texas. The goal is to have pure, raw superfoods in the form a small bite size snack to keep you going. Each bite size snack has a punch essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants with the goal to increase energy, improve brain function and decrease chronic disease amongst other things. Each packet has 10 bite size morsels and come in a resealable pouch so you can save some for later (If they make it that long).

We were given 10 samples to try, but 3 separate flavors that included Truffle Punch, The Nutty Adventurer and Mother Earth. The Nutty Adventurer is a combination of  peanut butter, date, goji berries, almond protein, and Chia, amongst other things. You get the peanut butter taste with some kick of the berries. I had some paired with some chocolate chip pancakes after a 10k last weekend and I thought it was a great combo (who knew!) There’s also the Truffle Pouch, that’s more of a chocolate/fruity combination. It has some of the same berries as the Nutty Adventurer, but includes Dark Chocolate, dates and Cacao Nibs to help with the chocolate taste. These were my top two favorites, but I’m a peanut butter lover at heart so the Nutty Adventurer won me over.

Concerned about diet? No fear! Soy free, Gluten Free, Non GMO, Grain Free, Paleo and no added sugars! my one wish is I wish there could be a way to get more protein into these things. I personally struggle getting enough protein in my diet regularly, so if there was a bit more protein in these delicious bites, that would be awesome. Regardless, these are worth a try. They’re easy to pack (I’ve got some in my purse for work), tasty and quite frankly a great way to hold you over pre work out/post work out and give you some pretty awesome health benefits.

Convinced yet? Save 15% with BIBRAVE15 for 1 order at Mission Food!

Race Review: Surf City Half Marathon and the Cowabunga Challenge

Disclaimer: I’m promoting Surf City Half Marathon and the Cowabunga Challenge as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

Welcome back from Surf City! 4th time’s a charm for Surf City, right? I first ran Surf City in 2013 and then came back for the past few years starting 2017. I flew out to Orange County on February 1. If you ever go out for Surf City, John Wayne Airport is an awesome alternative and about 25 min from downtown Huntington Beach and you miss flying through LAX. I took a Lyft to the hotel and checked in before finding dinner at one of the neighboring hotels with a wine bar (score!).

Saturday morning, after having breakfast, I ran into one of the physical therapists from work (mind you, Spokane), who was with family and doing a trip to Disney Land. We had a group Bibrave Pro text message going on and poor Fallon will probably have the best story of all of us. Rain decided to show up to Southern California that led to flooding in some areas, which meant that Fallon got rerouted. I went to the expo and picked up my Cowabunga bib and picked up Fallon’s Bib (quick and easy with the QR code) and dropped the extra stuff in my room.

The Cowabunga challenge took place on the beach itself. To make things interested, winds were hitting close to 30 mph. This was the first year for the Cowabunga Challenge Mile, so why not do it on the beach with ridiculous winds. The first half mile was a breeze, but the second half was right Into the wind and slowed most of us down. I’m pretty sure I was dealing with sand in my ears and my legs look like I had chronic venous issues just because of the sand!

Afterward the 1 mile run, I went back to the expo and within 20 minutes it was pouring down rain. I’m just glad it didn’t happen earlier! I picked up my half marathon bib and shirt at the legacy longboard table. My bib got stamped and I was able to get my half marathon and legacy status shirt. I may have gotten the wrong size. Whoops. The expo is huge and has a ton of vendors, races and things to look at and do (really one of the better expos I’ve been to). Take time to enjoy it when you’re out there! After searching the expo, I went and found lunch in the hotel in order to stay out of the rain. I napped in the hotel for a bit before Fallon made it into town and picked up her bib. After going to church and catching some dinner, I headed back to the hotel for the night.

Race morning showed up and somehow it wasn’t raining! We were all excited about that and the wind wasn’t horrible. After grabbing some breakfast and getting changed, I spent a few minutes getting my stuff together and letting fellow Bibrave Pro Mai avoid the port a potties and use my hotel bathroom. We made it down to the start of race and met up with all the Bibrave Pros. The skies still had us wondering about the rain status though!

The race itself is spread out. The full marathon starts at 630 AM, the 5K at 7 AM, and the half marathon at 7:45 AM. I get wanting to spread the half and full marathon out, but I’ve always thought switching the 5K and half marathon made more sense in terms of time. The course itself though is mainly on the Pacific Coast Highway. The first three miles out is on the highway before turning into one of the neighborhoods. It was flat briefly before we hit some hills after mile 4 or so. You get a view of the city before heading downhill and back out to the Pacific Coast Highway. After hitting mile 8, we came back into town and ran against 5 miles of wind (or so it felt like it). We were dealing with some sprinkling rain on and off for a little bit and another hill around mile 10 that I seem to always forget about. The last mile the crowd support picked back up heading back into the finish line. Aid stations every 1-1.5 miles with water and Nuun. I don’t get a long with Nuun in terms of flavor/texture so no electrolytes for me :-(.

Post race, there was plenty of food, water and you got your medals. Food trucks, beer gardens, massage tables galore and plenty to do. I hung around some before heading back for the million dollar shower. After packing up and checking out, I headed back to the airport for lunch and to fly back to Washington.

Overall, always a fun race and always well run. Love the addition of the Cowabunga Challenge (hey, we got a cape!), always a great course. Medals are always awesome and surf board themed. If you’re looking for a great race and a good winter get away, look into Surf City!

Race Review Bahamas Half Marathon

I’ve been sitting on this race review for a few weeks thanks to work (the noon to midnight shift really takes a toll on you!), but with the coldness of winter and the Polar Vortex that is the Midwest, I figured it was appropriate to think back on the Bahamas.

I went to Nassau with a friend of mine from residency, because let’s face it, it gets depressing over the winter in the PNW. One can only take the cold so much. I left Spokane on the Wednesday prior to the race. No trip is a trip without flight drama as our flight form SLC to ATL was delayed and we somehow got on a flight from SLC to KC and KC to ATL before making our flight (and grabbing lunch) to Nassau. We spent Thursday and Friday enjoying island life, taking in the rum distillery and the sites of downtown.

On Saturday, after running the Koman 5K, I showered enjoyed some beach time and lunch and then took a cab out to the expo at the Melia Resorts. The big issue I had with the expo was that the only time you could pick up your packet was from 3-7 pm. If you missed it, you were out of luck in a sense. The other issue is that it was at least 3-4 miles from downtown and not close to the start/finish or where anything else was.The expo itself was pretty simple, not a whole lot there. I was in and out in about 5 minutes.

Race day itself started early. At 6 AM sharp. I stayed about a 5 minute walk from Junkanoo Beach, so it was fairly easy to get to. Everyone started together and relay participants were shuttled to their locations if they were points later in the race. Though it started early, it was already warm and humid. You started running towards town the first mile and then went over the bridges to Atlantis before coming right back over the opposite way. We headed towards Montegue Beach before heading back towards town and the start. After 6.5 miles and getting back towards the start, we headed towards the Fish Frye and Melia. You were right on the coast, so you got good ocean views the entire time. About 10 miles, the half marathon did a U turn and headed back towards town. The heat, humidity and early hills took its toll but I finished in 2:20 or so. There was at least water and gatorade every mile or so starting at mile 2, which was so needed. Post race, you got medals, food and water as well as some beach partying. The race itself only had roughly 375 half marathoners, so it’s a good smaller destination race.

Overall, good race, but be ready for some humidity and hills. One thing I’d look at is the expo location as it’s not close to anything. If you’re looking for a good winter get away, take a look at this!

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Surf City Race Week!

Disclaimer: I’m Promoting The Surf City 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!

Race week!! Granted, I spent some time in The Bahamas with a friend of mine from residency a few weeks ago, the Washington cold is kind of sad and depressing. On the flip side, I’m also not in the Polar Vortex that is the Midwest (stay safe guys!). This is my 4th year doing Surf City and third in a row, so I’m excited to hit Legacy Status. Legacy status gets you extra swag (long sleeved shirts) and some extra race day perks.

Things to keep in mind for this weekend:

Runner Tracking: take a look here

Expo: At the Huntington Beach Parking Lot (21291 Pacific Coast Highway Huntington Beach, CA 92648

  • Friday Feb 1 from 1-7
  • Saturday, Feb 2 from 10-4
  • Can’t make the expo? someone can pick up for you, HOWEVER, people picking up for others can only pick up for 2 additional people and must have copies of Driver’s Licenses

Cowabunga Mile: Saturday, February 2 at 11 AM by the expo (and enough time to get your bib before hand!). **no gear check and does NOT count towards Legacy Status

Race Day Sunday, February 3:  Marathon Start 6:30 AM, 5K start at 7:00 AM and Half Marathon start at 7:45 AM

Things to Do in Huntington Beach

  • Plenty of shopping and restaurants downtown
  • Short car ride/Uber/Lyft to Newport Beach for more beach time and restaurants
  • Enjoying the beach (if the sun cooperates with us, fingers crossed)
  • Old World Village

Keep an eye out for all the Bibrave Orange and enjoy race weekend!

 

 

 

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