Race Review: Chilly Chase 10K

This weekend, I was in Vancouver. It was a get a way I set up over Christmas, just because. I figure I’m close enough and it’s a quick flight when Alaska Airlines is running on time. 45 minutes from Spokane to Seattle and 30 minutes from Seattle to Vancouver. After I had booked plane tickets, I did what any runner would do and look for races. I found the Chilly Chase race on Try Events Canada and ended  up signing up. Since I had a 1 PM flight back to the states, it really dictated the race I signed up for, as the start time was 9 AM.

I got into Vancouver Friday afternoon, though late because of plane delays. I checked into my hotel and then explored Yaletown. I ended up going to a spinning class at Cyklus in downtown Vancouver, showering and heading off to the Canucks-Panthers NHL game. Saturday, I explored downtown, did some shopping and took advantage of Dine Out Vancouver (the equivalent of restaurant week from what I could gather). I didn’t realize until Friday Night that I could have gotten my bib and packet at a place close-ish to my hotel. The place on Saturday was 10 miles away and there was no way I could get there. I ended up going with the race day pick up option.

I showed up race day around 845-850 to the starting area. The race started/finished along the Seawall and had pick up in a rec center. I was able to get my bib and socks without issue, but just be mindful that race day pick up for Try Events is $5 CAD. I gotta appreciate the race taking my $5 USD, because that’s all I had! I didn’t realize until after I was in Seattle on my way back to Spokane, that I had informally met fellow Bibrave Pro Brie at packet pick up (we were both a bit frazzled with race stuff in different fashions). I pinned my bib on and attached my running chip to my shoe. Yes, one of the old school chips that gets returned at the end of the race type of chips. Instead of the standard shirt, we got socks that were pretty cool too!

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Talk about old school timing chips

The race had 4 distances: Half marathon, 15K, 10K and 5K, so you really had a lot to choose from. Vancouver in general, doesn’t get snow and the winters are mild by Canadian standards, so being able to have a race with multiple options is huge. Since I was dealing with a tight flight connection, I ran the 10K, but I wish I could have at least done the 15K, if not the half marathon.

The course was out and back on the Seawall. The start was staggered, starting with the half, and then separated every 3 minutes. The 15K went next, followed by the 10K and 5K. Each distance had their own bib color (Blue, Red, Green, Orange). It was a flat and fast course and primarily on paved running paths. Any bikers had their own separate paths, though we were mingled with runners and running groups that weren’t involved with the race. The only spot I was unsure of was the area around the science center because it was a different type of surface.   Overall, though, no cars to worry about, overcast but dry. The rain came well after the race!  Water was every 1.5 miles or so, around the turn around points. The course was well marked, with people at major areas, and other areas with arrows or tape that marked off where to go/not go. This was a bare bones type race, which on this particular weekend, I was ok with. It let me get into my own head and get a good longer run in outside, since Spokane has been snow covered most of the winter. I finished in 1:03:03, not bad for me I think.

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I finished around 10:10. I was able to grab a banana and make my way back to the train. I took it back into the city and bolted back to the hotel. I was able to get a quick shower before heading off to the airport. I got to the airport around 1145 and through customs by noon and to my gate about 10 min before boarding. I don’t recommend that and thank goodness for global access. I can’t wait to be back in Vancouver this summer. I’m signed up for the Sciotabank Half, which hopefully will provide some good weather!

Bibrave Product Review: The Runner Box

Disclaimer: I received A Runner Box 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!

First product of the year for bibrave before a string of races!!! I had the opportunity to test Runner Box, an online service that caters to runners, cyclists and triathletes. I’ve tried monthly/quartly box services before for other things and even had an athlete related monthly box sent me as a gift in the past, but this is my first Runner Box.


It arrived on my snowy front door step (thanks Spokane. I’m feeling like i brought some of Cleveland with me) and I couldn’t wait to see what was in it. You get a whole lot of stuff for such a small Box! 


For particular box, I got a set of Louvo gloves, mac and cheese, some protein drink supplements, a super food bar and some other fun goodies. I haven’t had a chance to try everything yet, but here are my thoughts. Love the Louvo gloves. I still get use of my fingers (your fingers are exposed and the hands are covered,). I’m in Vancouver for the weekend and left them at brunch by mistake. I went back to find them for a reason! The REDD super food bar was a good grab and go thing for work. I also tried the Runa energy drink, but it was flat 😕. I think it had been left in the cold too long and had a tiny hole in it which defeated its purpose.

Here’s how Runner Box works:

  1. Pick your Box. It can be for you, a friend, family member, whomever
  2. Make a decision on how many boxes you want sent. Standard, 6 months or a year
  3. Remember that it’s a BIMONTHLY subscription (read it gets delivered every 2 months)
  4. Order and sit back. Runner Box does the rest!

Cost: from $20/Box

What you get: researched products based off what you of Box you ordered

The pros:

  • Good amount of stuff per Box (I’m still working though mine!)
  • Reasonably priced
  • Good subscription options
  • Can do a Tri or Cycling Box!

Here’s where I waver a little bit and something to think about. I get weird when it comes to food/supplements/beverages and running. When boxes include it (I’ve had other boxes that also give gels, etc), I never know what to think because I’m so picky as it is. I also know people with dietary restrictions where they couldn’t have what was sent anyway. I also am picky and set in my ways with what I do for runs. I’d rather have something that was , more stuff than food, etc but that’s just me.

Overall though, a good product that does its research. If you’re looking for a gift for your athlete, this is something to look into. If you need a Valentines Day gift, they’re doing a limited time Valentine’s themed box! 

Bibrave Race Review: Hot Chocolate San Francisco

Disclaimer: I received entry to the Hot Chocolate 15K San Francisco 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!

Nothing says welcome to a new year like racing. I spent last weekend in San Francisco for a long weekend and the Hot Chocolate 15K. I always like going to explore while running. I took off Friday afternoon and got in around 530. In typical Spokane fashion, I flew through Seattle. After getting into SFO, I took an Uber to the South San Francisco Convention Center, since it was 3 miles from the airport. Best idea ever.

The Expo: Typical Hot Chocolate fashion. Small, but easy packet pick up. You get your bib and are assigned a number based off when you pick up your stuff. After getting your bib, you were directed to the packet pick up which involved getting your jacket and bag. Perks included being able to try on your jacket and being able to exchange in the exchange area if it was too big or small. There were local races present (Bay to Breakers), running stores, merchandise and free chocolate samples.

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Hotels for race weekend. I stayed at the Westin in Union Square. It was discounted and a shuttle stop for getting too and from the race. If you were a shopper, it’s right in the middle of the shopping district and in a nice area.  There were a few other hotels associated with the race as well that were doing discounts.

Getting to and from the race: Some parking, though limited. Shuttles were available and $9-$11 for round trip. My gripe is that they made a big deal about printing out your ticket (which means having to go to the business center and paying to print off something) and bringing it with you, and then they were never checked or collected.

Race Location: Golden Gate Park. Not going to lie, I wasn’t a fan. Here’s my thing with the Hot Chocolate Series, as I’ve done a few of their races in different cities. They have awesome cities that they go to (Chicago, San Francisco, Columbus, etc), but you don’t get to really see the city. I flew in for the race and part of it was to see a city I haven’t been to in 7 years and all I got was Golden Gate Park. Tear.

Race Day: so the state of California has been in drought conditions (read, go out for dinner and one has to ask for water because they only give it on request). Race day brought pouring rain and gusts of wind up to 30 mph. I got to the race start an hour and 45 minutes early. Another pet peeve of mine for HC 15K: the get to the race 2 hrs early recommendation. Anyways, it was raining the entire shuttle ride over to Golden Gate Park. A bunch of us went into a parking garage and hid out there until it was close to the race time. The rain was expected to the point where HC sent out an email saying there may be course adjustments but the race wouldn’t likely be cancelled the night before. What ended up happening was the 15K became 5.9 miles.

Course: All through Golden Gate Park. we lost 3.4 miles because the course was cut short and it equated to some of the high way of the course. We got to see Golden Gate Park and that was about it. Some hills, but nothing compared to the real hills of San Francisco. Water stops and stops with chocolate chips and marshmallows. Not as difficult of a course as I was expecting for San Francisco.

Post Race: After crossing the finish, I got my medal. I had to search some for water, that was all the way in the back of the chute. After I got my checked bag with dried clothes that I ended up not changing into, I went and picked up my post race food. Normally, I’d chills post race, but it was pouring rain and I was over being wet. I hopped on the shuttle back to the hotel and enjoyed my million dollar shower. It’s bad when you hang your clothes in the bathroom to dry after a race.

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Pros of this race: good running, good city, lots to do and organized

What needs improvement: show me more of the city. All I got to see was Golden Gate Park during the race. My chocolate was watered down, that was kind of sad

Hopefully I try this race next year and get a full course of it!

 

 

Santa Barbara Wine Country 1/2 Marathon: The Hows and Whats

Destination Races puts on a host of races that go through wine countries throughout the US, one of them being Santa Barbara. We’re 4 months away from the Santa Barbara Race (it all goes down on Saturday, May 13) and you get the chance to run through some wine country and then enjoy some wine at the end of the race! If you haven’t thought of the logistics, now’s a good time to get on board for that

If you’re local-ish: consider driving down and enjoying the country side

Traveling from out of town or out of state like me:

  • Fly into LAX and drive- I’m planning on enjoying some scenery on my way
  • Flying into San Barbara
  • Flying into San Luis Obispo
  • Amtrak
  • If you’re a fan of Alaska Airlines, they do 10% off for people flying in for a Destination Race

Hotels

  • Downtown Santa Barbara: Fess Parker’s Double Tree Resort: $255 a night with an option to purchase tickets round trip to get to/from the race
  • Downtown Santa Barbara: Bacara Resort: $329 a night
  • Hotel Corque: in the heart of Solvang, close to the finish line and $259/night
  • Santa Yenz Marriot: Round trip provided to and from the race for guests staying here for the race. $229/night

Get on board now before things sell out!

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