Alamo 13.1 Half Marathon

As March approaches, so does Half Marathon #3 for the year. This time, I’m off to The Alamo 13.1 in San Antonio, TX! I was last there in 2013 for a different race and stayed across from the Alamo. This time, I’m Menger Hotel (can’t complain about group discounts!).

Haven’t registered yet? Here’s what you need to know!

  • 20% off with BIBRAVE17 when you register here. Race fees go up on March 5, 2017, so hurry and beat the price increase!
  • Races include the Half Marathon, Half Marathon Relay, 10K and 5K. The 10K and 5K may or may not involve Kirspy Kreme donuts!
  • Stay at the Menger Hotel or the Laquinta Hotel!

If you’re even considering the Alamo 13.1, hurry and sign up, we’re still looking for runners from Idaho, Oregon and Wyoming at the minimum!

I’m thrilled to be going back to San Antonio. Course seems flat and it’s warmer in Texas than Washington State at the moment. If I can get below 2:25 on course, I’d be thrilled!

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Bibrave Race Review: Ft. Lauderdale A1A Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Fort Lauderdale A1A 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!”

In typical runner fashion, I made this weekend a double race weekend. On Saturday, I ran the A1A Fort Lauderdale 5K. Miss that review? Head over here and read it after you’re done! Sunday, I tortured myself some more with the half marathon.

I arrived Thursday and stayed at one of the host hotels by the start. Not so hot on the area, but that’s besides the point. Friday afternoon, I headed to the expo. The expo this year was held at the Broward County Convention Center from 3-8  pm on Friday and 9-6 on Saturday. I wish there would have been earlier hours on Friday, because there was a lot of waiting around. Since I went when it opened, there was a mass of people getting in. Bibs for the half and full marathons were sorted by last name and you had no idea what your number was until you picked it up. What ended up happening was a whole lot of congestion because of the name situation. The space was small enough where that didn’t help either. Shirt pick up was next to the bibs and easy enough to pick up, but the shirts looked cheap and small. My women’s medium half marathon shirt was smaller than my women’s small 5K shirt. What the what?? I explored the expo, picked up some freebies and made it back to the hotel to unload my stuff.

I ran the 5K on Saturday morning and could tell Sunday would be warm. The 5K was 730 AM and already warm and humid by that point. I took some time to explore, grab some food and head to church before calling it a night

Race Day for the Half/Full Marathon:

The race itself is a point to point race, with the start being in the River Park area. I walked to the start, while others parked at the finish and took the shuttles to the start. It was already hot at 545 AM on race morning. Plenty of port o potties, though lines were long. Bag check was available, though at the back of the start corrals and then they were bussed to the finish along the beach

Start: the half and full start together bright and early at 6 AM. When you’re still half on PST, trying to get any sort of food in to your system when your body thinks it’s 2-3AM is fun and entertaining.

The course:

The first few miles head along Las Olas Ave. 1/4 mile in, there’s a set of train tracks that most of us got over, however, a train came rolling through that had the 2:30 half marathons and a bunch of full marathoners delayed 20-30 minutes. Read long enough to where they were taken back to the start and restarted. How does that even happen?! Apparently, the race had permits for no trains before 7 AM that somehow were ignored. Whoops.

Anyways, After we got to the beach, we turned on A1A along the beach and took it out a few miles before turning onto some neighborhood streets. We were led through some sort of park for at least a mile or two and then back out to the roads. Right before mile 9, the half and full split. The full marathon looked lonely as we split. We were also dealing with sharing the road with traffic at that point. By mile 10, we were on the beach the rest of the way. Right before I hit mile 11, I saw a fellow Bibrave Pro, Meredith on the out portion of the course. She ended up getting delayed because of the train.

Weather: we got the excitement of dealing with 70s-80s and humidity that could be cut with a knife. That made things difficult as the course had little to no shade.

Aid Stations: every mile or so with water, electrolytes and the occasional gels. I only saw one legit medical tent, which I didn’t think was enough given the heat and humidity. I saw at least 4 people down being carted off.

Post Race: After finishing and regrouping (read, finding some chocolate milk and getting some sort of food into my system), I picked up my checked bag (again, at the back of the finish area. WHY?!?). Plenty of places to get food (greek yogurt popsicles, ices, bananas, etc), massages, etc. I hung around and ran into fellow Bibrave Pro Samantha.

It’s never a trip to Florida or the coast without enjoying some post race Beach either!

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Post race sand shot! #bibchat #a1amarathon

A post shared by Christine (@cgrunstheworld) on

Overall, I’m on the fence about this one. The aid stations were a bit of a mess. It didn’t seem like anything was prepared ahead of time in terms of fluids being poured, so the volunteers were forced to react, even though there were plenty of aid stations on course. Given the amount of heat and humidity, we really could have used some cold sponges, sprinklers, something to cool us down. I was feeling off by the end of it. I feel like there needed to be better corral separation. I was trying to weave in and out of people who shouldn’t have been in earlier timed slots, but moved up. The finish area was also congested and difficult to get through. People weren’t moving through and it was really hard to navigate at times, just to get out. I’ll probably simmer on this one a bit more to be honest

Race this weekend? Don’t forget to go over to Bibrave and search/review/add and review your race!

Bibrave Race Review: Ft. Lauderdale A1A 5K

Disclaimer: I received free entry into the Ft. Lauderdale A1A 5K 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!

Warm weather with plenty of sun in Florida this weekend, and I was so ready to get out of the rain that is the Inland Northwest this weekend! I came out for the Ft. Lauderdale A1A 5K and Half Marathon (because hey, 2 races are better than 1!).

I flew out Thursday afternoon and got into Fort Lauderdale late. I caught an uber to the hotel (which really shouldn’t have been as hard to find as it was) and checked in before hitting the sack. Needless to say, I enjoyed sleeping in until 9 AM. I found some breakfast and took a jaunt down Las Olas Ave. Never hurts to window shop, right? I killed time until the expo opened up at 3 pm at the Broward County Convention Center. I was hoping it would do 2 days of like 9-5/9-7 sort of thing, but not so much for day #1. The other downside was that there was no clear signage as to where to go and there were other events going on in the convention center, so it got tricky to find. After heading to the Grand Ballroom, a mass of us were waiting for things to kick off at 3 pm. We got let in and off to get our bibs we went. The 5K table was not in the vicinity of the half/full marathon packet pick up. It was off on it’s own next to the Susan Koman 6K booth. No line and took a whole 30 seconds to get my stuff. While the half/full bibs are beach themed, the 5K bibs are RoadID standard bibs. For a race that is close to a sell out for the half/full, I was expecting something fun in terms of bibs across all races. I searched the expo before heading back to the hotel and looking at all my stuff

5k

One of the things that’s obnoxious is that my 5K shirt is a small and my half marathon shirt is a medium. My 5K shirt is larger than my 1/2 marathon shirt. Really? I’d rather there be better quality and size consistency across the board.

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I found some dinner and went and relaxed in the hotel the rest of the night. This morning, I was up and at it bright and early, despite my best efforts of wanting to throw my alarm across the room. I had a little bite to eat before heading out to Las Olas Ave, where the race was held. If you couldn’t get to the expo to pick up your bib, you could pick up your packet race day, as well as register for the race. There were some vendors there as well as pre race announcing.

The Race: started at 730 AM. Flat course, out and back. There were mile markers at 1 and 2 with clocks going, and the finish line in sight at mile 3. There was water available around mile 1 and just after mile 2. The course gave you a good view of the shopping district in a sense. Even though it was an early and quick race, I was soaked by the time I was finished. Post race, water, medals and fruit were available, as were awards for those who qualified. I’m just glad there was sun, it was warm out and I didn’t have to do multiple layers!

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Overall, a good race if you want a 5K to do if you’re starting out or if you’re using it as a warm up to the main events on Sunday. A smaller 500 people race (and hey, running a sub 29 min 5K race, I can’t complain about). Take a look at this one if you’re ever in town!

Some stuff to work on though. I wish the bibs would have had some sort of design like the half and full marathons. Also, I don’t think anyone’s touched the race’s twitter account in at least a year- more social interaction would be good. You could do race tracking on the RaceJoy app, but it’s completely dependent on the runner to enter their info and carry their phone throughout the race (really?!). This should really have been all triggered by bibs and timing mats. The shirts are sort of on the cheap side and inconsistent. My 5K small shirt is larger than my half marathon medium shirt.

Rock n Roll Series

Good News! Bibrave has formed a partnership with the Rock n Roll Series! Besides me going to Liverpool for my first Half Marathon outside of North America, check out some discounts we were able to nail down. Keep in mind, more cities to come!

Use code “BIBRAVE15” for the following discounts: 

  • Washington, DC (3/11/17) – $15 off Half/ Full, valid until 3/4
  • Mexico City (3/19/17) – $15 or 270 Pesos off Half, valid until 3/12
  • Dallas, TX (3/18-3/17)- $15 off Half, valid until 3/12
  • San Francisco, CA (3/26/17)- $15 off Half, valid until 3/19
  • Carlsbad (4/1-4/2/17)- $15 off 20k or 5k, valid until 3/26
  • Raleigh, NC (4/1-4/2/17)- $15 off Half and Full, valid until 3/26
  • Madrid (4/23/17)- 3 €/£ off Half and Full, valid until 4/16
  • Nashville, TN (4/27-4/29/17)- $15 off Half and Full, valid until 4/23
  • San Diego, CA (6/3-6/4/17) – $15 off Half and Full, valid until 5/28
  • Seattle, WA (6/18/17)- $15 off Half and Full, valid until 6/11
  • Chicago, IL (7/15-7/16/17)- $15 off Half, valid until 7/9
  • Dublin (8/12-8/13/17)- 3 €/£ off Half, valid until 8/6
  • Queretaro – $15 (270 Pesos) off Half/ Full, valid until 9/24
  • Lisbon (10/15/17)- 3 €/£ off Half and Full, valid until 10/8
  • Merida (11/4/17)- $15  (270 Pesos) off the Half Marathon , valid until 10/28

Bibrave Race Review: Surf City Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to 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!

Well if flying out of LAX and driving to and from LAX wasn’t enough to give anyone an anxiety attack, I don’t know what is! I was in Huntington Beach this weekend for the Surf City Half Marathon. I first did this race in 2013 and have wanted to come back and do it again, so living on the west coast made things easier.

I flew out Friday morning, a rare direct flight from Spokane to anywhere. I picked up my rental car from the airport and hit the 405 towards Huntington Beach. I was hoping to miss any sort of rush hour traffic. Granted, LA always has traffic, I just wanted to miss the stand still part of it. I ended up stopping at the expo prior to going to the hotel. Since I was early, I found a place for lunch and walked around some. It was raining just a bit, but the sun came out by the time I got through the expo.

The Expo was easy to navigate. They had computers set up for number look up and liability forms to sign. You walked into race weekend registration, bib and shirt pick up

The lines for medium was long, but what can you do. It moved quickly though. No shirt exchange at the expo, but you could bring it race day to see if there was a size you wanted and you could swap out there. Always plenty of vendors and races there. I actually signed up for next year’s race at the expo. If you do the race 3 years in a row, you become a legacy runner (think special shirts and bling!). A ton of races, vendors, etc. Destination Races was there, a bunch of California races and your typical running specialty stuff there. Best of all, if you’re a beer drinker, the beer garden was open all 3 days.

Hotels: I stayed at the Double Tree Club in Santa Ana, about 30 min away. They have the Double Tree cookies there, but are awesome in general. They have free shuttles to/from the race, a pasta dinner and the best welcoming party after the race. The Hilton Waterfront is the sponsor hotel and right across the street from the start/finish

Getting there: Shuttles. Shuttles. Shuttles. Hotels associated with the race tended to do shuttles, which is what I took. There were other areas in town that let you park at their facilities and shuttled you in (I think the HS, the convention center, etc.

Race Morning: The Marathoners have their own start time at 630 AM. The Half Marathoners start at 745. The 1/2 marathon has a wave start based on your bib number and heads off every 3 minutes.

 

The Course: you start out on the Pacific Coast Highway for approximately 3 miles before heading into a residential neighborhood for another 2 miles and change. Around mile 4 you get a nice little hill and some coastal view before heading back down the Pacific Highway. You head to the turn around (somewhere between miles 7 and 8) before heading back into town. Mile 10 brings some more gradual hills, but otherwise very flat. You get the breeze from the ocean, which kept things cool. The marathons had an extra portion that they did prior to coming back on Pacific Highway with us and split again in the late stages of the half marathons. Aid stations were every 1-1.5 miles with bathrooms, water and vitalyte (never heard of it).

Pacers: are from gun time and were available for the half and full marathon

The Finish: Where the expo took place over the weekend and right along the ocean. You were greeted with medals and enthusiastic announcers, spectators and other runners. Plenty of medals for everyone. As you went through, you picked up water, food and heat sheets. These guys also know the true meaning of having chocolate milk at the end of a race. There were other free samples of stuff and vendors set up. You could also buy finisher stuff. If you’re a beer fan: beer garden with entertainment.

Personally, this was probably my best race in 22 months. I ran 2:24:35, my first sub 2:30 since May, 2015. I’m pleased with that!

Please go do this race sometime. Or multiple times. It’s worth the runcation and time in California. The weather is typically good, though the sun decided to not join us this weekend, which was sad. My only gripe is they still use a D Tag. How about upgrading to the B tag? Less likelihood of someone putting the wrong tag on their shoe or throwing out their timing chip.

If you need any other reason to stay at the Double Tree Club in Santa Ana, look no further. The post race welcome we arrived to:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Race Review: Cruise the Coast Long Beach

While in California for the Surf City Half Marathon (post on that to come later), I scowered the internet for possible shorter races to make it a double race weekend. Let’s face it, might as well bring home more bling if I can.

I found the Cruise the Coast race in Long Beach, about 25-30 min from my hotel, and since I have a rental car, no big deal. I signed up for it 6+ weeks ago and had it on my rador. It’s one of those races that has a 5K, 10K, Half and Full Marathon and were pretty cheap. The 10K was only $35, the Half only $45.

Monday, we received an email about final race details. Personal opionion, worst day for this to be done, because emails get lost in email pergatory when you have minimum 3 email accounts you have to worry about. I was convinced that race time for the 10K was at 8 AM (because I had found the race through active.com, and that’s the time it gave with no connection to the acutal race website). There was no ‘expo’ pick up for bibs, all is done race day.

I showed up at 745, thinking it was an 8 AM start and got my Bib. My number? 666. I can’t make this up.  The check in? A table in front of someone’s car. After I signed in, the lady asked if I had a garmin or a watch to track my time. The race had started at 730. Face Palm. I put what I didn’t need in my rental car, put on my bib and off I went. The course itself was along the beach of Long Beach. It has 2 separate trails, one running and one biking (always a good think when I don’t want to get run over by two wheels). Flat course, which was good. The 5K option had a turn around at 1.55 miles. The 10k turned around at 3.1 miles before heading back. Not sure if the trail itself went longer. If you chose to do the half, it did the 10K course twice. The full: the 10K course 4 times. Mind. Numbing. The only area of water/gatorade was at the start/finish area (which served as the turn around point for the half and full marathon). Nothing at the 3.1 mile turn around point. And how to know where your turn arounds were and if you were going the right direction? Chalked arrows on the running path.

I didn’t see a whole lot of racers in general on course. The full and half marathoners started at 630 (with a 530 AM early start option), but still. Even though we were racing, the path was still open to pedestrians, bikers and runners not part of the event. Meh.

Overall, not sure about this one. If you’re local, the organization puts on a bunch of small races which is a plus and they all look reasonably price, but be prepared for barebone races. No real big bells and whistles and the races are small. It’d be worth it for some sort of investments in flags/mile markers/something to bring attention to the course. An actual race clock instead of a kitchen timer. I can only imagine the heat over the summer in California, and one water stop to serve longer distances doesn’t seem like enough if you’re counting on runners bringing their own stuff with them. At least you get some post race food and a medal (which is a plus, I don’t need more shirts!).

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