Napa Valley Half Marathon…All The Wine!

Disclaimer: I received free entry into the Napa Valley 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!

Winter is always rough, especially when you go to work when it’s dark and come home when it’s dark. You get no sun and, for my entire life, I’ve lived in places where snow is involved. These days, I try and get out of the cold and to somewhere nicer. Come March of 2019, I’ll be making my way to Napa Valley for the Napa Valley Half Marathon. Somehow, California’s become a hot spot for me in the early part of the year, and next year will be no different.

What I’m looking forward to is a race that’s all downhill (I’m one of those who likes to know what I’m getting myself into). Don’t believe me? Take a look below. What’s more exciting is this is the first year for the half marathon distance for the race.

I’m also looking forward to spending some time in wine country itself. I’m hoping to get to some wineries while there and do some tours.  I’m sure that Visit Napa Valley  will become my best friend come early next year. I’m also taking suggestions if you’ve ever been!

If you register soon, you can get an in training shirt for a limited time. Currently the half is $100 and the full is $125. I’m still waiting on discount codes for this one so hang tight and follow me on social media (CGinPNW for IG and Twitter)!

Advertisements

Troika Olympic Triathlon Race Review

I feel like I should be in front of a group of people admitting that I’m over the age of 30 and just did my first triathlon of any distance on my own. Yup, it finally happened. Growing up, I did a relay triathlon with my parents and did the swimming portion. That’s what happens when you’re a lifeguard and grew up on swim team. Granted, I also got to swim 400 yards in the pool. Today, I made my way to the Troika Olympic Triathlon in Medical Lake, WA.

Originally, I was signed up for the Victoria (Canada) Half Iron Man, but a few weeks ago, decided to something closer to home so I didn’t have to travel and worry about bike transport. I figured I give the Olympic Tri a shot first, but had the option of doing a Sprint distance, Olympic Distance and Half Ironman Distance. Friday, I headed to Spokane Valley where packet pick up was at a local fitness store. After getting my stuff (I’ve never had so many things with my race number on it before in my life), I walked around the store and ended up finding a sleeveless wetsuit that was $70 off and actually fit (point me!). After getting home, I started to try and get myself together. Triathlon prep is so much more stressful and getting crap together than just running where I can pick my clothes, pin my bib on my shirt, throw on my clothes and see ya later.

Saturday Morning, I was up at 6 and on the road by 630. I had my bike and nearly all my stuff in the car the night before so I wouldn’t have to think about anything. I ate some breakfast before leaving and was at Medical Lake shortly after 7 AM. After parking, I made my way to the first transition area and started getting set up. With the Troika Triathlon, nothing was assigned, so you could set up where ever you wanted, which means I ended up choosing to set up by one of the nurses from the hospital who actually new what she was doing. Thinking night before prep was the only prep? Try transition set up. That was fun.

There were quite a few races (Spring/Olympic/Ironman/Aquabike/Duathlon) and my start time was 9:07 AM, the last wave with all the women in the Olympic Distance plus some relays and the Aqua Bike I think. I thought I’d do ok with the swim. Until I got in the water and was instantly cold despite the wetsuit. The type of cold where I felt like I was getting colder every time I put my head in the water cold. Cold to where I did breast stroke 90% of the race so I could keep my head above water cold and freak out less. I ended up with Kayakers by me and one kept saying it was ok to pull out if I needed to. I’d rather finish last than pull out. 56 minutes after the start I finally finished and was the last swimmer out by a good 15 minutes. I was a little discombobulated and figured out which way to get to the T1, but I’ve never been so happy to see a bike on dry land.

In just under 5 minutes, I was out of the Transition and getting on the roads of Medical Lake. The bike course was 25 miles. Some uphills, some down hills. A lot of alone time since I was so far behind, but I was able to catch up with someone. We had to keep an eye out for cars since the roads were still open to traffic and there wasn’t much of shoulder to the road. There were people at the obvious areas were we had to do something, but there weren’t mile markers or anything. The bike was at least well marked in terms of arrows of where to go and stuff, but mile/KM markers would have been nice. One aid station that was open on the way out, closed on the way back. Not a terrible bike, but I would have loved it had I been around more people and not passed by some of the half ironman people towards the end.

I made it back to the Transition area, but I feel like we had to dismount the bike awhile before the transition point. I racked my bike and was off in no time, but my legs were pretty beat. It felt like a bunch of energy had been zapped while trying to not lose my crap during the swim. The run portion was a 10k run, 2 laps around the lake essentially. I was able to get on without any issue and make it half way around before getting confused if I was going the right way. Just before mile 2 on the initial lap was an aid station, but only marked for the long course and the volunteers were kind of clueless as to whether I was going the right way. I went with it, but luckily it was the way to go.I kept chugging along, feeling all slow and just wanting to be done. I was so happy to see lap 2 because it meant I was almost done. I made it through without much issue, but finally crossed the finish in just over 4 hrs. I was convinced I finished last because of the swim issues, but ended up beating 8-9 people (happy dance!).

Post race, there were massages, but one of those 15 minutes for x amount of money. There were drinks available, but I couldn’t find the food. I saw some people with sandwiches, but have no idea where they were from. I kept moving back to my bike and started packing up my stuff. It started out so neat before being thrown all over the place. I couldn’t wait to get home and shower. It was a million dollar shower, let me tell you.

Kind of mixed feelings about this race. I wish the run portion was better marked. I was trying to separate miles for the half ironman to the other races. Something either color coded or on the mile markers themselves to give each distance a way to know who was where. Also, some sort of milage/KM markers on the bike course would have been nice. On the plus side, plenty of aid stations on the run, though not necessarily a lot on the bike. Also, no idea where the food was when I finished. I’m just glad I had some in by bag.

Bibrave Race Review: Run CRANDIC

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Run CRANDIC  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 things first, May the Fourth Be With You! This past weekend, I made the trek out to Iowa for Run CRANDIC. Part of my bucket list involves hitting half marathons in all 50 states, and some of the middle of the country states have been hard to get, so I was excited about this one. To boot, it was the inaugural race and fellow Bibrave Pro Ang was part of the set up team (at one point over the weekend, she even said how running Sunday was going to be like a vacation for her).

I got into Cedar Rapids Friday late afternoon and drove about 30 min from Cedar Rapids to Iowa City (staying at the finish seemed easier since I was running the half marathon, rather than the full). After checking in at my hotel (I always appreciate discounted rooms for races), I went out for a run around town. Iowa City is more of a college town (read Univ of Iowa) and classes were nearing the end of term. While running, I ended up passing the packet pick up for Iowa City. Friday, you could a quick pick up in Iowa City with no vendors, etc (think quick in and out), so I ended up getting my packet on my way back to the hotel (only a mile run back of awkward bag holding). Bub numbers were posted on the wall of the Robert Lee Center and pick up was quick and easy. I ended up having to go back though because my number didn’t make it into my bag initially- at least I was only 1/10 mile away!

Saturday, there were shake out runs in Iowa City and in Cedar Rapids. I ended up sleeping later than I expected and missed the group run, so I went out on my own shake out run. After a shower and lunch, I decided to head off to Cedar Rapids to take a look at the vendors and hear about the course. There were some running stores, OrangeTheory, and packet pick up. It was held at NewBo Market, which had food and vendors set up. I ended up getting some throw away gloves because it was going to be chilly at the start. I met up with fellow Bibrave Pro Ang briefly and we chatted a bit. Since she was doing the full and I was doing the half and the races had different starting points, we got an early BRP picture before I headed to church, dinner and back to Iowa City.

Race day, I was up early and changed before heading over to Kinnick Stadium, where the finish was. The start for the half was in North Liberty and runners had to be shuttled there if they were parking at the finish. We were given parking passes during packet pick up, but no one checked them at the shuttles. I happened to be on the first shuttle out to North Liberty, so we were waiting for the start for a little over an hour. Part of the downside with where we were is that there was no barrier against the elements. Thankfully, it wasn’t raining, but it was on the colder side. Shout out to Corridor Dental though who opened up their office for runners. Something to think about for next year is tents for runners to gather under depending on the weather, +/- heaters if the area can’t decide what season it wants to be. There was limited packet pick up until 730 AM and bag check that would be shuttled to the finish.

The race started at 815 and had waves go off every minute based on pace (and I was thankful people put themselves in the correct corral). The first mile was around a lake before we went on the sidewalk/ road. The first 4 ish miles didn’t have much incline and weren’t bad overall. We jointed up with the marathon about 4-5 miles in to their race. We had some race on road, though a lot on paved running/bike paths through North Liberty and Coralville. The middle few miles definitely had some hills to it, though they weren’t terrible. I was running on tired legs, so I was slowed down a little bit. Around Coralville, we were funneled to sidewalks, which created a bit of bottleneck and made passing difficult. There were also areas where the mile markers were off, and not by a little bit (mile 8 was placed at 8.5, mile 12 was at 11.75), though at the end, you still ran a complete 13.1 miles. The last few miles, the elevation did let up, which was appreciated. Once we got back into the athletic stadium area, we passed the baseball field, which had Iowa playing and signs out to watch for flying baseballs. Can’t blame the race because the game time got moved up a few hours. Once you got to Kinnick Stadium, you went in part of it, had the chance to wave at the kids in the Children’s Hospital, ran through part of the stadium and finished outside one of the entrances.

Aid stations were well stationed and had a variety of water, gatorade and gels, oranges, etc. What was a good touch was signs saying what was available at each water stop.

The finish itself was pretty crowded. They needed somewhere with some more space where things could be a bit more spread out and less cramped. You were directed to a table to get your medal. Part of what needs looked at for next year is the medal situation. If you registered before a certain date, you were guaranteed a medal, but at the finish, your bib was checked to make sure you were one of those people. This led to some unhappy people (an order was going to be placed for people who didn’t get medals and they were sent out). Something to consider is getting medals in the future that aren’t dated and use them to make sure people get medals on race day. There was water available and organic chocolate milk, but I didn’t see any food. For further Run CRANDIC, I’d stick with something like a TruMoo. I saw so many partially full chocolate milk bottles that people didn’t finish (I felt like there was a huge taste difference from what I normally do and couldn’t stomach the rest of them). More food at the finish would have been a plus, in addition to the post race party they had at one of the local breweries. Kudos for the shuttle back and forth between the finish and the Brewery.

Overall, a good race, especially for it being an inaugural race. Every race has their hiccups, so I think if the finish congestion, medal situation and post race food situation can be hammered out, that would boost Run CRANDIC up a bit. I heard some of those involved with the race speak over the weekend, and they definitely seemed like they’d take feedback into account. If you’re in Iowa next year, be on the look out for Run Crandic and do it! Race this year? Don’t forget to review on Bibrave and look to claim your results on Athlinks!

RUNCRANDIC Race Week!

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

Race week is here for RUNCRANDIC! Not signed up yet?! What are you waiting for??? Be sure to sign up before 11:59 CST tonight online so you don’t miss all the fun (and Bibrave18 saves you 10%).

Now that we’ve gotten the hurry up and register before you miss out on this inaugural race, here’s some things to be on the look out for this weekend!

Not quite there in terms of being ready to run? Volunteer! We’re still looking for some help in terms of packet assembly, packet pick up, aid stations, parking and traffic control. Wonder how to sign up? Take a gander at these websites. We’ll love you more for it@

The fun stuff. Some shake out runs are happening on Saturday (4/28/2018). There’s a group meeting in Cedar Rapids and from Iowa City (I have a feeling I’m going to see a lot of Kinnick Stadium this weekend). If you’re in town/local or just looking for something to do, come run with us!

The Logistics 

Packet pick up happens Friday and Saturday. Can’t make it to the expo? Someone can pick up your bib it up for you

Friday, April 27: 12:00pm-9:00pm at  Robert A. Lee Recreation Center, Iowa City

Saturday, April 28: 12:00pm-7:00pm at NewBo City Market, Cedar Rapids. Also be on the look out for the Expo (same location) with a pre race party

Sunday, April 29: NO MARATHON RACE DAY PICK UP! The half marathon pick up will start at 630 at the University of Iowa Community Credit Union. The 5K pick up starts at 730 AM at Northwest Junior High in Coralville

And what’s a race without a party! Post race party all day (or at least from 10A-6P) at Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City.

RunCRANDIC has provided some useful information for runners and spectators, as there’s good information about parking, the weekend, start times, etc.

Photos: FREE downloads available after the race (give them a few days post race to get them up). But they’re FREE!

Be sure to follow RunCRANDIC on social media. They’re providing updates on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

Bibrave Race Review: The Hapalua

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

Holy heat and humidity of Honolulu! I made it through a few days of Hawaii and lived to tell my tale of Hapalua 2018 (an honest win in my book). I flew out to Honolulu Friday morning. For some reason, a 545 AM flight after working until 7 pm the night before seemed like a good idea (it’s really not) and this was only leg one of the trip (leg two is to Amsterdam. Talk about different climates). I ended up getting in around 1 PM HST. My flight from Seattle ended up leaving an hour late because it was late coming in from wherever it came from. At least I know the places I can hide. My bags made it in one piece all the way to Honolulu and after getting my checked back from baggage claim, I picked up a taxi to the hotel. I checked in and cut lose for a run along the beach. Sitting for 6 hours on a plane tightens me up pretty good, so I ended up getting in a good 5 miles. It’s amazing what running in sun, tank tops and shorts can do after not being able to wear them outside for a good 6 months. Thanks Washington. I ended my run around the Convention Center so I could pick up my packet. I did the Honolulu Marathon in 2016, and the Expo was smaller, though I don’t think there were as many runners with Hapalua. Some local running stores, etc. It was easy in and out. You picked up your bib, followed by going to a second table for your shirt. They had a third area with clear bags if you planned on checking gear at the start area. I went back to my hotel, showered and found some dinner before walking around some on the beach and enjoying some Friday Night Fire Works.

Not even 12 hours and a completely different Honolulu view from my room!

A post shared by Christine (@cginpnw) on

Saturday, I started off with an open water swim. Because what’s a vacation if you can’t try something new, like swimming 1.25 ish miles (2000 meters/2K) in the ocean to try and get some triathlon training in. Find out how that went over here. Afterwards, I kept things easy and enjoyed Waikiki and the beach some. I also went wetsuit searching, but couldn’t find what I was looking for. I ended up going to 5 pm mass and getting dinner at Hula Grill before calling it a night.

Sunday morning meant getting up at 430/5 AM for a 6 AM start time. Kind of nice still being somewhat on PST time since the start felt like 9 or so, but I was still a bit tired. My only regret was not staying closer to the start because it was a good 1.25 miles to the Duke Statue, where the race started. Part of what The Hapalua does is something called the Chase. It’s Hawaiian runners vs the Elites with the Elites trying to run down the Hawaiians (fun idea, I think).The Chase this year had a 24 minute handicap, so some runners started around 5:36 AM, with varying starts up until 5:54 or 5:56 this morning. The elites started at 6 AM with the rest of us. I missed watching the start of the Chase though, because of the time it took me to get to the start.

Weather. Oh weather. Be ready for heat and likely some humidity. It was in the 70s with about 70% humidity today. I’m glad the rain held off though.

One thing that needs worked on though is the start. It’s kind of a hot mess. There’s no division of runners and no corrals, which actually makes the first mile difficult. There were walkers at the front and people who were inappropriately placing themselves faster than they were, so faster runners were trying to not run over other people. If there could be some sort of corral system like for the Honolulu Marathon or other races in general, it would make life a lot easier.

The course is fairly flat for the first 9 miles or so. You start in front of the Duke Statue and head along Kalakaua Avenue to Ala Moana Blvd and the Nimitz Highway. You pass Ala Moana Beach Park, the Harbor and Aloha Tower before turning and coming back some on King Street. You make some turns and double back on Ala Moana and it’s kind of fun seeing runners come towards you. If you time it right, you can see some of the chase happening on the way out on Ala Moana Blvd. Over the next few miles, you end up back on Kalakaua Avenue and you get some crowd support there. You pass the Duke Statue and head towards Waikiki and Kapiolani Park. Here, you pass the 9 mile mark and start making the trek around Diamond Head. Be ready for some hills/incline because you don’t realize how much there is until it’s there. Or, like me, you forget what the hills were like during the Honolulu Marathon because you chose to forget that part of the race. You have some pretty decent incline from miles 9 to 10, some downhill before heading back up again at mile 11 for about half a mile. After that, it’s all downhill along Diamond Head. The last part of the race takes you along some neighborhoods and into Kapoilani Park, same finish as the Honolulu Marathon. You were greeted with medals and water misters (so needed). Afterwards, when I was walking back to the hotel, though, you could see more than a bunch of walkers still on course who had to move to the sidewalk as traffic opened back up.

Aid stations on course: It felt like every 2 ish miles or so, give or take. I felt like they needed more because it was so hot and humid on course. Hard to stay hydrated when the water stations are so spread out. They had water at all of them, gatorade at most of them and gels at 1-2 of them.

What happened with The Chase you ask? One of the Elites ended up winning and passed the final Team Hawaii runner in the last half mile. Close!!!

Post Race: plenty of entertainment, food, drinks and things to do. Or just relax. You were given your medal as you came through the finisher chute, you were given your medal. In typical fashion, you don’t know what the medal looks like until you finish (or if you check social media while you’re still on course). They also had water misters which was so needed. Food wise, there was shaved ice, malasadas (alllll the malasadas), moon pies, water and pineapple juice. I would have loved some chocolate milk though!!!

Results: Find them over here to find them. Also, go over to Athlinks and claim your results! Not on Athlinks, join for free and then claim them!

Afterwards, I hiked back to the hotel and took a much needed shower. It’s nice getting back to the hotel at 9 AM, as opposed to like noon. I was able to get a later check out and found a laundry mat to wash my clothes. I’m not spending time in Europe with running clothes I was peeling off because of sweat and humidity! Best money I spent all trip other than the money to get here!

Overall, a great race. I just wish the start and the aid stations would be looked at, because they could use some work. If you’re looking for a Hawaiian race, look up the Hapalua!

Race Review: Honolulu Fin Swim Open Water Race

Hawaii and all of it’s warmness. I can’t even begin to explain how much I needed 80* temperatures, sun, being able to wear shorts and flip flops and walk around not needing to bundle up. Even going for runs in shorts and a tank top does numbers for me, since I’ve been bundling up all winter. I primarily came out for the Hapalua Half Marathon, but also started looking up some open water races a week and change ago. I’m in the mist of Ironman Training, and the only swims I’ve done ever (even going back to swim team as a kid), have been pool swims. I came across the Waikiki Swim Club page and by chance, they had a 2000 m (read 2K, 2187 yrd, 1.242 mile) open water swim today. Sold, sign me up! I figured it would give me a good chance to see how I do swimming in open water over a pool and to get a better feel of how I’d time and what I need to work on for the swim portion of future triathlons.

750The race started at 8 AM and was close enough to my hotel where I walked over around 630 this morning. I was kind of worried about being able to find it because check in was in one of the parks so I was glad when things were visible enough to see and figure out where to go. I had 10 different alarms set, but really needed none of them since I fell asleep fairly early and was up at 530 AM (it felt like 830 PST to me, so it’s a win win!). Check in was quick and easy, and after getting my shirt, I got my number drawn on my left arm and picked up my ankle time chip. Having that on kind of felt like someone being on parole or jail monitoring, but what can you do. I hung around the finish area and got somewhat situated. There was no official bag check, but most people had their stuff  out without much of an issue. At 750, we had pre race announcements before heading into the water for a water start. It was a fin race (you know, those flipper things you wear while snorkeling), but I didn’t go that route. I was more worried about trying to figure out the open water situation

The horn went off at 8 AM and I fell into the let everyone else go ahead of me so I don’t panic and freak out. The course was 1000 (1K) out and back along the Pacific Ocean in the Ala Moana Beach Park area. After I let most people get out of the start, I tried to find my groove. It was hard to get your bearings since you’re actively trying to swim and at the same time look at the course floating devices to make sure I was going in the correct location. My problem is I breath to the right and anything floating we had to care about was on our right shoulder. I definitely drifted on more than one occasion to the other side of the course on the way out and nearly ran into a few people, but it happens. I think I did about half freestyle/half breast stroke because I was trying to not freak out about anything (and I’m pretty sure the lifeguards on course may have been a little worried at first). When I hit the turn around, I was at about 29:30. On the way back, it was easier to deal with since I had calmed myself down and knew at least what was coming. I was figuring out ways to find something down course that was a course marker to look at too every few strokes so I could not go further than I needed to. I ended up finishing in 1:01:24, which I’ll take. Me being me, I somehow had that the half ironman swim time cut off was an hour and the full ironman cutoff was 2 hrs. How I got to this I have no idea, but I’ve had these stuck in my head for the past 4 months so I initially was a bit bummed because I figured if this were a legit Ironman/Half Ironman I’d be pulled off course. Shocker (to me), I really have an an hour 10 minutes for the Half and 2 hours 20 minutes for the full. At least I figured that out now and not race day.

Overall, I thought things went well. I didn’t drown, I finished, there wasn’t any waves or storms, no sharks to speak of and I didn’t finish last! Too bad I don’t live somewhere where I can do more open water swimming. It could be fun!

The Hapalua: The Chase is On!

Disclaimer: I received free entry into The Hapalua 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 is here! I’m so excited to be getting on a plane on Friday for Honolulu. The cold and dreary of winter in the Inland Northwest takes its toll on you and work has been on the crazy side.

Here’s some things to look for this weekend!

Packet Pick Up: At the Hawaii Convention Center

  • Friday, April 6 10 AM to 8 PM
  • Saturday, April 7 9 AM to 4 PM

Shake Out Run with Team Hawaii and the Elites

This year, Team Hawaii takes on the Chasers (Elite) to see who can win this thing. Saturday, April 7 at 8 AM, meet up with the Chasers and Team Hawaii for a shake out run in Kapioloni Park

What’s the Chase?

The best local runners take on the professionals (Elites). The Locals get a head start while the Chasers try to run them down. Team Hawaii gets a 20 (ish) minute head start before the rest of the field starts at 6 AM! Read up on the Elites and the Hawaiians here!

Things to Do In Honolulu

  1. Diamond Head: take a hike and enjoy some views!
  2. Pearl Harbor: A must. I went in 2016 when it happened to be the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor
  3. Try some Snorkeling, surfing or paddling
  4. Be crazy like me and do a 2000 meter open water swim (gotta get into Ironman shape some how!)
  5. Waikiki Beach: if you hit it right, you can get some good sunset pictures!
  6. Ioloni Palace: who knew Hawaii it’s own monarchy at one point?

Not registered yet?? Register at the Expo! Hope to see you there and look for the Bibrave Orange!

 

50 in 50 Marathon Quest

A fun look at life and running in the Pacific Northwest and my journey to run a marathon in every State.

Daddy, Did You Win?

Juggling being a husband, a father, work, and running

franklyrunning

Follow my journey in running, hiking, biking, and the outdoors!

Out Running

outrunning our goals together

athlettuce

Eating Plants and Running the 50 States

Mountain Maven

My outdoor adventures in the Last Frontier

Angie Runs

3.1 - 6.2 - 13.1 - 26.2 - 50k

for the love of nike

for the love of nike

The Fit Wanderer.

forever wandering

Kara Runs

Wellness. Happiness. Balance. Motivation. Encouragement.

Keny'inz 2012

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." Matthew 5:6

the fight and flight response

running through the wall, one goal at a time

Simple Speedy Snacks

Recipes and stories about snacking

bearrunner

Just another WordPress.com site

Fear The Hat

Because I don't just report the news...No, actually, that's it. I just report sports news.

Run The Long Road

hard work, determination, and a little luck...

f my injury [dot] com

Screw being hurt. It's time to get healthy.