Onward Shay: Who’s coming to Boise With Me?

Disclaimer: I’m promoting the Onward Shay Half Marathon 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!

Fall’s essentially here, even though the calendar doesn’t say so as of yet. The sun is coming up later in the morning and I’m throwing on sweatshirts on in the morning on my way to work. For me, fall means marathon training of some sort. This year I’m heading back to the NYC Marathon for the Animal Protective League (head over here to donate). As part of my tapering races, I’m running the Onward Shay Half marathon a week before NYC Marathon.

I’ve lived in Washington State for 2 + years and somehow haven’t done a half marathon in Idaho, which is a 40 minute drive away. I actually signed up for Onward Shay over Black Friday last year because it was only $25 or something crazy cheap! Looking for a reason to run Onward Shay?

  • It’s flat and a Boston Qualifier
  • Did I mention it’s a Boston Qualifier?
  • Wide range of races: 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and the Marathon
  • Procedes benefit a whole host of charities, especially locally ones
  • Heck, I 2016 they eve had their own IPA

Onward Shay was started in honor of Shay Hirsch, an avid runner in the Boise area who fought an 11 year battle with multiple myeloma and lost that battle last January, hence a lot of charity work for the race. You get a good run through Boise, plus a whole lot of fun with Boise Football, Steelheads Hockey, the old Idaho Penitentiary and more.

Head over to OnwardShay website and sign up! Save 15% with BIBRAVE15!


NYC Marathon for the North Shore Animal Protection

This year, I’m running the New York City Marathon for the North Shore Animal League. Moe the fur ball is my mascot, but won’t be running with me because he hates planes and let’s face it, that would be a tad cruel. 

To say this summer was long is an understatement. It’s been pushing 90* degrees in Spokane, we’re in the midst of fire season, a whole lot of work to the point where I pulled out of my ironman that was downsized to a half ironman. I regrouped and now it’s off to Marathon Training. I signed up for the New York City Marathon this year because I was itching for one back east. I did it last in 2011, the year before Hurricane Sandy cancelled it. I ran for charity back in 2011 and decided to do the same this year after I didn’t get in off the lottery.

Enter the North Shore Animal Protective League. It’s a the world’s largest no kill shelter that works on getting all animals adopted. My full donation site and story is over here, but here’s the gist. Moe the fur ball is my cat, otherwise known as Moe, Mr Moe, Mr Fluffy pants, Fluff, Moe the fur ball, etc and He was adopted when I was still living in Cleveland from a shelter. Every animal we had growing up was a pound animal, so I’m all about adopting.

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Welcome home hooomman

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The North Shore Animal League has saved over 1 million animals since 1944, place over 18000 pets per year and does over 58,000 exams and 65,000 vaccinations on animals on average every year. Their work isn’t limited to the New York area. They’ve responded to multiple natural disasters over the years (Hurricanes Katrina, Rita) and has saved animals from mills from the Cayman Islands to Moscow Russia and saving dogs from the Yulin Meat Festival in China. All animals that go through North Shore Animal League receive exams and medical care. Often times, animals needing long term treatment who are adopted out, will be covered by NSAL as well.

My fundraising goal is $3000. Think of it this way, I do all the hard work (including trying to find safe air quality to run in during fire season in the Pacific/Inland Northwest area) and put on a boat load of miles on my legs and in return, I post and send cute pictures of Moe through out the process on social media and to you. No donation is too small! To read more, head over to my personal fundraising site (or check instagram/twitter/here!).

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Moe. All the Moe

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Race The River Race Review

This summer has been the summer of triathlons. I haven’t written on quite a few of them, I blame mostly work. This weekend, I went over to Coeur d’Alene for the Race the River Sprint Triathlon: 1/2 mile swim, 16 miles on the bike and a 3.2 mile run. I decided to stay in Coeur D’Alene for the night since it was a 7 AM race and you had to be done with set up in transition by 630/645.

Saturday, I picked up my gear around 1 pm. It was quick and easy at Northern Idaho University. There was no wait and it was a quick in and out. I went and checked into the hotel and went to Main Street and walked around some. I also sat by the Lake a little bit, a first since the attempted CdA Half Ironman that I pulled out of because I was freezing. I ended up getting a drink before heading to church and then to get a quick bite to eat for dinner and calling it a night.

Race day, I was up bright and early (gotta love 5 AM wake up calls on days you’re not working…) and got changed. After making sure I had all my stuff, which included going back to the room after getting to my car, I was off to the start, about 10 minutes away. After getting parked and unloaded, I found a spot in the transition area (we were set up by color of our swim caps). As I was getting my stuff set up, someone else started getting set up next to me and we started chatting. It was her first triathlon and she was asking questions, which I tried to answer. Apparently by triathlon number 4, you’re a pro. What was odd about this tri is that the number for the bike wasn’t two sided and didn’t stick together. There was a ticket that you tore off your bib and had to pin or tape to your bike. Thank goodness for electrical tape. I ended up sharing with the lady next to me because she was scratching her head too. One thing I was a fan of though was the timing chip. Normally these suckers have to be returned or you get charged anywhere between $100-200. The chips were foam and wrapped around your ankle before sticking one end to the other (yes I taped my on for security). After the race, you threw it away and were done with it. Score!

Around 630, I headed to the start. There was a pre race meeting before the elites started at 6:59. The red corral followed at 7 AM and we were off without a hitch. The first half of the swim was in the lake before we turned onto the river. The lake was choppy and I was trying to not get kicked in the face (or the gut). I ended up swimming the best 1/2 mile of the year (bonus!). It was actually a bit of a hike from the river to the transition (1/4 mile might be overly dramatic). I got out of my wetsuit and changed and got out to the mounting part of the bike course, where there were two people arguing about having not turned on headphones in.

The bike course was out and bake. The first few miles were flat and nothing to worry about. After mile 5, we hit some hills which were not fun. You could see people coming back and you’re realizing you’re having to do the hills on the way back. After 8 miles, you hit the turn around and came back. More hills but you hit flatness the last part of the course. Had it been a 12 mile course, I would have probably pulled my best bike of the year. When I was getting back to the transition, I nearly went the wrong way around the round about, but avoided it. When I was running my bike in a little kid nearly ran in front of me (face palm).

The run was on the Centennial Trail and the first 2/3 of it were out and back on part of the course you had to get from the swim to bike. After you doubled back, and you went out along the lake. It was fairly flat, some minimal hills if anything. What I’ve liked about triathlons is that you (most of the time) have your age on your left calf, so you know if someone ahead of you is in your age group. I was able to pass at least one person in the 30-34 yo women’s age group and an additional 5-10 people, so I knew I wasn’t finishing last. I actually held a decent pace and picked up the pace the last mile. The last .2 miles, you had to go up a little bit of an incline. There was an older guy in his 70s ahead of me that I ended up passing because I’m not competitive at all.

Overall, I finished in 2:12:40. I was 10/10 in my age group coming out of the swim, but by the end of the run, I was 8/10. Overall, I was 147/217 (which is nowhere near last!). Fun race, didn’t finish last and didn’t get hypothermic or penalties!

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)!

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!


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.



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