Red White and Boom! Coming for you Minneapolis

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Red White and Boom 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!”

Minneapolis. I’m so familiar with their airport, I know where all their restaurants are and their terminals are like the back of my hand (because hey, traveling to the East Coast on certain airlines puts you through MSP multiple times a year). The last time I actually got to enjoy MSP was when I ran a 15K at least 5 years ago. I’ve been looking for a half marathon to get Minnesota off my half marathon list so why not a mid week half marathon over the 4th of July to get it done?

I’m beyond excited to run the Red White and Boom half marathon. All of my half marathons have been weekend races, so a mid week race will be interesting to say the least (get my long run done early??). Twin Cities Racing puts on a decent amount of races in The Minneapolis/St.Paul area and I cant wait to go out for a few days.

Red, White and Boom is a two day event and the half marathon takes you along the West River Parkway, Victory Park and Stone Park Bridge. Post race? Enjoy a cook out at the post race party and fireworks to celebrate July 4! A local? Be sure to visit Summit Brewing Company leading up to the race.

Want to start off the 4th right? Register for the half or 5 k here! Use 18RWBBIBRAVE to save 5% off the half marathon or 5K (to the first 50 registrants from each distance!)

 

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Shamrock Portland: A weekend, 2 races and a bunch of Bibrave Pros!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Shamrock 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!

St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone and I got to spend it with some awesome Bibrave Pros in Portland! For the first time in awhile, I got to race on St. Patrick’s Day and I had kind of forgotten how fun it is to do a race around a fun holiday. I flew out to Portland on Friday. It’s a short flight for me and I was able to leave in the afternoon so I had the morning to get some errands done. After getting in, I took an Lyft to my hotel downtown and got checked in. I ended up walking to the Oregon Convention Center to get my bibs and look around (and be jealous of the Leprechaun capes for one of the other races)

Saturday rolled around and I got a solid 10 hours of sleep (always so needed after coming off a few night shifts at work). Since it’s finally deciding to thaw out on the West Coast, I went for a run outside along downtown Portland. The ability to run without a bunch of layers on and gloves was a treat! Running through downtown, I could see the post race Shamrock Portland party being set up and you got the feel it was going to be epic!

I finished up at the hotel and showered before heading back to the Expo. I got to meet up with fellow Bibrave Pros Bridget, Jessica ad Tim. The expo actually has a good deal of vendors set up and a whole bunch of swag to get your hands on. Bibs are assigned to you at the expo, so you bring in your QR code, it gets scanned depending on your race distance and there you go. I was signed up for the 5K and the half marathon, so it was quick and painless. You then got sent to pick up your shirts (long sleeved!) and is actually one I’d wear out and about. Lots of free food samples, Great Clips doing green hair for kids (and adults!), the Children’s Hospital was there as were some of the running shops. After catching up and getting some pictures, I headed off to get some lunch and then watch some basketball at the hotel. I ended up going to church and finding dinner before calling it a night

Sunday came around and I was up bright and early. I changed and my plan for 16.2 miles and a long run kind of got nixed. I stopped by the front desk at the hotel and asked for a late check out and couldn’t due to a large group coming in and any check outs after noon were charged a fee. Sigh. I walked to the start line and lined up for the 5K that started at 8 AM. The course itself was out and back through downtown, though it had a short little out pouch off some of the side streets in order to get the .1 miles. Before the turn around, I ended up seeing Jessica on her way back of the 5K! We turned around after going up part of the main hill of Portland. We ended up coming back into down and crossing the finish and being led into the main post race party. Since my hotel was close, I walked about 1/3 mile back and switched bibs and ended up also changing into a tank top from my long sleeves.

Instead of coming back and lining up for the half marathon at 9:20, I lined up for the 15K at 8:55 AM. Prior to the 15K, they played the Irish National Anthem, which was pretty cool. We started right on time and went the same way as the 5K. The race takes you along SW Naito Parkway and to SW Barbur Blvd and it’s pretty much all uphill the first 5 miles or so. From SW Barbur, you head into George Himes Park and get some good views of the city from up above once you hit the highest point of the run before you head down hill and along some of the winding road ways of Portland. On your way back, be prepared to see the half marathoners coming up the hills you’re already done with, though their a few miles further along due to them adding some miles before joining up with you. The last few miles of the race are downhill, so overall your quads, hamstrings and hip flexors are put the ringer. Every mile and change, there were aid stations with water and Nuun. Plenty of volunteers and a well marked course.

By the time I finished, the post race party was picking up. The half marathon was starting to finish and the 8K was finishing up just down the road. I found Jessica and we watched Tim finish the half marathon. Plenty of music, food trucks and free food and post race beer for beer drinkers present. I ended up getting another 2 miles or so in, so I’ll take a 14 mile run over nothing. When I checked my results, initially they had me as a DNF for the half. Word of waring, if you switch distances, try and get your changes done at the expo or the week prior to the race. I was able to email Shamrock Portland and within a day or 2, it was switched and I came up under the 15K.

Overall, I thought it was a great race, lots of energy and a good course, though be ready for some hills. The big thing I’d work on is the time of the races (they have a 5K, 8K, 15K and half marathon). I was actually signed up for the half marathon, but it didn’t start until 9:20 (25 min after the 15K). I was set to run the half up until about 740 AM race morning and ended up not being able to get a late check out at the hotel (partly my fault for not checking on check in) and I wouldn’t have had enough time, especially with the hills, to finish and get back to the hotel, shower and check out without being charged. For us out of towners, I think an earlier half marathon time would be better, especially since we have more distance to cover. I also think it’d be awesome if they could come up with a challenge with some of the distances or even come up with a two day event! If you’re in the area, definitely look this race up!

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!

 

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!

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