Race Review Dallas Marathon- The Monkey Off My Back

Marathon #9 is finally in the books. This past weekend, I was in Dallas for the Dallas Marathon (and 10K, more on that later). How I ended up on Dallas, I have no idea, other than I figured it would be warmer than the Inland Northwest. I spent most of the first part of the year doing races every other weekend and then took most of July and all of August off of racing for a mental break and focused mainly on cross training and weight training. I started picking up the training trail again Labor Day weekend, while still cross training and weight training.

With working every other week, training got a bit tricky. I ended up contacting a former trainer of mine, who came up with a training schedule working around my work schedule and with the races I was already signed up for and keeping in mind I was doing the Dallas 10K the day before the Marathon as part of the BMW Dallas Marathon Series (more bling and free stuff, what can I say). Speed work, spinning, weight training and trying to gain muscle while marathon training (because it makes perfect sense to do endurance training at the same time as attempting to gain muscle) took up most of the last 3-4 months.

Friday, I headed out to Dallas and arrived mid afternoon. I took an Uber to my hotel downtown and checked into my hotel. I walked over to the convention center afterwards (about 1/2 mile away) and picked up my bibs and shirts for the weekend. As I was finishing up with shirt pick up, the fire alarm went off and the entire building was evacuated. Initially, I think everyone thought it was a false alarm, but things kept getting drawn out. I went across the street to a sports bar and got some food, and could still see people waiting outside to get back into the convention center (there was a video game convention going on at the same time). I eventually walked back over because I wanted to check out the rest of the expo, but found out that there was a bomb threat that essentially had the entire building shut down. Ultimately, the rest of the expo was shut down on Friday because the building was still being cleared by Dallas PD and it was a long process. People were less than thrilled, but what can you do.

After the 10K on Saturday, I was able to go back over and explore the expo. I got some gear and wandered around for a little bit before heading back to the hotel. I went for some lunch, stayed off my feet for a bit and headed to 4 pm mass at a chapel 1 mile from the hotel before finding dinner and calling it a night.

Bright and early (around 630 AM) Sunday morning I woke up and changed, had some breakfast and headed to City Hall, where the start of the race was. I had a bag I ended up checking with some extra food and post race change of clothes, just in case. I initially tried to use to the porta potties, but the lines were long and the B corral was set to close at 8 AM so ended up running to try and get into them. The routes in weren’t that great, you had to cross a street that was limited flow due to gates and then security was checking bibs to make sure you were entering the proper corrals. Announcements were done and we got words of encouragement from Shalane Flanagan and Meb. At 8:10, corral A was sent off and 7 minutes, corral B was let loose.

The course itself had some hills, but we didn’t see them until after the first 10K or so. It didn’t seem too horrible, but I also had some pretty decent hills in the PNW that serve as a reality check. The first 8.5-9 miles, the half and full marathon were side by side in downtown Dallas, Uptown, Oaklawn, Highland Park, etc. Around mile 9, we split and things definitely thinned out. We got a bit of a downhill and headed towards White Rock Lake. As I was passing miles 10-11, the leaders were already on their way back towards the finish. I hit mile 11 and realized that we’d be hitting an uphill on our way back when we hit mile 20. I wasn’t looking forward to that. I was hitting good paces and crossed the half marathon point at 2:03. At that point, I was thinking I’d likely PR, but I still felt like I had another race in itself to finish. We looped around the White Rock Lake and I was keeping a pretty steady pace. By the time mile 20 rolled around, my legs were starting to stiffen up some, but I also didn’t want to stop moving and make things worse. Whomever thought hills between miles 20-21 of a marathon was a good idea, is insane. I slowed down a little bit in order to get through it and by the time I got through Mile 22, I knew I had a PR in the bag (I was still sub 4 hrs at that point). I crossed the 24.7 mile time sheet at 4:02 and at that point, was in the home stretch. The last mile and a half, I kept the 4:15 pacer in sight and passed her at the finish. Ultimately, I finished in 4:16:28, 16:30 better than my 2012 Chicago Marathon time and a PR that I’ve been trying to break for 5 years. Better yet, I get Burpees out of my trainer (5 for every minute I PR’ed by….I should have asked for more!).

Water stops: every 1-2 miles, really kind of depended. Had water and gatorade for the most part

Post Race: the finisher chute had you get medals first, then water. If you completed the Marathon Series (either the 5K/10K on Saturday and the Half/Full on Sunday), there was a tent where you checked in, showed the black wrist band you received after finishing your Saturday race and your finisher medal from Sunday and you picked up your series medal and Jacket. Afterwards, you picked up food (in a box) and a finisher shirt if you did the marathon. I wasn’t a fan of the boxed food. It had Edamame trail mix, oreos and tortilla chips. I really wanted a banana or an orange and some Chocolate milk, but the only carbs I saw was iHop Pancakes. There was beer at the finish, which doesn’t work for me and I’ve never been a fan of. A bunch of people were asking for chocolate milk and bananas at the finish, so it’s something I would look at for next year.

Overall, a decent race and a good course. I think the expo needs to look at letting people pick up for other people, especially if people are coming a distance to pick up bibs or if people are working and can’t get to the expo. There also needs to be more than one corral entrance. Having to go around fences and then through gates on one side really made no sense to me and there was a bottleneck of people trying to get in. Having food on course would have been helpful….something with salt or carbs, especially for the marathoners. And can we look at some bananas and chocolate milk for the finish???? A fun time, though, and I finally got the monkey off my back and my trainer doing Burpees!

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Bibrave Product Review: BOCO Head Gear

Disclaimer: I received an BOCO Gear Visor 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

Hats and visors. I’m usually not a fan, just because I usually feel like I get a headache or some sort of odd sensation around the band site. That and I’m of the ‘less is more’ mindset, so the less I have to take with me and/or wear, the better. We were given the opportunity test some BOCO Gear Products so I figured I’d give it a shot. I ended up opting for the Visor, just because hats and I generally don’t get along.

Earlier this summer, the PNW was dealing with fires, which meant in the Inland NW, we were dealing with all the smoke. It definitely prevented me from getting out and trying my visor initially, but once things cleared a bit, I was glad to be able to get some good runs in. The visor itself is light weight so you tend to forget about it. It’s also good if you wear sunglasses, because I found that it would hold them in place behind your ears. This last weekend, I was in Seattle for the Seattle Half Marathon and whenever people think Seattle, they think rain. We got rain at least 8 miles of the race and my visor did a decent job of keeping rain out of my face. I’ve done a few other races since having my visor and some have wind. My only concern is when there are wind gusts, I worry about it flying off (felt like at one point I was going to be chasing it across the street while running in Tucson and Phoenix).

Curious about the specifics of BOCO Gear Visors?

  • Lightweight wicking woven or dry tech polyester outside
  • wicking internal sweatband on the front inside to help with sweat
  • Soft elastic band back
  • Relaxed fit
  • If you’re looking to do custom designs
  • Black underside of the bill prevents glare

I’ll also say they’re quick to dry of sweat (or rain) when left out to dry. The website says that they can be machine washed, though the tag on mine says hand washing cold. The 360* visors have the soft elastic band in the back and can’t be adjusted (which is the one I have), though the run visors have the adjustable velcro in the back, which is a plus if you want to adjust sizes.  I didn’t test the trucker hat, but there were definitely pros that did. Still not convinced? Check out what some other Pros thought and join us for #bibchat on December 5th at 6 PST!

Jeannine     Lindsey      Amy W.

Check out BOCO Gear online as well!

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Happy Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate! Take advantage of all the family time and some deals and steals on top of it!

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Race Review: Rock n Roll Las Vegas

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Rock n Roll Las Vegas  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’ve had my eye on Rock n Roll Vegas for quite some time, so when the chance came to finally run it, I jumped at it. I also needed to get Nevada off my need to run states for the half marathon list. A whole host of Bibrave pros ended up being in town for the race, which made things a whole lot more fun.

I arrived Friday night from Tucson and checked in at the Westin on the Vegas Strip. When I walked in, I noticed a sign set up for a shake out rune for runners staying at the hotel with the Run Concierge

I caught some dinner after walking around a bit and then ended up calling it a night. I was still dealing with the falling back an hour and ended up only sleeping until 630 or so. I found some breakfast and then headed to the expo at the Convention Center. It opened at 9 AM on Saturday (though it was also open Thursday and Friday as well). You had to have a confirmation for every race you ran that was signed and only you could bring it, no one else could pick up your bib for you. If you did the 5K on Saturday in addition to a Sunday race, you were given a wrist band to show at the finish of your Sunday race for extra bling.

I wandered around the expo and found some Nike gear that was 40% off. And some Garmin. All the Garmin ($100 off the Fenix 5 Series, just saying). I rarely get gear, but I found a fun t-shirt I ended up getting, that was slightly edited:

A slight alteration to my shirt from the expo. #runner #weightlifter #twoproblems

A post shared by Christine (@cginpnw) on

I went back to the hotel and watched the OSU-MSU game before finding some lunch, wondering Caesar’s Palace and running the 5K on Saturday. Wondering about the 5K? Head over here and check it out.

The headliner concert with The Goo Goo Dolls was suppose to be Sunday, but given the shooting last month, it was changed to Saturday after the 5K. I hung around until about 8 before heading back for dinner and a shower. What can I say, cold and hungry won!

Sunday I was up bright and early. I ended up heading to church and then met up with fellow Bibrave Pros Justin, Jeannine, Mai, Fallon and Allison for Brunch at Spice Market in the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino. We were there a good 90 minutes before we all left to get ready for the race. Let me tell ya, an afternoon race really throws off when you eat, that’s for sure!

The race started in front of New York, New York, a change from last year. You were also put into 1 of 3 bib colors- blue, green and yellow. Within each bib color was a corral. There were 3 waves based off bib colors that were sent off every 30 min or so with each corral opening for a set period of time. If you’ve ever run the NYC Marathon and there wave system, thats what they were going for. To say the corrals were a bit of a hot mess is a bit of an understatement. You were elbow to elbow and it was beyond hard to get in. There were only 2 entry points and they were checking bib colors and corrals. They really needed to have more entry points. I appreciate the security, but it was almost equally unsafe trying to get in. Once you were in, you couldn’t leave, which meant if you had to go to the bathroom, you were SOL.

I was in the blue corral, which had all the marathoners and some half marathoners in it. I was in corral 11 so we ended up being in the 3rd wave of people in the blue corral. Things did thin out, and you weren’t elbow to elbow with people, but there was a lot of trying to get around people, which meant more tangents. About 1.5 miles in I took a bathroom stop because there was no way 13 miles was happening with a full bladder. The first 2.5 miles were dedicated to the Vegas shooting victims. It went by Mandalay Bay, the Welcome to Las Vegas sign on the way out and back, which made for some good photo ops. The 5K mark came quick and then somewhere between 3-5 miles, we past the start, where they were still sending off runners in the yellow wave. We were heading down the strip, past Paris, Planet Hollywood and MGM. As we were passing the finish, the half marathon winner was crossing the finish. Holy fastness

We got further out on the strip, past the Las Vegas Festival Grounds and the furthest part of the strip before heading back towards the center of Vegas. Everything we saw on the way out we saw on the way back, which was nice. Around mile 11, the marathoners split from us and went their separate ways, as we continued on towards the MGM. When you crossed the finish, you were about a mile from where we started. You got your medal and kept walking down towards food, medical, chocolate milk and the finishers area. It seemed like a decent amount of time between when you finished to when you exited. At the very end was beer for anyone interested. In the finishers area, there was merchandise, the VIP area, extra bling (read Heavy Medal and Remix Medal) pick up and more. I hung around a little bit before heading back to the hotel for a shower and then to find dinner. When I came back out to find food, the finish line was picking up with more p people and was getting more congested with finishers, so I was glad I finished when I did.

In terms of nutrition, there was water stops every 1.5 miles or so. Every once and awhile, there was gatorade, but not enough in my opinion. There was maybe 1 station with gels/chews for the half. There wasn’t any food on course which was a downside

Overall Pros for the course

  • Flat Course
  • good amount of energy
  • A definite bucket list race
  • Plenty of crowd and medical support
  • Good amount of bands

Overall Cons

  • Price is huge. In June/July, the half was $149.99. If you sign up as part of preregistration, the lowest you get is $99
  • Time of the start. The afternoon start time really throws off eating/meals
  • The start/corrals. There needed to be more entry points into the corrals because people were walking all over each other
  • Pre/post race bananas were old and mush like and weren’t worth eating
  • The amount of people. It was so crowded at times!

As much fun as the race was, I think I’m leaving it as a bucket list race and calling it good.

Did you run? Don’t forget to go to Bibrave to review it!

Rock n Roll Vegas 5K

Race weekend started out with a bang last night with the RnR Vegas 5K. I’m running the Half Marathon for Bibrave later today, however, I paid to run the 5K since I was in town anyways.

I got into town from Tucson (conference and CME type things for the job) Friday night and took an Uber from the airport to my hotel. I got to share it with a military vet who was coming off a near 2 week work trip and got to enjoying some conversation for 15-20 minutes. After checking in and walking around a bit, I settled on the hotel restaurant before calling it a night and watching Stanford beat Washington in football.

Saturday morning, I couldn’t sleep past 6 AM and ended up finding an early breakfast. I walked around the High Roller a little bit and then headed over to the expo to pick up my bibs at the expo. The line was curling around the convention center since it didn’t open until 9 AM, but once we were let in, it was pretty easy flowing. Bib pick up were separated by race and then number. After getting my half bib, I got my 5K bib and my wristband that lets me get my remix medal after the half marathon tonight for doing 2 races. I explored the expo, made the mistake of stopping at a vendor with 40% off nike and the Garmin vendor. Things were picking up and I ended up heading back to the hotel hotel and watching the OSU-Michigan State game and torture my trainers a little bit with a RnR shirt I found

A slight alteration to my shirt from the expo. #runner #weightlifter #twoproblems

A post shared by Christine (@cginpnw) on

After finding some lunch and roaming Caesar’s Palace, I changed and took the Monorail to the start of the 5K by the SLS Hotel. The monorail was packed and a group of us got luck when the back car of one of the trains was completely empty. After getting off at the SLS stop, we weaved our way through the casino and to the start. We had to go through security and anyone with water had to dump it out since the Goo Goo Dolls concert was in the post race area and they didn’t want outside beverages in. After getting through, I checked my bag (I brought some food since it was so late and some long sleeved stuff, expecting it to be cold post run). I caught up with fellow Bibrave Pro Justin for a quick picture and headed off to Corral 4.

Race officials were making sure people weren’t jumping up corrals and making sure things were spread out. My corral was off within the first 10 minutes or so, probably less. I was trying to weave in and out of people who were clearly in the wrong corrals but got in faster corrals because they wanted more time to finish. The course itself was fairly lit, though I wish it had some more light to it. It was an out and back course, primarily down Sammy Davis Jr. Drive with a small detour down Wilber Clark Di West. You didn’t see a whole lot of the actual strip and was more of here and there things if anything. Since it was dark with some lighting, I was nervous about not seeing a pothole or something. There ended up being 1 water station at mile 2 before we headed back into the Las Vegas Grounds. The last 1/3 of a mile was winding through uneven pavement in the grounds before before heading through the finish line. Plenty of announcing, water and medals at the finish with some bananas, some sort of organic bar that looked funky and pretzels. I got my bag and threw on my long sleeved stuff and noticed that there were corrals still starting with people who finishing and chilling out.

I met up with Justin and cheered on finishers as they came through. I hung around for the Goo Goo Dolls before leaving around 8 because of being hungry and cold.

Overall, it was an OK race. I’ve heard it was better than last year, but I feel like you don’t get a lot of Vegas out of it. The cost is another thing to be aware of. I feel like I paid in the $40-50 range a few months ago for it and that’s a lot for a 5K. I feel like it could be better lit and rerouted so you’re not running circles for the last 1/3 of a mile. A good warm up for the half tonight though!

Race Review: Carrera de los Muertos Los Angeles 5K

I was in Los Angeles 2 weeks ago for RnR Los Angeles and ended up finding the Carrera de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) 5K.  Carrera de los Muertos is a way of remembering those have passed and that was well shown at the race.

The race itself was on a Saturday and took place at Olvera Street in downtown LA. I registered last minute, so I ended up paying $55, which is high for a 5K race. I arrived at 715 AM via Uber. Olvera Street is next to Union Station, which was fun to see. It took me 5 min or so to find bib pick up and it was an absolute disaster. I stood in line for 30 minutes to get my bib because they were assigning bibs as you checked in and were scanning QRS codes that were given during registration. Simple solution should have been to have anyone who was preregistered through a certain date, should have been assigned a bib before pick up. I feel like this would have decreased wait times greatly pre race (quite frankly, I’m not getting to a 5K that starts at 8 AM at 645 for packet pick up). When I tried to get my shirt, they were out of smalls, so I had to wait until after the race to get my shirt when more smalls had shown up.

The race itself was suppose to start at 8 AM. At 755 AM, we got the announcement that the race would start at 830 AM so people could finish getting there bibs. Seriously? Second recommendation for packet pick up: have an option to pick up day before the race, not a week before the race. I ended up looking at some of the displays set up remembering those had died. I then tried getting into the start area, but it was so overcrowded. We finally did get started, but there was a lot of walkers in front who shouldn’t have been. The course itself was out and back, fairly flat and the only hill was when we were going over a bridge in Mission Junction. It took me less time to run the race than it did to 1) get my bib and 2) wait for the start. The course itself was also short by ~.15-.2 miles.

Overall, not a fan of the race. Something needs to be done about packet pick up because assigning bibs on race day for a fun run essentially isn’t working. Having the race start half an hour later because pick up was a hot mess is an issue. It was such a mess, I’m not sure I’d go back for it.

Rock n Roll Vegas: It’s Race Week!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Rock n Roll Las Vegas 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!

It’s race week for Rock n Roll Vegas and pretty soon we get to descend on the Las Vegas Strip! First time running? Take a look at what RnR posted in the last week or so to get an idea of where you’re running, though know there’s some changes that aren’t reflected due to late changes

Here’s some need to know info:

Security: Expect to see some increased security given recent events over race weekend. If you’re running this weekend, only runners will be allowed in the Start Village. Be sure if you’re checking bags, that it’s a clear bag given to you at the Expo!

Expo:

  1. Need to pick up your own bib(s) for any race you’re doing! No one can do it for you
  2. Make sure you bring your confirmation sheet and ID!
  3. Expo Takes Place at the Las Vegas Convention Center
    • Thursday, Nov 9 from 3-7 PM
    • Friday, Nov 10 from 11-6 PM
    • Saturday, Nov 11, from 9-7 PM
  4. Get your Runner Perks wrist band at the expo (look for the red balloon!)

Head Liner Concert

  • Goo Goo Dolls are still performing, only their concert is now Saturday, November 11 after the 5K
  • Show goes down at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds with March Fourth performing at 5 and 615 and the Goo Goo Dolls Performing at 715

All The Races

  1. Keep in mind there’s the Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K on Nov 12 and the 5K on Nov 11
  2. For Full information, here’s race details for each
  3. Check out the race weekend website for more information regarding road closures, race day maps, course details

See you in Vegas!

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