Race Review: Craft Classic Phoenix

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Road Runner Sports Craft Classic Phoenix 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 only took 7 years of distance running to knock Arizona off my Half Marathon list. The funny thing is, my first marathon was in Phoenix back in 2010. Small world and a little backwards thinking! I got into the Craft Classic Half through Bibrave and ended up making a weekend trip of it. I was able to get a direct flight into Phoenix and got in around noon on Friday. After picking up my rental car, I went to the Road Runner Sports in Tempe for packet pick up and lunch.

Packet Pick Up/Expo: Friday from Noon to 7 pm at Road Runner Sports Tempe and Saturday from 10-4 at Road Runner Sports Scottsdale. You could pick up for other people with their ID. No race day pick up, which would have been nice for people driving in. You got a coupon to shop at RRS at, your bib, shirt and a beer pint glass

Cost: depended on how many people registered. As more people registered, cost went up. The half was anywhere from $75 to $105.

Race Day Parking: I arrived early and was able to park close to the start. You could park at the post office, the River of Time Museum or at retail parking.

Race Start: 630 AM off of the Ave of the Fountains

Race Day: I met up with Emily, a fellow Bibrave Pro who lives in the Phoenix area. I had also met up with her on Saturday for brunch after a running a 10K (I’m smart like that). We chatted a bit and then lined up at the start. There were pacers, every 10 minutes from 1:30 that I could see. The half marathon started at 630 AM and the 5K started at 7 AM. The half course started out relatively flat, and I was really hoping for a sub 2 hr race. The first 3 miles were comfortable, and that was appreciated. Then mile 4 showed up and all of the hilliness that decided to come with it. I felt ike it was all up hill from mile 4.5 to at least mile 6. By the time you got to the down hill, you thought the worst of it was over and then more rolling hills decided to rear its head. You figured out very quickly you weren’t likely to PR this course. It got to the point where legs got tired in a sense. It did warm up pretty quick, but we also got a nice breeze going, although it nearly knocked off my visor. The last 3 miles seemed flat to me (or at least that’s how I like to think of them). I ended up finishing just under 2:09.

Aid Stations: every mile or so. Water and nuun were available at each station, as were porta potties. I wish powerade/gatorade were available over nuun, as I don’t know it works all that well (though some people swear by it). Honey Stinger gels were available at some of the aid stations.

The Finish: right by the start. As you crossed the finish, you were given your medal. Plenty of water and nuun again. Only bananas and oranges to eat. Food trucks were available, but you had to pay for the food. I really wish they would have had some sort of food with carbs and chocolate milk. I get it’s a race with beer at the end, but I think having some food with substance and something cold to replenish the muscles would have been huge, especially given the heat. Each runner got a free beer, each additional was $5. My beer went to Emily, fellow Bibrave Pro.

Overall, a decent race. I would recommend doing some hills to prep for this race. I think that powerade/gatorade would have been a better on course option and some more food of substance and chocolate milk post race would be awesome! If you’re in the area, definitely worth checking out the race.

 

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Race Review Das Frank Kush Footrace 10K

This past weekend, I escaped the coldness of Spokane and the PNW (we had trace snow going into Friday the 13th) and went to Phoenix for the Craft Classic Half Marathon (another blog post for another day). In all of my insaneness, I figured why not look for another race for Saturday. I ended up finding the Frank Kush 10K on Saturday. I got in early Friday afternoon, and initially went to pick up my Craft Classic bib at Road Runner Sports in Tempe. Turns out, the Frank Kush packet pick up was at the same place. After I grabbed some lunch, I got my bib for the 10K and headed to the hotel.

Saturday morning, I was up around 630 and headed down to breakfast at the hotel after I got changed. I left around 720 and was there and parked by 740. It started at Tempe “beach” which was less of a beach if I’ve ever seen one. If you couldn’t make it to packet pick up Friday, there was an option to get your bib and shirt race morning. To get to the start, you had to walk through Oktoberfest, and it was a little difficult to find if you weren’t familiar with the area.

The 10K started at 8 AM and the 5K started at 810 AM. The 10K course started along the lake (or river?) and went out about a mile and a half or so and came back 1/4 a mile or so. At that point, we met up with the 5K and went over a bridge to the other side of the lake and continued on our route. We stayed with the 5K runners for a bit and then we separated again. The 5K turned towards the finish and we kept going until we got to Priest Road. We turned on Priest and then again onto Rio Salado towards the finish. The finish was right inside the Beach park area where Oktoberfest was set up, however, it was easily seen.

Kush Course

Overall, the course was relatively flat. There were minor hills when we were going over bridges and such, but nothing to cry foul about. I ended up finishing in 55:50, about 10 seconds off a PR (grrrr). After the race, you got a beer mug and a free beer if you chose to get it (I’m not a beer fan and it was 9 AM). I hung around for a little bit and ended up leaving around 915 and met up with a fellow Bibrave Pro for breakfast. Afterwards, I ended up heading back to the hotel to shower and regroup for Craft Classic in the morning.

 

 

Product Review: Fun Run Box

Disclaimer: I received a FunRunBox 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!

Box subscriptions are something that’s big these days. Some are fashion related, some are make up related, some are fitness related. One that’s running related is the Fun Run Box. I’d never heard of it before Bibrave, so I was curious. What is it exactly?

  • A “running subscription box with a running experience” as they like to describe themselves
  • Good for novices up to experts
  • A monthly box with gear and challenges to inspire to get engaged.

Sounds simple enough! I had the chance to try the Oktoberfest box over the month of September. When it came in the mail, here’s what I opened up:

I got a shirt, hat, massage stick, beer flavored jelly beans, a bib number, a magnet and a granola bar. Additionally, you got a challange with two different routes to go down in terms of miles and time. For the month, it was the 5 Mile Dasch challenge. You were also assigned a team, for me, it was Team Diggity.

Over the course of the month, the goal was to get pictures of you using or somehow engaging with everything in your box. Whether it be rolling out with your massage stick, working out in your shirt or hat, completing your 5 mile challenge, afterwards you posted pictures with different hashtags. After the month was up, whichever picture got the most likes, engagements etc, was the winner (can we say gift cards and free $$??).

My training got mixed in with the amount of halves I’ve been doing. My 5 miles ended up being the first 5 miles of a hilly half marathon so my time was not that great, but I still have the over/under work outs to go off

Cost: only $45 for $70+ of gear. AND you can use BIBRAVE for 15% off your order by going through here

Fun Run Box is a good way to stay motivated and get competitive for any range of runner, whether it be getting back into running or starting out. Hey, it’s even something that can be used amongst a running group for some good fun. I personally had a hard time getting into it, but it’s solely because I was in marathon training mode, so I felt like I was trying to do two completely separate things. Part of what I also struggled with was the beer flavored jelly beans/granola bar as I’m not a fan of the taste of beer (I ran a race this weekend and gave another BRP my beer if that says anything!). Regardless, take a look at FunRunBox for yourself and give it a try!

Join us for Bibchat on October, 17 at 9pm EST/6 pm PST with Fun Run Box and get more questions answered!

Road Runner Craft Classic Phoenix Race Week!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Road Runner Sports Craft Classic Phoenix 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 the Road Runner Sports Craft Classic Phoenix Half Marathon and 5K! To say I’m excited to escape to warmer weather for a few days is an understatement. I’ve been weather stalking and when 90s is the high, it makes me a tad worried about weather for race day. Don’t forget,

Online registration ends tonight at 1159 pm! You can save $10 from the half with BIBRAVEHALF and $5 off the 5K with BIBRAVE5k

The need to know for race weekend:

  • Packet Pick Up:
    • Friday, October 13: Road Runner Sports Tempe, 12-7 pm
    • Saturday, October 14: Road Runner Sports Scottsdale 10am-4 pm
    • Gotta pick up your bib! Can’t make it? Someone can pick up your bib for you, they just got to bring this release form
  • What You Get:
    • Bib
    • Tank or shirt
    • Beer tickets (find me on the run or after and you can have my beer!)
  • Then Do some shopping!
  • Race Day:
    • 630 AM start time (think that you’ll be done before brunch and avoid the heat!)
    • 4 hr time limit
    • Hydration Stations at miles 1.5, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, and 12
  • Review the course before hand!

Looking for things to do in Phoenix?

  • ASU plays University of Washington Saturday afternoon for all you College Football Fans
  • Lots of Pumpkin farms in the area
  • Arizona State Fair
  • Four Peaks Oktoberfest
  • Go to VisitPhoenix for more events!

The (Half) Boring Half Marathon

It’s been nearly 2 weeks since I did my first back to back half marathon weekend. On September 16, I ran the Bridge of the Goddess Half Marathon, which was moved to Vancouver WA due to the fires in the Gorges of the Cascades. On September 17, I drove half an hour from Portland to Boring, OR (I can’t make the name up) for the Boring Half Marathon. I was up bright and early (530 AM ish). After changing and waking up some, I was off and taking some side roads to Boring. I got to the start around 6:20 and found some parking. The start was close to one of the local schools. Since I couldn’t make packet pick up, I got my (not so) Boring Half Marathon bib and Men’s XL shirt. Don’t judge, when you sign up late and have to pick a shirt, you go with it. The marathon was off at 6:30 AM, with the half marathon starting at 7 AM. We were followed by the (consistently Boring) 8K at 7:30 AM.

Pre race, they had some food set out, bagels, bananas and some small things, as well as some water and gatorade. I also looked things up a bit on their website before the race. Water and gatorade every 1.5-2.5 miles, depending on which distance you ran.

My legs were on the stiff and tired side from half number one of the weekend, but when you’re trying to get another state off your list, you deal with it and just go for it. There were some mild inclines, though not terrible. Only you feel it when your legs are on the tired side. I was doing ok and thought I could pull a 2:05 or so. Then things started to waiver. My wireless headphones decided to cut out (with a full charge) 5 miles in. Daggon sweat. Sometimes it’s nice to get into your own head, but when there are two runners running together and having conversations over their headphones, it gets old real quick. That coupled with some people cheering in high pitched voices at the top of their lungs, it gets old real fast. After going under some underpasses, crossing a side street and hitting 6.55 miles, we turned around to make our way back, while the marathoners kept going straight. The course itself was on a bike/running path that was paved and without traffic. There were a few points where we had to cross streets and look for traffic, but it wasn’t anything major. There was also section  under construction which led us to go on the side of the road for about .1 miles each way. Once we got within eye shot of the finish, people were around and cheering. Ultimately, finished in 2:07:41, not awful for sore legs.

After grabbing a water and my metal, I went to find some food. They had a food truck there and I ended up getting a slider to hold me over until I got back to Portland. I also checked with the gear people and was able to get my Men’s XL shirt switched to a Women’s Small (score!). After driving back to the hotel and downing some chocolate milk (the joys of having a fridge in the room), I got a shower to warm up and went off to find some lunch.

Overall, a decent race. Small (147 finishers for the half) field of runners and not horrible with hills. If you’re local or in the area for something else, it’s worth doing for sure.

Race Review: Bridge of the Goddess (Year of the Fire)

To say fires have messed with the PNW is an understatement. Add on races getting canceled because of lack of runners and you have last weekend. I was originally suppose to run the Vancouver USA 5K and Half Marathon last weekend, however, a month ago (while on vacation no less) I got an email that it had been cancelled due to low registration. Apparently in 2016, the course route had been shortened unintentionally and registration numbers suffered. Because of that, I ended up finding the Bridge of the Goddess Half Marathon. Normally, the race is held at the Columbia River Gorge in the Cascades, and I figured I could knock Oregon off my half marathon list and get a CME course in Portland all in one swoop.

About a week before the race, organizers moved the race to Vancouver, Washington, just over the Oregon/Washington state lines. Fires in the area made for less than ideal situations for runners, so I went from planning an hour drive to the race and something somewhat hilly to driving 15 min, minimal hills and no Cascades.

I flew in early Friday morning and got situated with my conference. When we had a long enough lunch break, I took an Uber over to the Portland Running Company’s Downtown location to get my bib and shirt. They also had some freebies in the bag that we got. Nice thing about Oregon is there’s no sales tax and when the store is doing 50% off things, it means you buy capris that go down to $45. I found the Nike Outlet store close by and found some other unnecessary running stuff that I needed.

Saturday morning, I was up by 630 AM and changed. I grabbed some breakfast at the hotel and headed out to Vancouver, WA, about 15 min from Portland. I found some free street parking about a 5 min walk from the start. There were some pre race announcements before we were off. About half a mile into the race, we split from the 10K runners and headed into Ft. Vancouver after running some mild hills/incline. The hills weren’t terrible, but you saw them. At least they weren’t back to back. It’s always fun hitting miles 2-3 and seeing the leaders come back past you. We doubled back through Ft Vancouver and then took to the streets of Vancouver and then down along the banks of the Columbia River. The running paths were paved and it got to the point where we hit the turn around and came on back to Esther Park, where we started. The course had remained fairly flat after we got Ft Vancouver and the race was actually well marked. Only downside was that there was no timers on course, so I was banking on my Garmin. I ended up finishing in 1:57:41, 2 min off my PR and my second sub 2 hr half this year.

Post race, you had the option of a necklace or a medal. I opted for the necklace. I grabbed some water and looked at some of the vendors. I attempted to get food, but the lines were long enough where I didn’t feel like waiting. I headed back to the car and drove back to Portland and got the money shower before heading to my conference for the rest of the day.

Overall, it was a well run race. Kudos to race organizers for getting a race moved to a separate location in less than a month. Eventually, it’d be fun to go back and run it in the Cascades, where it’s suppose to be run. Anyone else get displaced last weekend from races??

Race Review: Colville Country Road Half Marathon

I’ve only lived in Washington State for 13-14 months and it took me that long to finally run a half marathon out here. Races in Eastern Washington were either weekends I worked or I when I had other plans. Labor Day weekend, I was able to hang around until Saturday. I worked out with my trainer Saturday morning, got some breakfast and went home to shower and watch some football. Since the race was only 90 min away, I drove up Saturday afternoon and stayed at a hotel in Colville. Colville is one of those towns where you blink and you miss it. I checked in and found a place to pick up dinner so I could take it back to the hotel and watch some football. Thankfully, I had a fridge in my room, so I ran to the store as well and picked up some small things for race day. Kind of hard to pay when you leave your wallet at the hotel and have to run back to get it and head back to the store. Whoops.

Race day, I was up around somewhere between 545 and 6 AM. The start was 2 miles from where I was staying. I got to the start at 640 and realized this was going to probably be the smallest half marathon I’ve ever run. It had an associated 10K with it and I nearly dropped down to that, but figured I didn’t stay overnight to run a 10K. I got my bib and shirt and put the rest of the freebies in my car. At 7 AM sharp, we were off (all less than 50 of us). There were a few turns early on, but then the race turned into a straight shot, literally, down one of their country roads. Registration read flat and fast. There were definitely hills. Sigh. Since the race was so small (and an inaugural race), there were no clocks on course and the miles were spray painted on the road. We also had to keep an eye on traffic, as the roads weren’t shut down. Traffic wasn’t much of a concern, but there were some parts where the roads got windy and you couldn’t see if anything was coming around a corner or over a hill. Once we got 6.55 miles out, we hit the turn around  and made our way back to the finish area. Considering it was my first race in 7 weeks, I hit 2:02:18 (on a course that was 13.25 miles long). Final half marathon finisher total: 28 people and I finished number 12. Had I done the 10K, probably would have hit 3 out of 8.

Aid Stations: every 2 miles with water and gatorade (and the occasional gels)

Packet pick up: Thursday/Friday before race day and race morning rom 6-7 AM

Medical: none that I could see, but a race truck drove back and forth on the course the entire course

Post Race: bananas, oranges, water and gatorade. They had a pizza party scheduled for 1130 AM after the race finished that I couldn’t stick around for

Overall: Small race. I feel like if they could have done some more PR in the Spokane area or in Idaho, they could have gotten some more runners up (and hey, bring a little more $$ to the area). People were very nice and things I think ran well. Definitely a good small town race if you’re ever looking for one

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