Race Review: Tobacco Road Half Marathon

I finally got North Carolina off my Half Marathon List! Bibrave teamed up with the Tobacco Road Marathon/Half Marathon in Cary, NC; however, I ran via paying my own way (and using the BibRave discount :-)). I actually was suppose to fly out the Thursday before the race, but had some last minute schedule changes and was able to change my flight to Friday after picking up a few shifts at work. After hitting the gym Friday morning and catching a shower, I bolted over to the airport and took off to RDU via MSP. I landed just before midnight. The hotel was about 15 minutes away from the airport, and by chance, it was also the host hotel for the Tobacco Road Marathon.

I somehow was able to sleep until 930 AM the next morning, and it was so needed. I went down for some breakfast (can’t beat free!) and ended up walking to the conference area to packet pick up. We had been emailed our bib numbers earlier in the week, but somehow a bulk of us were emailed the wrong number, so we had to check on a paper print out what our bib number was. After entering and picking up your bib, if you paid for a parking pass during online registration (the best $10 you can spend on this race), you went to a separate table to pick that up. After bib (and +/- parking pass), you went to a third section to get your bib. Gripe: if you had bought a parking pass for the start/finish area, I would have loved for it to be with your bib at the bib pick up. One less thing for me to miss.

Shirts. Something else I’m going to gripe about. I’m really not a fan of the Bella shirts, as they’re literally 2 sizes two small. I got a women’s small not realizing the manufacturer of the shirt and couldn’t even fit into it, but there was no shirt exchange at the expo. If you wanted to exchange shirts, you had to lug it with you to the race and find the shirt exchange booth. Another step that was unnecessary. I wish something would have been available at the expo!. The expo itself is small. Some local vendors and races. I didn’t get anything extra, but if I lived closer some of the races seemed like something I’d go sign up for.

I ended up going for a run and got my miles in for the NYRR Virtual 10K that I had signed up for before heading off to lunch and church. I then promptly found a place for dinner and parked myself at the bar to watch Loyola Chicago (my Alma Mater) play in the second round of the NCAA tournament and somehow win to get to the sweet 16 (spoiler alert, we’re going to the Final Four!). I went back to the hotel and caught the end of the game before calling it a night.

Race day, I was up bright and early. For some reason, it was recommended you get to the race 90 min before hand if you drove there. Best decision ever to have a parking pass, because I ended up parking at 6 AM and hanging out in the car for 45 minutes. There was a shuttle option that picked up runners at the Net App site and took them to the US Baseball Training Center, but you hung out in darkness and coldness if you took the shuttles. Another perk would have been to have heaters or something to keep people warm at the start, especially at 6 AM. Plenty of port a potties, however, the Baseball field was open so I hijacked the field bathrooms instead (as did a bunch of other people).

Race started at 7 AM. The first 2-2.5 miles, the half and full ran together before splitting on the Tobacco Road. The first 2-2.5 miles did have some incline to it. The main part of the race (8 miles total) was on the America Tobacco Trail. Be ready for some gravel/packed pavement or dirt type material. I can’t even describe it. You did a 4 mile out and 4 mile back on the ATT and it got really congested at points because the half was passing each other and then you also started getting the marathoners coming on the back half of their course. It actually made it really difficult to pass. On course, I passed 2 fellow Bibrave Pros, Lissy and Ted. Kinda bummed I didn’t get a picture! After you got off the ATT, you doubled back on the 2.5+ of road back to the USA Baseball Complex. The hills felt worse and it was definitely colder the last 5K of the race.

Aid Stations: every 1-1.5 miles or so of the race with mixes of water, gatorade and gels.

The Finish: Plenty of medals, some water/food. In the post race area, there was chocolate milk, Papa John’s Pizza, some food trucks and a beer garden. There was also an area to get your results and hang out. At 930, there wasn’t much going on. I tried sticking it out to see if things picked up, but no such luck. I ended up heading back to the hotel to warm up because I was freezing.

I’m really on the fence on this one. I felt like the race was crowded in some areas, the shirt issue needs to be looked at (please, just get a different vendor!) and I wish shuttles to the race would have left from a closer location that wasn’t NetApp (what about the host hotel??).  Also, something to keep people warmer at the start would be a plus. Like I said, I could go either way on this race….

 

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Bibrave Product Review: KT Tape

Disclaimer: I received samples of KT Tape to try and 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!

Nagging injuries, runners injuries, large muscle injuries. We all get them. My first running injury was in the Fall of 2009 when I was starting on long distance running and thought the regular shoes I had were ok for running. I ended up with an IT Band injury so bad I ended up with a month of Physical Therapy (after I ran the half marathon the orthopod told me to not run. Sorry Mom). Part of what I found while doing PT was KT Tape. Don’t believe me? Flash back to January 2010 with my first marathon:

KT Tape is an elastic sports tape designed to relieve pain and support muscles/tendons/ligaments. When you get hurt (and not the tired/stiff/sore that my trainer tries to get out of me on a regular basis), KT tape (when applied correctly) lifts the skin from the area of pain , swelling and/or inflammation to provide decompression to the fascia and greater movement of the lymphatic fluid through your system.

The nice thing about KT Tape is it can be used for Common Injuries like

And the list goes on! I remember having Turf Toe in high school and looking back, I wish I would have had some KT Tape rather than the tape the trainer had for me at that point in time. What’s even better is that there’s instructional videos on how to apply KT Tape depending on where you’re hurting.

We had a variety of different tapes to try out and I’m still trying to make my way through them. I started with the KT Tape Pro version (we were also sent KT Tape Pro Wide, KT Tape Pro Extreme, KT Tape Gentle and the original KT Tape). I was in New Orleans for a 5K/Half marathon race weekend and was dealing with some heal pain due to cracked skin. I came up my own little tape job:

I applied two pieces and left it for the whole weekend. I was able to get through a 5K on Saturday and a half marathon Sunday and 2 showers without it coming off.

When you apply KT tape, make sure the area your applying to is clean and dry. If you’re a woman, shave before hand; men I’m sorry. Also make sure to apply it an hour or so before a workout to allow maximum sticking. The key to putting on KT tape is the stretch. It does have stretch quality to it, but when applying it, you want to really only it stretch it about 50% with the main point being over the area of injury or pain.

Depending on how long you plan on wearing the KT Tape can dictate which version you want to choose.

KT Tape Pro is good for 4-7 days and stays on in water

KT Tape Pro Extreme is good on for a week and highly water resistant. The difference between this and the original Pro Version is that it has extra strength adhesive

KT Tape Pro Wide is a 4″ wide strip that’s good for your larger muscle groups (hamstrings, quads, low back). Typically this is good for 4-7 days and water resistant. Yes, if you’re short armed like me, you can still get it to your low back

KT Tape Gentle is made for gentle adhesive for easier removal and good for 1-3 days. If you’re going for harder work outs, maybe not the best one to use though.

While going through the KT Tape Website, I was able to find some newer stuff that I jumped on. I’m excited about the Blister Prevention  Strips which are small strips aimed for blister/chafing/hot spot prevention. Needless to say, I bought 2-3 roles and tested out the strips this past weekend while in NC. Two thumbs up for that! The next one is the KT Tape Pro X which is two 10″ strips combined to make an X for point related pain. I’m still working on getting the right placement for this one, so we’ll see.

Overall, LOVE the KT Tape. It travels well, is durable, can be used for multiple injuries or sore spots and does it’s job well. They’ve come out with a ton of different products since I first started using it back in 2009 and quite frankly, it’s gotten a lot better (huge fan of the Pro and Pro Extreme Versions!). Get over to their website and use BIBRAVE30 to save 30% off your order!

 

Bibrave Meets Athlinks

Disclaimer: This year, BibRave has teamed up with Athlinks to help runners and athletes track their running. To join Athlinks, head over to to http://www.athlinks.com and set up an account. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

This year, Bibrave has teamed up with Athlinks in an effort to help runners and other athletes get on track, claim results and get connected with other athletes. Let’s face it, every runner has different was of tracking their races and it’s probably across a variety of platforms: spreadsheets, log books, websites, who knows what else. Athlinks is a online community where you have all of your races in one place. 1 milers, ultras, triathlons, you name it!

I’ve actually been using Athlinks for about 10 years, when I first started running. I stumbled on it and signed up. It was free and when you’re looking for a cheap (costs nothing) way to keep all of your race results together, I was all for it.  To join, all you have to do is go to http://www.athlinks.com and click on sign up (or click here to make it easy)

You get an option of how to sign up: email, facebook or google. All you need to to is enter your first name, last name, email and password and bam, you’re in! Easy, right? Once you’re set up, it’s easy to start looking through race results already up and to start claiming them. There’s filters so you can search by year, location, birthday (let’s face it, lots of common names, etc). Races will pop up if they meet your demographic information (name, age, location, etc) and you’ll have the option to claim them or not.

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Over the years, Athlinks has tweaked and grown. In the past year or so, they’ve added an iPhone and Android app, which makes finding results a little bit easier. They’ve also added features that include joining a ‘Start List’ of races you’re registered to run, where you can see who else is running, and add a goal time to it to give yourself some motivation! After the race, see if your results pop up (heads up, some race results are up pretty quick, others come up in a week or two. Time varies.). Adding yourself to the start list also makes it easy to track all of your races:

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The best think about Athlinks, though, is it keeps track of all your race distances and PRs. If you’re trying to figure out when your last one was for a certain distance, all you have to do is pull up your profile and voila, you can see when, what race and what time you had! It’s kept me sane over the past few years for sure, especially with the increased amount of running I’ve been doing. Now that I’m throwing triathlons in the mix, it’ll be even more beneficial! I’ve loved Athlinks ever since I started using it and highly recommend it!

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Want to join? Head on over to Athlinks and get started!

 

Bibrave Race Review: Rock n Roll New Orleans Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Rock n Roll New Orleans Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check outBibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Most of my races seem to be double race weekends. Such is life when you work every other weekend! This past weekend, I was in New Orleans for Rock n Roll New Orleans and did the 5K and the half marathon. Miss my 5K recap? Take a read!

After finishing my Saturday race, I found some breakfast before heading back for a shower. I met up later with some family friends and we looked around Jackson Square and the Cathedral. We ended up in the Garden District, mainly looking around and taking a peak at Lafayette Cemetery. We took an Uber back to their hotel and I walked from there to my hotel that was only 1/2 mile away. I ended up going to church (that ended up being 34 minutes start to finish). After chilling in the hotel, I found some dinner and ended up calling it a night. Thankfully, there was no drunk 3 AM knockers.

Sunday morning, I was up bright and early and got ready enough before heading up to the start. I was close to Lafayette Square again. I was in corral 3 and made it there with plenty of time. I met again with my friends from Saturday. I attempted to meet up with fellow Pro Justin, but we were in separate corrals. We ended up doing a ‘selfie meet up’:

The half marathon course is very flat. I was actually looking forward to it and maybe even PR’ing since I had done the race before. The first 6-7 miles were an out and back. It went through Lafayette, Livaudais, Milan and uptown Carlton by Loyola New Orleans. We had a turn around point about 4.5 miles in. It was fun being able to see the leaders on the way out at least! We came back and there was at least shade, as it was warm out and I felt like it was getting hot the second half of the race. The last part of the course hit the business district, Jackson Square, the French Quarter, the French Market and the Seventh Ward. We ultimately finished at the Botanical Garden and the New Orleans Museum of Art. Over the course of the race, the roads were uneven and at a slant, which I could feel in my hips and back. I ended up slowing down because of it and finished in just under 2:07 (I ran it in 2:03 IN 2012).

Aid stations were every 1.5-2 miles. They were easier to see with the changes the RnR series made. They had better signage up. There was a combination of gels, water and gatorade depending on the stop and they were set up on both sides of the roads.

Post race: you were met with medals, food, water, gatorade and chocolate milk. Plenty of volunteers handing stuff out. I felt like there were too many photographers though. After the 3rd one wanting to snap a picture of me post race I was kind of over it. After you made it out of the finish chutes, there were signs directing you to various parts of the finish area. The post race party had plenty of merchandise and medal engraving, Remix/Heavy medal pick up and some entertainment. There were areas for charity runners if you ran for St Jude’s or the Crohn’s and Colitis foundation. Normatec also had an area for recovery compression, however, it was only for the marathoners. I thought it was crazy that the half marathoners couldn’t enjoy that perk as well. There was no one there for a good 2-3 hours. I think that’s something that needs rethought. There could have been more to do, as I didn’t have much to do afterwards per say. A friend of mine from residency ran for St Jude’s and I ended up meeting up with her for a little bit before I caught the shuttles back to downtown.

 

Overall, it’s a good flat race and a good race if you’re looking for a good finish time. Weather tends to be 70s and sunny, another plus. I wish there was more at the post race bash, especially since it’s New Orleans. Additionally, I wish the Normatec was open to both half and full marathoners post race.

Did you run this weekend? Don’t forget to go to Bibrave to review your races! Also, go over to Athlinks to claim your race results. Not a member? Set up your account and start claiming your results!

Bibrave Race Review Rock n Roll New Orleans: the 5K

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Rock n Roll New Orleans Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro, however, ran the 5K as well and paid for it separately. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I survived a 4 day trip to New Orleans and lived to tell about it! I’m no stranger to Rock n Roll New Orleans, as I ran it 6 years ago while still in medical school. During that trip, a friend of mine from college was able to meet me for the weekend and we were able to catch up, though we couldn’t make it work this time around. I was more than thrilled to get back to New Orleans to race again and try for a new PR!

I flew in Thursday afternoon and took an Uber to my hotel in the French Quarter. Bonus was that I was able to use all points for it and not owe anything (extra points for only being 1/2 a mile from both starting lines!). I went for a quick run after checking in because flying all day makes the legs a little stiff and ugly. The nice thing about my hotel room was that it happened to be on the same floor as the fitness center (which also had some free weights). After showering, I went and explored the French Quarter before finding some dinner at a nice little restaurant. I was on the hungry side as I somehow didn’t get lunch with all my travels. I called it a night early since I had been up since 4 AM PST and was beat. 10 hrs of sleep later…

Friday Morning, after waking up, I headed off for breakfast and walked around the outlet mall that was close to the convention center. I ended up finding some good deals, but forgot about the 10% sales tax. Afterwards, I headed over to the expo and picked up my bibs. It was a bit congested since it was right at the opening of the expo, but the lines moved fairly quickly. If you were running the 5K Saturday and a race on Sunday, you were given a black wrist band to wear on Sunday to claim your remix medal. I picked up my shirts and explored the expo some. Didn’t purchase anything, but was able to do a demo of the Normatec Compression sleeves for 15 minutes. If you have a chance, give it a try. So worth it!

I did some sight seeing Friday night, found some dinner and got caught up with some stuff before heading to bed. NOLA wouldn’t be NOLA without some excitement as there was knocking at my door at 330 AM. Some guys thought they were at their room and didn’t realize they were wrong until I had to get up and tell them and shoo them off. One of them ended up dropping their debit card which I had to take down to the front desk, as they were already gone.

The 5K was Saturday morning and started by Lafayette Square. It was a quick 1/2 mile max walk to get there and to be able to run in shorts and a tank top was beyond exciting (it hasn’t gotten above 40 minutes in Spokane for awhile). On race day, if you didn’t have a chance to make it to the expo to pick up your bib, there was bib pick up available. Additionally, there was gear check available. New this year were easier to see corral markers making lining up easier. Additionally, bib numbers (in the past the first 1-2 numbers correlated with corrals) don’t match up to your corral, so you have to pay attention to your bib. I ended up in the first corral, which meant getting out pretty quick.

We started at 8 AM, after the national anthem and hearing from Kathrine Switzer, who ended up running the 5K and the half marathon. The gun went off and we headed off into the streets of New Orleans. We went through the Business District before heading into the French Quarter. It was kind of  odd being in streets that are normally packed with people. We made it by the French Market, Jackson Square, Cafe DuMond, and the Cathedral. We looped back and finished about where we started at Lafayette Square. When you finished, you were handed a water, your medal and some food.

Overall, a decent warm up race. Only one water stop on course, but to be expected. Not much post race to do. There was a brass band playing, which kept the mood going. I hung around a little bit before heading back to the hotel to shower. Overall, good experience and race, just wish there were more going on afterwards.

Welcome to RnR New Orleans Race Week!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Rock n Roll New Orleans 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!

We’ve entered race week for Rock n Roll New Orleans! I originally ran RnR NOLA back in 2012 while still in med school (take a look at my review from way back when here) and to say a lot has changed is an understatement. I can’t wait from some of the changes RnR has made (B tags, better corral and mile markers just to name a few) and to get back to New Orleans in general. At least a few pros are going out, so here’s to hoping for a good time! I’m running the 5K on Saturday and the Half Marathon on Sunday, which I’m looking forward too.

Looking for some things to do while in New Orleans other than the obvious French Quarters and the Cathedral?

Don’t forget about race weekend (which is why we’re really here, right?)

  • Packet pick up is March 2-3 at the Convention Center. Can’t Run without your Bib!
  • Don’t forget to look up your bib number(s)!
  • Read up on the Headliners
  • Check out the NEW Rock n Roll Playlists

As always, afterwards, don’t forget to review on Bibrave so people know what you think!

Rock n Roll NOLA: the 30 Day Count Down

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Rock n Roll New Orleans 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!

30 Day Alert!!! We’re just 30 days from RnR New Orleans, and I’m beyond excited about going back. I’ve actually done NOLA before, last in 2012 and enjoyed a flat and fast course. It actually was my PR course up until last summer for the half marathon, so I can’t wait to go back to see if I can get under 2 hrs (fingers crossed!).

This year, Rock n Roll has some changes, which sound and look like they’re awesome. First and for most, NO MORE D TAGS! The time chips have been on the shoe for years for RnR events, this while other events have gone to Bib Timing chips. This year, RnR has finally joined the Bib Time Chip clubs. Woot Woot! We’re also getting blown up Corral signs and mile signs, so it looks like things will be easier to see and find. We’ll see how that works out, but I’ve heard good things. Also, Pizza and Messages at the finish…HELLO?!?! I’m already looking forward to that.

Need a better reason to sign up??? Take a look at the Bling for New Orleans! You can walk away with 2 medals if you do the 5K on Saturday and a race (10K/Half or Full marathon) on Sunday.

I’m guessing 6 years is too long to go between trips to New Orleans. It means I have to go back to Cafe Du Monde for beignets, take some time around the French Quarters and hopefully catch up with friends of mine from college and residency. We’ll see!

Interested in running? Hurry and register, as a price increase happens tonight at midnight! Save $15 off the half and full marathon with RNRBRP2018 to knock down the price more before it goes up! 

 

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