Bibrave Race Review: Ft. Lauderdale A1A 5K

Disclaimer: I received free entry into the Ft. Lauderdale A1A 5K 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!

Warm weather with plenty of sun in Florida this weekend, and I was so ready to get out of the rain that is the Inland Northwest this weekend! I came out for the Ft. Lauderdale A1A 5K and Half Marathon (because hey, 2 races are better than 1!).

I flew out Thursday afternoon and got into Fort Lauderdale late. I caught an uber to the hotel (which really shouldn’t have been as hard to find as it was) and checked in before hitting the sack. Needless to say, I enjoyed sleeping in until 9 AM. I found some breakfast and took a jaunt down Las Olas Ave. Never hurts to window shop, right? I killed time until the expo opened up at 3 pm at the Broward County Convention Center. I was hoping it would do 2 days of like 9-5/9-7 sort of thing, but not so much for day #1. The other downside was that there was no clear signage as to where to go and there were other events going on in the convention center, so it got tricky to find. After heading to the Grand Ballroom, a mass of us were waiting for things to kick off at 3 pm. We got let in and off to get our bibs we went. The 5K table was not in the vicinity of the half/full marathon packet pick up. It was off on it’s own next to the Susan Koman 6K booth. No line and took a whole 30 seconds to get my stuff. While the half/full bibs are beach themed, the 5K bibs are RoadID standard bibs. For a race that is close to a sell out for the half/full, I was expecting something fun in terms of bibs across all races. I searched the expo before heading back to the hotel and looking at all my stuff

5k

One of the things that’s obnoxious is that my 5K shirt is a small and my half marathon shirt is a medium. My 5K shirt is larger than my 1/2 marathon shirt. Really? I’d rather there be better quality and size consistency across the board.

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I found some dinner and went and relaxed in the hotel the rest of the night. This morning, I was up and at it bright and early, despite my best efforts of wanting to throw my alarm across the room. I had a little bite to eat before heading out to Las Olas Ave, where the race was held. If you couldn’t get to the expo to pick up your bib, you could pick up your packet race day, as well as register for the race. There were some vendors there as well as pre race announcing.

The Race: started at 730 AM. Flat course, out and back. There were mile markers at 1 and 2 with clocks going, and the finish line in sight at mile 3. There was water available around mile 1 and just after mile 2. The course gave you a good view of the shopping district in a sense. Even though it was an early and quick race, I was soaked by the time I was finished. Post race, water, medals and fruit were available, as were awards for those who qualified. I’m just glad there was sun, it was warm out and I didn’t have to do multiple layers!

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Overall, a good race if you want a 5K to do if you’re starting out or if you’re using it as a warm up to the main events on Sunday. A smaller 500 people race (and hey, running a sub 29 min 5K race, I can’t complain about). Take a look at this one if you’re ever in town!

Some stuff to work on though. I wish the bibs would have had some sort of design like the half and full marathons. Also, I don’t think anyone’s touched the race’s twitter account in at least a year- more social interaction would be good. You could do race tracking on the RaceJoy app, but it’s completely dependent on the runner to enter their info and carry their phone throughout the race (really?!). This should really have been all triggered by bibs and timing mats. The shirts are sort of on the cheap side and inconsistent. My 5K small shirt is larger than my half marathon medium shirt.

Gasparilla Distance Classic: The 15K and 5K

A little over a week ago, I was in sunny, warm Tampa, FL for the Gasparilla Distance Classic, this weekend I’m back in Ohio dealing with snow and cold. I took some PTO last Friday and flew out of Akron (I always appreciate not having to switch planes!). After getting in, I checked into my hotel and walked over to the convention center to pick up my gear. I was signed up for the 5K, 15K and Half Marathon over the course of the weekend. The catch? Only 1 bib- thankfully I didn’t lose it! The fun thing about Gasparilla, is that you have a variety of challenges- The Ultra (5k and 15K on Saturday, Half Marathon and 8K Sunday), the Amber (15K and 5K Saturday and the Half on Sunday) or the Lime (the 15K and 8K). I was questioning how the whole 1 bib thing would work for 3 races. 3 race shirts and a challenge jacket later, I was walking around the expo picking up some fun Under Armour stuff.

I chilled out the rest of the day, as the 15K and 5K were Saturday morning. I woke up early and walked down to the convention center. I had a change of clothes with me, which was a huge plus. Gasparilla has it right, in that they have indoor bag check. After dropping my stuff off, I hopped in the corral. After the national anthem, we were off. We had a small (ish) overpass hill before turning onto Bayshore Drive. The course was out and back and fairly flat. It was right on the water, which offered a nice breeze on occasion. Plenty of people were out watching and cheering, especially at the water stops. Some points, I had wished that they were closer together. On the way back, we took the lower part of Bayshore Drive. Course markers every mile with times. The finish was in front of the convention center. The finish was fairly easy to deal with, especially the chute. We kept on moving, and got their 15K medal, wet (cold) wash clothes. Some simple food, but I didn’t realize until after where all the good stuff was.

Since I did the Amber challenge, I still had the 5K to go. I headed back inside the convention center and got my bag and changed into some dry clothes. It also gave me a chance to throw my medal with my stuff so I wouldn’t forget it. They did have an area to check your medal if you did both the 5K and 15K. The 5K started at the same spot as the 15K. there were at least 5 waves, one of which was a stroller wave. Best idea ever! The course was a shortened version of the 15K and waves were let out every 15 minutes or so, starting at 915. I started with the first wave because I wanted a shower and mainly wanted to be done. After going out and back and finishing, I picked up my 5K medal and headed to the hotel and showered.

I chilled out most of the day, found some lunch and church. Early to bed it was for a 6 AM 1/2 Marathon start time on Sunday!

Race Review: Halloween Run for Justice 5 Miler

Year #14 for this race and I somehow either haven’t been around or running somewhere else in past years for it. It’s put on by Hermes Road Racing in Cleveland and benefits Lawyers Giving Back community outreach programs including the 3Rs, helping students in the Cleveland and East Cleveland City Schools. Option for 5 Mile Run, 5K Run/walk or untimed 1 Miler

Registration: $20 before 10/16, $25 after. There’s also an option for family entry: $50 for 4 people of same family, but has to be mailed in in the same envelope. Also Team category, $90 for 4 people and you have to run the same event. Categories are Firm/Company, law school, college, and high school (male, female, mixed). I’m guessing some sort of prize is involved

Packet Pick Up: Downtown Cleveland at the Galleria of Erieview. You could do packet pickup the yesterday. Who does packet pick up in downtown Cleveland from 4-6 pm with the Cav’s home opener at 7 pm vs the Heat??? Packet pick up race day starting at 730 AM

Parking: Paid, either street or garages. I found a garage for $5

The Course: If you’ve done Hermes Races before, the course similar to other races that they put on. It goes out around First Energy Stadium [ie Browns Territory], along Lake Erie past the Rock n Roll HOF and further down parallel to Lake Erie. The 1 mile turn around is 1/2 mile in and the 5K turn around was 1.55 miles in at the water stop. Seems like there were a good amount of 5Kers and not 5 Milers this year. You hit the water stop twice if you were a 5 Miler. Fairly flat course, though you did have some inclines, especially when running after mile 4 when running over I 90. No traffic issues for the most part [cops were out directing people as needed], but with less than 1/2 mile left, we had bus drivers not paying attention to police officers about where to turn. As history would put it, there’s not a whole lot of people out in general on Saturday mornings in Cleveland. Start/Finish was in front of the Galleria.

Post race: held inside the Galleria Erieside. Cars cheerleaders were there. Food was available [bagels, cookies, donuts], as was water. DJs were there with music and they were also judging halloween costumes

Race management is good, but I wish they’d come up with different course routes, because I feel like I’ve done the same route multiple times at multiple races. It reminds me of being back in Philadelphia where races would always bank on using Kelly Drive for a good chunk of mileage over the summer since it was shut down to vehicles over the weekends

Give Me 5

I hate not having internet.  It’s been temperamental for the past week or so.  It wasn’t working last weekend, got a new router and it’s still acting up.  Thanks Comcast! As I result, I’m currently utilizing Starbucks’ free Wi-Fi.  On Friday (when my internet was still working), I found a race in Ft. Washington PA called Give Me Five.  It’s a 5k/ 5 mile race where you decide at mile 1.5 which way you want to go.  Now, I’m a die heart OSU fan and always will be, but the race benefits PSU’s Thon which does numbers for pediatric cancer research so teams aside, it raises money for a good cause.  Yesterday morning, I headed out around 7:30 to Ft. Washington State Park.  I found the park, but getting in to the start was a different story.  It took a good 20 minutes to figure out how to get to where registration was because I was expecting signs on the road directing you to where the start and registration was.  I parked in one of the lots about .3 miles from the start so after registering, I had to run back to my car to drop off my shirt. At least I got a decent warm up in and a bathroom break before the gun went off.

As they were discussing the course, we were told that part of the 5 mile was trail related.  I hate trails! There were also hills.  I hate hills!  And they weren’t even decent hills, but I’ll get to that.  We were sent off and we passed by my car, for which I grabbed a swig of water.  We hit mile 1 and people were trying to figure out whether to turn or keep going (the volunteers were so confused) and runners doing the 5K who were coming back were telling us all to keep going.  At mile 1.5, the 5 milers went right and the 5K ers turned around.  The first 3 miles weren’t bad at all.  Paved roads, nothing to trip over so it was all good.  Around mile 3.3, we went off road and onto trail.  Bam, a hill that felt like it was a good 30-45 degree incline.  Throw in some tree roots to boot.  Things flattened out a bit and then we hit pure grass which reminded me of 8th grade cross country summer workouts when one morning we had the team over and were doing loops in a field on the back part of our house.  We did a 90 degree turn and were hit with what felt like a 75 degree incline.  Most people walked up it because it was so steep.  To put things into proportion, the first 3 miles, I ran under 27 minutes.  By the time I hit mile 4, it was 39 minutes or so into the race.  The guy next to me was like that was the longest mile of my life (and I soooo agree).  After we hit mile 4, we had a narrow and steep decline.  Enter more roots trying to kill me.  I was never more happy to see some road.  The pavement took us back towards the way we came from during the first mile so it was nice to know we were almost done.  By the time I crossed the finish, the clock read 48:40.  At least it was under 10 minute miles.  I decided not to stick around (hey, Rittenhouse Square was throwing their spring festival, what’s better than good food??).

Give Me 5 is still a new race, but I would almost consider a change in location or at least better direction to get to the start.  Not everyone knows the park (read, this girl).  I also saw on Daily Mile that somewhere after the 5 milers split off, there wasn’t a clear way to go (and the volunteer didn’t know where to point them) and the runner tried the wrong direction and would have probably taken the women’s division.  It was a rough course for about a mile, but trying to watch for tree roots isn’t something I enjoy while out on my run.  I doubt I’ll still be in Philly this time next year, but I hope they can make some adjustments for this race!

Penn Relay Distance Classic (20K) Race Review

Today of all days, I had absolutely ZERO desire to get out of bed at 615 AM to go run a 20K.  Tired from waking up at 500 AM for work during the week and not being able to go to sleep last night doesn’t bode well for a 730 AM 20K race.  But hey, I needed a long run, parking was free and that’s about where the fun stops.

The Penn Relays have been going on since 1885 and typically start with the distance classic which is usually a weekend or 2 before the actual Penn Relays (this year, they’re April 26-28 or so).  I actually forgot about the race until Wednesday when I went to check something online and realized it was actually today.  Woops.  I was wondering if this was actually going to happen as we got pouring rain all day yesterday (seriously from the time I woke up yesterday until after midnight).  But the sun was out and the Schuylkill River was high and looked like any more rain could send it flooding over the edge.  I arrived around 7 and had to find parking.  About 1/3 of a mile away was free street parking which is always a plus in Philly.  I picked up my bib and shirt and had to run and put it in my car before running back to the start in front of Franklin Field.

The course took us to the Art Museum and down West River Drive, over the East Falls Bridge, part of Kelly Drive and back the way we came.  I either love or hate out and back courses.  I hated this one because West River Drive can become monotonous.  And, it was a good 9.5-10 miles of the course.  When we got past mile 10 to where we actually had to make a decision about which way to go (up a hill or not), there was no good direction on where to go.  The Penn student volunteers decided to sit where we couldn’t see them and there was another race for Organ and Tissue Donation (a 10k/5k run or a 3k walk) that was setting up.  It was windy the entire race and I just felt like crap the entire time.  My hip flexors weren’t agreeing with me for awhile and I just wasn’t feeling like running.  I ran a 2:10:25 or something.  Had I been motivated and had this been a half I cared about, I could have PRed but oh well.  A run is a run.

The Penn Relays have been going on since 1885 so you think these guys have been doing this awhile.  While the Schuylkill River trail is nice, every distance race in Philly uses some portion of it.  The Philly Marathon uses both sides (which is why I only do the half since it only spends about 2-3 miles on it), Get Your Rear into Gear 5K/10K uses it, the Philly Distance Run uses it for a bulk of the course.  Can we come up with something else to use?  This race isn’t particularly big.  It’s almost like it’s a secret race that no one knows about.  Since it’s Palm Sunday, I give people the benefit of the doubt, but there were a boatload of people running the Organ and Tissue 10K/5K race.  The finish of the race took you into Franklin Field and around the track for the last 300m or so- I can’t tell you how much I hate races that end like that.  If I see the finish, I don’t want to run the long way around to get to it.  I think the Penn Relays could really use some PR help with the race because people would run this if they knew about it.  Still undecided if I’ll run this next year.  I have to get over the fact I really didn’t feel like running today first.

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