Bibrave Race Review: The Hapalua

Disclaimer: I received free entry into The Hapalua as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming aBibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Holy heat and humidity of Honolulu! I made it through a few days of Hawaii and lived to tell my tale of Hapalua 2018 (an honest win in my book). I flew out to Honolulu Friday morning. For some reason, a 545 AM flight after working until 7 pm the night before seemed like a good idea (it’s really not) and this was only leg one of the trip (leg two is to Amsterdam. Talk about different climates). I ended up getting in around 1 PM HST. My flight from Seattle ended up leaving an hour late because it was late coming in from wherever it came from. At least I know the places I can hide. My bags made it in one piece all the way to Honolulu and after getting my checked back from baggage claim, I picked up a taxi to the hotel. I checked in and cut lose for a run along the beach. Sitting for 6 hours on a plane tightens me up pretty good, so I ended up getting in a good 5 miles. It’s amazing what running in sun, tank tops and shorts can do after not being able to wear them outside for a good 6 months. Thanks Washington. I ended my run around the Convention Center so I could pick up my packet. I did the Honolulu Marathon in 2016, and the Expo was smaller, though I don’t think there were as many runners with Hapalua. Some local running stores, etc. It was easy in and out. You picked up your bib, followed by going to a second table for your shirt. They had a third area with clear bags if you planned on checking gear at the start area. I went back to my hotel, showered and found some dinner before walking around some on the beach and enjoying some Friday Night Fire Works.

Saturday, I started off with an open water swim. Because what’s a vacation if you can’t try something new, like swimming 1.25 ish miles (2000 meters/2K) in the ocean to try and get some triathlon training in. Find out how that went over here. Afterwards, I kept things easy and enjoyed Waikiki and the beach some. I also went wetsuit searching, but couldn’t find what I was looking for. I ended up going to 5 pm mass and getting dinner at Hula Grill before calling it a night.

Sunday morning meant getting up at 430/5 AM for a 6 AM start time. Kind of nice still being somewhat on PST time since the start felt like 9 or so, but I was still a bit tired. My only regret was not staying closer to the start because it was a good 1.25 miles to the Duke Statue, where the race started. Part of what The Hapalua does is something called the Chase. It’s Hawaiian runners vs the Elites with the Elites trying to run down the Hawaiians (fun idea, I think).The Chase this year had a 24 minute handicap, so some runners started around 5:36 AM, with varying starts up until 5:54 or 5:56 this morning. The elites started at 6 AM with the rest of us. I missed watching the start of the Chase though, because of the time it took me to get to the start.

Weather. Oh weather. Be ready for heat and likely some humidity. It was in the 70s with about 70% humidity today. I’m glad the rain held off though.

One thing that needs worked on though is the start. It’s kind of a hot mess. There’s no division of runners and no corrals, which actually makes the first mile difficult. There were walkers at the front and people who were inappropriately placing themselves faster than they were, so faster runners were trying to not run over other people. If there could be some sort of corral system like for the Honolulu Marathon or other races in general, it would make life a lot easier.

The course is fairly flat for the first 9 miles or so. You start in front of the Duke Statue and head along Kalakaua Avenue to Ala Moana Blvd and the Nimitz Highway. You pass Ala Moana Beach Park, the Harbor and Aloha Tower before turning and coming back some on King Street. You make some turns and double back on Ala Moana and it’s kind of fun seeing runners come towards you. If you time it right, you can see some of the chase happening on the way out on Ala Moana Blvd. Over the next few miles, you end up back on Kalakaua Avenue and you get some crowd support there. You pass the Duke Statue and head towards Waikiki and Kapiolani Park. Here, you pass the 9 mile mark and start making the trek around Diamond Head. Be ready for some hills/incline because you don’t realize how much there is until it’s there. Or, like me, you forget what the hills were like during the Honolulu Marathon because you chose to forget that part of the race. You have some pretty decent incline from miles 9 to 10, some downhill before heading back up again at mile 11 for about half a mile. After that, it’s all downhill along Diamond Head. The last part of the race takes you along some neighborhoods and into Kapoilani Park, same finish as the Honolulu Marathon. You were greeted with medals and water misters (so needed). Afterwards, when I was walking back to the hotel, though, you could see more than a bunch of walkers still on course who had to move to the sidewalk as traffic opened back up.

Aid stations on course: It felt like every 2 ish miles or so, give or take. I felt like they needed more because it was so hot and humid on course. Hard to stay hydrated when the water stations are so spread out. They had water at all of them, gatorade at most of them and gels at 1-2 of them.

What happened with The Chase you ask? One of the Elites ended up winning and passed the final Team Hawaii runner in the last half mile. Close!!!

Post Race: plenty of entertainment, food, drinks and things to do. Or just relax. You were given your medal as you came through the finisher chute, you were given your medal. In typical fashion, you don’t know what the medal looks like until you finish (or if you check social media while you’re still on course). They also had water misters which was so needed. Food wise, there was shaved ice, malasadas (alllll the malasadas), moon pies, water and pineapple juice. I would have loved some chocolate milk though!!!

Results: Find them over here to find them. Also, go over to Athlinks and claim your results! Not on Athlinks, join for free and then claim them!

Afterwards, I hiked back to the hotel and took a much needed shower. It’s nice getting back to the hotel at 9 AM, as opposed to like noon. I was able to get a later check out and found a laundry mat to wash my clothes. I’m not spending time in Europe with running clothes I was peeling off because of sweat and humidity! Best money I spent all trip other than the money to get here!

Overall, a great race. I just wish the start and the aid stations would be looked at, because they could use some work. If you’re looking for a Hawaiian race, look up the Hapalua!

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!

Race Review: F3 Lake Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the F3 Lake 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!

I made it back from Chicago thawed out and with some more bling! I was excited to go back to Chicago, as the last time I was there was May, 2015 for a friends wedding. I spent 4 years in Chicago for college and consider it a second home, so not being there for 2+ years was rough!

I flew in Thursday night to O’Hare, where we had to sit on the runway until our gate opened up. Normally, I don’t mind taking public transportation, but I really didn’t feel like taking the Blue Line at 10 PM. I took a Lyft to my hotel and got a few things done before calling it a night.

Friday Morning, I headed off after breakfast to pick up my packet. Packet pick up was done throughout the week around Chicago. Fleet Feet and another local running store had various times and packet pickups for people, so race day wouldn’t be chaotic. I was able to take the Brown Line to Old Town and get my Bib at the Fleet Feet there, with no line. It was a race where they assigned your bib as you picked it up. If you got your gear race day, it was a $20 extra charge.

After getting my swag, I walked around some before heading back for a run at the hotel. I went and wondered around downtown, found another base layer at Under Armor and ultimately had dinner with my sister before heading off to see Hamilton.

On Saturday, I was up around 8 AM. I had a light breakfast, changed and headed out to Soldier Field. It tends to be hard to get to, so I caught a Lyft there. We were dealing with increased traffic/road closures because the Women’s March happened to take place the same day as the race, only 2 miles north. After getting to Soldier Field, I went into the United Club and hung out for awhile. I also had the chance to catch up with some other Bibrave Pros before the race.

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Mark and I ended up doing the half and headed out to the corrals at about 945-950. It was separated by times, though some of the volunteers were unhappy when people were trying to get into the faster corral to get to the pace group. We started right at 10 AM (and I semi thought an 11 or 12 start time would have given it a little more time to warm up). The first part of mile 1 was around Soldier Field before it became an out and back course down the Lake Front Path. Even though there was a race going on, we still were running into non racers enjoying the path. The course was relatively flat, though some areas had some slight inclines. Lots of mud and construction areas this year. Another downside was there were areas that got congested, either with too many people around the pacers or having runners going both directions, which slowed me down some.

Aid stations were every 1-2 miles (7 total). All had water and some new/odd sports drink that I didn’t care to try. My thoughts are why stray from Gatorade/Powerade? Didn’t see any gels or anything on course though.

Post Race, you were greeted with fans and volunteers, your medal, water and bananas. I wish that there was a little bit more in terms of the food options though. As I was coming through, I met Andy, who’s also a Bibrave Pro and we chatted shortly. I had to pass quickly through the United Club (check my time, etc) before heading out, as I was meeting up with some friends for lunch in Wicker Park.

There were plenty of vendors set up in the United Club for people to hang out at and get more information from. Additionally, you could check your race results on site. There was also stretching areas and photos being taken (that you can download for free!). F3 also works with Athlinks, so you could claim your results on Athlinks (website or their app) right after the race! I was able to go on the Athlinks App as I was heading back to the hotel and check my results and claim them on the spot (haven’t done it yet, get on it!).

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Overall a good race. I wish there was a little more space to spread out on the Lake Front Path and Gatorade/Powerade over the energy drink that the race provided. Additionally, a little more variety in terms of post race food would have been helpful. I’m glad the weather was nice for January in Chicago (I’ve seen wind chills to negative 30*F in January). A fun race if you’re looking for something to do!

 

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