Bibrave Race Review: Destination Races Santa Barbara

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Destination Races Santa Barbara 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!”

Another weekend off, another weekend traveling! I was able to make it out to Santa Barbara for Destination Race’s Santa Barbara Half Marathon. Saturday races are always tough because of getting there, but it was a good weekend away.

Getting there: From the PNW, I flew threw Seattle and then to LAX. I rented a car and wished I had some anti anxiety meds for the drive up to Santa Barbara, which was about 2 hrs. The other option was to fly into Santa Barbara or take Amtrak up. The race itself started in Santa Ynez and ended in Solvang, so some runners stayed up that way, which was another 40 minutes from Santa Barbara.

Hotels/Lodging: I stayed in Santa Barbara at the Fess (a Double Tree) since it had a shuttle to and from the race. Only downside was it was $30 and wasn’t included in the VIP pass. There were hotels closer to Solvang with shuttles to the start from the finish area

The Expo: there was early packet pick up in Santa Barbara on the Thursday prior to the race with a shake out run afterwards. The main packet pick up was Friday in Solvang at the finish area. It was a small expo, some local races and other vendors. They had Bib Look up and the bib and T shirt pick up were all in one area. When I got my stuff, the volunteer didn’t realize I should have gotten VIP stuff until I said something (even though it said VIP on my bib…). The shirts ran small in my opinion. Afterwards, I walked around Solvang and found some lunch

Race Day: Getting to the race from Santa Barbara, I took a shuttle from the hotel to the start. It took about an hour, where as some of the other pros stayed closer to finish and took the shuttles from the finish in Solvang to Santa Ynez. Once I got there, I found the VIP area and checked my bag. The temp was on the cooler side and I ended up throwing on a long sleeved shirt underneath my Bibrave shirt. I grabbed some food, made some bathroom trips and headed to the start line. I ended up meeting fellow Bibrave Pro Carolyn, who drove from LA for the race.

Shortly after 7 AM, we were off and running. The first half of the race was all up hill. The first 5 miles or so, the hills didn’t seem that bad. They were noticeable, but not terrible. After mile 6, we hit corkscrew hill. You look up and start cursing because you can see people weaving up a hill that was at least half a mile long. I was never so happy to see the top of it (with water no less). The back half of the course was essentially downhill, which was much appreciated. The course itself was very scenic, which was a nice change compared to my knack for city races. I was hitting good times overall, minus getting through corkscrew hill.

The Finish and Post Race: you finish in Solvang, where you picked up bibs, etc during the expo. Post race was met with wine tastings starting at 930. After you got through the finish, you picked up your medal and a bag of food (much appreciated). I headed to the VIP area and had some light breakfast before getting my wine glass. I met up again with Carolyn and we were able to get through to some tastings, but it was so congested it made getting anything fairly difficult. Awards started around 1030 for overall and age group awards.

Shuttles: there were shuttles to and from Santa Barbara Select locations and the Fess. I wish there had been an earlier bus (sometime before 11:15) in addition to a later one. Both the shuttles were for either 1115 or 1145.

Medals: Very functional and could be used to hold your wine glass!

Social Media: Destination Races on twitter was pretty non active. Much more active on Facebook/instagram

Overall: I’d use this race as a Destination Race, just as the name implies. If you’re coming from further away, you definitely need a few days to get into town, get to the expo, deal with racing and getting home. Additionally, I think shirt sizes need to be looked at, as the women’s shirts were running on the small size. Packet pick up was pretty flawless, just need a better way for getting people who registered as VIPs there stuff without us looking for the extras. In terms of shuttles from the hotels, better communication needed to happen, as the evening shift on Friday seemed to have no idea where the buses for the race were picking up.

The race was fun and a definite race to have on your radar if you’re in the area or have the time to go run!

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Bibrave Race Review: Capital City Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Capital City Half marathon 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!

After taking a few days to swallow this past weekend, I’m finally up for reviewing Cap City. I grew up outside of Columbus and actually ran Cap City back in 2012. I was excited when Bibrave partnered with them because it gave me an excuse to get back home for a few days. I flew in Thursday (since going from West to Midwest takes all day) and got in around 330. My mom picked me up from the airport and off to the hotel and for a late lunch we went before heading to the expo.

The Expo: held at the Vue in the Brewery District, which was a first. In the past, it had been held at the convention center and had more vendors, races, etc. The Vue was a smaller site and really only had Fleet Feet, Front Runner and Second Sole. I wouldn’t be a fan of going back to the site, just because parking wasn’t the easiest and it wasn’t close to anything or necessarily easy to get to if you were coming out of town. I forgot about being upped to VIP, so when the regular bib pick up didn’t have my bib, I had a mild panic attack until I went to VIP pick up. There was also a shirt exchange for getting different sized shirts, which I volunteered at on Friday (and had people assume that the small shirt sizes were the volunteers fault. Really?).

Swag: T Shirt (cotton) from Second Sole and a sturdy string bag. I loved the design of the shirt, but they definitely ran small. I was seeing women up a small to a large at the expo because they were running so small.

 

 

Race Time: 8 AM, which was nice for getting a decent night’s sleep the night before, but with weather coming through, hindsight 20/20, I wish it would have been a 7 AM start.

The Race Itself: Starts in downtown Columbus at Columbus Commons. It took you through the Arena District, OSU, the Short North, Downtown, German Village and a few other areas of Columbus. The course is fairly flat which is nice, though a hill towards the end.  The start was divided into corrals with the elites heading off at 7:55 and corrals A-I being started every few minutes after, so I didn’t start until about 8:12.It was cloudy at the start, but not raining. I was making good time, but we got our first round of rain trying to figure out what to do with itself around mile 2-3. It did let up and onward I went. I was pulling probably my best time in a few years until thunder and lightning hit right before mile 9. I was at the split for the 5K/quarter marathon going to the finish and the half marathon going towards the last 4 miles of the course and ended up getting diverted to the finish, as the race was black flagged. Some friends of mine were a mile ahead of me and were out in the open and had to figure out how to get back to the start. I was pretty bummed out after because of how well things were going. I’m not sure how much of the 8 AM start time was due to the US Half Marathon championships, but a 7 AM start time would have probably avoided post race issues and let more people finish the half (really only 1200 people were able to finish the half). I ended up doing another 4 miles at the hotel to get the full 13.1 miles in.

Post race: most of the activities were cancelled because of the storms that came through. I was able to see the VIP tent for a brief period of time and got some food from Cameron Mitchell Restaurants that was really good, but the line was long for drinks, so I missed out on that with the chaos of trying to get to safety.

Things to work on

  • So for future races, I think there needs to be better planning for weather in terms of if the race needs to be altered or cancelled. There was no real direction on where to go, etc. At one point, a bunch of us were in an alley between 2 buildings. There were also people stranded on an open course and were essentially on their own with trying to figure out what to do.
  • The shirts: I get wanting to go for a local company, and in fairness, there was  a sizing chart prior to registration, but they run really small. I was seeing women switch smalls for larges because the shirts weren’t fitting chests well at all. I would go with a different company
  • The expo: I wasn’t a fan of the location. It wasn’t easy to get to and there wasn’t a lot that endorsed the local running community that I know. There was nothing set up in terms of other local races, running groups, etc which was kind of sad. I know there was construction going on at the Convention Center, which is where it’s been held in the past, but I feel like there could have been a better place to have this.

Overall, weather wasn’t on my side this year, but I’d still go back for redemption of Cap City. It’s been a fun race to do in the past and at some point, I’ll get back to running it again!

 

Bibrave Product Review: Eagle Creek Pack it Sport Active Set

Disclaimer: I received an Eagle Creek Pack it Sport Active Set 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!
Another fun month of testing some good work our products!  We had the opportunity to try out the Eagle Creek Pack It Sport Active Set, and I quite frankly was excited to try it. Plenty of times I go from a spin class to the gym or am driving somewhere for a race and want to change out of clothes before driving home if I’m far enough away and things end up stinking up the car or I’m dragging along a huge gym bag full of stuff.
Enter this dual set of Pack It products

You get a Wet Dry Fitness Locker and Shoe Locker that’s incredibly versatile. Though they’re marketed as products to keep your sweaty and clean clothes separate, don’t think they’re limited to just that!

The weeks I’m off from work, I sometimes will go spinning prior to the gym. The shoe locker is great for carrying the extra pair of shoes around and keeping them in the car if I’m not using them. Since it’s just getting nice out, the windows haven’t been open all that much. Needless to say, my car still doesn’t smell like sweaty feet, and this includes leaving post work out shoes in the shoe locker. With my size 7 feet, I can fit at least a pair of spin shoes or running shoes and a pair of flip flops easily in the bag. I even have extra space for a HR monitor/car keys and phone!

The Wet/Dry Fitness locker is the second piece to this set and double sided, which is even better. You can keep clean stuff on one side and sweaty clothes on the zipper side. On a recent trip to spin class, I had my water bottle hanging out in one of the pockets.

 

You can also fit a good amount of clothes in the zipper side. I’ve been able to fit in a full change of clothes and then some into the wet/dry locker pack. If you’re worried about your car smelling, don’t be! I’ve left dirty work out clothes in the car for a few hours and came back to a non sweaty smelling car.

What’s even better is that you can wash these puppies and they tolerate it well. I haven’t had the chance to throw mine in the washer yet, however, just let them air dry out!

I have quite a few races coming up and I can’t wait to take this along with me. They’re definitely travel size and easily packable for races anywhere or if you’re going out of town!

Join us for Bibchat on 4/25/2017 at 9pm EST/6pm PST with Eagle Creek. Convinced enough? Use SPORT15 for 15% off!

 

 

It’s Alamo (13.1) Week!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry into Alamo 13.1 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 officially race week for Alamo 13.1! San Antonio can’t come soon enough (though the PNW is officially not being hit by super snow storms). Here’s all the info you need for this weekend!
The Expo
  • Saturday, March 18 from 10 AM to 4 PM
  • Location: The Granberry Events Center (6390 Granberry, San Antonio, TX
  • Free parking and beer if you’d like!
  • Need someone to pick up for you? Take a look and sign the waiver!
  • Staying at the Menger Hotel? Special Packet Pick up (though no vendors) from 6-7 at the hotel

Race Day

  • Starts at the Alamo!
  • Bag Check opens at 6:15 AM
  • Half Marathon Start time: 7:15 AM
  • Doughnut Dash 10K, Alamo 5K: 7:45 AM
  • Course Limit: 4 Hrs (18 min pace, not to shabby!)

 

 

 

Missoula Marathon and Half Marathon

Last summer, I was all signed up and excited to run the Missoula Half Marathon after moving out to Washington State. When my furniture was delayed by 2 weeks, the race went to the wayside in order to study for boards until my life from Cleveland showed up at my front door. This year, I’m signed up again and determined to make the best of it (second time’s a charm, right?).

Race weekend is over 3 days, July 7-9 and quite frankly a good excuse to prolong the 4th of July. What’s more, if you complete 3 races (read, the Missoula Big 3 Challenge), you get more bling! Friday night, enjoy the Beer Run that starts at 6 pm (and is Free!!). Come bright and early Saturday morning (8 AM), get out and about for the 5K (this one costs some money, sorry guys!). Then, make sure you’re also registered for the half or full marathon on Sunday. Complete all 3 races (and be sure to check the Big 3 Challenge while registering) and pick up your reward at the finish!

I’m looking forward to some down hill running, knocking off the state of Montana on my Half Marathon list and hopefully running with some pros. The fact that this is a race I can drive to is a huge plus for me (I’ve been flying all over as of recently!). And if this course map isn’t convincing, I’m not sure what is:2016 MM Course Map Working V4

Head over here to register and save $5 with BibRave2017!

 

 

 

 

Destination Races Santa Barbara Half Marathon

In just over 2 months, it’ll be spring in Wine Country California, which means it’s time for Destination Races Santa Barbara and 13.1 miles full of wine country! I had the opportunity to meet up with the Destination Races gang while at Surf City earlier in February. Part of why I’m excited is because of the shirts I saw and the medals that were released. Not convinced? Take a look for yourself!

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If you’re on the fence, head over to the Destination Races Website to learn more and don’t forget, $10 off with BIBRAVE10!

Bibrave Race Review: Ft. Lauderdale A1A Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Fort Lauderdale A1A 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!”

In typical runner fashion, I made this weekend a double race weekend. On Saturday, I ran the A1A Fort Lauderdale 5K. Miss that review? Head over here and read it after you’re done! Sunday, I tortured myself some more with the half marathon.

I arrived Thursday and stayed at one of the host hotels by the start. Not so hot on the area, but that’s besides the point. Friday afternoon, I headed to the expo. The expo this year was held at the Broward County Convention Center from 3-8  pm on Friday and 9-6 on Saturday. I wish there would have been earlier hours on Friday, because there was a lot of waiting around. Since I went when it opened, there was a mass of people getting in. Bibs for the half and full marathons were sorted by last name and you had no idea what your number was until you picked it up. What ended up happening was a whole lot of congestion because of the name situation. The space was small enough where that didn’t help either. Shirt pick up was next to the bibs and easy enough to pick up, but the shirts looked cheap and small. My women’s medium half marathon shirt was smaller than my women’s small 5K shirt. What the what?? I explored the expo, picked up some freebies and made it back to the hotel to unload my stuff.

It's a 2 race sort of weekend! #a1amarathon #bibchat #runchat #5k #halfmarathon

A post shared by Christine (@cginpnw) on

I ran the 5K on Saturday morning and could tell Sunday would be warm. The 5K was 730 AM and already warm and humid by that point. I took some time to explore, grab some food and head to church before calling it a night

Race Day for the Half/Full Marathon:

The race itself is a point to point race, with the start being in the River Park area. I walked to the start, while others parked at the finish and took the shuttles to the start. It was already hot at 545 AM on race morning. Plenty of port o potties, though lines were long. Bag check was available, though at the back of the start corrals and then they were bussed to the finish along the beach

Start: the half and full start together bright and early at 6 AM. When you’re still half on PST, trying to get any sort of food in to your system when your body thinks it’s 2-3AM is fun and entertaining.

The course:

The first few miles head along Las Olas Ave. 1/4 mile in, there’s a set of train tracks that most of us got over, however, a train came rolling through that had the 2:30 half marathons and a bunch of full marathoners delayed 20-30 minutes. Read long enough to where they were taken back to the start and restarted. How does that even happen?! Apparently, the race had permits for no trains before 7 AM that somehow were ignored. Whoops.

Anyways, After we got to the beach, we turned on A1A along the beach and took it out a few miles before turning onto some neighborhood streets. We were led through some sort of park for at least a mile or two and then back out to the roads. Right before mile 9, the half and full split. The full marathon looked lonely as we split. We were also dealing with sharing the road with traffic at that point. By mile 10, we were on the beach the rest of the way. Right before I hit mile 11, I saw a fellow Bibrave Pro, Meredith on the out portion of the course. She ended up getting delayed because of the train.

Weather: we got the excitement of dealing with 70s-80s and humidity that could be cut with a knife. That made things difficult as the course had little to no shade.

Aid Stations: every mile or so with water, electrolytes and the occasional gels. I only saw one legit medical tent, which I didn’t think was enough given the heat and humidity. I saw at least 4 people down being carted off.

Post Race: After finishing and regrouping (read, finding some chocolate milk and getting some sort of food into my system), I picked up my checked bag (again, at the back of the finish area. WHY?!?). Plenty of places to get food (greek yogurt popsicles, ices, bananas, etc), massages, etc. I hung around and ran into fellow Bibrave Pro Samantha.

It’s never a trip to Florida or the coast without enjoying some post race Beach either!

Post race sand shot! #bibchat #a1amarathon

A post shared by Christine (@cginpnw) on

Overall, I’m on the fence about this one. The aid stations were a bit of a mess. It didn’t seem like anything was prepared ahead of time in terms of fluids being poured, so the volunteers were forced to react, even though there were plenty of aid stations on course. Given the amount of heat and humidity, we really could have used some cold sponges, sprinklers, something to cool us down. I was feeling off by the end of it. I feel like there needed to be better corral separation. I was trying to weave in and out of people who shouldn’t have been in earlier timed slots, but moved up. The finish area was also congested and difficult to get through. People weren’t moving through and it was really hard to navigate at times, just to get out. I’ll probably simmer on this one a bit more to be honest

Race this weekend? Don’t forget to go over to Bibrave and search/review/add and review your race!

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