Run CRANDIC

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Run CRANDIC 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!

New year means some new races and knocking off some new states off my half marathon state list. Considering I’m from the Midwest and spent a whole lot of years between and Ohio and Illinois, I’m surprised I haven’t made it out to Iowa for a race. That changes this year with the Run CRANDIC Half Marathon! This year is the inaugural year for this race, which makes it even more exciting.

What do you have to choose from? A 5K, Half Marathon or Full Marathon over what I hear will probably be some hills in Iowa. The Full Marathon starts in Cedar Rapids, while the Half marathon starts in North Liberty, at about the half way point of the Marathon (makes sense right?). Both end in Iowa City at Kinnick Stadium (yes, I’m an Ohio State Fan, but I’m always a fan of visiting different stadiums regardless of teams :-)). How does the race get it’s name? It Starts in Cedar Rapids and (AND) ends in Iowa City.

Since it’s a point to point race, there’s shuttles to the start (one to the half, one to the full). Be sure to get on board for this now (it’s free!) to get your spot saved! Did I mention it’s a free shuttle?!?

Be sure to follow Run CRANDIC on Facebook, IG and Twitter. Head over to the registration page to get signed up for the party and save 10% with BibRave18! 

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Race Review: Hot Chocolate 15K San Francisco

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Hot Chocolate 15K race 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!

This weekend, I found myself in San Francisco for the Hot Chocolate 15K. Last year, I was in SF for the race and weather made it interesting. Interesting enough to where it was only a 5.9 mile race, instead of 15K.

I flew into SF Friday afternoon after adulting Friday morning. I got in around 530 PM and took a Lyft to the South San Francisco Conference Center, the same place where the expo was held last year. It was easy enough to get in, get my bib assigned, pick up my pull over and to search the expo. It was on the smaller side, same as last year. Plenty of local Bay Area races were there, as were supplements, etc. RxBars were there with free (full sized) samples and discount codes (score!). There was an area to try on spare HC15K pull overs and if you wanted to exchange sizes. I ended up going from a medium to a small. I spent 30 min total in the expo before heading off to the hotel.

I spent time at the hotel, got dinner and caught an early night. Saturday morning, I was up bright and early at 630 with no alarm and ended up going for a quick breakfast a small (think 5-10 table) restaurant across from the hotel I had found last year in SF. I ended up going to an Orangetheory Fitness class, coming back to shower and then going down to the Piers. I went around Fisherman’s Warf, The Ferry Building, Ghirardelli Square and watching some street shows while I was at it. After going to church and having dinner, I went and watched some good basketball. I also checked out Athlinks to see who else was running the race and what their goal times were to see if I’d be able to beat them (not competitive at all!).

Sunday morning, I woke up and got ready fairly quickly. I couldn’t decide what I wanted to wear since it was suppose to be 40s-50s, but I opted for long tights and a long sleeved base shirt underneath my Bibrave Tech shirt. I walked over to Union Square and the Westin, where there was a line at 620 for shuttles to Golden Gate Park. I probably waited 20 minutes total to board the bus. At one point, they were calling any 5k runners to get on (since their race started at 720 AM) so they could get to the start in time. My thoughts are it’s not my fault if you can’t time manage. It took 15-20 min to get to the start. After unloading I walked over to gear check and ended up meeting fellow Bibrave Pros Barb and Steph. Steph happened to be pacing the 15 min mile runners

I ended up adding some arm warmers, stopping for a bathroom pitstop and checking my gear before heading to the start. I was in the first corral so it wasn’t that bad of a wait. The 15K had corrals H-N (A-G was the 5K) and were let out ever 30-60 seconds to space things out. Pacers were in each corral, though got confusing because you could get pacers of the same time in different corrals (9 min/miles in H and I corrals for example). Race got started on time and off we went. The first 5K or so was in Golden Gate Park and on paved trails. A little bit of hill, but not anything terrible. after 5K, we headed out along some of the neighborhood roads with the outer portion being the ocean. Only in a coastal city can you say you have to watch for surfers crossing. It was a straight shot out before we U Turned and came back towards the park. After the 10K mark, we had a little bit more along the ocean before cutting back into Golden Gate Park for the last 2 miles and change. I can see why the course got shorten last year, because the winds at minimum would have been rough. The last 5K, my legs were tired and done. Not enough pasta the night before is what I’ll blame it on. Regardless, I ended up finishing in 1:25:51, which was a 4.5 minute PR for me. Too bad my trainer didn’t bet burpees with me.

On course, aid stations were every 1.5-2 miles. Water and Nuun were at every station. Not going to lie, not a nuun fan and wish it were a gatorade or Powerade. Also some sort of chocolate (chips, M&Ms, Marshmallows). Downside to aid station set up was they were only offered on one side of the road. I missed the first two chocolate stations because I couldn’t get over to get them.

IMG_6803

Post race, you were directed from the chutes back to the initial gathering area. Some vendors like Rx Bars, Make A Wish and some other tents. The only down side of the expo was the Gear Check and the Finisher Mugs were completely opposite ends of each other. I feel like I should have done the finisher mug first and then gear check, since gear check was closer to the exits toward the shuttles. Lines were quick for the finisher mugs. Be prepared for bananas, Rice Krispies, pretzels, hot chocolate and chocolate sauce.

Swag: Everyone got a pull over from the expo and then a HC medal post race. Not a fan of the medal this year. Last year, the city was incorporated more on the medal. This year, it was a generic HC medal with a key chain attached. Almost felt like a way to ‘save money’ without personalizing the medals. I’ve done HC races in Minneapolis, Columbus, Seattle and San Francisco and medals were more city specific in years past comparatively speaking

Overall, glad the weather behaved this year.  Had a good time getting a new PR and meeting up with some Bibrave Pros. I was able to compare my time from prior 15ks (whether it be Hot Chocolate Series or other 15Ks) on Athlinks based off what I knew my time from this year to be. I could add my own time, but I’m still waiting for my results from this year to post (hang tight, sometimes it takes a bit for results to show up!). I really wish you’d get a good tour of San Francisco with this race. All I feel like we got was Golden Gate Park and the Ocean. There’s a lot to see in SF that you don’t get to see on this race if you’re coming from out of town. Also wish they’d have Powerade on course and go back to fun medals for each city like they have in the past.

 

Hot Chocolate 15K San Francisco

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Hot Chocolate 15K race 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 and I’m ready for my first race of 2018 (and first race since the Dallas Marathon a month ago)! I did the Hot Chocolate 15K in SF last year, only to have it cut short by sideways rain, wind gusts and crummy weather.

This year, the expo is Friday and Saturday again at the South San Francisco Conference Center.

  • Hours: Friday, Jan 5 from 12-7, Saturday, Jan. 6 from 10-6

Still haven’t gotten your shuttle tickets? Save yourself the pain of driving and parking race day and have someone else drop you off at the race. Get tickets and print them off before hand!

The race takes place at Golden Gate Park, so take a peak at the course while you have the chance. Don’t forget, sweetness and chocolate are on course!

Traveling from out of town? Here’s some things to do this weekend in San Francisco

  • France is a Feast: the Photographic Journey of Paul and Julia Child at the Napa Valley Museum
  • The Holiday Ice Rink at the Embarcadero Through January 7, 2018
  • The Safeway Holiday Rink in Union Square
  • $5 First Sunday at the Oakland Museum of California
  • Visit Pier 39 or Fisherman’s Warf
  • Take a visit to the Golden Gate Bridge

Curious about places to eat? Check out Eater SF

Here’s to hoping weather reports stay consistent with partly cloudy and 50s for this weekend and see you there!

 

Hot Chocolate San Francisco

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Hot Chocolate 15K San Francisco 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’m trying to figure out where 2017 went! I spent my first weekend off of work of the year (all the way back in January) in San Fransisco for the Hot Chocolate 15K. Forgot about that race? Read about it here. The weather got bad enough on race day (gusts of wind, rain, craziness), that the race was shortened to just over 5 miles. I’m hoping for this year, that the weather cooperates and I get the full 15K in. Honestly, I’m hoping to get a PR for the 15K distance (I’ve been chomping at the bit for that one).

Here’s some need to know stuff:

Shuttle tickets: spots are limited, so if you haven’t gotten tickets, hurry!

Still haven’t registered?? Time’s running out so chop chop! BRHCSF18 even gets you a free hat!

Check out this year’s bling, because it’s awesome!

Also look over the Pre Race Guide, especially if you’re coming from out of town!

Take a look at the course beforehand so you can be prepared ahead of time!

Bibrave Product Review: BOCO Head Gear

Disclaimer: I received an BOCO Gear Visor 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

Hats and visors. I’m usually not a fan, just because I usually feel like I get a headache or some sort of odd sensation around the band site. That and I’m of the ‘less is more’ mindset, so the less I have to take with me and/or wear, the better. We were given the opportunity test some BOCO Gear Products so I figured I’d give it a shot. I ended up opting for the Visor, just because hats and I generally don’t get along.

Earlier this summer, the PNW was dealing with fires, which meant in the Inland NW, we were dealing with all the smoke. It definitely prevented me from getting out and trying my visor initially, but once things cleared a bit, I was glad to be able to get some good runs in. The visor itself is light weight so you tend to forget about it. It’s also good if you wear sunglasses, because I found that it would hold them in place behind your ears. This last weekend, I was in Seattle for the Seattle Half Marathon and whenever people think Seattle, they think rain. We got rain at least 8 miles of the race and my visor did a decent job of keeping rain out of my face. I’ve done a few other races since having my visor and some have wind. My only concern is when there are wind gusts, I worry about it flying off (felt like at one point I was going to be chasing it across the street while running in Tucson and Phoenix).

Curious about the specifics of BOCO Gear Visors?

  • Lightweight wicking woven or dry tech polyester outside
  • wicking internal sweatband on the front inside to help with sweat
  • Soft elastic band back
  • Relaxed fit
  • If you’re looking to do custom designs
  • Black underside of the bill prevents glare

I’ll also say they’re quick to dry of sweat (or rain) when left out to dry. The website says that they can be machine washed, though the tag on mine says hand washing cold. The 360* visors have the soft elastic band in the back and can’t be adjusted (which is the one I have), though the run visors have the adjustable velcro in the back, which is a plus if you want to adjust sizes.  I didn’t test the trucker hat, but there were definitely pros that did. Still not convinced? Check out what some other Pros thought and join us for #bibchat on December 5th at 6 PST!

Jeannine     Lindsey      Amy W.

Check out BOCO Gear online as well!

Website       Facebook      Twitter       Instagram

Race Review: Rock n Roll Las Vegas

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Rock n Roll Las Vegas  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’ve had my eye on Rock n Roll Vegas for quite some time, so when the chance came to finally run it, I jumped at it. I also needed to get Nevada off my need to run states for the half marathon list. A whole host of Bibrave pros ended up being in town for the race, which made things a whole lot more fun.

I arrived Friday night from Tucson and checked in at the Westin on the Vegas Strip. When I walked in, I noticed a sign set up for a shake out rune for runners staying at the hotel with the Run Concierge

I caught some dinner after walking around a bit and then ended up calling it a night. I was still dealing with the falling back an hour and ended up only sleeping until 630 or so. I found some breakfast and then headed to the expo at the Convention Center. It opened at 9 AM on Saturday (though it was also open Thursday and Friday as well). You had to have a confirmation for every race you ran that was signed and only you could bring it, no one else could pick up your bib for you. If you did the 5K on Saturday in addition to a Sunday race, you were given a wrist band to show at the finish of your Sunday race for extra bling.

I wandered around the expo and found some Nike gear that was 40% off. And some Garmin. All the Garmin ($100 off the Fenix 5 Series, just saying). I rarely get gear, but I found a fun t-shirt I ended up getting, that was slightly edited:

A slight alteration to my shirt from the expo. #runner #weightlifter #twoproblems

A post shared by Christine (@cginpnw) on

I went back to the hotel and watched the OSU-MSU game before finding some lunch, wondering Caesar’s Palace and running the 5K on Saturday. Wondering about the 5K? Head over here and check it out.

The headliner concert with The Goo Goo Dolls was suppose to be Sunday, but given the shooting last month, it was changed to Saturday after the 5K. I hung around until about 8 before heading back for dinner and a shower. What can I say, cold and hungry won!

Sunday I was up bright and early. I ended up heading to church and then met up with fellow Bibrave Pros Justin, Jeannine, Mai, Fallon and Allison for Brunch at Spice Market in the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino. We were there a good 90 minutes before we all left to get ready for the race. Let me tell ya, an afternoon race really throws off when you eat, that’s for sure!

The race started in front of New York, New York, a change from last year. You were also put into 1 of 3 bib colors- blue, green and yellow. Within each bib color was a corral. There were 3 waves based off bib colors that were sent off every 30 min or so with each corral opening for a set period of time. If you’ve ever run the NYC Marathon and there wave system, thats what they were going for. To say the corrals were a bit of a hot mess is a bit of an understatement. You were elbow to elbow and it was beyond hard to get in. There were only 2 entry points and they were checking bib colors and corrals. They really needed to have more entry points. I appreciate the security, but it was almost equally unsafe trying to get in. Once you were in, you couldn’t leave, which meant if you had to go to the bathroom, you were SOL.

I was in the blue corral, which had all the marathoners and some half marathoners in it. I was in corral 11 so we ended up being in the 3rd wave of people in the blue corral. Things did thin out, and you weren’t elbow to elbow with people, but there was a lot of trying to get around people, which meant more tangents. About 1.5 miles in I took a bathroom stop because there was no way 13 miles was happening with a full bladder. The first 2.5 miles were dedicated to the Vegas shooting victims. It went by Mandalay Bay, the Welcome to Las Vegas sign on the way out and back, which made for some good photo ops. The 5K mark came quick and then somewhere between 3-5 miles, we past the start, where they were still sending off runners in the yellow wave. We were heading down the strip, past Paris, Planet Hollywood and MGM. As we were passing the finish, the half marathon winner was crossing the finish. Holy fastness

We got further out on the strip, past the Las Vegas Festival Grounds and the furthest part of the strip before heading back towards the center of Vegas. Everything we saw on the way out we saw on the way back, which was nice. Around mile 11, the marathoners split from us and went their separate ways, as we continued on towards the MGM. When you crossed the finish, you were about a mile from where we started. You got your medal and kept walking down towards food, medical, chocolate milk and the finishers area. It seemed like a decent amount of time between when you finished to when you exited. At the very end was beer for anyone interested. In the finishers area, there was merchandise, the VIP area, extra bling (read Heavy Medal and Remix Medal) pick up and more. I hung around a little bit before heading back to the hotel for a shower and then to find dinner. When I came back out to find food, the finish line was picking up with more p people and was getting more congested with finishers, so I was glad I finished when I did.

In terms of nutrition, there was water stops every 1.5 miles or so. Every once and awhile, there was gatorade, but not enough in my opinion. There was maybe 1 station with gels/chews for the half. There wasn’t any food on course which was a downside

Overall Pros for the course

  • Flat Course
  • good amount of energy
  • A definite bucket list race
  • Plenty of crowd and medical support
  • Good amount of bands

Overall Cons

  • Price is huge. In June/July, the half was $149.99. If you sign up as part of preregistration, the lowest you get is $99
  • Time of the start. The afternoon start time really throws off eating/meals
  • The start/corrals. There needed to be more entry points into the corrals because people were walking all over each other
  • Pre/post race bananas were old and mush like and weren’t worth eating
  • The amount of people. It was so crowded at times!

As much fun as the race was, I think I’m leaving it as a bucket list race and calling it good.

Did you run? Don’t forget to go to Bibrave to review it!

Rock n Roll Vegas: It’s Race Week!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Rock n Roll Las Vegas 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 Rock n Roll Vegas and pretty soon we get to descend on the Las Vegas Strip! First time running? Take a look at what RnR posted in the last week or so to get an idea of where you’re running, though know there’s some changes that aren’t reflected due to late changes

Here’s some need to know info:

Security: Expect to see some increased security given recent events over race weekend. If you’re running this weekend, only runners will be allowed in the Start Village. Be sure if you’re checking bags, that it’s a clear bag given to you at the Expo!

Expo:

  1. Need to pick up your own bib(s) for any race you’re doing! No one can do it for you
  2. Make sure you bring your confirmation sheet and ID!
  3. Expo Takes Place at the Las Vegas Convention Center
    • Thursday, Nov 9 from 3-7 PM
    • Friday, Nov 10 from 11-6 PM
    • Saturday, Nov 11, from 9-7 PM
  4. Get your Runner Perks wrist band at the expo (look for the red balloon!)

Head Liner Concert

  • Goo Goo Dolls are still performing, only their concert is now Saturday, November 11 after the 5K
  • Show goes down at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds with March Fourth performing at 5 and 615 and the Goo Goo Dolls Performing at 715

All The Races

  1. Keep in mind there’s the Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K on Nov 12 and the 5K on Nov 11
  2. For Full information, here’s race details for each
  3. Check out the race weekend website for more information regarding road closures, race day maps, course details

See you in Vegas!

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