Craft Classic Phoenix

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Craft Classic Phoenix 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!

In my continued quest to hit all 50 states in terms of half marathons, I’ll finally make it out to Arizona for the Road Runner Sports Craft Classic Phoenix race. So far, Craft Classic has been in Seattle, San Diego and Atlanta this year. I mean, getting down to somewhere warm when fall is taking hold in the rest of the country is always a good thing, right? With one month left before race day, what better time to start to get used to the course? Read, if you haven’t started doing some hills, might want to throw some into your  training sessions

Normally, I’m really good about getting hotels set up for races well in advance, but I just did mine a few weeks ago and ended up choosing a hotel closer to Scottsdale, but easily drivable to Fountain Hills. I figured being able to enjoy a bunch of Phoenix would be warranted while I’m there. If you’re in the Phoenix Area, be sure to check out their last social run on Sept. 28 (head over here for details!)

Still searching for reasons to run this race?

  1. Post race beer! And if you find me, you’ll probably get mine too
  2. Yes it’s October, but it won’t be fall like temperatures like the rest of the country
  3. FREE PHOTOS!
  4. Hills, but good bling afterwards
  5. Enough time for college football watching after the race.

Registration is still on going with the Half Marathon being $85 and the 5K being $55. Have no fear! $10 off with BIBRAVEHALF for the half marathon and $5 off the 5k with BIBRAVE5k.

Who’s coming to join me in Phoenix?!

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Bibrave Race Review: Missoula Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Missoula 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!

By Sunday, it was run number 3 for me in Montana. I had done the Free Beer Run on Friday night (3 miles), followed by the Missoula 5K Saturday.  Saturday after the Missoula 5K, I picked up my bib and number for the Half Marathon. The way packet pick up worked meant that only 5K bibs/shirts could be picked up on Friday, so I couldn’t pick up both of my race bibs at the same time. I finished the 5K around 830 and walked around the expo a bit, which ran from 8-4 and was pretty packed up until 9/9:30 AM. It was pretty easy to get my bib (bibs were split into half or full and then alphabetically by last name), but I had to wait a few minutes to get my shirt. We also got a string bag with not a whole lot in it, but I was ok with that. It had an area on the front where you wrote your bib number in it if you were checking your bag at the start. They had an area at the expo with plenty of permanent markers to do it there (smart thinking!). The expo was small, had all of your basic stuff (race merchandise, running shops, small local things and Jeff Galloway had a booth as well). I ended up walking around a farmer’s market next door after I had all my stuff and then grabbed some brunch. I chilled out at the hotel for most of the day before going to church and then dinner on Saturday night.

 

Race day was an early morning. I keep saying I need to not do as many early start/point to point races because it’s tiring. I was up by 3:30/4 AM, which felt like 2:30/3 AM to me. I had all of my stuff out the night before and after getting changed and functioning, I was out the door with my protein shake and drove 10 minutes to the Univ. of Montana and the Adams Center. Since it was a 6 AM start, everyone had to be shuttled to either the half or full marathon start. There was plenty of parking and plenty of shuttles at 4:25 when I got there and parked. A little better differentiation between the half line and the full line would have been good, though there were volunteers there directing you. I was texting back and forth with fellow Bibrave Pro Justin, who was also at the race, but doing the full. Shortly after I had left for the start, the lines for the half got pretty long!

At the start, people were stretching or trying to get some shut eye. I got there around 5 AM and had time to have some breakfast, drink some fluids and use the porta potties twice (trust me, there were more than plenty). It was dark for at least the first half an hour before the sun came up. A little bit cool, but that changed too. We also had to deal with fireworks every 15 minutes to help figure out time or something along those lines. I checked my bag close to the start and made my way over to the start line.

Off we went, right at 7 AM and we were off via cannon. That’s enough to wake you up. The first 2.5 miles or so were on a rural road, though there was some down hill to it. After that, we were directed onto the main course, where the full marathon would join in somewhere between 15-16 miles into their race. They started at 6 AM as well, though further up the course. Overall, a fairly flat and scenic course that picked up some residential areas the further along you went. At one point, we passed a guy playing his Baby Grand Piano on his front lawn. I really want to know how he got it out there! I was keeping an OK pace, but hit a wall from miles 8-11. It’s been awhile since I’ve hit the running wall, but my legs weren’t feeling it and the lack of sleep caught up with me some. I was able to pick up the pace the last 2 miles or so and finish in 2:05:14.

Aid Stations: every 2-3 miles the first 7 miles of the race, then every mile the last 10K. Luckily it was cool while I was on course, so it was ok, but it definitely got hot for people who were on course until 12:30.

Post race: met with medals pretty quickly and medical if you needed it. Porta Potties in the shute area if you needed them. You were led around the block to water and family waiting area. Post race party was in Caras Park. The even had free pictures! Not much of line for me, but that picked up pretty quick.

There was also an area for post race food, post race massages and family meeting areas. You could exchange your shirt if you needed a different size (again, why can’t this be done at the expo??). Plenty of food trucks. One thing I wish they had was chocolate milk, I felt like I needed some sooner than waiting to get back to mine at my hotel.

Big 3 Challenge: since I did the Beer Run, the 5K and the Half, I got fun extra swag!

Only downside to this race is I ended up walking about a mile back to my car at Univ. Montana. There may have been shuttles, though I’m not sure. My legs were ok, but if I would have done the full, I would have been hurting a bit more.

Overall, please go do Missoula. It’s well run and well put together. The people are awesome and are willing to help the race out with whatever’s asked (including running their sprinklers for people to run through when it’s too hot). A must do race for anyone, and I hope I can get back next year!

Bibrave Race Review: Missoula 5K

Disclaimer: I received a free entry into the Missoula 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

I finally made it out to Missoula for the Missoula Race Weekend! I had signed up for the Missoula Half Marathon last year, however, due to moving disasters, I never made it to race weekend. This year, I went out and did the Big 3 Challenge: the Beer Run (completely free and a 3 mile shake out run on Friday), the 5K on Saturday and either the Half Marathon or Full Marathon on Sunday.

I got into town Friday afternoon and checked into my hotel. I headed over to Caras Park and was able to get my bib and shirt for the 5K on Saturday. They had pick up from 5-7 pm Friday and from 7-730 AM on Sunday. There were limited vendors at packet pick up on Friday night, as the beer run also happened. After running the beer run and looking around, I grabbed some dinner and went to the store to pick up a few things before calling it a night

 

Saturday Morning, I was up around 6 AM and out the door by 7 AM. I had time for a protein shake before hand (the joy of being able to drive 3 hrs to a race and throw whatever I want into my car!). It was easy enough to park downtown and walk to the start. I was able to meet up with fellow Bibrave Pro Justin at the start and we got to chat for a bit before the race started at 8 AM.

 

It was cool out, which was nice, compared to being in the 90s for the beer run. We were off at 8 AM and were sent through downtown Missoula. It was a fairly easy course to follow and took us through some residential areas, as well as some local parks. It was well marked, had some that was paved running routes, some that was road, etc. Missoula roads in general could use a little work! It was overall a fairly quick course that finished in Caras Park. You received your medal and then could explore the expo and relax some. There was water available at the finish, but none on course.

Overall, a good warm up for race day on Sunday. I do wish there was one water stop on course, as there wasn’t one. You could also exchange your shirt, but could only do it on Saturday after the 5K, so it really depended on how badly you wanted to lug the shirt back with you if picked up your stuff on Friday.

After the race, I got some brunch at a little place by the finish and explored the farmer’s market next to the finish. I hung out most of the day in the hotel since it got up into the 90s again. I called it an early night since it would be an early morning on Sunday!

 

Rock N Roll Liverpool: The Need to Know

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Rock n Roll Liverpool 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 for Rock n Roll Liverpool! I arrived Wednesday morning in Manchester, England. To say I was a bit nervous is fair given the events of Monday night in Manchester. I’m here through Friday before I take the train an hour and change to Liverpool for race weekend. I’ve done my fair share of homework of the whats, whens and wheres, just because of this being the furthest I’ve traveled for a race (read, 4,000 miles!). RnR Liverpool is smart enough to have a race app and race center weekend website for essential information, but here’s some good to know information, especially if you’re coming from further away

Events: 5K on May 27 (9:30 am and 10 am start times depending on bib color); on May 28th, Half Marathon (9 AM start time), Marathon (10 AM start time), Fun Mile (1 pm start time). limited full marathon registration will be at the expo as all other events are sold out

Time Limits: 6 Hours for the Full, 3.5 hrs for the Half Marathon [from GUN TIME!]

Confirmation Sheets: Follow this link to look them up. MUST be printed and brought to the expo (not pulled up on your phone!)

Expo: May 26 from 1-7 pm; May 27 from 8-10 AM for the 5K and 10 AM to 5 PM for all other distances at the ACC Convention Center, King’s Doc. NO RACE DAY PICK UP for the Half, Full or Mile races.

Race Security: Full details here and on RnR Liverpool’s Facebook site. In short, bag check only available between 730 AM and 430 PM, bag sizes no larger than 50 cm x 30 cm by 20 cm and expect heightened security given the events in Manchester

Runner Tracking: Download the SportHive App!

Travel/Parking information: Take a look at the recommendations and come early!

Hopefully this helps put everything in a quick, easy to find spot. Stay safe, have fun and enjoy Liverpool!

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!

 

Capital City Half Marathon: The Need to Know

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Capital City Half marathon to review [or I received a free entry to XYZ 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!!!! Come Saturday, runners will take over the streets of Columbus, OH for the Cap City Half Marathon and this year’s US Half Marathon Championships. Here’s some need to know information for this week

The Expo(tique)

  • New this year, this is taking place at Vue Columbus in the Brewery District. Normally, the expo was larger and at one of the area hotels
  • Vue Columbus Address: 95 Liberty Street Columbus, Ohio 43215
  • Packet Pick Up Times:
    • Thursday, April 27: 12pm – 8pm
    • Friday, April 28: 10am – 8pm
  • Important info: NO RACE DAY PICK UP!
  • Need parking Info? Head over here for more info!

Things to do (From a Central Ohio Native)

  • Easton Towne Center: If you’re into shopping, head over here and enjoy some stores and restaurants
  • The Arena District: restaurants, sports and a good time!
  • German Village: Good Restaurants
  • Short North: Arts and Food!

The Courses

  • Get to know the courses before race day so people can come watch!
  • Half Marathon Course
  • Quarter Marathon Course
  • 5K Course

Race Day

  • Remember, no race day packet pick up!!
  • Start Times: Half Marathon/Quarter Marathon: 8AM; 5K 8:30 AM
  • Post Race
    • Recovery Zone: open 8AM-1PM
    • Byers Xtra Finish Line Party: 9AM-1 PM. Get 1 Coors Lite, 1 Patron Margarita, 1 Sparkling Wine and 1 slice of Pizza 🍕 from Papa John’s!
    • VIP Tent: be one of 200 runners/walkers to enjoy (and find me and some other Bibrave Pros) with some catered breakfast/lunch from Cameron Mitchell Restaurants and some drinks!
  • Driving in for the race? Head over here for Parking Information!

Not Running? Come out and cheer everyone on and party with us afterwards!

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