Shamrock Portland: A weekend, 2 races and a bunch of Bibrave Pros!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Shamrock Portland 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!

St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone and I got to spend it with some awesome Bibrave Pros in Portland! For the first time in awhile, I got to race on St. Patrick’s Day and I had kind of forgotten how fun it is to do a race around a fun holiday. I flew out to Portland on Friday. It’s a short flight for me and I was able to leave in the afternoon so I had the morning to get some errands done. After getting in, I took an Lyft to my hotel downtown and got checked in. I ended up walking to the Oregon Convention Center to get my bibs and look around (and be jealous of the Leprechaun capes for one of the other races)

Saturday rolled around and I got a solid 10 hours of sleep (always so needed after coming off a few night shifts at work). Since it’s finally deciding to thaw out on the West Coast, I went for a run outside along downtown Portland. The ability to run without a bunch of layers on and gloves was a treat! Running through downtown, I could see the post race Shamrock Portland party being set up and you got the feel it was going to be epic!

I finished up at the hotel and showered before heading back to the Expo. I got to meet up with fellow Bibrave Pros Bridget, Jessica ad Tim. The expo actually has a good deal of vendors set up and a whole bunch of swag to get your hands on. Bibs are assigned to you at the expo, so you bring in your QR code, it gets scanned depending on your race distance and there you go. I was signed up for the 5K and the half marathon, so it was quick and painless. You then got sent to pick up your shirts (long sleeved!) and is actually one I’d wear out and about. Lots of free food samples, Great Clips doing green hair for kids (and adults!), the Children’s Hospital was there as were some of the running shops. After catching up and getting some pictures, I headed off to get some lunch and then watch some basketball at the hotel. I ended up going to church and finding dinner before calling it a night

Sunday came around and I was up bright and early. I changed and my plan for 16.2 miles and a long run kind of got nixed. I stopped by the front desk at the hotel and asked for a late check out and couldn’t due to a large group coming in and any check outs after noon were charged a fee. Sigh. I walked to the start line and lined up for the 5K that started at 8 AM. The course itself was out and back through downtown, though it had a short little out pouch off some of the side streets in order to get the .1 miles. Before the turn around, I ended up seeing Jessica on her way back of the 5K! We turned around after going up part of the main hill of Portland. We ended up coming back into down and crossing the finish and being led into the main post race party. Since my hotel was close, I walked about 1/3 mile back and switched bibs and ended up also changing into a tank top from my long sleeves.

Instead of coming back and lining up for the half marathon at 9:20, I lined up for the 15K at 8:55 AM. Prior to the 15K, they played the Irish National Anthem, which was pretty cool. We started right on time and went the same way as the 5K. The race takes you along SW Naito Parkway and to SW Barbur Blvd and it’s pretty much all uphill the first 5 miles or so. From SW Barbur, you head into George Himes Park and get some good views of the city from up above once you hit the highest point of the run before you head down hill and along some of the winding road ways of Portland. On your way back, be prepared to see the half marathoners coming up the hills you’re already done with, though their a few miles further along due to them adding some miles before joining up with you. The last few miles of the race are downhill, so overall your quads, hamstrings and hip flexors are put the ringer. Every mile and change, there were aid stations with water and Nuun. Plenty of volunteers and a well marked course.

By the time I finished, the post race party was picking up. The half marathon was starting to finish and the 8K was finishing up just down the road. I found Jessica and we watched Tim finish the half marathon. Plenty of music, food trucks and free food and post race beer for beer drinkers present. I ended up getting another 2 miles or so in, so I’ll take a 14 mile run over nothing. When I checked my results, initially they had me as a DNF for the half. Word of waring, if you switch distances, try and get your changes done at the expo or the week prior to the race. I was able to email Shamrock Portland and within a day or 2, it was switched and I came up under the 15K.

Overall, I thought it was a great race, lots of energy and a good course, though be ready for some hills. The big thing I’d work on is the time of the races (they have a 5K, 8K, 15K and half marathon). I was actually signed up for the half marathon, but it didn’t start until 9:20 (25 min after the 15K). I was set to run the half up until about 740 AM race morning and ended up not being able to get a late check out at the hotel (partly my fault for not checking on check in) and I wouldn’t have had enough time, especially with the hills, to finish and get back to the hotel, shower and check out without being charged. For us out of towners, I think an earlier half marathon time would be better, especially since we have more distance to cover. I also think it’d be awesome if they could come up with a challenge with some of the distances or even come up with a two day event! If you’re in the area, definitely look this race up!

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Bibrave Product Review: Buff DryFlx

Disclaimer: I received a Buff DryFlx and headband to review as part of being a Bibrave Pro. Learn more about being a Bibrave Pro and check out http://www.bibrave.com to review, find and write race reviews.

Buff. ALLLL the Buff. I’ve tried and still use Buff throughout the years and have Bibrave to thank for introducing me to the Buff. It’s one of the few running things that can be used all year in a whole host of ways, and they’ve come out with a new line that I’m excited about.

The Buff DryFlx is lightweight and has a design for cooler outdoor use (read, winter weather in Washington State). Additionally, this design is bright. It’s meant for you to be seen! Warm, lightweight, reflective, what more can you ask for?

Well, there’s the fact it has this 4 way stretch thing going on. And it’s seamless. And UPF 50 Sun Protection….

Because of travel, I’ve actually had the chance to use my Buff in both Washington State (where I’m running in 20-30* weather when I can get outside), and Arizona (currently here for a conference). Ever been to Washington? It gets cold over the winter, so having something that’s lightweight but keeps. You warm is important. I’ve used the buff and the headband, which I love, however, my head is a little small for the headband. It makes a really good wrist version of the Buff though, if you’re looking for ways to help with sweat control!

In Phoenix, it’s been in the 50s-60s, so a world of difference compared to what I’ve been dealing with the last 6 weeks. The lightness of the Buff makes it so you don’t feel it and you don’t feel like you’re overheating either. Additionally, the whole reflectiveness idea makes it so you’re seen (can’t help the people who don’t pay attention).

Overall, love my buff. If there could be some sort of way to get a smaller headband for us small headed people, that’d be awesome, but a great product overall!

Onward Shay: Who’s coming to Boise With Me?

Disclaimer: I’m promoting the Onward Shay Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

Fall’s essentially here, even though the calendar doesn’t say so as of yet. The sun is coming up later in the morning and I’m throwing on sweatshirts on in the morning on my way to work. For me, fall means marathon training of some sort. This year I’m heading back to the NYC Marathon for the Animal Protective League (head over here to donate). As part of my tapering races, I’m running the Onward Shay Half marathon a week before NYC Marathon.

I’ve lived in Washington State for 2 + years and somehow haven’t done a half marathon in Idaho, which is a 40 minute drive away. I actually signed up for Onward Shay over Black Friday last year because it was only $25 or something crazy cheap! Looking for a reason to run Onward Shay?

  • It’s flat and a Boston Qualifier
  • Did I mention it’s a Boston Qualifier?
  • Wide range of races: 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and the Marathon
  • Procedes benefit a whole host of charities, especially locally ones
  • Heck, in 2016 they even had their own IPA

Onward Shay was started in honor of Shay Hirsch, an avid runner in the Boise area who fought an 11 year battle with multiple myeloma and lost that battle last January, hence a lot of charity work for the race. You get a good run through Boise, plus a whole lot of fun with Boise Football, Steelheads Hockey, the old Idaho Penitentiary and more.

Head over to OnwardShay website and sign up! Save 15% with BIBRAVE15!

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:

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!

Bibrave Product Review: Buff Thermonet

Disclaimer: I received BUFF® ThermoNet Gear 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!

One week down in the PNW and we’ve already hit winter. Yup, 3 days of snow already in November (although places in MT decided Sept/Oct was a good time to get snow). No really, we’ve hit winter.

 

This makes the ThermoNet series from Buff a good product to have anywhere that gets winter, cold or snow. I’ve got my fair share of Buff Products and getting to add the ThermoNet to the mix came at the right time.

The Nitty Gritty

The ThermoNet Series uses PrimaLoft Yarn. What that means for you is the heat gets kept in, the cold and moisture out and that it’s 4 times warmer than microfiber. It also means there’s a high warmth to weight ratio so there’s less bulk needed to keep you warm. When you’re like me and hate having a bunch of extra layers on, this is a plus!

Ways to Wear

The ThermoNet series has a Buff and a Hat. It’s easy enough to use the hat only, the buff only or combine the two. The buff has 12 ways to wear it

Multifunctional!

I’m a fan of the neckerchief, neck goiter and face mask options. The hair tie is something I’d like to try, but I don’t have long enough hair for it.

 

Cost

The hat and the Buff are $27 each ($54 for both). If you hurry, you can get 20% off the ThermoNet series with BIBRAVETHERMONET20  Through 11/17/2017

When to Wear

Think of this as more of your cool to cold weather days. I feel like I could wear it on days where it’s 40-50* out or when it’s cold enough for snow (and trust me I’ve done both

 

Buff Care

Expect them to smell after awhile after sweating in them. ThermoNet series can be machine washed warm and then laid out to try flat.

Overall

If you’re somewhere that sees cold, snow, or winter, look into the ThermoNet series. It does a lot to keep you warm without a bunch of bulk and is easy to pack and take care of. I’m more of a fan over the Buff than the hat, but that’s just personal preference.

Don’t forget to join us for Bibchat at 9 pm EST/6 pm PST on 11/14/2017 with Buff to win your own!

Bibrave Product Review: OOFOS

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Oofos Project Pink Sandals 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!

Oofos. An interesting name but a brand that does recovery shoes. Lord knows with all the running I’ve been doing, I need some recovery for my feet. Bibrave teamed up with Oofos to test out their Project Pink line. What’s up with the Project Pink? It means $10 of every purchase from the Pink Line goes to cancer research. Recover your feet and support a good cause at the same time!

I first heard about Oofos through Bibrave a few months ago and saw them when I met up with fellow Bibrave Pro and Aussie, Erin T. while in Honolulu for the Marathon. She was raving about them there. Locally, our Fleet Feet carries them and I happened to see them while in looking at some sale running tights. Enter the chance to try them out for Bibrave and I was all over it.

The Pink Line has a few options, all in men’s and women’s

I was worried about the sizing, just because I run weird on shoe sizes. I can be anywhere between a 6 and a 7 depending on the brand. My Oofos were a size 7, but my regular flip flops are a 6. Then again, I have others that are 7s. Oh well

The perks of these nice pieces of footwear involve getting more shock absorption to the feet. They also give more cushion and cradle your feet more. This is huge after races when you’re walking more around town. It’s made out of a moisture resistant closed cell foam that can be machine washed. I haven’t gone as far as machine washing, but I’ve definitely wiped mine down a few times to clean them off.

I’ve been wearing mine a lot around the house because they’re that comfortable and when you’re on your feet 12 hours a day at work and then go running, your feet hate you at the end of the day. I’ve also worn them pre and post spin classes and after my most recent Half Marathon in San Antonio.

I love my Oofos! They really are that comfortable to wear and keep your feet happy. I wish I had a pair of the clogs on top of the sandals so I could get away with wearing them to work as well. You feel like you’re walking on something soft and your feet will love you for it. My only gripe about them is they’re a bit bulky, so packing them means they take up a little more space than I’d like (I don’t check bags 95% of the time I travel). Overall, though, a good investment for any runner or athlete who’s looking to give their feet a break after a race or event

Looking for Oofos? Check them out

Website: Oofos

Instagram/Twitter: @oofos

Facebook: oofosfootwear

Check out what other Pros are saying about Oofos: Jeremy    John      Jenna      Mary Jo

Bibrave Product Review: Ekiden Coaching

Disclaimer: I received a trial of Ekiden Coaching as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out www.bibrave.com to review, find and write race reviews.

Running Coaches. I’ve never had one in the however many years I’ve been running. When we were offered the chance to try out Ekiden Coaching, I was interested in trying it out. With just coming off of studying for my Internal Medicine Boards where my running was bare minimum and with working every other week, minimum 80 hrs, it seemed like something that would help me get ready for Honolulu in December.

Ekiden was started by Peter Duyan who was at a whole number of active sites before starting Ekiden. He’s joined by Mario Fraioli, the Head Coach, who was at Competitor Magazine prior to Ekiden and has worked with a number of high profile coaches and athletes. The idea? Help athletes reach their goals. Since not everyone can physically meet up with a running coach, they brought it online.

How It Works

  1. When signing up, choose how long of a program you’re looking for depending on what race you’re looking at training for
  2. Fill out their multi question questionnaire. Everything from training, to what you’re looking to improve and what your goals are
  3. Look out for an email about what’s coming next
  4. You’ll get a call from your coach, then your plan is adjusted for you!
  5. Weekly training updates on line and daily texts coming your way!

My Experience

Pre Coach Jenny

The first few weeks were a little rocky, not going to lie. Ekiden is still new, Just started over the summer, so there were some kinks that needed worked out. I filled out all the online info and signed up like I was suppose to and then I didn’t hear anything. There were behind the scenes stuff that in turn, led to some of us not hearing anything. After a little frustration and things being reworked, I finally got assigned to Jenny M.

My first week however, she was out of town on vacay. I can’t fault anyone for taking vacations, so Mario ended uploading a schedule for me. In a sense, it was nice just because it gave me something to go off of and to figure out if it was something that I liked and wanted to continue. What I learned (more of confirmed what I already knew), is I like something mile based and not timed based. No two people are the same and some people love the time thing. I’m not one of them.

Post Coach Jenny Conversation

After I was finally able to connect with Jenny, things were finally going in the right direction. With my job, I work at least a week straight and (mostly) get a week off. In the weeks I work, long runs don’t happen. If you’re at a hospital 14 hours a day, getting up 3 hrs before you work for a long run isn’t going to happen. What we were able to work out is more of a macro plan for me, with the goal being for me to adjust around work as needed. If it means long runs get pushed to during my off week, that’s what ended up happening and I would send a message to Jenny. How you might ask? Either through the online message function or the text messaging capabilities of Ekiden. The other bonus is that she adjusted things based off prescheduled races (read Surf City 10 Miler a few weekends ago). Right now I’m in the mist of training for the Honolulu Marathon so I think we’re going in the right direction.

Thoughts

I’m still on the fence about running coaching in general (and it has absolutely NOTHING to do with Ekiden). I’m trying to figure out if it’s right for me, but I think seeing things through to Honolulu will definitely help things. I think Ekiden is definitely going in the right direction and spot on for a lot of people. The communication part of things when it comes to getting coaches assigned needs a bit of tweeking just so people aren’t left in the dark (some of us had 2 weeks of coaching before others even had a coach). Love the idea and can’t wait to see how this grows!

Want to try Ekiden: get a free month when you sign up for 3 months with Bibrave 16

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