Napa Valley Race Week!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Napa Valley Half Marathon 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!

I’m heading back to California! Over the winter the past few years, I’ve noticed increased California trips to get out of the winter weather, and the snow that is taking over my yard in Spokane (I’m running out of places to put it! I just finished a 10 day stretch at work and the Napa Valley Half couldn’t come at a better time!

This year, the half marathon is in it’s first year for Napa Valley and I’m so looking forward to it. The course (between the half and the full) has something like 6 wineries on it. Is it wrong to hope they have wine at some of the aid stations?

Big things to look out for this weekend:

1. Follow Napa Marathon on Social Media (Facebook, Twitter and http://www.napavalleymarathon.com) because we’re looking at rain this weekend (seems to be recurring theme for my CA races this year!). Hopefully no course changes though

2. Bib look up: be ready for the expo!

3. Shake out run: good way to get the legs loose: meet up is on Saturday Morning at the Marriott. RSVP here!

4. Don’t forget your bib. Expo happens from 9 am to 8 pm with a whole bunch of fun stuff. Check out what’s happening!

5. Pasta Dinner: get some good carb loading and hear from some awesome runners on Saturday night!

Things to do in Napa:

1. I’m probably spending most of Friday finding some wine in the area, not going to lie

2. Hot air balloon rides

3. Wine train, this sounds kind of fun!

4. For more, head here http://napavalleymarathon.org/race-information/

Hope I catch up with anyone running while there and look for the Bibrave orange!

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Race Review: Citrus Heritage Run Half Marathon

The first weekend of 2019 (how are we here already?!) has come and gone and this is the earliest I’ve had a half marathon scheduled and completed. Did I nearly forget about it until like 4 days before? Absolutely. I was dealing with getting to the Rose Bowl to watch my Buckeyes play and due to a last minute flight delay causing me to switch airlines, I realized I had signed up for the Citrus Heritage Half Marathon in Cali, and had hotel/air reservations to boot. Whoops.

Needless to say, I did a quick Rose Bowl Trip and then turned around and went back for the race. I flew into Ontario, CA’s airport (so much better than LAX) and was about 20 minutes from the airport. After getting checked into the hotel, I was able to get in a few miles outside, before finishing on the treadmill and heading to dinner in downtown Riverside. I ended up calling it a night and let me tell you, 10 hrs of straight sleep does you good when you’re incredibly sleep deprived.

Friday, I went shopping out an outlet mall I found 30 minutes or so away. Did I need more thermal Nike tops? Absolutely not. Did I get some? Absolutely yes. After dropping my stuff off at the hotel, I headed over to the packet pick up, held at the Arlington Sports Complex. Quick and easy, open from noon to 5 pm the Friday before the race. All you need is your bib number and ID (or ID of friends if you’re picking up their Bib). No vendors, but I’m ok with that. Did a little shake out run while I was there (when you live in a location where it’s 30* and you dress in multiple layers, you take advantage of running in tank tops when you can).

Saturday, I was up bright and early. Bright and early enough to feel like I was working out with my trainer on days where I go into work at 7 AM. The race itself is a half marathon, 10K, 5K and kids fun run with the half marathon starting at 6:30 AM. They do have packet pick up available starting at 6 AM on race day if you couldn’t make it Friday. The race starts/finishes at the Arlington Sports Complex and parking is available there and 2 local schools close by. Weather was 40s/50s, though I didn’t feel like I needed gloves.

We started promptly at 630 AM after the national anthem. I probably headed out too fast, but what can you do. The race heads out on Victoria Ave and through the streets of Riverside before heading into the Citrus Heritage State Park. You get to run through ALLLL the citrus. The downside? About 4 different terrains that were not agreeing with me with all the switches (think roads to dirt sidewalks, to gravel to whatever dirt the oranges, lemons, etc grow in. Then there were hills. All the hills. All within the first half of the race. By the time we hit the last of the hills, my legs were shot and telling me I probably didn’t fuel right for the race. After we got out of the citrus fields and finished the out portion of the course, we headed back through the streets of Riverside and got back on Victoria, that took us to the finish line. I happened to finish as the 5K was starting and we were finishing with some 10K runners that had started around 730 AM.

Water stations on course: they were there, some with Gatorade, others with oranges, though there seemed to be no clear length between them. They were scattered if that makes sense.

Post race, water, fruit and medals were available right at the finish. There was also a post race beer tent (1. Too early at 9 AM and 2. Not a beer fan). No chocolate milk though, which is always sad.

Overall, I feel like it’s a good local race. It got me out of the cold for a few days, though I don’t know if I’d come out for it every year. Good local race to support though!

Race Review: Rock N Roll Los Angeles

Marathon training is in full force and cooler weather is descending on the Island Northwest. This past weekend, travel took me to Los Angeles for the Rock n Roll LA Half Marathon. After taking care of things at home Friday morning, I left Friday afternoon and got in shortly after 6 pm. I ended up taking SuperShuttle to the LA Live district in Downtown LA ($15 rather than a $60 Uber…WTF) and got situated in my hotel. It happened to be Comic Con as well, so there were people swarming the place with costumes. Nothing like getting on the elevator and running into someone in full costume with a prop taller than you are with blades attached. I found dinner at the hotel and chilled the rest of the night

Saturday morning, I found a 5K a few miles away (different blog post for a different day) and afterwards, came back and showered before heading to the LA Convention Center (1/2 mile from where I was staying) to pick up my bib. There was no wait at all for me and I was able to get through and get bib, shirt etc in less than 5 minutes. I met up with a family friend, Amy, and we ended up having brunch before she headed back home. I spent part of the early afternoon watching the OSU game in the lobby before watching part at a bar and the second half at the hotel. I couldn’t leave until the game was over because OSU decided to play flawless in the 4th quarter and beat Penn State by one. Due to the amount of swearing, I went to 5 pm mass and then dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s Bar and Grill. I had a nice little chat with a fellow runner, though she was in town for a concert

Sunday morning was race early. I was up by 545/6 and changed before heading to the start at 620. Like any good runner, I made another bathroom pit stop and missed out on getting a pre race picture with Mai and Justin, two other Bibrave Pros running. I got tucked away in corral 5 with the gun going off at 645 AM. After about 5 minutes, I was off with the rest of my corral. The first mile and a half, we were with the 5K before they headed back at their turn around. We continued on to USC, past the Museum of Natural History and the Coliseum before heading back towards downtown. After mile 5, the 5K runners peeled off towards the finish and we continued on. We turned on to Wilshire Blvd, where there was an occasional sketchy area and plenty of homeless people lining the streets. We ran through McArthur Park and Koreatown before heading back to Downtown LA.

The course itself had some hills (primarily around 6/12), though not terrible. My garmin somewhere between miles 5-7, miles seemed to be further apart. My garmin was hitting miles 1/3 of a mile before the actual mile marker, despite on course comparison from the garmin and course map being the same. I ended up running a 2:03:54, where if the course was long, I would have been on track for my 3rd Sub 2 hr of the year.

Afterwards, I passed through the finish, grabbed some chocolate milk and food and hung out as people continued to finish. I met up with fellow BRP Mai post race. After grabbing a shower and checking out of the hotel, I grabbed some brunch before heading to LAX to catch my flight home.

Overall, course was ok, but not a whole lot of people out supporting. Weather was perfect, 60s and overcast and there were plenty of aid stations and plenty of costumes. I wish they’d double check the course length though because plenty of us were hitting 13.6 miles on course

 

Race Review: Surf City 10 Miler

It’s been 3.5 years since I’ve been to the land of Surf City and in my training quest for the Honolulu Marathon and the need for a weekend get away, I headed off to Huntington Beach for the Surf City 10 Miler. It’s put on by the same people who run the Surf City Marathon and Half Marathon in February (which I’ll also be at!).

I left Friday Morning after a whole 4-5 hours of sleep. The joys of working until 1 am and not falling asleep until 2! Being 15 minutes from the airport is a godsend. I flew into Long Beach Airport (by way of Oakland) and drove about 30 minutes to my hotel and was thankful to miss LAX. After checking in, I headed out for a run to stretch the legs and enjoy the 70* weather, this a stark contrast from gusty winds and 40-50* weather in Spokane

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Weekend in Cali

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After a shower, I was off to dinner at wine bar down the road and then some time exploring. I may or may not have found a road runner sports and 2 pairs of running shoes…

Saturday, I went to the Expo and picked up my bib and shirt. Surf City is the only race I’ve done where you can get away with having a race expo outside without issues.

A good amount of vendors there, including a running shop where I got a pair of shorts, a pair of spandex and a pair of capris for $70 total (less than the total of the capris!). After finding lunch, I relaxed at the hotel before heading off to church to some some prayers an OSU win and good running weather. What’s better is they also had race day pick up!

Sunday was race day and I was up bright and early. After getting ready, I drove from the hotel to the race start (so much for Uber or Lyft being up and ready at 630 AM). I was to the start by 650 and we were off running at 7 AM. There was the option for the 10 Mile, 10K or 5K. The course itself is out and back with parts that are similar to the Surf City Marathon/Half Marathon. Even though it was cloudy, it was still humid out. Fairly flat with the beach and ocean as your scenery. I thought the water stops were every mile, but they were spread out further than expected (at least for me). shortly after 5 miles, we hit the turn around and were coming back. About 7 miles in, we joined up with the 10K runners and with 1.5 miles, we were picking up the 5K runners. I don’t mind starting first, but part of what I had issue with is the weaving in and out of walkers for the 5K/10K. 10.25 miles later, another run was in the books

The post race bling was awesome, as to be expected for anything Surf City. Post race, food, chocolate milk and water was available. The expo was still up and running.  I walked through briefly prior to heading back to the hotel for a shower and then to find lunch.

I flew to Spokane Sunday night and had fun getting through Long Beach Airport Security. The race medal led to my bag being checked. It got wiped down and set off the alarm that TSA uses to test for whatever they test for, which led to everything getting searched and me getting a full body pat down. Lesson learned, take the medal out of the luggage, just to be safe.

Marathon training continues and Surf City played into weather conditions for Honolulu in more ways than one!

 

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