Bibrave Race Review: Onward Shay Half Marathon

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!

One would think that living on the west side of the country and 30 (ish) minutes from the Washington/Idaho boarder would mean I’d hit a half marathon in Idaho before now. believe it or not, I was suppose to do a half marathon in Coeur d’Alene a few weeks ago, but dropped down to the quarter marathon. This weekend I flew out to Boise for the Onward Shay Half Marathon. I signed up for it last year (a whole $25) on Black Friday. I was so excited when Bibrave partnered up with them so I hopped on board.

Boise is a quick 45 min flight from Spokane if you can get a direct flight from Spokane. I’d take that over a 6 hour drive. I flew out Friday night and took an Lyft to the hotel. I ended up booking a hotel that was about 1/2 mile from the start/finish line and the expo. I spent most of Friday night trying to (and failing to stay up all 18 innings) watch the World Series. I ended up sleeping until 9:45 am before waking up. I headed over to the expo and picked up my bib. It took all of 5 minutes. When you walked in, your bib was assigned to you at check in (although there was one runner race morning where there were mishaps. Whoops). Some of the sponsors had tables set up at Payette Brewing and there were plenty of shirts to go around.

After getting my bib and shirt, I hit up 2 different farmer’s markets in Boise. The weather had stayed nice though the weekend and people were still out with produce, meats, home grown stuff, etc. At the second market, there were around 40+ vendors and an opportunity for trick or treat with the kids. I even found a place that did rolled ice cream. In the words of mom, I run to eat (partially true).

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Round two of rolled ice cream!

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I hung out most of the day, watched football found dinner and mainly chilled out after going out for a shake out run.

 

Sunday Morning, I woke up just after 7 AM. The race had a 9 AM start time, which was probably a good thing since the sun was still coming up. I had my clothes set out from the night before. After multiple trips to the bathroom and stalking up on tissues (I’ve been dealing with a URI and a cough for the past week) and throwing cough drops in my Spibelt before heading out to the start (an easy 1/2 mile walk). I even met up with fellow Bibrave Pro Bridget, who came out from Oregon! Bart Yasso happened to be at the race, but a Bartie (selfie with Bart Yasso) wasn’t in the cards today.

The full and half marathon started at 9 AM (followed by the 5K at 915 and the 10K at 920). The course itself is fairly flat, though some minor bunny hills going under underpasses. The first 5 miles was a loop that took you along the Greenbelt running trail. The first mile took you past the Boise Zoo before crossing the Boise River and through Boise State. We passed by Ann Morrison park and went to Bernadine Quinn Riverside Park. We headed back and around mile 5 passed where we started. We continued on, crossed the Boise River again before taking a left and heading along the river. We past more of BSU including the football stadium (couldn’t see the blue turf however) and more of scenic Boise. Just past mile 9, the half marathon turned around, while the full marathon kept going. Just after the turn around, I passed Bart Yasso and I got a wave out of it. The last 4 miles (10-13) were essentially unmarked for the half marathon. The course itself is fairly scenic, which is kind of nice. There were people out cheering and a good amount of direction on course, especially around areas that could have been confusing. Water stops ever 1.5-2 miles with water, gatorade and gels. The finish ended up being right at the start with some good announcing going on. Fun thing about this race is it’s Wizard of Oz themed, lots of Dorothy with Toto, the tin man, witches and fun costumes to see.

Post race, there was food (hamburgers, hot dogs, cookies and beer if you’re a fan). I hung out for 10 min or so, before rushing back to the hotel to take a shower and head to the airport for my flight home. Plenty of water, though I would have loved some chocolate milk (I always wonder why chocolate milk isn’t a post race must).

Overall, a great race in Idaho. The course this year was all on the Greenbelt Running path, which takes out the issue of closing down streets. It’s on the bigger side of small, but still plenty of people involved so you don’t feel left behind or lonely. It’s a good scenic race in a decent size city that is overall flat (coming from Spokane, this is a welcome change). Don’t forget to also go claim your results on Athlinks, they’re already up to claim! Good nuts and bolts race, I just wish that we’d have some chocolate milk at the end!

 

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Bibrave Race Review: The Hapalua

Disclaimer: I received free entry into The Hapalua as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming aBibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Holy heat and humidity of Honolulu! I made it through a few days of Hawaii and lived to tell my tale of Hapalua 2018 (an honest win in my book). I flew out to Honolulu Friday morning. For some reason, a 545 AM flight after working until 7 pm the night before seemed like a good idea (it’s really not) and this was only leg one of the trip (leg two is to Amsterdam. Talk about different climates). I ended up getting in around 1 PM HST. My flight from Seattle ended up leaving an hour late because it was late coming in from wherever it came from. At least I know the places I can hide. My bags made it in one piece all the way to Honolulu and after getting my checked back from baggage claim, I picked up a taxi to the hotel. I checked in and cut lose for a run along the beach. Sitting for 6 hours on a plane tightens me up pretty good, so I ended up getting in a good 5 miles. It’s amazing what running in sun, tank tops and shorts can do after not being able to wear them outside for a good 6 months. Thanks Washington. I ended my run around the Convention Center so I could pick up my packet. I did the Honolulu Marathon in 2016, and the Expo was smaller, though I don’t think there were as many runners with Hapalua. Some local running stores, etc. It was easy in and out. You picked up your bib, followed by going to a second table for your shirt. They had a third area with clear bags if you planned on checking gear at the start area. I went back to my hotel, showered and found some dinner before walking around some on the beach and enjoying some Friday Night Fire Works.

Saturday, I started off with an open water swim. Because what’s a vacation if you can’t try something new, like swimming 1.25 ish miles (2000 meters/2K) in the ocean to try and get some triathlon training in. Find out how that went over here. Afterwards, I kept things easy and enjoyed Waikiki and the beach some. I also went wetsuit searching, but couldn’t find what I was looking for. I ended up going to 5 pm mass and getting dinner at Hula Grill before calling it a night.

Sunday morning meant getting up at 430/5 AM for a 6 AM start time. Kind of nice still being somewhat on PST time since the start felt like 9 or so, but I was still a bit tired. My only regret was not staying closer to the start because it was a good 1.25 miles to the Duke Statue, where the race started. Part of what The Hapalua does is something called the Chase. It’s Hawaiian runners vs the Elites with the Elites trying to run down the Hawaiians (fun idea, I think).The Chase this year had a 24 minute handicap, so some runners started around 5:36 AM, with varying starts up until 5:54 or 5:56 this morning. The elites started at 6 AM with the rest of us. I missed watching the start of the Chase though, because of the time it took me to get to the start.

Weather. Oh weather. Be ready for heat and likely some humidity. It was in the 70s with about 70% humidity today. I’m glad the rain held off though.

One thing that needs worked on though is the start. It’s kind of a hot mess. There’s no division of runners and no corrals, which actually makes the first mile difficult. There were walkers at the front and people who were inappropriately placing themselves faster than they were, so faster runners were trying to not run over other people. If there could be some sort of corral system like for the Honolulu Marathon or other races in general, it would make life a lot easier.

The course is fairly flat for the first 9 miles or so. You start in front of the Duke Statue and head along Kalakaua Avenue to Ala Moana Blvd and the Nimitz Highway. You pass Ala Moana Beach Park, the Harbor and Aloha Tower before turning and coming back some on King Street. You make some turns and double back on Ala Moana and it’s kind of fun seeing runners come towards you. If you time it right, you can see some of the chase happening on the way out on Ala Moana Blvd. Over the next few miles, you end up back on Kalakaua Avenue and you get some crowd support there. You pass the Duke Statue and head towards Waikiki and Kapiolani Park. Here, you pass the 9 mile mark and start making the trek around Diamond Head. Be ready for some hills/incline because you don’t realize how much there is until it’s there. Or, like me, you forget what the hills were like during the Honolulu Marathon because you chose to forget that part of the race. You have some pretty decent incline from miles 9 to 10, some downhill before heading back up again at mile 11 for about half a mile. After that, it’s all downhill along Diamond Head. The last part of the race takes you along some neighborhoods and into Kapoilani Park, same finish as the Honolulu Marathon. You were greeted with medals and water misters (so needed). Afterwards, when I was walking back to the hotel, though, you could see more than a bunch of walkers still on course who had to move to the sidewalk as traffic opened back up.

Aid stations on course: It felt like every 2 ish miles or so, give or take. I felt like they needed more because it was so hot and humid on course. Hard to stay hydrated when the water stations are so spread out. They had water at all of them, gatorade at most of them and gels at 1-2 of them.

What happened with The Chase you ask? One of the Elites ended up winning and passed the final Team Hawaii runner in the last half mile. Close!!!

Post Race: plenty of entertainment, food, drinks and things to do. Or just relax. You were given your medal as you came through the finisher chute, you were given your medal. In typical fashion, you don’t know what the medal looks like until you finish (or if you check social media while you’re still on course). They also had water misters which was so needed. Food wise, there was shaved ice, malasadas (alllll the malasadas), moon pies, water and pineapple juice. I would have loved some chocolate milk though!!!

Results: Find them over here to find them. Also, go over to Athlinks and claim your results! Not on Athlinks, join for free and then claim them!

Afterwards, I hiked back to the hotel and took a much needed shower. It’s nice getting back to the hotel at 9 AM, as opposed to like noon. I was able to get a later check out and found a laundry mat to wash my clothes. I’m not spending time in Europe with running clothes I was peeling off because of sweat and humidity! Best money I spent all trip other than the money to get here!

Overall, a great race. I just wish the start and the aid stations would be looked at, because they could use some work. If you’re looking for a Hawaiian race, look up the Hapalua!

Bibrave Race Review: Rock n Roll New Orleans Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Rock n Roll New Orleans Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check outBibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Most of my races seem to be double race weekends. Such is life when you work every other weekend! This past weekend, I was in New Orleans for Rock n Roll New Orleans and did the 5K and the half marathon. Miss my 5K recap? Take a read!

After finishing my Saturday race, I found some breakfast before heading back for a shower. I met up later with some family friends and we looked around Jackson Square and the Cathedral. We ended up in the Garden District, mainly looking around and taking a peak at Lafayette Cemetery. We took an Uber back to their hotel and I walked from there to my hotel that was only 1/2 mile away. I ended up going to church (that ended up being 34 minutes start to finish). After chilling in the hotel, I found some dinner and ended up calling it a night. Thankfully, there was no drunk 3 AM knockers.

Sunday morning, I was up bright and early and got ready enough before heading up to the start. I was close to Lafayette Square again. I was in corral 3 and made it there with plenty of time. I met again with my friends from Saturday. I attempted to meet up with fellow Pro Justin, but we were in separate corrals. We ended up doing a ‘selfie meet up’:

The half marathon course is very flat. I was actually looking forward to it and maybe even PR’ing since I had done the race before. The first 6-7 miles were an out and back. It went through Lafayette, Livaudais, Milan and uptown Carlton by Loyola New Orleans. We had a turn around point about 4.5 miles in. It was fun being able to see the leaders on the way out at least! We came back and there was at least shade, as it was warm out and I felt like it was getting hot the second half of the race. The last part of the course hit the business district, Jackson Square, the French Quarter, the French Market and the Seventh Ward. We ultimately finished at the Botanical Garden and the New Orleans Museum of Art. Over the course of the race, the roads were uneven and at a slant, which I could feel in my hips and back. I ended up slowing down because of it and finished in just under 2:07 (I ran it in 2:03 IN 2012).

Aid stations were every 1.5-2 miles. They were easier to see with the changes the RnR series made. They had better signage up. There was a combination of gels, water and gatorade depending on the stop and they were set up on both sides of the roads.

Post race: you were met with medals, food, water, gatorade and chocolate milk. Plenty of volunteers handing stuff out. I felt like there were too many photographers though. After the 3rd one wanting to snap a picture of me post race I was kind of over it. After you made it out of the finish chutes, there were signs directing you to various parts of the finish area. The post race party had plenty of merchandise and medal engraving, Remix/Heavy medal pick up and some entertainment. There were areas for charity runners if you ran for St Jude’s or the Crohn’s and Colitis foundation. Normatec also had an area for recovery compression, however, it was only for the marathoners. I thought it was crazy that the half marathoners couldn’t enjoy that perk as well. There was no one there for a good 2-3 hours. I think that’s something that needs rethought. There could have been more to do, as I didn’t have much to do afterwards per say. A friend of mine from residency ran for St Jude’s and I ended up meeting up with her for a little bit before I caught the shuttles back to downtown.

 

Overall, it’s a good flat race and a good race if you’re looking for a good finish time. Weather tends to be 70s and sunny, another plus. I wish there was more at the post race bash, especially since it’s New Orleans. Additionally, I wish the Normatec was open to both half and full marathoners post race.

Did you run this weekend? Don’t forget to go to Bibrave to review your races! Also, go over to Athlinks to claim your race results. Not a member? Set up your account and start claiming your results!

Rock n Roll NOLA: the 30 Day Count Down

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Rock n Roll New Orleans 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!

30 Day Alert!!! We’re just 30 days from RnR New Orleans, and I’m beyond excited about going back. I’ve actually done NOLA before, last in 2012 and enjoyed a flat and fast course. It actually was my PR course up until last summer for the half marathon, so I can’t wait to go back to see if I can get under 2 hrs (fingers crossed!).

This year, Rock n Roll has some changes, which sound and look like they’re awesome. First and for most, NO MORE D TAGS! The time chips have been on the shoe for years for RnR events, this while other events have gone to Bib Timing chips. This year, RnR has finally joined the Bib Time Chip clubs. Woot Woot! We’re also getting blown up Corral signs and mile signs, so it looks like things will be easier to see and find. We’ll see how that works out, but I’ve heard good things. Also, Pizza and Messages at the finish…HELLO?!?! I’m already looking forward to that.

Need a better reason to sign up??? Take a look at the Bling for New Orleans! You can walk away with 2 medals if you do the 5K on Saturday and a race (10K/Half or Full marathon) on Sunday.

I’m guessing 6 years is too long to go between trips to New Orleans. It means I have to go back to Cafe Du Monde for beignets, take some time around the French Quarters and hopefully catch up with friends of mine from college and residency. We’ll see!

Interested in running? Hurry and register, as a price increase happens tonight at midnight! Save $15 off the half and full marathon with RNRBRP2018 to knock down the price more before it goes up! 

 

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?!

Race Review: Scioto Bank Vancouver Half Marathon

Just over a week ago, I took a weekend trip to Vancouver for a weekend get away, which of course, involved some running. Or maybe, I just went for the race itself! I ended up covering a shift at work the Thursday before I left, which when you have a flight at dark o’clock, you completely bail on a workout the night before.

I arrived in Vancouver just before 9 AM and took the transit downtown. I dropped my bags off at the hotel and walked down to the Vancouver Convention Centre to the Expo. The expo was actually pretty small. Easy to walk in, show ID, pick up your stuff and out you go. They had Asics, a running shop and some small tables selling gels. Shirts were on the small size, but they worked. After  I left, I found some lunch and went back to the hotel to change and head out for a run. It turned out, I ran the last part of the course, which was nice. Saturday was spent doing some shopping and hanging out, for the most part.

On Sunday, I was up around 5 AM. I made the mistake of not getting a shuttle ticket from downtown to the start and by the time I realized it, it was sold out. I took the metro a few stops and picked up a bus to UBC, where the start of the race was. The bus was entirely runners and it actually made finding the start fairly easy. There were plenty of porta potties at the start, which is a plus and I was able to get through fairly quickly. We waited around quite a bit before the race started at 730 AM.

The course itself was flat with some downhills. The downhills actually helped me pick up some time to bank for later. the first 1-2 miles wasn’t much in terms of view and doubled back on itself. Afterwards, you got some pretty nice views of Vancouver. There were pacers, but I feel like I couldn’t find them. Some supporters were out there, but you saw most of them the latter half of the course. In general, I loved the course, though some of the roads needed repaved. After we crossed the bridge into downtown Vancouver, minor uphills, but nothing to complain about. I was on pace for sub 2 hrs again, but it got fairly hot pretty quick and I ran out of steam. Part of the issue was that water/gatorade was only offered every 3K (1.8 miles). I feel like some stations were further apart than others, but what can you do. Finish was in Stanley Park. Plenty of food and water, though I wish there was chocolate milk to boot. There was a station to check your time and other areas to get your gear if you checked anything at the start.

Afterwards, I walked backed to the hotel, all nearly 1.5 miles of it because there were no easy buses to take back. At least it was nice out! Overall, a great race with great views and one to do if you’re in the area

Destination Races Santa Barbara: Race Week

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Destination Races Santa Barbara 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!

It’s race week! Who knew after a short work week (only 4 of my scheduled 7 days) that I’d probably need enough wine from the race to make up for it. Here’s some need to know information for Destination Races Santa Barbara

Registration: Register Online Through 5/11/2017 and save $10 with BIBRAVE10. Don’t forget, you gotta be 21 or over on race day to enjoy the wine at the finish!

Want to be a VIP: Upgrade and get:

  • Personalized Race Bibs
  • Express Packet Pick-Up at Expo with a VIP Gift
  • Exclusive Warm-up, Stretching Zone, Private Restrooms, and Breakfast at Start line
  • Transportation to Race Start from Select Pick-Up Locations
  • Private Gear Check
  • VIP Finish Line Tent, Recovery Brunch
  • Charity Donation

Packet Pick Up

  • May 11, 2017: 3-7 PM at Santa Barbara Running Company
  • May 12, 2017: 12-6 PM at Solvang Visitor Center (1639 Copenhagen Dr, Solvang, CA 93463)

Welcome Reception: May 12, 2017 from 630-830 PM at the Kalyra Winery. Tickets are still available!

Runner Tracking: Get all Set up here!

Race Day: May 13, 2017

  • 7 AM start time in Santa Ynez
  • Post race Party (with wine!): 930-12 in Solvang Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

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