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 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
  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 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







Bibrave Race Review: Equinox Half Marathon

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

This past weekend, I got my first weekend away in a long while. I sat for my Internal Medicine Certification Exam on Thursday and promptly celebrated with a ‘racecation’ to Ft. Collins, CO for the Equinox Fall Half Marathon.

Friday afternoon (after much needed sleep and cleaning my house), I flew out to Denver, rented a car and drove an hour to Ft. Collins. I stayed at a Candlewood Suites Hotel, because I still have the resident mentality of where’s the cheapest place to stay. Plenty of space, cable TV for plenty of football and nice people. I found a nice little place called Domenic’s a mile away and went for dinner (if you’re visiting Ft. Collins or live there, go check it out on Harmony St, the Pork Belly appetizer was amazing!).

Saturday morning, I drove down to Loveland for the Kickin’ Kawasaki 5K (different blog post for a different day) before heading to the Loveland Outlets to do mandatory shopping. It’s always a plus to find your running shoes $40 off and some running stuff you don’t need, but convince yourself that you do! Afterwards, I headed for a shower at the hotel and to a sports bar to watch some college football.

Packet Pick Up: fairly small and only from 2-7 pm on Saturday at Sierra Trading Post. The location of it wasn’t the best- it was in a mall type location so parking was limited. It reminded me of why I hate mall parking lots. You also had the option to get your packet mailed to you for $20 or reserve your packet for pick up on race day for $10. All runners received a long sleeved 1/4 zip jacket, however, I was seeing some people not get theirs, so I’m not sure if there weren’t enough and they’d get them mailed to them. The one issue I had with the bibs is that the timing chip was literally taped to the bib (and by taped I mean packing taped). When Sunday rolled around, some people found their bib had no chip attached to their bib. There wasn’t a real expo sort of speak, since there was less than 800 runners for the Half Marathon

The swag of @greeneventscolorado fall equinox half #bibchat

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Race Day

Come Sunday, I woke up bright and early and wanted to throw my phone against a wall a few times. After getting changed and ready, I drove over to Pourde H.S. and parked. Since the race is point to point, runners are bussed to the start, which was at the Mishawaka Amphitheater, a good 45 min drive from the High School. Buses ran from 6-630 from the HS for the half marathon and a little later for the 5 K, which started around the 8 mile mark for the half marathon. No one could be dropped off by personal vehicles and one spectators could be on the busses. After arriving, I dropped my bag in bag check (which would bussed to the finish) and used the port-a-potties. There was also water and coffee available for runners. I met up with fellow Bibrave Pro Katherine and we chatted up until the start.

The Course

The race started right at 8, no frills or fan fare to it. Katherine and I separated and off we went. The entire race is downhill, which is nice when you have minimal training.  The course is very scenic and I can see why people like it from that aspect. Having no phone service made it nice to get  into the grove of just running. The first 2-3 miles we had one lane of road to work with, but afterwards, it narrowed to something that seemed to be the length of the shoulder of the road. The roads weren’t that busy, but what made me nervous is that there were blind curves where you couldn’t see if traffic was coming. Since it was a one way in/out sort of situation for traffic, the roads weren’t shut down. From a safety perspective, I wish that a lane of road would have been completely shut down for the race. I also didn’t see any medical on course. I saw a few police on motorcycles, but nothing more than that, not even at the rest stops.

Rest stops were every few miles. Primarily, at miles 3.2, 5, 7.5, 9.2 and 11. The last 3 were placed after the 5 mile start. We never saw any of the 5 mile runners (or at least I didn’t).

Scenes from @greeneventscolorado today. No phone service on course! #bibchat

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Post Race

I finished in 2:37, and quite frankly, given the lack of training, wasn’t bad. The finish was at the basin of the Canyon. At the finish, you received a medal and commemorative glass, which was your cup for water post race. I grabbed my bag and went and found food. Donuts, fruit, bagged snacks, etc were available. Runners received a coupon for a free slice of pizza, which was otherwise $5. It looked good, but the line was long for it, and not worth the wait, especially since I had to get back to the hotel and shower. There were tents set up for vendors and merchandise for runners and spectators. They were also doing awards, which included getting a poster and something engraved. Buses were transporting people back to the HS, which was about 15 minutes or so. I was able to get showered and checked out of the hotel.

Overall, I think it was a decent race. I think the race needs to look at closing off more road so runners have more space and for more runner safety. I also think they need to relook the location of the packet pick up. The line was long early on and getting in and out was a mess. However, it’s a scenic race for sure that lets you enjoy Colorado, especially when it’s nice out

Post race swag from @greeneventscolorado #bibchat

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Race Discounts

Take advantage of some good deals while it’s still nice out!!

  1. Willimantic Classic ( Willimantic, CT 4/30/16): $5 off with Rave
  2. The Color Run Baltimore (Baltimore, MD): 30% with BIBRAVE through 4/20/16
  3. Bank of Marin Running Festival (Novato, CA 5/22/16): 30% off with BIBRAVE through 4/20/16
  4. Madison Half & Twilight Series (Madison, WI 5/28/16): $10 off with BRSAVE10
  5. Vermont City Marathon (Burlington, VT 5/29/16): $5 with BibRave5
  6. Hospital Hill Run (Kansas City, MO 6/3-6/4/16): 10% off with BIBRAVE
  7. Northern VA Destination Races (6/4/16): $10 off with BIBRAVE10
  8. North Olympic Discovery Marathon (Port Angeles, WA 6/5/16): $5 off with bibrave16
  9. North Face Endurance Challenge WI (9/17-9/18/16): 15% off with BIB15
  10. North County Wine Run (North County, WA 9/24/16): $7 off with winerun
  11. Paso Robles Marathon (San Luiso Obispo, CA 10/30/16):  $10 with BIBRAVE
  12. Milwaukee Running Festival (Milwaukee, WI): $10 off with Bibrave
  13. Honolulu Marathon (Honolulu, HI 12/11/16): $50 off with BIBRAVE

Race Review: Magnolia Meltdown

You know you’re a true half marathon fanatic when you look for races after you schedule a job interview. I set up this interview about 3-4 weeks ago for a hospital in Jackson, MS. Shortly after, I searched for races and found the Magnolia Meltdown, about a 10 minute drive from the hotel I stayed at. The best part of the whole thing? It’ll be my cheaper races I’ve traveled for, because the flight, hotel and rental car are all covered. I can’t complain if that takes Mississippi off my list of states!

I got in Thursday night and took care of some things for work and interviewed Friday morning. Friday afternoon, I headed off to pick up my bib and shirt. It’s a small race that’s a 5K/10K and half marathon. The 5k and 10k have been around for 7 yrs or so, but this was the first year for the half marathon. Pick up was at the Hyatt Place in Ridgeland, MS and was the bear basic packet pick up. It was your bib, your shirt, some hand outs for other races, maybe 2-3 local running stores and that was it. Since it was a race sponsored by a hospital, they had a CPR dummy to do demos of how to do CPR.

The race started at 730 on Saturday. I was up and at em at 630 or so (but with the body being on EST, it still felt like 730) and got to the race at 715. Parking was no problem. It started/finished at the Hyatt Place at the Renaissance (I think?). Though we were told a 730 start time, after announcements, prayers and the National Anthem, we didn’t start until closer to 740. The first mile was decent, but I didn’t realize that there were hills involved. I didn’t see the elevation map till after the race (whoops- but maybe it wasn’t there initially?). The race was a combination of roads and paved running/bike trails. It was pretty well marked, especially for a half marathon with 410 total runners. I learned real fast as to how it got the ‘meltdown’ part of the name. As the race wore on, the heat and humidity went up. The sad thing? When I met with the realtor after the race who showed me places to live if I move to Jackson, he said that the humidity on Saturday was a good day for them. Sigh.

Anyways, between the heat, humidity and hills and my 3rd half in 3 weeks (in addition to a 15K 4 weeks ago), my legs weren’t all that happy with me. There was more walking than I would have liked, but one will do anything to check a state off their list when trying to do halves in all 50 states.  There were water/hydration stops every 1.5 miles up until mile 7-8 and then every mile after that. Only 2 medical tents though, it would have been nice to have a few more.

Regardless, my worst half time later and I have Mississippi crossed off my list of states. Post race, there was a little food tent with gatorade, propel, water, pizza, and some other stuff. Music was playing and I think there was some other shenanigans going on too (I just wanted air condition and a shower).

Overall, a well run race. It was nice to have a smaller race that was just that. No wall to wall runners, but the people running were nice, no bands every mile, a reasonable race fee ($55) 3 weeks before the race and a pretty decent after party. The only thing I would change would be some more porta potties so people weren’t clogging up the hotel’s and maybe a 630/700 AM start time.

Race Review: Kentucky Derby Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received entry to the Kentucky Derby Half (mini) Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews! 

This past weekend, I made the trip out to Louisville, KY to run the Kentucky Derby 1/2 Marathon. One of the few Saturday races I’ve done, I made the trip down Friday via my trusty Rogue. It took a little over 5 hours and since traffic was minimal, it made for a decent drive down. I got in around 3 pm and checked into the Bed and Breakfast I had found. I stayed at Austin’s Inn Place Bed and Breakfast. At $120 a night with a nice queen size room with TV, internet and own bathrooms, I couldn’t complain! It was a nice little place with their own gated parking behind their houses (10 rooms in 2 houses that connect). Austin and his wife Mary were incredibly nice and hospitable: if you’re ever looking for a place, look up this little place for sure!

I walked down to the expo at the convention center (about a mile from where I stayed). Expo was decent size. Good amount of races to sign up for, some vendors and hand outs. You walked in and went right to the area where your number was located and got your bib and gear check bag. Down the line, were shirts and you had the option to exchange shirts if the size was off that you ordered.

Afterwards, I went to the Louisville Slugger Museum and walked around. I didn’t do the tour since I got there at 430 and they closed at 5. I also went a Bourbon tour and found some souvenirs for my dad. I headed back to the pasta dinner at the expo. Pasta with marinara, garlic bread, dessert, salad. Not bad! I also got to meet fellow Bibrave Pro Angie (we really do exist!)

Saturday morning, I was up bright and early. I walked to the start and got to my corral about 10 minutes before the start of the race. As we were waiting (and the clouds were grey and you knew the weather gods weren’t going to cooperate), I was able to hop out and go to the bathroom without missing anything. We starting moving and got a glimpse of the start coming upon us,

The start is in sight! #bibchat #kdfmarathon @kyderbyfestival @kdfmarathon

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We crossed the start and the rain started coming. It was only a drizzle/light rain initially, which I was ok with.  The first mile was in town and we passed the Slugger Museum and made some turns. We passed through a neighborhood, though a little run down, had some awesome people out cheering from one of the churches. As we continued through town, we hit up the first few water stops, which seemed to be about 1.5 miles apart or so. As we pushed through to mile 5, I spotted my fellow Bibrave Pro Angie around mile 5 and hung behind her a bit (close to Spalding University). It was a nice historic part of the city. We then came up on Churchill Downs. Apparently there’s something going on there this coming Saturday?

Something happening here soon? @kyderbyfestival #kdfmarathon #bibchat @kdfmarathon

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We got to go through the stadium and around it some. People were stopping for pics and all that good stuff. After we came out the other side and dealt with the underpasses, the half and full marathons split (this as we were at mile 8). The half marathons made off easy as we had some miles sans hills (those poor marathoners). As we trudged along, we saw some of the marathoners come back and run parallel with us. At one point, I saw one of the Ethiopians/Kenyans pull out of the race. About 10 miles in, the rain started picking up. I kept praying for no blisters. It was beyond miserable and wet. We all made it through somehow. Somehow, we made it back to downtown Louisville and YUM stadium. I think I missed the last few mile markers. We got to the point where we made it around the last turn and through the finish. The medals were such a sight for sore eyes

Never so happy to see these guys #bibchat ##kdfmarathon #runchat @kyderbyfestival @kdfmarathon

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The course was generally flat, though there are some hills involved. the weather wasn’t on our side and I think it kept some of the spectators away, as there were bleachers set up, but no spectators. I missed some of the water stops, but there times were I thought they needed to be on both sides.

The post race led to a lot of people hanging out under the highway underpasses to stay somewhat dry. It was a tad congested and people were backed up once you got to the refreshments. I never got my banana, but I got some bagels and peanut butter crackers. Afterwards, I headed back for my million dollar shower. The B&B owners were super sweet and let me wash my soaking wet running clothes. I did some sight seeing the rest of Saturday and had breakfast Sunday morning before heading back home. While at breakfast, there were some other runners, one of whom placed 3rd overall. At 2:33, it was a rough day in the office. He offered some cool insight into the elites. One knows that the Kenyans and Ethiopians don’t like rain and cold, so he saw 2 in front of him peel off and stop. If they don’t think they’re going to do well, they’ll stop and find another race in a few weeks. For about 5 miles, he kept pace with a Kenyan before that runner peeled off and told him to keep going. If only I was that fast!

This is a definite must do race. Yeah, the rain was miserable, but race organizers can’t do much about that. Take a trip out to horse and bourbon country for sure!!

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