Rock n Roll Vegas 5K

Race weekend started out with a bang last night with the RnR Vegas 5K. I’m running the Half Marathon for Bibrave later today, however, I paid to run the 5K since I was in town anyways.

I got into town from Tucson (conference and CME type things for the job) Friday night and took an Uber from the airport to my hotel. I got to share it with a military vet who was coming off a near 2 week work trip and got to enjoying some conversation for 15-20 minutes. After checking in and walking around a bit, I settled on the hotel restaurant before calling it a night and watching Stanford beat Washington in football.

Saturday morning, I couldn’t sleep past 6 AM and ended up finding an early breakfast. I walked around the High Roller a little bit and then headed over to the expo to pick up my bibs at the expo. The line was curling around the convention center since it didn’t open until 9 AM, but once we were let in, it was pretty easy flowing. Bib pick up were separated by race and then number. After getting my half bib, I got my 5K bib and my wristband that lets me get my remix medal after the half marathon tonight for doing 2 races. I explored the expo, made the mistake of stopping at a vendor with 40% off nike and the Garmin vendor. Things were picking up and I ended up heading back to the hotel hotel and watching the OSU-Michigan State game and torture my trainers a little bit with a RnR shirt I found

A slight alteration to my shirt from the expo. #runner #weightlifter #twoproblems

A post shared by Christine (@cginpnw) on

After finding some lunch and roaming Caesar’s Palace, I changed and took the Monorail to the start of the 5K by the SLS Hotel. The monorail was packed and a group of us got luck when the back car of one of the trains was completely empty. After getting off at the SLS stop, we weaved our way through the casino and to the start. We had to go through security and anyone with water had to dump it out since the Goo Goo Dolls concert was in the post race area and they didn’t want outside beverages in. After getting through, I checked my bag (I brought some food since it was so late and some long sleeved stuff, expecting it to be cold post run). I caught up with fellow Bibrave Pro Justin for a quick picture and headed off to Corral 4.

Race officials were making sure people weren’t jumping up corrals and making sure things were spread out. My corral was off within the first 10 minutes or so, probably less. I was trying to weave in and out of people who were clearly in the wrong corrals but got in faster corrals because they wanted more time to finish. The course itself was fairly lit, though I wish it had some more light to it. It was an out and back course, primarily down Sammy Davis Jr. Drive with a small detour down Wilber Clark Di West. You didn’t see a whole lot of the actual strip and was more of here and there things if anything. Since it was dark with some lighting, I was nervous about not seeing a pothole or something. There ended up being 1 water station at mile 2 before we headed back into the Las Vegas Grounds. The last 1/3 of a mile was winding through uneven pavement in the grounds before before heading through the finish line. Plenty of announcing, water and medals at the finish with some bananas, some sort of organic bar that looked funky and pretzels. I got my bag and threw on my long sleeved stuff and noticed that there were corrals still starting with people who finishing and chilling out.

I met up with Justin and cheered on finishers as they came through. I hung around for the Goo Goo Dolls before leaving around 8 because of being hungry and cold.

Overall, it was an OK race. I’ve heard it was better than last year, but I feel like you don’t get a lot of Vegas out of it. The cost is another thing to be aware of. I feel like I paid in the $40-50 range a few months ago for it and that’s a lot for a 5K. I feel like it could be better lit and rerouted so you’re not running circles for the last 1/3 of a mile. A good warm up for the half tonight though!

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Race Review: Carrera de los Muertos Los Angeles 5K

I was in Los Angeles 2 weeks ago for RnR Los Angeles and ended up finding the Carrera de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) 5K.  Carrera de los Muertos is a way of remembering those have passed and that was well shown at the race.

The race itself was on a Saturday and took place at Olvera Street in downtown LA. I registered last minute, so I ended up paying $55, which is high for a 5K race. I arrived at 715 AM via Uber. Olvera Street is next to Union Station, which was fun to see. It took me 5 min or so to find bib pick up and it was an absolute disaster. I stood in line for 30 minutes to get my bib because they were assigning bibs as you checked in and were scanning QRS codes that were given during registration. Simple solution should have been to have anyone who was preregistered through a certain date, should have been assigned a bib before pick up. I feel like this would have decreased wait times greatly pre race (quite frankly, I’m not getting to a 5K that starts at 8 AM at 645 for packet pick up). When I tried to get my shirt, they were out of smalls, so I had to wait until after the race to get my shirt when more smalls had shown up.

The race itself was suppose to start at 8 AM. At 755 AM, we got the announcement that the race would start at 830 AM so people could finish getting there bibs. Seriously? Second recommendation for packet pick up: have an option to pick up day before the race, not a week before the race. I ended up looking at some of the displays set up remembering those had died. I then tried getting into the start area, but it was so overcrowded. We finally did get started, but there was a lot of walkers in front who shouldn’t have been. The course itself was out and back, fairly flat and the only hill was when we were going over a bridge in Mission Junction. It took me less time to run the race than it did to 1) get my bib and 2) wait for the start. The course itself was also short by ~.15-.2 miles.

Overall, not a fan of the race. Something needs to be done about packet pick up because assigning bibs on race day for a fun run essentially isn’t working. Having the race start half an hour later because pick up was a hot mess is an issue. It was such a mess, I’m not sure I’d go back for it.

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: Craft Classic Phoenix

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Road Runner Sports Craft Classic Phoenix 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 only took 7 years of distance running to knock Arizona off my Half Marathon list. The funny thing is, my first marathon was in Phoenix back in 2010. Small world and a little backwards thinking! I got into the Craft Classic Half through Bibrave and ended up making a weekend trip of it. I was able to get a direct flight into Phoenix and got in around noon on Friday. After picking up my rental car, I went to the Road Runner Sports in Tempe for packet pick up and lunch.

Packet Pick Up/Expo: Friday from Noon to 7 pm at Road Runner Sports Tempe and Saturday from 10-4 at Road Runner Sports Scottsdale. You could pick up for other people with their ID. No race day pick up, which would have been nice for people driving in. You got a coupon to shop at RRS at, your bib, shirt and a beer pint glass

Cost: depended on how many people registered. As more people registered, cost went up. The half was anywhere from $75 to $105.

Race Day Parking: I arrived early and was able to park close to the start. You could park at the post office, the River of Time Museum or at retail parking.

Race Start: 630 AM off of the Ave of the Fountains

Race Day: I met up with Emily, a fellow Bibrave Pro who lives in the Phoenix area. I had also met up with her on Saturday for brunch after a running a 10K (I’m smart like that). We chatted a bit and then lined up at the start. There were pacers, every 10 minutes from 1:30 that I could see. The half marathon started at 630 AM and the 5K started at 7 AM. The half course started out relatively flat, and I was really hoping for a sub 2 hr race. The first 3 miles were comfortable, and that was appreciated. Then mile 4 showed up and all of the hilliness that decided to come with it. I felt ike it was all up hill from mile 4.5 to at least mile 6. By the time you got to the down hill, you thought the worst of it was over and then more rolling hills decided to rear its head. You figured out very quickly you weren’t likely to PR this course. It got to the point where legs got tired in a sense. It did warm up pretty quick, but we also got a nice breeze going, although it nearly knocked off my visor. The last 3 miles seemed flat to me (or at least that’s how I like to think of them). I ended up finishing just under 2:09.

Aid Stations: every mile or so. Water and nuun were available at each station, as were porta potties. I wish powerade/gatorade were available over nuun, as I don’t know it works all that well (though some people swear by it). Honey Stinger gels were available at some of the aid stations.

The Finish: right by the start. As you crossed the finish, you were given your medal. Plenty of water and nuun again. Only bananas and oranges to eat. Food trucks were available, but you had to pay for the food. I really wish they would have had some sort of food with carbs and chocolate milk. I get it’s a race with beer at the end, but I think having some food with substance and something cold to replenish the muscles would have been huge, especially given the heat. Each runner got a free beer, each additional was $5. My beer went to Emily, fellow Bibrave Pro.

Overall, a decent race. I would recommend doing some hills to prep for this race. I think that powerade/gatorade would have been a better on course option and some more food of substance and chocolate milk post race would be awesome! If you’re in the area, definitely worth checking out the race.

 

Race Review Das Frank Kush Footrace 10K

This past weekend, I escaped the coldness of Spokane and the PNW (we had trace snow going into Friday the 13th) and went to Phoenix for the Craft Classic Half Marathon (another blog post for another day). In all of my insaneness, I figured why not look for another race for Saturday. I ended up finding the Frank Kush 10K on Saturday. I got in early Friday afternoon, and initially went to pick up my Craft Classic bib at Road Runner Sports in Tempe. Turns out, the Frank Kush packet pick up was at the same place. After I grabbed some lunch, I got my bib for the 10K and headed to the hotel.

Saturday morning, I was up around 630 and headed down to breakfast at the hotel after I got changed. I left around 720 and was there and parked by 740. It started at Tempe “beach” which was less of a beach if I’ve ever seen one. If you couldn’t make it to packet pick up Friday, there was an option to get your bib and shirt race morning. To get to the start, you had to walk through Oktoberfest, and it was a little difficult to find if you weren’t familiar with the area.

The 10K started at 8 AM and the 5K started at 810 AM. The 10K course started along the lake (or river?) and went out about a mile and a half or so and came back 1/4 a mile or so. At that point, we met up with the 5K and went over a bridge to the other side of the lake and continued on our route. We stayed with the 5K runners for a bit and then we separated again. The 5K turned towards the finish and we kept going until we got to Priest Road. We turned on Priest and then again onto Rio Salado towards the finish. The finish was right inside the Beach park area where Oktoberfest was set up, however, it was easily seen.

Kush Course

Overall, the course was relatively flat. There were minor hills when we were going over bridges and such, but nothing to cry foul about. I ended up finishing in 55:50, about 10 seconds off a PR (grrrr). After the race, you got a beer mug and a free beer if you chose to get it (I’m not a beer fan and it was 9 AM). I hung around for a little bit and ended up leaving around 915 and met up with a fellow Bibrave Pro for breakfast. Afterwards, I ended up heading back to the hotel to shower and regroup for Craft Classic in the morning.

 

 

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

Race Review: Chilly Chase 10K

This weekend, I was in Vancouver. It was a get a way I set up over Christmas, just because. I figure I’m close enough and it’s a quick flight when Alaska Airlines is running on time. 45 minutes from Spokane to Seattle and 30 minutes from Seattle to Vancouver. After I had booked plane tickets, I did what any runner would do and look for races. I found the Chilly Chase race on Try Events Canada and ended  up signing up. Since I had a 1 PM flight back to the states, it really dictated the race I signed up for, as the start time was 9 AM.

I got into Vancouver Friday afternoon, though late because of plane delays. I checked into my hotel and then explored Yaletown. I ended up going to a spinning class at Cyklus in downtown Vancouver, showering and heading off to the Canucks-Panthers NHL game. Saturday, I explored downtown, did some shopping and took advantage of Dine Out Vancouver (the equivalent of restaurant week from what I could gather). I didn’t realize until Friday Night that I could have gotten my bib and packet at a place close-ish to my hotel. The place on Saturday was 10 miles away and there was no way I could get there. I ended up going with the race day pick up option.

I showed up race day around 845-850 to the starting area. The race started/finished along the Seawall and had pick up in a rec center. I was able to get my bib and socks without issue, but just be mindful that race day pick up for Try Events is $5 CAD. I gotta appreciate the race taking my $5 USD, because that’s all I had! I didn’t realize until after I was in Seattle on my way back to Spokane, that I had informally met fellow Bibrave Pro Brie at packet pick up (we were both a bit frazzled with race stuff in different fashions). I pinned my bib on and attached my running chip to my shoe. Yes, one of the old school chips that gets returned at the end of the race type of chips. Instead of the standard shirt, we got socks that were pretty cool too!

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Talk about old school timing chips

The race had 4 distances: Half marathon, 15K, 10K and 5K, so you really had a lot to choose from. Vancouver in general, doesn’t get snow and the winters are mild by Canadian standards, so being able to have a race with multiple options is huge. Since I was dealing with a tight flight connection, I ran the 10K, but I wish I could have at least done the 15K, if not the half marathon.

The course was out and back on the Seawall. The start was staggered, starting with the half, and then separated every 3 minutes. The 15K went next, followed by the 10K and 5K. Each distance had their own bib color (Blue, Red, Green, Orange). It was a flat and fast course and primarily on paved running paths. Any bikers had their own separate paths, though we were mingled with runners and running groups that weren’t involved with the race. The only spot I was unsure of was the area around the science center because it was a different type of surface.   Overall, though, no cars to worry about, overcast but dry. The rain came well after the race!  Water was every 1.5 miles or so, around the turn around points. The course was well marked, with people at major areas, and other areas with arrows or tape that marked off where to go/not go. This was a bare bones type race, which on this particular weekend, I was ok with. It let me get into my own head and get a good longer run in outside, since Spokane has been snow covered most of the winter. I finished in 1:03:03, not bad for me I think.

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I finished around 10:10. I was able to grab a banana and make my way back to the train. I took it back into the city and bolted back to the hotel. I was able to get a quick shower before heading off to the airport. I got to the airport around 1145 and through customs by noon and to my gate about 10 min before boarding. I don’t recommend that and thank goodness for global access. I can’t wait to be back in Vancouver this summer. I’m signed up for the Sciotabank Half, which hopefully will provide some good weather!

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