Bibrave Race Review Rock n Roll New Orleans: the 5K

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Rock n Roll New Orleans Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro, however, ran the 5K as well and paid for it separately. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I survived a 4 day trip to New Orleans and lived to tell about it! I’m no stranger to Rock n Roll New Orleans, as I ran it 6 years ago while still in medical school. During that trip, a friend of mine from college was able to meet me for the weekend and we were able to catch up, though we couldn’t make it work this time around. I was more than thrilled to get back to New Orleans to race again and try for a new PR!

I flew in Thursday afternoon and took an Uber to my hotel in the French Quarter. Bonus was that I was able to use all points for it and not owe anything (extra points for only being 1/2 a mile from both starting lines!). I went for a quick run after checking in because flying all day makes the legs a little stiff and ugly. The nice thing about my hotel room was that it happened to be on the same floor as the fitness center (which also had some free weights). After showering, I went and explored the French Quarter before finding some dinner at a nice little restaurant. I was on the hungry side as I somehow didn’t get lunch with all my travels. I called it a night early since I had been up since 4 AM PST and was beat. 10 hrs of sleep later…

Friday Morning, after waking up, I headed off for breakfast and walked around the outlet mall that was close to the convention center. I ended up finding some good deals, but forgot about the 10% sales tax. Afterwards, I headed over to the expo and picked up my bibs. It was a bit congested since it was right at the opening of the expo, but the lines moved fairly quickly. If you were running the 5K Saturday and a race on Sunday, you were given a black wrist band to wear on Sunday to claim your remix medal. I picked up my shirts and explored the expo some. Didn’t purchase anything, but was able to do a demo of the Normatec Compression sleeves for 15 minutes. If you have a chance, give it a try. So worth it!

I did some sight seeing Friday night, found some dinner and got caught up with some stuff before heading to bed. NOLA wouldn’t be NOLA without some excitement as there was knocking at my door at 330 AM. Some guys thought they were at their room and didn’t realize they were wrong until I had to get up and tell them and shoo them off. One of them ended up dropping their debit card which I had to take down to the front desk, as they were already gone.

The 5K was Saturday morning and started by Lafayette Square. It was a quick 1/2 mile max walk to get there and to be able to run in shorts and a tank top was beyond exciting (it hasn’t gotten above 40 minutes in Spokane for awhile). On race day, if you didn’t have a chance to make it to the expo to pick up your bib, there was bib pick up available. Additionally, there was gear check available. New this year were easier to see corral markers making lining up easier. Additionally, bib numbers (in the past the first 1-2 numbers correlated with corrals) don’t match up to your corral, so you have to pay attention to your bib. I ended up in the first corral, which meant getting out pretty quick.

We started at 8 AM, after the national anthem and hearing from Kathrine Switzer, who ended up running the 5K and the half marathon. The gun went off and we headed off into the streets of New Orleans. We went through the Business District before heading into the French Quarter. It was kind of  odd being in streets that are normally packed with people. We made it by the French Market, Jackson Square, Cafe DuMond, and the Cathedral. We looped back and finished about where we started at Lafayette Square. When you finished, you were handed a water, your medal and some food.

Overall, a decent warm up race. Only one water stop on course, but to be expected. Not much post race to do. There was a brass band playing, which kept the mood going. I hung around a little bit before heading back to the hotel to shower. Overall, good experience and race, just wish there were more going on afterwards.

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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! 

 

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

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!

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

 

Bibrave Race Review: Rock n Roll Liverpool Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Rock n Roll Liverpool 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!

After a hectic week of battling jet lag, I’ve lived to tell about RnR Liverpool! I can’t remember the last time I did a Rock n Roll event (it’s been at least 4-5 years), partially due to them being a bit on the pricey side. I used RnR Liverpool as a destination race and an excuse to go overseas.

I flew into Manchester and got in the Wednesday before the race. It also happened to be 36 years hrs after the attacks on Manchester Arena, so things were still blocked off around the arena, including some of the businesses and attractions close by. There was a police presence with machine guns to boot. Thursday, the UK had a moment of silence at 11 AM, and I hung out for it at St. Anne’s Square in Manchester. I spent about a day and a half in Manchester, had a chance to run while I was there, including getting lost trying to find my hotel after my first run, seeing some of the sites and just getting adjusted.

Friday, I headed off to Liverpool by the National Rail, as it was only 4 stops and 12 British Pounds. I got off at the Lime Street Station and took a cab to my hotel, though if I knew where it was, I would have walked. I was close to the start of the race, as well as the Expo. I walked over to the Convention Center, where there was a line out the door (in all fairness, it was right at the start of the expo too). The police presence in general for Liverpool was more than Manchester, but I’m guessing it was because Liverpool is a port city. In any case, bags got searched. I ran the 5K and Half Marathon (more on the 5K in a different post), so I had 2 bibs and 2 shirts to get, in addition to a wrist band to get extra bling for doing 2 races afterwards. It was fairly easy to get shirts and bibs. They did offer a shirt exchange, which I took advantage of. I also took advantage of moving up 2 corrals for the half because training was going well. The expo itself was fairly small for RnR. I’m used to larger expos for them, but there were some local stores and business and not much else (or so that’s what it seemed like).

Race Day was Sunday and the race was a late start for a race. The Half Marathon started at 9 AM and the Full Marathon started at 10 AM, which made no sense to me. I would have started things the other way around since the full takes longer, or even started at 8 and 9 AM. At any rate, I grabbed breakfast at the hotel and walked over to the race start, not even half a mile from my hotel. By chance, I ran into Laura T., a fellow Bibrave Pro who lives in Dublin. We chatted and got caught up while going to the start and then went to our corrals. It was a bit windy and chilly out, so I slipped my long sleeved shirt under my Bibrave Shirt.

We started about 15 late, but I was able to move up another corral. I crossed the start about 930 and was off. There were some pacers, but I didn’t see any of them until late in the race (and I didn’t feel like they were that frequent). The first 3 miles or so were fairly flat. The only real hill came around mile 4. The first few miles took us through downtown, Liverpool ONE, the Liverpool Cathedral, the major Beatles Highlights and more. We took turns through Sefton Park, before heading on a little trip down Penny Lane and past Liverpool Collage. We headed back towards town and spent the last few miles running along the waterfront. I spent the first 10 miles underestimating how fast I was really going, and I didn’t realize that I was right around a PR. After I realized I was going to be just over or just under a PR, I somehow picked up the pace enough to run a 2:01:52, which was under my previous PR (at RnR NOLA in 2012) of 2:03:01.

Waterstops seemed like they were every 2-2.5 miles apart, which seemed on the further end of things. Something that was different was they had 8 ounce water bottles at the water stops. Though it made it easier to drink out of, since they were sport water bottles, I also nearly stepped on a few, which would have been more on the dangerous side. This is also probably the first half I’ve done with no electrolytes, because there was some sport drink that I’d never heard of (which after I caught up with Laura after the race, found out it was really sweet).

Post race: bling and food were right at the finish. We were directed into the Echo Arena for more food. Bag check was there as well. You went out through the escalators and back to the front of the arena. There was music, merchandise and an area to pick up extra medals (rock star or remix medals). I hung out a little bit, but with a tight hotel check out and being a bit skittish with the events from Manchester, I didn’t hang out all that long.

After the race and showering, fellow Bibrave Pro Laura and I went and got some lunch. It was fun to get to know each other and to see how some of the international races are done (since she lives in the Dublin, Ireland area). Afterwards, I took the train back to Manchester and stayed close to the airport for a ridiculously early flight to the US on Monday.

Overall, It was a good destination race for someone going overseas. I’d take a look at the water situation though. I feel like they needed to be closer together and I’d rather have cups over water bottles ( I saw 2 people trip on them). Do yourself a favor and look into this race!

Rock N Roll Liverpool: The Need to Know

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Rock n Roll Liverpool 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!

It’s race week for Rock n Roll Liverpool! I arrived Wednesday morning in Manchester, England. To say I was a bit nervous is fair given the events of Monday night in Manchester. I’m here through Friday before I take the train an hour and change to Liverpool for race weekend. I’ve done my fair share of homework of the whats, whens and wheres, just because of this being the furthest I’ve traveled for a race (read, 4,000 miles!). RnR Liverpool is smart enough to have a race app and race center weekend website for essential information, but here’s some good to know information, especially if you’re coming from further away

Events: 5K on May 27 (9:30 am and 10 am start times depending on bib color); on May 28th, Half Marathon (9 AM start time), Marathon (10 AM start time), Fun Mile (1 pm start time). limited full marathon registration will be at the expo as all other events are sold out

Time Limits: 6 Hours for the Full, 3.5 hrs for the Half Marathon [from GUN TIME!]

Confirmation Sheets: Follow this link to look them up. MUST be printed and brought to the expo (not pulled up on your phone!)

Expo: May 26 from 1-7 pm; May 27 from 8-10 AM for the 5K and 10 AM to 5 PM for all other distances at the ACC Convention Center, King’s Doc. NO RACE DAY PICK UP for the Half, Full or Mile races.

Race Security: Full details here and on RnR Liverpool’s Facebook site. In short, bag check only available between 730 AM and 430 PM, bag sizes no larger than 50 cm x 30 cm by 20 cm and expect heightened security given the events in Manchester

Runner Tracking: Download the SportHive App!

Travel/Parking information: Take a look at the recommendations and come early!

Hopefully this helps put everything in a quick, easy to find spot. Stay safe, have fun and enjoy Liverpool!

Rock n Roll Series

Good News! Bibrave has formed a partnership with the Rock n Roll Series! Besides me going to Liverpool for my first Half Marathon outside of North America, check out some discounts we were able to nail down. Keep in mind, more cities to come!

Use code “BIBRAVE15” for the following discounts: 

  • Washington, DC (3/11/17) – $15 off Half/ Full, valid until 3/4
  • Mexico City (3/19/17) – $15 or 270 Pesos off Half, valid until 3/12
  • Dallas, TX (3/18-3/17)- $15 off Half, valid until 3/12
  • San Francisco, CA (3/26/17)- $15 off Half, valid until 3/19
  • Carlsbad (4/1-4/2/17)- $15 off 20k or 5k, valid until 3/26
  • Raleigh, NC (4/1-4/2/17)- $15 off Half and Full, valid until 3/26
  • Madrid (4/23/17)- 3 €/£ off Half and Full, valid until 4/16
  • Nashville, TN (4/27-4/29/17)- $15 off Half and Full, valid until 4/23
  • San Diego, CA (6/3-6/4/17) – $15 off Half and Full, valid until 5/28
  • Seattle, WA (6/18/17)- $15 off Half and Full, valid until 6/11
  • Chicago, IL (7/15-7/16/17)- $15 off Half, valid until 7/9
  • Dublin (8/12-8/13/17)- 3 €/£ off Half, valid until 8/6
  • Queretaro – $15 (270 Pesos) off Half/ Full, valid until 9/24
  • Lisbon (10/15/17)- 3 €/£ off Half and Full, valid until 10/8
  • Merida (11/4/17)- $15  (270 Pesos) off the Half Marathon , valid until 10/28
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