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!

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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

Happy National Running Day!

I’m back! No, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. I’ve just been insanely busy. I spent the first 3 weeks of May traveling Europe. I got back and was on a train 3 hrs later to Baltimore for my sister’s graduation. After returning to Philadelphia, I spent the week packing, getting ready to walk for graduation and spent today loading up a 16 foot moving truck and my small 4 door and drove out to Cleveland. In any case, it’s National Running Day, which means discounted stuff!

  1. Rock N Roll Series: $20 off most of their half and full marathons
  2. TriRockSeries: $20 off all triathlons
  3. National Running Day of Service (Austin, TX): an early morning run followed by community service. I love it!
  4. Awesome 80’s Run: $10 off with RUNDAY10, 10% off with AWESOME
  5. Hollywood Half Marathon: $15 off with RUNDAY15
  6. NFL Running Series:Discount taken off at check out for the Titans Back to Run, Rams Back to Run and Bolt to the Q
  7. Lehigh Valley Health Network 1/2 Marathon (Allentown, PA; Sept 7-8): Half Marathon registration is $55, Team Marathon Registration is $225 ($40 savings) and the 5K is $20. Good through Friday 5/7
  8. Carlsbad 5000: $10 off Registration

Stay tuned for more as I find them!

Day 2 of Holiday Giving

It’s December, which means it’s currently Hanukkah, almost Christmas and almost January.  Who wouldn’t mind some extra money in their pocket anyways??

  1.  Swiftwick– my new favorite running socks. 10% off with HOLIDAY12 through 12/24/12
  2. Run Rock n Roll: on 12/12/12, save $20 off race registration from 12 AM PST-11:59 PST
  3. Women’s Half Marathon: $20 off race registration on 12/12/12 from 12 AM-11:59 PST
  4. Ringing In Hope 10k/5k/ 1K (Brambleton, VA): Race date 12/31/12 at 11AM; 15% off with RING15HWR through 12/31/12
  5. Potomac Running Club Holiday Party: held at their Falls Church, VA location from 6:30-7:30 on 12/11/12. The first 25 RSVP’ed guests to arrive get an addidas gift, there’s a fun run and free massages.  20% of sales of addidas products go towards “Our Neighbor’s Profit”

Enjoy!

Rock n Roll Providence Race Review

I am one for a deal.  And a deal awhile back is why I signed up for the Rock n Roll Providence Half Marathon.  That, and I’m trying to get as many of the East Coast states as possible while I have time.  Ultimate goal? Run a half in every state.  So here we go:

Friday

Went for a run Friday morning and mailed some packages at the post office.  After a shower and gathering a few last minute things, I headed out the door around 12:30 with the goal of missing the Jersey Shore traffic.  I failed to, however, account for I-95N traffic around NYC (that added a good 30-45 minutes) and a 20 mile back up in Connecticut for no good reason (that added another 75-90 minutes).  So instead of 530 (ish), I got in around 7:30 pm.  After checking into the hotel (I stayed in Warwick, about 10 minutes from Providence) to avoid parking issues and it was cheaper.  I found an Italian place for dinner and did some research about things to do.

Saturday

For reasons unknown to me, I got a wake up call at 6:20 AM.  Why you ask??  I have no idea, especially since I wasn’t the one who asked for it.  I feel bad for the person who didn’t get it and for me- I couldn’t fall back asleep.  I changed and tried to find a breakfast place and ended up driving to Providence.  And then came the rain.  And it stayed around all day!!  I picked up my packet at the expo (early was better for this race) and signed up for the Yuengling Shamrock 8K and 1/2 Marathon (March 16 and March 17), better known as the Dolphin Challenge in Virginia Beach.  Woot!!  I started walking towards College Hill (while it was still raining, but not horribly) and found a little cafe and got a light breakfast.  I also went to some of the local shops.  When I left my 3rd store, it was pouring.  I made a 15 min walk back to my car to put some stuff away and decided on some lunch (note, I had a water proof running jacket on, so I was fairly dry).  Stopped in to get some lunch.  Around 230, I headed to my hotel and took a shower.  I was cold and felt all rainy.  Afterwards, I found a 4:15 mass a few miles away.  By the time church was out, rain was done.  Headed back to Providence, checked out Benefit Street and watched part of the WaterFire event (curious? Head over here).  Went to the hotel for the night and got ready for the race

Sunday

Woke up at 530 thanks to my alarm and the wake up call that I actually asked for.  Changed, gathered my stuff and headed out the door.  I parked around 6:15 and did a quick mile or so (I was hoping to get 15 for the day, that didn’t happen).  I made my way to the start and snuck into Corral 5 (I was suppose to be in 6).  At 7 AM, the gun went off and 5 minutes later, I crossed the start.  So much for a ‘flat’ course.  200 feet after the start we start going up a crazy hill.  We made our way through the Providence streets and after mile 1, you could see runners (if you looked to your left and looked up one of the side streets- that involved more hills) going the other direction.  We went through the historical part of Providence and then hit some ‘uninteresting’ parts of Providence.  After a few miles of straightness, we got some turns and wooded areas of Providence and my legs started weighing me down.  I could feel the walking of Saturday catching up with me.  At mile 10, we had completed a massive loop of the city and had a mini loop that we would do to the finish.  My legs weren’t happy with me the last 3 miles- tired like no other!!  To boot, the water stations seemed very sporadically spaced.  There were points where it was at least 1.25 miles between water stations late in the race. I didn’t feel bad at all taking 2-3 cups of water.  As we turned the corner for mile 13, we were presented with our final hill.  I hate when races do that.  It’s the last thing I really want to deal with.  I crossed the finish and that’s all that I really cared about (2:14:29)…I’m going to be feeling this tomorrow.  After getting through the chute, I sat on a curb and enjoyed some popsicle and chocolate milk- recovery of champions.  Drove back to the hotel and took a shower and a quick power nap.  After picking up some lunch for the road, headed out on I 95 and had some extra time added due to the state of NJ thinking I can’t pump my own gas.  Tomorrow, i get to enjoy a much needed massage….

Rock n Roll NOLA Style

To say I didn’t want to go to work today is an understatement.  When I showed up we had 8 patients total, 2 of which us students couldn’t see because they were either employees or other students and, initially, there were no patients in the afternoon (but that changed)- but that’s beside the point.  I spent this weekend in New Orleans.  You know, the Big Easy.  I was suppose to fly out at like 6 pm (from BWI no less), but changed it to earlier in the day (say, 1 pm).  I took the day of from work and drove into Baltimore after a quick run, because 3 hour flights do wonders to your legs.  I met up with my sister for a quick brunch and then bolted across town to the airport.  I parked my car at 12:08 pm.  I was in through security and had enough time to take a bathroom break by 12:36 PM.  I boarded my flight around 12:45.  Talk about timing!  I had a direct flight (so about 3 hrs of airtime on Southwest) and, even though we got in 10 minutes late or so, it worked out well for me.  A friend of mine from college came out from Shreveport, LA and picked me up, getting to the airport as I was deplaning.  We headed over to our hotel and checked in and made our way over to the Convention center (a 10 minute walk) so I could get my bib.  There was a cheerleading convention thing going on, so needless to say, I saw more than enough cheerleaders with way too much make up walking around town.  There was no one at the expo, so we were able to get my stuff pretty quickly.  After the bib picking up, I headed to get my shirt.  Now, they give you the option of getting a unisex cut or a women’s cut.  I hate women’s cut running gear with a passion.  Some of us, like me, have to worry about what’s going on in the chest area, so the women’s cut shirts never fit right.  When I told the volunteers I wanted a men’s shirt, they looked at me like I was crazy, even though it was on my shirt tag that it was what I ordered.  You’d think after close to 15 1/2 marathons and 3 marathons, I’d know what I want.  Miranda (my college friend) and I made a quick run through the expo to see if there was anything I couldn’t live without and headed back to the hotel for a bag drop off and a shoe change.

We headed off to Drago’s (a seafood restaurant), where we split some shrimp pasta and catfish.  A little bit of everything never hurt.  Miranda, being a native Louisianian, took me through the French Quarter, around Jackson Square, down Bourbon Street and to a few other areas of NOLA at night.  We headed back to the hotel to figure out what to do Saturday.  We had on some TLC and were making fun of people on Four Weddings while coming up with a game plan.  Saturday morning, we headed to Cafe du Monde for beignets.  This is the place to go if you want them, and of course, you have to go to the original.  This is what these yummy looking things look like:

Thankfully, there was a race to be run to work off some of these calories.  We also went to the Hard Rock so I could get some pins and then to the River Walk for some shopping.  The Aquarium is right next door to the River walk so we headed there for a bit.  After some RnR, me checking into my flight, dinner and some more walking, we called it a night.

Sunday morning, I was up bright and early at 6 am or so for the race.  Luckily, the start was right around the corner (literally) from the hotel.  I changed, did the obligatory bathroom duty, grabbed a gatorade and headed to the start.  I snuck forward 2 corrals and waited for the start.  we started moving a little after 7 and the closer I got to starting, I bailed on my long sleeved throw away shirt.  I had a long sleeved under armour shirt on under a short sleeved shirt, which I thought would be alright.  We crossed the start about 12 minutes into the race and headed towards Loyola New Orleans and Tulane for the first 4.5 miles or so.  At mile 3, there was a lady standing on one of the street corners holding a sign that read “I’m a 6 1/2 year ovarian cancer survivor”- if you didn’t give her a high 5 or at least a cheer, you were crazy (because that’s just straight up awesome).  Around mile 3.5, we saw the leader for the men’s half marathon on his way back with no one around him.  Bands were playing and people were out in full force.  Some of the signs included “Crap, I tripped over your awesomeness” and “Worse Mardi Gras Parade Ever”.  After I figured out how fast I was going, I was able to have some sort of idea what my time was and I thought I was doing alright (it’s hard to do math in your head while running).  One of my favorite aid stations (or right before/after it) had a group of people lined up in matching outfits.  It was a group of girls and one of their guy friends dressed in drag (wig, glasses and heels to boot)- it’s the little things that matter really).  At mile 8, I decided I wanted to lose the long sleeved Under Armour shirt.  Usually, I don’t over dress, but that happened today because it warmed up.  Of course, I had to stop, walk and get the long sleeve shirt out from under the short sleeved shirt.  After that was successful and we passed the next H2O station, we came up on to mile 9 and, hark, my hotel!!!  Needless to say, I hopped into the hotel and asked if I could leave my shirt and come back for it.  The clerk was a saint for even coming near it.  We kept running and hit some more water stations, ran through the French Quarters and eventually headed toward the main City Park.  At mile 12.5, we split from the marathoners and headed out on the last .6 miles.  It’s always refreshing to see the 13 mile mark because you’re pretty much done.  As I crossed the finish, I knew I had PR’d, but wasn’t sure by how much.  Turns out, it was close to 6 minutes off my previous best.  Officially, I ran at 2:03:01.  If only I hadn’t stopped for the shirt issue, I could have gotten under 2 hours!!!  I took a shuttle back to the Business District and showered

Miranda and I headed out to brunch and then to the Nation WWII museum on Magazine street.  That took us till 1:30 or so and by the time we got back to the hotel for our stuff, it was nearly 2 and I had a major caffeine headache.

Overall, a good, FLAT race.  The weather cooperated and it wasn’t pouring down rain, snowing, mansooning or flooding. Definitely worth the $35 I paid for it (not the $90+ others paid for it) and definitely a good time.  Can officially cross Louisiana off the Half Marathon states list!

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