Bibrave Race Review: Capital City Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Capital City Half marathon 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!

After taking a few days to swallow this past weekend, I’m finally up for reviewing Cap City. I grew up outside of Columbus and actually ran Cap City back in 2012. I was excited when Bibrave partnered with them because it gave me an excuse to get back home for a few days. I flew in Thursday (since going from West to Midwest takes all day) and got in around 330. My mom picked me up from the airport and off to the hotel and for a late lunch we went before heading to the expo.

The Expo: held at the Vue in the Brewery District, which was a first. In the past, it had been held at the convention center and had more vendors, races, etc. The Vue was a smaller site and really only had Fleet Feet, Front Runner and Second Sole. I wouldn’t be a fan of going back to the site, just because parking wasn’t the easiest and it wasn’t close to anything or necessarily easy to get to if you were coming out of town. I forgot about being upped to VIP, so when the regular bib pick up didn’t have my bib, I had a mild panic attack until I went to VIP pick up. There was also a shirt exchange for getting different sized shirts, which I volunteered at on Friday (and had people assume that the small shirt sizes were the volunteers fault. Really?).

Swag: T Shirt (cotton) from Second Sole and a sturdy string bag. I loved the design of the shirt, but they definitely ran small. I was seeing women up a small to a large at the expo because they were running so small.

 

 

Race Time: 8 AM, which was nice for getting a decent night’s sleep the night before, but with weather coming through, hindsight 20/20, I wish it would have been a 7 AM start.

The Race Itself: Starts in downtown Columbus at Columbus Commons. It took you through the Arena District, OSU, the Short North, Downtown, German Village and a few other areas of Columbus. The course is fairly flat which is nice, though a hill towards the end.  The start was divided into corrals with the elites heading off at 7:55 and corrals A-I being started every few minutes after, so I didn’t start until about 8:12.It was cloudy at the start, but not raining. I was making good time, but we got our first round of rain trying to figure out what to do with itself around mile 2-3. It did let up and onward I went. I was pulling probably my best time in a few years until thunder and lightning hit right before mile 9. I was at the split for the 5K/quarter marathon going to the finish and the half marathon going towards the last 4 miles of the course and ended up getting diverted to the finish, as the race was black flagged. Some friends of mine were a mile ahead of me and were out in the open and had to figure out how to get back to the start. I was pretty bummed out after because of how well things were going. I’m not sure how much of the 8 AM start time was due to the US Half Marathon championships, but a 7 AM start time would have probably avoided post race issues and let more people finish the half (really only 1200 people were able to finish the half). I ended up doing another 4 miles at the hotel to get the full 13.1 miles in.

Post race: most of the activities were cancelled because of the storms that came through. I was able to see the VIP tent for a brief period of time and got some food from Cameron Mitchell Restaurants that was really good, but the line was long for drinks, so I missed out on that with the chaos of trying to get to safety.

Things to work on

  • So for future races, I think there needs to be better planning for weather in terms of if the race needs to be altered or cancelled. There was no real direction on where to go, etc. At one point, a bunch of us were in an alley between 2 buildings. There were also people stranded on an open course and were essentially on their own with trying to figure out what to do.
  • The shirts: I get wanting to go for a local company, and in fairness, there was  a sizing chart prior to registration, but they run really small. I was seeing women switch smalls for larges because the shirts weren’t fitting chests well at all. I would go with a different company
  • The expo: I wasn’t a fan of the location. It wasn’t easy to get to and there wasn’t a lot that endorsed the local running community that I know. There was nothing set up in terms of other local races, running groups, etc which was kind of sad. I know there was construction going on at the Convention Center, which is where it’s been held in the past, but I feel like there could have been a better place to have this.

Overall, weather wasn’t on my side this year, but I’d still go back for redemption of Cap City. It’s been a fun race to do in the past and at some point, I’ll get back to running it again!

 

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!

Bibrave Race Review: Honolulu Marathon

Disclaimer: I received entry to the Honolulu Marathon 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 sad that I was in the land of paradise, sun and relaxation (though running a marathon) a few days ago, only to be brought back to the coldness and winter of Washington State. I committed to the Honolulu Marathon months back with the idea of it being an end of the year trip, a way to celebrate finishing residency, moving to Washington, starting a new job and (thankfully) passing my Internal Medicine Certification Boards.

I spent the first few days hanging out with Erin (see here) and spent Saturday morning running the Merrie Mile. Thankfully, the weather decided to turn around and the sun came out, as it had been raining all day Thursday. That led to us going to the Expo earlier than expected and picking up our bibs. We actually went back to the expo on Friday and I signed up for the Santa Rosa Half Marathon (Peanuts themed and wine tasting!). I also picked up more Stinger waffles for the run. Overall, the expo was average. It had your typical running stuff (2XU, Asics, running clothes/races), but there were also vendors where I was having trouble making the running connection with; it seemed like those vendors were more geared to the Japanese runners and visitors, as there was a large delegation from Japan who came for the race. On our way out, we got pictures with our estimated/goal times. I had low expectations because training got messed up and half marathons were missed (thanks movers!).

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Because 5:59:00 sounds better than 6:00:00

Saturday night, after we did the Merrie Mile in the morning and dropped our bag off at the bag check, we went over and hung out with fellow Bibrave Pros Eric and Chris. We enjoyed some carbs while hydrating and there was hilarity that ensued. Afterwards, Erin and I walked back towards the hotel. I actually stopped at the Apple Store to pick up an iPod mini. I didn’t realize until I got to Seattle that I had left mine at home and it was either get another mini or run with a battery pack to charge my phone. We made it back to the hotel and came up with our play lists for the race. Not going to lie, mine was a hodge podge of songs, but it’s gotta be something I want to listen to. Wardrobes got put out, bibs placed and we were in bed early for a 345 AM wake up call, as the race started at 5 AM.

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Sunday Morning we were up and at it. Erin was up at 310, me by 345 with my 50 alarms that were set. We changed, did the bathroom ritual, had a lite bite to eat and started walking to the start. Another trip to the bathroom and we found our way to the start. The corrals were set up so flags along the side of the road indicating times (2-3 hrs, 3-4 hrs, etc). The race is huge (30,000 people) with runners and walkers. The trip from Japan is relatively close, so there are a lot of runners from Japan and SE Asia in general that we saw at the start. Fireworks went off at 5 AM and off we went. It took 10-15 minutes to get across the start. Erin and I were weaving around walkers and ultimately got into our own separate grooves. The first 8 miles or so, it was still dark out, which was appreciated because the sun stayed off us. It was still humid, especially coming from the Pacific Northwest where weather is currently cold, snowing and calling for single digit weather in the next few days. I also spent the first few miles trying to get around walkers. We went through downtown, around the Honolulu tower, by the former palace and made our way past our hotel 4 miles in. We went down Kalakaua Ave and headed up the roads around Diamond Head. Talk about energetic volunteers. Eric called it high 5 mile- look for plenty of high fives in a short span! Quarters were on the tight side because we only had one lane to work on (the other lane was for the the return trip). Around mile 8, there was a runner down with already plenty of help around her.

We made it to the top of Diamond Head and went through some of the residential streets and got on a straight stretch of flatness for quite a few miles. Around mile 11, I saw Eric, a fellow Pro, coming opposite me on his way back. I made it half way and was still feeling decent. I got to mile 15 and my legs started to feel it for sure. We had some miles around a lake which is a whole other reason to run this course. Even stopped to get my picture taken!

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Slowly I kept on trucking along and made it back to the straight away, were I’d be until mile 21-22. Initially, my goal was to keep a 12 mile pace, but by mile 16-18, the sun had come out in full force with humidity that made it really rough. Water stops were every 2 miles or so (but thankfully I had my handheld water) and they did have ice and sponges on course which helped. I slowed down and was walking more. My whole goal was under 6 hrs. Eric and Chris had long finished and I was keeping an eye on Erin as I was running. The course headed back down past Diamond Head and finally towards the finish on Kalakaula Ave. There were drummers at one point that really gave a second wind. It got to the point where I kept looking for people to pass and keep the motivation up (the old lady, the military guys with their bags, the little kid). The finish was right there, but so far away.

I crossed in 5:57 and was given a shell necklace shortly after. My first thought was if this is the medal, I’m going to cry. The next stop you could here the clanging of the medals and we got a good size medal placed around our neck. We went through the rest of the chute, grabbed a cup of water and into the post race area where runners and spectators were hanging out. I picked up my bag I had checked Saturday and found the finisher shirts and picked mine up (it’s one I’ll wear too!). Chris and Eric had already gone back to their hotel (and I was wishing ours were closer to the finish). I sat for awhile, listened to music playing, changed shirts and changed into my sandals and compression sleeves. Erin made it an hour and change after me, though she was having foot problems. After she got her medal, shirt and bag, we got food which included Polish donuts, freshly made (best thing ever, go find some if you’re in Hawaii)! I ordered a Lyft because there was no way either one of us wanted to walk a mile and change back to the hotel. Erin went and jumped in the pool, I went up to the room, chugged my chocolate milk and took the million dollar shower.

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Honolulu Marathon Bling

I got my stuff situated and napped a little bit. We chilled out in the room as best we could and went down to pay my portion of the room before heading to dinner with Eric and Chris. I had all of my stuff with me, as I had a red eye flight back to the mainland Sunday night. We had a good time catching up and comparing course notes. Overall, we had a really good time in Hawaii.

I thought the race was well run overall, but some things can be worked on. I feel like once we got passed Diamond Head, water stops every mile would have been good. It was hot and humid and not everyone trains in the heat/humidity of Hawaii (read, me who’s lived in the Midwest and Pacific NW). With so many people, especially a race that’s walker friendly (which isn’t a bad thing), the corrals need some work. The flags on the side of the road were a little hard to see because it was dark and the blended in with the dark. I feel like something needs to be on the bibs to indicate where you should be and there should be more separation of corrals. There needs to be something done, like a wave start every 2-3 minutes to separate runners because I was spending more energy getting around people than was needed.

Overall, though, a good race and definitely one worth doing! I’m bummed I’m back to the cold and work of the PNW, but will be back to visit at some point during my west coast travels!

 

Honolulu Marathon: Pre Marathon

Aloha from Hawaii! Such a much needed vacation and time away from the snow of Washington State. The Honolulu Marathon has been on my radar for awhile and making a trip out to Hawaii seemed like a fitting way to end 2016 (end of residency, taking/passing written boards, starting a new job, moving, all that fun jazz).

I flew out to Honolulu on Wednesday. I finished work on Monday and took Tuesday to get my stuff together. Bright and early on Wednesday, I was up working with my trainer at the gym and I got a quick beat down and work out in before getting to the airport. I flew from Spokane to Seattle (easy 45 minute flight if that), before flying 6(?) hrs to Oahu. We got delayed because the flight to Vancouver at the gate in front our flight was 2 hrs delayed. I spent the flight getting caught up on movies and reading.  I got in around 515 to Honolulu and got my bags and headed to my first hotel of the trip. I checked in and met up with Erin, a fellow pro. We watched the 75th anniversary parade for Pearl Harbor and found a place for dinner

Thursday morning, I picked up a rental a rental car for the day and we headed out to Pearl Harbor. We were able to get tickets to tour the USS Arizona and managed the last 2 tickets of the day (at 3 pm). We decided to go to the expo, get our bibs for the Marathon and Merrie mile, search the vendors (I ended up with a HNL Marathon T Shirt, long sleeved t shirt and towel) and chat with people along the way. We then picked up our stuff from our hotels and checked into the Hilton, where we’re at for the rest of the trip, splitting a room. Afterwards, we hightailed it back to Pearl Harbor and made it in time for the boat shuttle over to the USS Arizona (after a short video on the events of Pearl Harbor). After we left, we found a grocery store and found a few things before sitting in traffic for over an hour in an attempt to return the rental car before 6 pm (we failed at that). We found dinner and chilled in the hotel the rest of the night after searching through the small city that is the resort.

Friday morning, we woke up to more rain. We finally returned the renal car and went out to meet up for our shake out run. Only one other runner showed up (which we half expected due to the rain). We decided to bail on the run, just because the sidewalk was so slick, we were worried about slipping and/or injury. Instead, we found a coffee shop and had breakfast (if you’re ever in HNL, try an Acai bowl, to die for!). We did some shopping and I ended up with 3 pairs of sandals! Later in the afternoon, Erin and I ended up going to a photo shoot for the elite athletes, something we got invited to last minute. Note to selves, Outrigger has a few hotels and it’s always beneficial to ask which location things are at before walking a mile more than you need to. We then took advantage of some sun and beach time before finding some cookies at one of the stores in the resort and doing round 2 of the expo. Needless to say, round 2 of the expo found me signing up for a 1/2 Marathon in Santa Rosa and getting more stingers. For dinner, we met up with Chris and Eric, another group of pros who came in today for the race. We chatted over dinner for quite some time and made plans for the Merrie Mile and meeting up. We all went our separate ways and ended up getting ready for race #1.

Next up, the Inaugural Merrie Mile and my inaugural mile race!

Random Musings of a new Clevelander

I’ve recently moved back to the midwest and to the mother state of Ohio.  I’m still finding the running places to go and the stores that people like around here (let’s face it, I have no idea what running stores are good or not).  So far, I’ve found a Second Sole store a few miles away from me with a running group on Saturdays (maybe?) and  Fleet Feet in Pepper Pike.

My first running group experience was over a week ago at Fleet Feet (they meet on Mondays at 630).  I had no idea I was running with 2 women who were at the 2012 Women’s Marathon Olympic Marathon trials.  That was mildly horrifying and yes, at 930 min/mile, I was the slowest one there.  See ya back at the store!!  At least with both Second Sole and Fleet Feet I was able to find some good races to look into in the area and now that I’ve found out my schedule, I can plan my minimal social life.  Any suggestions on places to run and stores to utilize are appreciated!!

In other running related schinanigans, I’ve found some deals:

  1. Chicago 10K (Chicago, IL August 11, 2013): $10 off with FLEETFEET10K
  2. Conquer the Bridge 5 Miler and Half marathon (San Pedro, CA September 2, 2013): Active members get 15% off with conquer15bdg
  3.  MAD Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K and 5K (Idaho Falls, Idaho July 27, 2013): Active Members get $10 off with  13mad10mar
  4. 5K Dance Party: Check out their Living Social deal for various Cities!
  5. Newly Added: 20% off City Sports with RWB1776.  One full price and select clearance items through Monday

Enjoy!

10 Commandments of Running

I found this on I ❤ To Run’s facebook page and thought how true it is!!  Personally, #4 is always my downfall. Enjoy!

Bring on the Olympic Running!

Last Friday, we watched the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics in London.  For the past week, soccer, volleyball, swimming and gymnastics have taken over the TV scene on NBC (even if we know what’s going to happen ahead of time).  I love the swimming, not going to lie.  However, tomorrow is huge. Bring on the Track and Field and the Marathon too!  If the marathon is live, I will no doubt be watching it.  The big news is that Paula Radcliff pulled out with a foot injury last week and it’s up in the air of Desi Davilla is running.  If you’re in the Philadelphia area, Philadelphia Runner is hosting a viewing Sunday August 5 from 2-5 at Tir Na Nog.  Interested?  It’s Free!!!  FREE I tell you! Expect buffet appetizers and raffles and other fun shenanigans. And hey, runners are good people right?  Head over here to sign up and hope to see you there!

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