Surf City Half Marathon: I’m Coming For Ya!

Disclaimer: I Promoting The Surf City Half Marathon 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!

The holidays have come and gone and 2019 is a week in the books. How did that happen?! I’m still trying to figure that part out. In Washington, it’s getting dark ridiculously early, and I’m luck if I can get a run outside with my work schedule (hence the love for noon to midnight shifts for a bit…). With the new year comes my itch travel where it’s warm and for the past few years, it’s meant heading to Huntington Beach, CA to run the Surf City Half Marathon. I’ve ran the half 3 times total (2013, 2017 and 2018) and am gearing up for year number 4. I’m super excited for this year because it means I get Legacy Longboard Status. What’s Legacy Status? It means you’ve run the half/full marathon 3 years in a row (consecutive is key) and get some extra perks! The extra shirts were revealed and I’m excited to get mine!

📸: @runsurfcity (Twitter)

New this year is the Cowabunga Challenge. Surf City is introducing a 1 mile run on Saturday, February 2 and if you run the 1 miler in conjunction with the half or full on Sunday, February 3, you get more bling!

Other awesome things to look forward to is racing along side (not on!) the beach, an awesome Expo that takes place Friday and Saturday before race day along the beach, sun (let’s face it, winter’s depressing when you live in places that involve cold, snow and running in 5 layers) and a whole lot of positive vibes. The swag is also fun, as you get a tote bag (I use mine for groceries/shopping if that says anything), long sleeved tech shirts and a bunch of other goodies. It doesn’t help that they also entice you with other races that are in warm weather! Did I mention the surf board bling?

Aren’t convinced? Check out my race reviews from 2017 and 2013 on why it’s a must do race! Don’t forget, you can save 15% off registration with SCMBR10!

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The New York City Marathon: A Way Too Late Race Review

The New York Marathon. It’s been 5 weeks since marathon #10 and one that I’ve been trying to figure out how to write about for awhile. I even did the Abbott Dash to the Finish 5K the day before as a shake out run.

I ended up leaving for NYC a day earlier than expected. Last minute, someone from work needed a day covered the Tuesday after the race, so she took a shift for me that allowed me to leave on the Thursday prior to race day. I got into NYC a little after 7 pm and took a Lyft from JFK airport to the hotel. After checking in, I found a little Italian Place for dinner close to the hotel. I walked around Times Square some and then called it a night. Friday, I woke up and headed out for a run in Central Park, and everyone was out stretching out their legs. It’s always fun to see the energy to a bigger marathon, especially leading up to it. After a quick shower, I headed over to an ASICS pop up shop off 28th (ish) street and found some pretty good deals. I checked out of hotel #1 (I had to book a one night last minute hotel with the leaving earlier than expected thing) and switched hotels before heading down to Penn Station and finding lunch in the area.

Around 1 or so,I headed over to the expo. I met up with quite a few of my Bibrave Pro friends and we walked around for awhile and I tried to save my bank account as much as possible. Trust me, I really don’t need another Garmin at the moment! I took the rest of Friday to walk around a little bit and just relax.

Saturday, I was up early and over by the UN for the Abbot Dash to the Finish 5K. I’m all about getting in as many races as possible over a weekend, let’s be real. Afterwards, I got a quick shower and before meeting up with the Team Animal League runners at our pre race brunch. Pretty sure we’re the only ones who had puppies at our brunch (for what it’s worth, their names were Salt and Pepper). Post lunch, I took a load off and watched some college football and found a Saturday night church service to go to over in the Broadway district. After finding dinner, I headed back to the hotel and called it a night.

Sunday. I always appreciate when we fall back an hour on a race weekend, because that means I get an additional hour of sleep. I woke up ridiculously early and headed over to the NY Library to pick up the buses to Ft Wadsworth on Staten Island. We got there just before 730 which meant I had about 3 hours of time to kill before I had to care about getting into my corral. I wondered the runner’s area, went to the bathroom about 5 times (oh hydration), found some bagels and therapy dogs and made sure everything was charged. When it finally got time to line up, we made are way into the corrals where there’s no turning back. I ran into my friend Andy (fellow Bibrave Pro) in the corrals and we chatted while waiting to get to the start. I forgot about the hike to the start from where we were at (I got to run on top of the Verizzano Bridge this year, unlike 2011 where I was on the bottom!). Once we were finally off and running, the real work began.

The first 2 miles are on the Bridge and I wish I could have gotten pictures of it, but I also didn’t want to get run over. The first mile was uphill, the second down hill. Once we got off the bridge, we spent a good 10 miles in Brooklyn. The quite quickly turned into the start of a party and everyone was excited. 3 miles in, the corral from under the Verizzano Bridge finally met up with us and some people were confused as to who they were. I enjoyed the flatness, that’s for sure. I lost a little bit of time because of a bathroom break, but whatever works. We made our way into Queens and we weren’t there for long. I was not excited about the Queensboro Bridge though. Mentally up until mile 15 I was doing pretty well, but the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan took a lot out of my legs and I felt it the last 10 miles. Coming off the bridge and onto First Ave, it was fun to be back around a good fan support. We headed towards the Bronx and joined in on a few street parties to boot. We didn’t spend much time in the Bronx and when we were coming over the last bridge back into Manhattan, the best sign I saw was “last damn bridge” and it was the best sight I’d ever seen. We chugged along into Central Park, and as my mom put it, I was probably really glad to see it. Yup, I really was. You forget how hilly Central Park is until your legs are really tired after 23 miles or so. By that point, you’re just trying to finish. Once you get to 6th Ave, you get diverted out to road for a little bit until you hit Columbus Circle and sent back into Central Park for the last .3-.4 miles.

I ended up finishing 30 seconds (ish) faster than my time in 2011, which I’ll take. It was light out and I was still standing which is all I really wanted. I forgot how long it takes to get out of Central Park post race though. I didn’t check a bag and went with the Pancho option instead, but I felt like we walked a good .5 mile at least just to get out. I appreciated that they just handed you a bag that had food and fluids in it, but the finish is still fairly congested (beware). The finish is at 67th and the first exit for the poncho group was at 77th. After showing them my bib with the P on it and my wrist brand that said give the poncho (that I had to tape on because it was flimsy), I finally started getting somewhat warm (yes the ponchos are fleece lined and really nice). We had to walk another .5 mile just to fully get out of the finish area. I tried to get a pedecab back to the hotel, but they were grossly overpriced so once it was all said and done, I’m pretty sure I walked another 1.5 miles post race. At least it kept my legs loose.

Overall, I love the NYC Marathon, but I’d be ok if this was it. It’s a fun race, but it’s also pretty crowded in terms of the sheer amount of people running it (52,700 or so this year alone). There were also times where the crowd (I loved them) was getting so close to us on the course it made it difficult to get through. It’s a fun and exciting race, just be ready for a little bit of a long day!

NYRR Abbott Dash to the Finish 5K

The NYC Marathon, a marathon that has a week of funness leading up to it, plus a marathon Monday for post race celebrations. Part of the race week festivities involves the Abbott Dash to the Finish 5K the Saturday prior to Marathon Sunday. Since I was flying cross country, I wanted a shake out run to warm up and, let’s face it, the more races the better.

I got into NYC on Thursday night and made it to the hotel by 9 pm. One of things I hate about flying east is I lose an entire day. On Friday, I headed to the Expo to get my marathon and 5K (on top of meeting up some friends of mine from Bibrave). The 5K pick up was done throughout the week, Monday-Wednesday at the NYRR Store of 57th and then at the Expo Thursday and Friday. Anyone could pick up your 5K bib for you. At bib pick up, they assigned you a bib number when you checked in. You also got a Beanie over a shirt, which I was all for. I have way to many shirts than I know what to do with.

This year, the dash to the finish was the USATF 5K Championships, so the women and men started before the general race field. The race started at the United Nations, which is easily accessible by watching or the MTA. I found the F corral and got situated. The corrals were staggered in terms of starts (there was somewhere between 10,000-11,000 runners), which helped thin things out some. Once you started, you turned onto 42nd street and took it straight to 6th Ave. you enjoyed 6th AVe before heading into Central Park, where you have some hills, but that’s to be expected. The only portion that mirrored the finish of the Marathon was inside Central Park, so if you were using the race as a way to prep for the Marathon, keep that in mind. One water stop around mile 2.

Post race, they had bags of food and water that were handed out to runners, made life a little easier. You exited a short time later (and earlier than you do for the marathon). Keep in mind, no bag check at the start of the race or race day pick up for bibs!

Overall, had a good time at the race. I get it’s more of a fun type of race that’s timed, but too many people were stopping in the middle of the road for pictures or to walk instead of gettin over to the side. It was also a bit frustrating to have runners with guides going 5 people across and not keeping the pace. The amount of trying not to run into anyone got a little irritating. Overall though, a good race for anyone who’s in town. Register early though, as it sells out!

Bibrave Race Review: Onward Shay Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I’m promoting the Onward Shay Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

One would think that living on the west side of the country and 30 (ish) minutes from the Washington/Idaho boarder would mean I’d hit a half marathon in Idaho before now. believe it or not, I was suppose to do a half marathon in Coeur d’Alene a few weeks ago, but dropped down to the quarter marathon. This weekend I flew out to Boise for the Onward Shay Half Marathon. I signed up for it last year (a whole $25) on Black Friday. I was so excited when Bibrave partnered up with them so I hopped on board.

Boise is a quick 45 min flight from Spokane if you can get a direct flight from Spokane. I’d take that over a 6 hour drive. I flew out Friday night and took an Lyft to the hotel. I ended up booking a hotel that was about 1/2 mile from the start/finish line and the expo. I spent most of Friday night trying to (and failing to stay up all 18 innings) watch the World Series. I ended up sleeping until 9:45 am before waking up. I headed over to the expo and picked up my bib. It took all of 5 minutes. When you walked in, your bib was assigned to you at check in (although there was one runner race morning where there were mishaps. Whoops). Some of the sponsors had tables set up at Payette Brewing and there were plenty of shirts to go around.

After getting my bib and shirt, I hit up 2 different farmer’s markets in Boise. The weather had stayed nice though the weekend and people were still out with produce, meats, home grown stuff, etc. At the second market, there were around 40+ vendors and an opportunity for trick or treat with the kids. I even found a place that did rolled ice cream. In the words of mom, I run to eat (partially true).

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Round two of rolled ice cream!

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I hung out most of the day, watched football found dinner and mainly chilled out after going out for a shake out run.

 

Sunday Morning, I woke up just after 7 AM. The race had a 9 AM start time, which was probably a good thing since the sun was still coming up. I had my clothes set out from the night before. After multiple trips to the bathroom and stalking up on tissues (I’ve been dealing with a URI and a cough for the past week) and throwing cough drops in my Spibelt before heading out to the start (an easy 1/2 mile walk). I even met up with fellow Bibrave Pro Bridget, who came out from Oregon! Bart Yasso happened to be at the race, but a Bartie (selfie with Bart Yasso) wasn’t in the cards today.

The full and half marathon started at 9 AM (followed by the 5K at 915 and the 10K at 920). The course itself is fairly flat, though some minor bunny hills going under underpasses. The first 5 miles was a loop that took you along the Greenbelt running trail. The first mile took you past the Boise Zoo before crossing the Boise River and through Boise State. We passed by Ann Morrison park and went to Bernadine Quinn Riverside Park. We headed back and around mile 5 passed where we started. We continued on, crossed the Boise River again before taking a left and heading along the river. We past more of BSU including the football stadium (couldn’t see the blue turf however) and more of scenic Boise. Just past mile 9, the half marathon turned around, while the full marathon kept going. Just after the turn around, I passed Bart Yasso and I got a wave out of it. The last 4 miles (10-13) were essentially unmarked for the half marathon. The course itself is fairly scenic, which is kind of nice. There were people out cheering and a good amount of direction on course, especially around areas that could have been confusing. Water stops ever 1.5-2 miles with water, gatorade and gels. The finish ended up being right at the start with some good announcing going on. Fun thing about this race is it’s Wizard of Oz themed, lots of Dorothy with Toto, the tin man, witches and fun costumes to see.

Post race, there was food (hamburgers, hot dogs, cookies and beer if you’re a fan). I hung out for 10 min or so, before rushing back to the hotel to take a shower and head to the airport for my flight home. Plenty of water, though I would have loved some chocolate milk (I always wonder why chocolate milk isn’t a post race must).

Overall, a great race in Idaho. The course this year was all on the Greenbelt Running path, which takes out the issue of closing down streets. It’s on the bigger side of small, but still plenty of people involved so you don’t feel left behind or lonely. It’s a good scenic race in a decent size city that is overall flat (coming from Spokane, this is a welcome change). Don’t forget to also go claim your results on Athlinks, they’re already up to claim! Good nuts and bolts race, I just wish that we’d have some chocolate milk at the end!

 

Onward Shay Race Week!

Disclaimer: I’m promoting the Onward Shay Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

It’s race week for Onward Shay! It’s my last long race before the NYC Marathon in 2 weeks so taper time is setting in at it’s finest🙌🏻. Didn’t have a chance to register? Limited registrations will be available at the expo.

Some things to keep in mind for race weekend:

The Expo: Takes place Saturday morning from 10-5 pm at Payette Brewing (733 S. Pioneer St in Boise). Gear, packet pick up, speakers, The Run Toto Run Kids Fun Run. wThere’s even a VIP Cocktail event at Powerhouse (621 17th St, Boise)

Race Day: Gear check will be available, but the race will provide clear bags to use. The half and full marathon start at 9 AM, the 5K at 915 AM and the 10K at 930 AM.

Things to Do: no home Boise State Football this weekend, but take advantage of the wine and food scene, the territorial priosn, the Basque Museum and the Cultural District. Nature fan? 16 miles from town is the Center for Birds of Prey

Any Idahoans have any additional suggestions? Let me know and see you race weekend!!

Race Review: Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon

When one is traveling and also training for a marathon, there often involves searching for races within a decent distance to make sure a long run happens. At the end of September, I was in Boston for a conference. As it stands, the north eastern states are ones I haven’t been able to get to in my quest for half marathons in all 50 states. After some research and looking at feasibility of getting there, I went with the Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon in Hampton, NH. Our conference ended on a Friday and after some site seeing and sleep, I headed to the airport where I rented a car and drove just over an hour north to Hampton. I got there shortly after noon and ended up getting some food before picking up my packet at the start/finish area.

Packet pick up was nuts and bolts. They did have an area with shirts, etc for sale, an area for bib pick up and an area for fleece pick up. It was open from 1-5 ish PM the Saturday before the race and race morning. Don’t get your bib, don’t get your fleece, pretty simple. I kind of wish they would have started around 11 or 12 because people were standing around waiting if they got there early. There were some hotels on the beach, though most of them were booked prior to me registering for the race. I stayed about 10 min from the race, which worked out well though.

Race morning, the half marathon started at 8 AM. I got to the start at 715 ish because roads were going to be shut down for the race. I got in a few miles pre race before lining up at the start. We were let loose at 805. The first two plus miles were loops around part of the beach before going out on Ocean Blvd and back. Around mile 5-6, we continued on the beach before heading on to some local roads with trees around mile 9 for a few miles. The last 3 miles or so were along the ocean again and had you finish in town with a party waiting for you at the finish. The course itself was fairly flat. Some inclines over the bridges, though nothing terrible. Aid stations I feel like were a bit off. They were intermittent and there were some I wish that were in the middle of road so you could hit them easier on the way out and back. Water and gatorade combinations

Post race, plenty of entertainment, chocolate milk, beer and food. I couldn’t enjoy the post race festivities though because I had to catch a shower and drive back to the Boston airport.

Overall, a great race though and if you like flat, go for it!

Bibrave Race Review: The Hapalua

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

Holy heat and humidity of Honolulu! I made it through a few days of Hawaii and lived to tell my tale of Hapalua 2018 (an honest win in my book). I flew out to Honolulu Friday morning. For some reason, a 545 AM flight after working until 7 pm the night before seemed like a good idea (it’s really not) and this was only leg one of the trip (leg two is to Amsterdam. Talk about different climates). I ended up getting in around 1 PM HST. My flight from Seattle ended up leaving an hour late because it was late coming in from wherever it came from. At least I know the places I can hide. My bags made it in one piece all the way to Honolulu and after getting my checked back from baggage claim, I picked up a taxi to the hotel. I checked in and cut lose for a run along the beach. Sitting for 6 hours on a plane tightens me up pretty good, so I ended up getting in a good 5 miles. It’s amazing what running in sun, tank tops and shorts can do after not being able to wear them outside for a good 6 months. Thanks Washington. I ended my run around the Convention Center so I could pick up my packet. I did the Honolulu Marathon in 2016, and the Expo was smaller, though I don’t think there were as many runners with Hapalua. Some local running stores, etc. It was easy in and out. You picked up your bib, followed by going to a second table for your shirt. They had a third area with clear bags if you planned on checking gear at the start area. I went back to my hotel, showered and found some dinner before walking around some on the beach and enjoying some Friday Night Fire Works.

Saturday, I started off with an open water swim. Because what’s a vacation if you can’t try something new, like swimming 1.25 ish miles (2000 meters/2K) in the ocean to try and get some triathlon training in. Find out how that went over here. Afterwards, I kept things easy and enjoyed Waikiki and the beach some. I also went wetsuit searching, but couldn’t find what I was looking for. I ended up going to 5 pm mass and getting dinner at Hula Grill before calling it a night.

Sunday morning meant getting up at 430/5 AM for a 6 AM start time. Kind of nice still being somewhat on PST time since the start felt like 9 or so, but I was still a bit tired. My only regret was not staying closer to the start because it was a good 1.25 miles to the Duke Statue, where the race started. Part of what The Hapalua does is something called the Chase. It’s Hawaiian runners vs the Elites with the Elites trying to run down the Hawaiians (fun idea, I think).The Chase this year had a 24 minute handicap, so some runners started around 5:36 AM, with varying starts up until 5:54 or 5:56 this morning. The elites started at 6 AM with the rest of us. I missed watching the start of the Chase though, because of the time it took me to get to the start.

Weather. Oh weather. Be ready for heat and likely some humidity. It was in the 70s with about 70% humidity today. I’m glad the rain held off though.

One thing that needs worked on though is the start. It’s kind of a hot mess. There’s no division of runners and no corrals, which actually makes the first mile difficult. There were walkers at the front and people who were inappropriately placing themselves faster than they were, so faster runners were trying to not run over other people. If there could be some sort of corral system like for the Honolulu Marathon or other races in general, it would make life a lot easier.

The course is fairly flat for the first 9 miles or so. You start in front of the Duke Statue and head along Kalakaua Avenue to Ala Moana Blvd and the Nimitz Highway. You pass Ala Moana Beach Park, the Harbor and Aloha Tower before turning and coming back some on King Street. You make some turns and double back on Ala Moana and it’s kind of fun seeing runners come towards you. If you time it right, you can see some of the chase happening on the way out on Ala Moana Blvd. Over the next few miles, you end up back on Kalakaua Avenue and you get some crowd support there. You pass the Duke Statue and head towards Waikiki and Kapiolani Park. Here, you pass the 9 mile mark and start making the trek around Diamond Head. Be ready for some hills/incline because you don’t realize how much there is until it’s there. Or, like me, you forget what the hills were like during the Honolulu Marathon because you chose to forget that part of the race. You have some pretty decent incline from miles 9 to 10, some downhill before heading back up again at mile 11 for about half a mile. After that, it’s all downhill along Diamond Head. The last part of the race takes you along some neighborhoods and into Kapoilani Park, same finish as the Honolulu Marathon. You were greeted with medals and water misters (so needed). Afterwards, when I was walking back to the hotel, though, you could see more than a bunch of walkers still on course who had to move to the sidewalk as traffic opened back up.

Aid stations on course: It felt like every 2 ish miles or so, give or take. I felt like they needed more because it was so hot and humid on course. Hard to stay hydrated when the water stations are so spread out. They had water at all of them, gatorade at most of them and gels at 1-2 of them.

What happened with The Chase you ask? One of the Elites ended up winning and passed the final Team Hawaii runner in the last half mile. Close!!!

Post Race: plenty of entertainment, food, drinks and things to do. Or just relax. You were given your medal as you came through the finisher chute, you were given your medal. In typical fashion, you don’t know what the medal looks like until you finish (or if you check social media while you’re still on course). They also had water misters which was so needed. Food wise, there was shaved ice, malasadas (alllll the malasadas), moon pies, water and pineapple juice. I would have loved some chocolate milk though!!!

Results: Find them over here to find them. Also, go over to Athlinks and claim your results! Not on Athlinks, join for free and then claim them!

Afterwards, I hiked back to the hotel and took a much needed shower. It’s nice getting back to the hotel at 9 AM, as opposed to like noon. I was able to get a later check out and found a laundry mat to wash my clothes. I’m not spending time in Europe with running clothes I was peeling off because of sweat and humidity! Best money I spent all trip other than the money to get here!

Overall, a great race. I just wish the start and the aid stations would be looked at, because they could use some work. If you’re looking for a Hawaiian race, look up the Hapalua!

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