Bibrave, A Whole Bunch of Orange and a Weekend in Chicago

I’m currently somewhere in a string of however many days at work, but this past weekend, I spent the weekend in Chicago. For National Running Day in 2018, I signed up for RnR Chicago, thinking I may or may not make it out depending on my work schedule. Earlier this year, my Bibrave Peeps sent out a weekend Bibrave Pro get together in Chicago over the same weekend, so even more reason to sign up! I flew out the Thursday before and got held up with flight delays, but such is life. After getting in late on Thursday, I met up with some friends of mine from college for dinner.

Friday, July 19, 2019

I was up early and thought it was a good idea to run 4 miles in heat and humidity at 8 AM. I may have taken the 147 a mile back to my hotel. I got some breakfast, did some shopping and met up with a friend of mine from residency working in the Evanston area. Afterwards, I went to the RnR expo and met up with my fellow Bibrave Pros and got my bibs for the 5K and Half Marathon.

We hung out for about an hour, vendor surfing and getting to know each other, plus some shopping to boot. We took some time to go our own ways before meeting up for the Bibrave Orange Carpet. I met up with fellow pro Sam and ubered to dinner with her and her boyfriend. About halfway through dinner, we got news that the 5K on Saturday was canceled due to heat potential, which was a bummer, but not much you could do at that point

BibRave Orange Carpet Event 7.19.19 (30 of 61)

Saturday, July 19, 2019

Since the 5K was canceled, Samantha and I ran to the Lake Shore Path from our hotel and met up again with our fellow Bibrave Pros. We had a short shake out run before pictures, bagels and some fun. Afterwards, we broke for a bit and then went to the Cubs vs Padres Baseball Game at Wrigley Field. Thankfully, we were in the shade, but it was hot! Some of us made it through the 5-6th inning and nearly 3 hours before calling it good. At some point in the 7th inning, people were cheering when a wind gust came through (it was that hot!). After the game, we had a pre race dinner, had a live taping of a podcast with Cindy Kuzman.

HTS_8702

BibRave Current Kitchen (Day 2) 7.20.19 (29 of 52)

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Race day! The clouds were sketchy early on and I’m pretty sure we had some pre race lightning. Rock n Roll Chicago started at 630 AM with corrals being let out every few minutes. We were overflowing with runners, so things were crowded, especially while we were waiting. Runners who had signed up for just the 5K had the option to run the 10K on Sunday (some of us were remix runners, meaning we were doing the 5K Saturday and the 10K or Half on Sunday), so we were out of luck. The RnR course itself was a little north, a bit west and a lot of south in terms of directions. Water stations were spaced out, and I was kind of wishing they were more like a mile apart given the heat and humidity (I thought the same thing in 2010 and 2012 when I ran this race). The course is relatively flat, though gets somewhat boring the last 4-5 miles. I’d also like if the part going under McCormick Place could be taken out. It’s dark, wet and poor surface to run on. We chugged on and made it through the finish, despite heat and humidity. If only the chocolate milk was still around when I got in (just over 2 hours!). In the finish area, I hung out with Bibrave some more before heading back to the hotel for a shower and then ended up getting some lunch before heading to the airport.

Overall, a fun weekend, awesome people and good times for all!

 

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Red, White, Boom and a BBQ!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Red White and Boom 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!

July 4th has come and gone, BBQs and fireworks have happened, and I finally knocked off Minnesota off my 50 state half list. Last week, I headed off to Minneapolis for the Red, White and Boom Half Marathon. It was my first half marathon on a holiday and my first weekday half marathon race (it only took 90+ half marathons!). I spent Tuesday getting caught up on adulting (microwave delivered, fuse blown that required an electrician and a worn out Moe the cat).

I flew out to Minneapolis Wednesday morning and got in just before noon. I arrived to some pretty humid MSP weather and Ubered my way over to packet pick up at Summit Brewery in St. Paul (10 minutes from the airport). Had a fun conversation with my driver and who else gets to say packet pick up is at a Brewery?! Pick up was small, which I was ok with. I’m a fan of no frills pick ups where you’re in and out, not pressured to buy anything. They did have some gear for purchase and bib look up. Beer fan? Beer tastings were available too!

I headed over to my hotel in downtown Minneapolis, just a short walk from the start. After checking in, I found some lunch and explored downtown some. I went for a quick shake out run in the hotel because of 90* and humid weather. After some dinner, I hung out in the hotel room for a little bit and went to Whole Foods (because let’s face it, I wish I had one in eastern Washington) to find some pre race breakfast for the 4th. Because of the heat and humidity, the race was good about communicating with us about race updates, which is always appreciated.

Race morning started bright and early. The half marathon started at 630 AM and the 5K started at 6:50. For quite a while, I was worried we were going to get rained on, though we got lucky, in that the rain held off until after noon. Because of the humidity and weather, we actually started out as a yellow flag on the EAS system and runners were given the option to downgrade from the half/relay to the 5K at no cost. While in the starting corrals, I actual ran into Mary Jo (a fellow Bibrave Pro) and we chatted prior to the start. The start was at the Mills Ruin Park and it’s actually in a residential area. The organizers are mindful of the community, so there wasn’t loud music or an MC on the microphone due to it being so early. After the national anthem, we were off and running. We went through West River Park and Theodore Wirth Parkway until you got to Victory Park before making your way back through the streets of Minneapolis. Be ready for some hills the first part of the race (all before mile 6), some fun facts along the way and some fun people and volunteers along the course. By 9 miles in, we were red flagged to run with extreme caution, but overall, us 2000 runners were able to finish. Aid stations every 1.5-2 miles, though with the humidity, every mile would have been nice to have. Something I did miss were something like oranges or bananas, or even sponges. The last 2 miles were back along the Mississippi River where we started with the finish being across the Stone Arch Bridge (lined with flags)

The race finish was hopping and the place to be. It was a big old BBQ and a party waiting for runners to finish. You were met with medals, water, chocolate milk and popsicles at the finish (red, white and blue of course). The post race party was filled with games (corn hole and hanging donut contests), post race recovery, BBQ and a whole bunch of family fun. There was plenty to do for runners, family and friends a like!

Overall, a fun race and a race to look at for Minnesota. Looking for a holiday race with a great post race party?? Come looking at this one! Great communication, good course. I bu wish there were a few more aid stations on course. Be prepared for some humid weather, but be prepared for it in the midwest. Great people, great atmosphere and a fun time

Race Review: the Ottawa Marathon, 5K and 2K

This time last we, I was in Ottawa falling asleep after finishing marathon 11. Spring Marathons are always difficult when you live somewhere where you snow and ice all winter. I spent most of February running inside due to Spokane weather if that says anything. After working a 10 day stretch, I flew out to Ottawa the Thursday before race day by going through Salt Lake City and Toronto. I ended up getting to the hotel around 830 after getting through the airport (and finding myself some Tim Horton’s).

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On Friday, I walked over to the Expo that was at the Shaw Center in downtown Ottawa. The poor girl at bib pick up was running around getting my 3 different bibs, since I was running the 2K, 5K and Marathon. 3 shirts (2 of which are the same), 3 bibs, but not a whole lot of swag in the swag bag. I went wandering through the expo and ended up with a fun sweatshirt that was 25% off (and cheaper in USD when compared to CAD). Decent amount of vendors, but a lot of stuff that seems the same when compared to other expos. I spent the rest of Friday walking around Ottawa, exploring the grounds of Parliament and finding some good food.

Saturday was a double race day. If you were being incredibly ambitious, you could sign up for the lumberjack challenge, which involved doing the 2K, 5K and 10K on Saturday plus the Marathon on Sunday. I wasn’t feeling that crazy, so I did everything but the 10K. The 2K took all of 10 minutes and was an easy jaunt around town. I spent it trying to not trip over little kids weaving in and out of people, and it was actually semi obnoxious. After finishing and dashing to bag check to switch out bibs, I headed over to the 5k start, that was a little more organized. Having corrals that were sent off every few minutes helped thin things out. Plenty to see on the 5K including Parliament, downtown Ottawa and the river. Water stops about half way through, but I feel like I had an additional stop due to the 10K being part of the course. After you finished your race, you went through the finisher chute and got fluids, medals and then directed to food, where they handed you a bag with bagels, a banana and some chips

Sunday was the main event. I was up bright and early and out the door around 615/630 to get to the marathon. It was a 7 AM start, 2 hours ahead of the half marathon. The start was in the same location as Saturday’s events downtown and when I got to the start, the energy was buzzing and exciting. Corrals were set up by color and time to keep things smooth. Guns went off at 7 AM, after the Canadian National Anthem. The first few miles of any distance race, I usually get a feel for how I’m feeling and what I want to do. I ended up falling in with the 4 hr 30 min pace group with the goal of staying with them as long as I could and then aiming to beat my NYC Marathon from last year.

The course itself is a mix of city and scenic, relatively flat, though there are some hills. The first 5K was along the Rideau Canal before we weaved through town and towards the Ottawa River. We kept on pushing though and crossed over into Gatiineau for 10K. Along the way, we passed the Canadian War Museum and the National Gallery. It was about here ( just over 14 miles in), that I fell off the 4 hr 30 min pace group and slowed down some. I made the mistake of not having a throw away shirt and then over dressing, so I spent time losing a long sleeved shirt that I ended up tossing because I didn’t want to carry it for the next 11 miles. Definitely sad about that one because it was one of my good shirts. We followed the Ottawa River some more before hitting some more scenic parts of the race, in addition to passing Riddau Hall and 24 Sussex. The last 10k was spent coming back into town and covering some ground we had already seen. The last 3-5K we joined up with the Half Marathon, as we shared part of the course. Final course time was 4:49:04 (approximately)!

On course, water stops seemed to be every 3-4K. It got warm quick, and I wish we had stops every 2K or so to accommodate. Aid stations had water and Nuun, with some that had gels. I’m part of the gatorade/powerade fan club as Nuun doesn’t sit well with my stomach. I was wishing they’d at least alternate to help us out a little bit. One of the big areas to look at is the post race area. We were met by water and medals and then had a good 1/4 mile minimum walk to the runners area. Only downside is that they were essentially handing out half of a bagel and a bag of chips because so much food was out. The only beverage available in the post race area was beer, which doesn’t go well with me. I wish there was more bottled water and something like chocolate milk for runners because I was dying. After you exited, there were food trucks available, but I feel like there should have been more available for runners that you didn’t have to pay for.

Overall, a fun race and definitely one to consider. Fun bibs, fun crowds and good medals!

Red White and Boom! Coming for you Minneapolis

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Red White and Boom 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!”

Minneapolis. I’m so familiar with their airport, I know where all their restaurants are and their terminals are like the back of my hand (because hey, traveling to the East Coast on certain airlines puts you through MSP multiple times a year). The last time I actually got to enjoy MSP was when I ran a 15K at least 5 years ago. I’ve been looking for a half marathon to get Minnesota off my half marathon list so why not a mid week half marathon over the 4th of July to get it done?

I’m beyond excited to run the Red White and Boom half marathon. All of my half marathons have been weekend races, so a mid week race will be interesting to say the least (get my long run done early??). Twin Cities Racing puts on a decent amount of races in The Minneapolis/St.Paul area and I cant wait to go out for a few days.

Red, White and Boom is a two day event and the half marathon takes you along the West River Parkway, Victory Park and Stone Park Bridge. Post race? Enjoy a cook out at the post race party and fireworks to celebrate July 4! A local? Be sure to visit Summit Brewing Company leading up to the race.

Want to start off the 4th right? Register for the half or 5 k here! Use 18RWBBIBRAVE to save 5% off the half marathon or 5K (to the first 50 registrants from each distance!)

 

Bibrave Race Review: Napa Valley Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Napa Valley Half Marathon 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

Race weekend has come and gone and this was probably one of my favorite California races to do! If you’re looking for something with great scenery and downhill, definitely look into the Napa Valley Half Marathon and Marathon. This year was the 41st running of the full marathon, but the debut of the half marathon, which made the trip worth it.

I flew out Thursday afternoon and ended up delayed an hour and change out of Seattle due to maintenance issues. I made it to Sacramento in one piece, picked up my rental care and drove just over an hour to Napa. If you have a choice between SMF and SFO, flow into/out of Sacramento over San Francisco. Less of a head ache, same amount of time to get where you’re going. I got to the hotel somewhere after 9 pm and got checked in before finding some food. After getting some sleep, I spent Friday getting a much needed run outside, as I’ve been cooped up on the treadmill much of February due to snow and ice in Spokane. I’ll take a cloudy, nearly raining run any day! Got to run on the Vine trail, which started just outside of my hotel and have some fun with it.

After getting a shower in and some shopping, I went into downtown Napa for some lunch and spent most of the day hanging before heading down to happy hour at the hotel and then on to dinner.

Saturday morning, the marathon had a shake out run that started at 830 AM. It started with a raffle, in which I won a hat! You could also win wine and KT Tape, which was fun. We had the option of 3-4 miles on the Vine Trail and after finishing up, could head to the expo. I met up with fellow Bibrave Pro Brenda, who flew in from Massachusetts for the full (it’s always fun meeting up with other pros!). I picked up my bib, shirt and bag, walked around the expo a little bit before heading back to the hotel for a shower. I found some lunch and then went off the Hendry Winery for a tour and wine tasting (do it if you can, ended up getting to taste quite a few different wines!). After getting to church, I went to the Pasta dinner where we had some pretty fun speakers. At that point, I called it a night and changed into my sweats at the hotel.

Race morning started early. I was up around 430 to change and make the shuttles to the start. The half started at 7 am and the shuttles left at 5:10/5:15 in the morning. The start was at the Coon Creek Winery and having VIP access was helpful. Had some breakfast to munch on and indoor bathrooms to boot. Weather was overcast, but in the 50s, which I’ll take any day. If you checked bags, there were busses to take them to the finish. We started right at 7 am and were at the half way point of the marathon (they started further up and at 730 AM). The course was pretty much all downhill. One kind of hill close to the start, but really nothing after. Nice change for me after the amount of California races I’ve run with hills all over the place. The first 10 miles or so were on the Silverado trail before we turned off a few times to some other roads and finishing at Vintage HS. One thing that needs looked at is the amount of water stops. I think there were only 15 total between the half and full and the first one on the half didn’t come until 3-4 miles in. They were pretty spread out and I don’t know if it was planned like that or something happened with volunteers. I feel like they could have had some more, especially towards the middle/end.

The race finished at Vintage HS. You were greeted with medals and water, led to some food and then could go find some soup (which was much appreciated!). At the finish, you could search results, listen to some live music and hang out. There were shuttles back to the hotels and another area HS if you parked there or were staying at the Marriott/Hilton/Embassy Suites. The one thing that needs looked at is the post race shuttles. There was at least a 30-40 min span with no hotel shuttle. I ended up getting an Uber back to my hotel because I was getting cold, and it showed up as one of the shuttles was showing up. I think there was a communication issue or something, but people going back to the hotels were getting frustrated for sure.

Overall, a great race. I’m glad there’s now a half marathon option to go with the full. Fun race and definitely a must do. The few things to work on is making the half/full marathon shuttle buses pre race more spaced out to account for anyone who might miss the first string buses. Also, more aid stations and fixing the post race shuttle bus situation back to the hotels. If you’re looking for an excuse to get to Napa, here you go!

Napa Valley Race Week!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Napa Valley Half Marathon 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!

I’m heading back to California! Over the winter the past few years, I’ve noticed increased California trips to get out of the winter weather, and the snow that is taking over my yard in Spokane (I’m running out of places to put it! I just finished a 10 day stretch at work and the Napa Valley Half couldn’t come at a better time!

This year, the half marathon is in it’s first year for Napa Valley and I’m so looking forward to it. The course (between the half and the full) has something like 6 wineries on it. Is it wrong to hope they have wine at some of the aid stations?

Big things to look out for this weekend:

1. Follow Napa Marathon on Social Media (Facebook, Twitter and http://www.napavalleymarathon.com) because we’re looking at rain this weekend (seems to be recurring theme for my CA races this year!). Hopefully no course changes though

2. Bib look up: be ready for the expo!

3. Shake out run: good way to get the legs loose: meet up is on Saturday Morning at the Marriott. RSVP here!

4. Don’t forget your bib. Expo happens from 9 am to 8 pm with a whole bunch of fun stuff. Check out what’s happening!

5. Pasta Dinner: get some good carb loading and hear from some awesome runners on Saturday night!

Things to do in Napa:

1. I’m probably spending most of Friday finding some wine in the area, not going to lie

2. Hot air balloon rides

3. Wine train, this sounds kind of fun!

4. For more, head here http://napavalleymarathon.org/race-information/

Hope I catch up with anyone running while there and look for the Bibrave orange!

Race Review: Surf City Half Marathon and the Cowabunga Challenge

Disclaimer: I’m promoting Surf City Half Marathon and the Cowabunga Challenge 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!

Welcome back from Surf City! 4th time’s a charm for Surf City, right? I first ran Surf City in 2013 and then came back for the past few years starting 2017. I flew out to Orange County on February 1. If you ever go out for Surf City, John Wayne Airport is an awesome alternative and about 25 min from downtown Huntington Beach and you miss flying through LAX. I took a Lyft to the hotel and checked in before finding dinner at one of the neighboring hotels with a wine bar (score!).

Saturday morning, after having breakfast, I ran into one of the physical therapists from work (mind you, Spokane), who was with family and doing a trip to Disney Land. We had a group Bibrave Pro text message going on and poor Fallon will probably have the best story of all of us. Rain decided to show up to Southern California that led to flooding in some areas, which meant that Fallon got rerouted. I went to the expo and picked up my Cowabunga bib and picked up Fallon’s Bib (quick and easy with the QR code) and dropped the extra stuff in my room.

The Cowabunga challenge took place on the beach itself. To make things interested, winds were hitting close to 30 mph. This was the first year for the Cowabunga Challenge Mile, so why not do it on the beach with ridiculous winds. The first half mile was a breeze, but the second half was right Into the wind and slowed most of us down. I’m pretty sure I was dealing with sand in my ears and my legs look like I had chronic venous issues just because of the sand!

Afterward the 1 mile run, I went back to the expo and within 20 minutes it was pouring down rain. I’m just glad it didn’t happen earlier! I picked up my half marathon bib and shirt at the legacy longboard table. My bib got stamped and I was able to get my half marathon and legacy status shirt. I may have gotten the wrong size. Whoops. The expo is huge and has a ton of vendors, races and things to look at and do (really one of the better expos I’ve been to). Take time to enjoy it when you’re out there! After searching the expo, I went and found lunch in the hotel in order to stay out of the rain. I napped in the hotel for a bit before Fallon made it into town and picked up her bib. After going to church and catching some dinner, I headed back to the hotel for the night.

Race morning showed up and somehow it wasn’t raining! We were all excited about that and the wind wasn’t horrible. After grabbing some breakfast and getting changed, I spent a few minutes getting my stuff together and letting fellow Bibrave Pro Mai avoid the port a potties and use my hotel bathroom. We made it down to the start of race and met up with all the Bibrave Pros. The skies still had us wondering about the rain status though!

The race itself is spread out. The full marathon starts at 630 AM, the 5K at 7 AM, and the half marathon at 7:45 AM. I get wanting to spread the half and full marathon out, but I’ve always thought switching the 5K and half marathon made more sense in terms of time. The course itself though is mainly on the Pacific Coast Highway. The first three miles out is on the highway before turning into one of the neighborhoods. It was flat briefly before we hit some hills after mile 4 or so. You get a view of the city before heading downhill and back out to the Pacific Coast Highway. After hitting mile 8, we came back into town and ran against 5 miles of wind (or so it felt like it). We were dealing with some sprinkling rain on and off for a little bit and another hill around mile 10 that I seem to always forget about. The last mile the crowd support picked back up heading back into the finish line. Aid stations every 1-1.5 miles with water and Nuun. I don’t get a long with Nuun in terms of flavor/texture so no electrolytes for me :-(.

Post race, there was plenty of food, water and you got your medals. Food trucks, beer gardens, massage tables galore and plenty to do. I hung around some before heading back for the million dollar shower. After packing up and checking out, I headed back to the airport for lunch and to fly back to Washington.

Overall, always a fun race and always well run. Love the addition of the Cowabunga Challenge (hey, we got a cape!), always a great course. Medals are always awesome and surf board themed. If you’re looking for a great race and a good winter get away, look into Surf City!

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