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!

Destination Races Santa Barbara: Race Week

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Destination Races Santa Barbara 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 race week! Who knew after a short work week (only 4 of my scheduled 7 days) that I’d probably need enough wine from the race to make up for it. Here’s some need to know information for Destination Races Santa Barbara

Registration: Register Online Through 5/11/2017 and save $10 with BIBRAVE10. Don’t forget, you gotta be 21 or over on race day to enjoy the wine at the finish!

Want to be a VIP: Upgrade and get:

  • Personalized Race Bibs
  • Express Packet Pick-Up at Expo with a VIP Gift
  • Exclusive Warm-up, Stretching Zone, Private Restrooms, and Breakfast at Start line
  • Transportation to Race Start from Select Pick-Up Locations
  • Private Gear Check
  • VIP Finish Line Tent, Recovery Brunch
  • Charity Donation

Packet Pick Up

  • May 11, 2017: 3-7 PM at Santa Barbara Running Company
  • May 12, 2017: 12-6 PM at Solvang Visitor Center (1639 Copenhagen Dr, Solvang, CA 93463)

Welcome Reception: May 12, 2017 from 630-830 PM at the Kalyra Winery. Tickets are still available!

Runner Tracking: Get all Set up here!

Race Day: May 13, 2017

  • 7 AM start time in Santa Ynez
  • Post race Party (with wine!): 930-12 in Solvang Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

Missoula Marathon and Half Marathon

Last summer, I was all signed up and excited to run the Missoula Half Marathon after moving out to Washington State. When my furniture was delayed by 2 weeks, the race went to the wayside in order to study for boards until my life from Cleveland showed up at my front door. This year, I’m signed up again and determined to make the best of it (second time’s a charm, right?).

Race weekend is over 3 days, July 7-9 and quite frankly a good excuse to prolong the 4th of July. What’s more, if you complete 3 races (read, the Missoula Big 3 Challenge), you get more bling! Friday night, enjoy the Beer Run that starts at 6 pm (and is Free!!). Come bright and early Saturday morning (8 AM), get out and about for the 5K (this one costs some money, sorry guys!). Then, make sure you’re also registered for the half or full marathon on Sunday. Complete all 3 races (and be sure to check the Big 3 Challenge while registering) and pick up your reward at the finish!

I’m looking forward to some down hill running, knocking off the state of Montana on my Half Marathon list and hopefully running with some pros. The fact that this is a race I can drive to is a huge plus for me (I’ve been flying all over as of recently!). And if this course map isn’t convincing, I’m not sure what is:2016 MM Course Map Working V4

Head over here to register and save $5 with BibRave2017!

 

 

 

 

Destination Races Santa Barbara Half Marathon

In just over 2 months, it’ll be spring in Wine Country California, which means it’s time for Destination Races Santa Barbara and 13.1 miles full of wine country! I had the opportunity to meet up with the Destination Races gang while at Surf City earlier in February. Part of why I’m excited is because of the shirts I saw and the medals that were released. Not convinced? Take a look for yourself!

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If you’re on the fence, head over to the Destination Races Website to learn more and don’t forget, $10 off with BIBRAVE10!

Bibrave Race Review: Surf City Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to 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!

Well if flying out of LAX and driving to and from LAX wasn’t enough to give anyone an anxiety attack, I don’t know what is! I was in Huntington Beach this weekend for the Surf City Half Marathon. I first did this race in 2013 and have wanted to come back and do it again, so living on the west coast made things easier.

I flew out Friday morning, a rare direct flight from Spokane to anywhere. I picked up my rental car from the airport and hit the 405 towards Huntington Beach. I was hoping to miss any sort of rush hour traffic. Granted, LA always has traffic, I just wanted to miss the stand still part of it. I ended up stopping at the expo prior to going to the hotel. Since I was early, I found a place for lunch and walked around some. It was raining just a bit, but the sun came out by the time I got through the expo.

The Expo was easy to navigate. They had computers set up for number look up and liability forms to sign. You walked into race weekend registration, bib and shirt pick up

Packet pick up is open for business for @runsurfcity! #bibchat #runchat #runsurfcity

A post shared by Christine (@cginpnw) on

The lines for medium was long, but what can you do. It moved quickly though. No shirt exchange at the expo, but you could bring it race day to see if there was a size you wanted and you could swap out there. Always plenty of vendors and races there. I actually signed up for next year’s race at the expo. If you do the race 3 years in a row, you become a legacy runner (think special shirts and bling!). A ton of races, vendors, etc. Destination Races was there, a bunch of California races and your typical running specialty stuff there. Best of all, if you’re a beer drinker, the beer garden was open all 3 days.

Hotels: I stayed at the Double Tree Club in Santa Ana, about 30 min away. They have the Double Tree cookies there, but are awesome in general. They have free shuttles to/from the race, a pasta dinner and the best welcoming party after the race. The Hilton Waterfront is the sponsor hotel and right across the street from the start/finish

Getting there: Shuttles. Shuttles. Shuttles. Hotels associated with the race tended to do shuttles, which is what I took. There were other areas in town that let you park at their facilities and shuttled you in (I think the HS, the convention center, etc.

Race Morning: The Marathoners have their own start time at 630 AM. The Half Marathoners start at 745. The 1/2 marathon has a wave start based on your bib number and heads off every 3 minutes.

Waiting to get going! @runsurfcity #bibchat #runchat #runsurfcity #bibravepro #surfcityusa

A post shared by Christine (@cginpnw) on

 

The Course: you start out on the Pacific Coast Highway for approximately 3 miles before heading into a residential neighborhood for another 2 miles and change. Around mile 4 you get a nice little hill and some coastal view before heading back down the Pacific Highway. You head to the turn around (somewhere between miles 7 and 8) before heading back into town. Mile 10 brings some more gradual hills, but otherwise very flat. You get the breeze from the ocean, which kept things cool. The marathons had an extra portion that they did prior to coming back on Pacific Highway with us and split again in the late stages of the half marathons. Aid stations were every 1-1.5 miles with bathrooms, water and vitalyte (never heard of it).

Pacers: are from gun time and were available for the half and full marathon

The Finish: Where the expo took place over the weekend and right along the ocean. You were greeted with medals and enthusiastic announcers, spectators and other runners. Plenty of medals for everyone. As you went through, you picked up water, food and heat sheets. These guys also know the true meaning of having chocolate milk at the end of a race. There were other free samples of stuff and vendors set up. You could also buy finisher stuff. If you’re a beer fan: beer garden with entertainment.

My medal enjoying some beach time! @runsurfcity #bibchat #runchat #bibravepro #runsurfcity

A post shared by Christine (@cginpnw) on

Personally, this was probably my best race in 22 months. I ran 2:24:35, my first sub 2:30 since May, 2015. I’m pleased with that!

Please go do this race sometime. Or multiple times. It’s worth the runcation and time in California. The weather is typically good, though the sun decided to not join us this weekend, which was sad. My only gripe is they still use a D Tag. How about upgrading to the B tag? Less likelihood of someone putting the wrong tag on their shoe or throwing out their timing chip.

If you need any other reason to stay at the Double Tree Club in Santa Ana, look no further. The post race welcome we arrived to:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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