Saturday, August 1, 2015

Red Rock Relay Moab 2015

Our team rocked this race starting with the best team name ever, Happy Mammories. We really wanted to get some shirts made but someone thought it might be inappropriate (that person was not me). If you have seen the reviews I have done, you know that Red Rock Relay has been run before. Our team did the Dixie race last year but due to some conflicts with the city of St. George, Red Rock was unable to put on that race this year. We grabbed what we thought would be the next best one day relay, Moab. 

Communication was great as always. The website is great and they send informative emails. Apparently they changed the race guide after we printed it up so we showed up to the captain meeting an hour late. They Red Rock peeps were cool about it, gave us our stuff, got us all checked in, even gave us free shirts for our kiddos (which are way better than the race shirts we got, or maybe my 8 year old just looks better in her shirt).

Red Rock is a super chill relay. It’s not competitive and it’s relatively small. You will always have other teams with you but you won’t get stuck in a traffic jam because there are too many teams in the race. The bathrooms were frequent and nasty as usual. Because it’s a relay there was no on course support provided, it’s all provided by your team. My team offered stellar support which included a megaphone and some interesting commentary, a bag of skittles which later resulted in skittle spittle on a runner’s face, a language monitor, and a destroyed under carriage that you could hear coming for miles.

My least favorite part was the race course. This is probably because I had the worse leg in the history of legs. I was runner 1, which is great because you run first and finish first. We were among the first teams to start and we pretty much stayed in a group for the first tenth of a mile. On a poorly marked road we all ended up down a trail that was closed. We had to turn around and run back up said trail to locate the correct route. Not a good start at 5 in the morning. My second and last leg was the memory builder. In 4 miles, I climbed 1177 feet, according to my trusty Nike app. On top of the amazing mountain climb, I experienced all four seasons. Started out nice and sunny, then there was a slight breeze that reminded me of Fall, then I got to experience the sudden onset of snow. Yup first race I have run in the snow! Did I mention this race was in MAY! I was not dressed for winter running. My last tenth of a mile was downhill and Spring showers were upon me. When I say tenth of a mile it felt like .01 and by downhill I meant it wasn't uphill. If I could have made it up the mountain faster I would have. Maybe next year I’ll let someone else be runner 1.

Red Rock Relay could really use a re-do on their finish line. It’s anti-climactic and a disappointment after spending all day running. They also need to consider amping up their medals. It was a nice medal with a silhouette of the arches in Moab, which we DID NOT run by, but is iconic for the area. It’s time for Red Rock Relay to step up their game. I give this race 3 shoes.

Friday, July 24, 2015

AF Canyon Run Against Cancer 2015

AF Canyon Run Against Cancer is formerly known as AF Canyon Half Marathon. The name change this year but their mission didn't change. They are raising money to help individuals fighting cancer. 100% of the race fees are donated to their local hospitals. Yup, 100%!

I got most of the race info from Facebook, they had a fantastic little flip book thing that had everything you would ever need to know.

Pick up was quick and painless. They had the system down! I was headed back to my car in 5 min. They didn't have a lot of goodies in the bag but to my happy happy surprise they had Albion fit arm warmers!!!!!! What!!!!! I was thrillllllllled thrilled. So cute and hello....Awesome!

Race starts early... You have to be there by about 4 am to catch the bus. It was a very warm day, so waiting around wasn't bad at all. They had some giveaways and stuff while waiting and the DJ was good and loud, so that was nice. They had tons of honey buckets, but as you racers know, it's never enough. I was in one when the gun went off.

Race support was excellent. Couldn't have asked for better. Had everything you would need (except maybe Imodium which I could have used. Cough.)

Course is downhill for first 8 miles and very pretty. I ran this race last year and I can't remember it being as hard as it was towards the end. Or maybe I was tired. Pretty flat and hilly for the last 5 miles.

Shirt is super cute (see pic) and they offered tank and shirt styles. They wouldn't let me exchange my shirt for the tank (what's the big deal?!) and I was kinda pissed about it. Oh well.

Medal was pathetic compared to last year. Last years was freaking awesome. (Yawn)

After support was great, plenty of what you need plus Kneaders French toast (um no thanks said my 13 mile stomach). But a great lively scene.

All in all great race with GREAT cause so get out there and do it next year. I give this race 4 shoes.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ogden Half Marathon 2015

There are 2 words to describe Ogden's 1/2 Marathon 2015 - Cold and Wet. This was my 2nd time running the Ogden 1/2 Marathon and when I ran it 2 years ago it was also very wet and cold. With that said I must admit that I still love the Ogden Marathon. It starts at Eden Park in the Ogden Valley and runs down the Ogden Canyon down the Ogden River Parkway and ending on the Historic 25th street area of Downtown Ogden. I grew up in the small town of Eden and my sister still lives there which gives me an emotional connection to this particular race. If anyone has ever visited the area you know that it is a beautiful part of our state. The Ogden canyon in particular is one of my favorite places, with the evergreen trees lining the road, a river roaring beside you as you run and ending in an amazing waterfall as you exit the mouth of the canyon it is a beautiful and peaceful place to run. There are not sidewalks or trails for most of the canyon so this race gives you a rare opportunity to run the canyon while it is closed to traffic.
This was the 15th year for the Ogden Marathon and they have done a fantastic job in making it not just a race but a full event. While the poor weather certainly put a damper on the finish line festivities the race overall is very well organized and provide lots of amenities to runners. Starting with the packet pickup expo which included blow up slides for kids and families, plenty of running gear vendors with new and interesting products to sell and what I felt was a pretty well organized packet pickup process. One tip though is to make sure that you have your number when you go to pick up, it will speed up the process for you. There are 10,000 runners between the full, half, and relay race so expect the expo to be crowded. When it comes to the swag bag I am not super impressed with what you get, I got a couple sample bars, a sunblock and a magazine. But I have never been a huge swag bag person. However I do love their t-shirts. They have a different style for men and women and they are a long sleeve tech material that is sized pretty well. The full marathoner's get a slightly nicer shirt with a zip front collar.
On race day I did not have to bus to the start line since we walked over from my sister's house but I will say that I would not try to drive to the start line. There is not a lot of places to park and there is a lot of traffic trying to make it to the start line. For aide stations and everything it is very well set with stations every 2 miles with at least a few porta potties, water and Gatorade and then most stations had either Gu, Sweedish Fish, oranges, or banana's. 
The race stays completely off of open roads so you are not competing with traffic and worried about safety which is nice. The finish line had soda, chocolate milk, Creamies, warm toast, and bottled water for runners. And from what I could see they had lots of vender booths and entertainment, however with it being as cold and wet as it was I booked it to my warm car and may have missed any fun that was there. Overall I love Ogden Marathon and do plan to run it again in the future. It is a well organized race with plenty of amenities included - just remember to register early! It books out fast and you will be sad to let this race pass you by!