Thursday, March 20, 2014

Red Rock Relay Dixie 2014

What can you say about St. George, Utah in March! Coming from a snow storm and 30 degree temperatures to sunny St. George was spectacular. It certainly brought on the spring fever, especially once we returned to the 30 degree climate.
Here is my disclaimer for this race, my team did not finish first. We finished 19th. But, since we crossed the finish line first I am going to refer to it as our first place finish for the remainder of the review. (Whoever the team is that actually finished in first place; please don’t hate me, you did after all get to sleep in longer than us and were not forced to wear a head lamp on your first leg.)

Red Rock Relay Dixie was a one day relay race put on by the same company that does Red Rock Relay Zion, which was a two day relay that we previously reviewed. The communication was really great from the beginning. The race guide was very detailed and was great on race day for driving and running directions. Their emails were comprehensive and just frequent enough to not cause anxiety. 

As an added bonus, we got free hoodies based on the weekend we signed up. The hoodies were ones that didn’t sell from the previous year races and there were not a lot of size or color choices left. But I am not going to complain too much about a free sweatshirt especially considering what the race shirts looked like. One of the great things about doing races are that you get race shirts that you can run in. The shirt that we were given are not shirts you can run in, they are designed to be a shirt that you would wear after you got cleaned up from your run. Let’s just say, it has been given a better home.

Like all relay races, the course support is provided by your team. At the finish line there appeared to be some food. However, it was all wrapped up and while there were people there, they made no effort to offer us the food or unwrap it so we could get our own. It’s completely possible that the food wasn’t there for racers but rather the volunteers for the race. It was okay though, because St. George has a Swig! We headed there for our after race drinks and snacks. Seriously, could be the best chocolate chip cookie ever! (They have fantastic sugar cookies and drinks too. And no this post is not sponsored by Swig, but I would seriously run in a Swig shirt if they would give me free cookies!)

Oh the medal, (insert long pause here). Well, it was pretty unremarkable. Not good or bad, just a medal. Of course, I am super happy to add another one to the collection. 

I forgot to mention the port-a-potties. This was the best part of being in first place, we got the use of unused port-a-potties the majority of the race. The only bad thing (keeping in mind we are talking about mobile toilets) is a few of them were place precariously. There were two exchanges where the wind was really strong, one wrong step and the potty was going to tip over! Really though, when you have to go you just take that chance. Logically, this was an issue with the company that dropped off the port-a-potties for not securing them properly. However, the race director probably should have checked each exchange and let someone know of the hazard. Is this a little nitpicky, yes. But, would you have ridden in the van with me after I got soaked in a used port-a-potty?

Overall, I am giving this race 3.5 shoes. This is another of those low key relay races that can be really fun with the right team. It’s not highly competitive and it’s great training for those longer relays. The best part of the race by far is the team you run with.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Lake to Lake Relay St. George Utah

The Lake to Lake relay was a day long relay race from Gunlock Reservoir to Sand Hallow State Park. A total of $45 per person which makes this an extremely good deal. It’s a great warm up race from some of the longer relays like Ragnar or Red Rock Relay. It’s also a really good race for beginners or those who are sick of the two day long relay races.

As a disclaimer, I was not the team captain. In fact, I was a fill in runner for someone that got injured. Because I was not the captain, I did not receive any information directly from the race directors. Our captain attended a mandatory captains meeting the night before the race that she reported it was very informative and pretty short.

The race guide was very handy with driving directions and running directions. I don’t memorize my running directions because I assume there will be people in front of me and signs if I happen to be in dead last and so far behind that I can’t see anyone. This course was poorly marked resulting in one of our runners going slightly off course and we witnessed a couple other runners who were headed the wrong way. 

The course was very pretty and as you can see the weather was beautiful after the hail passed (which of course was on my leg).

There were some tough uphills and very few declines. It was certainly challenging but overall a great course.

There was no on course support because it was a relay. Due to the small number of teams, there were only three porta-potties at each exchange. After the first two exchanges the lines were very small. They had volunteers at each exchange. However, the running path was not cleared at each exchange, you can imagine the chaos! Runners were dodging teams waiting for their runner, the porta-potty line, and vehicles. But again, this diminished after leg two as the teams got spread out. More than one leg had runners routed through the parking lot in which the support vans were told to park. As far as I know there were no injuries, but it was a little nerve racking for the driver and the runners.

The shirts were a very nice shade of blue with a really nice water design. They certainly look better on! The medal has the same design as the shirt. I am happy to add this one to my collection.

This was a good race with a lot of potential. I liked that it wasn’t crowded and it had a low-key feel to it. It’s definitely one to check out if you are thinking of joining the more serious relay race crowd. Overall, I give it 3.5 shoes.