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!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Provo City Half Marthon 2015

Provo City Half Marathon, Run13
May 2, 2015

This is the second race I have done that was put on by Run13. I ran the Hobbler Half Marathon last year and let’s just say I was not impressed. That same year my running partner ran Provo City Half, also put on by Run13, and raved about how great it was. So I had to give it a go!

Communication was great. Their website had a lot of information and their emails were timely and informative. The race map on the website needs a little work. It didn’t have the miles on there and that would have been helpful to see how many miles were canyon, trail, and road.

I picked up my packet the morning of the race and all went smoothly. There were no lines, the volunteers were nice, and the shirts were the right size. What more could you ask for? Oh yeah, goodies in the bag would have been nice! Unfortunately, I have found lately that the bags given out have less and less in them. Unless you are counting the advertisements, cause they are always abundant.

It was a beautiful course for the first six (or so) miles. I love running in the canyon at the beginning of a new day with so much promise. Then we got dumped on some trail for a few miles that was okay but only in hindsight because after that we got dumped on city roads which did nothing for the scenery. Then there is the three, or at the time what appeared to be 12, miles in which you could see the finish line but couldn’t quite get there. I was starting to wonder why they kept moving the finish line back!

If you read my race reviews you know that if it’s not extremely downhill I don’t consider it a downhill. The canyon miles were downhill, the trail had a nice mix of small downs and ups, the city roads were at a slight incline the entire five miles. Those last five miles were discouraging and hard. But as I was running them I was thinking that I should change my view of downhill. Not everyone gets to run where there are mountains and the opportunity to race down them so from here on out, a downhill is a downhill no matter how steep!

Race support was fantastic. The police on the city roads were nice and did a great job of controlling the traffic. The water stations were packed with volunteers and had water and a sports drink. They had GU at one station, which I have stopped gagging down but that is for another post.

The bling was a disappointment. It’s not cute, original, or huge. Yes, it’s a medal and I got to add it to my collection, but that is all I can really say. The shirts weren’t too bad. They had the race logo on a black shirt. Again, not cute or original but definitely going to wear it.

I haven’t complained enough you say? Here comes my major issue with this race. I didn’t appreciate drinking pesticide at the end of the race. Clearly they were using hose water, non-filtered water, sewer water, non-potable water, however you want to refer to it. I am going to call it pesticide water because it tasted like something you spray on your lawn. I only know this because I was literally spraying my lawn the night before the race with some weed killer and got some in my mouth (don’t ask!) and it tasted just like it. I still drank the tiny paper cup full because I was dying of thirst, yes even after the first gulp I choked the rest down. And no I didn’t get sick at all. I would have loved bottled water at the end. Or even water that tasted like water would have been nice since there was nothing else to drink (chocolate milk anyone?). They did have breakfast from a local restaurant there, but the line was too long and they only gave you a half a piece of French toast. I figured it wasn’t worth my time for a small piece of toast so we left and got Swig cookies and a Dirty Dr. Pepper. Swig cookies beat just about any after race snack! (Please let this post result in free cookies for life from Swig!)

Overall I give the race three shoes. It’s a nice race and super cheap, I paid $30 with a deal from Groupon. But there are some issues that will keep me from running it again or any Run13 race.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dogtown Half Marathon

February 21, 2015
Finish time: 1:54 and change.

I highly recommend this race. The weather was beautiful! A little chilly at first, but it always is at a race. Even though this one didn’t start until 9AM, still chilly in St George/Washington. Other races needs to take a clue and start at 9.

Communication was good. Lots of emails, but not TOO many. Had everything that you need to know in them (packet pick up location and time, parking info, bus info, drop bag info) I didn’t feel left in the dark at all.

Packet pick up was at a rec center and very organized and mellow. I was in and out in 15 min. I would have hung out to browse samples and vendors but my family was waiting for me and we had dinner plans (pasta of course!).

The grab bags didn’t have much in them, but the shirts were super cute AND they had all these cute headbands with all these different sayings that you could pick out one for free!! Mine said some girls chase boys, I just pass them. (partially true)

COURSE is the most important part of a race for me. And I went in blind. I knew no one that had done this race, and the course description and elevation was kinda vague . . . I don’t trust those anyway. Word of mouth is what I trust. Anyway . . . the course wasn’t easy. I usually I don’t like that. But for some reason this one was okay. It was fairly hilly (with two major hills during the last 3 miles… HELLO)but it did have some good downs to catch you up on your pace. You run through Coral Canyon which was pretty. But I HATE that they had a mile marker every flipping mile. The worst. They did have pacers for those who like them.

This was my first cupless race! And I don’t mean a jockey cup! I ALWAYS wear my jock strap while running. That’s just crazy to go without one. Just kidding.

So in your packet bag they had this flimsy silicone pouch thing and informed us that there will be no cups during the race. You use your own bottle or you can use this pouch to fill up at water stations. I decided to give it a go..and no too bad! Plus it saved tons and tons of waste which is always a good thing. Stations were like every 3-4 miles. Not too bad. They offered GOOOOOO (gag) at every station and fruit about halfway. Water and Gatorade were the fluids. Fluids is kinda a gross word. Bathrooms were sparse . . . maybe offered twice? But the race was kinda small so no waiting.

Medal was cool it was a dog in a dog house. Very different from anything I have already!

SO the race ended at a cute farm. Very family friendly so have them cheer for you and have a little fun after! They called your name while running through the finish line which I mean everyone loves. Or is it just me?

They handed me a bottled water (yay! Water in some sort of cup!) and a paper bag after I crossed and got my medal. I went right to the drop bag area, showed my bib, and had my bag in 30 seconds.

When I look in my paper bag they gave me . . . lots and lots of goodies!! Yummy ones too. Cant remember exactly what they had . . . but I know it was good stuff and nice to have. (I ate it all.) They also had chocolate milk and fruit at the finish.

Overall I give this race 4.5 shoes outta 5!! I would definitely do it again if I had some friends that would do it with me too.