My Profile

@Atlanta15

Atlanta, GA Raving since 2016 active 5 years, 4 months ago

About Me

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My Races

Organize, track & review your races and personal bests here.

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Half Marathon

Marathon

Ultramarathon

(Marathon or Ultra) + Half

Marathon + Ultra

Other

Future Races

Future Races (1)

Race Distance Location Date Paid
Half Marathon Tupelo, MS TBD

Past Races (6)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
Half Marathon Midway, KY Oct 16, 2016
Half Marathon Gatlinburg, TN Sep 10, 2016
Half Marathon West Yellowstone, MT Jun 11, 2016
Half Marathon Hollywood, CA Apr 9, 2016
Half Marathon Chattanooga, TN Mar 5, 2016
Half Marathon Townsend, TN Sep 12, 2015

My Raves

First a few disclaimers: 1) I won entry to this race through RaceRaves 2) This was my first trail race 3) This was my first race at a higher altitude … MORE

First a few disclaimers:
1) I won entry to this race through RaceRaves
2) This was my first trail race
3) This was my first race at a higher altitude
4) I did the Bison Double (5k Friday night, 1/2 Saturday morning)

Now all of that is out of the way, WOW what a challenge! I flew into Jackson Hole on Thursday and drove through the southern entrance of Yellowstone over to West Yellowstone were I was staying. The packet pick up was a breeze on Friday and the expo though small was informative and fun. The NPS had a ranger there explaining what to do should you encounter a bear or other wildlife as well as real displays of bears, bear claws and other wildlife. Vacation Races had a fire pit for roasting marshmallows and hammocks for relaxing or for family and friends to hangout and wait for you during your race.

The plan was to use the 5k to preview the first 2 and last mile of the 1/2 and see how I would react to the altitude. Starting out it was in tight quarters with other runners and a bit crowded for the first mile. The course was on crushed gravel and fine dirt and then at the first turn I found myself running down into a short “ditch” with rocks and then on grass with tire ruts to each side along with holes and rocks. The last mile was on hard packed dirt and crushed rocks. I did find myself with a little concern about the half the next morning because of the technical nature at the start of this race but I enjoyed the challenge and had no issues with the altitude. I felt good about my time given the tight quarters and technical nature of the course.

RACE DAY! What a cool and beautiful start to the day. I arrived to the race area by 6 am in time to enter my bib number for the first prize raffle. Vacation Races works with their sponsor vendors as well as local vendors to give away prizes prior to the start of the race. Because I arrived early I took the extra time to mill around talk to a few folks, mentally prepare for the run and hydrate. I began to question my sanity when I saw the park rangers on dirt bikes prior to the race. Their function was to go out before the runners and spook the wildlife (bear, bison and elk). Yep, that is when I had a moment of oh crap what have I signed up for but it quickly died down as the announcement came for everyone to start lining up in their respective time corral. Being this was a sold out race it was tight in between the barriers.

And we are off! Knowing what to expect with the terrain the first few miles I took it slow until we all had a chance to spread out from each other. That started to happen around mile 2 as the course was a bit flatter. At mile 5 I took my time at the water stop to enjoy the view at the bridge and prepare for the challenge of the HILL. The HILL – deceptively easy looking when you first see it. Don’t let it fool you! This is where I started to feel the altitude. My breathing became a bit more labored and my legs were heavy and harder to move. I made the decision to walk most of the hill and play it safe. From miles 6-8 it was a walking parade because most people as myself were feeling the effects of altitude. And you know what? That was ok. I ended up in a small group of 5 or 6 other people and we chatted and encouraged each other. We then found the second hill and let out a collective OMG. It was shorter and a bit steeper but were relieved to see downhill and started to run. Running turned into hopping and hopping became a fast hike. This was a technical downhill. Small rocks, big rocks, shallow ruts, ruts that will swallow you whole and don’t think that flat center line is any better as there are rocks and holes hidden in the grass. Getting back onto the flat crushed gravel road was an exciting moment as true running could take place. The run to the finish was more of a walk for some, a shuffle for many and a jog for others. I felt like I finished strong and had a great time. At every VR race you are given a food recovery box. This has several single serving sizes of different snacks for you to eat now or take with you on your adventure into the national park. There were a few folks who tripped/fell and were banged up and I did see one runner at around mile 11 vomiting on the side of the trail which was probably due to altitude sickness. I am usually a 2:56 1/2 runner and set a goal of 3:30 with this race due to altitude and technicality. I beat it at 3:22.

A few take aways and important details:
This is my second VR event with another this year. They are well executed, water stops are well supplied, great swag and fun. This is a TECHNICAL TRAIL race. It is beautiful but also keep in mind you are in the woods surrounded by trees and mother nature rules. Yes there are a few thousand runners but always be aware. Some runners did carry bear spray. HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE! You are running at altitude and if you are from a lower area this will help. I started 2 weeks prior to my trip. Several days prior I added 1 bottle of Skratch to my routine to ensure I was well hydrated. I also run with a vest and had a bottle of water and a bottle of Skratch. Know the signs of altitude sickness and do not ignore them. Sunscreen – again you are closer to the sun at this elevation and can burn fast. Take the time and do the challenges – our national park system is amazing and Yellowstone should be on your list.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
My Media

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First off let me say the race is not a bad race. It does however have a few too many out and backs for my liking. Now that I have … MORE

First off let me say the race is not a bad race. It does however have a few too many out and backs for my liking. Now that I have said that, let’s get to the nitty gritty of the expo, the race, the finish and the swag.

The vendor expo is small and a bit chaotic. I had to pick up my number at one end of the Palladium and then walk to the other side to pick up my shirt. The vendor who supplies the for purchase race gear had limited numbers of each item and limited number of size runs. So if you are like me and wear a large women’s shirt and wanted to purchase you were out of luck unless you came early!

The race was fun. The start line is in front of Mann’s Chinese Theater and there was an opportunity to check out a few stars on the Walk of Fame. There was the Hollywood lights overhead and lots of good music. The only complaints I have here are the way the corals were set and lack of visible pacer signs as well as the 1/2, 10k and 5k all starting at the same time. People were friendly and I have never seen so many selfie stick at a race. Once the race started the course took an immediate right turn just past the timing mats for your first out and back. Speaking of timing mats, there are several timing mats along the course to ensure you run the complete course. It is easy to cut the course because of the number of out and backs and how they are set up. The mileage was well marked and the first water stops on the way out were well manned. The water stops on the way back around mile 5 or 6 were a bit overwhelmed with volunteers trying to refill water cups. There is very little crowd support once you past mile 2 as Hollywood Blvd is mostly a business district. I found this run was oddly quiet and actually enjoyed just taking in all the old buildings and signs as well as graffiti on the walls. Costumes were great for those who wore them for the 5k and 10k races. I did hear chatter they were looking to alter the course in the future.

The finish line is just off Hollywood Blvd and as in past reviews of this race you have to run past the street and travel about 3/4 of mile down and back to finish. It is a little long mentally but once you hit the finish line it is well organized. Volunteers are making sure you only take one of everything to ensure all finishers have the opportunity to recover.

SWAG!! 2016 is the 5th year this race was run and the medal reflected every year prior. It is one of the nicest medals I have earned.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4
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Overall well organized. This inaugural race was sold out but I never felt crowded once I crossed the start line. I did not catch the name of the woman who … MORE

Overall well organized. This inaugural race was sold out but I never felt crowded once I crossed the start line. I did not catch the name of the woman who performed the national anthem but WOW!! Best accapella performance ever! The course begins flat and the first real uphill is in front of the aquarium. A long climbing hill. You have a few rollers until you arrive at about mile 6 where the hills rise up (few choice words were uttered from those around me) and keep going until around 10.5 where you start your quick decent and continue on flats to the finish. The full and half distances split at mile 2, again around mile 9 and are well marked. The course scenery is OK as you will run through some industrial areas with no one around and over several railroad tracks but the old neighborhoods are beautiful. Official support – packet pick up, volunteers, water stops were great. They had coke, oranges and some had candy on the course for runners. Neighborhoods came out to support and cheer. The medal is nice – large and simple. I was hoping it would have the colors of the logo which by the way was clever – if you were running the full the top color – green -was your shirt color, directional marker and ribbon color, blue for the half and orange for the relay teams. Post race – You are given a voucher on your bib for your choice of lunch from one of several vendors. I had the burger from Events with Taste and was impressed. I would do this race again.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4
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From the time I engaged the website to the finish line I had nothing but positive experiences. The race is not in the national park but just outside in Townsend … MORE

From the time I engaged the website to the finish line I had nothing but positive experiences. The race is not in the national park but just outside in Townsend TN on the old highway along the river and the paved bike/run path. The information and the way it is communicated is top notch. They did send out texts to advise a late opening for packet pick up due to unforeseen events and that was nice to know. The event provided an electronic copy of the race instructions, map, etc via the website and a printed copy the day of packet pick-up. The back of our race bib was printed with the course map and great information about what miles water stops were located. It is a cup less race which I loved. The stops had water as well as Nunn in coolers with a quick dispense system and other stops had additional Stinger gels, oranges and porta john stops. Finish line was a bit up hill but the fact you are presented with a beautiful, large and weighted medal as well as a food box with some good recovery snacks made up for that. I like the challenges which encourage you to stay a few days longer and explore the area and other national parks and receive a discount on the same race the next year. I am doing this race again in 2016 along with the new challenge of the Black Bear Double Down. Looking forward to doing a few more Vacation Races in the future.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
My Media

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