My Profile

@runwalksarah

Newhall, CA Raving since 2018 50 States hopeful/finisher, 100 Half Marathons Club, Marathon Maniacs #12966, Half Fanatics #8244 IG: @RunWalkSarah active 2 days, 3 hours ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):

    Dog Haus Pasadena, Team in Training Alumni

  • Rave race:

    Marine Corps Marathon

  • Race that's calling my name:

    New York Marathon

  • I run because:

    Not to sound cliche, but I run because I can. In 2012, I survived a brain aneurysm rupture. Returning to running marathons and half marathons was a major part of my physical and mental recovery. Everyday I am thankful to be alive and still able to run. Plus, I’m part raccoon and like to collect shiny objects.

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 (30)

Race Distance Location Date Paid
Half Marathon Irvine, CA Sep 7, 2019
Marathon Salt Lake City, UT Sep 14, 2019
10K Los Angeles, CA Sep 22, 2019
Bike and Run Combo Long Beach, CA Oct 13, 2019
5K Long Beach, CA Oct 13, 2019
Half Marathon Ventura, CA Oct 20, 2019
Half Marathon San Diego, CA Nov 2, 2019
Half Marathon Big Bear, CA Nov 9, 2019
Half Marathon Rancho Palos Verdes, CA Nov 16, 2019
Half Marathon Las Vegas, NV Nov 17, 2019
10K Seal Beach, CA Nov 23, 2019
Marathon Folsom, CA Dec 7, 2019
Half Marathon Riverside, CA Dec 8, 2019
Half Marathon Pomona, CA Dec 14, 2019
Half Marathon San Diego, CA Dec 21, 2019
Half Marathon Playa del Rey, CA Dec 26, 2019
Half Marathon Pasadena, CA Jan 19, 2020
Marathon Los Angeles, CA Mar 8, 2020
Marathon Pittsburgh, PA May 3, 2020
Half Marathon San Diego, CA May 30, 2020
Half Marathon San Diego, CA 2020
Half Marathon Laguna Hills, CA 2020
Marathon Baltimore, MD TBD
Marathon Two Harbors, MN TBD
Marathon South Williamson, KY TBD
Marathon Indianapolis, IN TBD
Marathon Staten Island, NY TBD
Marathon Copenhagen, Denmark TBD
Marathon Newport, RI TBD
Marathon Tulsa, OK TBD

Past Races (197)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
Half Marathon San Diego, CA Jul 14, 2019
Half Marathon Santa Clarita, CA Jun 15, 2019
Marathon Evergreen, CO Jun 2, 2019
Half Marathon Laguna Hills, CA May 27, 2019
Half Marathon Hollywood, CA Apr 7, 2019
5K Arcadia, CA Apr 6, 2019
Half Marathon Encinitas, CA Mar 31, 2019
Marathon Los Angeles, CA Mar 24, 2019
5K New Orleans, LA Feb 9, 2019
Marathon New Orleans, LA Feb 9, 2019
Half Marathon Huntington Beach, CA Feb 3, 2019
Half Marathon Pasadena, CA Jan 20, 2019
Half Marathon San Diego, CA Jan 13, 2019
Half Marathon San Diego, CA Dec 15, 2018
Half Marathon Pomona, CA Dec 9, 2018
5K Pomona, CA Dec 8, 2018
Half Marathon Riverside, CA Dec 2, 2018
Half Marathon Las Vegas, NV Nov 11, 2018
5K Las Vegas, NV Nov 10, 2018
Half Marathon San Diego, CA Nov 4, 2018
Half Marathon Los Angeles, CA Oct 28, 2018
10K Huntington Beach, CA Oct 27, 2018
Half Marathon Ventura, CA Oct 21, 2018
Half Marathon Big Bear, CA Oct 14, 2018
Bike and Run Combo Long Beach, CA Oct 7, 2018
5K Long Beach, CA Oct 6, 2018
10K Los Angeles, CA Sep 23, 2018
5K Long Beach, CA Sep 16, 2018
Half Marathon Irvine, CA Sep 8, 2018
10K Huntington Beach, CA Aug 12, 2018
Marathon Government Camp, OR Jul 28, 2018
5 Mile Tustin, CA Jul 12, 2018
10K Huntington Beach, CA Jun 23, 2018
Half Marathon Santa Clarita, CA Jun 16, 2018
5K San Diego, CA Jun 3, 2018
Half Marathon San Diego, CA Jun 3, 2018
Half Marathon Laguna Hills, CA May 28, 2018
5K Pittsburgh, PA May 6, 2018
Marathon Pittsburgh, PA May 6, 2018
10K Santa Clarita, CA Apr 21, 2018
Half Marathon Los Angeles, CA Apr 8, 2018
5K Arcadia, CA Apr 7, 2018
Half Marathon Santa Clarita, CA Mar 31, 2018
Half Marathon Agoura Hills, CA Mar 24, 2018
Marathon Los Angeles, CA Mar 18, 2018
5K Los Angeles, CA Mar 17, 2018
Marathon Little Rock, AR Mar 4, 2018
10K Little Rock, AR Mar 3, 2018
Sprint Los Alamitos, CA Feb 24, 2018
Half Marathon Temecula, CA Feb 17, 2018
Half Marathon Pasadena, CA Jan 21, 2018
Dopey Challenge (48.6 Miles) Lake Buena Vista, FL Jan 7, 2018
Half Marathon Long Beach, CA Dec 24, 2017
Half Marathon San Diego, CA Dec 16, 2017
5K Pomona, CA Dec 10, 2017
Half Marathon Pomona, CA Dec 10, 2017
10K San Antonio, TX Dec 3, 2017
Marathon San Antonio, TX Dec 3, 2017
Half Marathon Rancho Palos Verdes, CA Nov 18, 2017
Half Marathon Las Vegas, NV Nov 12, 2017
Half Marathon Joshua Tree, CA Nov 4, 2017
Half Marathon Los Angeles, CA Oct 29, 2017
Marathon Arlington, VA Oct 22, 2017
10 Miler Huntington Beach, CA Oct 15, 2017
5K Long Beach, CA Oct 8, 2017
Bike and Run Combo Long Beach, CA Oct 8, 2017
50K Black Rock City, NV Aug 29, 2017
12K Pasadena, CA Jul 21, 2017
Half Marathon San Diego, CA Jul 16, 2017
Half Marathon Santa Clarita, CA Jun 17, 2017
5K San Diego, CA Jun 4, 2017
Marathon San Diego, CA Jun 4, 2017
Half Marathon Laguna Hills, CA May 29, 2017
Half Marathon San Diego, CA May 20, 2017
Half Marathon Anaheim, CA May 14, 2017
Marathon Pittsburgh, PA May 7, 2017
5K Pittsburgh, PA May 7, 2017
Marathon Olathe, KS Apr 22, 2017
Half Marathon Hollywood, CA Apr 8, 2017
Half Marathon Agoura Hills, CA Apr 1, 2017
Half Marathon Encinitas, CA Mar 26, 2017
Marathon Los Angeles, CA Mar 19, 2017
Half Marathon Lake Buena Vista, FL Feb 26, 2017
Half Marathon Temecula, CA Feb 18, 2017
Half Marathon Los Angeles, CA Feb 12, 2017
Half Marathon Pasadena, CA Jan 22, 2017
Half Marathon San Diego, CA Dec 18, 2016
5K Pomona, CA Dec 11, 2016
Half Marathon Pomona, CA Dec 11, 2016
Half Marathon Riverside, CA Dec 4, 2016
5K Los Angeles, CA Nov 20, 2016
Half Marathon Rancho Palos Verdes, CA Nov 19, 2016
5K Las Vegas, NV Nov 13, 2016
Half Marathon Las Vegas, NV Nov 13, 2016
Half Marathon Azusa, CA Nov 12, 2016
10K Hollywood, CA Nov 5, 2016
Marathon Kansas City, MO Oct 15, 2016
Half Marathon Long Beach, CA Oct 9, 2016
5K San Jose, CA Oct 2, 2016
Half Marathon San Jose, CA Oct 2, 2016
Half Marathon Ventura, CA Sep 11, 2016
Half Marathon Anaheim, CA Sep 4, 2016
10K Irvine, CA Sep 3, 2016
Marathon Santa Rosa, CA Aug 28, 2016
Half Marathon Simi Valley, CA Aug 7, 2016
Half Marathon San Diego, CA Jul 17, 2016
Half Marathon Ventura, CA Jul 10, 2016
Half Marathon Santa Clarita, CA Jun 18, 2016
5K San Diego, CA Jun 5, 2016
Marathon San Diego, CA Jun 5, 2016
Half Marathon Laguna Hills, CA May 30, 2016
Half Marathon Anaheim, CA May 8, 2016
Marathon Pittsburgh, PA May 1, 2016
Half Marathon Ojai, CA Apr 24, 2016
5K Glendale, CA Apr 10, 2016
Half Marathon Hollywood, CA Apr 9, 2016
Marathon Washington, DC Mar 12, 2016
Half Marathon Ventura, CA Mar 6, 2016
10K Los Alamitos, CA Feb 27, 2016
Half Marathon Huntington Beach, CA Feb 7, 2016
Half Marathon Los Angeles, CA Jan 24, 2016
Half Marathon Anaheim, CA Jan 17, 2016
Half Marathon Riverside, CA Jan 9, 2016
Half Marathon Los Angeles, CA Jan 3, 2016
5K Los Angeles, CA 2016
Half Marathon Los Angeles, CA 2016
Half Marathon Pomona, CA Dec 13, 2015
Half Marathon Riverside, CA Dec 6, 2015
Half Marathon Anaheim, CA Nov 15, 2015
Half Marathon Rancho Palos Verdes, CA Nov 14, 2015
Half Marathon Santa Clarita, CA Nov 8, 2015
Half Marathon Los Angeles, CA Oct 25, 2015
Half Marathon Ventura, CA Oct 24, 2015
Half Marathon San Dimas, CA Oct 18, 2015
10K Irvine, CA Oct 17, 2015
Half Marathon Long Beach, CA Oct 11, 2015
Half Marathon San Dimas, CA Sep 20, 2015
Half Marathon Anaheim, CA Sep 6, 2015
5 Miler Tustin, CA Aug 6, 2015
5K Glendale, CA Jul 19, 2015
Half Marathon Temecula, CA Jun 13, 2015
5K San Diego, CA May 31, 2015
Marathon San Diego, CA May 31, 2015
Half Marathon Laguna Hills, CA May 25, 2015
Half Marathon San Diego, CA May 9, 2015
Half Marathon Newport Beach, CA May 3, 2015
Half Marathon West Hollywood, CA Apr 19, 2015
Half Marathon Hollywood, CA Apr 11, 2015
Half Marathon Sacramento, CA Mar 29, 2015
Marathon Los Angeles, CA Mar 15, 2015
Half Marathon Pasadena, CA Feb 15, 2015
Half Marathon San Diego, CA Feb 7, 2015
Half Marathon Huntington Beach, CA Feb 1, 2015
Half Marathon Los Angeles, CA Jan 25, 2015
Half Marathon Anaheim, CA Jan 18, 2015
Half Marathon Riverside, CA Jan 10, 2015
Half Marathon Los Angeles, CA Jan 3, 2015
Half Marathon Riverside, CA Dec 13, 2014
Half Marathon Irvine, CA Dec 6, 2014
Half Marathon Rancho Palos Verdes, CA Nov 15, 2014
Half Marathon Los Angeles, CA Oct 26, 2014
Half Marathon San Dimas, CA Oct 19, 2014
Half Marathon Long Beach, CA Oct 12, 2014
Half Marathon San Dimas, CA Sep 21, 2014
Half Marathon Ventura, CA Jun 7, 2014
Marathon San Diego, CA Jun 1, 2014
Half Marathon Laguna Hills, CA May 26, 2014
Half Marathon Newport Beach, CA May 4, 2014
Half Marathon San Diego, CA 2014
Half Marathon Huntington Beach, CA 2014
Half Marathon Irvine, CA 2014
Half Marathon Los Angeles, CA 2014
Half Marathon Hollywood, CA 2014
Half Marathon Pasadena, CA 2014
Half Marathon Ontario, CA Dec 8, 2013
Half Marathon Pasadena, CA Jun 30, 2013
Half Marathon Pasadena, CA Feb 17, 2013
Half Marathon Los Angeles, CA 2013
Half Marathon Newport Beach, CA 2013
Half Marathon Los Angeles, CA 2013
Half Marathon San Diego, CA 2013
Half Marathon Pasadena, CA 2012
Half Marathon Pasadena, CA 2012
Half Marathon San Francisco, CA 2009
Marathon Olympia, WA 2008
Marathon San Francisco, CA 2007
Marathon Las Vegas, NV 2007
Marathon Anchorage, AK 2007
Marathon Nashville, TN 2007
5K Redondo Beach, CA 2007
Marathon Phoenix, AZ 2007
5K Redondo Beach, CA 2006
Marathon San Francisco, CA 2006
5K Redondo Beach, CA 2005
5K Arcadia, CA 2005
Marathon Honolulu, HI 2005
Marathon San Diego, CA 2005

My Raves

Sugar Daddy Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Sugar Daddy Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

The weather smiled on the Sugar Daddy Race this year. It was overcast, cool and crisp! Perfect weather for running! Packet pick-up was at the Iron House Trailhead from 2 … MORE

The weather smiled on the Sugar Daddy Race this year. It was overcast, cool and crisp! Perfect weather for running!

Packet pick-up was at the Iron House Trailhead from 2 – 7 pm on Friday. For those unable to attend on Friday, they also offered free race morning packet pick-up on race morning.

In the pre-race e-mails, participants were given a clear map of where they could park. Participants were encouraged to carpool as prime parking was limited. Once the dirt lot just east of the race filled, participants were directed to park across the street. There was plenty of parking across the street, however it was a bit of a walk to the closest crosswalk to safely cross. Magic Mountain Pkwy allows for 3 lanes of traffic in each direction with a speed limit of 50 mph. Showing foresight, the race posted signs warning participants not to jay walk. My point is — if you arrive early enough, you can get the good parking and not have contend with crossing the street.

The course is on the bike paths through Santa Clarita. This means no road closures, but you must be aware of bicyclists also utilizing the path. It felt like there were fewer cyclists this year. The course is mostly flat with minimal gentle rolling hills. The individual miles were not marked. I can’t remember if it was like this previous years. Because of the extra wet winter, the scenery was extra green and thoroughly enjoyable.

The volunteers at the aid-stations are fabulous and their energy was infectious. At one aid-station (aka “poke stop”), a volunteer was dressed as Pikachu. The aid stations offered Nuun, water, and a surprisingly wide variety of snacks.

The medals are always cute. This year it featured the name of the race over purple and pink hearts (see my posted photo).

There were a variety of refreshments available upon crossing the finish line. The multi-colored rainbow bagels definitely stand out in my memory. The crowd favorite is always the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream though. There were a variety of vendors at the finish, including Stretchlab, which offered free 10 minute post-race stretches.

The race shirt was rather plain this year. It was black and featured the name of the race in silver writing.

I love that this race offers free race photos. What better way to get runners to advertise your event than to give them free photos to share on social media? I wish more races would start doing this. I also love that this race offers perks for legacy runners and runners who run the race consecutive years. This year the legacy gift was a cute tie pin. Great motivation to keep coming back. That and, you know, the ice cream.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4
My Media

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Run To Remember Los Angeles

Run To Remember Los Angeles

2019 brought some very major changes to Run to Remember. The first significant change -- the race had an all new course. The new starting line was at Westfield Century … MORE

2019 brought some very major changes to Run to Remember.

The first significant change — the race had an all new course. The new starting line was at Westfield Century City Mall, rather than The Grove. The new course took runners through Beverly Hills (including Rodeo Dr.) and into Fox Studios, rather than Paramount Studios.

This year, participants were promised free parking at the new venue. To get the free parking, participants were instructed to download the Westfield app and register their vehicle prior to race date. While registering my vehicle, I was required to provide credit card information for payment, which made me uncomfortable since the parking was supposed to be free.

The second significant change — the race no longer had an expo for participants to pick up their packets the day before the race. Race morning packet pick-up was the only option available. Packet pick-up started at 5:00 am. The Half Marathon started at 6:25 am. The 5K started at 7:30 am. The 10K started at 8:15 am. Bib numbers were not pre-assigned.

Fearing all these changes were a recipe for a chaotic morning, I arrived to the parking lot by 4:45 am. As promised, a camera recognized my license plate and the parking gate automatically lifted when my vehicle approached.

Once I was parked, I was a little confused as to where to go to pick-up my bib. As I had gotten there so early, there weren’t a lot of people yet. After a bit of wandering, I exited the parking structure onto Avenue of the Stars and located packet pick-up. There were no lines yet, so I was able to walk right up and have a bib number assigned to me in less than a minute. Participant shirts were black, cotton and unisex.

I then went to pick up my Legacy gift. This year Legacy Runners were to receive a Legacy bib (generic, no number) and a Legacy t-shirt. The front of t-shirt was identical to the participant shirt. The back featured an image of the Legacy bib. I pinned my bib with my number to the front of my shirt and the Legacy bib to my back. I then gear checked my two shirts. Three of my friends who are Legacy Runners were unable to pick-up their Legacy items as their names were not on the list.

I only saw about 10 porta potties, but did not have to wait in line to use one as lines had not yet formed.

The half marathon started promptly at 6:25 am. There was a special moment of silence for the CHP Sgt. Steve Licon, who had been struck and killed by a suspected drunk driver the day before. I noticed there was no missing man formation flyover before the start of the half marathon. This is something I have come to look forward to at this race, and was disappointed it didn’t happen.

Overall, I enjoyed the new course. It was nice running through Beverly Hills and on Rodeo Dr., even though I had run through this area during the LA Marathon only two weeks prior. When I was around mile 5.3, I saw 4 helicopters fly by for the missing man formation. Based on the time, I’m guessing this was done for the start of the 5K. I did not see any additional police helicopter flyovers. During previous years, a helicopter flew over at multiple times during the race while activating the siren.

There were approximately 10 aid stations providing water and Gatorade. I do not remember seeing any gels or other fuel. The volunteers were friendly and enthusiastic.

The run through Fox Studios was much shorter than the run through Paramount Studios and was at the end of the race. The course was slightly short. Per my Garmin, the race was 12.99 miles. All of my friends had very similar readings from their GPS devices.

Upon crossing the finish line, participants received water, bananas and BodyArmor Sports Drink. Upon exiting the finishers chute, participants could visit vendor booths to receive additional snacks including RX bars.

The medal featured a police & fire style badge with a compartment to place a challenge coin (see my attached photo). For the challenge coins, participants could pick between Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Police Department, County of Los Angeles Fire Department, Los Angeles Fire Department and EMTs. New this year — there was a metal bar with a military branch slid onto the ribbon to rest above the medal. The military branches were already attached to the medal ribbons and thus given out at random.

There were a handful of race photographers, but like last year, participants were not sent their individual photos for purchase. 92 select photos were placed on the race website.

It took about 10 – 15 minutes to wait in the line of cars to get out of the parking lot. Upon reaching the parking gate, I noticed the gates were raised to allow free flow of traffic out of the garage. I’m not sure if this was done because people had difficulty taking advantage of the free parking through the app.

I liked some of the changes to this year, but felt other things needed improvement. I hope next year they bring back the expo the day before. Regardless, I am a big supporter of this race and look forward to continuing my Legacy status for years to come.

DIFFICULTY
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PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
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SWAG
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Encinitas Half Marathon & 5K

Encinitas Half Marathon & 5K

This was my 2nd year participating in the Encinitas Half Marathon. Packet Pick-up was at the Encinitas Community Center on Friday from 4:30 pm – 8:30 pm and Saturday from … MORE

This was my 2nd year participating in the Encinitas Half Marathon. Packet Pick-up was at the Encinitas Community Center on Friday from 4:30 pm – 8:30 pm and Saturday from 10 am – 6 pm. Parking at the Community Center was free. You could pick-up packets for other people as long as you had a copy of their ID. The expo was small, but had a nice variety of vendors. It was a good opportunity for participants to sample Ultima (on course hydration) and Muir Energy (on course fuel). Race morning packet pick-up was available starting at 5:30 am for $20 (cash only).

The race starts and finishes at the Moonlight Beach Lot in Encinitas. There were several free designated parking lots that were within walking distance of the start. There was also a free shuttle running to and from San Dieguito High School Academy.

The Half Marathon started promptly at 0730 as scheduled. The course was reversed from previous years and got rid of the big (but short) hill near the beginning. Runners started by running southbound toward Solana Beach, passing by several interesting landmarks. The ocean was in view almost the entire time. About a quarter mile after Mile 4, the course turned around and headed back past the start and through downtown Encinitas. Shortly after Mile 10, the course turned around again and headed back to the start. I’m normally not a fan of out-and-back style courses, but I enjoyed everything I saw along the course. The course was relatively flat, with only a few noticeable inclines and declines. Per my Garmin watch, the minimum elevation was 6′ and the maximum elevation was 97′. There was a hill in the final stretch of the race, but it was much smaller than the hill on the previous course.

There were a total of 5 aid stations. As the course was an out-and-back, runners went by each of the 5 stations twice. All aid stations were stocked with water and Ultima. Several stations were also stocked with Muir Energy. The community came out to support/cheer on the race and were handing out pretzels, licorice and otter pops.

Post-race refreshments included boxed water, bananas, Ki’s organic muffins and TruMoo Choco Milk. Participants could also walk through the vendor booths to receive additional treats, such as Harmless Harvest Coconut Water, Kashi bars and samples of Health-Ade Kombucha.

The beer garden was located two blocks away. It was a little inconvenient having to cross the race course to get to it, but the size of beer garden was worth it. There were 6 local craft breweries to pick from, including Boochcraft Kombucha, which made me super happy. Each participant received one complimentary beer/kombucha. Drinks were $5 cash after that. There was live music and a variety of craft vendors (I bought a beautiful handmade necklace). Everyone seemed to be having a great time. There was so much to do and see, I didn’t want to leave. Many participants stayed in the area and had breakfast in downtown Encinitas. There were quite a few nice looking resteraunts to pick from. Participants could show their bib at NAPIZZA and recieve one free slice of Margarita or Pepperoni Pizza.

In addition to a dri-fit shirt, all participants recieved a ceramic “States I Have Run In” mug. The mug features a map of the United States. The states can be colored in as you mark them off your running list. As someone who is working on running a full marathon in every state (plus DC), I was extremely excited to get my hands on this mug.

The finisher medal was stylish and large, featuring the Self-Realization Fellowship Encinitas Temple, which runners pass by in the first mile (see my posted photo).

If you ran the Surfing Madonna 12K in October and the Encinitas Half in March, you are eligible to receive the Challenger Series medal.

The Encinitas Half Marathon started off as a good solid event in 2017 and seems to have only gotten better. The organizers are commited to listening to the running community and putting on a unique event that people will enjoy. I look foward to running it again in 2020.

DIFFICULTY
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SCENERY
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SWAG
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Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon & 1/2 Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon & 1/2 Marathon

I traveled to New Orleans to mark the state of Louisiana off my list. The expo was at the New Orleans Convention Center on Friday from 12 pm – 6 … MORE

I traveled to New Orleans to mark the state of Louisiana off my list.

The expo was at the New Orleans Convention Center on Friday from 12 pm – 6 pm and Saturday 9 am – 5 pm. Like other Rock n Roll events, you cannot pick-up packets for other people. As I mentioned in my review of the 5K, I felt the expo was noticeably smaller than some of the other Rock ‘n’ Roll races I have run.

The half marathon and marathon started near Lafayette Square and finished at Roosevelt Mall in City Park. The two race distances started together at 7:30 am and stayed together until just before mile 13. The first portion of the race was a long out-and-back on St Charles Ave through the Garden District. I enjoyed seeing the large beautiful homes and lush trees. We then ran through the French Quarter, although not on Bourbon Street. After the half marathon branched off, we ran next to Bayou St. John until we hit the ocean. When I reached the turnaround point near mile 18, there were no volunteers or signs. Runners knew to turn around based on the traffic cones that were setup across the road. I would expect this at a smaller race, but not at a Rock ‘n’ Roll race. Close to mile 26, there was some construction occurring on the other side of a small construction fence right next to the race and construction dust was being blown onto the race course. I found it odd that the construction couldn’t be canceled for a few hours.

Every aid stations was stocked with water, except for the one at mile 7.2 which ran out. Every other aid station had Gatorade as a secondary option. SIS Gel was provided at mile 7.2, 14.7, and 20.1. In my opinion, this fuel is absolutely disgusting and I desperately wish they would go back to Glukos or Gu. The volunteers at the aid stations were awesome. The website said that salt would be provided at mile 8.6 and 13, but I did not see any.

I was warned there wasn’t much course support in the second half of the marathon, but I really expected to see more of the community coming out to support the race in general. For the most part, it seems like most of New Orleans was hungover thus slept in and ignored the race. Races such as the LA Marathon and Pittsburgh draw much more community support.

Upon finishing the race, there wasn’t much to do. Finish line refreshments included water, bananas, crackers, chips and Michelob Ultra. When my hotel roommate finished the half marathon, she told me they were handing out jambalaya to the runners. I did not see any jambalaya when I finished the marathon. My hotel roommate also told me that massages were available, however they stopped accepting sign-ups at 10:30 as the massage therapists were only scheduled to be there until noon. As far as she could tell, a lot of 10K runners were able to get massages, many half marathoners were able to get massages and no full marathoners got massages. Talk about a slap in the face from Rock ‘n’ Roll! It is also disappointing that Rock ‘n’ Roll no longer gives out jackets to full marathon finishers.

The medal featured a crawfish with a glittery hat, umbrella and mardi gras beads (see my attached photo). I was pleased with the medal as I felt it was iconic for new Orleans.

The free shuttle back to the starting line was efficient and hassle free.

Overall, I enjoyed the race and happy that I picked it to mark the state of Louisiana off my list. Would I recommend it to others? Yes, with warning if they plan on doing the full. Would I run it again? No.

DIFFICULTY
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My Media

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Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon & 1/2 Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon & 1/2 Marathon

My main motivation for running the New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll 5K was to receive the Remix Challenge Medal the following day. The expo was at the New Orleans Convention … MORE

My main motivation for running the New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll 5K was to receive the Remix Challenge Medal the following day.

The expo was at the New Orleans Convention Center on Friday from 12 pm – 6 pm. Like other Rock ‘n’ Roll events, they do not allow you to pick up bibs for other people. I expected the expo to be a bit bigger compared to other Rock ‘n’ Roll races I have run. For those unable to attend the expo, there was race morning packet pick-up available at the 5K.

The Start/Finish area was located at Lafayette Square. The course was a loop through the French Quarter. You do not run on Bourbon Street, but you do run on Royal St and Decatur St.

Finish line refreshments included water, bananas, crackers and Michelob Ultra beer. Way too early in the morning for me to be interested in beer! Much to the delight of the runners and spectators, a New Orleans style jazz band played near the finish line.

The medal featured glittery trombones, music notes and mardi gras beads set against a plain metal background (see my attached photo). I felt that it was a little dull compared to other Rock ‘n’ Roll 5K medals.

The 5K was a fun way to start my race weekend in New Orleans and definitely worth running. It gave my hotel roommate and I ideas for places we wanted to visit that day.

DIFFICULTY
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Surf City Marathon & Half Marathon

Surf City Marathon & Half Marathon

Due to personal scheduling conflicts, 2019 marked my first time participating in Surf City in a few years. The expo was at the race start in a parking lot along … MORE

Due to personal scheduling conflicts, 2019 marked my first time participating in Surf City in a few years.

The expo was at the race start in a parking lot along the Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach. It ran from 1 pm – 7 pm Friday and 10 am – 4 pm on Saturday. Someone can pick up your packet for you as long as they have a copy of your ID and your online waiver is signed. Parking at the expo was rather expensive, so I parked about 3/4 mile away and walked to the expo. There was a good variety of vendors at the expo. I walked away with a few good purchases and a few good freebies. For those unable to make it to the expo, there is the option to pre-purchase race morning packet pick-up for a fee of $25.

On race morning, there were multiple free parking lots to select from with free shuttles going to the start. I arrived early, thus had no issues with traffic and had plenty of time to use a porta-potty before the race.

The marathon started at 6:30 am, the 5K started at 7:00 am and the half marathon started at 7:45 am. Many people ran the 5K as well as the half marathon.

The half marathon course is flat, but rather boring. It is mostly an out-and-back, with the exception of a small out-and-back loop that started near mile 3. This segment was rather narrow and at times I was forced to run slower and/or walk due to congestion in front of me. I was annoyed when I observed a couple holding hands while taking a walk break together — completely obvious to the fact that people were having difficulty moving around them to pass.

Nothing remarkable stands out in memory about the rest of the race other than the scattered rain showers.

Upon finishing the race, I took a few photos then left. Surf City used to have one of the best post-race beer gardens. Looking through my Instagram photos, in 2016 they served a variety of beers from Sam Adams. In 2014 & 2015 they served a variety of beers from Kona Brewing Company. Now? Michelob Ultra. Bleh. Pass.

Mylar blankets were not automatically handed out eventhough it was raining. If you wanted a mylar blanket, you had to go to the medical tent for them to record your bib number. I found this odd.

The medal was a cute wooden surfboard with a metal Volkswagen bus affixed to it (see my attached photo). I’m glad they returned to this type of design.

I did not have to wait long to board a bus to go back to the parking lot where my car was parked.

It was nice getting to run Surf City again, but I found that the race did not hold up to my nostalgic memories of it. If I return next year it will be because I have that weekend free and I like the medal.

DIFFICULTY
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PRODUCTION
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Pasadena Half Marathon & 5K

Pasadena Half Marathon & 5K

This was the 3rd year of the Pasadena Half Marathon. It is put on by Conqur Endurance Group, which also puts on the LA Marathon. Packet Pick-up was at the … MORE

This was the 3rd year of the Pasadena Half Marathon. It is put on by Conqur Endurance Group, which also puts on the LA Marathon.

Packet Pick-up was at the Pasadena Convention Center on Friday from 3 pm – 7 pm and Saturday from 10 am – 5 pm. Parking at the Convention Center was $15, however you can find plenty of less expensive lots in the Old Town vicinity. You cannot pick-up packets for other people. Race morning packet pick-up is available starting at 5:30 am only to those who pre-purchased the option.

The race starts and finishes at the Rose Bowl. Parking is free, however participants are encouraged to donate to the Pasadena Ronald McDonald House Charity, which is the official charity of the race. The pre-race e-mail stated to plan on arriving by 6 am (1 hour before the race) at the latest. 6 am is too late. I wish I could underline that. Arrive earlier. I arrived at 5:25 and didn’t park until 5:55. My friend aimed to arrive at 6:00 and didn’t park until 7:09. The race was scheduled to start at 7:00 am, however the start was delayed until 7:15. The Rose Bowl was built back in 1922 and sits in a residential area. While there are events at the Rose Bowl all the time, the roads surrounding the Bowl were not originally designed to accommodate large crowds all at once. Arrive early.

Pasadena Pacers and LA Road Runners were allowed access to the Rose Bowl locker rooms before the race. Pasadena Pacers generously invited Dog Haus Run Club Pasadena to join them (awwww! thanks guys!). Wristbands could be picked up directly from the individual run club tables at the expo. It was a huge treat to be allowed access into the locker rooms and certainly made the race memorable.

As previously mentioned, the race starts and finishes at the Rose Bowl. There are quite a few hills throughout the race, the most significant being just before mile 2. The rest of the hills are mostly small. The course takes you by the Tournament House, through Old Town, down a portion of Lake Ave., past Caltech, along Green St., past the Pasadena Playhouse and across the Colorado Street Bridge before dropping back down to the Rose Bowl. I think it is ironic that the shirt and medal both feature Pasadena City Hall, and yet the course does actually go by City Hall. This is one of the best half marathon courses I have run in Pasadena, the only improvement I would suggest is to have us run by City Hall.

There were a total of 8 aid stations stops. All aid stations were stocked with water. All but the first stop offered Gatorade. One aid station, that runners passed by twice, offered Honeystingers. All of the volunteers were fantastic.

The race finishes in the grassy field inside the Rose Bowl. Post-race refreshments included water, Muscle Milk protein bars, bananas and goldfish pretzels. Mylar blankets were given out. Participants could use a tear-off voucher from their bib to receive one free Angel City beer. There was a live band playing and multiple great photo opportunities.

One of the nice perks of this race is free race photos. This year they switched from Game Face Media to Finisherpix. I was delighted by this change in vendors. Last year, none of my friends got a single “free” photo, not even at the finish line! This year it seems like everyone got at least a few photos.

If you run the Santa Monica Classic, Pasadena Half Marathon and the LA Marathon, you can recieve the Conqur LA Challenge medal upon completion of the LA Marathon.

I have seen several half marathons come and go from Pasadena over the past decade. I’m glad that Pasadena finally has a half marathon that seems to be taking root and will be around for years to come. While there continue to be some hiccups with parking, this is becoming a quality event that I highly recommend.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4
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San Diego Resolution Run

San Diego Resolution Run

I won a free entry into the Resolution Run through an Instagram contest. Packet pick-up was at Road Runner Sports from 10 am - 2 pm on Saturday. You could … MORE

I won a free entry into the Resolution Run through an Instagram contest.

Packet pick-up was at Road Runner Sports from 10 am – 2 pm on Saturday. You could pick up packets for other people. For those unable to attend packet pick-up, free race morning packet pick-up was available starting 6 am on Sunday morning.

Per the pre-race e-mail, participants should utilize parking lots and street parking up and down East Mission Bay Drive. A map was provided showing general locations of the various parking lots. I arrived about an hour before the race start and was able to locate street parking with only a minimal walk to the start.

The half and 10K started at 7:15 am and the 5K started at 7:30 am. The race started and finished at Tecolote Shores and ran along the flat paved paths through Mission Bay. There were aid stations every 1.5 – 2 miles, each stocked with water, Ultima and Honeystingers (my favorite!). I enjoyed seeing all the various types of birds that call Mission Bay home.

Reading through the previous year reviews, both people commented that the course was poorly marked. For 2019, I found the course adequately marked. The level of markings were consistent with other races of this size. The mile markers were extremely accurate up until mile 10. There was no mile 10 marker. I then hit the mile 11 marker at only 10.3 miles. The mile 12 marker was at 11.3 miles. I reached the finish line at only 12.4 miles. It became apparent that a volunteer had been turning participants around early during the out-and-back portion.

As of this writing, the race has not sent out an e-mail or made an official post on their main Facebook page addressing the short course. However they replied to a comment about it on the Facebook event saying, “Hey everyone! Thank you for your feedback. We are very sorry about the mix-up with the volunteer course marshall. As soon as we heard about it we sent someone to fix it but we are sorry to those affected. In order to make it up to you, when 2020 registration opens, you will be able to sign up for next year for only $49 with code: RESRUN2020. It will be good for 30 days so keep your eyes open! Again, we apologize.”

While disappointed that the course was .7 miles short, mistakes happen. I wouldn’t let this stop me from running the race again next year.

Just before mile 7, the half marathon course passed by the finish line. Like the previous reviewers, I experienced some frustration with 5K and 10K participants who had finished and were utilizing the path to walk back to their vehicles. Many walked in groups and seemed oblivious to runners still on the course. This seems to happen at nearly every race that starts and finishes in Mission Bay and I have come to expect it.

Finish line refreshments included small cups of water (with an area nearby where you could refill a water bottle) and incredibly green bananas (in another few days, it is going to be delicious!). Participants could then go pick up their goody bag. My bag contained a bottle of Detox Water bioactive aloe water, a 6oz can of Bare Republic clearscreen sunscreen spray SPF 30, a .17oz sample of Bare Republic mineral SPF 30 sunscreen lotion for the face, a 13.23oz jar of Hyperbiotics Prebiotic organic prebiotic fiber supplement, a 1.27oz sample of Purely Inspired organic protein plant-based nutrition powder, a 3oz Sans meal bar, a 0.78oz Larabar, a Boude flushable wipe, a small Justin’s peanut butter cup and various race flyers. I was surprised by such great items in the bag.

There were also great vendors at the finish line. I enjoyed a post race stretch offered by Stretch U. GT’s Kombucha had three flavors on tap and were pouring generous 12oz cups of their booch (AND encouraging people to come back for seconds and thirds!). Imperfect Produce was offering 50% off produce boxes for new customers. Statefarm Insurance was giving away fun items (I got a rainbow fannypack… clearly what my life was always missing). Sans was giving away meal bars. I noticed Suja Juice also had a booth, but they packed up before I had a chance to visit. Lorna Jane had a booth selling some of their athletic clothing. There were several other vendors, but those are the ones I specifically remember.

The medal features the year 2019 and a space to write a goal for the year. There are magnets on the back of the medal so that it can be affixed to your refrigerator at home.

Despite the short course, this race was a positive experience and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have run it.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5
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Holiday Half Marathon & 5K (CA)

Holiday Half Marathon & 5K (CA)

2018 marked my 4th year running the Holiday Half Marathon. Packet pick-up was available after the 5K on Saturday from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm. Free race morning packet pickup … MORE

2018 marked my 4th year running the Holiday Half Marathon.

Packet pick-up was available after the 5K on Saturday from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. Free race morning packet pickup was available on Sunday starting at 6:00 am. New this year — bib numbers were not pre-assigned. On Friday, participants were e-mailed a QR code to print out or show on their phone. At packet pickup, volunteers scanned the QR code and then scanned the bib being assigned.

Parking was at the Pomona Fairplex, Blue Gate 9. There was signage guiding traffic to the proper gate, which I appreciated as my GPS wanted to send me in a different direction. The cost to park was $12, cash or card. If you attend both days, you only have to pay for parking once as long as you save your receipt. I normally aim to arrive to this race approximately 1.5 hours before the start. Since I picked up my bib on Saturday, I decided to “sleep in” on Sunday and arrive only 1 hour before the race. I later regretted that decision. After waiting in a long line of cars to get into the Fairplex, 7 lanes of traffic were forced to merge down into two lanes. There was no one directing traffic and it was a mess. The two lanes then had to merge into a single lane. This part shouldn’t have been difficult, but apparently zipper merging is a lost art. After this point, there were volunteers directing people to available parking spaces. I noticed several people ignored them and proceeded to park where they pleased. I will arrive earlier next year to avoid this frustration. Thank goodness the buses transporting many of the Students Run LA participants were in a separate lane, thus did not add to the traffic congestion.

One of the luxuries of the Holiday Half is that you are able to use the restrooms at the Fairplex before/after the race. No portapotties!!!!!

There was a costume contest at approximately 7:40 am and the race started at 8:00 am. Students Run LA have a separate start at 8:30 am. While it is cooler in December, this feels like a rather late start. I wish the race would consider starting half an hour to an hour earlier.

The Holiday Half is one of my absolute favorite local half marathon courses. It runs through the Pomona Fairplex and on the speedway. We then cross over to Frank Bonelli Park to run around Puddingstone Reservoir before returning to the Fairplex. This year, the tops of the distant mountains were dusted with snow from the recent storm. It was beautiful. There are hills throughout the course, making it moderately challenging. Do not expect to PR. The aid stations were set-up approximately 1 – 1.5 miles starting at mile 2. All were stocked with water, several were also stocked with Nuun and one provided Honey Singer Gels (my favorite!).

Finish line refreshments included bananas, Terra Blues chips (yum!), Skinny Pop popcorn, Kind bars (yum!) and bottles of Bai antioxidant water with optional Nuun tablets to drop in.

The finisher medal featured a Christmas wreath (see my attached photo). In years past, the medal has been a snowflake with the exact design changing each year. Some participants were disappointed that the race broke away from this tradition. The participant shirt was a red “ugly sweater” inspired dri-fit short sleeve shirt. There were a variety of vendors selling running related items and offering product samples.
If you run the 5K on Saturday and Half Marathon on Sunday, you can receive the Golden Snowflake Challenge medal. If you run the Half Marathon for 3 consecutive years, you become a member of the Penguin March Club and receive the Lil’ Blue Penguin medal. There is a different penguin pin for each following year. After 6 consecutive years, you receive a hooded sweatshirt. At 10 consecutive years, you will be named “Emperor Penguin” and will receive what the website describes as “the ultimate Penguin March Club memorabilia.”
All participants over the age of 21 received a free Michelob Ultra beer. Penguin March Club members also receive a Michelob Ultra Pure Gold, Michelob Ultra Lime Cactus or a Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer.
I really enjoy the energy of this race provides. The incentive of the Penguin March Club pins ensures that I keep coming back for more. Not to mention, my picture is on the main page of the race website. How can I not run it?!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4
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Holiday Half Marathon & 5K (CA)

Holiday Half Marathon & 5K (CA)

The Ugly Sweater 5K was on Saturday and the Holiday Half Marathon was on Sunday (to be reviewed in a separate post). If you register for the challenge and run … MORE

The Ugly Sweater 5K was on Saturday and the Holiday Half Marathon was on Sunday (to be reviewed in a separate post). If you register for the challenge and run both races, you can receive the Golden Snowflake Challenge medal after finishing the Half Marathon on Sunday.

Parking was at the Pomona Fairplex, Blue Gate 9. There was signage guiding traffic to the proper gate, which I appreciated as my GPS wanted to send me in a different direction. The cost to park was $12, cash or card. If you attend both days, save your receipt so you only have to pay for parking once.

Packet pick-up for the 5K was only available on Saturday morning starting at 7 am. New this year — bib numbers were not pre-assigned. On Friday, participants were e-mailed a QR code to print out or show on their phone. At packet pickup on Saturday morning, volunteers scanned the QR code and then scanned the bib being assigned. The lines to pick-up bibs were rather long, but moved at a semi-reasonable pace.

There was a costume contest at 8 am and the race started at 8:30 am. The course is a simple loop through the Fairplex. Other than one hill, it was mostly flat. There was one aid station, which served water and Nuun. The course highlights included running through some of the art installations for the Chinese Lantern Festival and running on the speedway.

Finish line refreshments included Terra Blues chips (yum!), Skinny Pop popcorn, Kind bars (yum!) and bottles of Bai antioxidant water.

The finisher medal featured a Christmas wreath (see my attached photo). In years past, the medal has been a snowflake with the exact design changing each year. Some participants were disappointed that the race broke away from this tradition. The participant shirt was a red “ugly sweater” inspired dri-fit short sleeve shirt. The shirt was the same for both the 5K and Half Marathon. There were a variety of vendors selling running related items and offering product samples.

The 5K is fun, but the primary reason I run it is to earn the Golden Snowflake Challenge medal. If it weren’t for the challenge medal, I would just run the half.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
SWAG
3
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Lexus LaceUp Running Series Riverside Reindeer Run

Lexus LaceUp Running Series Riverside Reindeer Run

Lexus LaceUp Riverside Reindeer Run is the fourth and final stop in a four part race series. Race distances included a 5K, Half Marathon and 1K Kids Run. Packet pickup … MORE

Lexus LaceUp Riverside Reindeer Run is the fourth and final stop in a four part race series. Race distances included a 5K, Half Marathon and 1K Kids Run. Packet pickup was at Fairmount Park from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm on Saturday. Participants were allowed to pick up packets for other people. Free race morning packet pickup was available to participants who registered prior to November 6th. Participants who registered after November 6th could pick up their packet on race morning for a $5 prepaid fee. When picking up their packet, runners could pick between a free Santa Hat or Reindeer Antlers.

Parking on Sunday morning was in various designated lots in Downtown Riverside. Runners could then walk to Lot 33 near the Convention Center to catch the free shuttle to Fairmount Park.

The race started and finished at Fairmount Park. The course is both street and bike path. There are gentle rolling hills throughout the race. Per my Garmin, the minimum elevation was 718 feet and the maximum elevation was 863 feet. The course is mostly an out-and-back, thus runners visited most of the aid station twice. There were a total of 10 aid stations stops. All aid stations were stocked with water, Nuun and had porta potties available. Most of the aid stations also offered Honeystinger gels and/or gummies. As with other LaceUp events, the volunteers were fantastic.

Upon crossing the finish line, refreshments included small bottles of water with optional tablets of Nuun, pretzels and bananas. Upon exiting the finisher chute, runners could use tear off vouchers on their bibs to receive a free food item from one of the many food trucks as well as a small cup of Sierra Nevada beer. Sierra Nevada offered a variety of three beers to select from. There were several vendors selling running related items and services. Lexus had two vehicles on display and provided a cellphone charging station. Free massages were available. Altra hosted a planking competition for a free pair of Altra running shoes. There was a table with free LaceUp waterbottles that could be filled with lemon, lime and cucumber infused ice water. Santa walked around and took photos with participants. Anyone who uploaded a photo to Instagram using the hashtag #lexuslaceup was able to pickup a print of the photo from the Print Shop booth. LaceUp also provides free race photos, which will be online in the next few days.

There was a lot to do at the finish festival and plenty of reasons to hang out after the race. There were tables with umbrellas and chairs, which encouraged participants to sit down and socialize with friends. Once runners were ready to leave, they could take the free shuttle back to Lot 33.

Any runner who participated in at least one LaceUp race every year since 2014 could pick up a 5 Year Legacy Charm to attach to their medal. Any runner who participated in all four of the 2018 LaceUp events (any distance) could receive the LaceUp Challenge Medal upon completion of the series (it spins!). Runners who participated in the Foothill 5k Challenge in April could earn the Best Foot Forward Challenge Medal by running any LaceUp race. The series has also been added to the California Half & Full Marathon Series, which allows additional opportunities for half marathon runners to earn a challenge medal.

I am a big fan of this race series and look forward to participating again in 2019.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5
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Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon

If you love the lights, sounds and crowds (and more crowds) of Las Vegas, then this is the race for you. 2018 marked my 3rd consecutive year participating in the … MORE

If you love the lights, sounds and crowds (and more crowds) of Las Vegas, then this is the race for you.

2018 marked my 3rd consecutive year participating in the Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. While I loved running the #stripatnight, this year was noticeably less organized than previous years.

The expo was at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Thursday from 3 pm – 6 pm, Friday 11 am – 7 pm and Saturday 9 am – 6 pm. Like previous years, there was no Sunday expo. Also like other RNR events, you cannot pick up packets for other people. For those unable to attend packet pick-up, there was the option to pre-purchase race day packet pick-up for the marathon, half marathon or 10K for a $40 fee. This offer was limited availability and subject to selling out.

This year, the Start Festival Village was in a large parking lot behind Planet Hollywood. In 2016, it was located at the ill-fated concert venue across from Mandalay Bay. After the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival shooting in 2017, the race was forced to change the venue barely a month before the race. For 2017, the headliner concert was shuffled to Saturday after the 5K at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds. The Start Festival Village for Sunday was moved to an area near New York-New York and the T-Mobile Arena. For 2018, I speculate that the race sought a long term new venue for the Start Line Village that would meet their requirements.

The Village opened at 2:00 pm. The Headliner concert, Capital Cities, began playing at 3:00 pm. Participants were split into three separate start times/waves based on their projected finish time they submitted when registering. Faster runners were given blue bibs. Participants with blue bibs had between 3:40 – 4:10 pm to get into their corral, even though Capital Cities was still playing. The Blue Wave started at 4:30 pm. Moderate speed runners were given green bibs. Participants with green bibs had between 4:10 – 4:40 pm to get into their corral. The Green Wave started at 5:00 pm. Slower runners and walkers were given yellow bibs. Participants with yellow bibs had between 4:40 – 5:10 to get into their corral. The Yellow Wave started at 5:30 pm. While this system is a good in theory, many people intentionally submitted unrealistic finish times to get placed into faster corrals. Despite the fact that they were checking the color of bibs, I also noticed several people with yellow bibs start with the Green Wave. With 40,000 runners, all this added to some of the course congestion.

Upon exiting the Start Festival Village to head to the corrals, participants were herded down a side street, which served as a holding area before entering Las Vegas Blvd. It was very crowded and had no clear indication of what was going on. Many people forced their way to the front, possibly not realizing that the colored wave had not yet been given access to Las Vegas Blvd. It felt very chaotic when we were finally allowed to line up on Las Vegas Blvd. While bibs listed corral numbers within the colored waves, it was helter skelter and very difficult to move forward toward one’s actual assigned corral number. This system was executed much more efficiently in previous years.

Because people had to be in their corrals so early, many had to use the restroom by the time it was their turn to cross the start line. There were a total of 8 aid stations on the Half Marathon course. Each aid station had 1 – 2 porta potties. As you can imagine, with 40,000 runners, the lines for the aid station porta potties were ridiculously long. The aid stations were stocked with water and Gatorade. At mile 4.5 and 9, they provided SIS Gel. In my opinion, this fuel is absolutely disgusting and I desperately wish they would go back to Glukos or Gu. The volunteers at the aid stations were awesome.

The course is an out-and-back. It starts by going down the Strip, past the infamous Las Vegas sign and airport. The course then turns around and heads back up the Strip to (but not through) Fremont, where it turns around again and goes back down the Strip to finish at The Mirage. I normally find out-and-back courses boring, but not in this case. It is a lot of fun to run on the Strip. Tons of lights. Tons of music. Tons of cheering (and probably intoxicated) supporters. The race is one big party like only Las Vegas can offer.

Upon crossing the finish line, mylar blankets were provided, which was much appreciated on the cold evening. Post race refreshments included water, Gatorade, bananas, pretzels, granola bars, Pringles chips, chocolate milk and Michelob Ultra.

The medal was stylish and the quality I would expect from a Rock ‘n’ Roll race. It featured the Las Vegas Strip skyline and a deck of glittery cards that fold out (see my posted photo).

If you ran the 5K (to be reviewed in a separate post) on Saturday and any distance on Sunday, you can receive the Remix Challenge Medal.

While I was a bit disappointed by the organization of this year’s event, this is still one of the most fun half marathons I have ever done and I plan on coming back year after year. I highly recommend the half distance. Based on the full marathon I ran in Vegas back in 2007, I cannot recommend running this race as a full. After running the one full in Vegas, I swore I would only return for halfs. Vegas is only fun when you are running on the Strip. Plus, starting this year, Rock ‘n’ Roll races no longer give out jackets to full marathon finishers.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4
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Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon

This year, my main motivation for running the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll 5K was to receive the Remix Challenge Medal the following night. The expo was at the Las … MORE

This year, my main motivation for running the Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll 5K was to receive the Remix Challenge Medal the following night.

The expo was at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Thursday from 3 pm – 6 pm, Friday 11 am – 7 pm and Saturday 9 am – 6 pm. The pre-race e-mail stressed that 5K participants must pick up their bib before 3:30 pm on Saturday, no exceptions. Like other Rock ‘n’ Roll events, they do not allow you to pick up bibs for other people.

The Start/Finish area was located at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds. If you are coming directly from the expo, it is approximately a one mile walk. The Festival Grounds opened at 4:30 pm and the race started at 6:00 pm. Participants were divided into 24 corrals based on their projected finish time submitted during registration. There were volunteers helping ensure participants entered the correct corral. This helped limit the number of walkers starting up at the front. Per the pre-race e-mail, it would take approximately 45 minutes for all of the corrals to start.

Unfortunately, there were quite a few race bandits at the Saturday 5K. I witnessed a volunteer walk up to a runner and ask him if he was aware that he was wearing a Sunday race bib. He completely ignored her. She repeated herself, asking if he was aware that he was wearing the wrong bib. This time he nonchalantly said, “Yeah, I know.” It was obvious that she was intimidated and did not know what to do from there, so she walked away. A few minutes later, he was joined by several other people wearing Sunday bibs. People suck.

The course itself was rather boring. Runners started at the Festival Grounds, then ran down Sammy Davis Jr Dr behind Circus Circus. The course makes a left turn and runs to Las Vegas Blvd before turning around to follow the same course back to the Festival Grounds. The final half mile is spent running what can be described as a maze through the Festival Grounds. It is obvious that this was done to add mileage so that the race would reach the required 3.1 miles.

Like other Rock ‘n’ Roll events, there was a lot of music and sound on course. The Kiss cover band was a crowd favorite. Many runners wore lights, which added to the party atmosphere.

Finish line refreshments included water, bananas, granola bars, pretzels and Michelob Ultra beer.

The post race concert, Ozomatli, was scheduled to go on stage at 6:45 pm. While many of the runners had finished, some of the slower runners and walkers had barely started.

The medal was stylish and the quality I would expect from a Rock ‘n’ Roll race. It featured a slot machine and glittery coins (see my posted photo).

While the 5K is in Las Vegas, it holds none of the thrill of the Sunday races which actually run on the Las Vegas Strip. I signed up for the 5K last year when the Sunday headliner concert got switched to Saturday. That year the headliner concert was a band I was a fan of and had genuine interest in seeing. I signed up for the 5K this year just to get the Remix Challenge medal. Since the expo doesn’t run on Sunday, I rationalized that I have to be in Vegas on Saturday night regardless; I might as well run the 5K and get the extra medal. Next year, I will probably skip the 5K to save money and just have a fun night in Vegas before my main race.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
1
SWAG
4
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Kaiser Permanente Thrive Half Marathon and 5K

Kaiser Permanente Thrive Half Marathon and 5K

Proceeds from the Kaiser Permanente Thrive Half Marathon & 5K benefit Make-A-Wish San Diego. This is the second year of the race. Per the post-race e-mail, the event successfully raised … MORE

Proceeds from the Kaiser Permanente Thrive Half Marathon & 5K benefit Make-A-Wish San Diego. This is the second year of the race. Per the post-race e-mail, the event successfully raised over $15,000 for the cause.

Packet Pick-Up was on Saturday from 11 am – 4 pm at Road Runner Sports in San Diego. I didn’t realize it only went until 4 and showed up at 4:11. The volunteers and staff were very friendly, conversational and courteous. With huge smiles, they grabbed my bib and shirt, despite the fact that I was late. Free race morning packet pick-up was also an available option.

On race morning, parking was adjacent to the start line in parking lots at National University. I deliriously set my alarm for the wrong time the night before, thus overslept and arrived to the race only 15 minutes before the start. I had no difficulty finding parking and jumping into the starting corrals (big sigh of relief!). The race started right on time.

The course was point-to-point and started inland at the newest Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center and finished in the heart of Mission Bay. The majority of the course consisted of gentle rolling hills with several long stretches of downhill. It was extremely well marked with a plethora of traffic cones designating which lane was for the runners. The traffic control officers at the various intersections did a fantastic job of managing traffic to allow runners the right-of-way. There was a trolley crossing near mile 9. The race worked with the city to time the start of the race around the trolley schedule. Runners averaging faster than 8 minutes per mile were not impacted. Beginning at 8 am the Eastbound and Westbound trollies crossed every 15 minutes. There were timing check points before and after the trolley tracks. Any runner impacted by the trolley had this delay time subtracted from their overall chip time. Per the pre-race e-mail, the anticipated delay was 30 seconds to one minute. There was also an aid station and a volunteer with a loudspeaker at this junction. My run was not impacted by the trolley, but I was very impressed by the forethought the event put into this minor hurdle.

The aid stations were organized and the volunteers were very supportive. The stations were stocked with water and Gatorade. They were placed every 1.5 – 2 miles. To my surprise, none of the aid stations offered energy gels or other fuel. I always carry my own, thus this did not impact me. I have simply become accustomed to seeing it available at other events.

The scenery for the majority of the race was not particularly interesting or memorable. The highlights included running by the SDCCU Stadium and running through Mission Bay for the finish in Ski Beach Park. It was a beautiful foggy day in Mission Bay. Perfect weather for running!

Finish line refreshments included water, bananas, Munk Pack protein cookies (yum!) and Kashi bars. The medals were high quality and very stylish (see the photo I posted). The shirts for the half marathon were long sleeve dri-fit material and featured the name of the race. 5K participants received a similar style short sleeve shirt. There was a small variety of vendors at the finish line festival selling athletic apparel, offering product samples and massage services. There were also multiple Kaiser Permanente sponsored booths promoting health and wellness. There was a separate area for Kaiser Employees, Friends & Family. I was a little envious I could not go in as there were tables, chairs and (I believe) I spotted warm beverages.

Free shuttles transported half marathon participants from the finish line back to the start. Prior to registering, I was unaware that the race offered free race photos. I found this out while reading over the pre-race e-mail. Photos should be available in the next few days.

While the course was not one of the more entertaining half marathon courses in San Diego, I was impressed by the quality and organization behind the event. I will be back next year if my name is not drawn in the New York City Marathon lottery (again).

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4
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Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Halloween 1/2 Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Halloween 1/2 Marathon

I first ran this race in 2013. Over the years, I have watched this race go downhill. The expo was at the Los Angeles Convention Center from 1 pm - … MORE

I first ran this race in 2013. Over the years, I have watched this race go downhill.

The expo was at the Los Angeles Convention Center from 1 pm – 6 pm on Friday and 9 am – 5 pm on Saturday. Parking around the Convention Center is exorbitant. Most years I opt to take metro transportation. This year, I grabbed free street parking in a questionable neighborhood about a mile from the Convention Center.

The Convention Center was extremely crowded as LA Comic Con and an Herbalife convention were happening simultaneously. As I passed by the hall where the Comic Con was taking place, I asked an employee for directions to the hall where the race expo was located. Rather than simply answering my question, she began to vent about how they needed signs because she was tired of runners coming up to her asking where to go. I ended up walking away without getting directions from her. I would rather get lost than further deal with her attitude.

The expo was surprisingly small for a Rock ‘n’ Roll race. I was glad I didn’t pay for parking. One of my friends joked, “Walk very…very slow or you might accidentally exit the expo.” The size of the expo left many repeat runners speculating as to if the race will be returning in 2019.

On race morning, I took the metro to the race start. This is common practice for me for any race happening in downtown LA. I dislike driving in downtown even when there aren’t road closures and race congestion. As usual, this proved to be a wise (and stress free) decision.

The race started at 6:15 am. The current course is a very boring out-and-back with lots of rolling hills. This race used to be exciting. We used to run along the concourse of the Coliseum, across the 6th Street Bridge and through a tunnel with disco lights and pumping music. The most interesting part of the current course was running by MacArthur Park and the Wiltern Theater.

As with other years, the race finished in front of the iconic Staples Center, which is a fun place to finish. The post-race concert and beer garden were once located in Microsoft Square, located in the heart of LA Live. Now, runners are forced to walk up a flight of stairs to get to the top level of a parking garage that has been converted into a makeshift concert venue, beer garden and gear check pick-up. This year, the headliner concert was Matt Costa, whom I had never heard of. Looking back over the listed timeline, I believe I was there while Matt Costa was playing. There was minimal interest from participants in going up to the stage to listen to the band, so at the time I assumed it was still the opening band The Naked I, whom I had also never heard of.

Post race refreshments included water, chocolate milk, bananas, Cheez-Its, Kirkland Signature granola bars and Sour Punch gummy straws. There was also Michelob Ultra in the beer garden.

This race has slowly gone downhill over the years. The people are what make this race still worth running. I enjoyed seeing so many of my running friends and the creative costumes people came up with. The crowd favorite was a group of male runners who dressed as Disney princesses. This race is not what it once was, but the people keep me coming back for more.

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3
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SoCal’s Halloween Wigged Out 5K/10K

SoCal’s Halloween Wigged Out 5K/10K

This is the third race I have run by Caren Ware Events. I am drawn to these themed races because I enjoy running in costumes. For this race, I pulled … MORE

This is the third race I have run by Caren Ware Events. I am drawn to these themed races because I enjoy running in costumes. For this race, I pulled out one of my favorite running costumes — Joy from Inside Out.

The event offered free race morning packet pick-up. It was unclear as to exactly what time pick-up was scheduled to start. The website listed both 6:30 and 7:00 am as the start time. I arrived at 7:00 am and had no difficulty walking right up to pickup my bib and shirt. The participant shirt was white, cotton and unisex. Score, a new work undershirt.

The race information e-mail said that “real pumpkins” were going to be randomly raffled off. I did not see any real pumpkins, but they did give away C4 energy drinks, Anaheim Angels hats & blankets, Justin’s peanut butter products (yum!) and plastic pumpkin pales containing a shirt and energy drink. Small tombstone statues were given to the costume contest winners.

A live band played shortly before the race started while the announcer gave away various prizes. The Kids 1/2 mile run was scheduled to start at 8:10 am. The 200 yard Diaper Dash was scheduled to start at 8:15 am. The 5K/10K mass start was scheduled to start at 8:30 am.

Like many of these types of events, some walkers were unaware that runners should start towards the front and walkers should start towards the back. The course was an easy (but dull) out-and-back along the Huntington Beach bike path. This is the same course as the other Caren Ware Events I have run. The post-race refreshments included water, bananas, Rise Buddy baked brown rice chips, Nutrigrain bars and Halloween goodie bags containing 2 pieces of candy.

Vendors included Hello Fresh, Rise Buddy and Unbelieva-bowl. Rise Buddy gave away a bag of chips to anyone who followed them on Instagram. This was in addition to the bag of chips you could receive upon finishing the race. The race information e-mail said to throw $5 in your pocket for an Unbelieva-bowl (acai bowl made with organic vegan ingredients). I brought exactly $5. Unfortunately the small 12 oz bowls were $9 and the large 24 oz bowls were $12. Unbelieva-bowl very generously made me a smaller sized bowl for my $5. They also took card, but I had left my wallet back in the car.

Like the other Caren Ware Events I have run, there was no official event photographer. The race director and announcer took cellphone photos and video before and after the race to share on social media.

The medal was a pumpkin and is designed to connect via magnets to the ‘Santa Claus with a Cause’ and ‘Run in the New Years’ medals. If you collect all 3 medals, you will receive a 4th medal complete the image (spoiler alert, it is a shoe).

Overall, this is a casual, fun, family-friendly event. I am not sure if I will run it again next year, but I had a good time.

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Lexus LaceUp Running Series Ventura Marathon

Lexus LaceUp Running Series Ventura Marathon

Lexus LaceUp Ventura is the second stop in a four part race series. Packet pickup was at Mission Park from 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm on Friday and 7:00 am … MORE

Lexus LaceUp Ventura is the second stop in a four part race series. Packet pickup was at Mission Park from 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm on Friday and 7:00 am – 6:00 pm on Saturday. For Full and Half Marathon participants unable to attend packet pickup on Friday or Saturday, VIP packet pickup was available on Sunday morning for $20. In addition to the Half and Full Marathon on Sunday, there was a 5K and 1 Mile downhill race on Saturday. There was no additional fee for race morning packet pickup for the Saturday races.

Parking on Sunday morning was at the Ventura County Fairgrounds for $5. Although there was plenty of parking available, the line to pay to get in got very backed up. Per the website, the buses for the Full Marathon departed from 4:45 – 5:00 am (with the race starting at 6:40 am) and buses for the Half Marathon departed from 6:00 – 6:15 am (with the race starting at 7:10 am). As I was waiting for a friend, I got on a Half Marathon bus at 6:10 am. We then got to the race start at 6:40 am. As the lines for the porta potties were very long, we immediately got in line to use one. I did not have time to stretch before the start of the race, which flared up my planter fasciitis during the run. I think the race would greatly benefit from having the Half Marathon buses start running earlier.

Of the races I have run in Ventura, this has been my favorite course thus far. While many Ventura races follow the same beach bike path up and down the coast, LaceUp Ventura starts inland in Ojai and finishes in Ventura. The majority of the course was along a bike path that was bordered by oak and eucalyptus trees. Around mile 9.5 the course became less scenic as we passed by oil drilling machinery. The path then paralleled Highway 33 until the final stretch to Mission Park. The course is mostly downhill and very PR friendly.

The aid stations and volunteers were great. They provided runners with water and Nuun. Two of the aid stations had Honeystingers, my favorite fuel. One station gave out full packages of Honeystinger gummies while the other gave out gels.

I felt bad for the faster Full Marathon runners once they caught up to the middle of the pack and slower Half Marathon runners. The first and second place runners had a bike marshall riding ahead of them instructing Half Marathoners to move to the right. All other faster Full Marathon runners were on their own and had to continually ask Half Marathon participants to stay to the right. Other than participants better observing race etiquette, I think some of this could be alleviated if the Full Marathon were to start at the same time as the Half Marathon. At present, the Full Marathon starts half an hour earlier. The middle of the pack and slower Half Marathoners would be even further along in the course and hopefully more spread out before the faster Full Marathoners catch up.

Upon crossing the finish line, I was surprised to see that cups were being handed out rather than full bottles of water. A volunteer gladly filled my handheld water bottle when I asked.

Upon exiting the finisher chute, runners could use tear off vouchers on their bibs to get a Belgium waffle (with optional whipped cream, syrup, fruit, pretzels and cookies) and Sierra Nevada beer. Nuun had a booth with coolers filled with a variety of Nuun flavors for people sample and fill their waterbottles. There were a variety of other vendors selling running related items and services. Free massages were available, but I did not partake in this. Altra hosted a planking competition for a free pair of Altra running shoes. Anyone who uploaded a photo to Instagram using the hashtag #lexuslaceup was able to pickup a print of the photo from the Print Shop booth. LaceUp also provides free race photos, which will be online in the next few days.

There was a lot to do at the finish festival and plenty of reasons to hang out after the race. The walk from the finish festival back to Ventura County Fairgrounds was approximately half a mile.

Any runner who participates in all four of the 2018 LaceUp events (any distance) will receive the LaceUp Challenge Medal upon completion of the series (it spins!). Runners who participated in the Foothill 5k Challenge in April can earn the Best Foot Forward Challenge Medal by running any LaceUp race. The series has also been added to the California Half & Full Marathon Series, which allows additional opportunities for half marathon runners to earn a challenge medal.

Anyone wishing to run 2018 Lexus LaceUp Palos Verdes (November 17th) or Riverside (December 2nd), use code LACEUPSARAH for 10% off.

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REVEL Big Bear

REVEL Big Bear

The first thing to know is that although this race is called "Big Bear," at no point does it actually run IN Big Bear. The Full Marathon course starts on … MORE

The first thing to know is that although this race is called “Big Bear,” at no point does it actually run IN Big Bear. The Full Marathon course starts on State Route 38, approximately 18 miles from Big Bear City limit. The Half Marathon course starts on Valley of the Falls Dr., approximately 33 miles from Big Bear City limit. The Half Marathon quickly joins the Full Marathon course on State Route 38. The course runs down the mountain and finishes in the city of Redlands, which is around 44 miles from Big Bear City limit.

The expo was at Sylvan Park in Redlands from 10 am – 6:00 pm on Saturday. The race organizers can’t control the weather, but it was unfortunate that it was an outdoor expo on a rainy day. For an additional fee, you could have had your packet mailed to you or picked it up on race morning.

If you aren’t looking for a “racecation” weekend in Big Bear, on race morning the most practical thing to do is to take the free shuttle from the base of the mountain in San Bernardino up the mountain to the race start. The Full Marathon bus boarding time was between 4:00 – 4:45 am and the Half Marathon bus boarding time was between 4:30 – 5:15 am. All of my friends who took advantage of this option had no difficulty getting to the race start. After the race, there were continuous shuttles transporting runners from the finish line the 8-ish miles back to their vehicles. A few of my friends reported getting lost trying to find their cars because the bus dropped them off in a different location from where it picked them up. This was also a problem at Mt. Hood earlier this year.

For those wishing to stay in Big Bear, the race offered roundtrip transportation to/from Big Bear High School for $30. This turned out to be impractical and in need of massive improvement. Half Marathoners were told that our bus loading time was between 4:00 – 4:30 am. The Full Marathoners were told that their bus loading time was between 4:30 – 5:00 am. Our confirmation e-mail stressed not to be late. I like to arrive to races very early, therefore I was one of the first people on the 4:00 am bus. The buses then sat, and sat and sat some more. I overheard our driver asking for clarification on where he was supposed to take us. The buses FINALLY left for the race at 4:52 am!!!! As I was on the first bus, we were the lead bus. Our driver had to stop at the Full Marathon start line to ask for further clarification on where the Half Marathon starting line was located. They also double checked to make sure no Full Marathoners accidently got on the Half Marathon bus (probably a good idea). I got off the bus at the Half Marathon start at 6:00 am on the dot. Since the race started in only half an hour, I did not have adequate time to wait in the long portapotty lines and go through my full warm-up/stretching routine. There was limited cell service at the race start, so I didn’t bother trying to find my friends as I was so short on time.

I was in a bad mood at this point. We weren’t allowed to line up until right before the race was scheduled to start because the road was still considered open at this point. The race started around 10 minutes late. There was no national anthem. We just simply started moving forward. I overheard someone say, “I guess we are starting.”

The course was mostly as advertised — downhill and fast. It was significantly less scenic than the other Revel races I have run, Canyon City & Mt Hood. The best views were all in the first half of the Full Marathon. The course was rather boring once the Half Marathon joined the party. I was originally registered for the Full, but transferred to the Half due to ongoing foot injures. I believe I would have enjoyed the Full significantly more than I enjoyed the Half.

The aid stations and volunteers were great. They provided runners with water and Poweraide. Two of the aid stations had Honeystingers, my favorite fuel.

Upon crossing the finish line, runners were provided with bottles of water, bananas and towels soaked in ice water. As it was a cooler day, mylar blankets would have been much more practical than cold towels. Upon exiting the finisher’s chute, runners could use tear-off vouchers on their bib to receive a slice of Papa John’s pizza (cheese or pepperoni), a donut and Hangar 24 beer (bonus points for it being a local brewery, negative points for it being an IPA). There were a variety of photo backdrops for runners to take finisher photos. The website advertised that massages would be available, but I did not see this.

I did not spend much time partaking in the finish line festivities as the bus returning to Big Bear High School only ran once an hour. I was prepared for this. I was not prepared for how long it would take to get back to Big Bear High School. As it was about 44 miles, I budgeted that it would take a little more than an hour. I did not factor in that the bus would be taking the race route back up the mountain. It ended up taking us two hours to get back to Big Bear. Several people on the bus missed their hotel check-out time because the bus ride back took longer than they anticipated. As we drew close to Big Bear, the bus driver asked passengers to use their phones to help navigate him back to Big Bear High School. He had absolutely no idea where he was going! He told us that it was dark in the morning and that is why he didn’t remember where to go.

If I do this race again, I will likely not try to turn it into a weekend racecation in Big Bear. Unfortunately the poorly executed $30 transportation to/from Big Bear really soured the entire race experience for me. To add insult to injury, the lettering on my medal came out slightly warped.

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Long Beach Marathon & Half Marathon

Long Beach Marathon & Half Marathon

This was my 5th time running the JetBlue Long Beach Half Marathon and 2nd time completing it as part of the Super Combo. The Super Combo is the 5K on … MORE

This was my 5th time running the JetBlue Long Beach Half Marathon and 2nd time completing it as part of the Super Combo. The Super Combo is the 5K on Saturday (my review is in a separate post), then the 20 mile Bike Tour and Half Marathon on Sunday. We use the same bib for all 3 races.

Packet pickup was on Friday at the Long Beach Convention Center from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm and Saturday from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Parking at the convention center was $15. Other parking options included the Pike Outlets parking structure (you can get a 2 hour validation at many of the surrounding businesses and restaurants) or metered street parking. For those unable to make it to the expo on Friday or Saturday, race morning packet pickup is available for $25.

I recommend pre-purchasing parking for race morning and arrive early to avoid traffic congestion. When I ran the race in 2014, I took the metro from Union Station, which was also very convenient.

The Bike Tour and Marathon both start at 6:00 am. The Half Marathon started at 7:30 am. Upon arrival, I went over to the Bike Corrals to check-in. I received JetBlue luggage tags to write my bib number on to attach to my bike and drop bag. Only people with Bike Tour and Combo bibs are allowed into this area. When leaving, you need to show that your bib matches the luggage tags on your bike and drop bag. I picked a spot on one of the bike racks and organized my items for the transition from the Bike Tour to the Half Marathon. They have separate bike racks for people just doing the Bike Tour vs people doing the Combo. I then walked my bike out to the Bike Tour start line.

The Bike Tour starts behind the marathon and initially heads in the opposite direction. Much of the course is also part of the marathon course, although I never saw any of the marathon runners. Helmets are required and bike lights are highly encouraged since the race starts while it is still dark. For participants just participating in the Bike Tour, the event is untimed. For those participating in the Combo, the event is timed. There are no mile markers for the Bike Tour. The event is actually less than 20 miles. Last year my Garmin registered 19.64 miles. This year my Garmin registered 19.63 miles.

It is exhilarating riding through the closed streets of Long Beach. This event has ignited my newly found love of cycling and has inspired me to begin to dabble in other bike races. There were a handful of aid stations, but I did not feel the need to stop at any of them. Upon approaching the finish line, a small maze is setup to slow down the cyclists. Last year we were asked to dismount our bikes and walk them across the finish line. This year we were allowed to ride slowly across the finish line before dismounting our bikes.

My only real critique — Combo participants should have a separate chute to walk our bikes through to receive medals and refreshments. The chute was narrow and cramped due to the bikes. Many people in front of me were not in a hurry because they did not have another race to get to. Due to everyone having their bikes, I could not simply go around. When the two people in front of me stopped to hug and chat with a volunteer handing out refreshments, I had to kindly ask them to keep moving.

According to the website, you need to finish the Bike Tour in under an hour and a half in order to start the Half Marathon. Both years, I was able to finish under the time limit on a mountain bike. I then had a few minutes to apply sunblock and swap my helmet for a running hat before jumping into a corral to start the half. Theoretically, someone can take a little longer than an hour and a half to complete the Bike Tour if they don’t spend much time in transition and don’t mind jumping into a slower corral for the Half. I do not recommend doing the Bike Tour on a beach cruiser style bike if you plan on running the Half Marathon.

As mentioned, this was my 5th time completing the Half Marathon. Long Beach is one of my favorite half marathons. I am aiming to run this race for 10 years in a row so that I may have my name placed on the Long Beach Run of Fame Bench in Lighthouse Park. The course can be crowded, but it is scenic and enjoyable. There is also a ton of crowd support.

Upon finishing, participants of all races received a very generous sized bottle of PH water, Kind Bars, Terra vegetable chips, bananas, C2O coconut water and Good Karma chocolate flaxmilk.

The race shirt for the Bike Tour was unisex and cotton, but had a much more colorful design than last year. The race shirts for the Marathon & Half Marathon was a grey tech shirt; the back design matched the design of the medals. The medals were black and yellow, with palm trees and the name of the race. The Bike Tour, Half Marathon and Marathon medals were all the same design, but varied in size and ribbon color. While the medals were nice, I was a little disappointed that Long Beach broke away from their usual polished metal style medals.

After 3 consecutive years of running the marathon or half marathon, participants automatically join the Beach Bum Club. This enables you to enter a separate Beach Bum beer garden at the finish where they serve Shocktop beer. Michelob Ultra is served in the regular beer garden. Each year they offer a Beach Bum gift. This year it was a quality metal vacuum sealed water bottle or a running hat. At 6 consecutive years, you receive a hoodie. At 10 consecutive years, you get your name on the previously mentioned Run of Fame bench.

This is a well run event and a staple of my fall race calendar. I keep coming back year after year because I just can’t get enough of it.

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Long Beach Marathon & Half Marathon

Long Beach Marathon & Half Marathon

The Aquarium of the Pacific 5K is one of my absolute favorite 5K races. I ran it for a second year as part of the Long Beach Super Combo (5K … MORE

The Aquarium of the Pacific 5K is one of my absolute favorite 5K races. I ran it for a second year as part of the Long Beach Super Combo (5K on Saturday, Bike Tour & Half Marathon on Sunday).

Packet pickup was on Friday at the Long Beach Convention Center from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm. Parking at the convention center was $15. Other parking options included the Pike Outlets Parking Structure (you can easily get a 2 hour validation at many of the surrounding businesses and restaurants) or metered street parking. For those unable to make it to the expo on Friday, the 5K offered free race morning packet pickup on Saturday starting at 5:30 am. The 5K started at 7:00 am.

On race morning, if you get there early enough, you can grab one of the coveted metered parking spots in the area. The meters are not active until 9:00 am, which allows you plenty of time to finish the race and return to your vehicle. Otherwise, parking at the Pike Outlets Parking Structure is available (pro tip: buy something at Starbucks to get validation).

Like practically every 5K event, I was frustrated by the number of people walking in large groups who felt the need to start at the front. I spent the first quarter mile trying to dodge groups of people walking right in the middle of the course. After that, the course began to open up and I was able to enjoy the event.

I really love the 5K route. Crossing the Queens Way bridge is challenging due to the incline on each end, but the scenery is worth the effort. Running around ShoreLine Aquatic Park at that time of morning is breathtaking. The absolute highlight though, is running through the inside of the Aquarium of the Pacific at the end of the race. The sea lions were very active as the runners passed through. The aquarium staff made the event extra special by having a real penguin on display for runners to stop and take pictures with. There was also a diver inside one of the larger tanks waving at the runners. Because this is at the end of the race, it is not overly congested running through the facility.

Upon finishing, runners and walkers received a very generous sized bottle of PH water, Kind Bars, Terra vegetable chips, C2O coconut water and Good Karma chocolate flaxmilk. There weren’t many vendor booths, but I figure that is because they were all at the expo.

The race shirt was unisex, cotton, bright green and had a turtle on it. The medal was a colorful turtle. In my opinion, it was the best medal of the weekend.

I am completely addicted to this event and can’t wait to return in 2019.

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Global Energy 10K & 5K (Los Angeles, CA)

Global Energy 10K & 5K (Los Angeles, CA)

35 cities and 23 countries participated in the 4th annual Global Energy Race on September 23rd, 2018. This year the California event moved from Long Beach to LA Live in … MORE

35 cities and 23 countries participated in the 4th annual Global Energy Race on September 23rd, 2018. This year the California event moved from Long Beach to LA Live in Downtown Los Angeles.

Past participants and running clubs were given free entries. For those that purchased an entry, the prices were still incredibly reasonable. From June 2nd until July 31st, the 5K was only $10 and the 10K was only $20. The 5K sold out during this timeframe. From August 1st until August 31st, the 10K was only $30. From September 1st until September 22nd, the 10K was only $35. The 10K sold out approximately two weeks before the race date. Ambassadors spread 50% off discount codes all over social media, which certainly contributed toward the event selling out.

Packet pickup was on Saturday from 10 am – 4 pm in Culver City. For those unable to pick up their packet on Saturday, there was free race morning packet pickup available on Sunday starting at 6 am. The 10K started at 7:15 am and the 5K started at 7:30 am.

There are plenty of parking garages in downtown, however parking can be rather expensive. Many participants opted to take the metro. Taking the metro is always a stress-free preference of mine when going into downtown.

I enjoyed starting and finishing at LA Live, right across from the iconic Staples Center. The 10K course was two loops up and down Figueroa Dr while the 5K course was one loop. I ended up running a little extra mileage; in the end my Garmin registered 6.41 miles. Nearing the final turnaround, 10K runners had an earlier turnaround point than our previous loop. There was no signage and only a single volunteer trying to sort the 10K runners who needed to turn from the 5K walkers who needed to continue straight. I went right past her; never heard nor saw her until I was coming back in the other direction. In addition to running a little extra mileage, during my second loop I had to weave through many 5K participants walking in groups. For 2019, I think the 5K should either have a separate course or start slightly later.

The best part of the event was all of the freebies, by far. All participants received a drawstring bag containing a tech shirt and hat. Participants could then get in line to receive additional freebies including a visor, a waterproof cellphone pouch, Bimbo Bakeries “Bran Frut” cereal fig bars, Barcel Pop Crunchy Carmel popcorn, bagels and cream cheese. After the race, they were handing out entire boxes of the cereal bars and full packages of bagels. Additional post race freebies included bananas, small protein bars, bottles of Suja Juice and Kind Bars. Male and female first-place 10K winners received a trip for 2 to Madrid Spain to run in the 2019 Global Energy Race.

While the Los Angeles event needs some logistical improvement, I had a great time was surprised by the value of the registration cost. This is a great event for the running community and I will absolutely participate again in 2019.

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Aloha Run – Long Beach

Aloha Run – Long Beach

I signed my husband and myself up for the Aloha Run 5K in an effort to share the joy of running with him. Being accustomed to mandatory military runs during … MORE

I signed my husband and myself up for the Aloha Run 5K in an effort to share the joy of running with him. Being accustomed to mandatory military runs during his years of service, this was his first fun run event. I knew he would be enticed by the Hawaiian theme. I took the opportunity to pull out my Lilo (& Stitch) costume. My husband wore a running shirt he purchased on Maui.

Packet pickup was on Saturday at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Huntington Beach from 1 pm – 6 pm. For those not able to attend packet pickup, free race morning packet pickup was available starting at 6 am on Sunday. The 10k started at 7 am. The 5k started at 8 am.

The race started and finished at Shoreline Aquatic Park in Long Beach. Participants were instructed to park in the Pike Outlets Parking Structure (first 2 hours free with validation, $3 an hour after that) or the Aquarium of the Pacific Parking Structure (first 1/2 hour free, $3 for up to 1.5 hours, $6 for up to 2.5 hours, $24 max).

Much to my delight, participants received trucker hats rather than typical boring race shirts. I have way too many race shirts. The ones I like go in my pajama drawer. All other shirts go to the Goodwill. I don’t want or need more race shirts!

Dancers from Halau Hula O Ka’anohiokala, a local hula dance school, provided entertainment before the start of both the 5K & 10K. The stilt walkers were very popular for photos. After the race, Loa Greyson provided musical entertainment.

Food trucks included Dude’s Coffee, Big Boyz Tacos, Salt N Pepper Truck and No Ka ‘Oi Shaved Ice. There were plenty of vendors giving away product samples including Ultima, King’s Hawaiian Bread, Kind Bar, and Harmless Harvest coconut water.

The run itself was just ok. The course was entirely on bike paths and sidewalks, thus narrow. It was difficult to run because many walkers and strollers started near the front. Many walkers also tended to walk in groups down the center rather than off to the side. I have this complaint with many of these type of events.

The volunteers were very enthusiastic about supporting the runners. They loved my costume. The 5K had two water stops and the 10K had four water stops.

The medal was a super cute surfing hula girl with a swiveling skirt. I would participate in this event again only if I am doing it with friends. This is not the type of event that I would normally do on my own. As it stands, if my husband wants to run it again next year, I will do it with him. The medal is cute, after all.

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Lexus LaceUp Running Series Orange County

Lexus LaceUp Running Series Orange County

After 3 years of missing in action, I was thrilled that the Lexus LaceUp Running Series brought back the half marathon distance to their Orange County event. The 2018 Orange … MORE

After 3 years of missing in action, I was thrilled that the Lexus LaceUp Running Series brought back the half marathon distance to their Orange County event. The 2018 Orange County race options included a 5k, half marathon, marathon relay and kids run. Packet pickup was available Friday at Mike Ward Community Park from 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm. If you registered by August 9th, free race morning packet pick-up was included in your registration. New to 2018 – if you registered after August 9th, you were given the option to purchase race morning packet pickup for an additional $5.

On race morning, parking was free at Mike Ward Community Park with overflow parking available at Saint Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church. Like previous years, I arrived early to avoid parking congestion and porta potty lines. Packet pickup started at 5:30 am. The half marathon started at 6:30 am, the marathon relay started at 6:45 am, the 5k started at 7:00 am and the kids run started at 9:00 am. Much to my surprise, the National Anthem was not played …or perhaps I simply did not hear it?

The half marathon course consisted of both bike paths and roads through Irvine. Although Orange County is the least scenic of the LaceUp races, it is a very “PR friendly” course as it is primarily flat with minimal short gentle inclines and declines. The course was well marked and the volunteers at the aid stations were very enthusiastic. There was plenty to do at the finish line festival with lots of vendors and games. I always plan on hanging out and socializing after LaceUp Running Series races. Lexus had a vehicle on display, hosted a cellphone charging station and offered complimentary massages. Each participant received one complementary food item from one of the two food trucks and one Sierra Nevada beer from the beer garden. Like other years, they ran out of commemorative water bottles before all participants received one.

To celebrate the 5 year anniversary of the series, runners who have participated in ANY previous year LaceUp Series event received a “LaceUp Legacy” race bib. Runners who have participated in ANY LaceUp Series event each of the 5 years of the series earned a commemorative “5 Year” medal charm. Any runner who participates in all four of the 2018 LaceUp events (any distance) will receive the LaceUp Challenge Medal upon completion of the series (it spins!). Runners who participated in the Foothill 5k Challenge in April can earn the Best Foot Forward Challenge Medal by running any LaceUp race. The series has also been added to the California Half & Full Marathon Series, which allows additional opportunities for half marathon runners to earn a challenge medal.

Anyone wishing to run 2018 LaceUp Ventura (October 21st), Palos Verdes (November 17th) or Riverside (December 2nd), use code LACEUPSARAH for 10% off.

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5
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Tiki Beach 5K & 10K

Tiki Beach 5K & 10K

I do not run a lot of 5k and 10k races, but the Tiki theme sparked my interest. I love dressing up and took this opportunity to dress as Moana … MORE

I do not run a lot of 5k and 10k races, but the Tiki theme sparked my interest. I love dressing up and took this opportunity to dress as Moana while my friend dressed as Te Fiti.

The event offered free race morning packet pick-up, which always makes me happy. The participant shirt was cotton and unisex, which was a little disappointing because the shirts from their Pirate Run last month were dri fit. There was the option to pay extra and receive a unisex cotton tank.

My friend’s bib was likely accidently given to another runner in error. It created a lot of hassle and confusion on the part of the volunteers/staff to get them to assign her a new bib number. The volunteers were not checking IDs to make sure the names matched the bib numbers they gave out.

The pre-race entertainment was significantly better than their Pirate Run. They had two Polynesian dancers followed by a fire dancer. Both dance routines were accompanied by drummers. The race director Caren was on stage giving out prizes including leis and Anaheim Angels sunhats.

The course was an easy (but dull) out-and-back along the Huntington Beach bike path. Just after the 1 mile mark, a band was playing, which was a fun surprise. The Pirate Run did not have a band. It became rather congested as we approached the 5k turnaround point. My friend and I are “middle of the pack runners” and ran the 10K. The post-race refreshments included water and bananas. When my friend and I finished, the bananas were completely gone. Counting the empty trays, it looks like they only brought 7 small trays. Lame, since there were still plenty of runners behind us. Noosa yoghurt sponsored a tent at the race and they still had plenty of their yoghurt to give out. There was also the option to purchase “Polynesian” pancakes, 2 for $4. The “Polynesian” toppings included crushed pineapple and shredded coconut. The website advertised banana toppings, but I suspect they ran out prior to my finish. Included in the purchase of pancakes were beverage choices of coffee and hot chocolate.

The medal was a puzzle piece which is designed to fit with the Cinco de Mayo Run medal from May and the Pirate Run medal from July. If you collected all 3 medals, you received a 4th puzzle piece to complete the image (spoiler alert, it was a shark). I did not run the Cinco de Mayo race and was not interested in spending the money to run it as a virtual race just to get the medal. I think the connecting puzzle piece medals are a really cool idea, but would have preferred a non-puzzle piece Tiki medal since I did not planning on completing the set. Like the Pirate Run, there was no official event photographer. Overall, the event was cute but I probably won’t run it again… unless they have a really cool medal next year. Priorities.

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4
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3
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REVEL Mt Hood

REVEL Mt Hood

This was the inaugural year of the Revel Mt Hood Marathon & Half Marathon. Mandatory packet pickup was on Friday at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. Race morning parking … MORE

This was the inaugural year of the Revel Mt Hood Marathon & Half Marathon. Mandatory packet pickup was on Friday at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. Race morning parking was at Sandy High School where runners were shuttled up the mountain to the race start. Sandy is a small town located approximately 25 miles outside of Portland. For participants wishing to stay in Portland, there was the option of purchasing an additional shuttle ticket from Portland to Sandy High School. Since I had to be at Sandy High School at 3:15 am for my shuttle to the start, I decided to stay in Sandy rather than Portland. The full marathon started at Timberline Lodge, at the base of Mt Hood. As we got off the bus, they announced that they were unable to use amplified sound due to the proximity of the hotel. Next year the race plans on renting out the hotel so this won’t be an issue. Runners were broken up into 4 wave starts. The waves were separated by 15 minutes increments. Runners were not placed in waves based on projected finish time, but rather by desired start time selected during registration. The course dropped 1,630 feet in the first 5 miles along Timberline Highway, during which participants ran in the right lane. Just before mile 5, the course merged with US Highway 26 where it became an “open course” for the next 20 miles. There were no road or lane closures and runners had to run on the shoulder of the road. While it wasn’t bad at first, traffic became heavier as we progressed down the mountain. I felt a little nervous as cars and trucks zoomed past me. At one point a truck came so close to the shoulder of the road that my running skirt blew up around me, exposing my shorts. I also got some road debris in my eye despite my sunglasses. The half marathon course did not join US Highway 26 until just after they hit mile 10 (just after mile 23 of the full course). Based on this, I think I would have enjoyed the half a lot more than the full. The course was beautiful with trees and roadside waterfalls, but I really did not care for running on the shoulder of the highway for 20 miles.

Due to the type of course, regular headphones were not allowed (even if only worn in one ear). If runners wanted to listen to music, they had to use open-ear or bone-conduction style of headphones. This did not impact me as I do not listen to music when I run.

A rumor circulated that a runner was hit by a car and had to be airlifted out. This rumor was false. A runner was airlifted to the hospital, but it was not due to a car accident. It was due to some type of heart trouble. It has been reported that he is doing well.

At the finish, there was pizza, donuts and soda in addition to the water, protein drinks and bananas given out in the finish chute. Massages were also available. The finish was at Rainbow Trout Farm, which is approximately 10 miles from Sandy High School. There were shuttles running from the finish back to the high school. The bus dropped all participants off at the half marathon bus pickup point at the school rather than stopping at the marathon pickup spot. This caused some of the full marathoners to become confused when trying to locate their vehicles.

I knew going into the race that I likely would not do well. I have been dealing with planter fasciitis for the past two and a half months. Unfortunately downhill running flares up my planter fasciitis. My finish time was one of my slowest times. If I had liked the course, I would have considered returning next year to redeem this year’s performance. As it stands, this race was a “one and done” for me. If/when I return to Oregon, it will be for a different marathon. The race was well organized and the scenery was beautiful, I simply did not care for the open course.

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3
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4
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5
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5
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Renegade Summer Trail Run Series #2

Renegade Summer Trail Run Series #2

I last ran this race in 2015. I haven't run it since only because I always seem to be injured this time of year. This is a small, but fun, … MORE

I last ran this race in 2015. I haven’t run it since only because I always seem to be injured this time of year. This is a small, but fun, casual event. There is plenty of parking in the various parking lots surrounding Cedar Grove Park. There was even signage so you knew you were parking in one of the correct lots. . Packet pick-up begins at 1700 and the race begins at 1815. Each participant is given the choice between an event shirt or bbq. You can purchase an additional shirt or bbq for $5. The bbq included chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs and veggie burgers. They had basic condiments, but no lettuce or tomato for the burgers. Everyone received a goodie bag with a surprising number of snacks and product samples. The vendor tables included Naked Juice, Suja, Ragnar, 360 shoes, and C4. There were also a large number of raffle prizes (I believe they drew around 50 tickets).

The hilly 5 mile trail course was not actually 5 miles. In 2015, my watch said it was 4.75. This year it said it was 4.72. I was a little disappointed that in 3 years, they have not lengthened the course to a full 5 miles.

The theme for the July race is “Christmas in July.” Participants were encouraged to dress up in their holiday gear. Volunteers wore 2017 Santa Run shirts (also run by Renegade Racing). As a hilarious touch, they gave out leftover medals from the holiday themed race.

There were public restrooms in the park at the start. I would recommend the race consider renting a few port potties for future events. The line grew very long as the race start time approached. The two stall bathroom was not adequate to accommodate the number of people wanting to use it. Much to my surprise, there were port potties at one of the aid stations.

Overall, this was a very fun way to spend a summer evening. I look forward to running one of these again.

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4
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SoCal Pirate’s Run 5K & 10K

SoCal Pirate’s Run 5K & 10K

I do not run a lot of 5k and 10k races, but the pirate theme sparked my interest. I love dressing up. The event offers free race morning packet pick-up, … MORE

I do not run a lot of 5k and 10k races, but the pirate theme sparked my interest. I love dressing up. The event offers free race morning packet pick-up, which always makes me happy. The event shirt had a cool pirate design, but was unisex and ran large. The course was an easy (but dull) out-and-back along the Huntington Beach bike path. It became rather congested as we approached the 5k turnaround point. My friend and I are “middle of the pack runners” and ran the 10K. The post-race refreshments included water and fruit. When my friend and I finished, there were only 3 pieces of banana left. Lame, since there were still plenty of runners behind us. Luckily Noosa yoghurt sponsored a tent at the race and they still had plenty of their yoghurt to give out. The medal was a puzzle piece which is designed to fit with the Cinco de Mayo Run and Tiki Run medals. If you collect all 3 medals, you will receive a 4th puzzle piece to complete the image (spoiler alert, it is a shark). I did not run the Cinco de Mayo race and am not interested in spending the money to run it as a virtual race just to get the medal. I think the connecting puzzle piece medals are a really cool idea, but would have preferred a non-puzzle piece pirate medal since I am not planning on completing the set. The website said that in addition to age division awards, random people would win bottles of rum. As far as I know, there was no rum. They accidentally gave the raffle prizes to the children’s games, but I doubt that is where the rum went. As far as I know, there was no official event photographer. Overall, the event was cute but I probably won’t run it again… unless they have a really cool medal next year.

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Sugar Daddy Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Sugar Daddy Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Sugar Daddy is a small local race with great energy. They offer free race morning packet pickup, which always earns brownie points in my book. The course is on the … MORE

Sugar Daddy is a small local race with great energy. They offer free race morning packet pickup, which always earns brownie points in my book. The course is on the bike paths through Santa Clarita. This means no road closures, but you must be aware of bicyclists also utilizing the path. The course is mostly flat with minimal gentle rolling hills. When running the half, there is a bucket of souvenir race pins at the turnaround point. The design of the pin changes each year. The volunteers at the aid-stations are fabulous and their energy is infectious. The medals are always cute and ice cream at the finish is a bonus treat. The race shirt is unisex and did not fit me well, but most race shirts end up in my pajama drawer anyway. I love that this race offers free race photos. What better way to get runners to advertise your event than to give them free photos to share on social media? I wish more races would start doing this. I also love that this race offers perks for legacy runners and runners who run the race consecutive years. Great motivation to keep coming back. That and, you know, the ice cream.

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2
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5
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3
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4
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Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon & 1/2 Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon & 1/2 Marathon

Having run Rock 'n' Roll San Diego as a full 5 times, I am completely done with running on the 163 Freeway. I absolutely hate the current full course. This … MORE

Having run Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego as a full 5 times, I am completely done with running on the 163 Freeway. I absolutely hate the current full course. This year I decided to run the half marathon and really enjoyed it. This was only my second time running this race as a half and first time running the current half course. While you can pick up your packet on race morning for the Saturday 5k, you must attend the expo on Friday or Saturday to pick up your packet for the half or full on Sunday. My running partner and I pre-purchased parking near the finish line and took the bus to the start. I like to arrive to the buses early as I hear the lines can get very long. Like other years, the race started at Balboa Park. I really enjoyed the course. There were some uphill portions, but the nice long downhill is what stands out in my memory. The community came out to support the race and the bands were entertaining. I was having fun the entire time and the race went by very quickly. The finish line was at Waterfront Park, which is by the ocean. If you ran the 5k on Saturday and the half or full on Sunday, you receive the Remix Challenge Medal. Unfortunately they got rid of the finisher jackets for the full marathoners. I had left the area by the time the news of the possible active shooter broke out. The incident turned out to be unrelated to the race, but police and race officials didn’t take any chances. From what I have heard, the situation was handled quickly and efficiently by all.

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3
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5
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5
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City of Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half Marathon, 5K and 10K

City of Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half Marathon, 5K and 10K

This was my 5th time running this half marathon. Every year, the medal honors a different branch of the military. If you ran the race (any distance) every year since … MORE

This was my 5th time running this half marathon. Every year, the medal honors a different branch of the military. If you ran the race (any distance) every year since 2014, in 2018 you received the Joint Chief of Staff challenge medal. That was enough motivation to keep me coming back! The course is challenging with lots of hills, especially in the first half. The downhill portions are nice and long which helps make up for some of the time lost on the uphill portions. The course starts on roads, transitions onto a single lane dirt trail and then finishes on a bike path. Be mentally prepared for the end of the race. It is uphill, you know you are close, but you can’t see the finish line. The race offers free race morning packet pickup, which always earns brownie points from me. The best part of this race is the finish line festival. There are lots of vendors and a few food trucks (hint: get “The Broadsword” from The Viking Truck). You can also purchase a beer tasting in the beer garden. I have discovered several new beers and ciders thanks to this beer garden. I tend to hang around for quite a while after I finish and catch one of the last few buses back to the start. I have enjoyed collecting the set of medals honoring the branches of the military. The shirts are mediocre (I don’t even remember what this year’s shirt looks like) and get thrown into my pajama drawer (actually, I think this year’s shirt might still be in my car). If you run the half marathon, you also receive a trucker style hat. This year I fell at mile 9.5 and decided to walk the rest of the race with another participant who had just fallen only a minute or two before me. We both tripped over a crack in the asphalt caused by the root of a nearby tree. The race staff was extremely attentive wanting to make sure we were ‘ok.’ A course marshall followed us on bicycle until we reached an aid-station where he provided us with first aid supplies.

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4
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5
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5
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4
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Pittsburgh Marathon

Pittsburgh Marathon

2018 marked my 3rd year flying out to PGH for the marathon. I love everything about this race. To celebrate the 10 year anniversary, 5k runners were given a pint … MORE

2018 marked my 3rd year flying out to PGH for the marathon. I love everything about this race. To celebrate the 10 year anniversary, 5k runners were given a pint glass, half marathon runners received a tumbler, marathon runners received both the pint glass and the tumbler. The expo was large with lots of vendors. On race morning, my friend and I parked at Station Square, which was an easy walk to the start. The course was interesting with several bridge crossings. There are hills, but not nearly as bad as I initially heard. I enjoy the wide variety of neighborhoods the course goes through. We run through low income neighborhoods. We run through affluent neighborhoods with large Victorian style houses. What I love is that entire community comes out to support the race, regardless of neighborhood. Everyone is proud to represent PGH and to support the runners. The medals are always very solid. If you run the 5k on Saturday and the half or full on Sunday, you receive the Runner of Steel Challenge Medal. This race has wonderful social media presence and offers fun contests throughout the year. In 2016 I won a VIP package for posting a picture of my game face. The current contest is to post a picture of yourself wearing your PGH race shirt while on vacation. They are wonderful at keeping participants engaged throughout the year. I can’t wait to return in 2019!

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3
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5
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5
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5
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Santa Clarita Arts Run

Santa Clarita Arts Run

The Arts Run Santa Clarita was a fun 5k & 10k that featured various types of live performances along the course including musicians, aerial silks and live theater. They offered … MORE

The Arts Run Santa Clarita was a fun 5k & 10k that featured various types of live performances along the course including musicians, aerial silks and live theater. They offered free race morning packet pickup, which always makes me happy. The shirt was a simple white shirt. Participants were given 2 permanent markers in their swag bag to color the shirt if desired. The event offered painting and other activities to engage children. My favorite moment in the race was when a group of musicians began playing the Pirates of the Caribbean theme music as I ran by (I was wearing a pirate hat). I don’t know if it was coincidence or if they noticed my outfit as I was approaching. My ONLY critique of this event was that all of the entertainment was in the first half. The 5k runners had entertainment for the entire course while the 10k only got entertainment for the first half. I’m hoping they spread the love a little more evenly next year. The course was on the bike paths in Santa Clarita and mostly flat. Overall, very fun and unique inaugural event. I also loved that I was supporting the performing arts in my local community.

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4
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