My Profile

@sfgal78

Redwood City, CA Raving since 2015 active 4 months ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):

    Lululemon Palo Alto Run Club, Bay Area Runners, Mountain View Area Run Club

  • Rave race:
  • Race that's calling my name:
  • I run because:

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

Personal Bests (4)

Race Distance Location Date Result
Marathon Modesto, CA Mar 11, 2018 3:34:00
Half Marathon Redwood City, CA Oct 28, 2017 1:42:27
10K San Jose, CA Nov 26, 2015 45:26
5K San Mateo, CA Nov 23, 2017 21:50

Future Races (0)

Race Distance Location Date Paid

Past Races (45)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
Marathon Hopkinton, MA Apr 15, 2019
Marathon Modesto, CA Mar 11, 2018 3:34:00
5K San Mateo, CA Nov 23, 2017 21:50
Half Marathon Redwood City, CA Oct 28, 2017 1:42:27
10K Mountain View, CA Sep 24, 2017 45:48
5K Mountain View, CA Feb 25, 2017 23:10
10K San Jose, CA Feb 5, 2017 46:19
10K San Jose, CA Nov 26, 2015 45:26
5K Redwood City, CA Oct 24, 2015 22:44
Half Marathon San Jose, CA Sep 27, 2015
10K San Jose, CA Aug 15, 2015
Half Marathon San Leandro, CA Aug 1, 2015
5K Stanford, CA Jun 21, 2015
Half Marathon San Jose, CA Jun 14, 2015
5K Livermore, CA Jun 7, 2015
10K Fremont, CA May 9, 2015
Half Marathon Fremont, CA May 2, 2015
10K Stanford, CA Mar 22, 2015
10K San Jose, CA Feb 28, 2015
Half Marathon San Leandro, CA Feb 14, 2015
10K Fremont, CA Jan 24, 2015
10K San Jose, CA Nov 27, 2014
5 Miler Campbell, CA Nov 1, 2014
Half Marathon San Jose, CA Oct 26, 2014
5K Redwood City, CA Oct 4, 2014
10K San Jose, CA Aug 31, 2014
Half Marathon Los Gatos, CA Jul 13, 2014
Half Marathon Fremont, CA May 10, 2014
Half Marathon Los Gatos, CA Mar 16, 2014
10K San Jose, CA Mar 1, 2014
10K Fremont, CA 2014
8K Palo Alto, CA Mar 2, 2013
5K San Jose, CA 2013
Half Marathon San Francisco Bay, CA 2013
Marathon Fremont, CA 2013
10K San Jose, CA Nov 29, 2012
5K Stanford, CA Nov 4, 2012
5K Stanford, CA Jun 23, 2012
Half Marathon San Leandro, CA 2012
Half Marathon Fremont, CA 2012
Half Marathon San Jose, CA 2012
Marathon Folsom, CA 2011
5K San Francisco, CA 2010
5 Miler Los Gatos, CA 2010
1st Half Marathon San Francisco, CA 2009

My Raves

Modesto Marathon

Modesto Marathon

after the months of hard training & early morning wake up calls, running in the cold, heat, wind, rain, on pavement, on gravel, in mud (when it rained), all of … MORE

after the months of hard training & early morning wake up calls, running in the cold, heat, wind, rain, on pavement, on gravel, in mud (when it rained), all of my efforts paid off in modesto on march 11, 2018.

note that the modesto marathon isn’t just a marathon, it offers several distances, something for everyone:
1. full marathon
2. half marathon
3. half marathon relay
4. 5k

what i liked about this race:
-reasonable race entry fee, i paid $112 (incl. taxes) for the full marathon, and this was just 11 days before race day (late entry fee)
-pre race expo the day before, allowing runners to pick up their bibs, shirts, etc and figure out where to eat pre-race & post-race meals
-weather was perfect, about 43 & foggy at the start, no wind, and somewhere in the mid 50s & sunny when i finished (much warmer for others who finished later)
-dedicated pacers for most boston qualifying times (marathon), and common goal times (half marathon)
-mid-sized event, with ~600 marathoners & ~1200 half marathoners toeing the start line together
-course was pancake flat, with just 1 uphill & downhill ramp (which we had to cross twice, near mile 4 and again at mile 24)
-very accurate distance, according to my garmin, i ran 26.26mi which is pretty much spot on for the official marathon distance
-plenty of aid stations along the way
-friendly volunteers
-quite a few cheer stations, folks dressed up in costume, spectators cheering their loved ones, and even farmers who came out and shook their cow bells at us!
-a bright red, technical fiber short-sleeve t and a black fleece-lined zip hoodie
-the finisher medal was about 5 1/2″ long, which was the largest medal i’d ever received for completing a race!
-for those who bq’d (qualified for boston), we earned a fluorescent yellow tshirt with “I BQ’d at the Modesto Marathon” on the back and a bumper sticker
-since i placed 2nd in my age group, i was also awarded an insulated coffee cup…this was a complete surprise since i never expected to place at a large event!

what i did not like about this race:
-the course was not very scenic, and near the turnaround point (mile 14), it was actually quite boring, just looking at farm after farm
-would have liked more music along the course, especially after the full & half marathon split and the course emptied out a bit…there were a couple of music stations, but not many, and i would only hear the music for 5-10 seconds at a time
-average post-race food spread. i saw only some bars, mini-boxes of raisins, chocolate milk, clementines, and water (which was given out right after the finish arch). would have liked some heavier carbs, especially for the full marathon finishers…maybe bagels and bananas?
-there was electrolyte fluid (powerade/gatorade) available at the medical tent, which was inside and shaded, but i didn’t see any electrolytes at the finisher food area…this would have been helpful especially given the rising temps and hot sun

despite the minor shortcomings, i really enjoyed this event, and it will always hold a special place in my heart and my running career b/c i will remember modesto as the place where i qualified for the boston marathon, also known as the holy grail of marathons, the biggest/grandest of the world major marathons.

if you’re looking for a race to run a personal best or qualify for boston, look no further….sign up for the modesto marathon! 2019 is their 10yr anniversary which is sure to be the best yet!

DIFFICULTY
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PRODUCTION
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My Report
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1
SWAG
5
My Media

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

A Runner’s Mind Gobble Wobble

A Runner’s Mind Gobble Wobble

my company helped sponsor this event and also had a booth at the post-race festival area, so i was able to run this race for free. for this event, there … MORE

my company helped sponsor this event and also had a booth at the post-race festival area, so i was able to run this race for free.

for this event, there was a choice of 2 distances:
1. 10k (6.2 miles)
2. 5k (3.1 miles)

i chose the 5k since i also needed to help man the booth after the race.

the pros:
-REASONABLE race fees, $37 for either 5k or 10k. even on race morning, it was still just $42, which is pretty good compared to other last minute/day of race prices.
-PACKET PICKUP at ARM burlingame the day before the event as well as on site the morning of (for those who live a bit further and didn’t want to make two trips to burlingame in 24 hours)
-takes place along coyote point recreation area in san mateo/burlingame, where you have some nice VIEWS OF THE BAY.
-course is relatively FLAT, with just a few inclines/declines to mix things up.
-good RACE DAY WEATHER, mid-upper 50s throughout, which is warm for thanksgiving morning!
-MEDIUM-SIZED local race, about 1300 participants between the 2 distances, which meant fewer crowds and shorter waiting lines for parking, restrooms, etc
-STAGGERED race start times to avoid congestion. 10k started at 8, 5k started at 8.30.
-CLEAR MILE MARKERS and signs for both the 5k and 10k, as well as volunteers and signage at the turnaround points and other points along the course so we wouldn’t get lost!
-FRIENDLY VOLUNTEERS assisting at the registration/information booths, handing out water at aid stations along the course, and handing out snacks at the refreshments table post-race.
-EASY PARKING in the lots adjacent to the start/finish area. since i arrived extra early, i ended up parking just steps from the registration and start/finish line.
-PARK RESTROOMS near the start/finish area…there were 2 inside the park, and likely a third a little further away.
-VERY FAMILY FRIENDLY, perfect for families, small children, and strollers.

what you get:
*dri-fit, technical FINISHER’S TSHIRT with ARM gobble wobble logo…i loved the burgundy red colour, perfect for the season!
*several AID STATIONS with volunteers handing out cups of water
*POST-RACE FOOD & DRINKS, including bare snacks apple chips, hippeas chickpea puffs, nature’s bakery fig newtons and brownies, that’s it 100% fruit bars, noosa yoghurt, vita coco coconut milk, hint water, kona deep electrolyte water, and water in gallon jugs with recyclable cups (way to be green!)
*PANCAKE breakfast post-race, compliments of ARM….i saw the volunteers making the batter and grilling the pancakes around the time the 5k started!
*official RESULTS available immediately on-site…posted online the evening of the event which was a surprise since it was thanksgiving evening! kudos to arm for getting the results up so quickly!

bonuses for top finishers:
*gold, silver or bronze covered turkeys for the top 3 overall men & women for both distances
*ARM gift certificates for the top 3 men & women per age group, for both distances

the cons:
-both courses were slightly short. my garmin measured 3.07mi for the 5k and my friends who ran the 10k reported readings between 6.1-6.2mi…not a huge deal as it was pretty close. note that these courses were not usa track & field certified.
-there were no finisher medals for this event

i didn’t have high expectations for myself since i was busy working the event and helping with logistics in the days leading up to the race, but to my surprise, i ended up setting a pr for the 5k (21:50) and placing 3rd in my age group, so i got to be a part of the awards ceremony, receiving a $25 gift certificate to spend at ARM.

overall, a great event and great way to sweat it out and get some fresh air before the big feast in the afternoon!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

rc.oktoberun Half Marathon and 5K

rc.oktoberun Half Marathon and 5K

i ran the oktoberun 5k in 2014 and 2015, but unfortunately was unable to participate last year (2016). i was so happy that i was able to fit this into … MORE

i ran the oktoberun 5k in 2014 and 2015, but unfortunately was unable to participate last year (2016). i was so happy that i was able to fit this into my schedule for 2017, and more importantly, run the half marathon course, since this was one i had my eye on for a couple of years.

as always, the race begins & ends in downtown rwc, by the rcef (redwood city education foundation). despite a major heatwave, aka indian summer in late october, the temps actually cooled down by the morning of the race, and it was 51 & sunny, with little humidity just before the start. heck, i was COLD, for the first time in over a week, wearing gloves and a warm jacket during my warmup.

the haffie started at 730, and they were more or less on time, starting just a minute or two after the official start time, but i appreciated that they were verifying that traffic was clear on the course before officially sounding the horn!

since it was a cool, non-humid, non-windy day, with the sun only partially risen, i was able to quickly get into a good rhythm and stride and hit my target pace. there were plenty of water stations along the course, and they also had a halfway check point along the haffie course, to ensure that the half marathoners didn’t get lost or skip parts of the official course. i saw many volunteers on the course, directing traffic to ensure that all of us made the correct turns to stay on course until the very end. there were also some orange cones lining parts of the course.

since i was able to stay focused and patient, i maintained very even splits for the first 10 miles, and had enough energy to push the pace in the last 5k and and sprint across the finish line. did i mention i passed quite a few runners in the final 5k? great feeling, it was. i didn’t fully accept it until i crossed the finish line, but i ended up pr’ing, by a minute, and running 6 minutes faster than my previous half marathon last year.

although this was a certified usa track & field half marathon course, the actual distance ran (according to my garmin) was a tad bit long…i got 13.25mi, which is .14mi longer than the official course time. it inflated my finish time about about a minute, but it wasn’t a big deal, i pr’d anyway!

at the finish line festival, i was greeted with kona water, bananas, noosa yoghurt, kind bars, beanitos bean chips, snack factory apple sticks, and bobo’s oat bar bites…this was quite the spread, and i was quite impressed by these offerings (as were the other runners).

sat october 28th, 2017 was a magical day for me, and now i can say that i ran my personal best half marathon in my home town!

great event, superb organization, flat course, friendly volunteers, delicious & healthy food & beverages at the finish line…what more could i ask for?

DIFFICULTY
1
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4
SCENERY
3
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1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Trailblazer Race

Trailblazer Race

one of the leaders in my run club suggested that we do this race as a team to show our support for the friends of stevens creek trail since our … MORE

one of the leaders in my run club suggested that we do this race as a team to show our support for the friends of stevens creek trail since our group runs this trail at least once a week. since it was a familiar trail and also a short drive from home, i didn’t hesitate to register.

for this event, there was a choice of 2 distances:
1. 10k (6.2 miles)
2. 5k (3.1 miles)

i chose the 10k since i hadn’t run this distance in almost half a year.

the pros:
-VERY REASONABLE race fees, $25 for either 5k or 10k (plus a couple more $$ for online fees).
-takes place along stevens creek trail & shoreline park, where you have unobstructed VIEWS OF THE BAY. also convenient to 101 & shoreline blvd exit.
-course is almost 100% FLAT, perfect for running a personal best.
-fantastic RACE DAY WEATHER conditions, upper 40s at the start and low 50s at the end with little humidity, great for running a personal best!
-MEDIUM-SIZED local race, which meant fewer crowds and shorter waiting lines for parking, restrooms, etc
-CLEAR MILE MARKERS and signs for both the 5k and 10k, as well as volunteers at the turnaround point and other points along the course so you stay on track
-ACCURATELY measured distances for both the 5k & 10k. i got exactly 6.21mi for the 10k in my Garmin device.
-FRIENDLY VOLUNTEERS assisting at the registration/information booths, handing out water at aid stations along the course, and handing out snacks at the refreshments table post-race.
-FREE and EASY PARKING right next to the start/finish area. since i arrived extra early, i ended up parking just steps from the registration area, and a stone’s throw from the finish line.
-PORTA-POTTIES at the start/finish area, along with portable hand washing stations with soap, water and paper towels.
-VERY FAMILY FRIENDLY, perfect for families, small children, and strollers.
-tons of RAFFLE PRIZES given it post-race, thanks to local sponsors like century cinemas, peet’s coffee and Jamba Juice.

what you get:
*cotton FINISHER’S TSHIRT with trailblazer logo
*several AID STATIONS with volunteers handing out cups of water
*POST-RACE FOOD & DRINKS, including bananas, oranges, coffee cake (compliments of hobee’s restaurant), granola bars and water
*official RESULTS available immediately on-site, via tv screens

bonuses for top finishers:
*customized trophies for the top male & female per age group for both distances
*customized (larger) trophies for the overall male and female winners for each distance, as well as 1st place masters male & female finishers (age 50 and up)

the cons:
-there were no finisher medals for this event (most races nowadays have at least a customized finisher medal for every participant who crosses the finish line)
-food ran out a bit early. one of my friends who finished near the top of the 5k finishers said that they were running out of bananas when he finished. when I walked over, they were starting to run low on granola bars and I was asked to take just one.

despite these minor setbacks, i still very much enjoyed this event and would love to participate again next year.

thank you, to friends of stevens creek trail for organizing this race!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
1

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Mountain View Fire Drill 5K & 10K

Mountain View Fire Drill 5K & 10K

one of the leaders in my run club suggested that we do this race as a group/team to show our support for the mountain view firefighters. i didn't need any … MORE

one of the leaders in my run club suggested that we do this race as a group/team to show our support for the mountain view firefighters. i didn’t need any extra incentive to sign up, since i was sold on the race beneficiary.

for this event, there was a choice of 2 distances:
1. 10k (6.2 miles)
2. 5k (3.1 miles)

i chose the 5k only b/c i had been on a short running break following the completion of another race.

the pros:
-REASONABLE race fees, $40 for either 5k or 10k. i paid $32 since our group had a discount code for the event.
-takes place at SHORELINE PARK, where you have unobstructed views of the bay. also convenient to 101 & shoreline blvd exit.
-fantastic RACE DAY WEATHER conditions, low-mid 40s and sunny, great for running a personal best!
-SMALL, local race, which meant no crowds and long waiting lines for parking, restrooms, etc
-CLEAR MILE MARKERS and chalked road signs for the 5k, as well as volunteers at the turnaround point (to ensure you don’t run further than you signed up for!)
-FRIENDLY VOLUNTEERS assisting at the registration/information booths, handing out water at aid stations along the course, and handing out snacks at the refreshments’ tables post-race.
-FREE and EASY PARKING right next to the start/finish area.
-PORTA-POTTIES at the start/finish area, along with portable hand washing stations with soap, water and paper towels.
-VERY FAMILY FRIENDLY, perfect for families, small children, and strollers.

what you get:
*choice of PACKET PICKUP @ the downtown mountain view fire station the eve of the race or on-site the morning of.
*grey, cotton FINISHER’S TSHIRT
*custom designed SHOULDER BAG with fire fighter logo
*several AID STATIONS with volunteers handing out cups of water
*POST-RACE FOOD & DRINKS, including bagels, bananas, kind bars, coffee cake (compliments of hobee’s restaurant), ice cream (compliments of baskin robbins), life aid energy drinks, and water
*official RESULTS available immediately on-site, via tv screens and self-service laptops

bonuses for top finishers:
*medals for the top 3 men and women per age group for both distances
*customized glass trophies for the 1st male and female finishers for each distance, as well as top masters male & female finishers (age 50 and up)
*despite the slightly late start, i was quite surprised when they announced my name as the top female finisher in the 5k race. i got to take home a shiny, beautiful glass trophy and have my photo taken with the firefighters in the post-race awards ceremony.

the cons:
-the advertised start times were 0900 for the 10k and 0915 for the 5k. however, by the time i got to the start ~906 or 907, it appeared that the 5k race had already begun, several minutes early! i wasn’t alone as a handful of other runners were just as confused, and we all started a few minutes late.
-the 5k was a bit long, as my garmin read 3.18 miles immediately after crossing the finish line. i pretty much knew that i wasn’t going to pr on this course, but it would’ve been nice to have at least a few seconds shaved off for a correctly measured distance.
-my friends who ran the 10k told me that parts of the last mile were confusing/not clearly marked/directed and many of them ended up running more than 6.2mi, therefore having inflated finish times.

despite these minor setbacks, i still very much enjoyed this event, especially since i got to take home a trophy for the first time in my running career.

thank you, to “its your race events” and the mountain view fire department, for putting on this great event. i would definitely sign up again for next year’s event!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Super Guadalupe River Run

Super Guadalupe River Run

for this particular event, there was a choice of 2 distances: 1. 10k (6.2 miles) 2. 5k (3.1 miles) i signed up for the 10k so that i could burn … MORE

for this particular event, there was a choice of 2 distances:
1. 10k (6.2 miles)
2. 5k (3.1 miles)

i signed up for the 10k so that i could burn more calories, since i knew that i’d be pigging out at a super bowl party later that afternoon!

the pros:
-REASONABLE race fees, $40 for the 5k and $45 for the 10k if you register during the early bird period
-takes place at ARENA GREEN, just outside downtown san jose, next to the lower guadalupe river trailhead and just off highway 87.
-CLEAR MILE MARKERS for both both 5k & 10k, as well as marker & volunteer at the respective turnaround points (to ensure you don’t run further than you signed up for!)
-ACCURATELY MEASURED DISTANCE, as my garmin read 6.22 miles immediately after crossing the finish line which is pretty much spot on with the official 10k race distance of 6.2 miles.
-FRIENDLY VOLUNTEERS assisting at the registration/information booths, handing out water at aid stations along the course, and handing out snacks at the refreshments’ tables post-race.
-FREE and EASY PARKING in multiple parking areas, all within a 1/2 mile from the start/finish area. i actually got lucky and found street parking a block from the start!
-PORTA-POTTIES at the start/finish area, along with portable hand washing stations with soap, water and paper towels.
-COMPLIMENTARY BAG CHECK at the finish area with volunteers to guard your bags until after the race

what you get:
*choice of PACKET PICKUP @ the guadalupe river park conservancy, wednesday-friday prior to the race, or on site pick up the morning of.
*green, technical FINISHER’S SHIRT
*several AID STATIONS with volunteers handing out cups of water
*POST-RACE FOOD & DRINKS, including tortilla chips, guacamole, clementines and water
*customer FINISHER MEDAL for each participant
*official RESULTS posted online the afternoon following the race
*RACE PHOTOS posted online within 48 hrs of the race

bonuses for top finishers:
*customized guadalupe conservancy beer glasses for the top 3 men and top 3 women in each age group for both distances

the cons:
-both 5k & 10k courses were out and back, and had a slight uphill on the return trip as well as strong headwind. not the race organizer’s fault, but this definitely made for a tougher finish (and difficulty in negative-splitting) for all runners.
-this course was not very scenic since we ran next to san jose airport for most of the race. only a small portion was in the guadalupe river park, but there wasn’t anything interesting to see.
-i ran the 10k, and was one of the earliest finishers, but by the time i got to the refreshments’ table, they had run out of tortilla chips! tons of guacamole left, but no tortilla chips!?!?!
-wish they had more carbs available, maybe bagels or muffins or granola bars, since those who ran the 10k would need a bit more sustenance after a longer effort.

thank you, to on your mark events, for putting on this terrific event, and to the guadalupe river park conservancy for being the title sponsor!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
1
SWAG
3

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Zoom Turkey Trot

Zoom Turkey Trot

keeping to my annual thanksgiving day tradition, i participated in a turkey trot this morning so that i could BURN some calories before CONSUMING lots of calories at this evening's … MORE

keeping to my annual thanksgiving day tradition, i participated in a turkey trot this morning so that i could BURN some calories before CONSUMING lots of calories at this evening’s feast!

participants had a choice of three events to either run, walk or “trot:”: 5k , 10k, or half marathon (13.1 miles). i chose the 10k so i could get in about an hour’s worth of vigorous exercise.

the pros:
-BIB AND TSHIRT PICKUP the morning of the event. there was practically no line when i arrived at 8.20am
-IDEAL RACE DAY WEATHER, with low-mid 40s and sunny skies at the start. although it was very chilly when i first arrived, i warmed up quickly after the first mile or so.
-PLENTIFUL PARKING in the lot adjacent to the start/finish line and post-race refreshments area.
-several park BATHROOM STRUCTURES as well as five porta-potties available
-mostly FLAT COURSE with gentle inclines along coyote creek trail in hellyer county park. the foliage was beautiful as the trail was surrounded by trees with gold, orange, and rust-coloured leaves!
-different COLOURED FLAGS to mark each race distance (hung on tree branches and/or lining the trail), blue flags to mark “wrong direction”
-a wide array of POST-RACE REFRESHMENTS, which included pretzels, chips, candy, m&m’s, graham crackers, mini clif bars, oranges, and even pumpkin pie! they even offered hamburgers and hot dogs, something you don’t normally see after a race!
-FRIENDLY VOLUNTEERS assisting with directing parking, bib pickup and registration pre-race, and handing out medals and refreshments post-race. i loved that two of the volunteers were dressed up as a piece of pumpkin pie and a whipped cream bottle, very creative!
-EARLY BIRD registration fees of $35, $40, and $45 for the 5k, 10k, and half distances, respectively. you can also save $5 if you choose not to purchase an official race tshirt.
-COLLEGE STUDENT DISCOUNT of 10% off the registration fee with valid student ID
-COLOURFUL MEDALS awaiting runners at the finish line!
-medals for AGE GROUP WINNERS, 3 deep in each 10-year category, i.e. male 20-29, 30-39, female 20-29, 30-39, etc. since i finished 3rd in my age group, i took home two medals today. 🙂
-CUSTOMISED TURKEY TROT COASTERS for the top 3 overall men and women finishers for each distance. since i was the 3rd female to cross the finish line for the 10k, i got to take home a coaster!
-TURKEY RAFFLE for 20 or so random participants. i actually won a turkey in the random draw!

the cons:
-since hellyer county park is one of the many county parks in santa clara county, there is a parking fee for each vehicle, $6, payable in cash to the ranger at the main gate.
-even though i arrived around 8.15, one hour before the start of the 10k, the line leading to the ranger’s gate was really long and i waited close to 10 minutes before getting to the front of the line. fortunately, i still had ample time to get ready and warmup for the race!
-while it was a nice course, the turnaround points could have been more clearly marked. although the 5k and 10k turnaround points were clearly marked with a cone and paper sign, my friend who ran the half did not see such a turnaround sign nor was she advised by the volunteer at the exact turnaround point that it was time for her to turnaround. she ended up running 13.6 miles, instead of the prescribed 13.1 miles for the half marathon.

for this event, i went home with 2 medals, a coaster, and a 10ish pound turkey! not bad for an hour’s worth of running!

overall, a great family-friendly event to kick off thanksgiving! thank you to the organizers for putting on this event! i am looking forward to participating in this event again next year!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
2
SWAG
3

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

rc.oktoberun Half Marathon and 5K

rc.oktoberun Half Marathon and 5K

i participated in last year's edition of this family-friendly event and was eager to sign up once again. for reasons that are unknown to me, the organizers decided to move … MORE

i participated in last year’s edition of this family-friendly event and was eager to sign up once again. for reasons that are unknown to me, the organizers decided to move the race from the last weekend in september to the 4th weekend in october this year.

just like last year, they offered the same 2 distances for participants to run:
half marathon (13.1 miles)
5k (3.1 miles)

i chose the 5k since i wanted to see if i could beat last year’s 5k time.

the pros:
+MEDIUM-SIZED event with about 1500 participants between the 2 events (up from 1200+ last year)
+FAIR REGISTRATION PRICES only $30 for 5k since i signed up during the early bird period. $60 for the half marathon.
+BIB AND TSHIRT pickup on wed, thurs, and fri before the race at various locations along the peninsula
+DRI-FIT SHIRT with the “OktobeRun” logo. this year’s shirt was a bright orange colour, very timely for the weekend before halloween. although i preferred last year’s long sleeve version, this year’s short sleeve had a nicer design.
+FREE PARKING in downtown rwc’s parking lots (all day) and along the streets (if you leave before 10am, when meters go into effect)
+LOTS of PORTA-POTTIES at the start line, in several different clumps to avoid congestion. i didn’t have to wait more than a few minutes before it was my turn!
+FLAT course with just a couple of short inclines.
+CLEAR MILE MARKER signage at every mile, also clear signage for the 5k turnaround so that we would not run longer than the specified distance!
+STAGGERED start times, 7.30am for the half and 7.45am for the 5k to avoid congestion along the course
+VARIETY OF POST-RACE REFRESHMENTS, which included assorted bagels, bananas, coffee cake, NESTLE chocolate milk, and KIND STRONG bars. water and electrolyte drink to sip on after finishing.
+CUPS of water available at the finish. props to the organizers for not giving out bottled water and using recyclable paper cups to help save the environment!
+LOTS OF FRIENDLY VOLUNTEERS assisting with bib pickup and registration pre-race, manning the aid stations on the course, directing runners, and handing out refreshments after the finish line.
+VERY SHORT DRIVE from home, only b/c i live in rwc….about a 4 minute drive to a street parking spot from home!

the cons:
-the 5k was a bit too long as my garmin read 3.18 miles instead of 3.1 or 3.11 miles, which is the official correct distance for a 5k race. i could have shaved about 30 seconds off my time had the course been the correct distance.
-while the half marathon finishers received medals at the end, there were no medals for the 5k finishers. it would have been nice to have even a small medal as a 5k runner, and i certainly wouldn’t mind paying a few extra $$ to have a medal for this distance (hint, hint to race organizers for next year)

my results:
i was actually pretty happy about my finish time, a personal best pace, and finishing 10th female, and 3rd in my age group. my reward? a customized fleet feet sports glass. thank you fleet feet for sponsoring this event and providing some cool prizes to the top finishers! and thank you to the other sponsors and race organizers for putting on such a great event!

overall, i think this was a very well-organized local event and i enjoyed running in my hometown, something that i don’t get to do often since rwc doesn’t host that many races. i’m looking forward to running this event again and will definitely sign up for the half next time since it runs along a bigger portion of the bay and is much more scenic!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
2
SWAG
2

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Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon

this was my 4th time participating in the rock 'n roll san jose half marathon, and 6th time attending the race (i came to cheer and spectate in 2010 & … MORE

this was my 4th time participating in the rock ‘n roll san jose half marathon, and 6th time attending the race (i came to cheer and spectate in 2010 & 2014). the course remains the same, as does the start/finish area, as well as the plethora of lives bands, cheerleaders, and other lively characters along the course. the volunteers were spectacular, handing out medals, water, and food at the finish line. and let’s not forget all of the volunteers who helped out at the expo and days leading up to the event, since a race for 20,000+ runners take a lot of hard work!

since 2015 was the 10th running of this event, participants received a special commemorative dri-fit tee (in both men’s and women’s cuts) as well as a heavy medal, with a big sparkly 10 in the middle. i cannot lie, one of the main reasons i signed up was for the special tshirt and medal!

the one negative aspect about this year’s event was the parking situation. having participated in this event for several years, i am accustomed to free, dedicated parking at the sap center. even if i arrive late, i still have a spot there, with a slightly longer walk. a few days before race day, i received an email stating that due to another event at the sap center in the afternoon, parking would no longer be available for runners in the adjacent lot. we would have to park at one of the city lots and pay $5 in advance, or find street parking, or take vta, or be dropped off at the start line. this was quite inconvenient and i know that many of my friends were not happy about this last minute change. i had my husband drop me off at the start line since i didn’t want to take a chance of not getting a parking space even with the prepaid parking pass.

aside from the parking snafu, i felt that the overall organization was very smooth and i didn’t even have to wait that long to use the porta-potty before the race!

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
1
SWAG
5

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FroYo Run San Jose

FroYo Run San Jose

i was looking forward to this event all summer long since it was heavily advertised as the "sweetest" run where you'd be rewarded with a cup of froyo upon crossing … MORE

i was looking forward to this event all summer long since it was heavily advertised as the “sweetest” run where you’d be rewarded with a cup of froyo upon crossing the finish line. it would be the first ever frozen yogurt run in san jose, and the bay area for that matter, and my friends and i were super excited to participate in this inaugural event.

on what would be one of the hottest days this summer with a forecast of 97 F in san jose, my friends and i, along with 2000 or so other participants, trekked downtown to the arena green, hoping that we would all finish the race before it got too warm. a tall order for a race that had a start time of 9am. normally, i’d be rejoicing for a race that started later = extra sleep time! but today, i was secretly wishing that the race started at 7 or 8, when it was cooler outside.

what i liked about the race:
+reasonable RACE REGISTRATION FEES as i paid $40.45 for the 10k race, early-bird group rate for groups of 4 or more. the 5k was a few dollars less.
+the ORGANIZERS were very prompt in responding to all of the emails that i sent before race day
+very FAMILY FRIENDLY as i saw many families, children, and strollers at this event
+VOLUNTEERS were very efficient in checking folks in on race morning, handing us our goody bags and bibs, directing us on all turns during the race (there were a lot), manning the aid stations, handing out medals and bottled water at the finish
+complimentary BAG/GEAR CHECK at the start/finish area
+lots of PORTA-POTTIES at the start/finish area; thankfully, i never had to wait for one, which is rare at a large event
+STAGGERED START TIMES for each wave of runners, based on estimated pace (a group was released every couple of minutes to avoid congestion on course)
+CLEAR SIGNAGE to distinguish the 10k and 5k routes when the 5k participants split off towards the finish chute
+free cup of FROZEN YOGURT WITH TOPPINGS at the finish area, perfect for such a hot day!
+unique SCHWAG including a medal in the form of a swirl, a dri-fit hat with race logo, a green drawstring bag, and coupon for free frozen yogurt at yogurtland
+in addition to the usual overall and age group AWARDS, they also had awards for best costume, fastest stroller, and fastest frozen yogurt eater!

what i did not like about this race:
-REGISTRATION PROCESS was a bit unorthodox. since i signed up my group of 5 as one transaction, all of the tickets were put under my name and i had to email each of my friends with the individual tickets/bar codes.
-since everything was under my name and email, i was the only one RECEIVING UPDATES re the race, so each time an update was sent out, i had to forward them on to my friends…the week of the race, they had multiple updates, which made for a busy week for me.
-there was no PRE-RACE BIB AND PACKET PICKUP so we had to arrive at the race early, line up, and pick up our goody bag and bibs.
-BIB NUMBERS were not assigned in advance, so after picking up bibs on race morning, we had to use our smart phones to register our bibs with our name, age, and gender in order to be eligible for age group awards…i have never had to do this for another race!
-while there was dedicated PARKING at the SAP center parking lot a block away, we had to pay $5 per car. good thing i carpooled with a friend!
-no race T-SHIRT for this event….something that almost every race offers in this day and age
-UNINTERESTING COURSE which took us around downtown san jose where we only saw buildings
-MISSING MILE SIGNAGE along the course….i only saw the mile markers for mile 2 and 3
-10k COURSE was two loops of the 5k course, so in addition to seeing the same boring buildings twice, i also saw mile markers 2 and 3 twice
-INCORRECT COURSE MEASUREMENTS as the 10k was about 5.74 miles long, about 1/2 mile shy of the official 6.2 miles for a 10k. i believe the 5k was about 2.88 miles, which also falls short of the official 3.1 miles for a 5k. while this led to all of my friends crossing the finish line with great times, we knew that these times did not reflect the true 10k distance which was a bit of a letdown.
-the BOTTLED WATER at the end of the race was warm, which is not ideal esp for such a warm day….~75/80 degrees at the time
-the POST-RACE FROYO was great, but the pre-packaged cup of froyo was a bit hard and the texture was closer to ice cream vs froyo and the small cup wasn’t filled to capacity…i’d say it was approximately 4 ounces of froyo per cup/per participant. they also ran out of one flavour well before everyone had finished running/walking.
-aside from froyo, there was NO OTHER FOOD offered at the end, no bagels, no bananas, nothing.
-RESULTS were not physically posted anywhere onsite and you had to keep checking online for them to be posted, which was several hours after the conclusion of the event.

although i really like the concept of a froyo run, some details definitely need to be ironed out before they hold a second running of this event.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
1
SWAG
4

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Brazen Summer Breeze Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Brazen Summer Breeze Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

3 years ago, i ran my very first brazen race in san leandro, and 3 yrs later, 8 brazen races later, i'm still running the same san leandro marina bay … MORE

3 years ago, i ran my very first brazen race in san leandro, and 3 yrs later, 8 brazen races later, i’m still running the same san leandro marina bay shoreline in an attempt to keep running my fastest on this flat, joint-forgiving course with cool and cloudy conditions.

this was my 4th year in a row running the summer breeze half marathon, and 5th time running this exact 13 mile out-and-back course. i will say, the organization, race directors, and volunteers remain superb, as do the well-designed finisher shirts and medals. however, i was a bit disappointed this year with the post-race/finish area food and race distance.

the post-race food/picnic area was moved a couple hundred feet, and after cooling down and stretching, i walked over to find only 1 table with food, and very few choices. the its its ice cream sandwiches had completely run out (meaning that some folks took more than 1 ice cream sammy) and i only saw bagels, pretzels, chips, oreos, and trail mix. this was 1/2, maybe even 1/3 of the normal offerings at a brazen event.

also, the half course seems to have grown longer through the years….when i ran this event 2 yrs ago, it was 13.04 miles (and this is the same year that i fan my fastest haffie ever), but last year it was 13.4 miles, and this year it was 13.2 miles. since i always tend to run the tangents (shortest path possible), i expect to come slightly under 13.1, but that has not been the case as of late.

i still love running the brazen events, and will likely continue to participate in their events, but i hope they bring back the usual post-race spread and measure the distances so that we aren’t running longer than necessary.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
2
SWAG
3

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Summer Scamper

Summer Scamper

i participated in the inaugural summer scamper in 2011, as well as the following year, but have not been able to work this event into my schedule the past two … MORE

i participated in the inaugural summer scamper in 2011, as well as the following year, but have not been able to work this event into my schedule the past two years. this year, i signed up early, with my run group, as we decided to participate and support lucille packard children’s hospital together as a team. i love that this event focuses on kids, and even has a kids run in addition to the main distances.

for this particular event, there was a choice of 2 distances:
1. 10k (6.2 miles)
2. 5k (3.1 miles)

children between the ages of 3 and 10 had their own kids’ fun run, broken down as such:
1. ages 3-4, 200 yard run
2. ages 5-6, 400 yard run
3. ages 7-8, 600 yard run
4. ages 9-10, half mile run

the pros:
+VERY REASONABLE race fees, $30 for the 5k and $35 for the 10k. since my group was registered as a team, i saved an additional $5 on registration.
+FREE and EASY PARKING on stanford’s campus, in the lot directly across the street from the registration and finish line festival area (which was just a couple minutes walk from the start line)
+FRIENDLY VOLUNTEERS directing runners in the parking area, manning aid stations along the course, flagging runners to ensure that we stayed on course, and keeping the refreshments’ tables well stocked at the post-race festival area.
+LOTS of PORTA-POTTIES by the start/finish line as well as the festival area. we also had access to the proper restrooms at the stanford track which was where the kids’ races took place.

what you get:
*choice of BIB AND TSHIRT PICKUP at campbell sports basement two days before the race or fleet feet sports menlo park the day before the race. for those who couldn’t attend either, they could pick up their bib and shirt at the registration tent the morning of the race.
*teal, DRI FIT FINISHER’S SHIRT with a white summer scamper logo
*VIRTUAL GOODY BAG, emailed to all registered participants the week of the race, with discounts to local retailers
*several AID STATIONS with volunteers handing out cups of water
*customised SUMMER SCAMPER MEDAL for each child who crossed the finish line at the kids’ race. these were super cute and i know that all of the kids loved these special medals that were made exclusively for them!
*TONS of POST-RACE FOOD & DRINKS, including assorted bagels, bananas, oranges, KIND bars, and water.
*SPONSORS including lyfe kitchen, farm hill, kind water, kombucha, offering samples of their food, including chocolate chip cookies, mango salsa, kale salad, date bars, flavoured water, and kombucha shots.
*lots of FINISH LINE FESTIVAL ACTIVITIES, including games, more food, and opportunities to win prizes from local sponsors

the cons:
-race started 5 minutes late. both the 5k and 10k were supposed to start at 8am sharp, but they did not begin announcements until this time which delayed the start til 8:05am.
-courses were not marked properly. when comparing the official 5k course from the website to the course charted out by my garmin watch, the routes did not match and i could see that one section was missed, shortening the course by roughly 0.27 miles, which is about 9% of the distance for a 5k. my friends who ran the 10k with a garmin system reported that they ran about 5.75 miles, almost 1/2 mile short of the official 6.2 miles for a 10k.
-i only saw the mile 1 marker along the course, but nothing beyond that….it made me wonder whether this was intentional or perhaps i just didn’t see the mile 2 and mile 3 markers.
-there were lots of short, sharp turns along both courses, making it necessary to slow down frequently
-although i was given the small size tshirt that i signed up for, the shirts were all unisex, and mine was far too big for me. it was even too big for my husband who normally wears a small or medium sized tshirt. it would have been nice to offer both a women’s cut shirt and men’s cut shirt for proper fitting.
-no finisher medals for 5k & 10k participants, only the kids’ races

since the course was marked short, i ended up with a terrific 5k finish time, one that i knew was not possible given my current running abilities. i still ended up finishing 2nd in my age group, and 12th female, which surprised me considering the fact that nearly 2000 participated in the 5k, with more than half of these being women.

i did not walk away with an additional medal or prize since there were only awards for the top 3 overall men and women per distance, and winner for each age group. but i still enjoyed the awards ceremony since the announcer did a good job and many teams and kiddies took photos on stage after.

overall, a well-organized event, but i hope they make the necessary corrections to both the 5k and 10k courses for next year so that the distances are as accurate as possible.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
2
SWAG
2

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Vibha Dream Mile Bay Area

Vibha Dream Mile Bay Area

a couple of my running buddies had participated in this event in previous years and said great things about it, so i decided to give it a try. in addition … MORE

a couple of my running buddies had participated in this event in previous years and said great things about it, so i decided to give it a try. in addition to the usual foot races, there was also a carnival for kids at the finish line and all proceeds would benefit education for underprivileged children. i’m definitely a fan of an event that focuses on kids!

for this particular event, there was a choice of 3 distances:
1. half marathon (13.1 miles)
2. 10k (6.2 miles)
3. 5k (3.1 miles)

i signed up for the half marathon since i had a good experience running a half at hellyer park/coyote creek trail last year.

the pros:
-VERY REASONABLE race fees, $30 for the 5k, $35 for the 10k, $60 for the half if you register during the regular registration period. add $5 for late registration and $10 for day of the event (if not sold out).
-FREE and EASY PARKING at hellyer county park. the organizers were kind enough to include the usual $6 parking fee with registration so we didn’t have to queue up and pay at the main gate. just tell the ranger you’re there for the vibha race and they give you a dashboard ticket for the day.
-CLEAR MILE MARKERS for each race distance, in both miles and kilometres. seeing kilometres was definitely a first for me since i’ve only ever raced in the u.s. and all markers are done in miles.
-ACCURATELY MEASURED DISTANCE, as my garmin read 13.09 miles upon crossing the finish line which is pretty much spot on with the official half marathon race distance of 13.1 miles. yes, i ran the tangents which is probably why i came up slightly under, shaving seconds off my finish time!
-FRIENDLY VOLUNTEERS directing runners in the parking area, manning aid stations along the course, and keeping the refreshments’ tables well stocked after the race. i especially appreciated one of the aid station volunteers who told me to just throw my cup on the ground and go on with the race and that she’d pick it up after me! that was helpful as i saved some time!
-LOTS of PORTA-POTTIES near the parking and start/finish areas. there wasn’t even a line just before the start of the half marathon and i don’t think i saw anyone else using these after i finished.

what you get:
*choice of PACKET PICKUP for bib, tshirt and goody bag at sunnyvale sports basement 2 days before the race or road runner sports in campbell the day before the race. for those who couldn’t attend either, they could arrive to the race early and pick up their packets on site.
*white, cotton, FINISHER’S SHIRT with a colourful vibha dream mile logo
*navy blue, drawstring GOODY BAG filled with discounts to local retailers
*several AID STATIONS with volunteers handing out cups of water, there were at least 7 aid stations that i counted for the half marathon which was more than sufficient and very much appreciated on this very warm day.
*customised VIBHA DREAM MILE MEDAL for each half marathon finisher – nice perk considering we paid almost twice as much as those who ran the shorter distances.
*TONS of POST-RACE FOOD & DRINKS, including assorted bagels, peanut butter, fruit preserves, cream cheese, sliced bread, bananas, water, coffee, and tea. there was also a line for a full plate of indian food! i skipped this line since it was quite long by the time i got there.
*SPONSORS including sweet tomatoes and ginny bakes passing out muffins, cookies, and granola bars at the finish area.
*AUTOMATED EMAILS with your starting time, split at the turnaround point, and official finish time. gotta love technology!

the cons:
-since the aid stations were not listed on the website, nor were they marked on the course maps, i had to ask 4 or 5 volunteers before someone could tell me where exactly the water & aid stations were. even though the 5th volunteer (after doing some digging herself) told me that the stations were at miles 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12, she was wrong as this is not where they were. based on my garmin, the stations were located at approximately 1.6, 2.9, 4.4, 6, 7.9, 9.5, 11, 12.3 miles, respectively. it was a bit challenging to time my water and electrolyte intake since these did not match what the volunteer told me, and i also had to think/calculate the aid stations after the half marathon turnaround point. i think it would be helpful to list these aid stations on the map for future runnings of this event.
-this course was also not very scenic. although we ran through hellyer county park/coyote creek trail, i basically saw one tree after another, after another.
-around mile 11, the half marathon course merged with the 10k course, and around mile 12, all three courses merged together which created quite a bit of congestion especially on such a narrow trail.

i was pleased with my strong finish, as i managed to pass quite a few runners in the second half, and wound up placing 4th in my age group (missing the podium by 25 seconds) and 8th female in the half marathon.

thank you to vibha for putting on such a well organized event!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
SWAG
4

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Hook and Ladder Run

Hook and Ladder Run

i don't normally trek all the way out to east bay to run races, especially an event that is 40+ miles away from home, but since i was going with … MORE

i don’t normally trek all the way out to east bay to run races, especially an event that is 40+ miles away from home, but since i was going with a group of friends and we planned to make it an all day event in livermore’s wine country, with running, brunching, and wine tasting, i said “why the heck not?”

also, the proceeds from this event benefit the livermore-pleasanton firefighters foundation, which supports injured and fallen firefighters, burn foundation and local charities in the tri valley area. definitely a worthy case to run/walk for!

for this particular event, there was a choice of 2 distances:
1. 10k (6.2 miles)
2. 5k (3.1 miles)

i originally planned to run the 10k, but later downgraded to the 5k b/c i didn’t want to tire myself out for the rest of the day’s festivities. note that i was able to change distances simply by calling the phone number for on your mark events, the official race organizer, and telling someone what change i wished to make. easy peasy!

the pros:
-VERY REASONABLE race fees, $30 for the 5k and $35 for the 10k if you register during the early bird period
-takes place at WENTE VINEYARDS in livermore, a beautiful vineyard with lots of scenery, definitely a unique venue for a race
-CLEAR MILE MARKERS for each race distance, in different colours so that participants could differentiate the 5k vs 10k
-ACCURATELY MEASURED DISTANCE, as my garmin read 3.12 miles upon crossing the finish line which is pretty much spot on with the official 5k race distance of 3.1 miles. my friends who ran the 10k informed me that they calculated exactly 6.2 miles, which again, is spot on with the official race distance.
-FORGIVING TERRAIN as most of the course took place on crushed dirt, gravel, or grass, which is easier on the joints!
-FRIENDLY VOLUNTEERS directing runners in the parking area, manning aid stations along the course, and keeping the refreshments’ tables well stocked after the race. i especially appreciated that every volunteer i asked a question to knew the answer, so they prepped well for race day!
-FREE and EASY PARKING just inside the main gates of the vineyard and along the street
-SWANKY, CLEAN PORTA-POTTIES near the parking and start/finish areas. OMG, i’ve never experienced such nice porta-toilets before! these individual stalls had very secure locks on the doors, FLUSHABLE toilets, liquid soap, clean running water, and paper towels. i was very impressed by the quality of these portable restrooms supplied for us runners!
-COMPLIMENTARY BAG CHECK at the finish area tent (a couple minutes away from the parking and start/finish line) with volunteers to guard your bags until after the race

what you get:
*choice of PACKET PICKUP @ fleet feet sports in pleasanton the two days prior to the race or on site pick up the morning of. since my friends and i live in south bay, all of us arrived early for on site pickup and experienced no wait.
*white, cotton, FINISHER’S SHIRT with a colourful hook & ladder race logo
*GOODIE BAG filled with race schwag, a chap stick, pin, id holder, pen, key ring, discounts to local retailers. the actual bag was a reusable safeway organics bag which was very pretty.
*several AID STATIONS with volunteers handing out cups of water
*TONS of POST-RACE FOOD & DRINKS, including chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies, mini clif bars, bags of salted pretzels, assorted muffins, jelly beans, apples, bananas, zico coconut water, coffee, and water
*COMPLIMENTARY CHAIR MASSAGE, compliments of massage envy, underneath the finisher’s tent (in the shade!) although i didn’t have time to take advantage of this, it was definitely a nice perk!

bonuses for top finishers:
*a white, dri-fit shirt for the first 20 men and 20 women to cross the finish line in each distance (this is based on order of finish, not chip time)
*customized finishers’ medals for the top 3 men and top 3 women in each age group
*a bottle of wine for the winner in each male/female age group

the cons:
-it was a HOT day in the tri-valley wine country, already well over 60 when the gun went off and nearly 70 when most of us finished, without a cloud in the sky or even a gentle breeze to keep us cool
-the 5k course had quite a few sharp turns, with some portions on tall, thick grass, which made it difficult to accelerate
-this course was also not very scenic. although we ran through sycamore park, we didn’t actually see much other than trees and grass.

although i was dying from the heat, i still managed to finish with a pretty good 5k time, my second best ever, placing 7th overall female, and earning the bonus dri-fit shirt, and second in my age group, earning a customized event medal. i was definitely a happy camper heading home!

thank you, to on your mark events, for putting on this terrific event!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
SWAG
5

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Divas Half Marathon & 5K in San Francisco Bay

Divas Half Marathon & 5K in San Francisco Bay

i ran the half marathon in 2013 but did not run in 2015 since i had signed up for another half marathon a couple weeks later. however, i did come … MORE

i ran the half marathon in 2013 but did not run in 2015 since i had signed up for another half marathon a couple weeks later. however, i did come and cheer two of my running buddies who were both running the half.

one of my friends was running this for the first time and pr’d on this flat course. my other friend came close to a pr, but still ran a strong race. i saw them near the end and snapped some photos. we later met at the finish line area and took more photos.

i appreciated that they kept the finish area at a large, grassy park, which made it easy for folks to hang out, stretch, and enjoy their goodies. i saw a great variety of post-race snacks including cookies, trail mix, salted pretzels, bananas, and water, perfect for refueling after 13 miles.

the finisher medal was extra big and blingy, suitable for a diva! volunteers had handed out boas and tiaras along the course, in bright pink, and many of the ladies wore the pink tutu that was given out at the pre-race expo. the schwag was blinged out and fitting for an event like this.

if my schedule permits, i’d want to sign up for this event again in 2016, even if it’s just to finish and have another blinged out pink medal!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

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T9 Mermaid Run East Bay (CA)

T9 Mermaid Run East Bay (CA)

this was my 3rd time participating in the mermaid east bay event, and 5th time participating in a mermaid running event. i have generally been pleased with the mermaid events, … MORE

this was my 3rd time participating in the mermaid east bay event, and 5th time participating in a mermaid running event. i have generally been pleased with the mermaid events, and love that they are female-centric with the finishers’ necklaces, tshirts, and post-race goodies.

as with previous years, the weather was pretty ideal for race day, there were 4 distances (5k, 10k, half, 18 mi) which were the same flat courses as past years, a dri fit shirt with unique mermaid logo, and finisher’s necklace at the finish line.

what i really appreciated about this year’s event was the fact that they had a much better organized finish line/finisher’s refreshments area since the finish chute led runners straight to the pavilion where all of the post-race food was. there were volunteers handing out food and a couple of “guards” making sure that only registered runners with a bib were in the finisher’s area. this ensured that those who ran were able to get fed as soon as possible, and those who were there to cheer did not take away food reserved for participants. in previous years, i would end up waiting up to 30 minutes in line to get food, at which time, i would become lightheaded and dizzy from lack of food and water!

also, the race organizers ensured that all participants would be allowed to park at the quarry lakes parking lot for free this year! in previous years, we would have to pay $5 to park here, so it was nice that we could just tell them we were running the mermaid and drive on thru, no searching for cash!

a big round of applause for the race organizers for making certain changes for 2015 and making this a smoother, more enjoyable race for participants and spectators alike.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
2
SWAG
4

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Western Pacific Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Western Pacific Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

i participated in my 8th brazen event yesterday which took place at quarry lakes in fremont. this race is titled the "western pacific" b/c the western pacific trail was used … MORE

i participated in my 8th brazen event yesterday which took place at quarry lakes in fremont. this race is titled the “western pacific” b/c the western pacific trail was used to transport gravel for construction of the western section of the transcontinental railroad back in the 1800s when trains were frequently used to transport cargo for longer distances. although trains no longer run along this trail, we, runners, can now haul ass hoping to hit a personal record on these historic, yet very flat trails!

for this particular event, there was a choice of 4 distances:
1. full marathon (26.2 miles) 7.30am start
2. half marathon (13.1 miles) 8am start
3. 10k (6.2 miles) 8.30am start
4. 5k (3.1 miles) 8.45am start

i chose to run the half marathon since i’d been training hard and going long, and wanted to see if my hard work would pay off and result in personal record.

the pros:
-GREAT RACE DAY CONDITIONS at the start, around 55 degrees with overcast skies when the gun went off
-MARATHON is a certified usa track and field course and can be used to qualify for other marathons such as the boston marathon which requires a time qualification on an officially certified course
-STAGGERED START TIMES for each of the 4 events to avoid congestion at the start and along the course. despite some overlaps in some of the course routes, and some narrower sections along the course, i actually never got stuck behind someone or felt congested which was great!
-PACERS for both the full and half marathon, holding coloured signs on a stick with estimated finish times and wearing fluorescent coloured shirts to make it easy to follow them
-COLOURED FLAGS to mark each mile (a different colour for each race distance to avoid confusion)
-FLAT and FAST course on crushed dirt/gravel, with a small portion on paved road
-FRIENDLY VOLUNTEERS directing runners in the parking area, manning aid stations along the course, handing out medals at the finish line, and keeping the refreshments’ tables well stocked after the race
-FREE and EASY PARKING inside the quarry lakes regional park dedicated lots which were right next to start/finish area (note that the free parking was only for those participating in the race, if you came for another event on this day, you still had to pay the $5 entrance fee)
-LOTS of PORTA-POTTIES near the start/finish area as well as access to several park restroom structures (wait time was no more than a few minutes pre-race which was great!)
-COMPLIMENTARY BAG CHECK near the start/finish line, with volunteers to guard your belongings until after the race. parking was so close to the start that most of us just left our belongings inside our trunks, but it was nice to know that there was another option available just in case.

what you get:
*choice of PACKET PICK-UP @ sports basement in sunnyvale the two days prior to the race or on site pick up the morning of
*BLUE, DRI-FIT RACE TSHIRT with a logo of a steam locomotive to commemorate the western pacific trail (shirt is optional, so if you don’t want the shirt, you can save $5 off the registration fee)
*FULLY STOCKED aid stations every 1-2 miles with water, electrolytes, gu gel packets, salty snacks…quite an impressive array of offerings for an aid station!
*BIG MEDAL with a locomotive, displaying event name and date (option to engrave name and finisher time on back for an additional fee)
*AGE GROUP FINISHER MEDAL if you were one of the top 3 finishers in your age group. despite a disappointing finish time, i still ended up placing 3rd in my age group and took home a “bronze” age group medal
*TONS of POST-RACE FOOD & DRINK, including it’s it ice cream sandwiches, chocolate cake, red velvet cake, cheesecake, bagels, peanut butter, nutella, rugelach, goldfish crackers, pretzels, potato chips, trail mix, mini muffins, gummy bears, jelly bellies, cookies, coconut macaroons, water, and electrolyte drink. best part is that the food never ran out!
*SPECIAL VENDOR on site sharing free samples….the muscle milk vans were parked near the finish area.

the cons:
-the half marathon course was slightly long, as my garmin read 13.22 miles for the haffie, which is a bit longer than the official distance of 13.1 miles
-the 5k course was measured as a 3.2 mile course, which is slightly longer than the official distance of 3.1 miles (read: harder to pr on this 5k course)
-most of the course was not shaded, and since it was sunny with temps in the low 60s by the time i finished, it made for a very hot run
-the finishers’ chute leading up to the finish arch had a couple of sharp turns on an incline which made it very difficult to sprint to the finish, which many runners like to do

although i did not do my best, and certainly did not finish anywhere near a personal best, i still enjoyed this event and thank sam, jasmin, the rest of the brazen staff and volunteers for organizing another fabulous race.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
1
SWAG
3

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Racing Hearts 5K & 10K

Racing Hearts 5K & 10K

sunday march 22, 2015 was the 2nd inaugural stanford health care racing hearts 5k/10k run and i had the pleasure of volunteering for pre-race activities and participating in the 10k … MORE

sunday march 22, 2015 was the 2nd inaugural stanford health care racing hearts 5k/10k run and i had the pleasure of volunteering for pre-race activities and participating in the 10k (6.2 miles) on race day.

the day before the race, i met with a team of volunteers and together, we marked the 5k and 10k courses with arrows using flour. i’d actually never done this before but it was a lot of fun and i met some great people and also learned more about the reason for this event. this event was created last year to raise awareness for cardiovascular diseases and ensure that schools in palo alto would all have aed (automated external defibrillator) units readily accessible in the event of an emergency.

on race day, it was unfortunately sprinkling a bit and the skies were quite gray, but just before the gun went off, the rain stopped and it appeared that the sun was going to come out. it never fully revealed itself, but we had a mostly dry race, except for the last few minutes of running toward the finish line when it started drizzling again.

what i liked about the race:
+the staff, organizers, and volunteers were some of the nicest folks i’ve ever met and i’d work with them again in a heartbeat!
+tons of FREE parking in the varsity lot, right next to the start/finish area, and in the lot by the track house
+porta-potties at the start/finish area as well as several campus restrooms nearby
+official cotton, race t-shirt with racing hearts logo and all of their sponsors
+no sun = no sun in my eyes while running!
+scenic course around stanford university’s campus with some gentle rolling hills and inclines
+staggered start times for the 10k and 5k, as well as separate starting locations to avoid congestion
+signs to mark each mile for each race distance
+clear signage with arrows to distinguish the 10k and 5k routes (which had minimal overlap)
+separate finishers’ chute for 10k and 5k runners which was much appreciated since the finish line area was quite narrow
+extremely accurate measurements, at least for the 10k, as my garmin read 6.21 once i crossed the finish line…you cannot get more accurate than this!
+friendly volunteers directing runners (with pom poms!) and manning aid stations along the course, handing out medals at the finish line
+handmade medal in the shape of a heart, befitting for this event!
+several local vendors at the finisher’s village, including an organic granola/muesli company
+photo booth, with option to keep a hard copy of the photo and an electronic copy sent to email or facebook accounts
+combined participation for both races was capped at 600 so i never felt that the course was overcrowded nor did i get “stuck” behind some slower runners/walkers
+age group awards for the top 3 finishers in each age group. i finished 2nd in my age group and took home a bag of surf city organic granola! i’ll have a healthy breakfast everyday for 2 weeks! my friend finished 1st in our age group and got a $15 gift certificate to zombie runner in palo alto. appreciate the support from our sponsors who are all local bay area businesses!

the cons:
-no pre-race bib and packet pickup, so everyone had to arrive a bit earlier to pick up their bibs and tshirts
-no chip timing available, only gun timing, so if you didn’t line up at the very front of the pack, then you would lose valuable seconds
-i didn’t feel that 8 porta-potties was enough for the volunteers, staff, and 600 runners plus their friends/family who came to spectate
-post-race food was just ok, as they had some apples, oranges, bananas, chips, protein bars, bagels (no cream cheese/peanut butter), coffee, tea, and water. when i went to the refreshments area a second time, they had already run out of bananas, much to my dismay. bananas are one of the top foods that a runner reaches for after an endurance event since they are a great source of potassium and carbohydrates, so i guess i’m not surprised that they ran out, but for next year, i think the organizers should order more bananas. there were still plenty of apples and oranges available.

overall, i think the organizers did a terrific job and i would definitely sign up for this event next year.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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Hellyer Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Hellyer Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

since i enjoyed this race so much last year, mainly due to the rabbit on the medal and all other race memorabilia, i decided to sign up again this year, … MORE

since i enjoyed this race so much last year, mainly due to the rabbit on the medal and all other race memorabilia, i decided to sign up again this year, along with several other friends.

i picked up my race packet at sports basement sunnyvale the day before the race, and upon seeing the official race shirt with a logo of the white rabbit from alice in wonderland, i immediately regretted not purchasing it at the time of registration, but was told that i could arrive early at the race and purchase one on the spot, provided they had extra shirts to sell and in my size!

upon arrival race morning, i parked and immediately headed over to the registration tent to find that they had quite a few shirts for sale, and quite a few in my size as well. i loved that they had a woman’s cut shirt, which is more fitted and flattering than the men’s cut shirt, which is just a traditional t-shirt. the fabric was a stretchy cotton/polyester blend which ensured a snug fit and comfort to the wearer. they also had the hi-tech tees available for those who prefer the lighter, non-cotton material. note that purchasing a shirt on the spot is $10, as opposed to just $5 if you opted to include a race shirt with your registration fee, but they did accept both cash and credit card which was much appreciated.

as with last year’s event, there were 3 distances to choose from, the half marathon, the 10k, and the 5k, all of which were runner and walker friendly. they even had a special hiker start for the half marathon, for those who planned to walk the entire 13.1 miles or require about 3 hours to complete this distance.

i again chose to run the 10k and since my garmin device was actually working this year, i can report that the actual distance run was 6.14 miles, pretty close to the official 6.2 miles for a 10k event. and it was the same fast course as last year, with some gentle rollers and dips thrown in along the way. the fact that it didn’t rain this year ensured that i could run a traditional race, vs a “muddy buddy” or “tough mudder” event, running through puddles, and mini rivers, and muddy patches.

volunteers were terrific as always, directing participants in the parking area, manning the aid stations along the course, handing out medals at the finish line, and restocking the refreshments at the finish pavilion post-race.

i loved this year’s medal more than last year’s, b/c the face of the medal bore the white rabbit, in a little blue coat, in position to run, and the lanyard holding the medal had clocks all around, as well as the name of the event. very clever, and cute idea, and my favourite brazen finisher’s medal to date!

as an added bonus, since i finished 1st in my age group, i got to take home a 2nd medal, one that bore a gold frame with the index finger pointing a “1.”

and now for a few negatives….

-as with last year, we had to pay $6 to park on hellyer park’s property, and despite the fact that i arrived almost 1 1/2 hours before my event start time, i still had to wait in line to pay, and that line stretched all the way outside of the main park gates.
-none of the official park restrooms was open, so the 1000 or so runners were relegated to the porta-potties. although there were quite a few scattered throughout the parking areas and near the start/finish line, i felt that the lines were longer than last year since i couldn’t use the structures, which i know provide several extra stalls. i actually saw one guy with his back turned, going against a wall b/c he just couldn’t wait! sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, right? 🙂
-the refreshments area was pretty big, but for some reason, moved as slow as molasses! a majority of the 5k and 10k runners had already finished running, as well as a small handful of half marathoners, but the line barely moved…i might have walked about 5 feet toward the tables in 5-10 minutes, and was only able to get some water. i gave up waiting for the actual food, which included chips, cookies, cake, pretzels, and its-its ice cream sandwiches, since i actually had to leave for another engagement after. i felt that the volunteers should have kept these lines moving faster, and i suspect the culprit was small children who needed extra time choosing or reaching for their post-race food. this was a huge downer for me since brazen usually does a terrific job keeping the refreshments’ line moving quickly so that all runners can refuel as soon as possible after racing.

aside from these few points, i still very much enjoyed this event and will likely sign up again next year so that i can add another rabbit medal and tshirt to my collection!

thank you, sam, jasmin, and the brazen team for putting on yet another terrific event!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
2
SWAG
5

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Bay Breeze Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Bay Breeze Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

a race on valentine's day before indulging in cake and chocolate and champagne! i ran my 6th brazen event yesterday and continue to be a happy runner in their events! … MORE

a race on valentine’s day before indulging in cake and chocolate and champagne!

i ran my 6th brazen event yesterday and continue to be a happy runner in their events!

for this particular event, there was a choice of 3 distances:
1. half marathon (13.1 miles)
2. 10k (6.2 miles)
3. 5k (3.1 miles)

i ran the half marathon since i’d been upping my mileage lately and wanted to see how i’d fare in my first haffie of the year.

the pros:
-beautiful sunny day, around 50 degrees when the gun went off
-staggered start times (every 15 minutes) for each of the 3 events to avoid congestion at the start and along the course
-flags to mark each mile for each race distance, distinct flag colours for each race to avoid confusion
-accurately measured distance, as my garmin read 13.11 miles for the haffie which is exactly spot on according to the official distance for a half marathon
-pancake flat, fast course on crushed dirt/gravel (easy on the joints!)
-scenic views of the marina bay and hayward shoreline
-friendly volunteers directing runners in the parking area, manning aid stations along the course, handing out medals at the finish line, and keeping the refreshments’ tables well stocked after the race
-free and easy parking along the street and in the lots right next to start/finish area
-lots of porta-potties near the start/finish area as well as access to park restrooms
-complimentary bag check/bag drop at the start line, with volunteers to guard your bags until after the race

what you get:
*choice of packet pick-up @ sports basement in berkeley the two days prior to the race or on site pick up the morning of
*red, dri-fit, finisher’s shirt to commemorate the race taking place on valentine’s day this year (shirt is optional, so if you don’t want the shirt, you can save $5)
*FULLY STOCKED aid stations with water, electrolytes, gu gel packets, etc (i didn’t see everything but each table looked very well stocked!)
*BIG medal with an octopus and bouquet of red roses, displaying event name and date (option to engrave name and finisher time on back)
*TONS of post-race food & drinks, including it’s it ice cream sandwiches, girl scout cookies, chocolate cake, red velvet cake, bagels, peanut butter, nutella, rugelach, peanut butter filled pretzels, regular pretzels, potato chips, trail mix, mini muffins, gummy bears, jelly bellies, cookies, water, and electrolyte drink. best part is that the food never ran out!
*SPECIAL vendors on site sharing free samples….nestle chocolate milk and jamba juice vans were parked near the finish area.
*complimentary 10 minute table MASSAGE at the finish line, with senior interns from life chiropractic in hayward. my therapist did some work on my back and legs and showed me some stretches to help me alleviate the tension and soreness in my legs!

the cons:
NONE!

although it was a bit warm at the end, around 60 & sunny, it was a gorgeous day for a run and i felt that i earned my valentine’s day goodies by running 13 miles in the morning.

thank you, brazen, for putting on another fantastic event! i look forward to my next event with you in a few weeks!

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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Coyote Hills Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Coyote Hills Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

this was my 5th brazen event and i continue to be a happy runner in their events! this event was also my first official trail run, as i typically run … MORE

this was my 5th brazen event and i continue to be a happy runner in their events! this event was also my first official trail run, as i typically run flat road races or non-hilly trail runs (cuz i like to run fast!)

for this particular event, there was a choice of 3 distances:
1. half marathon (13.1 miles)
2. 10k (6.2 miles)
3. 5k (3.1 miles)

i chose to participate in the 10k since it was my very first time on a hilly, more challenging course.

the pros:
-surprisingly fast course, with rolling hills (none of which was that steep)
-beautiful, scenic course in coyote hills regional park with views of the bay, the rolling hills, and greenery! yes, much of the grass was actually green following the rains we had in december!
-staggered start times (every 15 minutes) for each of the 3 events to avoid congestion at the start
-flags to mark each mile for each race distance, distinct flag colours for each race to avoid confusion
-friendly volunteers directing runners in the parking area, manning aid stations along the course, handing out medals at the finish line, and keeping the refreshments’ tables well stocked after the race
-dedicated FREE parking at devry university with complimentary shuttles to the start line (both to and from the race)
-lots of porta-potties at the start/finish area as well as access to restrooms at devry university, right by the parking lot. there was no wait for the restrooms at devry, since it was still very early, but there was a 5-10 min for the porta-potties by the start line, still not too bad considering how long i’ve waited at other races!
-complimentary bag check/bag drop at the start line, with volunteers to guard your bags until after the race

what you get:
*choice of packet pick-up @ sports basement in sunnyvale the two days prior to the race or on site pick up the morning of
*dri-fit, women’s cut, v-neck finisher’s shirt (shirt is optional, so if you don’t want the shirt, you can save $5)
*FULLY STOCKED aid stations with water, electrolytes, gu gel packets, etc (i didn’t see everything but each table looked very well stocked!)
*BIG medal with a coyote face logo, displaying event name and date (option to engrave name and finisher time on back)
*TONS of post-race food & drinks, including it’s it ice cream sandwiches, chocolate cake, red velvet cake, elephant ears, mini bagels, peanut butter, rugelach, peanut butter filled pretzels, regular pretzels, potato chips, trail mix, gummy bears, chocolate milk, cookies, gu gel packets, jamba juice samples, water, and electrolyte drink. best part is that the food never ran out!
*complimentary table massage at the finish line, with senior interns from life chiropractic in hayward (the wait was 15-20 min, but totally worth the 5 minutes they spent on my back and legs)

the cons:
-LONG wait to board the shuttle pre-race, almost 20 minutes even though i arrived at 8am (75 minutes before my race began)
-even LONGER wait to board the shuttle after the race, heading back to devry university. i actually timed the wait at 50 minutes!
-bag check actually took at least 10 minutes despite the fact that it was meant to be a quick bag drop. will have to keep this in mind for future events.

although they had 8 dedicated shuttles, i didn’t feel that they were adequate for the number of runners (and spectators) who needed transporting. i would recommend having more shuttles to bus runners to and from the event next year, but other than that, this was another fantastic event and i look forward to participating in more brazen events this year!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Zoom Turkey Trot

Zoom Turkey Trot

so i decided to give this event another try and brought several friends along with me. upping my overall rating to 4 stars since this year's event was definitely an … MORE

so i decided to give this event another try and brought several friends along with me. upping my overall rating to 4 stars since this year’s event was definitely an improvement over last year’s event.

what worked well/was fixed from last year:
+bathrooms were open by the time we arrived (they were locked last year) and several porta-potties were available right next to the start area
+course for each distance was well-marked with different coloured flags and turnaround signage on the trail was very clearly marked. i believe there was a volunteer/aid station at the 5k and 10k turnarounds so someone would stop you if you went too far! i can’t comment on the half course since i didn’t run that far.
+later start = extra sleep time (last year’s event started at 8am, this year’s started at 9am)
+hot dogs, hamburgers and beer at the finish line! i don’t remember seeing these last year. they still provided pumpkin pie which was befitting for a turkey day trot. unfortunately, i waited too long (i was cooling down, stretching, and socializing with friends after i finished) so i didn’t get to have any of this pumpkin goodness.

what still needs to be worked on:
+the 10k course was short of the official 6.2 miles. my gps read 5.99 miles at the finish line, and two other friends had 6.01 and 6.08 miles respectively. so even though my official finish time was a PR for me, my actual pace wasn’t actually faster since the course was short.
+the website still lists the parking fee as $5 instead of the actual $6 that is collected by the park ranger (same mistake as last year). i hope the race organizer’s are reading this and make this change for next year.
+since i ran this event last year, i noticed that the medal had the exact same design from last year (i compared the medals when i got home after the race). not a huge deal, but it would be nice to see a different design from year to year, or maybe the date/year imprinted on the medal so that repeat participants can distinguish one medal from another.

overall, i really enjoyed this event this year, and the weather was again very ideal for race day, about 48 and sunny. i finished 3rd in my age group, so i got to take home an extra medal. a good day’s work for me, and now, it’s time to chow down on turkey, harvest veggies, and pumpkin pie!

thank you, zoom/coastal trail runs for organizing another great event, especially on this huge national holiday. we runners really appreciate your efforts!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
1
SWAG
3

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ZombieRunner Halloween Run

ZombieRunner Halloween Run

this is an annual race that takes place on or around halloween (depending on which day of the week it falls upon). this year, it happened to be the day … MORE

this is an annual race that takes place on or around halloween (depending on which day of the week it falls upon). this year, it happened to be the day after halloween, so costumes were still fresh for race day!

for this event, participants had 3 distances to choose from:
full marathon (26.2 miles)
half marathon (13.1 miles)
5M

i chose the 5 mile distance since this course had the fewest number of inclines and hills.

the pros:
+TINY event, with just over 200 participants between the 3 distances
+FAIR REGISTRATION PRICES only $40 for the 5M, $45 for the half, and $60 for the full when registering in advance. $5 less if you skip the race shirt.
+FREE PARKING just outside vasona lake county park. most of the side streets were empty on saturday morning, so it was easy to find parking.
+BIB AND TSHIRT pickup the morning of the race, with only a few minutes wait
+CHALLENGING COURSE in my opinion, since all distances had rolling hills and inclines, the half and full climbing all the way up to the lexington reservoir/st. joe’s hill!
+LOTS of AID STATIONS throughout the course, all stocked with water, electrolyte drink, and salty snacks
+VARIETY OF POST-RACE REFRESHMENTS, which included fresh fruit, clif bars, salted tortilla chips, graham crackers, trail mix, peanut butter filled pretzels, muffins, and candy. since it’s that time of year, they also had pumpkin pie! yum!
+CUPS for the water and electrolyte drink jugs at the finish. props to the organizers for not giving out bottled water and using recyclable paper cups!
+LOTS OF FRIENDLY VOLUNTEERS assisting with bib pickup and registration pre-race, manning the aid stations on the course, handing out medals at the finish line, and preparing/re-stocking the food at the finisher’s area.
+COSTUME CONTEST post-race, which featured many very creative costumes worn by children and adults.
+CUSTOMISED FINISHERS’ MEDAL for all runners who cross the finish line. i liked the purple and green logo, very fitting for the day after halloween!
+AGE GROUP FINISHERS’ MEDALS for the top 3 men and women per age group, per distance. i finished 2nd female, and 2nd in my age group, so i walked away with an extra medal.

the cons:
-paying $6 for parking inside vasona lake county park, if you could not find parking outside the park gates
-confusion on the course. i expect a 5M race to be exactly 5 miles, but the official results posted the course at 4.8 miles, and yet, i got 4.93 on my garmin, so i’m a bit unsure that the pre-planned distance was supposed to be.
-9am was the start time for all 3 distances. given the narrowness of the trail, it was difficult to start at the very front and not lose any time since this event was gun-timed. would suggest staggering the start times going forward.
-few restrooms. i saw only 1 proper restroom structure with 3 stalls (for the ladies) and 2 porta-potties. before the race, i had to use the restroom twice, and each time, ended up waiting a while until it was my turn. would suggest more porta-potties next year.
-no mile marker signage. although the turnaround for the 5M was clear, with a volunteer ensuring that runners turned around, i never knew what mile i was on, unless i looked at my garmin.
-wrong year on the finishers’ medal! when i asked the race organizer, i was told that there was a printing problem, and everyone ended up with a 2013 medal instead of a 2014 medal. whoops!

while not my favourite zoom event, the organizers still did a pretty good job, and i applaud all the volunteers for coming out early on a cold, rainy, saturday morning to set up the aid stations and everything else so that we runners could have a good experience.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
1
SWAG
3

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Monster Dash San Jose

Monster Dash San Jose

when i first heard about this event during the summer of 2014, i was eager to sign up for this new race. knowing that it would take place in hellyer … MORE

when i first heard about this event during the summer of 2014, i was eager to sign up for this new race. knowing that it would take place in hellyer county park along the coyote creek trail was another plus as i’d run a few races in this area in the past and enjoyed the events.

for this event, participants had 3 distances to choose from:
half marathon (13.1 miles)
10k (6.2 miles)
5k (3.1 miles)

i chose the half since i’d never run a half along the coyote creek trail and was interested in running something new.

the pros:
+FAIR REGISTRATION PRICES only $45 for the half since i signed up almost as soon as registration opened and applied a 10% sports basement discount. early bird prices for the 10k and 5k were $40 and $35, respectively, before any additional discounts were applied.
+BIB AND TSHIRT pickup the day before at sports basement in campbell
+SHORT SLEEVE DRI-FIT SHIRT with the “Monster Dash” logo, which was a cute green and purple monster. i appreciated that they had both men’s/unisex fit and women’s cut available.
+CLEAR MILE MARKER signage at every mile, with different colour signs for each distance so that runners knew where the turnarounds were, or if we overshot!
turnaround so that we would not run longer than the specified distance!
+STAGGERED start times, 8am for the half, 9am for the 10k, and 9.10am for the 5k to avoid congestion
+CHALLENGING COURSE in my opinion, as the half had several turns, and gentle rolling inclines, enough to force you to pace yourself so as to not run out of steam toward the end!
+TONS of AID STATIONS throughout the course, i counted at least 10 along the half course, which averages one station every 1.3 miles.
+PLENTIFUL RESTROOMS in the form of official park restrooms and porta-potties at the start/finish area. since this was a small event, i never had to wait in line to do my business which was great!
+VARIETY OF POST-RACE REFRESHMENTS, which included orange slices, bananas, KIND bars, clif kid z-bars, lara bars, and trail mix.
+CUPS of water available at the finish. props to the organizers for not giving out bottled water and using recyclable paper cups!
+LOTS OF FRIENDLY VOLUNTEERS assisting with bib pickup and registration pre-race, manning the aid stations on the course, directing traffic at forks in the trail, and handing out medals at the finish line.
+COSTUME CONTEST post-race, which featured many very creative costumes like rainbow trolls, bacon and eggs, various super heroes, and women who made their costumes out of plastic shopping bags!
+FINISHERS’ CERTIFICATES for the top 3 men and women per age group, per distance. i finished 2nd female, and 2nd in my age group, so i walked away with a colourful green and purple certificate.

the cons:
-paying $6 for parking inside hellyer county park
-the distance for the half course was short, as i got 12.95 miles on my garmin. i like to run the tangents, which technically should allow me to get to 13.1 if measured accurately, but i was definitely short. while my time was faster, the average pace was about the same as i’d run for my other haffies this year.
-last minute changes to the half course, and by last minute, i mean an email at 4am the morning of the race to let us know that there was some construction along the northern part of the trail and therefore the course would run along the southern portion of the trail. after spending the evening before studying the map and memorizing the water stations, i had to throw all that out and go into the race without knowing exactly where the stations were.
-since this was a TINY race, i was told 350 total registrants (for all 3 distances) at the packet pickup, i was actually running alone for most of the half marathon. as of today, results show only 53 finishers for the half, which explains why i was running solo after the first couple miles.

despite the last minute changes to the course, i give props to the race organizers for scrambling so quickly to re-mark the course, re-shuffle the aid stations, and re-organize volunteers to allow this event to run smoothly. i did appreciate the volunteer in a bright costume at the half marathon turnaround point directing everyone to turn around.

BIG THANK YOUs to the race organizer, marnie oshan for successfully putting on this family-friendly event. and THANK YOU to all the kids (i’m assuming high school ages kids) who came out at the crack of dawn to man aid stations and hand out water along the course. i know that i called out at a few of you to come closer to hand me water as i neared the aid station, so thank you for doing this! i also noticed that as i missed tossing my cup into the trash can while whizzing by, but on the return route, that cup had been picked up, so THANK YOU for picking up that cup due to my poor aim.

overall, a well-organized event, so thank you moshan productions! i look forward to participating in another one of your events in the future!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
2
SWAG
3

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rc.oktoberun Half Marathon and 5K

rc.oktoberun Half Marathon and 5K

i had seen ads for this event in years past, but always had a conflict so could not participate until this year. still being somewhat new to rwc, i was … MORE

i had seen ads for this event in years past, but always had a conflict so could not participate until this year. still being somewhat new to rwc, i was eager to participate a race in my hometown since there aren’t too many of these!

for this event, participants had 2 distances to choose from:
half marathon (13.1 miles)
5k (3.1 miles)

i chose the 5k since i knew that i wouldn’t have enough time to train for the half.

the pros:
+MEDIUM-SIZED event with about 1200 participants between the 2 events
+FAIR REGISTRATION PRICES only $30 for 5k since i signed up during the early bird period. $60 for the half marathon.
+BIB AND TSHIRT pickup the weekend before and the day before at various locations along the peninsula
+LONG SLEEVE DRI-FIT SHIRT with the “OktobeRun” logo. i appreciated that they had both men’s/unisex fit and women’s cut available.
+FREE PARKING by the yacht club and other office complex parking lots which were a quarter mile from the start line
+FLAT course, i don’t think there was a single incline in the 5k course
+CLEAR MILE MARKER signage at every mile, also clear signage for the 5k turnaround so that we would not run longer than the specified distance!
+ACCURATE distance, at least for the 5k, since i got 3.1 miles on my garmin! kudos to the organizers for getting it right!
+STAGGERED start times, 8am for the half and 8:15am for the 5k to avoid congestion
+SEPARATE non-overlapping courses for the 2 distances so there was never any confusion or question of which course we were on
+VARIETY OF POST-RACE REFRESHMENTS, which included bagels, orange slices, bananas, coffee cake, NESTLE chocolate milk, KIND bars, and QUAKER granola bars.
+CUPS of waterr available at the finish. props to the organizers for not giving out bottled water and using recyclable paper cups!
+LOTS OF FRIENDLY VOLUNTEERS assisting with bib pickup and registration pre-race, manning the aid stations on the course, and handing out refreshments at the finish line.
+VERY SHORT DRIVE from home, only b/c i live in rwc….i don’t think i’ve ever been able to say that it took me 6 minutes to drive to the start!

the cons:
-i only saw one restroom structure near the start, and the line for the women’s room was quite long. i later saw that there were only 2 stalls inside. certainly not enough for a race of this size.
-5k course was not that interesting except for a small portion that ran alongside the bay (i’m told the half course was much more scenic)
-there was a runner with a stroller at the very front and partway into the race, it was a bit difficult for me to pass this runner. strollers should always be near the back so that faster runners, and runners without strollers, may be able to pass freely
-while the half marathon finishers received a medal at the end, there were no medals for the 5k finishers. it would have been nice to have even a small medal as a 5k runner, and i certainly wouldn’t mind paying a few extra $$ to have a medal for this distance (hint, hint to race organizers for next year)

since i had been traveling, i hadn’t had the time to properly train for this event, so i did it just for fun. to my surprise, i ended up finishing 10th female, and 3rd in my age group, so i walked away with a customized fleet feet sports glass. thank you fleet feet for sponsoring this event and providing some cool prizes to the top finishers! and thank you to the other sponsors and race organizers for putting on such a great event!

overall, i think this was a very well-organized local event and i enjoyed running along the port of redwood city, a place that i’d never even been to until this past weekend! i’m looking forward to running this event again and will definitely sign up for the half since it runs along a bigger portion of the bay!

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
1
SWAG
3

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Race to the End of Summer

Race to the End of Summer

i had heard of this race the past several years, but was never able to run it due to scheduling conflicts. thankfully, i was in town and able to participate … MORE

i had heard of this race the past several years, but was never able to run it due to scheduling conflicts. thankfully, i was in town and able to participate this year. my friend had clued me in on the 50% off one day special on august 1st, 2014 to boot!

for this event, participants had 3 distances to choose from:
half marathon (13.1 miles)
10k (6.2 miles)
5k (3.1 miles)

i chose the 10k since i had been running a lot of haffies this summer and wanted to take a break from the longer distances.

the pros:
+MEDIUM-SIZED event with less than 900 total finishers between the 3 events
+BIB AND PACKET pickup thurs, fri before the race at m8trix casino and sat at silvercreek sports plex, the latter of which was right by the race site.
+FREE PARKING at nextest and snapon corporate parking areas which were just a few minutes walk from the start line.
+CLEAR MILE MARKER signage at every mile, including which markers for which of the 3 distances so that we would not be confused. also clear signage for the 5k and 10k turnaround so that we would not run longer than the specified distance!
+ACCURATE distance, at least for the 10k, since i got 6.2 miles on my garmin! it’s pretty rare for me to run a race with the exact distance so kudos to the organizers for getting it spot on!
+VARIETY OF POST-RACE REFRESHMENTS, which included bagels, peanut butter, cream cheese, bananas, trail mix, KIND bars, coffee cake, chocolate milk, and pure protein bars.
-LOTS OF FRIENDLY VOLUNTEERS assisting with bib pickup and registration pre-race, manning the aid stations on the course, directing traffic (especially on some potentially confusing turns) and handing out medals and bottled water at the finish line.
-REGISTRATION FEE only $22.50 for 10k since i signed up on the 50% off special day!
-UNIQUE FINISHER’S MEDAL for 10k and 5k finishers. haffie finishers received a very large medal which was really cool!
-LOTS of SCHWAG at the race expo, including emergen-c packets, advil, lara bars, healthy tortilla chips, and honey stinger waffles. not to mention the blue draw string bag to hold your bib, race tshirt and other goodies!
-DRI-FIT SHIRT with the “RTTEOS” logo

the cons:
-not enough porta potties at the start line. i counted exactly 16 in the 2 rows near the start, and while i was able to snag one right away about 30 min before my race began, i did see that about 5 min before, the line was extremely long, to the point that i think anyone waiting in line and running the 10k would not have made it to the start on time!
-on site volunteers sitting near the start/finish were not helpful. i asked where exactly the start line was since it was not obvious to me, and 2 of the volunteers sitting at the “volunteer” tent had no clue! not good!
-not really an ideal “pr” course since this course has many rolling hills. my pace definitely slowed down after the halfway point since i felt like i was running mostly uphill from miles 4 to the end.
-course was not that interesting nor scenic despite being on the coyote creek trail

overall, i think this was a well-organized local event and i enjoyed running a new trail in san jose that i’d never run before. i would definitely sign up for this race again next year and maybe try the half distance.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
1
SWAG
4

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Jungle Run Half Marathon & 10K

Jungle Run Half Marathon & 10K

i first ran this race 3 years ago and very much enjoyed the event, but was not able to participate the past 2 years. fortunately, my schedule allowed me to … MORE

i first ran this race 3 years ago and very much enjoyed the event, but was not able to participate the past 2 years. fortunately, my schedule allowed me to return to los gatos and participate in this event this year.

for this event, participants had 2 events to choose from:
half marathon (13.1 miles)
10k (6.2 miles)

i chose the half since it was the distance i ran 3 years ago and i’d hoped to better my time this year! i guess 3 is my lucky number, b/c i beat my time by 3 minutes!

the pros:
+GREAT RACE DAY conditions, about 59 & cloudy at the start which was awesome for july (sun did not come out until about 1 1/2 hours into the race)
+MEDIUM-SIZED event with 1000 or so total participants, most of whom were local runners
+BIB AND PACKET pickup party 2 days before the race at running revolution in campbell and on the eve of the race at athletic performance in los gatos, both of which are near the event site. if you couldn’t make either one, you could pickup your packet the morning of near the start line.
+at least 3 different areas with PORTA-POTTIES near the start line, along with portable soap and water dispensers. lines weren’t too bad pre-race.
+FREE PARKING at los gatos high school, either by the track (right next to the start line) or at the front of the school (just a couple blocks away)
+AWESOME PACERS! i saw signs ranging from 1:30 to 2:15 and know that these volunteers gave their time and efforts to helping many of us achieve our goals for this race. i want to especially thank my pacer, linh, who paced the 1:50 group for keeping us entertained and motivated throughout the entire course, especially the last stretch going up the hill!
+SCENIC COURSE from mile 5 to the end along los gatos creek trail and heading up to the lexington reservoir area, decent amount of shade while on course!
+CLEAR MILE MARKER signage at every mile, except for 13 since it was the final turn before the finish line
+VARIETY OF POST-RACE REFRESHMENTS, which included bagels, cream cheese, bananas, plums, nectarines, and strawberries. they also had snow cones this year, which was a nice bonus since it was very warm after the race!
-LOTS OF FRIENDLY VOLUNTEERS assisting with bib pickup and registration pre-race, manning the aid stations on the course, directing traffic (especially on some potentially confusing turns) and handing out medals and bottled water at the finish line
-$50 for half marathon if you did early bird registration, $65 if registering closer to the event date. very reasonable considering what you get in return.
-UNIQUE JUNGLE RUN FINISHER’S MEDAL with a tiger on it!
-DRI-FIT SHIRT with a big colourful tiger on the back (matched the medal this year!) i especially appreciated the fact that they had both women’s cut and men’s cut tshirts this year.
-JUNGLE-THEMED TOP FINISHER PRIZES. while i didn’t place at this event, i did get to see some of the awards ceremony and the unique “jungle-themed” awards that were presented to the top finishers, including a totem-pole-like plaque and small tiger statue.

the cons:
-not really an ideal “pr” course since this course has many rolling hills, is net downhill for the first half, and net uphill for the second half, with a steady incline from miles 10-11.5 (when legs are very tired)
-first part of the half marathon (up to mile 5) was a bit boring since we ran along residential streets
-while mile markers were present at every mile, i found that most of them were a bit short of the actual distance, esp since my garmin signaled each mile completion after i passed the official race markers. i also got 13.04 miles at the end, which falls slightly short of the true half marathon distance of 13.11 miles.

overall, a very well-organized local event and a great excuse for visiting los gatos, one of the nicer towns in the bay area that i rarely visit since it’s a bit of a trek for me. i hope to be back next year for this event and attempt to beat my time again!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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T9 Mermaid Run East Bay (CA)

T9 Mermaid Run East Bay (CA)

this was my 4th mermaid event, and 2nd time participating in the east bay event in fremont. unfortunately, i enjoyed yesterday's event the least since quality of the event has … MORE

this was my 4th mermaid event, and 2nd time participating in the east bay event in fremont. unfortunately, i enjoyed yesterday’s event the least since quality of the event has declined due to organizational issues for certain aspects of the race.

certainly, this year had the most participants of any mermaid event that i’d been a part of. looking at the official results, over 1800 women (and a few men) crossed the finish line, which was the highest number in all 4 years in fremont. as usual, they had a choice of 4 distances: 5k, 10k, half marathon, and sirena (18 miles).

the same 4 courses along the alameda creek trail were used, and the coloured mile markers were large and very noticeable for each distance. volunteers were plentiful, as were the aid stations with water and electrolyte drink. this year, they actually had timing microchips attached to the back of each runner’s bib, so no disposable chip or other timing pieces to collect at the end, just an electronic reading of your start and end time, which i liked. as a sirena 18 finisher, i was happily surprised to find that the course measurements were pretty much spot on, as my garmin read 18.04 miles once i hit stop at the finish line. i was also pleased with my top 10 overall finish, and 3rd place age group finish, as i walked away with a mermaid hat and box of luna protein bars, in addition to the finisher’s necklace that each finisher receives.

now for the bad news…
-my race, the sirena 18 mile distance, was supposed to start at 7.30. around 7.27, i heard the gun go off and was perplexed. apparently, they chose to start this distance early, even though it was advertised and announced several times as a 7.30 start. i was still in the midst of tying my running shoes, so i missed the gun start, along with a few other ladies who were equally confused at the early start.
-the last 1/2 – 3/4 of a mile were pretty congested as women for all 4 distances had to go through the same route/finisher’s chute to the finish line. once again, this area was a runner’s hazard as i, and several other faster runners, constantly yelled out “walkers to the right” and “passing through” and “excuse me!” as someone who tries to sprint the last few minutes of a race, it was very frustrating to have to zip zag and expend the little energy i had left after a long race. sadly, most of the walkers, children, and those with strollers just did not understand this courtesy and completely ignored me.
-as soon as i crossed the finish line, with a large crowd of other women, i immediately looked for the bottles of water that we were promised before the race began. i frantically asked around, and several of the volunteers just stood next to the boxes of water, acting completely oblivious and unhelpful. so i had to help myself and grab a bottle out of the box. epic fail on the finish line volunteers part!
-the line for post-race refreshments was disappointing, again, as it was a mile long when i finished, so i didn’t even bother attempting to wait in line. anticipating this potential issue, i had packed my own refreshments to enjoy at my car after the race. i did head to the refreshments table much later, once most participants had left, and was disappointed with the spread, as they only had bagels, bananas, strawberries, and juice boxes. no pancakes this year and no muffins. 🙁

the mermaid series has been one of my perennial favourites in terms of running events, but if quality of the organization continues to decline, i may not sign up next year. hopefully they will take these comments to heart and make some adjustments to their planning for the future.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
2
SWAG
4

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Go Green St. Patrick’s Day Run

Go Green St. Patrick’s Day Run

i participated in the go green st. patrick's day race on the eve of st. pat's in 2014, which was my first time as a participant in a moshan productions … MORE

i participated in the go green st. patrick’s day race on the eve of st. pat’s in 2014, which was my first time as a participant in a moshan productions event. although i had read some fair to average reviews for this event, i decided to sign up anyway, since my friend had already signed up and we’re both seasoned veterans of los gatos creek trail. no podium for me this time, as i finished 5th in my age group, and was the 10th female finisher.

for this particular event, there was a choice of 3 distances:
1. half marathon (13.1 miles)
2. 10k (6.2 miles)
3. 5k (3.1 miles)

i chose to participate in the half marathon, since my friend was also running this distance, and price-wise, i thought this was the best bang for your buck @ $65.

the pros:
-scenic course along los gatos creek trail, starting at vasona lake, passing through campbell park, heading north to san jose, and turning back to vasona lake
-good amount of tree cover throughout the course
-staggered start times (every 5 minutes) for each of the 3 events to avoid congestion at the start
-white sandwich boards to mark each mile for each race distance, distinct flag colours with arrows on the trail for each distance to avoid confusion
-accurately measured distance for the half marathon. i got 13.14 miles on my garmin, which is pretty much spot on. actual half marathon course = 13.11 miles.
-aid stations with water and electrolyte drink for all distances. half marathon actually had 7 aid stations, roughly every 1.5-2 miles, which was great (some even had power bar gels)
-friendly volunteers directing runners and manning aid stations along the course, and handing out medals at the finish line
-tons of free street parking near the start/finish area by vasona lake

what you get:
*choice of packet pick-up @ sports basement in sunnyvale the two days prior to the race or on site pick up the morning of
*goodie bag with protein supplement and kind bar samples
*green, long sleeve, dri-fit, finisher’s shirt available in both men’s and women’s sizes (women’s shirts were cut a bit slimmer)
*green and gold medal with a pot of gold, which also doubles as a bottle opener! medal was given out to finishers for all distances
*dri fit beanie hat for half marathon finishers
*post-race food & drinks, including bananas, oranges, chips, power bars, kind bars, vega sports drink and water.

the cons:
-for those who were unable to secure free parking on the neighboring streets (or didn’t know about this option), parking inside vasona lake park is $6 per vehicle.
-insufficient number of porta-potties. i attempted to line up and use the porta-potties a second time before the race start, about 10 min before the gun would go off, and the line was just ridiculous. i believe i counted about 14 porta-potties, and the number of finishers was a bit over 1000. not the most ideal ratio of runners to porta-potties.
-within a few minutes of starting the half marathon, we were misdirected at the turn at the top of the hill. to make matters worse, the gate that should have been opened for this turn wasn’t even opened until all of the runners made a mad rush for it and the volunteers realized their mistake!
-for the half course, there were a couple of sharp 180 degree turns which necessitated slowing down, one at the midway point (approx. 6.5 miles in) and one near mile 13 (toward the finish). as a seasoned runner, i do not like sharp turns at the very end b/c that is when i kick it into high gear and sprint toward the finish line.
-no entertainment along the course. during the last few miles, it was actually very quiet along the trail and i ran several long stretches without any runners around me.
-i felt that there weren’t enough high carbohydrate foods at the finish line, which is most essential especially for the half marathoners. perhaps bagels and pretzels could be added next year?
-they ran out of beer before many of the half marathoners finished! my friend finished around 2:15 and when she walked over to the beer tent, they were completely out! i know that many more runners came in after her and also did not get their cup of beer. there should be enough ale flowing until after everyone has finished and had a chance to have a cup!

overall, i thought moshan did a good job with this event, but i feel that there is definitely room for improvement. the swag was good, but logistics could be improved. will i run this again next year? guess you’ll have to wait and see!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
2
SWAG
4

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Hellyer Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Hellyer Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

this was my third time running a brazen racing event and i continue to be a happy runner in their events! despite the heavy rains, wind, and chilly conditions yesterday, … MORE

this was my third time running a brazen racing event and i continue to be a happy runner in their events! despite the heavy rains, wind, and chilly conditions yesterday, they still pulled off a really great event, which is not easy when the weather doesn’t cooperate! although the rain and wind slowed me down a bit, and i had to run through and/or hop over a few rivers along the course (due to heavy rain), i still ran fast enough to place 3rd in my age group, and was the 7th overall female finisher, so i got to take home two medals, woohoo!

for this particular event, there was a choice of 3 distances:
1. half marathon (13.1 miles)
2. 10k (6.2 miles)
3. 5k (3.1 miles)

i chose to participate in the 10k.

the pros:
-fast and generally flat course with a few slight inclines
-nice course along the coyote creek trail with lots of tree cover
-staggered start times (every 20 minutes) for each of the 3 events to avoid congestion at the start
-flags to mark each mile for each race distance, distinct flag colours for each race to avoid confusion
-friendly volunteers directing runners and manning aid stations along the course, handing out medals at the finish line, and keeping the refreshments’ tables well stocked after the race
-lots of porta-potties at the start/finish area, some a little further away, and park restroom structures near each of the parking areas
-tons of parking very close to the start/finish area

what you get:
*choice of packet pick-up @ sports basement in sunnyvale the two days prior to the race or on site pick up the morning of
*dri-fit, women’s cut, v-neck finisher’s shirt (shirt is optional, so if you don’t want the shirt, you can save $5)
*big, colourful medal with a rabbit logo, displaying event name and date (option to engrave name and finisher time on back)
*TONS of post-race food & drinks, including it’s it ice cream sandwiches, chocolate cake, bagels, peanut butter, pretzels, freshly cut fruit, trail mix, coffee and water. best part is that the food never ran out!

the cons:
-the weather wasn’t great for this year’s event, but that wasn’t brazen’s fault. they can’t predict the weather! but since it was raining, would have appreciated the starting mats being placed in a less muddy area. the start/finish mats were in a pretty large spot of mud, so all runners had to get muddy at the start and finish.
-paying $6 to park in this county park, again not brazen’s fault, but i wonder if maybe going forward this could be incorporated into the registration fee so that we don’t have to bring exact change/cash with us?
-arriving about an hour prior to the 10k start to find a backlog of cars leading to the park ranger window (everyone waiting to pay the fee to enter the park)

thank you brazen racing for organizing yet another great event. i can’t wait to sign up for another one of your events!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
2
SWAG
3

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Zoom Firecracker Run

Zoom Firecracker Run

i'd participated in zoom running events in the past and generally enjoyed racing these events. the main reason i liked these events is b/c they are local, and smaller in … MORE

i’d participated in zoom running events in the past and generally enjoyed racing these events. the main reason i liked these events is b/c they are local, and smaller in terms of number of participants.

for this event, participants had 3 events to choose from:
half marathon (13.1 miles)
10k (6.2 miles) – i chose to run this distance
5k (3.1 miles)

the pros:
+late race start so that folks who were up late celebrating the 4th of july watching fireworks or at a party could sleep in a bit! start times varied from 9:00-9:25am depending on which distance.
+small, local event with only a few hundred participants, which meant no congestion at the start and finish (and shorter waits for the bathrooms!)
+bib and packet pickup the morning of the event. there was no line when i arrived (about an hour before my distance started)
+4 unisex bathrooms right at the registration tent, and another 4 bathrooms about 0.2 miles down the parking lot. all of these had working toilets, toilet paper, clean, running water and paper towels which was much appreciated. some had soap, others did not.
+easy and plentiful parking in the lot adjacent to the registration pavilion which was also right next to the start/finish line and post-race refreshments area.
+mostly flat course with some short rolling hills/underpasses that intersected with the alameda creek trail.
+different coloured flags to mark each of the four race distances (hung on tree branches and/or lining the trail), also, blue flags to mark the wrong direction (i.e. if you’re running blue, you’re off course),
+a wide array of refreshments after the race, which included salty party mix, peanut butter filled pretzels, chocolate chip muffins, tortilla chips, potato chips, candy, trail mix, m&m’s, graham crackers, clif bars, and watermelon. they also had water, soda, and electrolyte fluid available.
-friendly volunteers assisting with bib pickup and registration pre-race, manning the aid stations on the course, and handing out medals at the finish line
-fair registration fees of $35, $40, and $45 for the 5k, 10k, and half, respectively. you can also save $5 if you choose not to purchase an official race tshirt.
-college student discount of 10% off the registration fee with valid student ID
-customized medals on yellow and blue ribbons awaiting runners at the finish line!
-additional medals for age group winners, 3 deep in each 10-year category, i.e. male 20-29, 30-39, female 20-29, 30-39, etc. since i was second in my age group, i walked away with 2 medals.

the cons:
-since quarry lakes regional park is an alameda county park, there is a $5 parking fee for each vehicle.
-while quarry lakes is very pretty, there was not a lot of shade and tree cover. with a late start on a warm summer day, this made for difficult race day conditions regardless of which distance you ran.
-the 10k course, in particular, was not marked as clearly as it should have been, as many of the lead runners for this distance were misguided and ran in the wrong direction for a while before they were instructed to turn around! unfortunately, these folks ended up placing lower than they should have. 🙁
-i was not a fan of miles 4-6 in the 10k as these few miles had many sharp turns which resembled switchbacks on a mountain, and parts of the trail were very narrow with tall grass and weeds which made it difficult to maintain my current pace or speed up.

although i ended up finishing 2nd in my age group, 2nd female, and 2nd overall finisher (male/female), i was left wondering if maybe i would have finished at a lower standing if the course was marked properly and those who were in front of me when the gun went off had taken the correct course and finished earlier. so the usual excitement of finishing near the top wasn’t present since i wasn’t sure (and still am not sure) if i was truly the 2nd place overall finisher.

overall, just an ok event. i’ll likely sign up for another zoom running event in the future, but not sure if i’d run quarry lakes again in the summertime, and less likely to run the 10k if it’s the same course in the future.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
1
SWAG
3

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Athleta Esprit de She 5K Run – Palo Alto, CA

Athleta Esprit de She 5K Run – Palo Alto, CA

awesome inaugural event that celebrates the spirit of the woman! although i did not have the opportunity to run this inaugural race in palo alto, i did spend time volunteering … MORE

awesome inaugural event that celebrates the spirit of the woman!

although i did not have the opportunity to run this inaugural race in palo alto, i did spend time volunteering before the event, checking-in runners, assigning race bibs, handing out goodie bags and tshirts, as well as after the event, handing out water bottles and congratulating runners as they crossed the finish line. volunteering is, in itself, extremely rewarding as you are giving your time and energy to a cause knowing that you will not be receiving anything in return. for me, i got the best thing, which was that warm, happy feeling inside, that i did something good, and that i made people happy.

the actual course started at the trail head to the palo alto baylands nature preserve, a beautiful part of the peninsula where many runners, walkers, and bikers can be found on any given day. the course is flat, with a few small inclines, and combines packed gravel/dirt and paved asphalt surfaces. sadly, this trail will close for the next two years due to renovation, but we were lucky to be given this last opportunity to participate in an event here.

as a runner, if you registered for this event, you received the following:
*woman-cut tank top (different from the usual tshirt that most races give out, the tank was very cute and very feminine)
*yellow reusable bag with a small zippered compartment inside (great for groceries!)

after crossing the finish line, there was a “night market” which offered:
*post race food, including sandwiches, greek yogurt, luna bars, water, electrolyte drink
*a “bubbly bar” for participants over 21, with a choice of bellini or mimosa…nothing beats a glass of champagne after a hard workout!
*free table massage
*free manicure or polish change
*”esprit de she” apparel for sale
*cocktail lounge style tables and decor

my only concern about this event was the parking. as a volunteer, i came very early and had no problems finding parking, but those who came later in the day, even those who arrived an hour before the start of the event, struggled to find parking, as we volunteers had to answer many questions about where participants could park, whether a particular lot was legal or not.

overall, it was a wonderful turnout for this event and the organizers did a terrific job in organizing this event. i hope they have this event again next year, and i hope to be on the other side of the timing mats next time, as a participant.

congratulations to everyone who crossed the finish line today! power to the she!

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
2
SWAG
5

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Juana Run

Juana Run

this was my first time participating in this event, and i did so for two reasons: 1. it's super close to where i live (i'm talkin' a 6 min drive!)...i … MORE

this was my first time participating in this event, and i did so for two reasons:
1. it’s super close to where i live (i’m talkin’ a 6 min drive!)…i probably could have run here as my warmup!
2. proceeds benefit 3 schools in the palo alto school system:
+barron park elementary school
+terman middle school
+gunn high school

for this particular event, there was a choice of several distances:
1. 8k (4.97 miles) – open to all
2. 1 mile – open to all
3. 1/2 mile – 3rd, 4th and 5th graders
4. 1/4 mile – K,1st and 2nd graders
5. 200 yards – pre-K
6. 100 yards – challenger and special needs

i chose to participate in both the 8k and 1 mile, with a 2 hour break in between these two events.

the pros:
-PERFECT race day conditions, low-mid 50s and cloudy at the start of the 8k @ 8.30am.
-relatively flat course that originated a few blocks from barron park elementary, looped around the barron park neighborhood of palo alto, and ended back at the school
-free and easy parking at gunn high school (5 min walk to staging area with packet pickup and bag check)
-relatively small event, so the start line and course were never crowded, and i never had to squeeze my way in between anyone
-separate start times for each of the 6 events
-large posters to mark each mile of the 8k race
-spot in terms of distance (4.97 for the 8k and 1.00 for the 1 miler)…my garmin was off by just a few 1/100’s of a mile b/c i didn’t always run the tangents
-friendly volunteers directing runners along the course, calling out splits, handing out cups of water at the aid staion, and managing refreshments at the end
-lots of neighbors, parents, friends, and other supporters cheering for us throughout each course

what you get:
*17th annual juana run? logo cotton t-shirt
*lots of post-race food & drinks, including bagels, coffee cake, bananas, fruit-flavoured water and regular water. food was plentiful throughout the entire morning, so participants in all distances had a chance to partake in post-race refreshments.
*FREE active release technique to ease any post-race tightness and pain
*FREE gait analysis for those who wish to have their running form analysed
*FREE pancake breakfast for all 8k participants (yes, hot pancakes with butter and syrup!)

the cons:
-no chip timing for this event, so finish times are based on actual gun time. must line up at the very front if you want to have an accurate time.
-no early packet pickup option. must arrive at race site early to pick up bib, t-shirt and goodie bag.
-since i ran in two events, i had to line up twice to get both bibs since they handed out the bibs in segments

BONUS:
since i placed 1st in my age group for the 1 mile event, i was awarded a juana run? duffle bag, which is very spacious, great for carrying all of my running gear, accessories, snacks and water bottle!

this was a terrific event organized by those affiliated with the three aforementioned palo alto schools. the success of the event was due to the help of parents, teachers, students, and especially, the volunteers.

definitely great for families with children since there is a distance appropriate for everyone. since it wasn’t a large, highly populated event, it definitely had that sense of “family” that i really like.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
1
SWAG
4

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Divas Half Marathon & 5K in San Francisco Bay

Divas Half Marathon & 5K in San Francisco Bay

PINK tshirts....BOAS....TIARAS....RED ROSES....CHAMPAGNE....and a SPARKLY BLINGED out medal.... what am i talking out? no, not a pageant, or a bachelorette party, but this was a party with about 5000 other … MORE

PINK tshirts….BOAS….TIARAS….RED ROSES….CHAMPAGNE….and a SPARKLY BLINGED out medal….

what am i talking out? no, not a pageant, or a bachelorette party, but this was a party with about 5000 other women from the bay area and outside of california

yesterday was the 2nd annual divas half marathon in san francisco, and for the most part, it was a successful event.

for this particular event, there was a choice of 2 distances:
1. half marathon (13.1 miles)
2. 5k (3.1 miles)

i chose to participate in the half marathon distance since this is my favourite distance to race. pre-registration for the half is $85, which includes all of the below.

the pros:
*early 7am start to avoid the potential heat in may (and we had an unseasonably hot week leading up to the race, so an early start was much appreciated)
*PERFECT race day conditions, mid-high 50s and overcast for a majority of the race with a slight headwind on parts of the race since we were running along the bay trail
*flat out-and-back course that originated from burlingame’s bayside park, ran through several other parks along the bay, down to the san mateo bridge, and back to the starting point
*staggered start times for the half and 5k events to avoid congestion at the start
*flags to mark each mile for the half
*friendly volunteers directing runners along the course, especially at major turns and the halfway turnaround point, they also handed out fluids at all aid stations along the course and after the finish line

what you get:
++packet pick-up @ the divas expo, held at the host hotel, san francisco airport marriott waterfront, on both friday & saturday before the race
++PINK drawstring bag with divas logo (also serves as gear/coat check bag at the start)
++PINK dri-fit, women’s cut, v-neck finisher’s t-shirt
++boa and tiara station just before the finish line, so you can look your best crossing the finish
++long stem red rose at the finish line, each rose in its own mini-water vial
++glasses of champagne at the finish, or ginger ale for those who prefer the non-alcoholic version, option to keep the souvenir plastic champagne glass with divas logo
++HUGE, blinged out medal on a pink strap with lots of room on the back to engrave name and finisher time

the cons:
-the recommended parking options were not very good: park at millbrae bart/caltrain station, which is 2.5 miles from the start line, and take a shuttle to the start or park at the host hotel, marriott, if you get there by 5.30am, and walk about a mile to the start (note that parking at marriott will run you about $10, depending on how long you park there)
TIP: park in burlingame, along rollins rd or carolan ave, near broadway, and walk across the footbridge to the start line. only a 5-10 min walk depending on how close you park to the footbridge.
-course was not very interesting, even though it ran along the bay. for some reason, all of the parks that i ran through seemed very deserted, no playgrounds, soccer fields, or people for that matter. parts of the course ran into residential areas of burlingame and san mateo, which again, were not very interesting.
-a good chunk of the course was quite narrow, so if you are running in the middle of the pack, you would likely get stuck/feel congested on certain turns, especially the halfway turnaround point which was extremely narrow.
-there was very little entertainment along the way, much less so than was advertised on the official map. the major spectacle that i recall seeing was the chinese dancing dragon around mile 3, which i saw again around mile 10 on the way back.
-overall course was a bit long, per my garmin, i ran 13.21 miles instead of the official 13.11 miles, and this is with me running the tangents at each turn (so i assume most participants would have run closer to 13.3 miles running the long way around the course)
-mile markers could have been bigger, and a better/brighter colour. short stumps made of black fabric is not the best material, especially on an overcast day as they were hard to see until i got really close to them
-no timers at each mile marker/major split. clocks were only seen at the start and finish so we could not guage our progress unless we had our own timing device.
-not much variety of food, especially for a half marathon. our only choices were plain bagels (no cream cheese or peanut butter), bananas, and cookies
-there was coconut water at the end, but unfortunately they ran out very quickly so not all participants were able to have some
-while there was a post-race party, it did not begin until 2pm. and for those of us finishing before 9am, we did not want to stick around for 5 hrs.

in short, love the PINK, love the BLINGY MEDAL and the other schwag, but the course itself could use some modifications.

would i run it again next year? for the bling, yes. for the course, probably not….it’ll be a game time decision.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
2
SWAG
5

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Zoom Turkey Trot

Zoom Turkey Trot

keeping to my annual thanksgiving day tradition, i participated in a turkey trot this morning with a couple of friends so that we could BURN some calories before we CONSUME … MORE

keeping to my annual thanksgiving day tradition, i participated in a turkey trot this morning with a couple of friends so that we could BURN some calories before we CONSUME lots of calories.

i really wanted to avoid the larger races, i.e. the 20,000+ turkey trot in downtown sj, so when i found out about this event, i immediately signed up. the location was at hellyer county park along the coyote creek trail, a place where i had never run before, or visited for that matter, so i was quite excited about tackling a new course.

participants had a choice of three events to either run, walk or “trot:”: 5k , 10k, or half marathon (13.1 miles). i chose the 5k since i hadn’t raced this distance in a while and i wanted to see if i could improve my time since the last time i ran this distance (maybe over a year ago?)

the pros:
-bib and packet pickup the morning of the event. no line when i arrived at 6.55am.
-perfect race day conditions, mid 40s and overcast at the start, low-mid 50s with increasing sunshine at the end. although it felt very chilly when i first arrived, i warmed up quickly after the first mile or so.
-easy and plentiful parking in the lot adjacent to the start/finish line and post-race refreshments area.
-mostly flat course that touched coyote creek trail and some of the neighboring trails in hellyer county park. the foliage was beautiful as the trail was surrounded by many trees!
-different coloured flags to mark each race distance (hung on tree branches and/or lining the trail)
-a wide array of refreshments after the race, which included pretzels, chips, candy, m&m’s, graham crackers, brownie bites, clif bars, oranges, and even pumpkin pie! they also had water, soda, and electrolyte fluid available.
-friendly volunteers assisting with bib pickup and registration pre-race, also handing out refreshments post-race
-fair registration fees of $35, $40, and $45 for the 5k, 10k, and half distances, respectively. you can also save $5 if you choose not to purchase an official race tshirt.
-college student discount of 10% off the registration fee with valid student ID
-colourful medals awaiting runners at the finish line!
-medals for age group winners, 3 deep in each 10-year category, i.e. male 20-29, 30-39, female 20-29, 30-39, etc. since i finished 2nd in my age group, i took home two medals today. 🙂

the cons:
-since hellyer county park is one of the many county parks in santa clara county, there is a parking fee for each vehicle. while the race organizer’s website advertised a $5 parking fee, it was actually $6 when we arrived at the main gate. it would have been nice to know this in advance.
-while it was a nice course, the turnaround points could have been more clearly marked. i ran the 5k and was expecting the turnaround point a bit sooner (based on what my garmin said), but instead, it was much later than anticipated. of course, i also spent some energy worrying and wondering whether i had missed the turnaround and would end up running more than 5k. a friend of mine who ran the 10k was completely misguided on where that turnaround was and ended up running the incorrect distance since the volunteer did not communicate properly.
-the park bathrooms near the start line were not accessible (due to an electrical issue), and unfortunately, there were also no porta-potties available, so we runners had to find a bush or some other “natural” means of taking care of our business. about 1h 20min after the start of the race, a few porta-potties were being delivered, but by that time, many of the 5k and 10k participants were finished and on their way out (if not long gone). this was absolutely inexcusable, not having accessible restrooms for nearly 500 participants and their family members/spectators.

overall, i didn’t have a bad experience, i mean, i did get my morning workout in, but i wouldn’t exactly call it a good experience either.

my biggest recommendations for the race organizer’s, should they choose to hold this event next year, would be to ensure that there are restrooms/porta-potties readily available well before the start of the race and to ensure that volunteers are properly directing runners especially near the turnaround points.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
2
SCENERY
2
SWAG
3

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ZombieRunner Quarry Lakes (Winter)

ZombieRunner Quarry Lakes (Winter)

i planned to run a marathon near the end of the year, but wanted to stay local, so i chose this event since it's in fremont, just across the bridge … MORE

i planned to run a marathon near the end of the year, but wanted to stay local, so i chose this event since it’s in fremont, just across the bridge from where i live. no long driving or staying in a hotel the night before, which meant that i could sleep in my own bed the eve of the race.

the short summary of my race day is that i ran in ideal race day conditions, ran my best marathon time ever and even wound up finishing first in my age group! so this event was very memorable for me.

now for the nitty-gritty details….

for this event, participants had four events to choose from:
full marathon (26.2 miles)
half marathon (13.1 miles)
10k (6.2 miles)
5k (3.1 miles)

the pros:
+bib and packet pickup the morning of the event. there was no line when i arrived at 7.05am.
+4 unisex bathrooms right at the registration tent, and another 4 bathrooms about a quarter mile down the parking lot. all of these had working toilets, toilet paper, clean, running water and paper towels which was much appreciated (even well after i finished my race).
+ideal race day conditions for an endurance event, low-mid 30s at the start, upper 40s-low 50s at the end, under sunny skies. it was VERY COLD when the gun went off at 8am, but several miles into the race, i had warmed up and was feeling a good rhythm.
+easy and plentiful parking in the lot adjacent to the registration pavilion which was also right next to the start/finish line and post-race refreshments area.
+mostly flat course with some short rolling hills/underpasses that intersected with the alameda creek trail.
+different coloured flags to mark each of the four race distances (hung on tree branches and/or lining the trail), also, blue flags to mark the wrong direction (i.e. if you’re running blue, you’re off course),
+a wide array of refreshments after the race, which included peanut butter filled pretzels, chips, candy, trail mix, graham crackers, chocolate chip muffins, oranges, asian rice cracker mix, and even pumpkin pie! they also had water, soda, and electrolyte fluid available.
-friendly volunteers assisting with bib pickup and registration pre-race, manning the aid stations on the course, and handing out medals at the finish line
-fair registration fees of $35, $40, $45, and $60 for the 5k, 10k, half and full, respectively. you can also save $5 if you choose not to purchase an official race tshirt.
-college student discount of 10% off the registration fee with valid student ID
-colourful medals awaiting runners at the finish line!
-medals for age group winners, 3 deep in each 10-year category, i.e. male 20-29, 30-39, female 20-29, 30-39, etc. since i was first in my age group, i walked away with 2 medals.

the cons:
-since quarry lakes regional park is an alameda county park, there is a $5 parking fee for each vehicle.
-the first aid station was not ready for us by the time i (and a large group of runners) arrived. i had to grab a cup and wait while a volunteer poured water into my cup before i could continue running which wasted valuable seconds. these water cups should have been set up well before i arrived.
-while quarry lakes is very pretty, the course itself was a bit boring, and the fact that the full marathoners had to run the course twice (double the half marathon route) made it very boring and quite tedious, especially without any audio or visual entertainment along the course.
-most of the turnaround points/markers were well marked, but the turnaround/halfway point for the full marathon was not marked at all. in fact, i had to shout out and ask where do the full marathoners turn around since we do not go into the finisher’s chute with the half marathoners. also, the last turn on the full marathon, already more than 25 miles into the race, was not well marked, and i actually ran the wrong direction before someone shouted at me to go the other way.
-since i went slightly wrong on a few turns, i ended up running 26.4 miles instead of 26.2, so theoretically, i could have shaved a few seconds off my time.

overall, i had a pretty good experience at this race and i even got to meet the race director, wendell, who was very friendly, congratulated me on my performance, and thanked me for participating in this event.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
1
SWAG
3

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Run, Turkey, Run!

Run, Turkey, Run!

i appreciate this annual turkey trot, since it is a smaller-scale local event in san jose whose proceeds benefit the bret harte middle school booster club. participants had a choice … MORE

i appreciate this annual turkey trot, since it is a smaller-scale local event in san jose whose proceeds benefit the bret harte middle school booster club.

participants had a choice of two events to either run, walk or “trot:”: 5k or 10k. i chose the 10k so that i could have a more intense workout.

the pros:
-choice of bib and packet pickup the day before or the morning of (the latter was helpful for me since i live a bit far from this event).
-perfect race day conditions, mid 40s and sunny at the start, low-mid 50s at the end. although it felt chilly when i first arrived, i warmed up quickly under the sun.
-mostly flat course that touched los alamitos creek trail and some of the school’s neighboring streets. beautiful foliage at this time of year!
-correctly measured course, which is much appreciated given the number of short/long races out there. i got 6.23 miles on my garmin which is very close to the official 6.2 miles for a 10k.
-free and easy parking in the school’s parking lot which was also right next to the start/finish area. participants could also park along the residential streets next to the school.
-race started next to leland high school’s track, so we were able to warmup and cooldown before and after the race
-restroooms available at both the track house and main school building
-flags to mark each mile in the race, which were pretty accurate
-friendly volunteers directing runners along the course and handing out water
-low registration fee of $15 per adult (early-bird registration) or $20 (standard) or $25 (day of registration). cost does not include a t-shirt, which is an additional $10. i appreciated having the option of purchasing a t-shirt to save some money on the registration fee.

the cons:
-while it was a nice course, i did not appreciate that the second half of the 10k shared the same course as the second half of the 5k. by the time the faster 10k’ers (like myself) got to the halfway point, we had to share the very narrow trail with the 5k walkers, strollers, pets, and small children which was very frustrating since it was hard to maneuver around them and move ahead. even though i was constantly shouting “on your left, runner behind you” most of the walkers simply ignored me. it would be nice if walkers could be educated about this bit of running etiquette for the future to allow less congestion on a shared trail.
-for the 10k course, there was a section that was unclear and not marked properly, so the runners in my pack were uncertain whether that was the turnaround for us or whether to continue. even though there was a volunteer standing on the course, it would have been easier, better if that volunteer had a sign that we could see from a distance to avoid confusion and stopping to ask for directions. i heard that some thought this was the turnaround point and ended up only running 5.7 miles vs the full 6.2 miles. this created some confusion and difficulty in sorting out the official results and race winners.
-there weren’t many refreshments at the end, just some water, coffee, and pre-cut bagels. as a frequent participant in local area races, i’m accustomed to seeing some fruit, electrolyte drink, and wider variety of post-race refreshments

this was definitely a good race for families and individuals alike. it was nice to see a lot of runners dressed like turkeys or wearing turkey hats, as well as the school mascot on the course.

my biggest recommendation for next year would be to split the 10k and 5k courses into completely separate courses so that the 10k runners aren’t forced to slow down behind the 5k walkers in the 2nd half.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
2
SWAG
1

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Race Against PH

Race Against PH

this was an awesome 5k run/walk event. great organization, great volunteers, and most importantly, great cause as we participated in the race against pulmonary hypertension. the pros: -perfect race day … MORE

this was an awesome 5k run/walk event. great organization, great volunteers, and most importantly, great cause as we participated in the race against pulmonary hypertension.

the pros:
-perfect race day conditions, mid 50s and sunny. although some may say this was a bit on the warm side.
-mostly flat course through stanford’s campus, passing through several key university landmarks. since it was a loop, start/finish area was the same.
-correctly measured course, which is much appreciated given the number of short/long 5ks out there. i got 3.11 miles on my garmin so i knew this was measured properly.
-free and easy parking in lots right next to start/finish area
-race started next to stanford’s track, so we were able to warmup and cooldown before and after the race
-porta-potties and restrooms (at tennis center building) available
-flags to mark each mile in the race
-friendly volunteers directing runners along the course and handing out water

what you get:
*choice of packet pick-up @ fleet feet sports in menlo park the day before or on site pick up the morning of
*burgundy coloured long sleeve finisher’s shirt (very appropriate for a november race!)
*TONS of post-race food & drinks, including muffins, bagels, cheese, bananas, freshly-cut fruit, pretzels, chips, coffee and water. i was amazed at how much food was provided given the large number of participants.

the cons:
NONE!

i highly recommend this race to first-timers and veteran 5k runners alike. i will definitely sign up for this event again next year.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
SWAG
4

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Summer Scamper

Summer Scamper

overall, a very well organized race. before i begin this review, i want to thank the race organizers and volunteers for making this another successful event! as a two-time participant … MORE

overall, a very well organized race. before i begin this review, i want to thank the race organizers and volunteers for making this another successful event! as a two-time participant in this local event, i was again very pleased with the outcome. my feeling is that there was a larger turnout this year which is great; more proceeds to benefit lucille packard children’s hospital!

early packet pickup was on fri 6/22 @ fleet feet sports, menlo park, and the pickup process was seamless. the official pickup time block was 2-8pm, but they were ready well before then, since i arrived around 1.45pm and was able to pickup my bib and tshirt. i was in and out in under 5 minutes. this was much better organized compared to last year, when i waited in line for over 30 minutes.

as far as the actual event on sat 6/23, there were more than enough parking spaces, all of which were very close to the start line (choice of covered parking structure or open parking lot). stanford university parking is free on the weekend, another bonus.

i participated in the 5k event again this year, and here’s what i thought:
1. well-organized start, 5k’ers took off 10 minutes after the 10k’ers took off to allow for a less congested start
2. separate course from the 10k this year, so we’re not all packed in together
3. dedicated aid station, i felt one was sufficient for the 5k distance
4. lots and lots of volunteers directing participants, to ensure we were following the correct route, and also volunteers guiding traffic to ensure everyone’s safety
5. lots of food and drink at the finish line/post-race expo, much more than last year. CPK even came out with pizza, sandwiches and salad! i also saw pinkberry with frozen yogourt.
6. a kids area, with fun activities for kids while they waited for their kids’ races to begin
7. plentiful porta-potties this year; even though i went just a few minutes before the gun went off, i didn’t have to wait in line, which was great (last year, the lines were much longer, i suspect due to fewer porta-potties)
8. beautiful course, passing through many of stanford’s key landmarks

the few things i did not like this year:
1. the course was different from last year and involved many more turns and corners this year. more turns make it harder for those of us who are running fast and trying to get to the finish line asap. i liked last year’s course better.
2. the course was not marked properly. mile 1 came approx 0.9 miles (according to my garmin) and mile 2 came approx 1.85 miles. also, there was no mile 3 marker, which made the final mile and change feel like it lasted a long time.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
2
SWAG
3

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Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon

a long overdue review, overdue by almost a year in fact, but better late than never! i have participated in this event twice, in 2011 and 2012, and both times, … MORE

a long overdue review, overdue by almost a year in fact, but better late than never!

i have participated in this event twice, in 2011 and 2012, and both times, i finished with my best race times of the year!

for the 2012 event, they added the “mini-marathon” so participants had a choice of 2 distances:
1. mini-marathon, 5 miles
2. half marathon, 13.1 miles

i chose to participate in the half marathon distance since this is my favourite distance to race. pre-registration for the half was $65 since i registered super early (shortly after the 2011 event). normal prices are $85 (through 5/31), $95 (through 7/31), $105 (through 9/29), and $150 at the expo.

the pros:
*PERFECT race day conditions, sunny and cool with temperatures in the high-40s at the start and still cool at the finish line with temperatures hovering around 50.
*fast and flat loop course that originated and ended in downtown san jose, passing through several residential neighborhoods and san jose’s japantown.
*official pacers, carrying tall pace flags and wearing official pacer shirts, with projected finish times ranging from 1:45 – 3:00
*friendly volunteers directing runners along the course handing out fluids at all aid stations
*clear mile markers along the course, 1 for every mile
*large, visible clocks at each mile marker and major split (5k, 10k, etc)
*friends and family meetup area at finisher’s village, sorted by alphabet

what you get:
++packet pick-up @ the race expo, held at the san jose convention center on the friday & saturday before the race (which was on sunday)
++reusable drawstring gear check bag
++dri-fit finisher’s t-shirt (more fitted for the women, which i like)
++cool medal in the shape of a tape cassette, awesome flashback to the 80s!
(medal engraving available on site for a small fee)
++lots of post-race food, bananas, bagels, bars, water galore!
++free beer at the finish
++free entertainment in the form of local bands at the finish line

the cons:
-the recommended parking option was the hp pavilion, which was free for the day, but still a bit of a hike to the starting line….i walked roughly 15-20 min to get to the starting area
-with the addition of the 5 mile option this year, the organizers needed to have added additional porta-potties. from 7.20am onwards, each clump of porta-potties had quite a long line of anxious runners!
-although the course was flat, it was not very interesting since most businesses were not yet opened for the day and the residential neighborhoods were quite boring, so i felt like i was looking at one building after another
-the course was lacking in entertainment as bands that were promised weren’t exactly delivered on race day. there was good entertainment at the start and finish, but i would have liked to see and hear more in the middle.

despite the shortcomings for the 2012 event, i still look back fondly on this event as i hold my best half marathon time ever. will i run it again this year? you betcha! and here’s hoping for another PR!

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
1
SWAG
4

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T9 Mermaid Run East Bay (CA)

T9 Mermaid Run East Bay (CA)

i love the mermaid events b/c they really cater toward everyone, regardless of ability/experience. for this particular event, there were 4 distances to choose from: 5k, 10k, half marathon (13.1mi), … MORE

i love the mermaid events b/c they really cater toward everyone, regardless of ability/experience. for this particular event, there were 4 distances to choose from: 5k, 10k, half marathon (13.1mi), and sirena (18mi). you could walk, run or stroll in any of these events.

i chose to participate in the half marathon distance since i wanted to train hard and push myself.

the pros:
-mostly flat course in quarry lakes area
-women only (absolutely no men allowed in this race)
-strollers and dogs allowed
-easy parking in lot right next to start/finish area
-staggered start times for each of the 4 events to avoid congestion at the start
-flags to mark each mile for each race distance

what you get:
*packet pick-up @ sunnyvale sports basement the day before
*mermaid run women’s cut tshirt with a cool design
*silver finisher necklaces handed out as soon as you cross the finish line
*lots of post-race food & drinks, including chocolate chip pancakes!!
*cute mermaid branded merchandise for sale at the event (adult, kids and babies’ clothing)

the cons:
-parts of the course were not properly marked, especially when i compared with my garmin device. overall, the course was slightly long, so i actually ran in excess of 13.1 miles.
-water/aid stations were not properly mapped out in the pre-race handouts. since i had studied the aid stations very carefully so that i knew exactly where i could grab water, i was disappointed that some were sooner than anticipated and some were spread out further. there was once stretch on the course where we went several miles without a single aid station (and it was getting quite hot outside). other participants also made the same comment.
-a very long line of hungry women, waiting to get their hot pancakes and syrup 🙂 for this event, i do wish they had separate lines for the different race distances, as those who ran either 13.1 or 18 mi would need to eat more quickly (eat more) than those who ran the 5k/10k. i actually got a bit lightheaded while waiting in the long line for pancakes.

i was quite surprised that i wound up finishing at the top of my age group for the half marathon, as i slowed down quite a bit toward the end (legs and lungs getting tired). they awarded me with a case of zico coconut water and a box of luna protein bars, which was awesome. all of the age group and overall prize winners (for each race distance) were awarded with awesome prize packs from the event sponsors.

overall, this was a terrific event, well-organized and family friendly.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
2
SWAG
4

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Brazen Summer Breeze Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Brazen Summer Breeze Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

this was my first event with brazen racing and i was very pleased with the outcome. fellow runners had told me about the awesome events that brazen organizes and the … MORE

this was my first event with brazen racing and i was very pleased with the outcome. fellow runners had told me about the awesome events that brazen organizes and the big medals that are handed out at the finish line so i came in with some pretty high expectations.

for this particular event, there was a choice of 3 distances:
1. half marathon (13.1 miles)
2. 10k (6.2 miles)
3. 5k (3.1 miles)

i chose to participate in the half marathon distance.

the pros:
-PERFECT race day conditions, mid-high 50s and cloudy with a slight breeze (absolutely no sun until well after the race was over)
-completely flat course that originated from san leandro’s marina down to hayward and back
-free and easy parking in lots right next to start/finish area
-staggered start times for each of the 3 events to avoid congestion at the start
-flags to mark each mile for each race distance, distinct flag colours for each race to avoid confusion
-friendly volunteers directing runners along the course and helping hand out refreshments at the end

what you get:
*choice of packet pick-up @ fleet feet sports in pleasant hill the day before or on site pick up the morning of (easier for those of us who don’t live in east bay)
*dri-fit, women’s cut, v-neck finisher’s shirt
*big, colourful medal displaying event name and date (option to engrave name and finisher time on back)
*TONS of post-race food & drinks, including it’s it ice cream sandwiches, cake, cookies, freshly cut fruit, coffee and water. best part is that the food never ran out!
*FREE table massage at finish line, given by licensed massage therapists

the cons:
NONE!

although i wish i could have run a faster time, i really have no complaints about the event or course itself as this really was one of the best events i have ever participated in. everyone, participants, volunteers, and spectators, was very friendly and helpful, and i definitely had that sense of “family” since this was a small to medium sized event, and not ridiculously crowded like many other events i’ve participated in.

i definitely plan on signing up for another brazen race in the near future and i highly recommend brazen races to everyone as they are extremely well-organized.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
SWAG
4

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California International Marathon (CIM)

California International Marathon (CIM)

in 2011, the early registration fee was $85 (+small surcharge for registering online). this was only my 3rd full marathon, but it was the most organized and friendly of the … MORE

in 2011, the early registration fee was $85 (+small surcharge for registering online). this was only my 3rd full marathon, but it was the most organized and friendly of the large races that i had run to date, and still is, in my mind, the best large marathon that i have run in my running career.

my husband and i stayed at one of the official race hotels, which was about 15 min drive from downtown sacramento, not too far from the finish line. this hotel had a special discount for CIM runners and was also on the bus route for the official bus that would transport runners to the start line in folsom on race morning.

the race was on sunday morning, but i arrived friday nite so that i could have an extra day to adjust to the weather, the terrain, and have a full day to spend at the expo. the expo had your usual vendors, with promotions for future races, as well as race memorabilia, and seminars with keynote speakers. i attended quite a few of the seminars so that i could pick up any last minute tips on nutrition, hydration, clothing/equipment, pacing, and mental strategies during the race. i also met one of the pacers for the 4:00 group, which was the group that i planned to run with the next day.

on race morning, my bus came at 5.15 on the dot, and i was actually the last one to board since i arrived in the lobby at 5.14. it was about a 40 min ride to the start, during which time i tried to sleep a bit more (since i’d been up since 3.30 to eat my pre-race meal), but the race day jitters prevented me from actually sleeping! upon arrival, runners were allowed to remain on the bus until 10 minutes before the start time which was nice since it was heated on the bus; very important considering it was about 30 degrees outside and the sun hadn’t risen yet!

the starting area in folsom had a bag dropoff, a ton of porta-potties (lines weren’t too bad either!), water, and pacers holding signage indicating goal finish times. before i knew it, i was warming up with some stretches, and heading to the start. the gun went off at exactly 7am and off we went! there were many aid stations along the way, and each had cups of water and electrolyte fluids available. the friendly volunteers did a great job of holding out the water cups without getting in the way. all of the mile markers were very big and visible, so there was never a doubt where i was along the course. i loved the curtain of the brick wall at mile 20, indicating that i would have passed the point at which most runners “hit the wall” and bonk (slow down, fatigue, etc).

the last few miles were run in the downtown sacramento area and this is where i saw a ton of fans and entertainment and signage, cheering us on since we were nearing the end. i didn’t see him, but my husband was at mile 25, snapping away on his camera as i passed by. my pacers were awesome, as they kept at exactly the right pace throughout the 26.2 miles, and were super encouraging, esp toward the end when my legs and back were starting to fatigue.

as i turned the corner to the finish line, i actually sped up and sprinted across the finish mats, shouting with glee and excitement, as i had come in just under 4 hours….3:58:58 to be exact! after collecting my medal and mylar space blanket (to keep warm), i saw my husband and cried b/c i was so happy about achieving my goal which was 2 years in the making!!!

the finish area was spectacular, as we ended right by the state capitol which has a christmas tree at this time of year and many holiday decorations. after taking my official finisher’s photo, i went to the medical tent to ice myself since i was very very sore after my almost 4 hour effort. i then went around to refuel myself with chocolate milk, water, tomato soup, pancakes, and whatever other treats they had. the tomato soup was my favourite since it was a chilly day and this hot, comfort food hit just the right spot! they also had dedicated changing tents, one for male, one for female, for those who wanted to change without using the porta-potties (a bit tighter in space).

despite the very cold day, with visible frost on the ground, this was a special, and very memorable day for me as i broke the 4 hour barrier. i wholeheartedly thank the race organizers for putting on an extremely well-organized race on a great course (net downhill and mostly flat), with awesome pacers and perfect weather!

i highly recommend this as a first-time marathon course or anyone who wants to pr!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

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ZombieRunner Vasona Lake Run

ZombieRunner Vasona Lake Run

i ran this event in fall 2010, on labor day monday, and it was also my 1st time running the los gatos creek trail. really beautiful park and trail, with … MORE

i ran this event in fall 2010, on labor day monday, and it was also my 1st time running the los gatos creek trail. really beautiful park and trail, with gorgeous views of nature. there are 2 distances to choose from: 5mi and half marathon (13.1mi), and you can run or walk either of these courses, provided you finish within the time limitation set by the race director.

i ran the 5mi course, which had gentle rolling hills. i was told that the half marathon was much more challenging, with some steep hill climbs.

the pros:
*pre-race party @ lululemon santana row the day before with:
***community yoga class
***bib & tshirt pickup (note this is a lululemon dri-fit tshirt)
***pre-race pasta dinner
*beautiful scenic course
*aid stations every couple of miles
*lots of volunteers helping out and cheering
*finisher’s medal for all participants
*lots of post-race food & drinks, including bagels, chips, fruit, and hot soup
*lululemon merchandise for sale

the cons:
-must pay $6 for parking
-very few restrooms & porta-potties
-no chip timing, results by gun time only

overall, i really liked this event and would participate again.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

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T9 Mermaid Run San Francisco

T9 Mermaid Run San Francisco

this is an awesome event to participate in, whether you're a runner, walker, veteran, 1st timer, adult, child or infant. there are 2 distances to choose from: 10k and 5k, … MORE

this is an awesome event to participate in, whether you’re a runner, walker, veteran, 1st timer, adult, child or infant. there are 2 distances to choose from: 10k and 5k, and you can run or walk either of these courses.

i ran the 5k in nov 2010, and i remember it being a great event. we also had terrific weather, a beautiful, clear, sunny day, to boot.

the pros:
-flat course in crissy fields with views of the golden gate bridge & bay
-women only (absolutely no men allowed in this race)
-kids only race (it’s really adorable watching the little girls race)
-strollers and dogs allowed
-easy parking in presidio/crissy fields (esp on sunday morning)

what you get:
*packet pick-up @ presidio sports basement the day before
*overland shoulder bag & sf mermaid run women’s cut tshirt
*silver finisher necklaces handed out as soon as you cross the finish line
*lots of post-race food & drinks, including chocolate chip pancakes!!
*cute mermaid branded merchandise for sale (adult, kids and babies’ clothing)

the cons:
a very long line of hungry women, waiting to get their hot pancakes and syrup 🙂

this was a terrific event, well-organized and family friendly. if i still lived in sf, i would definitely participate again.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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San Francisco Marathon

San Francisco Marathon

this was my very first race in the bay area, the first half of the sf marathon, which took place just a couple months after i transplanted myself from new … MORE

this was my very first race in the bay area, the first half of the sf marathon, which took place just a couple months after i transplanted myself from new york city to san francisco.

mind you, nyc, manhattan, especially, doesn’t have many hilly routes or races, for that matter, so i was used to running on predominantly flat courses. this race was just the opposite of flat as i had hill after hill after hill….

the start time for the sf first half (miles 1-13.1 of the full) and full marathon depended on your wave number, but most of us started around 6am, when it was still dark outside, esp with the dense san francisco fog in the air. the bag check was a breeze, and porta potties were easily spotted (lines weren’t too bad), and my friends and i were able to take some pre-race photos near the starting line.

the race began near the ferry building in the financial district/south of market, which is pancake flat, and proceeded in this manner until about mile 4 or 5, when the hills began. fort mason was no biggie, just a couple of minutes of an uphill climb, but then there was the long, windy climb up to the golden gate bridge which went on for a while. the golden gate bridge was only a gentle incline to the center, and decline to the marin side, then a repeat coming back to sf, but it was quite packed with only 2 lanes open for us runners. exiting the bridge and entering the presidio, we were greeted by more hills…my glutes and hammies were really starting to feel it now! through the presidio and up and down and around the outer richmond we went, i kept asking my friend (who i ran with the last couple miles of the race) “is this the last hill?” i was so relieved when we finally entered golden gate park and the course pretty much flattened out, and we were both able to sprint and make a final kick across the finish line…VICTORY! i had completed my first half marathon in san francisco, and although it wasn’t a PR (not even close), it certainly taught me patience on the hills of sf and helped me to change my training regimen to include more hillwork for future races in the hilly parts of sf.

loved the finisher’s medal for the half, as it doubled as a keychain. those who ran the full marathon received a larger medal which could be used as a coaster! there were plenty of refreshments and drinks at the finish line as well as porta-potties. i saw many of my friends cheering at different points along the course which was a confidence and adrenaline boost for me. and finding my friends at the end, most of whom finished ahead of me, was great as we all congratulated ourselves on finishing a tough race!

overall, a great race, with a very challenging, but scenic course. although i have only run this race once, i have been back several times to cheer on my friends who have run either the full, 1st half, 2nd half, or 5k events. note that this race sells out or is close to selling out most years so sign up soon if you want to participate in next summer’s sf marathon!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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