My Profile

@woodshc

Berkeley, CA Raving since 2016 active 6 months, 1 week ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):

    Transport

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

    my dogs won’t tire themselves out

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 (6)

Race Distance Location Date Result
200 Mile Relay Chattanooga, TN Mar 23, 2018 27:17:37
Marathon Weott, CA May 7, 2017 4:27:10
Half Marathon Santa Rosa, CA Aug 28, 2016 1:56:13
10 Miler San Francisco, CA Apr 17, 2016 1:34:00
10K San Pablo, CA Nov 26, 2015 54:00
5K San Pablo, CA Nov 24, 2016 24:44

Future Races (4)

Race Distance Location Date Paid
Half Marathon Carnation, WA TBD
10K San Rafael, CA TBD
10K Orinda, CA TBD
1st Half Marathon San Francisco, CA TBD

Past Races (14)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
200 Mile Relay Chattanooga, TN Mar 23, 2018 27:17:37
Marathon Weott, CA May 7, 2017 4:27:10
5K San Pablo, CA Nov 24, 2016 24:44
Half Marathon Berkeley, CA Nov 20, 2016
Half Marathon Santa Rosa, CA Aug 28, 2016 1:56:13
5K Castro Valley, CA Jul 23, 2016 25:15
5K Saratoga, CA Jun 4, 2016 32:49
Half Marathon El Sobrante, CA May 21, 2016 2:26:01
10 Miler San Francisco, CA Apr 17, 2016 1:34:00
Half Marathon Richmond, CA Feb 27, 2016 2:03:12
10K Orinda, CA Jan 16, 2016 55:00
10K Castro Valley, CA Dec 27, 2015 1:03:00
10K San Pablo, CA Nov 26, 2015 54:00
10K San Pablo, CA Nov 27, 2014 54:00

My Raves

Ragnar Road Tennessee

Ragnar Road Tennessee

Summary: This was my first Ragnar, and fortunately I was with a team that had a fair number of Ragnar alumni who did a great job preparing me and the … MORE

Summary:
This was my first Ragnar, and fortunately I was with a team that had a fair number of Ragnar alumni who did a great job preparing me and the team for the race. Overall, I enjoyed it, and would 100% do another one (or two…or three). That being said, the fact that I had such a good time was down to my team and the killer ladies I ran with more than the Ragnar organization.

Legs/Course:
To start, the race did a good job breaking up the course into varied legs so that stronger runners could do more hills and longer legs, while leaving opportunities for the less experienced runners to participate in a distance they were comfy with. I think the range was between 10 and 23ish miles per person. There were a few changes pre- and mid-race that added or subtracted miles on a couple legs, but nothing unmanageable.

As for the course itself, it was pretty rolling – even the awful hills weren’t as bad as they could have been. I think the highest elevation gain was 1200 ft, but it was over the course of 6ish miles. It was also gorgeous – a lot of woods and rivers to run beside.

Exchanges:
The exchanges were well spaced, and pretty clearly laid out for the transitions between runners. The main ones (where you would switch from van 1 to van 2 or vice versa) had the most amenities, including at one point, a place to sleep & take a hot shower (best thing ever!) and another had a miniature horse (shockingly effective for boosting spirits after 24+ hours of running & being awake). The main ones also usually had somewhere to grab some food which was really nice. Nearly all the other exchanges were staffed by the best, most friendly volunteers, and had ample, super clean port-a-potties. That’s right. A long distance race with clean toilets. Amazing.

The Rest:
At one point in the race (1am) our team was delayed at of the chutes because the next exchange wasn’t yet ready. This was a real bummer, especially since there were exchanges further away that opened earlier, but you couldn’t get to them since the previous one wasn’t open yet. Yes, we were flying (nobody did a good job estimating their average 10k pace) but it still seems like a massive oversight on the organizers part, and really took the wind out of the runner on that leg.

For a few of the legs there was totally inadequate signage – one of our girls ran about 4 miles without a single sign in her direction, while another had to run against those slower than her, and had to let each and every one of them know that they were going the correct direction, she was just on a different leg. She was not happy about having to shout at people for 4 miles. Understandable.

I’d also add that the post race was pretty shoddy – the fact that you get one pizza for 6+ people, and no free beer is ridiculous considering the cost. And the shirts, while lovely soft cotton, were pretty basic.

Lastly, the race does not seem to encourage camaraderie between teams because of the wonky timing. It would have been nice to get to know other people who are crazy enough to do this race. Instead, you start out with people in your pace group, but as you pass other teams, there’s really no consistency around who you’re running with. There was also a lot less van tagging than I’d heard there was previously…not that I didn’t do my part 🙂

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
2
SCENERY
5
SWAG
2
My Media

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Avenue of the Giants Marathon & Half Marathon

Avenue of the Giants Marathon & Half Marathon

I'd heard that this was one of the most beautiful races in California, so it seemed like the perfect course for a first marathon. The course itself was flat and … MORE

I’d heard that this was one of the most beautiful races in California, so it seemed like the perfect course for a first marathon. The course itself was flat and well-marked, so there was no real risk of missing a turn or overdoing it on a hill.

While I’m normally not nuts about out-and-back courses, it didn’t bother me at all for this race. It was scenic (and shady!) enough to provide visual interest in both directions, while at the same time looking similar enough along the course that you didn’t dread any specific section- it all mostly looked the same! Which isn’t a bad thing when it’s all redwood trees and rivers. *A note on the trees – I’d been warned that my GPS might not function well because of them, but I didn’t experience that at all. I used my Garmin Forerunner 235 the entire way, and while it didn’t exactly line up to the mile markers (does that ever happen?) I ended the race at 26.44 which seemed exactly right when compared to each mile marker I passed.

There were three aid stations along each leg, which was more than sufficient considering you hit each of them twice. They had only water and gatorade, which was fine by me since I carry my own nutrition along the way. There were a couple people giving out gels to the marathoners at the half-way point. The volunteers were super encouraging and were pretty necessary for cheerleading since it’s otherwise a pretty isolated run. Because of the course layout, you only pass the spectators around the finish line which you pass at mile 13.

I really liked that the first leg was marathon runners only, and appreciated that they put the more difficult road terrain at the front when runners are fresh enough to watch their steps. At times it felt more like a technical run than road, but I found that enjoyable since I mostly trail run anyway 🙂 The second half was equally well chosen – with the smooth asphalt and other runners still on the course, it was almost like running a different race. And I loved how encouraging everyone was to each other! It really made a difference after mile 20!

Swag was good: cotton t-shirt (would definitely have preferred technical fabric), simple duffle, aluminum cup, and a unique medal. You could pay for a technical long sleeve shirt (which I did) and additional gear at tables during the expo and post race. Post race snacks were okay, not awesome. Water, orange slices, and I saw a few pastries. Apparently they had watermelon, but it was gone by the time I got in 🙁 And there was beer, but I think you only got one if you placed, which I thought was ridiculous. At least sell the beer to the rest of us!

Overall a fun race, and a relatively painless experience for a first timer. I liked that it was shady and cool the entire way, and that the course was easy to follow and pace appropriately. It was also an easy staging area to navigate- parking was near, there were a lot of bathrooms, and tents were clearly marked. If you’re looking for a low-key but enjoyable race, I’d say this one is perfect!

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Nitro Turkey Thanksgiving Run 10K, 5K & Little Turkeys Race

Nitro Turkey Thanksgiving Run 10K, 5K & Little Turkeys Race

Brazen, per usual, put on a fantastic race Thanksgiving morning! Even though I arrived only 15 minutes before the race began, there was no sense of needing to rush to … MORE

Brazen, per usual, put on a fantastic race Thanksgiving morning! Even though I arrived only 15 minutes before the race began, there was no sense of needing to rush to grab my bib, and I was able to grab a fairly good spot at the starting line. The set up was well-organized, there was a sufficient number of bathrooms, and pre-race emails were helpful and clear.

The start of the race seemed a little delayed, which was fine since everyone was just there to have fun. Based on the responses to the question “who’s run this before?” it seems like this is a popular repeat race for people (myself included!) If I’m not mistaken, this race sells out, so it’s a good idea to register early if you can. Plus it’s less $.

I especially appreciated that this year there were explicit instructions in the pre-race email to keep children towards the back of the starting line. There were far fewer young’uns at the front than in previous years, making getting on the trail a lot safer and easier. That being said, there were some pretty fast kids!

Brazen is also apparently really great about being flexible with those of us who don’t pay attention to which race we register for. I thought I’d signed up for the 5K, so that’s what I ran. When it turns out I’d registered for the 10, they were super chill about changing my status and adjusting my place accordingly. Thanks guys!

Finally- the medals this year were awesome! They’re always good, but they went a step further this time with Thanksgiving-themed medals for age group awards. Instead of the standard 1st, 2nd, and 3rd that they give out at every event, the turkey trot ones were in the shape of dinner plates. Adorable!

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Santa Rosa Marathon

Santa Rosa Marathon

I'll just start by saying I would totally run this race again, and would particularly recommend it as a first half. Production was generally smooth and well planned out, from … MORE

I’ll just start by saying I would totally run this race again, and would particularly recommend it as a first half. Production was generally smooth and well planned out, from the bustling expo to the starting corrals. The scenery was top-notch too; most of the race was along a greenway that passed vineyards and cow and horse pastures.

There were plenty of aid stations and encouraging volunteers, the course was relatively wide (except for a stretch into and out of town which was a little congested at the beginning) and the final stretch was well set up to allow spectators to cheer runners on through the final half mile. I’m also a huge fan of the swag – a bottle of wine and technical half-zip, plus a rather substantial finishing medal.

A final note on the expo: emails sent out the week prior emphasized parking congestion at the expo and recommended taking shuttles which left from various hotels. I’m not sure if it’s just the time I was there on Saturday, but there was a ton of parking at the expo. Considering it took me all of 10 minutes to grab my packet (though I could have lingered at the many food trucks, vendor booths, and wine tasting) I would have been a little annoyed at having to wait for a shuttle that came every 45 minutes. But then again, maybe there were times on Saturday there wasn’t any parking and I just lucked out.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Bad Bass Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Bad Bass Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Having run the 10k version of this course in December, I opted for the shorter, easier 5k this time to avoid summer heat. It was a fun, fast run over … MORE

Having run the 10k version of this course in December, I opted for the shorter, easier 5k this time to avoid summer heat. It was a fun, fast run over a pleasantly rolling course. Lots of kids at the starting line which was concerning, but the pack spread out pretty quickly, so it ended up being okay – no one got run over 🙂

The usual excellent swag and production by Brazen, and a generally great race!

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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Trailquake Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Trailquake Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

This was a pretty standard Brazen race, in terms of production, swag, scenery, etc. It was also par for the course with regard to course difficulty. Slow and steady is … MORE

This was a pretty standard Brazen race, in terms of production, swag, scenery, etc. It was also par for the course with regard to course difficulty. Slow and steady is pretty much the only way to get through the climbs, since you need to save your legs for the flat/downhill.

I would venture to say it was maybe smaller than their usual events with regard to attendance, though that may just be because the 5Ks are less popular, and I just didn’t know.

While the race was fun as ever, it was not for the faint of heart- I love that they warned people at the starting line that they may regret signing up for a trail run. Though said in jest, it was probably too true for some people. The race started with a pretty mean climb, which I’m guessing was a surprise for quite a few participants. However, Brazen being the thoughtful producers that they are, did put an aid station at the top, which was a total life/sanity saver. The volunteers were super encouraging, and it made the sprint back down the hill that much more doable.

On a final note, it was a great race for people who want to explore a little more of the bay area. Saratoga isn’t a place that tops my list of towns to see on a weekend, but it was fun to visit since I was racing in the town anyway!

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Wildcat Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Wildcat Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

I run a part of this trail all the time (the flat part), so I knew going in that it was going to be tough, but the reviews all said … MORE

I run a part of this trail all the time (the flat part), so I knew going in that it was going to be tough, but the reviews all said that it was one of the best in the Brazen series. That being said, I was unprepared for how much hiking I’d be doing! Luckily I was in good company as many of the other runners were doing the same. As a side note, I’d recommend a hydration pack for this one, even if you’re unaccustomed to carrying one- you’ll be grateful for it by mile 4!

Overall, the race was one of the most beautiful in the bay (with plenty of opportunities to enjoy the view as you will be pausing to catch your breath!) Brazen puts on an awesome race, and this one was particularly good – the aid stations were fantastic and even had watermelon, which turns out is the best aid-station food I can think of.

For first timers, I’d advise reading and adhering to Brazen’s recommendations on handling the hills- walk the steep sections to save your legs for the flat/downhill bits. There were a few times I got passed by people running uphill, but they usually couldn’t then hold it together for the easier sections. Unless you’re a hill runner, you rarely make up in time what you lose in energy by running those steeper sections.

Like those before me, I’d recommend this race to other first timers! Just pace yourself, have realistic expectations, and enjoy the park. Oh, and one other thing- May tends to be super hot, but for some reason this weekend for the past few years has been blissfully cool. I’m not sure I would run this in warm weather since it’s a pretty exposed race 🙂

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Presidio 10

Presidio 10

The website for the race claims it's one of the most beautiful races around, and they aren't lying. The whole course is gorgeous, from running through the forested Presidio, down … MORE

The website for the race claims it’s one of the most beautiful races around, and they aren’t lying. The whole course is gorgeous, from running through the forested Presidio, down to the Golden Gate, and finishing up along the bay.

I was a little nervous for the hills (the Presidio’s reputation precedes it) but there actually weren’t any terrible climbs. It was a surprisingly gentle course, with lots of aid stations, cheering spectators, and clear directions. The only fly in the ointment was that a lot of runners seem to forget to pull to the right as they run along the bridge, making it tough to pass at times.

Not only was the race itself fantastic, but the expo at the end was equally fun. There were bloody mary’s, beer, hot breakfast, and tons of swag from reputable vendors (not a dry rice cake to be found!) Additionally, the race was super well organized- lines for bib pick up and sweat check were super short (probably because everyone was standing in the booze lines) and the band was a fun addition.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

4 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Victory Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Victory Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

I'm so glad I chose the Victory Half as my first half marathon! Put on by Brazen, it was well organized, beautiful, and the medal is a fun addition to … MORE

I’m so glad I chose the Victory Half as my first half marathon! Put on by Brazen, it was well organized, beautiful, and the medal is a fun addition to the collection.

The starting line was perfectly organized because of my new favorite racing accessory…pacers! There was very little jostling at the start for positions because people basically knew what times they were aiming for and lined up accordingly. I hung out around the 9:55 pacers for the first 4 miles. The women from Tri Valley Running Club were encouraging and considerate, making sure runners knew to pull to the side for oncoming bikes and other pedestrians. They also were very clear about what the pace was, and their pacing plan for the entire race. They even pointed out where the bathrooms were!

The course itself was gorgeous, with sweeping views of SF, the Berkeley Hills, and the Bay more generally. It was a lovely day, so I’m glad the race started early(ish) since it was pretty warm by 9am. The course was paved (or boardwalk) the entire way, though there were a couple stretches where you could choose to run on dirt/gravel to the side of the path. My favorite part was the Albany Bulb mini loop which was trail running and a little higher up for better views.

The post-race was also well organized, no surprise since it’s Brazen! There was chocolate milk, naked juice, plus the usual, excellent food spread. As for the race times postings, this was the first race I’d been to where they were spread out enough that there weren’t hoards of people crowding the board, making it possible to check out your performance at your leisure.

As a final bonus, the Mountain Hardware employee store was opened to those who showed their bib on Sat/Sun. They have awesome stuff for crazy low prices- I just wish I knew beforehand so that I would have brought more cash! But an awesome perk nonetheless 🙂

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

The Dam Run 5K & 10K

The Dam Run 5K & 10K

I signed up for this race at the last minute, and am really glad I did. First, the entry fee wasn't too bad, especially for someone registering the week before. … MORE

I signed up for this race at the last minute, and am really glad I did. First, the entry fee wasn’t too bad, especially for someone registering the week before. Second, it was a pretty wet January, so turnout was pretty dismal which means I placed with a time that would otherwise have been unimpressive. It’s all relative. Also, just a shout-out here to the volunteers who had to stand in the drizzle for hours and somehow still managed to be super encouraging and positive!

The race itself was clearly marked, with the first mile-ish on paved road, and the rest being trail. I almost exclusively trail run, and it was an obvious advantage with the trails being slick and difficult to navigate in places. Narrower parts made it tough to pass, but it wasn’t a huge problem with so few people! Other than that there was one or two steeper sections, but mostly it was a rolling course.

Race organization was sufficient for the size of the event. I think with more people it would have been a little messier. It was tough to find some of the necessary tents- I had to ask someone where I could get a water 🙂 But everyone was super friendly, and while the swag wasn’t exceptional, I also didn’t pay a ton in entry fees. Which now that I think about it, I kind of prefer it that way.

Would definitely do it again!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
4
SWAG
2

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Brazen New Year’s Eve Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Brazen New Year’s Eve Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

We had a spectacularly cold December/January, and that's mostly what I remember- there was ice on the grass! However, the race was once again well organized, though the location (Lake … MORE

We had a spectacularly cold December/January, and that’s mostly what I remember- there was ice on the grass! However, the race was once again well organized, though the location (Lake Chabot) means that parking can be a bit of a chore.

I enjoyed the two other Brazen races I participated in, and while I enjoyed this one too, there was a huuuuge difference with this one. I quote, “courses include rolling hills that are mostly runnable”. This is patently untrue except for a) the 5K and b) Ultrarunners. Once the course leaves the pavement, it’s all hills, all the time. I tried powering up the first three, before realizing I had another mile+ of crazy-steep hills. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE was walking that s***. (Okay, there were a few gentlemen of superhuman ability who may have managed it). Luckily we’d had a break from the rain, so at least the hills (mountains?) were navigable. Considering Brazen generally doesn’t cancel for rain, I don’t know that the race would have been doable in wet and slippery conditions. It was pretty hairy going downhill as it was!

Other than that though, the race was fun (my attitude is likely more favorable since I managed to place) but the course was tough enough that any inclination that I had to do the New Year’s Day race was crushed by the end (New Year’s Day race is the same course.) Swag was excellent as always, and the race instructions, both by email and day-of, were clear and sufficient. My final addition would be that any guidance for people on where to line up at the starting line would be greatly appreciated. Once again, huge bottleneck at the start – there were walkers and joggers at the front of the line!

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Nitro Turkey Thanksgiving Run 10K, 5K & Little Turkeys Race

Nitro Turkey Thanksgiving Run 10K, 5K & Little Turkeys Race

This was my second race with Brazen, and I had such a good time the first year (2014) that I decided to register again. Unfortunately, I was pretty late to … MORE

This was my second race with Brazen, and I had such a good time the first year (2014) that I decided to register again. Unfortunately, I was pretty late to the party, but luckily there were still registrations available with an added $40 donation. It goes to a good cause, so I couldn’t really complain. On the other hand, you should know that the Turkey Trot fills up pretty quickly!

The course was the same as the previous year- relatively flat, really scenic (eucalyptus trees, open fields, ocean!) and fast. What’s nice about this race is that because of the way it loops around, there’s plenty of time for spectators to find a place to cheer on their friends and family after seeing them off at the starting line. Plus, people can bring their pups!

I still haven’t taken advantage of the spread at the end of the race (I hate long queues!) but it looked pretty stellar. Additionally, the medals and shirts are always well designed. I especially like being able to upgrade to a technical shirt since cotton ones just end up going in the donation bag.

I’ll definitely be returning in 2016!

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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Nitro Turkey Thanksgiving Run 10K, 5K & Little Turkeys Race

Nitro Turkey Thanksgiving Run 10K, 5K & Little Turkeys Race

This was my first running-only event, and I was pretty happy with how it went. Instructions were super clear, both in the emails preceding the event, and during the event … MORE

This was my first running-only event, and I was pretty happy with how it went. Instructions were super clear, both in the emails preceding the event, and during the event itself. The course was well marked, and the stations were easy to navigate. I didn’t stick around for the awards (too bad- I would have got one!) but then again, it was Thanksgiving and I had pies to bake!

The only area I saw for improvement would be to clarify how starting lines should be organized for participants. There were a lot of younger runners (think tweens) and first-timers in the front, which caused a pretty significant backup off the starting line.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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