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7 Steps to Running a Virtual Race

“Disclaimer: I received a free virtual race entry to the San Jose 408K as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

Living in Japan has been pretty great, but one downfall is that there aren’t as many local races as there are back in the states.  That’s why virtual races can often be a good option for those living afar, or maybe for those who don’t want to run with large crowds.  I recently ran the San Jose 408k and I was asked a few times, “How does a virtual race work?”  Well, here are the steps to running your own virtual race!

Step 1: Choose your run – The first thing you will need to do is decided which race you want to run.  I usually look for an event that contributes to a charity that I like and that also has good swag.   I really like the 408k because the benefitting charity for the 7th year in a row is the Pat Tillman Foundation! And sign up early or look for a promo code to save a few bucks! Bibrave is currently offering $10 off with code “Bibrave”! You can still register until September 16th!

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Step 2: Find a friend – You are going to need accountability since you are doing this thing on your own.  Running a race in person provides running support and an adrenaline rush that’s hard to duplicate when running a virtual race.  So it’s good to find a virtual running partner to sign up with you or even better- find a local friend and you guys can run together in person!  I didn’t have a local friend to run the 408k with me, but a couple of other BibRave Pros also participated which kept me accountable during my training and on “race day”.

Step 3: Find a Venue – The great thing about in-person races such as the 408k is that the course is already all marked out for you and usually includes some pretty nice scenery to keep the race interesting.  For instance, the 408k ends at Santana Row (a high-end shopping/dining area) and it’s the only event that finishes there.  So you’ll need to decide on your own (or with that friend from Step 2) where exactly you will be running.  Since the 8k is kind of an odd distance (4.97 miles), it’s probably best to run with a watch so you can measure your distance either before hand or during the run.  My plan was to run my 8k on the track, but I ended up having to hit the treadmill due to rain.

Step 4: Train! – Even though you aren’t running in person and won’t win any timing awards (well technically you’ll place 1st in everything if it’s just yourself) 😉 – You will still need to train so that you can run your best race – because it’s still YOUR race after all.  So give yourself enough time to train, especially if you’re just starting out with running.

Step 5: Race Day!- Once you’re all set with your training, it’s time to prep and run!  The cool thing about virtual races is that you can pick any day and time to run.  Not a morning person?  You can run at night!  Have a busy weekend?  You can run during the week! For the 408k I tried to run on the actual day the race was happening (March 4th), but I ended up running the day after.  Also, unlike a lot of other virtual races, you can still run the 408k as a Remote Runner even though the event has already taken place. So you don’t have to suffer from any FOMO. 🙂  And here’s how I prepped for my 8K!

Step 6: Share your results! – Now it’s time to show off your hard work! Take a pic of your time and post it on your social media channels!  Some events will even have special incentives for virtual races – i.e. all virtual runners email their times to the race director or post them to the Facebook page and fastest times win a prize. The San Jose 408k didn’t offer this type of incentive, but maybe it will in the future!

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Step 7: Collect your swag! Another benefit of running a race remotely is that you don’t have to wait in any long lines or go to any crowded expos to get your swag.  Everything is conveniently mailed to you either before or after the race.  I’m still waiting on my swag, but here is what the SWAG looks like! You can also opt to add on other things such as extra shirts, a tote bag, or a hat.

And that’s it!  Congratulations! You completed your virtual race!  Now you can go celebrate with a post-race brunch (or dinner depending on what time of day you ran). Then rest up for the next one!

So what’s another incentive of running the San Jose 408k as a remote runner? It will qualify you for a bonus medal if you decide to complete the Run the Bay Challenge series and run the Silicon Valley Half! Yay, more SWAG!

Have you run a Virtual Race before?  What did you think?!

~SM

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5 Reasons to Get Excited About the San Jose 408k!

*Disclaimer: I received a free remote runner entry to the San Jose 408k as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

I may have left California, but California has not left me!  So I’m super excited to have the opportunity to run the San Jose 408k as a remote runner!  In my previous blog post, I mentioned how I’ve missed running races so it will be fun to feel like I’m running the 408 even if I am in another country!

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So whether you live in San Jose, Asia, or somewhere in between – you can also get excited about this race and here are 5 reasons why!

5.  The Location! – After your run through beautiful San Jose you will finish at Santana Row, which is an upscale shopping/dining/living development and it’s the ONLY event that finishes here!

4. Special Course Miles! – Running the 408k gives you the opportunity to run both the Memorial Mile and the Mariachi Mile.  The Memorial Mile is a chance for runners to show their respect to local military as well as an opportunity for veterans to cheer on the runners. The Mariachi Mile will feature several mariachi bands playing along the last mile of the course. How fun is that?!

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run408k.com

 

3.  Extra SWAG! – Run the 408k (in person or remotely) along with any of the race distances from the Silicon Valley Half event and you will score some extra BLING!  It will be a great addition to your medal rack!

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2.  Pat Tillman Foundation – This year’s Official Benefitting Charity is the Pat Tillman Foundation.  Fundraising and donations to Pat Tillman Foundation will be invested in military veterans and their spouses through academic scholarships.  This is a great charity and there are even fundraising levels.

1. Remote Runner – And my fave thing about this race?  Well, I think it’s pretty obvious…but I’m excited that I can run this 8k on my own and still score some swag! What does it mean to be a remote runner? It means I can run at home and I will receive a bib, official race shirt, and medal in the mail! No traffic, no crowded expo lines! Super easy and convenient!

And if you aren’t excited yet, use code “BIBRAVE” save $10 on your race entry or remote runner entry! 

And of course, if you aren’t up to running an 8k (4.97 miles) you can always head over to cheer on the runners  (we love spectators!) or be a race volunteer!

This is sure to be a great event for all so be sure to register today before online registration closes! And let me know if you register as a remote runner so we can run “together”. 😉

~SM

4 Ways to Get Involved With the Honolulu Marathon!

“Disclaimer: I’m promoting the Honolulu Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

The Honolulu Marathon is coming up on December 10th,  and I have great news!!  There’s still time to get involved!  Here a few ways for you to get in on the action!

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photo courtesy of honolulumarathon.org
  • RUN!  There are 3 chances to run during the Honolulu Marathon weekend – The Kalakaua Merrie Mile is on December 9th in Waikiki.  Participate in this one mile fun run and then head over for a fun beach party and concert!  All ages welcome!  The Start to Park 10k is on December 10th and has the same start time and location of the Honolulu Marathon.  This is perfect for those who want to get a taste of the marathon course, but aren’t quite ready to run 26.2 miles.  The Honolulu Marathon – Then there’s the main event on December 10th.  It’s the fourth largest marathon in the United States and is commonly referred to as “26.2 miles in Paradise”.  Who doesn’t want to run in PARADISE?! ***Fun Fact: Last year, there were over 33,000 entrants and over 14,000 of them were from Japan!

 

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photo courtesy of honolulumarathon.org

 

  • Expo!  The expo will be held on December 7th, 8th, and 9th at the Hawaii Convention Center and is free and open to anyone!  You can register for any of the running events here at the expo, so it’s not too late to run any of the races! But if you aren’t up to running, then just enjoy roaming the expo and checking out all of the fun vendors!  You may even score some samples and swag!  You can also check out the vendor list and their booth locations here.
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photo courtesy of honolulumarathonexpo.com

  • Witness Greatness!  After everyone has run the Kalakaua Merrie Mile, you can cheer on all of the elite runners!  This is your chance to see Olympians from all over the world in action!  Check out who all will be running in the Elite Field here, including the current marathon world record holder, Dennis Kimetto    Also, be on the lookout for two-time Olympian, Nick Symmonds as he has announced that his final professional race will be this year’s Honolulu Marathon!
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photo courtesy of honolulumarathon.org

  • Tracking!  Even if you can’t make the event, you can still track your friends, family, or favorite racers!  You can follow the live results and watchlist page or you can download the event app!  Create a watchlist of all of the participants you are tracking and then see their progress as they cross each timing mat.

 

What do you think is the most interesting part of the Honolulu Marathon?!  Will you be participating this year?

I’m off to review the next event!

~SM

 

 

Why Being a BibRave Pro Rocks!

“Disclaimer: I received awesome products and race entries to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

I’ve been a BibRave Pro for a little over a year now and I really wanted to share why I love being an ambassador for BibRave. I’ll also share how you can become one too! So here are a few reasons why I’ve decided to continue as a Pro into 2018! IMG_1274

  • Sweet SWAG!  – Let’s go ahead and get the obvious reason out of the way.  BibRave provides some awesome swag for their ambassadors and this year we even received a welcome gift from RunnerBox!
  • Awesome Running Products! – BibRave also offers their Pros opportunities to test out the latest and greatest in running gear and nutrition.  I never would have discovered some of my fave running products if it weren’t for BibRave!
  • Amazing Races! – Do you have your eye on a particular race?  BibRave partners with some awesome race organizations and as a BibRave Pro you’ll have a shot at free race entries to some popular events!  This year, BibRave partnered with the Hot Chocolate 15k and Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon just to name a few!

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  • Rad Running Community! – Once you become a BibRave Pro you’ll be connected with a fun group of other Pros to share all of your running-related questions, advice, and experiences!  You may even get to meet a few of them at some of your races!

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So do you love: Running? The color orange? Reviewing races? Social media? Testing running gear? Blogging about running? Networking with other runners?  Then BibRave is for you!  Apply today!

https://www.bibrave.com/bibravepro

Get Social!

See what all of the BibRave Pros are up to on social media by following the hashtag #Bibchat  – And join the BibRave party every Tuesday night on Twitter at 8pm CST!

Also learn something new each week on the BibRave Podcast!

And be sure to check out the newest BibRave Blog for all things running and racing!

So what are you waiting for!  Apply today and see where BibRave can take you!

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~SM

3 Reasons Why You Should Run the Honolulu Marathon!

I’ve read before that something like less than one percent of the population has actually completed a marathon. You can Google it if you’re a stats person.  Less than one percent though.  Let that sink in for a second.  So either those people are pretty admirable or pretty crazy, it really depends on how you look at it.  I am not part of that group…yet.  I think one day I’d like to run a marathon, but then I flashback to pulling myself over the finish line of a few half marathons and second guess myself.  But, after learning about the Honolulu Marathon I’ve decided that I may need to add this to my bucket list of races!  And here are a few reasons why:

Scenery!  I think this is a pretty obvious one given that it’s Hawaii and all.  The course goes through downtown Honolulu, through Waikiki, and up and around Diamond Head. Also it’s in December, so the weather will be perfect!

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photo courtesy of honolulumarathon.org

Swag!  Swag for this event includes: commemorative shirt, finisher medal, post race festival, malasadas (yum!!), and breathtaking scenery!

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photo courtesy of honolulumarathon.org

And the number 1 reason you will want to run this marathon??  No qualifying times! No entry limits!  Walkers welcome!  That’s right!  This race is for EVERYONE over the age of 7!  First timers, marathon vets, everyone!  Now you might be thinking, “Wow, this race must be super crowded since they accept basically everyone.”  Well, it is.  I asked a two-time finisher of this event and she confirmed that yes, it is crowded.  However, she also added that it’s VERY organized and well worth the experience.  She also added that the malasadas were pretty amazing. 🙂

Have you booked your flight yet?  😉  Well here are some key event details:

Date: December 10th, 2017

Location: Ala Moana Boulevard/Queen St., Honolulu, Hawaii

Start time: 5am – that’s not a typo…but no course limits, remember?

Price: $185-$265 (Military and dependents – $85)

Bonus: Use code “BIBRAVEHNL” to save 20%

Not ready for a marathon just yet?  There is also a 10k and fun run option.

So if you are looking for a RaceCation or a Christmas present to yourself, the Honolulu Marathon is where it’s at!

Didn’t qualify for Boston this year?  Cheer up!  You will qualify for Honolulu! 😉

Hopefully, I will make it to this event one day.  But until then, I’ll just dream about it…sigh…

Have you run the Honolulu Marathon before?  I’d love to hear about your experience!

I’m off to review the next event!

Aloha!

~SM

“Disclaimer: I’m promoting the Honolulu Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

 

Rockin’ & Rollin’ in San Diego

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in San Diego as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”
Hopefully you’ve already read my recap on the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego race expo and 5k!  So here we go with my 4th half marathon adventure!
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Parking: Parking was pretty complicated.  The race website listed which roads would be closed off and suggested parking plans, but it was a little hard to follow.  I had a friend pre-pay for parking in the finish line parking garage only to arrive early and sit in a parking line for over an hour.  Then she ended up missing her pre-paid shuttle because of the delay and had to run 1.5 miles uphill to the start line and almost missing the race altogether.  We ended up finding street parking near North Park around 5:30am and walking two miles to the start line.  Basically, all of the streets around the race were shut down by 5 am so if you didn’t arrive by then, you were walking at least 1.5 miles.  Overall, the parking situation was a total mess and really needs to be re-evaluated.
Race Morning: The half and full both began at 6:15am from the same location.  It was more “June Gloom” weather which meant is was overcast and in the 60s.  There were close to 40 corrals and I was in corral 32.  The waves were pretty well organized and were released about every two minutes.  This meant my wave was released around 7:20am.  We arrived to the race area around 6am so I had plenty of time to prepare for the race.  There were lots of porta potties and crazy long lines, but I waited until about 7am to find one so the wait wasn’t too bad by then.  Gear check was simple – it was organized by last name and divided up among UPS trucks that transported the bags to the finish line.  Pre-race also included a water station, info area, and medical tent.
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Miles 1-5: The first 5 miles were a little hilly, but nothing too crazy.  I watched a woman throw up on the 2nd mile and another woman trip and fall pretty hard around the 3rd mile.  A few runners stopped and helped her up and it looked like she kept going.  Then apparently their bad luck rubbed off on me because I rolled my ankle (the same ankle I had rolled a week before) on the 4th mile.  I’m not sure which hurt worse, my ankle or my pride because now I knew I couldn’t PR.  Luckily my friend was also running with borderline pneumonia so she wasn’t planning to PR either and ran with me the rest of the race.  The spectators and crowd support were fantastic though and they even had a bar set up at the 4.5 mile mark!
At this point in the race we had seen a couple of small bands, lots of cheer squads, and some clever signs.
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I even saw my old pal, Forrest Gump! This time he was bouncing a ping-pong on a paddle! 😉
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The 5th mile was the Wear Blue mile and it was quite emotional.  American flags lined the streets along with names and photos of fallen service members.  I knew a couple of the ladies volunteering and holding the flags so it was nice to see some familiar faces during this emotionally tough stretch.

Miles 6-10: This part of the course ran through more small districts and some residential areas.  There were a couple of more bands, water/Gatorade stations, spectators, and plenty of cheerleaders.  The terrain was a little rough since this is a heavy-traffic area – so there were lots of cracks and holes in the roads, not to mention slanted streets.  These are all horrible things for running on a sprained ankle. 😦   Also, the full marathon course started to split off sometime around here so things got a little less crowded.

And I always appreciate a good reference to Da’ Dip 😉

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I even got a fun pic with this guy! 🙂

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Miles 11-13: Despite my injury, I think these miles were the most entertaining. There was a stretch of the course where there weren’t many spectators, but then there were fun drums and more fun people!  They even had signs with inspirational quotes from the participants lining a long stretch of the course.

 

Then came the disco tunnel!  Complete with a DJ!  I was sad that the marathoners didn’t get to experience this part of the course.

Then we started making our way through more of downtown and towards the Waterfront Park.

Finish Line: Yay!  I made it! Injured ankle and all! But the finish line was kind of a mess.  They handed us our medals…followed by water, Gatorade, chocolate milk, and various snacks.  Notice anything missing from that list?  Bags…there were no bags.  On top of having to carry 20 items, we had to walk a block down a hill, through an intersection to the finish line festival.

Not to mention, it was extremely congested.  It was crowded and confusing and gave me a bit of anxiety.  We finally made it down to the festival near Waterfront Park where we had some more room to breathe.  The festival included a medical tent, photo ops, a beer garden, live band, and medal area.  The medal area is where you could pick up any of the extra bling you may have earned.  Since I completed the 5k the prior day, I picked up my Remix Challenge medal!  All I had to do was show my wristband that I received at the expo and it was all mine!  There was also a marathon jacket table for all of the awesome marathon finishers!

I didn’t stay very long for the concert fun because we were pretty tired and my ankle was hurting. We were also a little chilly and were ready to get warm.  So we caught a Lyft back to the car (super easy and quick) and headed home!

So what was the SWAG?!

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Most of it is pretty much the same stuff I received in my 5k swag bag.  The tech shirt is slightly different and my bib was personalized which was nice.  We also got extra snacks at the finish line.  (not pictured: Gatorade, chocolate milk, and banana)  I also didn’t make it to the beer garden this time, but it was Michelob Ultra again and I saw a lot of people in there so I’m sure it was great!  My gear bag also came apart right before the race, so I was a little disappointed in the quality.

You even get cute little digital badges for reaching certain goals!

And of course the sweet medals!  The half marathon and remix medals spin!  Woo hoo!

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Overall thoughts: Things I really liked about Rock ‘n’ Roll: course support, spectators, hydration stations, medical tents along the course and at the finish line, race swag and medals, quick race photos at a decent price, race expo, beer garden, disco tunnel, photo ops, some of the bands including Naruwan Taiko, Forrest Gump, the Wear Blue mile, and running with @thehungryrunner_.

Things that could be improved: Parking, more upbeat bands – the bands were all great, but it would have been nice to hear more energetic music rather than blues types songs during certain points of the run; better quality gear bags – they were essentially grocery bags with strings; offer bags at the finish line; also offer mylar blankets – even though it’s June it was pretty chilly; a lower participant cap – I really think the event was slightly overcrowded and felt like the experience would have been better if it hadn’t been so congested.  Also, San Diego is such a beautiful city…I think the course route could be slightly altered to include some more scenic spots.

Another interesting fact: This was the first half that I ran without headphones!  I wanted to experience the bands and full essence of the race so I skipped personal music this time.  In doing this, I heard a lot of other people’s music in passing and guess what song I heard the most??  “CALL ME MAYBE”!! I actually forgot about this song so I was surprised to learn that this was a lot of people’s power jam.

Also, my D-tag malfunctioned and my time wasn’t recorded.  I’m not sure if it was a glitch or an error on my part.  Regardless, my time was unfavorable due to my injured ankle so it’s probably better that my finish time isn’t etched into the internet. 😉

Would I run this again?  I’m not sure if I would run the San Diego event again, although that could be my injured ankle talking.  However, I would LOVE to run Rock ‘n’ Roll in other cities!  I think it would be amazing to experience this event all around the world and rack up extra medals!  But I’m happy to say that I Rocked and Rolled (literally) in America’s Finest City. 🙂

What do you think about the Rock ‘n’ Roll series?  Which city is your favorite?!

Well I’m off to add Da’ Dip to my playlist. 😉

~SM

 

A Rockin’ 5k!

I’m still recovering from this weekend’s  Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series  in San Diego, but I am so excited to share my experience from all of the festivities!  The Expo itself was quite the party (see previous post) and that really should have given me an idea as to what was in store for the remainder of the weekend.  I decided to participate in the Remix Challenge – this means you get an extra dope medal if you run the 5k on Saturday and the Half or Full on Sunday.  So here are the deets on the 5k!

Parking: The event was held near Balboa Park, which is a pretty large area – so the website listed which roads would be closed and where a free parking area was located. We figured everyone would park in the advertised free lot so we decided to park near the San Diego Zoo and walk about a mile through Balboa Park to the starting line.  It was actually a nice and relaxing walk plus it was nice to walk through the park before it opened and filled up with tourists.

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Course: The 5k started at 7am and had about 6 or 7 corrals and they were released about every minute or so.  We took our time walking up to the event so we were kind of towards the back.  The announcer was super enthusiastic and getting everyone pumped.  The weather was typical “June Gloom” weather for San Diego.  Cloudy and chilly with a bit of a dampness in the air.  Terrible for hair, but great for running! 😉

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The course was pretty smooth with a couple of rolling hills – honestly the hills felt like speed bumps compared to the La Jolla Half Marathon so they really weren’t that bad.  It felt like a nice relaxing run around the outside of Balboa Park!  The energy was great, lots of fun people and good vibes.  There was even someone dressed like Forrest Gump and juggling footballs.  Everyone kept yelling “Run, Forrest, Run!” as they ran by him.  It was a mix of funny and annoying.  There was also a couple dressed up like a king and a queen.  Their costumes were pretty amazing, I’m not sure how they ran in them.  There were a few groups of spectators along the course and also a water station.

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Finish Line: We were met at the finish line with water, bananas, Cheez-Its??? Why?!, and our race medals!  Then we headed to the beer garden.  Usually at beer gardens, they check your I.D., but the guy at this one checked our timing chips attached to our shoes which had our ages on them.  That was a clever idea and kept the line moving much quicker than waiting for people to pull out their I.D.’s.  I also liked that they were giving out Michelob Ultra rather than craft beer.  I’m probably the only person in San Diego that feels this way, but I just never hopped on the craft beer wagon.  There weren’t really any vendors at the post-race festivities, but there was a medic tent and a live band.  The band was pretty hype….they sang “Push It” by Salt-N-Pepa with heart and passion.  And I appreciated every minute of it. 🙂

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So what was the SWAG?!

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Really the stuff at the top of the photo was from the Expo.  The only they gave out at the 5k was the Cheez-Its.  Never in my years of running have I ever finished a race and thought, “Wow, I wish I had some Cheez-Its.”  But whatevs, someone voted on this and that’s what we got.  The shirt is a pretty cute 20th Anniversary tech shirt and the goodies from the expo were decent.  Then, of course the medal!

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The 5k medal is pretty nice!  It’s a little smaller than the Half/Full marathons and doesn’t spin like they do, but I like the sunglasses with the little scene in them.

Also, for some reason my timing chip didn’t register correctly.  I’m not sure if I had it fastened incorrectly or there was a glitch.  I did email them and they are looking into fixing my time.

Overall, I really enjoyed this race!  I thought it was fun and I liked the course and the medal.  It is a bit pricey for a 5k – I paid around $50, but if you register early you can get a better deal.  I was a little disappointed that they didn’t do more to commemorate the 20th Anniversary, but overall I thought it was a well-organized race.  I definitely would recommend signing up early to save money and to carpool the day of the race to make parking easier.  Also give yourself extra time in the morning in case you have to walk a bit to the start line.  I loved the medal and the beer and I would totally do this event again!

Check back later this week for my review of the half marathon! 😉

~SM

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. I paid for my own entry into the Rock ‘n’ Roll 5k. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

 

 

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