Scoring sweet swag, reviewing awesome products and living the rad mom life.

Posts tagged ‘race swag’

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!”

 

 

Hot Chocolate 15k San Diego Review (so close yet so far)

Disclaimer: I received a free race entry to the Hot Chocolate 15k – 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! All opinions are my own.
If you’ve been following my blog and/or social media for the last few months, you know how excited I’ve been to run the Hot Chocolate 15k! However, weather and I guess Delta airlines (more on that later) had different plans for me as I didn’t actually make it to the race. Womp, womp. 😦 😦 😦
So this review is going to be a little different than the others…
I had been training for this run for a while now since I heard the course was a little more challenging than others.  Then about a month before the race I found out I needed to go back home to Mississippi to visit family.  Since I only booked a month out, you can imagine what the airline fees were like.  The only return date/time that wasn’t outrageous was of course March 25th at 9pm (the night before the race.)  So I thought, “No big deal…I’ll just be a little tired but I’ll be fine as long as my flight isn’t delayed.” As. long. as my. flight. isn’t. delayed…
Building up to the race I tried to add more challenging elevations to my routine to prepare for the infamous hills that I had heard so much about.  So I did some extra hiking in addition to some longer runs.
And since I knew that I would be going to a flat area for a week, I decided to run the Stairs of Death (112 stairs X 10) the day before I flew out.  This turned out to be a terrible idea because I forgot my compression calf sleeves and the elevation/sitting on the plane turned my legs to Jell-O the next day.  Anyway, lesson learned.
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Stairs of Death

 I was also able to get in a short shakeout run while in Mississippi but then I decided to rest my legs until race day.
The Hot Chocolate Expo was the Friday and Saturday before the race and they do not offer race day packet pick-up.  I was pretty bummed that I was going to miss the Expo because I knew there would be lots of photo and swag opps…but luckily I had a friend who picked up my bib and extras for me.  Hot Chocolate is pretty accommodating about having someone else pick up your stuff for you in the event you are unable to attend the expo.  All they need is a copy of your ID (digital or printed) and they’re good to go!
From what I heard, the expo is fun…but a little crowded and parking is a pain and costs $5-$10 because it’s downtown and parking downtown can be stressful.
When I saw a picture of my bib I got even more excited!  I was only a couple of days away from rolling in the chocolate!
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I even picked out my race day outfit before I went out of town!
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And then I looked over the race course to get an idea of what to expect on race day.
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Then on Saturday I headed to the airport to catch my flight back to San Diego!  I was supposed to fly out of Mississippi at 4pm but a storm came rolling through around 3pm and the flight got delayed until 5:30pm.  This meant that I was going to miss my connecting flight in Atlanta.  Since there were no other flights headed to San Diego, the only option they had for me was to fly out the next morning at 6am.  My Hot Chocolate dreams were crushed. 😦
I still wanted to gain a sense of what the race was like so I interviewed a few of my fellow Stroller Warriors to find out their thoughts!
Rochelle:  “I thought this race was very well organized from corrals to potty placement and amount of potties (weird but so important to me) to chocolate pick up and the fact they had bags to place over your mug to take it home! I thought that the swag was great! Nice jacket, medal, visor (given with code), and the mug of goodies at the end of the race. Love that pictures are free. Oh and whoever they got to run the water stations were AMAZING! They were so loud and enthusiastic handing out water and Nuun while cheering us on. I could hear them well before I could see them and that gave me an extra push to get to them for my hydration.
Not sure if there is anything I would say I disliked yes those hills were insane BUT that has given me such a sense of accomplishment.”
Christina: “I loved everything we got. Jacket, medal, chocolate!! I disliked the hills.  I would definitely do it again, just not prego.”
Laura: “I personally loved them [the hills]. It made the finish more rewarding. Yes the hill after hill after hill was challenging, but it was worth it. Especially the bling, jacket & visor. I don’t think there was anything I disliked about it, it was very well put together and organized. The volunteers were great, the aid stations were always stocked. The free pictures were great too! I don’t think I would do it again only because I usually just try to do races one time but it should definitely be on everyone’s bucket list!”
Heather: “I loved that they handed out chocolate during the race 😂 I wasn’t running for time so I had fun with it and carried the chocolate with me to snack on as I ran! I disliked the traffic and parking for packet pick up and the race itself. I know there aren’t a lot of options since it’s downtown, but I’m glad I gave myself an extra hour before hand. I would totally do it again because I love the jacket and the chocolate.”
Nell: “I loved the hills. I dislike the pavement.  Will not do it again…off to bigger races to chase.  I loved the medal and jacket.”
Well it sounds like everyone enjoyed the race for the most part and would recommend that others run it at least once.  Another thing that was kind of a bummer was that they changed the race date a couple of months before the actual race.  The original race date was March 18th, but moving it to the 26th meant that it was the same day of another big race in San Diego.  I think there could have been more participants had there not been a date change.
So what was the SWAG??

A cinch bag and a sweet jacket!  Everyone raves about the Hot Chocolate jackets and I know that is a big incentive for some to register (it was one of my motives).  They are also pretty cool about switching out sizes at the expo if needed.  They are a good quality and I really love that it’s a full zip instead of a pullover!  They also offer free race photos which I think is fantastic swag!

And of course, the medal!

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Ahh..that beautiful medal that was so close yet so far! Well the good news is that Hot Chocolate races are happening all over the country so I’m sure I’ll have the chance to #RunforChocolate in the future!

If you’re interesting in running next year’s Hot Chocolate 15k San Diego on 3/18/18, register here.

And you can vote on next year’s Swag!

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Hurry, you only have until April 5th to cast your vote!  Vote here!

Did you run this year’s Hot Chocolate 15k/5k?  What did you think?  Share your review on Bibrave.com to help out fellow runners!

See you at the next event!

~SM

6 Reasons Why The Hot Chocolate 15k Will Give You FOMO

**Disclaimer: I received a free race entry to the Hot Chocolate 15k in exchange for an honest review as part of being a Bibrave Pro. Learn more about becoming a Bibrave Pro, and check out Bibrave.com to review, find and write race reviews!

Next month, I will be running the Hot Chocolate 15k and I could not be more stoked!  I’ve been wanting to participate in this event for a while so I knew I could not miss out again this year.  In case you’ve never heard of this event, you basically run and consume chocolate for 9.3 miles…and then take a chocolate shower at the finish line.  Okay, maybe the last part isn’t true…but I assure you that there will be multiple opportunities to fill up on all things chocolate.  So here are six reasons why I think YOU should also attend a chocolate-filled running party!

  • The Amazing Cities! – The Hot Chocolate race travels to over 20 major cities with amazing views.  Some of these include: Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Orlando, and of course…San Diego!  There’s bound to be an event near you so there is no excuse for you to miss out!  Check out the full list of cities here.

 

  • Charities! – Participating in the Hot Chocolate Race Series means you get to contribute to a local charity.  One of the charities benefitting from this race is the Ronald McDonald House.  These facilities provide a comforting and encouraging place for families to eat, sleep, shower, etc. while their children receive treatment and care for difficult medical issues.  They even offer an onsite school for siblings of the hospitalized children.  And if you really wanna make a difference in your community, you can fundraise and score a free race entry!  It’s a win-win for all!

 

  • Training Plan! – Maybe this is your first 15k.  Maybe you’re coming off of a running hiatus.  Maybe you’re looking to set a new PR (personal record).  Either way, you will need some time to train.  Training for a race can seem overwhelming.  When do I run intervals?  When should I complete a long run?  When should I cross-train?  When should I rest?  Well the Hot Chocolate run takes out all of the guess work and provides you with a weekly training plan that goes straight to your inbox!  In addition, you will receive tips on hydration and recovery and advice on running gear!  You can also calculate your pace with the McMillan Running Calculator so you can customize your plan.

Here’s a little peek at how my training is going starting with a sample of my weekly training plan! 😉

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  • Chocolate! – This seems like a pretty obvious reason, but I don’t think you realize the amount of chocolate that will be present at this event!  You will literally be taken to a wonderland of chocolate!  There will be chocolate opps at the Expo as well as tons of photo opps with Chocolate mascots!  There will be sweet stations at various stops throughout the 15k! You will receive tons of chocolate goodies at the finish line followed by an all out chocolate party!  Here’s some more info on the chocolate goodies!

 

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Diagram courtesy of hotchocolate15k.com

 

And just in case you’re wondering how I’m training for the chocolate portion of the event…  😉

I gotta make sure I’m prepared, right?  Ya know… “nothing new on race day!” 🙂

  • SWAG!!!!!!!! – Okay this is where you will really want to pay attention. There will be SWAG GA-LORE at this run!  You will be greeted at the finish line with a large mug full of marshmallows, bananas, pretzels, and duh…chocolate! (see above diagram) You will also receive FREE race photos! Then there’s the medal…chocolate gold!

 

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photo from hotchocolate15k.com

You will also get a high quality finisher’s jacket!  Not many races offer this type of thing…so even if chocolate isn’t your jam, this fitted jacket alone should motivate you to register for the nearest run!  There’s even a spot at the Expo where you can switch your size to guarantee the best fit.

 

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photo from hotchocolate15k.com

  • BONUS SWAG!!!! – And the last reason you won’t want to miss the Hot Chocolate 15k is that you can receive bonus swag!  Use code “SDBRHC” for the San Diego race (check out my race discount page for more codes for other cities) to receive a sweet visor!

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And just in case you aren’t ready to commit to a 15k just yet, have no fear!  There’s also a 5k option, but less swag!  Or become a volunteer and score a little swag along with all of the chocolate epicness!

Ready to run for chocolate?  Come join me in San Diego!  Here are some quick facts:

Date: March 26th, 2017

Location: Petco Park

Pricing – 15k: $74 – 5k: $49  But hurry, the price will increase soon!

But don’t just take it from me, here are some testimonials from other Bibrave Pros  courtesy of Bibrave.com:

Haley says: “The course was very scenic and I had a good time. Plenty of aid stations, and they supplied Nuun and water which was a life saver for me because I forgot my salt tabs.”  Read the full review here.

Jenny says: “I actually really liked the course, I didn’t feel like there were any moments where I was disappointed. The finish was nice because it was pretty much all down hill from mile 8 on.”  Read the full review here.

 

See you next month!  I’ll be the one covered in chocolate! 😉

~SM

 

Feeling Good in Carlsbad

One week ago,  I ran the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Marathon & Half Marathon!  I was really excited to run this half marathon since it takes place in beautiful Carlsbad, CA…plus it was my first official race running as a Bibrave Pro!

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So, let’s break it down!

Expo: The Expo was held in the same location as the actual race, which was new to me.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen this done before, but it was nice to get a feel as to where the event would be taking place.  The Expo was in the parking lot of a shopping mall- about 2,000 sq ft. all underneath huge tents.  Parking was a bit crammed since everyone was at the mall shopping on a Saturday, but there were plenty of parking attendants directing everyone.  The Expo was busy, but easy to maneuver…and I was able to pick up my bib number, bag, shirt, and jacket pretty quickly.  There was also a DJ playing some pretty energetic music.  My two-year-old loved the music and kept saying, “Dance, dance”. 😉

Race Day Parking: This race had the easiest parking ever!  We were able to park at the shopping mall for free – so tons of spaces!.  The mall is also right off the freeway so it was pretty simple to get in and out. Also, the parking attendants were on point.  They were organized and communicated well so we were able to park super close to the start/finish line!  This race definitely gets bonus points for parking alone!

Pre-race: Gear check was in the same place where I had picked up my bib the day before so that was a cinch.  Of course me and the other million runners had to use the restroom all at once and their bathroom system was a little off.  They put all the Porta Potties (or Porta Johns for some of you) 😉 in a big square and then everyone stood in the middle and just picked one.  So the lines really had no order and it got super congested and even more confusing.

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(After it finally cleared…)

The runners were released in waves and I was in Wave 6.  I was pleased to discover at how quickly the waves went!  I only waited about 20 minutes or so before I crossed the start line!

I had plenty of time to get adjusted (physically and mentally) and of course take selfies with @thehungryrunner_!

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Race Course: The marathon began at 6:15 a.m. and the half started at 7:45 a.m. This meant that we all shared the same race course for about 8 of those miles.  Another thing that I love about this race is that it’s walker and stroller friendly!  I saw a few families out there pushing little people and they were total rock stars!  The weather was cool with an overcast so I switched between being hot and sweaty to getting chills throughout the race.  The course was an out-and-back and went through the quaint town of Carlsbad and along Hwy 101.  It was all pretty flat, with a few small, rolling hills.  There were also some slanted areas of the road so you kind of had to watch your footing in those sections.

The views were really unbeatable and running along the water was so peaceful!  And just like a true California morning, you could see all the surfers out catching waves in the cold ocean.

Race/Crowd Support: So after analyzing the race course before race day, I decided not to bring any water along with me. (Although I did bring my trusty SpiBelt!)   That’s because there were hydration stations at either every other mile or in some areas, every mile!  I’ve really never seen a course with so many water/electrolyte stops!  Also, the crowd was amazing!  There were volunteers and spectators cheering us on for the entire 13.1 miles!  I’ve never felt love like that in any other race!  The people of Carlsbad really displayed kindness and generosity this day!  So many people holding signs, giving high-fives, shouting out words of encouragement, and giving out their own food/water for us!

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I have to give a special shout-out to my Stroller Warrior sole-sisters who came out on the course just to cheer and encourage us!  Really so much love at this race!  I also have to give a shout-out to the lovely gentleman passing out tequila shots around mile 2.  It was just what I needed to warm up and get going!

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And then there was a special little guy around the 10th mile…he was just who I needed to see to push to the end! 😉

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And since I didn’t bring any of my own hydration, I appreciated all of the Ultima stops along the way!  It really revived me a few times and I couldn’t have completed the run without it!  It tasted amazing without a weird aftertaste and didn’t cause any stomach issues. They also had Vaseline at most of the stations which I found very thoughtful! And the bathroom situation was pretty fantastic…Porta Potties (Johns) all along the way! No awkward moments here!

Finish Line: The DJ announced our names as we crossed the finish line so we felt extra special. 🙂 and we were given our medals, some water, and chocolate milk.  They didn’t  like us hanging out around the finish line since it was chaotic in the area and directed us off to the post-race area.  We were then given mylar blankets and “Nom-Nom” bags.  The nom-nom bags (that’s what they were officially called) had a banana, chips, and a couple of energy/granola bars in a paper sack.  Also, select nom-nom bags contained Golden Tickets which meant you won a bunch of extra prizes.  I, nor anyone in my party, had the Golden Ticket. 😦  And, to be honest, I feel if something is going to be called a “nom-nom bag”, there should be a lot more “nom-noms” in there.  I was grateful for the food and all…I just thought the fancy name gave me different expectations.

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Post-Race: Compared to other races, there really wasn’t a whole lot going on at the post-race party. There were only a few vendors giving out samples and there wasn’t a DJ or any raffle events going on.  I retrieved my gear pretty quickly and headed to the beer garden!  The beer garden was even pretty quiet.  No long lines and no crowds!

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And I was able to score a pretty delicious shrimp taco for about $4.  The beer and taco were just what I needed after this run!  Thank you, Ballast Point and Taco Picasso for the amazing nourishment! 🙂

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There was also a Go Cryo San Diego mobile truck offering cryo treatments, but I wasn’t in the mood to get undressed in the middle of a parking lot.  I also wasn’t in the mood to drop $30 for 3 minutes of recovery.  If you’re not familiar with cryo therapy, basically you dip yourself in a bowl of dry ice to minimize muscle soreness.  Maybe I’ll get there one day…maybe…

There was also a spot for photo ops since this race is part of the Triple Crown Race Series!  What is the Triple Crown?  Well, if you run the Carlsbad Half in January, the La Jolla Half in April, and America’s Finest City in August…you get an extra dope medal!  I think having races as part of a series is a great way to get people motivated because who doesn’t love extra bling?!

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So..the moment you’ve all been waiting for…What was the SWAG?!

Here was the pre-race swag

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-The shirt and jacket are a good quality, although they run small so that was kind of disappointing.  However, I didn’t think to ask for an exchange.

-The cinch bag is more of a lower quality compared to other races, like the San Diego Half Marathon…but it had a special area to write your bib number for gear check and that was pretty convenient.

-The Tri-City Medical Center swag included  chapstick, bandages, and sunscreen packets. All perfect things to throw in your purse, bag, or car…especially if you have little ones!  I really appreciate swag that I can actually use so thank you, Tri-City Medical Center! 😉

Sambazon reps were walking around passing out samples like candy!  But this was much better than candy, it was a delicious Acai Bowl!

-Virtual Swag bag – included discount codes and whatnot.  I appreciate these in virtual form because I normally just throw away the paper versions.

Post-race swag

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The obligatory banana along with goodies from the “nom-nom” bag as well as full-bottle samples of C2O Coconut Water and Suja Juice.

Race Photos – Not free, but they started posting them that evening!  I couldn’t believe how fast they were available!

Scenery swag!  I always count beautiful scenery as swag!

And, what about the Bling?!

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She’s a beaut! And I really appreciated the detail of the race date etched in so I can remember this day forever!

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There’s me recovering in my Legend Compression Wear! 😉

Pricing: Pricing for the half/full ranges from about $80-$150 depending on how early you register. As of now, the 2018 half is only $79!  That’s a great deal!  You can sign up here!

Overall Opinion: Overall, I really enjoyed this race!  I thought it was well-organized with AMAZING support from both the organization and the community.  Parking was great and the views were fantastic!  The only cons were that the post-race party was a little disappointing and some people aren’t fans of out-and-back courses as they can get a little boring. I would definitely do this one again!  I enjoyed running this with friends especially since I knew that I wasn’t going to PR at this race.  If I were to give anyone advice for prepping for this event, I would say to stick with your training even through the holidays!  When you sign up for a January half marathon, that means you are training through Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years..so factor in your travel, family visits, food, and alcohol!

After all, it’s not everyday you get to run ON the 101 with no traffic! 😉

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I’m off to prep for the next event!

***Disclaimer: I received a free race entry to the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon in exchange for an honest 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!

~SM

 

 

 

 

5 Dope Perks about the Carlsbad Marathon/Half Marathon!

It’s a been a while since I’ve run a half marathon (over 2 years to be exact), so I was really stoked to find out that I would be running the upcoming Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Marathon & Half!  Since I’m not quite ready for a full marathon, I’ll be participating in the half marathon on January 15th!  So what is sooooo awesome about this event??  Well let me tell you five cool things about this race and I bet you’ll want to be running right along with me! 😉

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(Photo courtesy of http://www.carlsbadmarathon.com/)

  1. Course Route – The Full and the Half have similar routes (with different start times) and both begin and end at the The Shoppes at Carlsbad.  Most of the course runs along the scenic Pacific Ocean and through the quaint town of Carlsbad with gorgeous views that cannot be beat!

Carlsbad marathon map UPDATED 2015

(Photo courtesy of http://www.carlsbadmarathon.com/)

And as an added bonus: The Half Marathon course is stroller friendly!  So all you moms and dads can load up the kiddos and bring them along for the ride!  *Strollers must begin in the back of the line.

2. Triple Crown – This race is also part of the Triple Crown Challenge!  Challenge yourself by running Carlsbad in January, The La Jolla Half Marathon in April, and The America’s Finest City Half Marathon in August and you will score yourself an extra rad medal and bragging rights to being a Triple Crown Champ! 🙂

3. VIP Experience– The Carlsbad Marathon & Half is also offering a Coastal Comfort Package!  Add some luxury to your weekend by adding on this package for only $195. This will get you lots of extra perks and will make your weekend super special.  Some of this includes: VIP parking, a heated tent, post-race massage, comfy flip-flops, and so much more!  But this is limited to the first 100 participants to register quickly!

4. Kids Marathon Mile – Make this a family weekend getaway and let the kiddos run in the Kids Marathon Mile at LEGOLAND the day before the Marathon/Half! The course will begin right outside the entrance of LEGOLAND and will run into the park and finish right outside! The kids will receive their very own t-shirt and finisher’s medal plus free admission into LEGOLAND!  How rad is that?! Marathon/Half Marathon Participants must pick up their bibs at the Health and Lifestyle Expo prior to race day, so why not make a fun day of it by letting the kids run in their own fun LEGOLAND race!

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5. SWAG – Of course the coolest perk about this event is the SWAG!! This includes: course support and entertainment, a long-sleeve technical shirt, virtual goody bag, finisher’s medal, mylar blanket, refreshments, a 1/4 zip pullover (new this year), and much more!  I can’t wait to see all of this amazingness in just a few weeks!


These are just a few of the perks that the Tri-City Medical Center Marathon & Half Marathon offers this year!  And if you are not able to run it yourself, consider volunteering or even coming to cheer on the other runners and bask in the positive vibes! 🙂

There is still time to register before prices increase again! And you can save $20 by using promo code “BIBRAVE20”.

I will see you next month with my full review of this event! 🙂

Note: I received a free race entry to the Tri-City Medical Center Marathon & Half Marathon as part of being a Bibrave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a Bibrave Pro and check out Bibrave.com to review and write race reviews!

~SM

Aloha, beaches!

Last month I ran The Aloha Run in San Diego on a beautiful day near Mission Bay!  This event has a 5k or 10k option and I ran the 5k with my mini-runner in the Bob Stroller.  The pricing for this run ranged from $30-$55 depending on your registration date with an option to add a timing chip for $2. I actually was able to run this for FREE and I’ll tell you how a little later on.  So onto the race breakdown!

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Expo/ Packet pick-up: There was a packet pick-up option the day before the race at Road Runner Sports.  I was unable to make it in time so I snagged my stuff the morning of the race. This is one of the perks of pushing a stroller during a race – you always have a place to stash all of your race goodies.

Parking: Free parking was available close to the race start line if you arrived early enough.  I, of course, arrived last minute so I had to park about a half mile away in a big dirt lot.

Race location: The event was held at Tecolote Shores Park in Mission Bay near Sea World.  Many races are held in this area due to its flat, paved course (although some spots can be a bit narrow when trying to push a stroller). It’s also a very scenic area along the water and the weather was great in the morning, but it got pretty warm later on.  Luckily, the race began at 7:30am so I was able to enjoy some of the cool breeze before the heat set in.

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Race Course/Organization: Again, the course was flat and paved…however it was quite a crowded race.  And since it is considered a fun run, many people were walking and hogging up the whole sidewalk.  The 10k started 15 minutes prior to the 5k and we were separated into waves about five minutes apart.  I started a little towards the back since I had my stroller and wasn’t planning on trying to PR.  This was a big mistake because I got stuck behind tons of walkers…so if you plan to run this race in the future, and I mean actually RUN, then I suggest starting at the front.  But the course was unique in that there were various areas of Hawaiian entertainment along the way.  How fun!

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Finish Line/Post-Race party: We were greeted at the finish line with a beautiful medal (my mini even got one!) and some water that tasted not so great.  There were lots of vendors and there was finally a good DJ!  He stayed near the band and gave out prizes to the dancing audience.  He also was the one getting us hype during the wait time in our waves at the start of the race.  People were also walking around handing out leis to everyone, but I think it would have been more dope if they had given them out along with the medals at the finish line.

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And two of my fave vendors were at the race: Hubert’s Lemonade and Arctic Zero!

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My mini also approved of these flavors!  Check them out!

Overall impressions of the event: I loved the location, especially since it was right next to a playground so my daughter could let out some energy after being in the stroller for a while.  The scenery was also beautiful and fit perfectly with the Hawaiian theme.  The only downfall was that it was crowded, so I would start towards the front next time.  Overall, I had fun and really felt positive vibes throughout the event! I liked the different elements of Hawaii that were incorporated throughout the race and the volunteers were all very friendly and helpful.  I also ran this with a couple of other Stroller Warriors which made the post-race experience even more fun!

How did run for FREE?!  The Aloha Run held a contest on their Facebook page about a month before the race.  The challenge was to write a short poem about running and the post with the most likes would win a 5k entry (not including the $2 price of the timing chip).  Only about four of us entered and I shared on my personal FB page asking people to help out by liking my entry.  And my friends totally rock cause I won! So a big Mahalo to all of you that helped me score a free race entry! Many races run these types of contests on their Facebook pages so keep a lookout and you could win, too!

So what was the SWAG?!

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-A beautiful medal with leis

-A unisex cotton shirt, which ended up being too big

Kashi granola bar

Jenny Craig granola bar

Nature’s Bakery Fig Bar – this was delicious!

Kashi Go Lean Clusters bowl

Bio Freeze gel sample

Gaslamp Popcorn Co. All Natural Kettle Corn

Wanu Vitamin Water

Coola Sport Sunscreen – this has really great reviews!

-Bunch of coupons and flyers

-Free race photos

-Beautiful scenery

And the hula skirt moves! 🙂

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What do you think?  Did you participate in The Aloha Run and score some great swag?!  Or maybe you ran the Long Beach Aloha Run and had a different experience?  I’d love to hear!

See you at the next event! Aloha!

~SM

 

 

 

 

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