Latest reviews by Amy Dedić

(2017)
"Marathon turned half"
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I was supposed to run the full marathon however a foot injury 9 days before the race made running that many miles impossible. I tried but about 5 miles in, the pain was bad and my husband convinced me to just run the half. So that was one really nice feature that the full and the half ran most of the first half together. Around mile 11 was when the half split off towards the finish. I still received a half marathon time and a half marathon belt buckle which was awesome.
The expo was a nice size in the convention center. We went with our friends that we were staying with so we had a bunch of kids with us. But they had some fun kid activities so we actually had to drag them out at one point. We liked the race shirts, simple, nice color. The shoulder bag was pretty interesting but definitely a useful pool or beach bag.

Logistics were super easy. There was tons of street parking near the start/finish area and on Sundays it's FREE. Bag check was quick and easy before and after the race. I really loved how they had the HUGE camelback thingies with water so people could fill up their stuff before and after the race, which also reduces trash. It was nice they gave out full bottles of water and then I just used that to refill because I was THIRSTY.
The Oscar Blues beer garden was AWESOME! I spent a good chunk of time in there waiting for my husband to finish the full. and then we went back again when he was done. We also got compression treatments on our legs after he finished which felt great.
The course itself was scenic especially for an out of towner. There were more crowds cheering that I expected including some bands and cheering squads. I also saw several beer stations and a margarita station. The course is VERY hilly. It would definitely be a tough one to get a PR if you run mainly flatter marathons but it's a fun course. Unfortunately the weather was pretty horrendous on race day for us. It was 70 and cloudy but 100% humidity. Our bodies were just not prepared for that.
Overall it's definitely a fun race and Austin is a great city to visit. We would run it again!

Check out more of my personal race here: http://runningmarathonmom.blogspot.com/2017/02/austin-marathon-or-maybe-just-half.html

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(2017)
"Back to Paradise"
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As I said last time I did this race in 2014, it's hard not to love a race that occurs in Key West. That said, I do think they made improvements that make it even better than the first time I ran it. The expo was much bigger and much better organized inside the brewery. There was plenty of detailed info available about the course and where exactly the start line was. The bag check was super easy and quick. The course was slightly different than 2014 but all for the best. It's very scenic and hits up some of the major sites in Key West including the SouthernMost point. It's very important to have plenty of aid on the course since it is hotter and more humid than most of us are used to running in January. I felt the race did an excellent job of this. There were more than enough stations and tons of very enthusiastic volunteers. The finish line was pumping which was fun. The medal is a fun wine stopper and the race shirt only something a Key West race would give out. I love that the bibs have the runners' names on it. There was TONS of water and food afterwards. Did I mention the 35 kegs of beer? Oh yeah IPA and pilsner, and unlimited refills in your key west half cup. Fun music, cool giveaways. Can't beat the afterparty. I loved this race the first time, loved it even more this time. Can't wait to go back again!!!

Check out more of my personal experience and pics here: http://runningmarathonmom.blogspot.com/2017/01/disclaimer-i-received-entry-to-key-half.html

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(2016)
"There's definitely Boulders in the Boulder Field"
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This was the first year for the Boulder Field 100K and 50K. That said Stephan Weiss is known around the greater Philly and Reading areas for putting on top notch races. Boulder Field was no exception. It took place in Hickory Run state park. There was free camping both Friday and Saturday night which we took advantage of. The course is a nice mix of super technical rocky terrain and super runnable sections. I really enjoy the scenery and changes in terrain type. It's a 50K loop that actually goes through the main area about 12-13 miles into the loop so my family was able to see me a number of times. As always with a Stephan race, the aid stations and volunteers were outstanding. I had volunteers running with me a few times into/out of aid stations just to give me support. The stations were more than well supplied with pretty much anything you would want hot or cold. I really don't have a complaint about this race and would do it again in a heart beat. Everyone got sweatshirts and finishers received handmade german weatherstations, I'm starting to get quite a collection! Also top 3 awards were beer growlers which I snagged one for 3rd place female. I really enjoyed this race so much! You can read more details about my personal experience on my blog.

http://runningmarathonmom.blogspot.com/2016/09/boulder-field-100k.html

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(2016)
"Adventure in Bosnia"
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So it's hard to compare a race in Bosnia to a race in the US. But now that some time has passed and others have given opinions, it seems that many of the things that my husband and I thought were not great, others felt the same way. Overall, this race is an awesome idea and brings people together in a country divided. That said, Bosnia is so divided and political that it can be hard to do great things there. As it turns out, it's really hard to have a point to point 80 mile race. We found out afterwards that a few aid stations never happened due to political difficulties. We felt there were some sections that were way too long without aid. We also felt some sections were just not that pretty or scenic. That said Jahorina mountain itself and surrounding area is absolutely gorgeous however we did not get to spend much of the race in this area at all. There were actually 4 distances, we of course did the longest. After the race we realized that a couple of the shorter distance actually had the best views and courses. One even went through the olympic bobsled course and summited the top of Jahorina mountain, why didn't I get to do that for all my hard work?! Now it has been announced that the longer courses will be changed to loops to incorporate the best parts of the shorter course. This is awesome news as not only will it make for a beautiful course but will also alleviate the problems with not having enough aid on such a long point to point course. So even though our experience wasn't all the best, they have learned from these experiences and are making changes for the better which shows great race management.

The long race which is really the only one I can speak for, had seriously challenging terrain. Much of it was not on established trail so lots of bushwhacking involved and climbing all kinds of obstacles. The toughest terrain of course came at night in the dark which also included a crazy scary cliff section. On paper the time cutoffs sound extremely generous and no problem even if you hike a lot however we quickly began to run out of time later in the race due to all these unusual challenges. We ended up stopping around 67-68 miles due to blister problems but we also were about 30 hours into the race. I can't even begin to explain everything that happened so I will post a link to my blog if you would like to read more info. Overall though, I did like it, it was awesome to experience completely different things than normal however there definitely needs to be changes which are already happening so I definitely recommend this race. In fact we will probably do it again in 2017 :-)

http://runningmarathonmom.blogspot.com/2016/09/jahorina-ultra-trail-bosnia.html

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(2016)
"Did you say WINE?!"
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I pretty much enjoyed everything about the Virginia wine country half. I mean what's not to like about running and drinking wine?? The only negative I saw was that it was a bit pricey for a half marathon, about $100 which didn't include the wine tasting after the race. The tasting was an additional $25. It was also $15 to get your bib at the race rather than picking it up somewhere Friday. There were also fees for a race bus from DC and there was some other type of party later in the day at the Doukenie Winery where the race was held. That said, this race has a lot more to offer than your run of the mill half marathon. It's all set around the beautiful Doukenie Winery. It cannot be cheap to stage a race there. They also many touches and details all throughout the winery that help set the ambiance for the day. I think most runners noticed and appreciated the time and effort put into that, I know I did. There was coffee, water, GU brew and various snacks for the runners. There was plenty of port o potties to handle the crowd. We quickly received our medals and water after the race. There was also HUGE camelback coolers around so that we could get extra water which was really nice since it was humid.

The course itself was pretty hilly but definitely very pretty. There was also 4-5 miles of gravel in the middle of the course. There was more than enough aid stations with water and GU brew. There was also a couple with GU gels. All the volunteers were very helpful and energetic.

It was easy for us to get our wine glasses and enter the wine tasting area. Which I should mention, $25 for a wine glass and unlimited tasting is a pretty good deal. There was probably 10 different wineries, all very excited to be there and gave us lots of information about their products. This area also had a PT clinic who was giving massages and letting runners do sessions in the compression pants for recovery. They were AMAZING! They also had many tables, chairs and benches set up for people to sit, relax and enjoy the wine including many around the lake that was there. It was really a perfect finish to a race even for this beer drinker!

You can read more of my personal story here: http://runningmarathonmom.blogspot.com/2016/06/did-you-say-running-and-wine-virginia.html

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