Latest reviews by Haley Gonzales

(2015)
"Another beautiful Sacramento Race"
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Yes, another beautiful race in Sacramento. This was my first year running it and from what the announcer said it was their biggest yet at 1,500 runners/walkers. This is a great race for any level. The 5k is in a really nice Sac neighborhood that is aligned with trees & cute houses. And this course is fast! I didn't set any PR but I was surprised when we turned the corner to the finish. The majority of the course is flat. There is are very small hills...or inclines I would say. Very well organized because it is set up by Capital Road Race Management & Fleet Feet Sac - they are the best!

The aid stations were great! There were 2, which for a 5k is pretty rare, at least the 5ks I've run. I think boy scouts were volunteering at them. I didn't grab any water so I don't really remember, I know they were kids though. And for kids the did a good job!

After the race they serve a pancake breakfast and had a coffee truck there as well. About an hour and a half after the race started they had a survivor photo session. The beneficiary of the race is the OVARIAN CANCER EDUCATION & RESEARCH NETWORK, INC. So not only is this a great race but it is for a great cause. You can create teams, raise money and support OCERN's cause. Many people had bibs that had "In Memory" and family names on them. I thought that was very special and it was inspiring.

This is a great 5k that I think will only get bigger! You should definitely check it out!

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(2015)
"My first trail race!"
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This weekend I ran my first trail race! And I was sloooooowww. But I expected that, everyone told me trail races are nothing like road races. Yep. This race is put on by Capital Road Race Management and Fleet Feet so of course it was well organized and a fun time.

I ran the 10.5 mile course (there is also a 6.9 course). It starts out at Railhead Park in a soccer field (I think that is what it is used for). You then head to the the single track trails along the American River Canyon. This race is a mix of trails, roads and running along a canal system (which I kinda wanted to jump in to cool down). Don't let the beginning of the long course fool you. You're running through the trees having great views of the Auburn hills and the American River thinking this isn't too bad. Then you head down hill and realize this is a steep down hill, so there is going to be a steep uphill. And there was. But the course was so beautiful that it was worth it.

I didn't like the part of the course where we were on the road, but we weren't on the road for too much of the race. There were 5 aid stations along the course that had water and electrolytes. They seemed well stocked and had great volunteers working them. Being my first trail race, I was a little worried I would get lost but the course was clearly marked with chalk and ribbons tied to trees. You are also always near someone, at least that is my experience. Mile 7 got very dusty, if you didn't have sunglasses on you probably had to rinse out your eyes. The last couple of miles in the race were nice and shaded. The day was not too bad for being the end of July in Northern California, it could have been much hotter!

About that last quarter of the race you come out of the trails and onto the road leading back to the field. That is where everyone is cheering for you, which is always on of my favorite parts! After you cross the finish line they give you a nice COLD water and...and that was it. I usually don't care about medals, but this was my first trail race so I really wanted one. I was surprised how sad I was that I didn't get one. They do, however, have the best race shirts I have ever had and they have yummy food post race. They offer burgers (and veggie burgers. Although they were cooked on the same grill as the hamburger), chips, watermelon, soda and beer. This race is called Blood, Sweat & BEERS! The beer is from Hoppy Brewery in Sacramento. I don't care for their beer but hey, after 10.5 trail miles it isn't bad.

I would recommend this race for sure! Great for a first timer like me or someone wanting to beat their time from a previous running of this race. Well organized, good food, decent beer, picnic, close to the river...it is a pretty perfect race.

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(2015)
"Fast Course in Wine Country "
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This year (and last) I was an Ambassador for ZOOMA. Last year was the inaugural race, so this year I was expecting a bit more. More people, bigger expo, a larger after party....That isn't what I got. While I really enjoyed this race I think it is lacking something special. We are in Napa, famous WINE country. For being a destination race, I just don't think it lives up to what it could be.

Lets start with the expo. It was small and pretty quite when I got there to pick up my bib. That being said, they did have some good booths to check out - Feetures socks, running clothes, sports drinks. I do have to admit I don't really care about expos. I just care about the race (same with the after party that we'll get to). There was a "mocktail" party after the expo with hint water which was a cool idea and some yummy cheese. But no crackers, or bread or anything else to go with it. They didn't even have tables set up until we asked for them. We hung out at the party for an hour or so then left to go get dinner & get to sleep for race day.

The race provided shuttles from the host hotel (Napa Marriott) to the start of the race but my boyfriend and I just drove ourselves to the start. Plenty of parking if you 1. get there early and because 2. this race was A LOT smaller than last year. I also ran this race with a group of Kaia FIT girls too, but they drove down the morning of. The race is an out and back course, which isn't my favorite but the majority of this course is pretty so I didn't mind it. The weather was perfect so the run was enjoyable. The volunteers at the aid station did a better job as we went out than when we went back in. I had to ask multiple stations if they had water or electrolytes because they were talking and not paying attention to me as I came running up. I would say probably half or more of this course is not closed off, there were cones up to let us know to stay on the side of the road. Which was fine with me because the road was not very busy. Miles 1-3 and 10-13.1 are the best as far as views and scenery goes. Running through the vineyards on the shaded streets was beautiful. There were hot air balloons along the way too! The miles in between are right along the freeway. For a race in Napa I feel like there are better spots that could be chosen. One thing I didn't appreciate was people walking their dogs along our course. I ran by 3 couples walking their dogs around all the runners. Now, granted there weren't many runners, it is still rude. The end of the race was great. Lots of places for people to spectate and cheer and I had my team there cheering for me and on of my Kaia girls ran with me to the finish. The race was well organized and I appreciate that. We got our water, metals and bananas and waited for the rest of our team to finish.

The awards were given at 10am, and we had 2 girls on our team place in their age groups! 1st and 2nd!! But since the awards are at the hotel at 10am and one of our runners didn't finish until almost 10 we got there right as the awards ended. I believe the course is open for 3.5 hours (with a 7am start time) so they shouldn't start the awards until 10:30-11 in my opinion. We wanted to cheer for everyone and we were not going to leave early to the awards with out all our girls, so that was a little bit of a downside to the after party. Also, the "after party" only had chicken salad available for the runners. I'm sorry, but where are the carbs? At least offer some bread with that! And being as how I don't eat meat we had to leave and go eat else where. Which kinda sucked because I wanted to do some wine tasting but I needed some food in my belly first.

Overall, I would say this race is okay. For me, any time I get to run with a group of friends it is a good time! But this is one of the more expensive half marathons that I have run so I would expect a bit more, like I said earlier. The after party and mocktail events really didn't live up to the hype. While the course was nice, I think it could have been better. And the food...I was really disappointed. Of all things runners need after a half marathon carbs is #1 and they weren't even offered. I hope they make some changes next year to offer a more unique experience.

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(2015)
"New Course, Same Great Race"
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This is my 4th year running the WFF. A few things have changed since then but overall I still love this race.
Once again the Sacramento running community is in full force. LOTS of community involvement, Kaiser Permanente tent with pictures and health info, booths, massages, food, sparkling wine!! (which was new this year!). Unfortunately I didn't get to participate much in the festivities after the race this year because I had to head out right after but I could see by the set up it was just a as good, if not better than the previous year.
The shirts you get at this race are always great quality and have a nice design. This year we even got medals. Which I think is due to the fact that the half marathon they had planned was cancelled. Long story short - the races here have been having issues with the rail roads. So there you go. But that didn't stop them from a great course this year. It had many more turns than the previous 5k. Personally I think it made it more fun. And we got to finish running down L street next to the State Capitol. Which is always a fun end to a race!
Parking can be a pain in the ass but if you're there early enough you can get a spot close by. If I didn't have to leave right after I would have run there. I live about 1.5 miles from the start. Perfect for a warm up! The start time was 7:30 this year. I really think this race needs to be started sooner. It was hot! Just like last year. The reason I am giving 4 out of 5 stars is because of the start time. I'd love to see a 6:30 or 7am start for this race next year.
Once again, I'd recommend this race and I would love to see them bring back the half marathon next year.

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(2015)
"Fun, New Course "
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This year was the second time I have run the SacTown 10. A few changes to the 2015 race: they added in a 5 mile option, and the 10 mile course was new. And a LOOP! I wasn't looking forward to that but it actually wasn't bad. I think it made it easier because you knew what to expect. The course went through Downtown Sacramento, crossed the Tower Bridge, you ran a long the river, past the River Cats ball park and ended running down Capitol Mall towards the State Capitol. How cool is that??
This race is put on by the Sacramento Running Association and they always do a great job. Well organized, good aid station locations and a fun post race celebration. I do have to say the 2 times I have run this race I do not like the shirts. They fit weird and are ugly...but I don't run races for the shirts.
Everyone knows there are a TON of races in Sacramento and the courses all blend together. However, I think the SRA did a good job with this one. The course was similar to others I have run but in a different direction, or they added something different. They kept it challenging and fun. Thanks SRA!! I would recommend this race to a new or experienced runner. You get great views of this city and as always a welcoming crowd cheering you to the finish.
ps this is a great race for spectators!

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