Latest reviews by Nancy Pham

(2015)
"Rock N Roll Brooklyn"
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This was the inaugural Rock N Roll Brooklyn event so there were quite a bit of challenges. The logistics of some things were poorly planned.

The expo was at Brooklyn Expo Center. I took the MTA to get there, it wasn't a problem but took about an hour from where I was. Bib pick up went quickly for me. The expo was okay; there weren't too many exciting vendors. I did end up buying a RNR Brooklyn tank top but it was a bit steep. They were giving out free beers to anyone over 21.

The morning of race day, I took the MTA over so I'm not sure how the parking situation was. As soon as I got off the train, there was chaos. There were signs but pretty much following the crowds. The porta potties outside of the gated corrals were so long. They were poorly planned since the doors of the porta potties faced the sidewalk and it was right along the edge of the sidewalk. There was no room to have a queue so the lines wrapped around the two sides only. I ended up trying to fare my chances inside the corral. I tried getting into the corrals through the front since I saw some people go through that way. Eventually they told everyone to go all the way around. They really should have had more checkpoints. I passed another check point but it was for "VIP" only. So then everyone had to walk even further down to pass through security. Even those without bags. The line barely moved. I walked maybe 40 mins in line. The police announced that it was 5 mins to the start and 80% of people were still in security line. Eventually security stopped checking people and everyone flooded inside. Then we were told the start time was delayed 30 mins.

I thought I had my chance in 30 mins to use a porta potty inside the corrals. Nope, the lines were ridiculous. I even waited after my corral went off, hoping but alas I gave up and started running. I guess while waiting and walking, I passed through the timing mats and I got a runner tracking text before I started the race.

The course was pretty nice and flat and there were enough stations. The mile markers were clearly placed throughout.

At the finish, the medals were given out. They are pretty nice, depicting the Soldiers' and Sailors' Arch with the middle being a bottle opener. Maybe I took longer to get to the finish because the refreshments were a mess. Nobody was manning the bananas. I saw people taking full boxes of cashews. I couldn't find where to get my beer and didn't bother staying for the headliners of the concert.

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(2015)
"Philly 10K"
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I had the opportunity to run the Philly 10k, despite the popularity and the lottery system. I didn't really have my heart set on it because I'm not a fan of running in the summer. I happened to volunteer for the first Philly 10k the year before and the weather was brutal. This year, the weather wasn't as bad but still, not my ideal weather.

They change the race course from the year before but the majority of the race was in the South Philly area. I opted to take Septa to the area on the morning of the race because they had warned about lack of parking spots.

The expo was really a party where you could pick up your bibs, buy some goodies and drink. The cotton tshirt ran really small, unfortunately. They didn't let you exchange your shirt at the bib pick up. They did mention that after the run, you could try to exchange the size at the Philadelphia Runner if the sizes were available. They were and I went from a small to a large (eek).

There weren't too many porta potties on race day and the lines were long, but not too long. I did get a chance to go before the start of the race. The course was mostly flat and not too bad. There were a few pot holes on the streets but most of them were easy to dodge. Near the end of the course was a bit disheartening. The course kept winding around the streets and I knew I saw the finish line but as we ran around and around, I lost track of where it was and how far to the end.

The finisher's festival was absolutely crazy. People in every direction, lines for days. I didn't really want to wait in line for any of it. I did pick up the commemorative print though (since it was in place of a medal). The line for beer and the shake shack custard was way too long. I ended up leaving before having a chance to try anything. Fortunately, shake shack offered to accept the custard ticket at their restaurant locations for those who missed out.

It's nice having a race away from the typical location near the river and art museum, but I just wish it wasn't in the dead of summer heat.

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(2015)
"NYRR Queens 10K"
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Oh boy, the Queens 10k was a lot harder than I anticipated. I knew it was going to be a difficult morning. From Brooklyn to Queens via MTA was going to be long and painful so I just ended up driving. Thank goodness the bf was there to drive because the parking situation was a bit confusion. He ended up parking by the stadium and took a nap.

NYRR was really great about notifications. The night before race day, there was an alert for race start delay. They were really thorough about it, I think I received an email, a text and even a voice mail. They were postponing the start due to thunderstorm and flood warnings. So I guess everyone got to sleep in more, though I wished we didn't.

Corona Park is a nice area. Citi Field stadium and the Unisphere made for a nice picture background. Porta potties were plentiful and the lines were quick. Unfortunately with the start delay, the sun was beating down and with the crazy humidity, the race was very difficult. I did end up walking a good portion of the course. I do recall the puddles that did cover up part of the race path from the rain.

They gave out these light blue tanks that I thought fit a little awkwardly. The color is very different from their other shirts and I'm not the greatest fan of it.

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(2015)
"Oakley Mini 10K"
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Last year when I started running, I avoided doing races in the summer. The humidity is awful. The Oakley Mini 10k was a bit of a challenge for me. The route was basically a loop around Central Park. At the end of May, I had done the UAE 10K that was also set in Central Park. I thought it was the same route but the Oakley 10k was partially on the street. This definitely improved the run since coming up the west side of the park, I found to be quite hilly. The run also started at 8 am vs. 9 am for the UAE and that made a HUGE difference in the heat.

The bf picked up my race bib for me and I found out that there was a choice between a light grey and a black tank top. I chose the grey and am quite pleased with the style, though it is a blend of polyester and cotton.

Race day went off without any issues. This is a women only race so the starting corrals were really crowded. Usually the men tend to break away but the women were all running near the same pace at the beginning and it was difficult to advance. The plus side is, with women only, the potta potties definitely didn't seem as gross and smelly!

I love that there were three hydrants that were spraying cold water for us to run through. It really helped on such a hot day. Water was plentiful at the stations. Central park has its hills so at times it was tough.

The medals are cute with pink and they also give every woman a carnation.

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(2015)
"NYRR Brooklyn Half Marathon"
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I had been waiting for the Brooklyn Half ever since I started running the NYRR races. Finally! I don't have to wake up crazy early for race day because BF lives in Brooklyn! Yay, so I "slept" in a bit that morning because BF dropped me off.

The expo was a bit of a hassle to get to but had some fun shopping items and a display of the different areas of Brooklyn. They had a station where you could personalize your shirt with spray paint. I love the tech tshirt that we received! It was fitted nicely for women and the design was simple but nice. I also ended up buying another shirt at the expo because new balance rocks.

Race morning was great. Porta potties were everywhere and the lines were not too long. They were sectioned off by corral too.

The course was nice but it was hard to appreciate at the beginning because it was pouring in the park. Soggy shoes and soaked clothing makes for an uncomfortable start. As the morning progressed, the rain felt great because the sun was beating down. Unfortunately, all the rain made for some bad chaffage.

The park had some elevations to it but most of the course felt flat. There is a large stretch on Ocean Parkway that just feels like torture because it just goes on and on. But at least by the naming of the Avenues, you get a feel of how much further you have to go (letters of the alphabet). Once you get close to Coney Island, there is a ramp to get onto the boardwalk (last struggle on my calves!).

The post race area was such a mess. People were fighting for heat sheets. I was able to snag an apple. I didn't bother going to the post race festivities. There was just so many people. I'm glad that I didn't have bag check; things looked chaotic. I was able to walk to the MTA to head home. They even let the runners on for free! Score.

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