Latest reviews by Elizabeth Bain

(2016)
"Gem of a race--hurry and run it before it gets huge!"
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This was one of my best race experiences this year. Part of it was that I had a good run, part of it was the laid-back race itself.

A friend of mine was an ambassador for this race, so I thought I'd go run it. It turns out this is a relatively small race (no corrals, no wave start--neither was necessary) but a really excellent one. Personally, I would find it worth travelling for this low-key, friendly race and would likely go back in 2017.

Packet pickup is held at the running store. I didn't attend, because you were allowed to have someone else get your packet if you'd like. (I know a lot of races don't allow that now, but I appreciated it.) Race swag consisted of a very soft cotton t-shirt with vintage-inspired/retro race design. Personally, I love it. All runners also got a knit hat suitable for winter wear in real winter (which Scottsdale doesn't have, even if it does get chilly at night). It's nice to get a packet that isn't overstuffed with race ads and knick-knacks. Many people, including the friend I convinced to join me, picked up their packets on race day. There was pretty much no line, and there was a small army of volunteers ready to get everything to you quickly. Gear check was right across the street, which also made it easy to check your shirt and hat if you picked up on race day.

Parking was easy, as there were multiple large parking lots and structures nearby. Free parking is always a bonus! It seemed like everyone parked within a few blocks of the start,

The course was pretty flat, and while it was chilly when we started it warmed up during the course of the run. The race course is essentially a giant rectangle, down one main road (only partially closed, but there was plenty of room for runners), turn right, turn right, run through a park/golf course, run through a little bit of residential, and then turn right back to the finish (which was maybe a dozen yards from the start). This was my first visit to Scottsdale, which I only associated with golf courses, so I thought it was fun that the course did run around the edge of a golf course.

There were pace group leaders all the way to a 3:00 finish, which I thought was pretty cool. I wasn't out to nail this course, but until I developed a weird blister bad enough to make me not want to run much, I was on my way to a PR using a run/walk. Each intersection had police and volunteers to keep the runners safe, and everyone was very upbeat. The aid stations were well-stocked and had enthusiastic volunteers (I'm sure you've seen the races where all the volunteers are watching their phones with one hand--this was NOT that).

I was among the last dozen runners to finish the race, and was still greeted with fanfare and hoopla (and a medal) at the finish line. The medals are large and colorful, with the premium fat ribbon. When I finished it was sunny and gorgeous outside. There were a variety of tents for vendors, sponsors, etc. and I know some had snacks, but i pretty much ignored most of that and made a beeline to the mimosa garden!

The mimosa garden was a fenced off area (you know, state laws about alcohol and all) with some shade and some tall tables (so you could stand, or lounge on the grass). There were multiple kinds of sparkling wine, including a pink, and orange juice. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

If you're looking for a low-key race with useful swag, a flat and fast course, and a great after-race atmosphere, I recommend this one.

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(2016)
"Dress Like Santa, Hilarity Ensues!"
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This is my first year running this race, and I did a few things totally wrong.... First, I didn't account for extra traffic headed to San Jose because I didn't know about the Christmas In The Park event (which is apparently A Thing, has been for years). Second, I didn't account for the time it would take me to walk from Convention Center parking to the packet pickup (hey, it looked all small on the map!). Third, I didn't think about planning time to put on the Santa suit (for $7, I wanted to do the race in a Santa suit!). Finally, I should have planned to go early--packet pickup started two hours before the race--and drink coffee while waiting. Despite being the very last person to pick up a packet, and crossing the starting line as they were literally dismantling it, I had A BLAST!! (I was not the only person crossing the starting line at that time. Also, I did not finish last.)

The race is a fun, family-friendly event, and costumes are encouraged. There was a costume contest and while I may have opinions that differ from the judges, and some of the best costumes didn't enter (I'm looking at you, Krampus!) it was fun to see so many people in various holiday outfits. There was Hanukkah, complete with a menorah hat; storm trooper Santa (red sparkling armor); Darth-Claus (with a Christmas tree on the tip of the light sabre!); Santa riding a reindeer; Santa riding a unicorn; T-Rex Santa; sleighs; and a variety of other randomness. There were multiple dogs with costumes, including one dressed up like Max, the Grinch's dog.

The course was familiar to me because it runs along some of the same area as the last stretch of the Rock 'n' Roll San Jose half marathon. (I don't know any of the street names, I don't live there. Sorry.) The course is sufficiently flat that it was fine for all sorts of strollers, wheelchairs, and other mobility aids, but it isn't flat. There are a few hillier areas, such as the crossing that goes underneath the railroad tracks. A small part of it runs around a few blocks in a residential area, and several of the residents were outside cheering on the runners. The finish line is right alongside Christmas In The Park, and the inflatable had snow! Okay, I'm sure it was shaved ice because the gorgeous running weather (mid-50s) was way too hot for snow. Still, it was a really fun touch, and I was surprised so it was delightful!

There was one water station just at mile 2. While I could have used a little water before then, I also ran an extra mile around the parking garage and to the race start, so there's that. The water station was well-stocked and staffed. Also on course were several organized cheer stations, complete with cheer stations.

The race shirt is CUTE! The long sleeves are peppermint-striped like a candy cane, and the main body of the shirt is red and printed to look like an ugly Christmas sweater. The race uses an electronic gift bag (which I kind of appreciated because I'd likely recycle all the paper), so the only pre-race swag is the shirt and bib. You can pre-order a santa suit (pants, jacket, belt, beard, hat) for $7. At that price it isn't super high quality, but it will last for at least a few runs (and I may use mine to make a pattern for another santa suit). Everyone got a finisher medal, which I thought was a nice touch. It's a cute design, goes with the shirt, and has a fat designer ribbon on it.

Post-race eats included water, chocolate milk, cookies (cookies!!), and samples of Noosa. There were also a variety of treats for sale at Christmas In The Park (popcorn, kettle corn, hot chocolate, etc.) That celebration had a bunch of little shops, life-size dioramas, a Nativity scene, fir trees decorated by various groups, music, rides, and activities. It was a bit crowded when all the runners were milling about, but still a cool finish line.

Overall, I had a really, really fun time at this race. I wasn't there for a PR, but I saw plenty of faster types who could have been (as they passed me on the out and back). Even if you don't have a family or kids, this is still a fun event for a group of friends, or even a solo runner.

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(2016)
"Fantastic Turkey Trot with Lots of Extras"
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It's strange to be in a college town on a holiday; not only is the parking plentiful, it is FREE! Yes, FREE. FREE on the streets at metered spaces, and FREE in the parking garages. I parked at the Maynard Street garage (where the usually off-limits spaces are also fair game on holidays) and was within 3 minutes' walk of the registration.

The Ann Arbor Turkey Trot offers pre-race-day packet pickup, but I hadn't even pre-registered, so I couldn't take advantage of it. Race day packet pickup never seemed to have a long line, and there were plenty of volunteers doling out shirts and bibs and safety pins. Race day registration is available (cash, check, card) on-site, with the understanding that there are limited sizes available for the race shirts. (There were no medium, but plenty in every other size.) I showed up about an hour before the start of the race and had plenty of time to register, walk back to my car with the shirt, and attach my bib before anything happened. A separate table had a stack of forms and pens, and the line ahead of me had maybe 2 people in it. The registration was quick and painless, and there was a giant bank of porta potties nearby. Pro tip: the only thing open before the race start was a nearby Starbucks, so plan ahead if you want/need coffee!

People started to gather in force about 45 minutes before the start of the 5k turkey trot, and that's when the announcements and music began too. I used most of the pre-race time to look around what used to be a very familiar section of Ann Arbor and see what had changed since my last law school reunion. (Answer: LOTS.) The starting are was flanked with two giant inflatable turkeys as well as the start/finish arch.

First, there was a costume contest and some people took it very, very seriously! The categories included individual, ugly sweater, group, and kids. The winning group was dressed like parts of Thanksgiving dinner (broccoli, carrot, drumstick, etc.) and their costumes were made entirely of balloons! There were tons of silly hats and shirts on people of all ages. (As one teen boy near me said, "I love this race! It's an excuse to act like a doofus for three miles!") Costume contest winners were awarded trophies. Pro tip: if you want good pictures of the costumes, you need to stake out a spot early.

Next came the kids' race. This was a 1k Tot Trot (for kids under 10) with plenty of participation; adults registered for the race could run with their kids. I thought it was cute that every kid's bib had number 1 on it. (The kids' race is not timed, I think.) Kids also got a race shirt and the post-race goodies. Some of them then turned around and did the 5k with family (a few took a stroller ride, one or two went on piggyback, but many ran/walked). I didn't watch the kids' race because I was making my way to a more appropriate place in the corral for the 5k.

The 5k has a mass start, (The 5k is timed, with the foam covered timing chips that stick to the back of your bib.) According to the announcer there were over 3,000 people registered for the 2016 run. Given the number of participants (and strollers and large costumes), overall I think people did a pretty good job with self-seeding. The first half mile was rather crowded, but it eventually spread out significantly pretty quickly. There were runners and walkers of every level, from super competitive athlete to "I'm just here for the cookies."

The course is an out-and-back starting on East Liberty, heading down Main Street, curving around The Big House (that's the football stadium to the rest of you), doing a loopy thing through part of the neighborhoods, and then returning back up Main to East Liberty. It isn't 100% flat, but the hills are very gradual; the main uphill is on the way out, making the finish a nice downhill. There was one water stop about half way through the race, which was plenty for a 5k. While it was about 38 degrees when we started, it warmed up a little during the race; we had some sprinkles, not actual rain, so I was glad I had dressed in layers. (I took off my gloves, wool BUFF, and fleece running beanie during the race, but put them right back on when I was done.)

The finisher chute is not blocked off from the crowd (it is right at the finish line, but not through the water/snacks) but is fairly well organized. There were no massive traffic jams, and everyone was pretty nice. Each runner received a cute turkey medal on a thick ribbon with race-specific graphics. Post-race treats included bottled water, bananas, chocolate chip cookies, hot cocoa (perfect for dunking the cookies), coffee (with optional cream, sugar, etc.), and some boutique energy truffles. There was more than enugh for everyone, and I think we each could have eaten multiple bananas and cookies.

Awards included top overall male and female, and 5 places deep in each of 5 age divisions. I didn't watch the entire awards ceremony, but I did see that turkeys and pies were awarded along with the trophies. Liberty Plaza, the site of the awards ceremony, also had an inflatable Santa house, complete with a real bearded Santa outside for photo ops with the kids.

The t-shirts were long-sleeved heavier cotton shirts (Gildan) with the race design on them, available in unisex sizes only for adults. The kids got shirts in kids' sizes. Personally I find it very cute and do plan to wear it again.

Overall, this was a super easy, friendly, low-key Turkey Trot. I liked the course--who doesn't love a downhill finish?--and the atmosphere, and would definitely do this race again.

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(2016)
"Fun event for a great cause"
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The Los Angeles Carerra de Los Muertos supports Olvera Street Merchants Association Foundation, a group dedicated to preserving cultural events on historic Olvera Street in Los Angeles. OSMA sponsors a nine day Dia de Los Muertos festival on Olvera Street which includes traditional performers, altars, face painting, a novenario procession, and more. A fun event that supports cultural preservation? YES, count me in!

(Note that Generic Events, the race production company, also holds Carerra de Los Muertos events in San Diego, the 2016 event benefitted Corazon de Vida, a charity that supports abandoned and orphaned children in Baja, Mexico; Sadly, the 2016 Phoenix event had to be cancelled due to low registration numbers--a cryin' shame if the LA event was representative of what this group can do! There was also a virtual option any runner could choose.)

Actually, I only learned about the race by accident, since I don't live in Los Angeles. I had planned to travel to LA for the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon, and the Carrera de Los Muertos was scheduled for the day beforehand. (My SF runner friends were jealous, as they wanted to have an SF Bay Area event but there wasn't one--just the virtual option.) So I decided to run this one too, and tried to convince everyone to join me. Most already had plane tickets, but my friend Brianna lives in LA so she joined me. We had a blast!

There were approximately 4000 people pre-registered for the Los Angeles event, according to the last emails from the organizers. A pre-race packet pickup was available at Olvera Street on Thursday night, and as an incentive to get your packet early the first 300 to pick up got a free Carrera de Los Muertos drawstring backpack. (Not only was the design nice, this one had a zippered section too, making it one of the better drawstring packs I've seen.) The only other option was to get your bib and shirt on race day.

The race was VERY easily accessible via public transportation, as Union Station is just across the street from Olvera Street. (Several muni lines go there.) I didn't really know where I was going, so I decided to follow some women who were on my train and clearly dressed for the event. When we exited the train and got up to street level there were a huge flock of runners inside Union Station! There is no possible way that even the most clueless non-Angelino could have gotten lost in between Union Station and the race. From what I could see, a number of people walked. There was ample parking in the nearby garage. The race website had a number of details wrong (cost of parking, which lines stop at Union Station), but a quick map check fixed most of them.

On-site packet pickup was a mob scene, but the volunteers did a great job of putting people into lines and handing out bibs. (This took me maybe 5 minutes, which impressed me very much!) The Carerra caters largely to the "fun run" crowd, though runners who wanted timing could add it for $5 during online registration. At packet pickup, bibs were assigned as registered runners collected them (not pre-assigned, like at races where they look up your name). The volunteer scanned the QR code on my receipt, saw which bib to hand me (timing chip), scanned it, and handed it to me. Nearby, another volunteer was separating safety pins into groups of four. From there I moved to the t-shirt line, which also moved quickly. The shirt is a black cotton tee with a red and white design printed on it. Some wore theirs for the race, I checked mine.

The bag check area consisted of some tables and a handful of volunteers. The last email from the event organizers strongly discouraged checking a bag (to the point that many people thought it wouldn't be an option). I put my number on my tee using some twisty-ties, and went to explore.

Olvera Street has a large central plaza with a parklet and a gazebo in the center. The race was set up off to one side (in the street, not the parklet). The stage had pre-race entertainment, including a mariachi band and a Zumba fitness warmup for the runners, and some fantastic Dia de Los Muertos statues/art. There was also a guy on tall stilts decked out for the occasion. Two of the booths were offering free face painting, though obviously it wasn't possible to paint 4000 faces (and also, I can't imagine what I'd look like with makeup and then race sweat all over my face).

Speaking of face painting, dressing for the occasion was definitely encouraged! There were some really fantastic and spirited costumes and makeup jobs out there. One participant wore face paint, a long wedding dress, and flowers in her hair. There were shirts and tights and skirts with themed elements, including some of the LuLaRoe Halloween collection, the Sparkle Athletic sugar skulls design, and many neat custom pieces. The men tended to either be totally decked out in a costume or makeup, or in plain ol' runner garb. Lots of women had on costume elements even if they were Serious Runners, including wreaths of faux marigolds in their hair (or on their run visors).

Speaking of serious runners, even though this event was targeted to the entire community, serious runners were well taken care of by the race. The pre-race announcer encouraged everyone to let the runners to the front of the corral, and for the most part everyone cooperated. While everyone received a finisher medal, there were also medals for the top three places in each age/gender division, and really cute painted clay sugar skull trophies for the top three men and women. Walkers and shufflers were also plenty welcome, and I loved seeing entire families out there engaging in healthy activity. (One of the nice things about not automatically timing everyone is that it keeps the cost down for the runners who don't care about timing, which makes it more affordable for families.) Every body type was represented, from athletic-cut to super curvy, as was every fitness level (from "I do 5ks in my sleep" to "5 whole k is a LONG way to walk"). There were also a lot of kids! I saw several women running and walking with babies strapped to them in carriers, and parents pushing babies in strollers. Some of the babies had on adorable little skeleton costumes, too.

The course itself was an out-and-back that went from Olvera Street through China Town and over a street overpass above the Los Angeles river before turning back on itself. This is a part of town I have never had any reason to see, so it was pretty cool to learn some new things and see some new sights. (The architecture on some of the buildings is just eye-poppingly cool, though you might have to look past the need for a coat of paint or a porch sweeping.) A few notable items included Phillipe's (famous for French-dip sandwiches), and a Buddhist garden altar (behind a building, we could see it from across a construction area).

The starting line also served as the finisher chute. After receiving medals, participants were given a great sparkling beverage, the name of which totally escapes me. (I wish I could remember it, as the stuff was delicious! It was a sparkling water with fruit flavors--I think the one I had was lemon--sweetened with cane sugar. The cool thing is that it wasn't super sweet like soda. The whole bottle had 60 calories, compared to about 120 for most cans of soda.) I'm not sure how popular it was with the group as a whole though, since I saw many half-consumed bottles at the recycling. I attribute this to Coca-Cola's ad campaigns that have aggressively targeted the Latinx community going back to the early 1980s. The irony that Coca-Cola was there sampling beverages was not lost on me. There were also oranges for participants, but I didn't take one since I was all sweaty and I'm sure my hands were gross. (I washed them before eating food I had to touch.)

Speaking of ironic race sponsors, Nestle was also there in full force. (For those not in the know, Nestle produces several products that are as aggressively targeted at the Latinx market as Coca-Cola's ad campaigns are, including Abuelita spiced hot chocolate and Nido infant formula.) Both Nestle and Coca-Cola saw a lot of foot traffic at their booths, which were well-placed for visibility purposes. Other booths included Clif Bar (with free bars from their new nut-butter-filled line), Chocolate Milk (Nestle, but separate from the booth with the other brands), the LA soccer team (with a soccer activity for kids), another LA sports team (sorry, wasn't paying attention), a group promoting sustainable energy, the Moustache Dash, and a few others. You could buy a button or postcard to support Olvera Street Merchants and see the prizes up by the gazebo.

Also up in the parklet, around the gazebo, were several Dia de Los Muertos altars, including one where runners could contribute photos or ofrendas. There were race-backdrops for photo ops (with long lines though). Musicians and dancers performed on the gazebo after the race, and some of the Olvera Street shops and restaurants opened for business.

Overall, I thought this race was very well done in terms of management (minus the few errors in the website and emails, which is why I docked it a star); the race was fun, the swag was cute, the required waits (bib, shirt) were negligible. The location was perfect--both appropriate culturally (Olvera Street) and for transit access. I don't travel for 5k races, but if Rock 'n' Roll LA is the same weekend as Carrera de Los Muertos next year, I will definitely recruit some more runners.

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(2016)
"No One Has Heard of This Race--But You Should Run It"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

As I wrote in my blog post, this is a gorgeous little race! I'm surprised it isn't bigger, but since no one has heard of it--seriously, when I checked into my hotel and asked for a late checkout because of the race the hotel staff said, "oh, there's a race this weekend? What race?"--I thought the race was relatively new, like just a few years old. (I hadn't heard of it before, and I live within driving distance.) I found out after the race that this year was actually the 21st anniversary of City to the Sea! The race benefits the local junior college track and field, which I thought was pretty cool. This year there were fewer than 2000 runners in the half marathon, according to the race results.

There is also a 5k race (it starts at a different location) if you'd like to have a race-cation and run a little less. I didn't look to see how many runners it had, but I'm betting it was reasonably small. Maybe a good course to try to win if you're a fast person?

Overall: 4 stars
The course was great, the shirt was cute (if tiny), the volunteers were the best! (I give the aid stations and the volunteers a 5+!) There were plenty of pre-race emails with information about what to see and do in the area, and leading up to race day there were emails with race-specific instructions about packet-pickup, etc. Transportation back to the start was smooth. The race had a few bumps that i would expect of a newer race, which is the only reason I'm not giving it 5 stars.

Packet pickup/Expo
The actual packet pickup was definitely a 5+. Race volunteers helped me out quickly and were very friendly. Since I had some traffic issues on the way down from Oakland I missed most of the expo, so I don't think it's fair for me to rate it. Running Warehouse had plenty of staff on hand to help with last-minute purchased, and there were specials on running shoes (many brands/sizes!). Everyone was really helpful.

T-shirts/swag: 4 stars
The medal is big and on a nice ribbon, though the design is a little boring (it is the race logo). I don't know whether using the logo is a tradition though, in which case I'd probably find it really cool. The shirts are cute, but many of the female runners won't get to wear them (see recommendations). There were stickers and pint-cups for all runners at the end, which was cool. You could use the cup for beer (I didn't, but others did!). I particularly liked that I didn't get a bag or a bunch of paper--I've got lots of bags, and since I'm not local, all of those race flyers would have been wasted on me (not to mention recycled).

Aid stations: 5+++
The volunteers at every part of the course were awesome. Anywhere there was any chance you might go the wrong way, there were at least two people to tell you not to go that way. If you got lost, it's because you worked hard to get lost! Aid stations were well-stocked, even for us back-to-end-of-the-parade people; water and electrolytes (the brand is Fluid--I thought it just meant "fluid stop" but it turns out that's the brand name), plenty of cups, and I forget which nutrition product was out there but there was plenty left for me when I got there.

Course scenery: 5
Apparently fall/winter is the time of year to visit San Luis Obispo. (We got gorgeous running weather, which I know isn't part of the scenery or under the race director's control, but it is worth mentioning.) I'd never been there, so running through part of town was cool. Sure, part of the race was alongside the highway, but I barely noticed, and any possible negative points for that (seriously, didn't notice, and there was lots of green and hills to look at) were more than balanced out by the miles through the park, and the last few miles where you could see the ocean. GORGEOUS. I don't get to do many point-to-point courses, so I enjoyed that as well. Once I hit the last miles through the town area, I switched to the sidewalk. There was some road resurfacing (I think) and the road was a little more uneven than my wimpy ankle could handle. The sidewalks were plenty wide and very even, so that was a plus. I also liked running through the neighborhoods, many of which had Halloween decorations up.

The race finishes in a park. It's ocean-side, but the ocean is many, many feet straight down (so don't get any post-race beach swimming ideas). The finish area had some vendors, but not a ton. I did get to check out LuLaRoe and Fluid (they make a recovery drink that I tried that was delicious!). Other booths included massage, the Cuesta College track and field, and probably a half dozen others. There was a sports recovery and massage place that also had a giant kiddie pool (the deep kind) filled with ice water! I wasn't brave enough for that, but I did take the opportunity to rest in a lounge chair. The beer garden had an 80's cover band that was really quite good. There was a Cuban food truck and a coffee truck. The park itself has a built-in playground-type area with dinosaur themed equipment, and nearby there was a kids' race area for the kids to compete against each other--pretend fire to jump over, hoops to jump through, etc.--the kids seemed to be eating it up!

Elevation: 3ish
In terms of elevation, do look at the elevation posted on the race website. It's not difficult, but I marked it a 3 because there are definitely hills--and they aren't little tiny ones. There is a nice long stretch of downhill, but if you don't run downhill that can be challenging too. Basically, I live on a flat piece of the world, so anything hilly gets a bump up in the "challenging" rating. For reference, this course was nowhere near as hilly as Tiburon Half Marathon, or Rock 'n' Roll San Francisco.

Parking/Access: 4 stars
Since it is a point-to-point course, you park at the start and take a shuttle to the finish. I can't give it a 5 because the directions in the email and on the race website both said to exit Marsh Street to get to the parking garage, but that exit was closed to traffic. In the end it wasn't that big a deal as I found on-street parking (free until 1 p.m. and right near the race start) but I had a moment of panic on my way in!

Recommendations for future races:

Advertise! Get on social media! This race should easily have 6000 or more runners, every year, with plenty of return participants. The course lends itself well to Snap and Instagram, but even jumping into a few twitter chats here and there, or posting invites in runners groups on facebook would help get the word out. I "liked" the event page but never saw any of the content come up in my facebook feed, which is just a testament to how much facebook loves to mess with the algorithm.

For email, I would differentiate pre-race communications for those who are registered and those who are not. I mistakenly thought I had registered in advance (oops!) and a friend of mine thought she was also registered due to the emails about what to expect on race day. (She couldn't run, so she wasn't disappointed when she found out she wasn't registered.) The race definitely needs an A/B list for email to encourage past runners to return while also getting race-day details to current runners.

Third, have a woman order the shirts for the women. There wasn't any indication in the pre-race materials or on the website that the shirts would run small. The instant I saw the brand on the tag, I knew it was going to be small. Even the XL is tight on me (I wear a 12, I'm not extra-large). There were no XXL or XXXL shirts. I suspect a lot of women just didn't take a shirt, as there were a ton of XS and S sizes left.

Finally, the post-race food needs serious improvement. I didn't get a burrito, and I probably could have dealt with that and gotten over it, but when I got on the bus to head back to the start I found out that literally half of the people on my bus did not get a burrito. Not cool. I thought I had missed the burritos because I have a bum ankle and took more than 3 hours to finish, but the majority of the people on my bus who didn't get a burrito finished well within the 3 hour time limit. Ordinarily I would not make such a big deal about a burrito, but there was literally no other post-race food (no bagels, no bananas, etc.) Runners were left with two options: buy food from the Cuban food truck (which I am sure was lovely, but there wasn't anything vegetarian on the menu) or wait until returning to the start.

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