Latest reviews by Samantha Andrews

(2018)
"Double Pump"
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On December 1, 2018 I ran the Enmarket Bridge Double Pump Run in Savannah, GA. This was my second road trip to Savannah for races this year. The Enmarket Bridge run run has three distances to conquer the Talmadge Memorial Bridge: 5k (1 trip over the bridge), 10k (2 trips over the bridge), and the 15k (3 trips over the bridge). The 15k runners ran the 5k and 10k races. I choose to run the 15k distance, which is also known as the Double Pump. This was my first year running this race series, so I was excited to get a bit off a hill challenge in Savannah.

Expo
The race expo was held at the Savannah Civic Center. The expo was small and packet pick up was quick and easy. The race offered a BINGO game to encourage participants to visit the vendors. Each vendor stamped your BINGO card and after collecting 20 stamps you could submit your card into a raffle to win prizes. I played BINGO and learned about new products, races, and services that were being offered by local venders.

​​Race Day
It was drizzling on race day. This year was second time this year that I ran a race in the rain. Since I ran the Double Pump (15K), I parked at the Savannah Convention Center for the start. Parking was plentiful and only costs $5. For the Double Pump, the first race was the 5k. At the start, walkers and runners were separated, but we all merged at the start. The 5k was delayed for a few minutes and then we were off to run across the bridge. 
 
For the 5k, we ran across the Talmadge Ridge and finished close to the Savannah Civic Center. At the finish, Double Pump runners were directed to the designated finisher shoot so we could get ready for the 10k. I finished the 5k in 33:02. 
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The 10k race started about 30 minutes after the 5k. At the beginning of the 10k, we ran around the square for about a mile and then it was time to take it to the bridge. We ran across the bridge to the start of the 5k and then looped around and ran back to the finish line (the 5k and 10k had the same finish line).  For me, the third time climbing the bridge was a doozy. Overall the 10k was fine and I finished in 1:12.
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At the post race party we had Brunswick stew, oranges, and bananas. The best part of the race was the free trolley ride back to the convention center. I enjoyed the race and I only have two suggestions for improvements. First, I wish they had better running corrals. I spent a lot of time at the beginning of the 5k zig zagging around others. The second is to require runners with strollers to start last or ban strollers all together. I witnessed a woman that ran with a stroller with four kids nearly ran over a runner during the 5k. 

I can now add Savannah to my list of cities that I have completed all the major races distances (5k-marathon).

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(2018)
"Half Marathon PR for 2018"
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I had a wonderful experience of finally running a sub 2:30 half marathon after three long years. I remember the days when running a sub 2:15 was all I knew until I developed a pesky stress fracture in my femur in 2015. Even with a bug that had me in the bed the previous weekend before the race, I was able to complete the Rock 'n' Roll Savannah half marathon in 2:24.

This year was my second year running the Rock 'n' Roll Savannah half marathon. Rock 'n' Roll Savannah is dear to me because it was my first marathon in 2014. Savannah is a short drive from ATL and terrain is flat. While I originally planned to run the Remix Challenge and Georgia Pie Challenge races, I only ran the half marathon this year.

The Expo
The Expo was held at the Savannah Convention Center, which has tons of free parking. Packet pick up was quick and easy. The expo this year was a bit smaller than it has been in previous years, which meant I did not spend any money (yay for my wallet!). This year I was super excited about the name wall they had for the marathon and half marathon runners. I am a sucker for name walls and love them. There was plenty of vendors selling gear and selling discounted race entries. Brooks, the official sponsor, had tons of great appareal and shoes for purchase.
  
The shirt for this year's race was interesting. It is definitely not one of my favorite shirts, I wish the designers had highlighted more of Savannah's beauty in their design.
 
Race Day
One thing I love about this race is that the starting line is next to the Hilton, so you don't have to use the porta potties before the race. You can also hang out in the lobby and rest before starting. I was in corral 3 and at 7:30 am we were off to take on 13.1 miles in beautiful Savannah.

I loved the course. The weather was perfect, the volunteers were excited, and the Gatorade Endurance was on point. There was plenty to see and there are NO HILLS. While my goal was to run a sub 2, I was battling a bug that got worse with each mile. My first two miles were sub 10, but after that I had to do intervals (2 min run: 45 s walk) so that I could give my lungs a break.

After 3 long years, I finally ran a sub 2:30 half marathon. I crossed the finished line in 2:24:08 and was beyond overjoyed. It is my half marathon PR for the year. I am still chasing the sub 2, but that will be for another race.

Overall I really like Rock 'n' Roll Savannah and hopefully next year the sub 2 time will be mine.

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(2018)
"Honoring our Veterans at DAV5K Atlanta"
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Last Saturday, Nov 10, in honor of Veteran's Day I ran the Disabled American Veterans 5K (DAV5K) Atlanta race (dav5k.org). The DAV5K raises funds to help support disabled veterans and their families. I was proud and inspired to support a race that had a great cause to help those who have sacrificed much for my freedom.

Packet Pickup
Packet pick up was at Phidippides in Ansley Mall, former Olympian Jeff Galloway's store, the day before the race. There was plenty of free parking and pick was super quick. The shirt had two shirts, one for civilians and another military men and women. I was in and out of packet pick up in 5 minutes. 
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Race Day
The race was at Piedmont Park and we ran around the perimeter of the park starting at the gate at Charles Allen and heading north on 10th Street. The route was great. The hills were not that bad. It was super cold, but at least it wasn't raining. At the finish, veterans received medals and we all received breakfast from Chick-Fil-A. My finishing time was 32:59.

Overall it was a great race and I had a fun time running with veterans and their families. 

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(2018)
"Love the new course"
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After a two year break, I ran the PNC Atlanta 10 miler race on Oct 21. The 10 miler is the second race in the Triple Peach series.

Packet Pickup
Packet pickup was in Atlantic Station. The expo was small and packet pickup  was really quick and easy. There was plenty of race merchandise to purchase and Cliff Bar samples. The hoodie shirts were a bit small, but we were able to swap them out for better sizing.
 
Race Day
Traveling to Atlantic Station via the MARTA was easy. The weather was perfect, despite the fact that it rained the previous day. The race started and finished in Atlantic Station. The course took us from Atlantic Station via 17th Street to Peachtree Road. For the first 3 miles, it was downhill. For the remaining 7 miles, the courses was rolling hills. I enjoyed the new course and all the scenery. 

At the finish line we were rewarded with spinning 10 miler medals. The post race festivities consisted of snacks and vendors. Overall, I really like the new course. I do not miss having to run on Northside Drive at all. While I think the 10 miler is the most challenging race of the Triple Peach Series, the Thanksgiving Half Marathon might give it a run for its money.

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(2018)
"4 Way Challenge With Extra Cheese "
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2018 marked the 20th Anniversary for the marathon.I heard great things about the Flying Pig races so I was super excited to run them this year. Since I love challenges and earning ALL the medals, I signed up to run the 4 Way Challenge with Extra Cheese. The 4 Way Challenge with Extra Cheese consists of a 1 miler, 10k, 5k, and marathon (in that order) over the course of three days. So where do I start...

The Airport
The fun and excitement for the weekend started with the welcoming party at the Cincinnati airport. There was a great welcoming committee for the runners to greet us as we walked to baggage claim. I received a goodie bag that included a chocolate bar. There were also plenty of props for photo opps. If I wasn't excited before, I was really getting there after landing in town.

The Expo
The expo was held at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati. Picking up all the my four of my race bibs was quick. The packets were organized according to race and challenges. For the 4 Way Challenge, I only had to make one stop to pick up all my bibs. Runners were organized by last name, so no need to know bib numbers. Each bib was placed in an envelope that had a checklist printed on them to make sure you pick up all your items. The shirts and gifts (blankets) were at the back of the expo. The shirts were also easy to pick up.

The expo had tons of vendors who were selling running items and the official commemorative cookies. Sponsors, such as PG, were giving out nice samples There were plenty of pigs for pictures.

I bought an official Flying Pig Sweaty Band and a Flying Pig cookie. I learned about the cookie from Flying Pig Instagram account prior to the race. I ate it while I was waiting in line for the PG samples.

The 4 Way Challenge With Extra Cheese
Kings 1 miler Race
The first race for the 4 Way Challenge was the Kings 1 miler. The race was held on Friday at 8 pm. The course was short and flat. We also received a medal. I had my PR the weekend during this race. After the race we attended the post race party where they had chili dogs, free pictures, and drinks.

Flying Pig 10k
The Flying Pig 10k was the second race in the series. It took place on Saturday at 8 am. The course took us from Cincinnati to over the river to Kentucky and back to the Cincy. The course had rolling hills and was not as bad running in Atlanta. It was really cool running through two states for a race, a first for me. The crowd support during the race was awesome. There were tons of volunteers giving out snacks and water during the race. Someone had a pig at mile 4 at a water stop. The race offered snacks (pretzels, snack bars, and fruit cups) at the end of the race. After the race I got my medal, snacks, and switched to my 5k bib and lined up for the 5k that immediately followed.

Flying Pig 5k
The Flying Pig 5k was immediately after the 10k at 10 am. The course was only in Cincinnati and was 3.1 miles of the 10k course. We got to see the pig again during the course. The volunteers were out in full force and snacks were great. It rained during the race, but nothing major to ruin the run. After day 2 my medal court was up to 3. The only thing left was the marathon.

Flying Pig Marathon
The Flying Pig Marathon was the final race of the weekend. It was Sunday at 6 am. Similar to the 10k we ran in Cincinnati and Kentucky. We ran a few miles in Kentucky and majority of the race was in Cincy. The course was similar to running in Athens, GA. There were enough hills and flatness to balance out the race. Mile 6 was probably the toughest, but the most beautiful part of the race. At the top of the hill at mile 6 was gorgeous view of Cincinnati and the Ohio River. Since I turned my phone off to conserve my battery power I wasn't able to snap a picture.

The course was fully supported with plenty of water stops and volunteers giving out snacks (including bacon). I even met one of my Twitter friends on the course. While I did not achieve my sub 4:30 goal, I finished before 6 hours. I slowed down around mile 18 because the sun came out and it started to get hot. Overall I really enjoyed the course. This race was a great way to start my marathon retirement.

After the race we received our medals and then we had to walk though the park to get our Finisher's jacket and 4 Way Challenge medal. My only complaint about the race is the amount of walking we had to do to get our 4-Way medals and jacket. It would have been nice if those items had been at or closer to the Finish Swine.

I can put a stamp on OH and KY for races. I would highly recommend any of Flying Pig races. They had awesome volunteers and the best race management that I have ever experience. I didn't have to worry about cars at any time during the race. The race also communicated with participants to keep us in the loop about everything. We didn't receive our medal racks, but thanks to communication we knew that before the race so there were no surprises. Best wishes to those who are brave enough to take on any of the races or challenges, may the swine be with you!

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