Latest reviews by Jenny
This is my third time running Rock n' Roll San Diego and first time as a San Diego resident. I had a great race.
Expo: Rock n'Roll knows how to put on an expo. It was held in the convention center downtown by the harbor. Super easy to get to and very spacious with lots going on.
It didn't take any time at all to get our bibs, we got our race shirts. They have women's specific shirts by Brooks, however they do run small so keep that in mind when selecting a size. I did notice this year they had a booth where you could exchange your shirt, so if it doesn't fit that is an option.
Brooks is the shoe/clothing sponsor for Rock n'Roll, they had their Run Happy Island again, where you could do a foot analysis, ride the shoe bull, play games and win prices.
There was lots to do at the expo, we got our Maui Jim's cleaned, had some Suja samples, bought some new Altra shoes.
Since we would be driving to the race and my fiance had sprained his ankle the week before, we didn't want to have to walk back up to Balboa Park after the race to get our car. We purchased the parking pass & shuttle passes for the morning. It was $15 for the parking pass & one shuttle pass & then $5 for each additional shuttle pass. We were told parking was available starting at 3:30a and and the shuttles would run until 5:30am.
This is the only area that I really was disappointed with. We made it to the parking area just before 5am got parked and walked to the shuttle line that was so so long. There weren't very many buses waiting to take people in and in the whole time we walked to the end of the line, no one really moved so by the time we got there we made the executive decision to walk the 2 miles to Balboa Park.
Balboa Park is set up really well with lots and lots of port-a-potties, UPS trucks for gear drop, VIP area for elite athletes and those who paid extra to have private bathrooms & food. I saw Desi Linden warming up. That was pretty cool.
The marathon started at 6:15am and then the half would start around 6:50am. I was able to watch the start of the marathon, go to the port-a-potties, drop off my bag and get to my corral with time to spare.
The half marathon goes thru the city of San Diego, starting from Balboa Park, going thru various neighborhoods of the city before coming back to the other side of the park and heading downtown where we would finish the race by Petco Park.
It's a moderately hilly course for someone use to running on flat spaces. I wouldn't call it very hilly. It was a nice overcast day which isn't pretty but it's nice to run in. The best part is that there is a nice downhill at the finish. That rarely happens ;).
Water stations were well staffed & filled, there was gatorade at some of the stations, but not all. One station with GU Shots.
In the last section of the race they had a fun, Meb zone in the last part of the race, with all these huge Meb heads.
After finishing the race, you are given your medal, the opportunity for post race photos and some post race treats. I got a bottle of water, a bottle of Gatorade, chocolate milk, a banana, Dole Pineapple dippers, Dole fruit, pretzel and dried cranberries. They also had Power Bars, but I'm not a big fan so I left them for others.
Post Race, it was pretty chaotic, so many people. The trucks with the gear were just outside the runner area. I felt like it was a bit more crowded this year in that area.
We went to the post race concert for the first time, this year O.A.K. performed inside Petco Park, where we got full bottles of Suja juice, our favorite :), a free photo from Toyota and got to enjoy the concert sitting in the outfield. This is also where you would pick up your medal for running the 5k & either the marathon or half marathon and your medals for running multiple Rock n'Roll events.
Overall, this is one of my favorite events and I'm glad I had the opportunity to run it again. You can read my full post on my blog...http://runny-legs.com/2015/06/rock-n-roll-san-diego-race-recap-2015/
My friends have all run this race multiple times and so we signed up way in advance to run. This race will sell out and it sells out early.
As a Boston Qualifying race, it's definitely geared towards the speedy. If you are a mid to back of packer like I was, it can get a little lonely out there.
First off, communication from the race was excellent. They sent multiple emails out in the month prior to the race with all the details you would need.
There was an opportunity to pick up your bib the week prior to the race as well as the day before. We were coming from San Diego, a 3.5 hr drive, so we waited until Saturday to pick ours up. The expo was open from 2 - 7pm at Ventura High School. To say it was chaotic is an understatement. Hundreds of runners waiting to pick up their bibs in a very small space. I was not impressed.
There are 3 different race distances offered, 5k, 1/2 marathon & marathon For the 1/2 & full marathons there were 3 lines for people to stand in, but it was very confusing as to which line to get into. If you were really fast, numbers 1 - 600 your line was really short, the other numbers had much longer lines. I'm grateful for volunteers, but I don't feel like they were trained properly on how to give out the bibs. There were just random stacks of bibs spread out on a table. They couldn't even find my bib for almost 5-7 minutes. Most races have them in boxes, bins with the numbers separated that way - this was completely disorganized.
There was a booth on the other side with race shirts and other packet items like KT Tape, chocolate biPro and some pamplets. There were some vendors, Clif, Fluid & Lorna Jane for example but I was a little annoyed about the disorganization so I didn't really pay close attention.
One of the unique things about this race is that if you aren't able to run, you can transfer your registration to another runner and if you don't pick up your bib at the expo when it's finished they will sell the bibs to other runners for 1 hour. So if you don't get in you still might have a chance at the last minute.
Race morning parking - the race sent out a lot of information on where to park. Ventura offers a lot of street parking, which is free until 10am and other public parking which is free all day. We didn't have any issues with finding parking.
We walked from parking to the shuttle buses, about 4-5 blocks. The shuttles, school buses, were set up very well. They had buses to both the start lines of the marathon & half marathon and they were consistently running. The official times for the shuttles were 4am & 5am but we got there at 4:40am and were able to immediately get on the bus. One note on the shuttle, they had all the windows cracked and it was cold!! I'd recommend bringing throw away clothes to keep warm before the race starts.
Once arriving at the start there were lots of port-a-potties, gear check (I'm not positive on where it was, but they didn't give out bags at the expo so you'd want to check on what kind of bags you can have with them directly).
There were supposed to be corrals, they had us separated by color, but for some reason we all started at the same time.
The course starts in Ojai and then is a mostly downhill course on a bike path down to the beach in Ventura, there is a bit of an uphill between miles 5 - 7, but it's not much. It really is a beautiful course, with views of the mountains and then running on the bike path near the ocean.
This was my 6th marathon and the smallest one I've ever done, around 1,500 marathoners. I'm used to having a lot of spectators so this was a lot different for me. Also, because most everyone is gunning for a BQ even though there is a 6 hour time limit, it spreads out quickly. I was nursing an injury to my hamstring, so my time was a lot slower than I would have liked. I met a lot of really cool people in the last stretch but it's definitely a lot different than the big races I've done before.
The finish is on the boardwalk in Ventura Beach, past the pier and the Crowne Plaza. It was a nice finish with an awesome finish line festival. The medal was awesome, big & heavy.
The food options they gave though were paltry, a bottle of water and a small container with some watermelon, a tiny slicy of banana, some cookies and m&m's. Compared to other races, it wasn't great. There were however a lot of food trucks available to purchase food.
They had a massage tent, one of the perks of being at the back of the pack was that I got right in to get a massage and it was at least 15 minutes long. AWESOME!!
Another perk are the free race photos available after the race.
All in all, even though this was not by best personal race, I would recommend this race to anyone, especially if you are looking to BQ &/or PR.
You can read my full recap on my blog at http://runny-legs.com/2015/05/mountains-2-beach-marathon-race-recap/.
I kept meaning to write this recap but with packing, work and training, it just didn’t get done until now. When I ran this race in 2014 it wasn’t my best experience. I didn’t get much sleep the night before, I fell and my knee was all cut open, it rained. There were a ton of burnt toast moments in that race and it definitely wasn’t my favorite race.
So why did I decide to come back for another year? Well first off, it wasn’t super expensive, I think I paid less than $70 for this race and all sorts of people were running this race, from the RunEatTweetAZ peeps, to most of the Cave Creek Running Chicks, to tons of bloggers from out of town to friends of mine from other races & run groups. So I convinced my fiance to sign up for the marathon and I signed up for the half again.
The Phoenix Marathon is deceiving in it’s name as I mentioned last year, it actually takes place in Mesa, but I think the race name has to do with, not only is it’s near the city of Phoenix, it is also referring to the bird the Phoenix, which was the focus on both of my medals.
When I signed up for the race, I wasn’t quite sure what my work schedule was going to be like, we typically do an out of town event the week of the race, but fortunately this year we did it the week before so I didn’t have to worry about missing the packet pick-up like last year.
First off, quickly, I made it to the official packet pick-up this year. It was held at Mesa Riverview over by the Sports Authority. When you arrive, you get your bib, they ask you to know your number and show a photo ID. They allow you pick up other runner’s packets too with the same info. I was picking up Sean’s packet too and just had to show a photo of his ID on my phone.
I got our bibs & the swag bags in the first part of the expo. Then you could walk thru to see the various vendors, they were selling my favorite Honey Stinger waffles 10 for $10 which is an awesome deal so I picked up a few of those and then looked at what else was for sale before heading in to Sports Authority to get our shirts.
Ladies…I think I did this last year too, but I normally like to have a medium in most women’s style race shirts. This is because they run small and have tight necks, which I hate. I’m just a little picky lol. Well the Phoenix Marathon shirts are by Albion, which is an awesome brand, but they run super big because the fabric is really stretchy. You couldn’t exchange at the expo, but if you brought your shirt to the race you could exchange there. I ended up getting the last x-small. So glad I did because the medium was pretty big on, definitely not something I would have ever worn because of how loose it was. So in case you are wondering what size shirt to get, if they are using Albion, err on the side that the shirts might be a bit looser.
Inside the swag bag was a bunch of random brochures, a pair of arm warmers, a mini sized peanut butter Clif Bar (finally not that horrible mint clif bar or luna bar that I always seem to get) and some sun screen.
All in all the expo was nice and for such a small race, pretty big & I’m glad I got to experience it.
This year, I didn’t want to have to drive the 30 – 40 mins to the race so I stayed closer to the race location, I got us a room at the Marriott at the Buttes Resort in Tempe, which was about 12 minutes from the race vs. 30-40 from my house. We needed to be at the race location by 5am to catch the last shuttles to the start lines. I didn’t want to get stuck in a lot of traffic and have to rush to find parking and then get to the buses. Especially since the buses were in different locations for the full & half marathon.
We headed out to the race, it was a little chilly out, probably around 50 or so. I took my gear check bag so I could wear my track pants and jacket to the start line area. We made it to the bus area pretty quickly. There were different exits for the marathon & half marathon bus staging area. We decided to park near the half marathon buses because it was closer to the finish line and Sean walked/ran over to the marathon bus area.
I got on my bus pretty quickly – same set up as last year and then headed off on a 15 or so minute drive to the staging area for the start line. When I got off the bus, there were port-a-potties right there with a lot of heat lamps. There was a lot of space for everyone to wait for the race to start. I think I got there about 90 mins before the race would start. The buses started around 3:30 or 3:45am, I’m glad I didn’t get on an earlier bus, that was long enough to have to wait.
I decided to keep my long sleeve lululemon shirt on for the race. I figured that if needed I could always take it off during the race and put it around my waist. I was fine for the first mile or 2 and then I started to get a little warm, but I was like, I’ll wait until at least mile 5 because I was feeling pretty good and didn’t really want to stop. I’m not sure what mile it was when the wind started to kick up a bit but I was glad I had it on because by the end of the race I was freezing.
I still don’t really like the course. I don’t find it very exciting at all and while there were some people out cheering us on, it’s not like a huge race where there are lots of spectators.
Now the finish line area, that was awesome. I have to say of all the races I’ve run and I’ve done a lot of them, this race had the best post-race food of any race I’ve ever done.
Soon after crossing the finish line, we were handed bottles of water, hand towels from 24 hr Fitness and our medals.
There was a section to have your finish photo taken, I passed, but it was there. Then you walked over to the food section. There was a muscle milk area with Muscle Milk shakes of course, yoga mats and foam rollers, an area to get massages and a line for food. The line was semi long but it went pretty fast. In line I talked with a lady who came down from Indianapolis to run the half and she asked me about my Altras too so I was able to chat about them while waiting for the line to progress.
First up was some fruit (orange, apples, bananas), Dole handed out fruit cups as well, then there were some breakfast breads, Sprouts had a small booth with multiple snacks, and then there was a BBQ food truck handing out mini bbq pork sandwiches and a really good mac & cheese with a little kick.
That was just in the runner only section. Then when you went out into the main expo area there were turkey hot dogs, green juice, Sprouts had another booth with tons of stuff, bottles of water, containers of coconut water, Svelte protein drinks, multiple snacks and they were telling us to take some of everything. When I went back with Sean a while later, there was even more & different items out. And all of this was free.
There were other food trucks with things like sodas, mustache pretzels and other things that you could buy. It was like a mini expo after the race. They also had a nice area for the awards, with seats and a seating area with little tables for you to enjoy your snacks, etc.
We walked inside the expo where there was a big Welcome Runners banner, got our bibs, then went to the next area for our race shirts and bag of goodies. There was no line for either of us at either station, it was around noon on Saturday when we arrived.
After that we tried to get out of the Asics store, it was ridiculous how crazy it was – lines pretty throughout most of the entire section. All we wanted to do was get out lol. Once we finally got out the first thing I saw was the Asics Pace Your Race pace bracelet station. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to run the pace I selected because of the heat, but I thought I’d at least get the bracelet for a souvenir. I had signed up for it online so the line for pre-registered runners was pretty short.
Next we just went thru the expo checking things out. It wasn’t an overly large expo, but had all the main players.
We found our names on the mural. How cool is it that both our names were in the same section? We were walking walking thru near the stage area and I just happened to look over to my right and who did I see? The amazing, inspiring oh so cool Deena Kastor! I was so excited and I asked Sean if he would wait with me so we could get a photo, which of course he would. When we were in Chicago he had mentioned how he gets chills every time he thinks about her running the Chicago Marathon, which was featured in the original Spirit of the Marathon. We said hi, chatted with Deena for a few minutes before leaving for lunch & got a photo.
They were calling for extremely warm temps for the race, so the LAM race officials had made a few changes to accommodate the heat.
1) They moved the race up 30 minutes to start at 6:55a
2) They added additional water & Gatorade to the aid stations to make sure everyone stayed hydrated
3) They removed the timing clocks from the course so that it allowed runners to just enjoy the race and not go too hard.
With the race start time changing to 6:55am, we were close enough that we didn’t have to get up too too early. I think I set my alarm for 4:30a and we were up and out the door by 5:15a. We made it to the shuttles pretty quickly and managed to get in front of a huge group of kids that were part of the Students Run LA group to get on a shuttle. The shuttles would take us over to Dodger Stadium.
We made it to the Stadium, hit up the port-a-potties and then headed over to meet up with a few of our friends running the race too by the gear check. We got in line to go a second time but the lines were really long and we didn’t want to miss getting into our corrals so at 6:25a, we called it and headed into the corrals just to be safe. I don’t know how strict they were this year, but apparently in years past they were really strict.
While I was in my corral, I ate a vanilla honey stinger, I had eaten some oatmeal before we left the hotel so this was just a little snack before the start. It was already getting warm out by this point, I even saw a guy go down while we were waiting in the corral, if it was from the heat or nervousness, I’m not sure, but it was a little scary to see.
They started the Elite women about 15 minutes before the Elite men and the rest of us. It didn’t take that long until we were running thru the start line and out of the stadium.
I forgot to charge my Garmin so I didn’t have any way to keep track of my time outside of my Nike+ but it was on my phone, which isn’t as easy to check. That was OK with me because I hadn’t been training with it recently and considering my training this cycle it was just better for me to not worry about time.
I was already warm around mile 2 so I just chugged along until about mile 4 when there was a bit of a hill. I ended up walking up the upper half of the hill because of some minor chest pains that were a precursor to the cold/respiratory issue I ended up with after the race.
I stopped at every aid station after mile 4, filled up my bottle with more Gatorade and dumped water over my head. I ran thru every sprinkler and kept myself as cool as I possibly could. You would think that being from Phoenix, the heat wouldn’t matter, but we hadn’t had temps into the 90s yet at this time so I definitely wasn’t ready for it.
I was doing really well considering for the first 19 miles when the 4:30 pace group passed me. By this point the sun was really out and I just wanted to finish without getting dehydrated or feeling bad so I just keep doing the run/walk thing – what interval I was using, I’m not quite sure but it was working for me.
Miles 20 – 24 were somewhat shaded, it was on a nice residential street lined with spectators and charity tents. It seemed like everyone was handing out water, orange slices, pretzels and other things. Everyone was super nice and kept cheering us all on.
One of the nice things about this race was that you could see a lot of the mile markers as we ran. There was an aid station every mile after mile 2 and so having both those things helped the course go by quickly. There were a few Clif Gel stations, I think 2 that I can remember.
The last 1.5 miles were probably some of the toughest mentally for me, you could see the finish line, but it was obviously still a distance away, and it was super sunny by this point. Since I didn’t have my watch, I didn’t know exactly where I was at so I didn’t want to push it and start the kick too early so I ended up just cruising in to the finish.
They did have a clock at the finish line and it was showing 4:41 which wasn’t too far off from my current PR so I was happy.
They haven’t finalized the results yet, they are still showing as “unofficial” but my time listed was 4:39:22 – less than 4 minutes off my PR which considering the heat and the my not so stellar training I was thrilled.
– Well organized race
– They were really good at communicating with us regarding their plan to deal with the heat
– Lots of spectators – lots of people handing out water, oranges, pretzels, bananas and Twizzlers. I even saw a couple grilling hot dogs and then another with beer shots. Everyone was really nice.
– Great medals
– Overall good course with lots of aid stations
I enjoyed this race and I’m really glad that I was able to run the race without much pain, I didn’t have any issues with cramping or hydration. I think that not being so concerned with time was a good thing for me, I actually enjoyed the race for the most part.
We’ll be back to run this one again :).
Check out my full recap & more photos online at http://runny-legs.com/2015/03/30th-asics-la-marathon-race-recap/
This was the 2nd year for this race and it was a pretty good one. It’s not a huge race, like some of the other beach marathons I’ve done.
I arrived on Friday evening, flying into Burbank after a work event in Nashville, TN, I wasn’t feeling well Friday afternoon, with a minor cold and probably a slight fever, and I didn’t realize that it was going to be an hour drive from the airport, but it was actually a pretty easy drive, on the 101 all the way there. I finally got to the hotel around 11:30pm, got checked in and crashed.
I slept in, and then met up with friends for breakfast at the hotel before getting ready and heading over to the beach to pick up my packet, and one for a friend, which was super easy. They also had race day pick-up for an extra $20. Packet pickup was a breeze, super fast and I just needed my friend’s waiver and a copy of her driver’s license and I got her packet too.
Race swag included: a nice reusable logo’d tote bag, a nice women’s cut tech t-shirt, some KT tape samples and a bunch of advil samples, the cold & allergy one came in really handy for me that night :). I don’t have a photo, but the interesting thing was that they had reusable chips for the shoes. I’ve gotten so use to the D-tags or B-tags that I was a little surprised to see that in my packet.
We were there really early, so the little expo was just getting started, but they did have a nice booth with pieces specific to the marathon that were very reasonably priced. Too often you go to the expo, want to get a shirt or something, but they are super expensive, these pieces were priced in the $20 – 40 range mostly and were decent quality too.
Then it was time for bed, we had an early morning. Twi of my friends was running the marathon while I was doing the half. The marathon started at 6:20am, with the half following around 6:50am, I believe. We left around 5:45am, since we were only about a 1/2 mile from the start.
We headed towards the packet pick-up where there were a ton of porta potties, after my experience in San Fran, I was happy to see that they were close to the start line. I met up with my friend, a co-worker, whose packet I picked up the day before and then watched the marathon start before getting a few photos and getting ready for the half.
The weather was really nice at the start, I felt comfortable in my tank and skirt – I feel cold a lot of the time before the sun gets up, but this time it was just right :).
There were just a few waves for the half, I think 3 total. I started in the 2nd wave because really, I wasn’t sure how this was going to go since I wasn’t feeling 100% the day before. The first few miles of the race were in the shade, it was pretty nice and relatively cool, always a plus. This is an out and back course, with several out and backs.
We started out by the pier, running thru some neighborhoods, then over by the Ventura Harbor and we spent a lot of time on Harbor Blvd. The harbor area was the best in my opinion but all in all it was a decent race, it wasn’t overly crowded and while there weren’t a lot of spectators there were some, like this couple that I think I saw about 10 times throughout the race – that was pretty cool :). We finished close to where we started by the pier, a little closer to the beach, where there was a fun, beach party with a decent amount of post race food and drink.
How did my race go? Well let’s see, the first 6 – 7 miles were fine, I ran all the way thru, then around mile 8 all the travel and not feeling well started to catch up to me, plus that’s when the sun really came out in full force with no shade. Around that time is when I started walking a little bit. In fact one of my friends caught up with me at that point, we ran together for about a half mile before I told her to go ahead. I mostly ran, but did a bit of walking as well, got passed by the marathon winner around mile 11 and then finished at 2:03:04, which considering the week I had and not feeling good, was really awesome!
After finishing the race, I got some post race goodies. I love it when races have good food afterwards, this was one of my biggest complaints with the SF Marathon. I’m not a huge fan of coconut water but I drank a full container, in addition to a bottle of water.
I went with one of my friends to cheer on other finishers and wait for our friend to finish the half and the marathoners to finish the full marathon. By this point, it was getting hot!
After my marathoner friend finished, I left my other friends to get her some food, with all the people, it wasn’t easy to see where the food was, neither of my friends saw it.
This was the 2nd race I’ve done that has had free photos and that’s a great perk. I obviously wasn’t paying attention to the camera since I’m totally concentrating lol but I’m happy to have the photos to commemorate the race.
Check my full review and more photos at my blog http://runny-legs.com/2014/09/half-marathon-20-ventura-marathon-half-marathon/.