Latest reviews by Ashley

"Nice Expo, Huge Race, but the Race was Pretty Boring"
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On October 24, I ran the Los Angeles Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon!

This was my first Rock n’ Roll race and my first time running in a costume.

And my first time running in LA now that I think about it.

It was definitely a day filled with LOTS of firsts.

A friend and I drove down to LA on Saturday afternoon.

(I officially hate LA traffic- in case you were wondering)

Seriously. LA traffic is THE WORST.

If you have never experienced it, you are in for a real treat.

Anyway, we stopped by the expo and picked up my bib.

It was one of the larger expos that I have been to.

Both Brooks and Garmin were there.. so you know it was a big deal.

And there were LOTS of people.

Thankfully, we made it out of the expo unscathed and headed over to the hotel.

I arrived at the start line a little early… which was a genius move.

I was NOT prepared for the amount of people that signed up for this race.


For some reason, the Half Marathon and the 5K started at the same time.

Which definitely aided in the cluster that became the starting corrals.

I was in Corral 200.

Okay, not really.

I was in Corral 9, but it definitely felt like it was Corral 200 because it took three years to get to the starting line.

Okay, not really.

It took 45 minutes, but it felt like three years.

Once I finally got there, I was ready to rock n’ roll (pun intended).

The course was relatively flat for the first half.

There were two gnarly hills at mile 6 and 11.

I went into this race just wanting to have fun… and it was fun!

I absolutely loved looking at all of the costumes through out the race.

But, the race scenery was pretty boring.

I must mention though, that running through the LA Colosseum was a great experience.

And the volunteers were all cheering like crazy.

There were SO MANY people cheering.

It was awesome!

Although I walked up the last hill, I am proud of how I ran the race… I really had fun!

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"Great SWAG but race was 13.7 miles, not 13.1"
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The Ventura Marathon offered a Full Marathon, Half Marathon, Century Bike Ride and a 5K.

I paid about $85 for the Half using a discount code that I found a few months ago.

The race’s swag was awesome and went right along with the race’s “Beach Party” theme!

They gave all the runners a neat reusable shopping bag and the bib was one of the coolest I have seen.

The race medals were awesome too (and also double as a bottle opener!)

The race expo was great… larger than most.

ProCompression, Addidas and Altra were there- as well as lots of food vendors and other race vendors (Santa Barbara Marathon, Los Angeles New Years Half Marathon and Surf City.. to name a few.)

After barely making it to the start at the gun time, (thanks to road closures and a full parking garage), I was stressed!

I managed to push it all aside and reminded myself that I was going to do great.

The course runs from the Ventura Pier towards the Oxnard Harbor and back.

I kept looking at my watch to try to keep up with my PaceBand (which was extremely helpful).
I felt great!

The race website boasts a pancake flat course, and notes the highest elevation is 50 feet.

I can definitely attest that there are no HUGE hills, but the middle 6 miles are a steady stream of small rolling hills.

It began to get hot at 7:30 am, and by 8 am it was about 80 degrees.
No thank you.

Up until mile 7 my Garmin was ON TARGET with my PaceBand and the mile markers.

And then something strange happened.

My Garmin and the mile markers were all of a sudden off by almost .6 of a mile.

I ran next to a lady at mile 10 who confirmed that her watch matched my mileage…

Apparently, the mile markers were over a half a mile off.

No, it wasn’t a joke.

My legs felt great and I wasn’t very tired.

I ended up run/walking the “rest”, but was so proud of myself for running my fastest race of the year.

Overall, I thought the race was well organized and the race swag was great.

However, I am extremely disappointed that the race was over a half a mile too long.

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"Entirely too hot with an 8 am start time."
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I had a feeling going into this race that it would be a scorcher and I should have listened to my gut. This race started at 8 am... in JULY. Are the race organizers morons? It's JULY, people. How about a 6 am start time? Duh.

Anyway, the race was very well managed and I loved the race day packet pick up because I was coming from out of town. By the time I arrived, at about 7 am, there was a short line to pick up my bib and I quickly walked back to my car to drop my stuff off.

By the time my heat was dismissed it was already 8:20. Which means that I, estimated by finish time alone, should have finished by about 10:35. Again.. IT'S JULY! How ridiculous.

The first half of the race was nice, some parts are on the shoreline (hence the name) on a bike trail through Ventura. There were aid stations at every mile, which was nice but again it was already hot as hell.

As I previously mentioned, the race is on a bike trail so for the last half of the race you are weaving in and out of traffic trying to avoid jerks who are taking a leisurely stroll down the coastline, oblivious kids on bikes, and people going to and from the beach.

I felt like I was playing frogger.

By mile 11, I was on the verge of overheating, pissed at all of the jerks who were in my way and was OVER the race.

Aside from all of the above negativity, the race was well organized, the swag was better than some (although the shirt was crap and shrunk in the wash) and I did get a beer when I finished.

For $50 (thanks to my RaceShed discount), I guess it wasn't all bad.

If the race organizers changed the start time to 6 am, I would run the race again (especially for the price), but with the current start time and all of the other obstacles associated- I don't plan to run this again. I don't recommend it to anyone- unless you currently live and train in the Sahara or Bakersfield, or you enjoy almost dying of heat exhaustion (you masochistic beast).

I don't.

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"This race sucked."
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So, I decided on Friday night to run the Half Marathon instead of the 5k.

Yes, I know.


I am glad I did it, but in all honesty- the race SUCKED.

The Half Marathon started at 8 am (first mistake) so by the time I hit mile 10 it was pretty darn hot.

No thank you.

The race was super unorganized (second mistake).

It was BY FAR the smallest Half Marathon I have ever run- so I will admit that my expectations are much higher because of this fact.

I think I paid like $90 for this race… so I think I have a right to have high expectations (third mistake).

Don’t you?

I will say though, that the Race Day packet pickup was nice.

However, the course was really, really hilly- which I was not prepared for.


Because there was no elevation chart on the website (fourth mistake).

Some of the race volunteers were rooting for the racers, but the majority were just standing there like a bumps on a log (fifth mistake).


The aid stations were few and far between, but it didn’t affect me because I was smart and brought my Ultra Aspire hydration pack… or else I would have been toast (sixth mistake).

Thank goodness.

And last but certainly not least… we arrive at the icing on the cake.


The seventh mistake…

In lieu of giving out race medals

(which, let’s face it, is one of the reasons why we race- for BLING)

I received a Coffee Cup with the race logo on it.


I have like 300 coffee cups… I don’t need anymore.

I wanted a medal- not a stupid coffee cup.

Yes, I am still bitter- 2 days later.

In summary, I am glad I did the race.

I am proud of myself for sucking it up and as always, I love having an excuse to celebrate with Bloody Marys..

But the race sucked and I will never do it again.

Let’s chalk it up to a learning experience, Mmmmkay?

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"My two favorite things... running and wine!"
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This race was amazing.

Honestly, it was the BEST race I have done in my life, EVER.

And that’s a pretty tall order.

The race started at 6:45 AM in downtown Los Olivos

(Which isn’t in Santa Barbara… but whatever)

and took us through the Santa Ynez Valley.

It is ridiculously gorgeous.

The weather, (because it is in Santa Barbara County), was perfect for running.

It was about 50-55 degrees.

The first half of the race had rolling hills.

For those of us who train on hills normally…

(pointing to myself)

the “rolling hills” should be a piece of cake.

At Mile 7, however, we hit a HUGE corkscrew hill.

It sucked hardcore.


After conquering this ridiculous hill, though…

it is alllllllllllllllllllllllll downhill.


Miles 7.5 through about 12 are pretty much straight downhill.

(Check out the elevation chart at the top of the page if you don’t believe me!)

It was so much fun.

I couldn’t believe how great my legs felt at mile 10.

So, I picked up the pace about 30 seconds per mile

and held it there to the finish line, in Solvang.

(which also isn’t Santa Barbara… but whatever)

Finish time: 2:14.09

More than 5 minutes faster that I ran 2 weeks prior.


after receiving my medal,


devouring some post-race pizza from the night before,

and hydrating myself…

I proceeded to un-hydrate myself with WINE!

Yes, wine!

There was a post-race wine tasting celebration and it was AMAZING.

It consisted of roughly 15 wineries pouring a number of different varietals.


The music and atmosphere were awesome

and everyone was in a great mood because of the run.

Of course, the wine doesn’t hurt though.

It was by far the funnest (is that a word?) race I have ever done

and I have made a resolution to do it every year until the end of time.

Yes.. until the end of time!

I mean running and wine are by far my two of my most favorite things…

and when you combine them into an event,

it’s a WIN-WIN situation.

Can’t pass that up.

No, no I can not.

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