Latest reviews by Andrea Heser

(2018)
"💀🔥The Hills Have Thighs 🔥💀"
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Are you in the mood for an October Halloween trick that gives major treat at the same time?
Seriously, the Phoenix Craft Classic is the race you need to sign up for. But, you better be hill training over the summer. Just sayin'! 💀🔥The Hills Have Thighs 🔥💀Bahahahaha!

This is my second year pacing this half marathon and even though it's one heck of a killer 13.1, it's totally worth it. Here are my favorite and most spooky parts:

• Hills • They are HARD! The first 1-3 miles start off as sweet rolling hills around the big fountain of Fountain Hills, AZ. It was on during some parts of the race and it was pretty to see. The hills give you a great veiw of the beautiful scenery! Saguaro and vast mountain ranges can be seen for miles. This view comes with a price though. Miles 4-7.5 are a beast! This is where you get your elevation gain and you'll be glad you hill-trained for this. Then come mile 8 and it's all downhill. But don't get your hopes up high yet. Don't trash your quads either LOL cause on mile 11 the hills are back for the last 2.1 and even though they are small, you'll be tired. Train smart and you will conquer this course!

• Swag • The medal was sweet this year! It's a huge bottle cap with a bottle opener on the end. Also, it has magnets on the back so you can attach for easy access. The design of the t-shirt was modern. You also got a sweet beer-can shaped glass during packet pick-up! If you are into hops, then you'll appricate the cold beer at the finish line. The finish line also included Kind bars, pretzles & cold water.

• Aid Stations • They were the best. They were every 2-3 miles and included GU gels and GU tabs, water and Gatorade as well as peppy volunteers.

• Parking • Was fantastic! It was free and right next to the startline. Like, a 1 minute walk to the start and finish lines. That's a huge deal IMO.

If you want a hard half that gives great swag, scenery and makes you fell proud of yourself, then sign-up for the 2019 Craft Classic.

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(2018)
"Fantastic 10k Experience"
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My Sunday included running the Global Energy Race 10k. It's a worldwide series of running events that take place in 23 cities around the world on the same day and helps support food banks.

• First of all, the course is beautiful & challenging. During the 10k, you run along Papago Park, the Desert Botanical Garden and near the Phoenix Zoo. I caught myself glancing up so many times to check out the scenery. It was hillier than I thought! There wasn't a 5k or 10k course online, so I didn't know what to expect. It was challenging and hot, but I still felt good running the course.

• I felt safe from start to finish. The roads were blocked off superbly. There were cones and flag ropes. Also, there were many aid stations that offered cold water. I counted about 10 officers on the course to ensure vehicles not driving on the course.

• Give me all the swag, edible, wearable & feelable! I was in shock with all the swag that came with this race. A drawstring bag, tech shirt, one arm sleeve, tech hat & medal. When you were done with the race, you could turn in your bib coupon for a free grilled cheese sandwich. Also, tons of Bimbo brand snacks, Takis chips, bagels & water bottles were given out at the finish line. Massage Envy was there and gave free chair massages.

• Race management is on point. Local to AZ race company, Startline Racing, timed the race. They gave 2 options for early bib pick up and then you could get your bib on race day. I took advantage of the Friday pickup and everything went smoothly. The course was exactly 6.2 miles too. They were well organized throughout the entire process. I knew the Global Energy Race was going to be good when I found out Startline was handling lots of the details.

• Parking & portapotties were amazing. There were TONS of open spots. The parking lot was huge and easy to navigate, they had signs everywhere and it was free. Also, there were over 20 portapotties. I'm so thankful for that.

This was my first Global Energy Race and I do plan to make it a yearly tradition!

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(2018)
"Will Run 4 Miles on the 4th of July for Burgers"
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The Arizona Road Racers 4 miles on July 4th is an Arizona tradition. And since the 4th ends up on random days as the years go by, that makes it even more fun! Run a 4-mile race on a Tuesday morning?! Oh heck YES!

This year the race ending up on a Wednesday morning. The sea of red-white-and-blue was awesome. I do my part and this year I added some fun with USA sunglasses and a headband.

IT IS HOT! I'm from AZ and lived here more than half my life so this race isn't an all out for me. I run smart and safe and in my comfort zone. No PR's for me! There was someone that passed out at the halfway point. If you plan on running this race, be warned. You are doing the first half with the sun at your back and the last 2 miles with the full sun in your face. Wear tons of sunblock, run with water and run safe.

All the food you can eat. I was still catching my breath after crossing the finish line, but that didn't stop me from getting in the burger line. I loaded up on a burger and watermelon. They also had chocolate chip cookies, potato chips and hot dogs.

If you want to start your Independence Day festivities early, then sign up for this race!

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(2018)
"Feel Good Race"
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Startline knows how to put on a great race. This one had the energy and it was for a good cause. The proceeds helped support Phoenix Veterans.

Here are my main takeaways:

1. Cause. Startline offers many races that help local causes. This one was near and dear to me because it helped local veterans. Startline is one of the only local AZ race companies that I know of that does this.

2. Energy. Jeff Crane, the race director, has lots of energy. He and his wife make everyone feel welcome. It's nice. Also, lot's of runners hung out after the race despite the high temps, which says a lot.

3. Course & Location. Although it was an out and back course, I appreciated the fact that the location of the race was more on the north side of Phoenix. Race location does help me decide which race to run. The course was flat and we didn't have to deal with vehicles. That was great!

4. Photography. I've noticed that Startline usually hires Michael Smith Photography for their races (https://michaelsmithphoto.photoreflect.com/). His photos are fantastic. I always purchase race photos when he shoots them. He captures us runners so well! This was also a deciding factor that steered me to sign up for this race.

5. Bling. The medal design is awesome. The camo ribbon and large bright white medal is so pretty. Also, it helps that I placed 3rd in my age group and that I received a bronze tag to attach to my medal.

Totally looking forward to next year!

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(2018)
"For Intimate Race Lovers"
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It does feel weird to describe a race as intimate. The Estrella Cactus 5K was indeed intimate, personal yet accommodating, safe and managed well.

This race is put on by Race Timers. They are a local company that times races as well as hosts their own races. I love their 5k trail series. This is the 3rd race I ran with them so far. Running on trail is challenging and their trailies are all 5ks. That makes them doable, aka, no stress! I've done my share of long trail runs and sometimes you want a low key 3 mile race that is fun and challenging. This race does that.

Parking is perfect, there are tons of spots and you don't have to walk far. Although, since these runs are on State parks, bring cash to pay for your parking fee.

I appreciated how green Race Timers are. They wanted everyone to not use pins for their bib! So they offered bib holders instead. Also, they gave a race discount if you didn't use paper cups. I run with my Amphipod and didn't need to waste a paper cup so I saved $3 off my registration.

They also offer free finish line photos. Their finish line snack spread was nice and had lots of free goodies.

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