Latest reviews by Andrea Heser

(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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(2018)
"Dam Good Yet Dam Tough 13k Trail Run"
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Lake Pleasant is practically in my backyard so I couldn't pass this race up. In April it's already hot out and decided to do the 13k distance which Aravaipa calls Dam Tough. It sure was darn tough! The sun was fully out and there was a nice breze. The Arizona desert is perfect this time of year for trail running.

Pros:
• Aravaipa puts on a spectacular race. They have the most food-filled aid stations I have ever seen. And they even offer quesadillas at the finish line!
• Course scenery was beautiful. There were lake views, desert views and even a secret oasis view.
• Exclusiveness to the Wadell Dam. This is the only time all year that people can cross it and running across was super cool.
• All the food. The aid stations, start line and finish line food didn't disappoint. I forgot to eat breakfast (I know, I know) and the volunteers had bananas, oranges and cookies out for pre-run fueling.
• Finishers award. It was refreshing to receive a bio-degradable pot and seeds as my finishers medal. It was an unexpected surprize that I loved.
• Parking was abundant and so were the potties. :)
• Tons of options. 2 miles? 25 miles? The options are there! I love that I could run a longer distance while my family does the 2 miles. I'm considering this next year.
• No shirt option. This was a nice touch. I'm on a tight race budget and I don't really need a new shirt. The no shirt option saved me $10. Thank you for that.

Cons:
• I wish there was a photographer at the oasis point. I noticed last year there was and I was looking forward to one. I liked seeing photos of people crossing the bridge over the Agua Fria River. They did have two people taking photos on course, so that made up for it. I love race photos, free or not.

I highly recommend you sign up for this race next year.

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(2018)
"Another PR! "
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The proof is in the training. Big 6-minute PR over last year. 7-minute over the year before that. Mesa-PHX half marathon is my self-esteem booster race, I am consistently running it faster. The course is my favorite. It has a slight downhill. Just enough to give you that boost but doesn't thrash your thighs. Parking was better this year and thankful for that. Also there were more portable heaters at the start which was a great help. The finish line experience is the best. There is tons of food and the french toast is what got me through the finishline. I do wish the photography was better. I'm willing to spend money on higher-resolution photos. Still, getting free photos is nice and I appreicate that. I'm already signed up for 2019 and going to train hard so I can PR again.

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