Latest reviews by Fallon C

(2022)
"Running Down Yosemite"
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I have been trying to run a Vacation Races race since before the pandemic. I think I have deferred either voluntarily or due to COVID for 3-4 different races. Oops.

I drove up to Yosemite on Friday before the race and found the expo with no issues at Bass Lake. I lucked out that my hotel was one of the shuttle stops so other than the 3AM wake up call, race morning was easy. Note- if you get car sick- keep your eyes closed on the shuttle.
It dropped us off at the start in the cold, dark woods. The announcers were trying to keep everyone’s spirits up and there were plenty of porta-potties.

This race did something very smart- they started the slower runners and walkers first. I’ve always wondered why other races don’t do that.

The first 5 miles are on a nice dirt road winding through the forest. I was in runner's heaven. Around mile 3ish, you start downhill and the next 7 miles are mostly downhill. I was loving the downhill and all the views but knew I was probably going to pay for this fun. And I did- miles 10-13 were mostly flat with a few rollers around Bass Lake to the finish but the rollers felt huge. And I like hills.
The end brings you back into Bass Lake for a gorgeous finish line. The volunteers hand you an awesome medal and box filled with goody’s. Yay!

The only nightmare was the shuttle home. Our driver got horribly lost, 7 miles turned into over an hour and I am not sure if they ever figured it out because I hopped out at a stopping point and was going to walk back, ha!

But, I would definitely run this race again.

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(2022)
"Berkeley Trail Adevnture"
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The 35K started first with the 50K’ers and then I had some time to wait before the half and then the 10K started. The half ended up starting 15 minute early so I thought maybe the 10K would but nope. We started on time, which normally is great, I was just confused, ha!

The race started by running up a little hill and then through the parking lot to get to the trails. I am torn on how I feel about these trails; parts I loved and other parts felt like I was in someone’s backyard. Because we kind of were. Parts of the trail backed up to a neighborhood or overlooked a golf course. Other parts made you feel like you were in the woods far away from civilization.
A look at the course elevation showed that we climbed for 3 miles and then ran downhill for 3. The incline didn’t look too steep- my favorite kind of course. The first 2 miles lived up to the course profile. I was feeling decent about the hills and making decent power hike time.

Then the last part of the hill to mile 3 killed me. I felt like parts were vertical and was trying to figure out where the hell this had been on the elevation profile. I was dying. I felt a little better when what looked like a super fit half marathon runner passed me – they were moving slightly fast than me but also showed they were struggling. Solidarity.

The race finished with some pretty good downhills and they hand you a great medal once crossing the finish line. There was a good variety of food options as well and runners could pick up their shirts as well.
All in all , this was a great trail race.

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(2022)
"Return to Santa Rosa"
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Santa Rosa half consists of 13.1 miles of flat, potentially fast miles along a pretty great running trail.
Race started right on time on a nice, slightly overcast morning- good race weather.

I opted to have my bib mailed to me so I don’t know how the expo was. My bib arrived a few weeks before the race- the earliness alleviated a lot of race week stress.

The course involved a couple miles of city streets before heading off the road onto a river path that was part paved and part dirt. I love dirt paths so I love that part.

Aid stations were interspersed every few miles with electrolytes, water. They also had plenty of porta-potties at each station.

I was slower and the finish line was still putting out a lot of energy as I crossed the line. That’s always nice to have. Since I was not able to attend the expo, I needed to pick up my swag from the solutions tent. The bottle of wine was easy, finding my size shirt was harder. Then they told me they didn’t have any more bags even though I could see them sitting on a table. Huh? Overall the only down spot of the race.

The swag was great- nice medal, great ¼ zip pullover, and a bottle of wine from DeLoach Vineyard. Race pictures were also up an hour after the race. Speedy! And it was only 11 bucks to buy all my race pictures!

This is definitely a race I would run again- this was my second time after all.

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(2022)
"Melting at Silver Moon"
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I first heard about Silver Moon back in 2021 but it was the same weekend I was running a race up in Idaho.
So when it came back for 2022, I was on board. Except it was pricey. I had trouble rationalizing that kind of $$$ for a 10K. The race offered a 10k, 6-12-24 hour, and 100 mile option and a wine walk. The 6 hour was only $10 more than the 10k so I thought why not? Plus the race started at 6pm and ran until midnight which meant hours of running under the full moon. I figured I could do between 3-4 mile an hour and just have fun and enjoy a new challenge. I knew I was in no shape for any form of speed.
I was abnormally sore from a previous race as well as suffering from a Migraine so by Friday of race week I was questioning if I could even do the race.
For the next 24 hours, I went back and forth on DNS’ing, dropping to the 10k or stupidly trying for the whole thing. Did I mention it was supposed to be in the low 90’s at go time? The slightly smarter part of me prevailed and I dropped to the 10k which the race made super easy at bib pickup.
The race takes place at Cass Winery and consists of a 2 mile loop around the vineyards. Dirt road is my favorite surface and I didn’t even need my trail shoes.
The race actually started a little early and we were off on our first loop. The 10k had 3, so slightly shorter than a full 10K. It was 91 degrees. I died 1/4 mile in. I was so damn hot, I don’t know if I’ve ever felt that hot before. I almost lost my lunch around mile 5, never been that nauseous at a race before. I would say I walked 99.9% of this “race”. Even walking, my heart rate was in the red for the entirety of the 6 miles. Ouch.
I crossed the finish line and wanted nothing more than an ice cold Coke. I found warm coke at the finish line aid but found ice cold water up in the Barrel Room at the after party for the 10K runners and the wine walkers. I also may have hid in the air conditioned room until I was less tomato red, ha!
The party was still going when I left but all I could think about was a nice cold Frappuccino from Starbucks.
Heat aside, I really enjoyed this race and hope that it comes back to town in 2023, I need redemption.
Also the medal and the towel you get for swag are kind of awesome.

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(2022)
"Art in the 10K"
Overall
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Course Scenery
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Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Registration/Communication-
Available online until the race sold out the week before the race date.. Once I registered, I received 1-2 emails a week detailing race information. One included a very in depth runner’s handbook just for race weekend.
Expo/ Races
The expo was on the smaller side this year and based at Snow Park. Parking was a little tricky but I lucked out and got one just around the corner. The race offers a full marathon, half marathon, and 5k and now a 10K . There is also a We Run This Town challenge with an extra medal for running the half and 5k on the same day.
Race morning-
The 10K starts at 7AM with the marathoners. The 5k and the half both started later. There were plenty of port a potties for the early runners but bring a flashlight because it was still very dark. The race started right on time but I didn’t hear any announcements or starting messages, I just headed to corals a little before 7AM.
Course
The course loops around Lake Merritt for the first 2 miles before heading into the city for 2 miles. The last 2 miles were in downtown and back to Lake Merritt. With an uphill finish. There were aid stations with water and Gatorade every 2 miles-ish. They seemed well staffed and organized. As for elevation, I consider this to be a flat course. The best thing about the course is checking out the local street art along the way.
Once across the finish line, runners were given medals and had the chance to choose from a variety of the usual post race snacks. Swag-
Swag- Every runner received a race specific shirt, and a truly awesome medal showing off some of the great local street art.

I still love this race and would run it again.

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