Latest reviews by Amanda Lee

(2018)
"Fun race for a weekend getaway"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
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Expo
There was a small line but once the doors opened it took us less than five minutes to get our bibs. Right after bib and t-shirt pickup there was the official merchandise section.  One of the coolest things Rock 'N' Roll does is put participant names on the shirt. There was a life-size banner where you could find your name which was fun.

The rest of the expo was small but it made it a lot more manageable. Toyota was there and was giving away a portable battery to Toyota owners and you could play games for more prizes. I played against Jeannine in a run in place challenge. There was a how much can you fit into corolla game too. The title sponsor United Airlines was giving away headbands/neck warmers and free Illy espresso. Illy espresso is now served on all United Airlines flights. We stopped by St. Jude, Rock 'N' Roll, a few other booths before we headed out for a full day of sight seeing in San Francisco. 

Race Day
After an early wake up call we got a Lyft to the start line. It was freezing, I should have brought throwaway clothing with me. We found my friend Kristie and then headed into Pier 39 to stay warm and out of the wind. The race however did not start on time. We waited at least 10-15 minutes before we started, they never specified what was the delay.

The race course was an abbreviated out and back starting at Pier 39 and ending at Ghirardelli Square with the turnaround at the end of the Golden Gate Bridge. In total we run about 4 miles on the Golden Gate Bridge, 4 miles on city streets, and the rest on the paved tails of the Presidio.

Once we were off we ran along the water and up a few hills to get to the Presidio. Coming from Seattle the hills were steep but nothing I wasn't used to. The weather was a bit chilly until we hit mile 4. Once we got onto the bridge the weather cleared and it was BEAUTIFUL! Since we weren't running for time we stopped and took photos along the bridge and I am so happy we did. Running the downhill turnaround was fun since it was trail with a huge hill. I ended up hiking it to save my energy for the last few hills we had left. I will say, we did not run on the actual car lanes, we ran on the pedestrian/bike path that was quite narrow. There were a few points where I did run into other runners and it wasn't avoidable. But the views were well worth the narrow course.

After the bridge we turned onto the Presidio paths and got up close and personal with the waves which was fun. It was a bit boring running along the path since the Golden Gate Bridge was behind us so there wasn't much view.  I started to not feel so great around mile 11 even though I ate almost all of my fuel. With Kristie's help I was able to persevere and getup the hill near Fort Mason at mile 12.5 and then down a hill to the finish.

Post-Race
The finishers chute was short and highly organized. I was able to get my medal, water, electrolytes and Ghirardelli chocolate quickly. Where the finish line was located made it easy for us call and Lyft.

Overall, this was a great race weekend. If you haven't been to San Francisco or it's been a while since your last visit, it is well worth a trip. Rock 'N' Roll puts on a great race that's well worth it!

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(2017)
"Small fast course for fast runners"
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This past weekend I ran the Seattle Craft Classic Half Marathon. Overall, I had an enjoyable time and the race day weather held up.

Expo
I got my bib on Friday at Road Runner Sports Seattle in the Green Lake Neighborhood. There was no real expo just a few tables set up for packet pickup and an Adidas sales rep who was showing off the new Boost shoes. Road Runner Sports did give out a 25% off coupon for VIPs to use right there in the store. I didn’t end up buying anything but it was a nice they gave those out. The swag was great- there were mens and womens specific shirts, and a Red Hook pint glass. The bib was pretty cool minus for the large typo on the date, but I do like how the bib was customized for Woodinville.

Race Day

Getting to the race was pretty was easy. My boyfriend drove me to Redmond. There was a lot of free parking and once we found the start line there plenty of port-a-potties. I ended up getting a coffee at a café across the street in an attempt to stay warm. The weather was a bit chilly before the start. I walked over 15 minutes before and was surprised by how few people were racing. There was also a 5k that started and ended at the old Red Hook Brewery.

I found the 2:15 pacers before the start and figured I would ty to stay with them and make this race my long run. We started right on time and headed out onto the Sammamish River Trail. As we started running I realized the pacer was running fast for the first couple miles of the race. At mile 3 I looked at my watch and realized I needed to tone it back to stay with in a 2:15 to 2:20 half marathon pace.

The weather did not get too hot as the miles went on which was great! I love running in early fall in Washington. You can still wear shorts and a tank and not overheat. At mile 8 I started to feel a little off and I think it was from starting off fast the first few miles. The volunteers at the water stops were FABULOUS! They made sure everyone in the race got water and cheered as we passed. At mile 10 I was not happy and was ready for the race to be over, I was very happy to see the last water stop which mean there was less than a half mile to the finish.

The course is an open public running and cycling path. It is a super highway on Sunday mornings. I was anticipating some traffic but at times I did feel very uncomfortable, having a few close calls with cyclists. I feel like there should have been signs up warning the public that the event was happening so that everyone was aware of what was going on. The race did do a good job of putting out signs for the participants warning them to stay right before narrow parts of the course. The last 100 yards or so of course were shared with runners and spectators headed back to their cars. It was narrow and honestly frustrating for me because I was ready for my race to be done and did not want to doge people on the path.

I will say the free beer and socks at the end did help me feel a bit better after not having the best run ever.

Race Communication

There were many small oversights when it came to this race but I am happy Craft Classic and Orca Running emailed participants when it major events occurred. The first was the bib typo- they did email late Friday afternoon to apologize for the typo which was very gracious of them. The second was the finisher medal. There were no finisher medals given out at the end of the races. They received the wrong shipment of medals the Friday before the race. They said at the race and in an email that all finishers would receive a medal within 10 business days. When I get my medal, I will update this post!

Seattle Craft Classic Half Marathon was pretty good. If you want to run a fast and flat half marathon and don’t mind a shared course I would run this race for your next PR attempt.

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(2017)
"Good Spring Half Marathon"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
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Course Scenery
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Disclaimer- this is a local race for me so I might be a bit more bias.
Expo:
I left work a bit early and arrived at the expo around 5:30pm. There was Warped Tour going on so the normal walk from the International District took much longer than normal. When I got to CenturyLink Event Center there was no one there. I am not joking, there was no one at bib check in or waiting in line. I got my bib in five minutes and then headed over to the Brooks merchandise. There wasn't much so I headed into the expo. Walked around a bit got some free sunglasses from Visit Seattle and got some free body glide from Westin. Besides the Nuun booth there wasn't much else to see. I felt pummeled by Rock N Roll merchandise. All in all I spent a hour tops at the expo.

Saturday 5K:
I opted to run the 5k for the remix challenge. Honestly, it was alright. The corrals were small and cramped and the course was an out and back. I am glad I ran it but might skip it next year.

Sunday - race day!
Let's just say I did not get any final information from Rock N Roll until Wednesday. They also changed the start time for the race from 7 to 6:30am. I understand their reasons but it made taking a bus to the start not possible, my options were to buy a shuttle ticket, bus to downtown then take the light rail, or bum a ride/take an uber. I decided to take an Uber with a friend from my place to get to the start line. This ended up changing Sunday morning.

I woke up Sunday morning to no Ubers in my area even though I scheduled one. So my amazing boyfriend ended up driving me and my friend to the start. Yes, he wins boyfriend of the year. We finally got to the starting area around 5:40 and holy crap it was not the standard Rock N Roll start. There weren't defined corrals and the gear check was so far we had to walk a good distance to get to it. After gear check we got in the bathroom line then headed to the corrals to find a few of our friends.

The actual start took forever. I was in a front corral and even though corrals were starting we did not move for 10 plus minutes. I also realized I was not in an actual corral, even though I was between two fences. Not a great way to start the race.

Once we finally started the course was narrow. I prefer the older courses of this race. I was dodging people much of the time I was running. The first six miles were quite scenic and hilly. I was so happy I trained on most of the course so I knew what I was expecting. At mile 8 is where I got into trouble. I did not realize there was a steep hill and I started to cramp due to the humidity. Oh well… I kept running along Rainier Avenue South toward the finish line. I will say these miles were dull. I was so happy to get to the mile 11 aid station and see my friends from Fleet Feet Seattle. It was a great pick me up for the last hill which was the on ramp that gets to the finish.

The finish line was standard, the medal this year was great! I love it! I found my boyfriend and we set off to find my Remix Challenge medal. I had a hard time finding the medal tent and the gear check. They were far apart and part of it was that I was tired. I did get a pair of flip flops from Toyota because we have a Corrola which was nice! Surprise finish line swag is always nice.

My recommendation to Rock N Roll is to start at CenturyLink and finish at Seattle Center if they are going to do a point to point course. I know there is a lot of construction in Seattle but the finish is brutal ending at CenturyLink Field. I know a lot of people who live in Seattle had a hard time getting to the start line on time due to the start time change AND the location of the start line.

Overall if you live in the Greater Seattle Area, I would run this race. It may be hilly but it’s a great course to challenge yourself on.

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(2017)
"Great local race with beautiful views!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
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Course Scenery
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Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
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Expo:
The race expo was held on Saturday only from noon to 6pm. The bib pickup was pretty organized due to a name mix up I had to go back and get the correct bib but other than that everything was great. I was very happy the long sleeve half zip was a womens cut! That was a wonderful surprise. There weren't many vendors at the expo, mainly local running races.

Race Day:
Getting to the race day shuttles was a quick walk from my hotel. NODM did a great job organizing the start times for the Half and Full marathons so that it was easy to get on a shuttle to the start. The volunteers loading runners on to the shuttles were wonderful too!

After a 20 minute shuttle ride we arrived at the start line. It was an open soccer field. There was a marching band and a small shelter that had cups of water. There were also plenty of porta-potties! The lines were never too long for them which was wonderful. The start was pretty organized considering there were less than 1,000 runners.

The course is relatively flat but the hills are pretty steep. The last 4 miles are beautiful and look out over the Puget Sound. All of the volunteers on the course were wonderful. They were super enthusiastic and did a great job giving everyone directions. I did not run as fat as I had hoped but I still had a great time. The finish line was pretty well organized. The medal is great, very elegant.

Overall I would recommend this race to anyone looking for a relatively fast course and some sweet swag.

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(2017)
"Nice flat course and well organized race"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
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Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Blooms to Brews 10K as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Expo:
I drove down Saturday and arrived at expo before it opened. I ended up waiting in my car until noon when the door finally opened. The packet pick lines were a bit disorganized and it was a bit cramped due to the merchandise they had for sale. There were some sweet growlers!

Once I finally got my goodie bag with a super cute neon pink women’s cut tank, reusable bag, and printed program and map of the course I went to check out the expo. There wasn’t much. It was about five booths total. I headed back to the car and drove off to Portland to go explore for the rest of the day.

Race Day
Getting to the race was pretty was easy. I stayed in Vancouver, WA about 20 minutes away. There was plenty of parking in the field next to the start line. I will say the weather was not as warmed as I hoped, which is standard for Spring in Washington. I originally was going to race in shorts but ended up changing into tights the car right before the start. I will say their finish line was well organized except for the port-a-potties. My recommendation is to add two or three more to make the line move a bit faster.

All three races, Marathon, Half Marathon, and 10k started right on time. People did a pretty good job at organizing themselves in the correct order. The 10k course is a lollypop where you run about farms and tulip field. Unfortunately, there weren’t flowers out but that was ok, it was still beautiful out. If you are not a fan of running on dirt roads or compacted gravel, this is not the race for you. All courses start running on road, the dirt compacted gravel and then the last stretch you have to run on the shoulder back to the finish line.

The finish cute was well organized and I got my medal, a mylar blanket and a bottle of water. The finish line party was great. Each runner gets a free beer and bbq sandwich. I highly recommend the Blooms IPA, I believe it’s brewed just for the race from a brewery in Vancouver.

Even though I didn't run my best I still got second in my age group! They had an award ceremony and a podium to stand on. I highly recommend this race to someone looking to PR since the course is flat. I know a lot of people run the marathon to BQ.

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