Latest reviews by Joe G

(2018)
"Hooah! Race Review: Army Ten Miler"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Race: Army Ten Miler
Third biggest ten miler in the country, approximately 35k registered runners.
Location: Washington, D.C.

Expo: Held at the D.C. Armory. I didn't attend the expo this yr. But last yr, the expo had Humvee's and helicopters parked outside. Security line to get in. Smooth process to pick up your packet and shirt. There was a selfie area, have to do a pic after you pick up your packet, right?! Running clothing/gear vendors, other popular race stands, a mini helicopter for the kids to take pics in, and I'm pretty sure you could also enlist at the expo.

Race day:
Parking: public transportation is encouraged, there is no parking in the Pentagon parking lots. The Metro station does have a stop at the Pentagon. There is some parking in nearby Crystal City (walking distance), some street parking and a parking garage. We were early and able to park in Crystal City.

Security: Once you arrive to the race, it is obvious that it's hosted by the Army. Soldiers in uniform with guns everywhere. The security line moved very efficiently, as well as the bag check area.

Hydration: water available once you get past security, I packed a sealed bottle just in case, wasn't needed. There is water and Gatorade available on the course, about every 2 miles.

Restrooms, plenty of banks of portable toilets. 35k registered runners, and definitely enough toilets. lines were very manageable before the race.

Race start: DJ and M.C. getting the crowd pumped up. As race time approached, there was plenty of notice as each corral was about to kick off. Cannons booming as each corral started!

Course/map/elevation: The race starts and ends at the Pentagon. Several noteworthy monuments along the course. Arlington Cemetery, backside of Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial. Great views of the Potomac River as well. Elevation: most of the noteworthy elevation is going up and across the bridges, steady inclines, especially between mi 7-8. Spectator area's, plenty of areas for family, friends, and even soldiers to cheer you on. Great fan support for this race!

Finisher's area: after receiving water and your finisher's medal, you are handed a bag and funneled through a food tent. Bananas, muffins, cookie, fruit cup, bagel.

After the food tent, there's plenty of space to pause and reflect on your accomplishment, hydrate, and maybe have a snack.

There's also a huge finisher area with three double sided rows of tents/stands with plenty more free swag and snacks. ROTC, Army Reserve, National Guard, to name just a few of the stands. Each stand had swag and refreshments. Some of my extra swag (just from one stand!): draw string backpack, reusable drink bottle, hat, tech shirt, usb backup battery charger, phone grip, and a mini wireless speaker. All from the Army Reserve stand! Other stands has some snacks and swag as well, but I had more than enough.

Music: there was a stage mostly used for the awards ceremony, but there was also music in each isle of the area. Marching band/drum line: one of my favorite parts of the post race festivities!

The finishers area overall, definitely one of the best for a race of it's size.

Swag:
Shirt: white long sleeve tech shirt. Front of the shirt has a bald eagle, the Army Ten Miler logo, date of the race. Army logo and "Army" written down one of the sleeves. The back of the shirt has their major sponsors listed, as well as, the 34th Annual Army Ten Miler and their hashtag #RunArmyRunStrong

Medal: a double sided medal coin. One side has the U.S. Capitol with the American flag as the background. "Run Army, Run Strong". Other side of the medal indicates that its the 34th yr of the race, the Army Ten Miler logo, date of the race, and "Run Army, Run Strong" at the top, and finisher at the bottom.

My race: I did this race last yr, and definitely left room for improvement. I didn't research the course or respected the weather and regretted it early. Had a 10 mi PR on my mind, but my PR is on a flat course with spring weather (Broad Street, which I basically try to do a 10k sprint as long as possible). Last yr was 97% humidity, and I learned the tough way that the course has some slight elevations throughout. Definitely not comparable courses, I went out hard and paid for it. Heading into race day this year, guess what? High humidity again! Only 90% though, lol... Before hearing the weather, I already had a plan. Plan was just to treat this as a "normal" 10 mi training run, contain myself, enjoy the experience, and if I have any gas left in the tank the last couple maybe Ill kick it up a notch, and the results should be an improvement from last yr. Hearing the weather, decided to stick with the plan, that's what I would do with a training run anyway. Hydrated plenty the day before. Stretched last night and this morning. Light hydration before getting to the race. Another bottle once in the race area, gel before the start. Starting to perspire before the race even starts. Going to be a fun one! Once the race started, sweating by the 1st mile. Started out slightly faster than intended, pulled back after the first mile. Goal was to pace 8:15 ish, fading to about 8:30. Held around 8:15 for a bit, but the humidity and slight elevation did get to me. Faded slightly earlier than planned, the stretch between 7-8 was a bit rough. No final push to bring my time down. lol... Overall pace was 8:41, a 33 second pace improvement from last yr. Satisfied with my results as I paced myself more efficiently/effectively than I did last year. Would love to give one another try with some decent weather.

Pace: Overall standings provided, but percentiles were not. 35k registered runners, not sure how many completed, Will be sure to check it out on Athlinks when available!

Sites and socials:
Site: https://www.armytenmiler.com/
Facebook: ArmyTenMiler
Twitter: @ArmyTenMilerATM
Instagram: armytenmiler

If you have any questions, let me know!

For more pics, check out my blog below:
http://caffienefeen.blogspot.com/2018/10/hooah-race-review-army-ten-miler.html

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(2018)
"Broad Street Run 2018!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Hi Everyone! Hope all is well!

The Broad Street Run is the largest 10 miler in the country. Just you and forty thousand of your best friends! Last year was my first Broad Street Run and had a blast! Had to do this one again, for sure!

Anyone else do the Broad Street Run? How was your experience? Let us know! My Review below:

Pre Race:
Parking: free parking by the sports complex. Plenty of parking! Got there by 6, traffic in front of the stadiums was not an issue yet. If you are not early, the lights leading up to the complex can get backed up. Once parked, free Septa train ride for all runners wearing a bib! I don't remember seeing anyone checking for bibs last yr, but there was someone working the booth to enter the station this yr. Again, early is key, the train does get filled to the brim!

Restrooms: portable toilets at the train station, tons at the athletic field, and more by each corral. Don't wait till the last minute, the crowds and lines will get insane! A few along the course as well.

Start and corral management: Race time of 8am. The national anthem was prior to 8. Race started on time and each corral moved with efficiency. A few thousand people ahead of me, but once the race kicked off, did not feel like it was a long wait till it was time for me to go.

Race: Broad Street is a straight line race end to end with one curve around city hall. City Hall is just about the 6 mile marker. You can see City Hall most of the way leading up to it, great incentive to feel like you are almost half way there! The course is extremely flat, not sure if it was just me, but there were a few slightest of inclines that I did feel.

Along the course there was so much positive energy, probably the reason why I love this race so much. Crowds cheering you on the entire way! DJ's, maybe some wannabe DJ's, rock bands, marching bands, cheerleaders, a few mascots, plenty of people holding up supportive (and/or funny) signs! I saw former governor Ed Rendell just before City Hall! I heard he was there last year, but I didn't see him, finally got to see him this year!

My race: this was my fourth race of the spring race season. Each has gone well for the most part. Had some doubts going into this that maybe I would burn out. Was also a bit tight this week, but tried to make a point to stretch/foam roll, hydrate, and even use some KT tape this week. When I registered for the race, I put down an estimation time that would give me a 1 minute PR. This placed me in the next corral up of where I was last yr, this also made me a bit nervous that i wasn't in a corral I belonged in. Well, this worked out for me. Most races I get trapped behind walls of people, get anxious and take off and weave around them, being in the next corral, didn't have any of that. Was able to do my own thing the entire way without feeling trapped. The first three minutes, I started out at a pace that was slightly too fast, pulled back to about 10-15 seconds of goal pace. Ignored most of the water stations, but did hit one up around 6, probably should of had a gel then, but waited until after 7. Could feel the slow down, but able to hang on, another slow down around .5 to go. Was able hang in there for my goal. Last yr I maintained around 8 and faded to 8:12, this yr I maintained around 7:50 and faded to 8. 2 min PR!

Post race: after the finish line you are funneled to one of two tents to pickup water, a soft pretzel, a snack bag , and then your medal! The finisher area is held in giant field in the Navy Yard. Meetup area, backdrop banners with the race logo to snap a pic with your friends and medals, a few vendor stands, a stage with music and announcements, a play area for kids, even saw a small petting zoo! Cell reception was my big complaint last yr, tons of people in the finisher area with no reception. The reception was definitely improved, but no data, tweets/IG posts have to wait until after you leave the area. lol

Great part of parking by the Stadiums, stopping at Xfinity Live for a post race beer! Xfinity Live holds a few thousand people, has at least 5 different themed bars. For craft beer, I prefer Victory Beer Hall. ;)

Swag:
The bling! Last year's medal featured City Hall, this yr features a few more buildings and Billy P (William Penn) The medal also doubles as a bottle opener!

Shirt: cotton shirt included, up-charge for the tech. Grey, 2018 Blue Cross Broad Street Run featured with sponsors listed on the sleeves.

Overall, huge fan of this race! definitely recommend! It's a lottery to get in, I'm 2 for 2 so far, will be sad the yr I don't get in. lol

Sites and Social:
Site: http://www.broadstreetrun.com/index.cfm
Twitter: https://twitter.com/IBXRun10
IG: https://www.instagram.com/ibxrun10/

Good luck to everyone with training! Kick some butt!

For more pics, check out my blog below!
http://caffienefeen.blogspot.com/2018/05/race-review-broad-street-run.html

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(2018)
"A pretty sweet race! Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

"Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k/5k Philadelphia race 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!"

Hi Everyone!

Hope everyone is doing well! I also hope by now, you may have seen my race previews and/or my race schedule. Well, race day has finally come! Had a pretty sweet time at the AllState Hot Chocolate 15k/5k Philadelphia! ;)

I was so excited for this race! I have heard great things about this race series here and across the country!

Expo: held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Easy bib pickup! About 20 stations to check in, it's not in alpha or numeric order like most pickups, they just scan your email, print a sticker and apply to a bib! The shirt pullover pickup was in a separate line and went smoothly as well, they just scan your bib to pick up your shirt. They did have a changing area nearby if you wanted to try on/exchange your shirt for another size. After pickup, there were about three rows of vendors to checkout. Some of the vendor stands to check out were running clothing, medal displays, headphones, healthy meals, Nuun hydration, KT Tape, and shoe frosting. Did I mention this is a chocolate themed race? Well, there was a stand in the middle to sample some of the race day treats! Wafer cookie and a marshmallow to dip in chocolate fondue and a shot of hot chocolate!

Training: I've been using a half marathon program that fits my needs for this and other races. But the Allstate Hot Chocolate race has been nice enough to provide one as well. Available on their web site, and also emailed to you weekly! Each Sunday you would receive an email for the upcoming week's training schedule. Very nice!

Race week:

Weather: going into this week, it looked like weather was going to be a factor! There was a forecast of 1-3 inches of snow, then it changed to 3-6, then wintry mix, then Friday it changed to coating to an inch! Race day, nothing! Maybe flurries, but nope! It was cold pre-post race, but no issues during the race. There was a heating area that had about 8 outdoor propane heaters, definitely made a difference while standing around pre/post race!

Race day:

Elevation/Scenery: Great news, the course is relatively flat! Some of the Philly races have one big hill in the middle, not this one! The course starts just to the side of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, (not at the end of the parkway like some races). The race is only in the city for about a mile. Down to Logan Square, turn around, back on the parkway (a mile already? am surprised more races don't use the parkway as part of the race, usually just part of the starting area), the rest of the race is along the Schuykill River (I76 side), you have a view of the river, parks, and Boathouse Row, avoid the hills, turnaround, back along the river to the museum, ending by the museum steps (which has a slight incline the last .25!).

My race: Having just done a half marathon 2 weeks ago, was not sure if I'd have anything in the tank for a good race. Been trying to make a point to stretch, hydrate, and somewhat take it easy before race day. I have been stretching more, but still room for improvement. Today, my goal was to pace around 8, fading to about 8:15ish. Well, feeling good, started out ahead of the 8 min pacer, felt good for a while, decided to keep with it. Ended up pacing there the entire way! I admit, the last mile I had doubts and was about to fade, the pacer passed me with about 1/4 to go. He gave me great words of encouragement, but I couldn't hang with him. My finishing time was a 7:59 pace! Results were available right away!

Post race pics: Had to get some photo ops with the marshmallow man and hot chocoloate!

Swag:
The Chocolate! Sorry, didn't get a close up of the chocolate. Included was dark chocolate fondue with treats to dip! Marshmallow, rice krispie treat, biscoff cookies, and pretzels. As well as hot chocolate!

Medal: pretty sweet medal! Chocolate bar! and a key chain of the Liberty Bell! (each Hot Chocolate 15k race has a city specific landmark key chain)

Pullover! Most races have a short or long sleeve shirt, this race has a tech pullover! It is so comfy! and provides plenty of warmth! Already gave it a trial run, was very nice!

Free photo's! On race day?! When checking my result's yesterday, the photo's were already available! I received an additional email this morning that they tagged me in a few more! And I only look like death in a few of them, actually happy with some!

I had a blast doing this race, it was pretty sweet! ;) Will definitely do this race again here in Philly, and hopefully in another city as well someday!

Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k/5k sites and socials:
Site: https://www.hotchocolate15k.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HotChocolate15k
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HotChocolate15K/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hotchocolate15k/

If you have any questions or comments, please let me know!

Good luck with your training, keep kicking butt!

For additional pics, check out my blog below!
http://caffienefeen.blogspot.com/2018/04/race-review-pretty-sweet-race-allstate.html

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(2018)
"Newport Rhode Races: Amazing views, challenging, but beautiful! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

"Disclaimer: I received free entry to Newport Rhode Races 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!"

Hi Everyone!

This is my review of Newport Rhode Races Half Marathon! (They did have 5k and full marathon options as well!).

The initial lure for me was the beautiful views and ease of travel. (ease in travel, as in 5 hr drive, but majority on turnpike or I95). The views certainly did not disappoint! Wharf town with a beautiful ocean view drive lined with mansions. Old historic mansions, such as the Vanderbilt's The Breakers, and new money such as Jay Leno's house.

Expo: three packet pickup options! Thursday was held at a local running store, Rhode Runner
Friday was held at a Newport Storm Brewing and Distillery! There was also the option to pickup race day. I did see a couple hundred people choose the latter, and at least a few were late due to the long lines and played catch-up after the race started. Friday was my travel day, I chose to pickup at the brewery! I wouldn't normally partake in adult beverages the day before a race, but wasn't going to miss the opportunity to check out the local craft beer scene either. Had their ipa and their smoked porter, both excellent beers. After packet pick, made sure to hydrate plenty!

Race day!
Athlete tracking: by RaceJoy, excellent way to have your fans that are waiting for you track your progress!

Parking: No onsite parking, but parking was available in a nearby business district with shuttles provided. Long line, but plenty of shuttles, it moved very efficiently!

Once arriving to the starting point, there was secure gear check available by Mobile Locker Co. It was a bit brisk before the race, great to have the option to leave a couple layers behind.

Race!
Elevation and Scenery: over 400 ft accent! The blips on the elevation map are deceiving! A few big hills, but almost always a consistent incline. Even once it leveled out, it did not last long! Scenery, was amazing! The start of the race was by Easton Beach. Beautiful! Driving towards the starting point, you see a very steep hill. Hoping that was the ending, and not the beginning. Oh, but it was! Up the hill, a couple miles through a residential neighborhood. The remainder of the race was through the lifestyles of the rich and famous! Beautiful mansions along the coastline! Views of the coast and/or mansions the majority of the race! Did see a couple houses that had horses as well, probably to play some polo! The only noticeable decline was the end of the race. Tried to pick up some speed on the way down, but once it leveled out, still had at least a .25 to go (but seemed even further)!

My race: all of my previous halfs took place around the Philadelphia area, as most recent as of March 25th, (less than 200ft accent). Looking at the elevation map and accent, I was not going to go for a PR. Was looking to enjoy the scenery and challenge, and do my best to pace myself for under a certain time. Before the the race, I got in line a few corrals back, (long restroom lines, and fences by the starting line). Felt good to start, but was in a crowd a few corrals from where I wanted to be. Eventually passed the pacer I wanted to be near, and then passed the pacer that would get me a PR. Hung with that pace majority of the race. My PR pacer passed me with about 2 mi to go. Appreciated the words of encouragement, but it wasn't happening. Missed my PR by 2 min. But beat my goal for the event by 8 min. Definitely satisfied with my results!

Swag:
Shirt: bright green tech shirt. Front side has a lighthouse, 'Newport Races Half-Marathon'. Back has the race logo and sponsors.
The bling! Race title surrounded by anchors and rope, sailboats below, with month/year, and distance. The race is part of a "Master Series", if you do all five of the series,the medals connect and create a huge medal! I would definitely do the series if it wasn't five hours away!

After receiving the bling, there is an athlete's food tent. Water, bananas, grapes, and PieZoni's pizza! Refreshing, satisfying, and delicious!

Beer garden! Your bib contained a ticket for 1 free post race beer. Sponsored by RI Brewer's Guild. There were four local craft beers to choose from. Beer also available to purchase for a very reasonable price of $5. I went with Trinity Brewhouse's Tommy's Red (Irish red ale)!

Pictures: Free race pictures by GameFace! Haven't been tagged in any yet, will let you know if there were any worth sharing. Always a good thing when they are free, usually look like death!

I would definitely recommend this race. It's beautiful, a great challenge, awesome perks and swag!

Once the results are available to Athlinks, I will be sure to claim them! Great way to store all of your race results in one central place!

Rhode Race's sites and social:
Site: http://runri.us/newport-race-info/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RaceTheRhode
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rhoderacesri/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RhodeRacesRI/

For more pics, check out my bog below!
http://caffienefeen.blogspot.com/2018/04/race-review-newport-rhode-races.html

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(2018)
"Love the Love Run!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
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Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Hi Everyone!

Hope everyone is doing well!

A short background on this run.. My first half was in late summer of '16, the Rock N Roll Philly. Hooked right away, but needed to improve techniques, Rocky Run 13.1 challenge that fall (my unofficial 13.1 PR)! And after that, needed something to train for through winter, the Love Run (my official half PR)! Thoroughly enjoyed the Love Run in '17, and signed up immediately after for 2018. Seems like forever since my last race in Nov, but also can't believe spring race season is here!

Training: I use the intermediate half marathon training program from Coach Jenny Hadfield. (free from her site)

Back to the Love Run

Expo: Sorry, I skipped the expo. But I hear there were plenty of great vendors and race stands. And Bart Yasso was at the Philly Marathon stand taking plenty of photo-ops!

Parking: public transportation is encouraged. Private message me if you want to know a good lot near the museum.

Course and Elevation: the race starts in front of the museum, down the parkway, around city hall, and through the city for a bit. Flat to this point. Back to the museum. Down to the left, 76 side of the Schuykill River. Flat. Until Strawberry bridge! (175 ft accent around mi 8) Up the bridge, across, up and around the mansion, and back down. To the left side of the river for a bit, before heading back to the museum. Of course the last .25 has an incline!

My race:
Don't do anything new on race day. Well, first thing, I never sleep well before race day. Set my alarm to get up early for my morning routine, but I'm always up way before that! During the race, I was also thinking about tangents for a bit, trying to reduce the extra mileage that I tend to do. Next.. I knew I wanted to hang between pacers. Ahead of mine, and just behind the next one. Race time.. was hanging with that pace for a bit, but of course I get impatient with the wall of people surrounding that. Feeling trapped, I go ahead a bit. Hung with the group ahead for a while..until Strawberry Mansion. That's where I started to feel it. Pacer behind me passed, thought I may catch up after the down slope from the mansion. Nope! Hanging.. Still ahead of my goal pace. But looking back often for the next pacer. The last mile I knew I still had a chance to PR. Pushed through. Maybe a bit too hard. Past the finish line and... A few min to the side to collect myself, but was ok. PR!

Swag: nice ceramic coffee mug with the Love Run logo
Medal: heavy duty medal, city skyline, Love Run Logo, the medal also doubles as a bottle opener!
Shirt: Red tech long sleeve shirt with the logo on the front, and all of the sections of Philly that we ran through listed on the back, with silhouettes of the more iconic locations.

The Love Run is a great winter goal to train for. Definitely recommend!

Their info below:
Site: https://www.motivrunning.com/the-love-run/
Twitter: @LOVERUNPHILLY
IG: @loverunphilly

For more pics, check out my blog!
http://caffienefeen.blogspot.com/2018/03/race-review-love-philadelphia-love-run.html

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