Latest reviews by Phong Chieng

(2019)
"Surf City 10K Race Report"
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The biggest draws for races at a beach is obviously the view, the ocean breeze, and flat elevation. The Surf City 10 had all of those features and more. This year's race took place at night #RunatSUNDOWN so in addition to all of those previous perks, we got to enjoy the sunset along the beach!

I had a friend pick up my bib, but I picked up another bib just before the race started and had no issues. The starting line was crowded which is no surprise given the amount of runners at the race. We were patient and waited for the first few corrals to start and then did the zig zag around slower runners. I have yet to be in a race where that is avoidable (with the exception with the few races where I was at the front of the first corral (after the elite runners, of course). I found out the shirts were glow in the dark AFTER the race, when I was already home. That's too bad, it would have been fun to run with the shirt during the race. But overall, I was happy with the race location, logistics, and perks. I highly recommend this race if you are looking for a fun race with an ocean view!

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(2019)
"Craft Classic 5K Review"
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I like local races because you know exactly what to expect in terms of crowds, swag, course support, etc. Since this was a smaller race, I wasn't too surprised about the smaller turnout. It's always a nice surprise when you don't have to sit in traffic waiting to park or zig zag through runners at the start. The t-shirt was OK, I'm not a fan of cotton tees but it felt pretty soft. The medal was actually a nice surprise, well made and comes with a built-in bottle opener! Overall, great local race that I would run again with friends and family.

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(2019)
"Finally ran the Hot Chocolate 5K after so many years!"
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I've wanted to run this race for many years now. I still remember seeing this race being advertised at a race expo back in 2012. While a run that offered hot chocolate at the end was different, what I liked about it more was that they offered a nice running jacket instead of a medal. At that time, I had collected more than enough race medals and the jacket seemed more practical since it was something I would have been able to use much more often than a medal. But I got the chance to run it until last year. I registered and even picked up my jacket at the race expo last year, but something came up and I wasn't able to attend the race. I finally got to participate in the race this year and am glad I did. It was a very organized race, and I had no issues from start to finish. The course was pretty straightforward, we ran through some streets around downtown, I didn't notice anything too scenic but it was nice that it started and finished around the same area. There were some hills throughout the course, but nothing too daunting. The chocolate was a nice treat at the end, and it was dark chocolate so I did not feel guilty eating that after the run. The Hot Chocolate Run is a great way to combine exercise and the social element of running together.

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(2018)
"Fit Foodie 5K San Diego"
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I’ve wanted to participate in the Fit Foodie 5K for quite some time. As I mentioned before, one of the reasons I run is so that I don’t have to worry (too much) about what I eat before and after. So when I learned about an event that highlights running and food, I was sold! I finally had the opportunity to run it this year and it did not disappoint. The race was very well organized and there were so many different food options, I felt like I had to go for another run afterwards!

We came a little late so had to start the race at the very back, which meant a lot of bobbing and weaving to get to the front. Usually, when that happens, I’m able to go off to the side and pass most people that way. But because the race was around Liberty Station, the race was mostly on a very narrow walking/biking path. So, I did my best to avoid running over others while trying to keep up my pace. I also have to admit that I had not been running very much before this race. So it’s not like I was in tip-top shape ready to win the race. But the atmosphere was great throughout the race and I had a really good time.

Finish Time: 22:49 (7:21 min/mile)
Age Group Placing: 7/94
Gender Placing: 24/361
Overall Placing: 34/1393

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(2017)
"Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles 5K"
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This is my 5th time running the Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles race, but my first time running the 5K. The good thing with Rock ‘n’ Roll races is that you know what to expect: very big, but very organized race expos, a lot of runners, a staggered starting line to prevent congestion on the course, as well as their notable music along the course and post-race concerts. I ran a total of 9 times since that last race as well as biked 20 miles. I guess the word ‘trained’ can be subjective. In the past I used to run 7 days a week and as long as 20+ miles on certain days. Now I’m lucky if I can run 20 miles for the week! But my results for any type of training is similar, I run very slow during my training runs but when it’s race day, I can pick up the pace. As you can see below, I never ran faster than 8-minute pace in any of my previous training runs. But on race day, I was able to run a 6:42 pace, bizarre right? Not that I’m complaining. I just feel I could be pushing myself a lot more during those training runs. It’s just difficult because getting up at 6AM is hard enough as it is, let alone trying to endure running fast.

The other reason we wanted to run this race is because we had already planned to attend the Comic Con event at the Convention Center the day before the race. I found out that there was a promotion called the Super Hero Challenge where if you attended Comic Con and ran the race, you would get another medal (not including the one you get for finishing the 5K), called the Super Hero Challenge Medal. I’m not one to run races for medals, but I have to admit, the medal was nice!

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