Latest reviews by Christopher

(2014)
"26.2 Miles of AWESOME! "
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The course would take us over the Verrazno Narrows Bridge, essentially 1 mile up and the second mile down. This is one of the two parts of the course that I really remember, the other portion that I remember was another bridge that had a little challenge for me was around mile 15 at the Queensboro Bridge.

For the entire 26.2-mile journey to Central Park, the environment outside of the actual course is what proved me with the most memories. Even after chatting with people after the race, they asked about certain parts but honestly I didn’t remember so here is the break down of how this race is the BEST race I have ever been part of.

The energy of the spectators was absolutely amazing. Millions of people lined the streets to cheer on random strangers that traveled from near and far to run this amazing race in their city and their boroughs. Each borough people had signs that welcomed runners into their specific neighborhood or borough, each one had their Welcome to ____ and Thank you for visiting ____, as if it were a competition between New Yorkers. The amount of sideways high-fives was awesome, as well as people yelling “GO DUDE IN GREEN” or GREAT JOB 5113″. It was all truly amazing. I was also able to witness the amazing support for the NYPD, as runners thanked them, then the crowds would go crazy and yell for runners who were NYPD!

The runners who participated … each one had a unique story of their journey from the first time marathoner (including my friend Pat) to the 27 time NYC Marathon finisher who I met on the subway well after I finished, each one Got Their New York On. At the start I was able to meet a coupe of New Yorkers who were trying to run with the 3:05:00 pacer, where I started as well, though I decided to pull away quickly into the race so I could focus on my own race day plans. Along the course I was around the group of New York runners who I met at the start and they included a “Good job Cali” as they ran along side me, suddenly I made a couple of friends along the run. Each runner in this race was genuinely excited and supportive of one another along the course and to finish the 26.2-mile journey strong.

checkout my full race report w/ photos at: http://christophermalenab.com/2014/11/04/get-your-new-york-on-marathon-day/

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(2014)
"This could have been really really fast ... "
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It’s been a very long time since I ran a Rock ‘n’ Roll race, Sunday that all changed when I toed the line in San Jose. As part of the Bib Rave Pro team at BibRave.com, I was fortunate enough to be provided a free entry into the race in exchange of using my social media outlets to promote the race, even sharing a discount code with my followers. I am also posting my review on BibRave.com, so if you don’t have an account there you should check it out and read the reviews before joining in on a race.

So my original intention for this race was to “race it”, but with last week’s news of not getting into the 2015 Boston Marathon, I opted to take this course as a training run, preparing for both New York City Marathon and the California International Marathon. Skipping forward about this course, with many of the streets in neighborhood areas and Downtown San Jose, this course has some wide streets and only a hand full of changes with ascends and descends, if you want to really hammer this race, this could be an “A” target half marathon for those of you looking for a fall half marathon.
My race weekend started on Saturday with a 2 hour drive to San Jose with my wife and son to pick-up my bib, D-tag, and swag at the race expo held at the San Jose Convention Center. Getting in and out of the expo was pretty quick and painless, no long lines to deal with, and nothing to outrageous that caused me wishing things were a bit different. My son had a blast running around with all the sounds and sights of the expo. In the expo, I only had one booth that I was determined to find and say hello to the friendly folks at Skechers Performance Division. After making our way through the expo it was time for lunch before heading back to Sacramento to hangout for the rest of the day.

Sunday morning came around pretty quickly and it was time to hit the road. I jumped into my car just before 5:00AM knowing that the ride would take close to 2 hours to get there, with little traffic, I was there in 1:45.

Once I got into San Jose, the parking was pretty simple though some of the exits were a bit congested due to the large number of runners running in the event. The weekend offered a 5k on Saturday and 10k and 13.1 on Sunday morning. This race also had 19 corrals or wave starts, so this could provide you an idea of how many people were ready to run the streets of San Jose.

After finding some FREE street parking, I got myself together and headed to the start line area where I started my long run of 16 miles for the day, knowing that 13.1 of them would be in the race. At the start line area I found fellow Bib Rave Pro and friend Erin. She was also in for a long run weekend as she ran 4-miles to the start.

With some quick pre-race needs, like using the porto, it was time to toe-the line. The count down was on and it was time to run this race, as a training run. I was in corral 1 just behind the elites. This group would provide me a good pace to keep me at training, in fact I started at the back of the corral as to make sure I didn’t get out and run too fast to start the race.

Along the course I would keep the 1:30 pace group around me, sometimes in front, sometimes even and sometimes behind me. The course as I mentioned offered some pretty wide areas to run as well as some pretty fast paved roads. Not to mention the awesome support and music along the course. After mile 5, the course brought us back near the start area, where I could see some of the later corrals still awaiting their starts.

All I could think of during this run was, man I wish I would have raced this because the course is really really fast! It’s fast and comfortable to keep a steady pace as well. After the 13.1 miles was all said and done, I crossed the finish line at a finishing time of 1:29:11. about 50 seconds under my training goal of 1:30:00. Not too bad for a Sunday stroll around San Jose.

With medal in hand, I continued my run to get my total distance in for the day.

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(2014)
"Breaking the Tape"
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A first year small race that offers a big race view. The race starts and finishes at Raley Field in West Sacramento, the home of the Sacramento River Cats (AAA Baseball). There were no lines at morning of race packet pick-up, the parking was wide open as they use the parking area of the baseball stadium.
The ballpark is open for people to watch the finish as well as use REAL BATHROOMS! The race is timed by Capital Road Race Management, so their timing and distances are always spot on! The course is a pretty fast one, I was fortunate enough to be the fastest :) as I won the inaugural race.

The course brings runners along the Sacramento River on the West Sacramento side, before wrapping back around the stadium where runners get to finish on the warning track of the outfield entering near center field and finishing along the first base side of the diamond. The finishers swag was pretty nice as it was my first trophy winning an event. I have won my age group but never won a race, this will always be one I remember.

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(2014)
"Hot Pink and Fast Roads"
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This is the first time I have ran this race. I was invited to run this race by the friendly folks at the Skechers Performance Division and asked to gather a team of runners to represent the brand. The race was held in downtown Roseville on an all paved road, which offered for some fast running. The out and back with a small loop had just a little bit of a climb sprinkled on occasion, but nothing to worry about. With a number of companies at the start / finish area, the race provided a fun environment while raising funds for breast cancer awareness. I took 4th overall in the 5k and 2nd in my age group with my training partner taking 3rd and 1st in our age group. This is one too spot if you want to find a fast road race in Roseville. The race is managed by A Change of Pace who does good job with their races.

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(2014)
"Let's give this BQ race a go! "
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So this was the final go around to try to better my BQ time with the upcoming registration for the 2015 Boston Marathon. The weekend started off with a 2 hour travel on Saturday to Du Loache Winery in Santa Rosa, where the race expo and packet pick-u pwas hosted.
The packet pick-up was was a nice change than the normal environment of those found inside a expo or exhibition hall, where most marathons have their expos. This was outdoors with a few booths, plenty of wine and a quick and painless experience. After grabbing the goodies, I headed off to check into our hotel before heading to dinner at a local downtown place, Flip-It.

People often ask me what my pre marathon dinner typically consist of. My answer is, whatever I feel like having for dinner. This pre marathon evening one thing on the menu stuck out at me, the Crispy Portobello Veggie Burger!
After a yummy bite, it time to head back to the hotel and get a good nights rest. This evening sleep would have me experience something I had not experienced in a long time. Around 3:20am I was awaken by a violent shake. One so strong I thought my wife was shaking me to wake up as if there was something going on in the form of an emergency. I was completely wrong, this tremble was an earthquake. The last time I felt an earthquake was back in the late 80s. After jumping on Twitter to find out what was going on, apparently this shocker was felt by plenty and in fact was measured at a 6.1 magnitude causing some serious damage in nearby Napa. With all the commotion, I was still focused on trying to get some shut eye before the morning race.

With being able to catch a little more shut eye it was now time to head to the start area. The pre race time was pretty well timed, I walked to the park where the start and finish line were located, dropped my gear bag, said hello to Erin, headed to the Porto-A-Potty and finally found my way to the start line.
At the start line everything was smooth as could be, the normal hustling of runners to find their pace groups, and last minute well wishes amongst one another even if you didn’t know them. Shortly after 6:00AM we were on our way to conquer 26.2-miles around Santa Rosa.

The first 2.5 miles took us through downtown Santa Rosa before heading onto a river trail for a good portion of the race, with the out and back with a loop course, the back miles were visible as a constant reminder of this is a marathon not a sprint.

While enjoying the river trail that would hopefully lead to bettering my 2015 Boston Marathon qualifying time, I ran along side the 3:10 pace group. Though a 3:05 would be nice and a sub 3:00 would be even better, the reality of hitting those times would be tough not having gone through a full marathon training cycle, not to mention having ran The San Francisco Marathon just 4 weeks prior to Santa Rosa.

By the half marathon point I was around where I wanted to be which was 1:33:xx. At this point I was feeling pretty good, but running alone for the most part with a few exceptions of catching up to and getting passed by others.

From here I was cruising along, but started to feel a little tired. My splits and overall average pace start to drop a bit. As it started to drop, I wasn’t overly concerned with it too much because mile 20 was starting to near, and I knew I could try to give it a hard push for the final 10k.

During that final 10k, I only had the legs to push for the first 5k of them. After slushing my way through the final 5k and to the finish line, I was able to cross my 23rd marathon at a time of 3:16:24.

For those of you counting this is my 8th run that is at least 26.2 miles or longer in my quest for 14 (26.2+ mile runs) in (20)14.

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