Latest reviews by Kauser Bhaila

(2022)
"Snagged my 2nd best time in state #17"
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This was my first race as a Bibrave pro and first time in Hilton head, SC. I got into Hilton Head on Friday afternoon, rented a car and drove to The Palmetto running club where the packet pickup was held. It was a very quick process and the volunteers was so friendly and even gave me tips on where to eat :) Although there was no traditional expo, the running store had some nice deals just for the Hilton Head marathon weekend, and I walked out with a new shoe that I got 50% off.

For dinner I met up with 2 other Bibrave pros, which was so fun. WE had some great pasta at Pomodori Italian eatery.

Race started at 8 am, which is so nice! race start was at Jarvis Creek Park and there was plenty of parking available at a high school which was just a short walk away. Perfect way to warm up. Race started promptly and I was able to get my race pace going early on. The route is out and back, starting at the park, going onto a bike path across a bridge on highway and back again and finish at the park. There is a nice lake at the park where you can enjoy the food/drink and makes a great photo opp. The Bridge was the only significant elevation on the course ( according to my Garmin, total Ascent was 361 feet, for a Half marathon that is not bad at all) Starting Temperature was 45 degrees and I was cruising along great, it did jump to 60 when I finished with my 2nd best time of 1:54:09 :D The race was small with 310 half finishers this year, but had plenty of volunteers to guide us on the course and at aid stations. Crowd support was mainly at aid stations and finish but there were some who drove and parked their cars on some sections of highway and that was greatly appreciated. There were enough aid stations throughout the course (6 for the out and back) and some included Nuun, porta stops ( thankfully I didn't need them) and one with energy gels.

After finishing there was Pizza available, which was a super plus in my book and each runner got 2 free beers! I got to talk to some other runners and was able to cheer on everyone who was doing the full marathon and going for the 2nd loop of course.

As race swag I love the quarter zip fleece lined pull over and a simple yet beautiful embossed medal! Another nice tough was we got free race pictures!

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(2022)
"A Dream Marathon"
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My one friend and I had a very bumpy start for this weekend with a flight delay so much that we couldn't make the expo. Thankfully our other friend had gotten there earlier and picked up our bibs. From what I heard the Expo was really great!

Morning was pretty smooth, we stayed at the Holiday Inn which is the partner hotel and the shuttle bus pick up was right across, where we walked to on the connecting bridge from hotel to convention center. The train would have been super fun but we missed that getting by maybe a minute. We got on the bus around 5 am and it took us about 30 minutes to get to start line village. everyone running either half or full have to take the bus to the start line.

At start area it was very lively with music and everyone warming up or standing in porta potty lines. We had enough time to do the porta lines 2x :) If there is anything In would add to race would be more portas.

The start was amazing with jets flying overhead and national anthem playing. everyone lines up at based on paces. No corrals and it was one start after the elites and wheel chair athletes took off.

The start of race was a bit narrow but opened up pretty fast. first couple of miles was just nice getting into the groove and both sides were tree lined. There was a porta Potty starting at mile 1 even though the aid stations didn't start until mile 3. At half way point you all the portas that the half marathons had and was a great quick stop for me since there were no lines at all. All aid stations had water and Powerade and I think mile 17 or so had maple syrup gels. I just used mine so not too sure exact mileage on that. suddenly around that time you see the first glimpse of the lake and it was just beautiful!! we Ran along the Lake with views pretty much the whole time and it was amazing! The crowds started at mile 5 and I was surprised how many people had come out, The spectators were just amazing and at all the right spots to bring energy and I felt when there weren't any people it was just what was needed to dial down on pace. The volunteers were absolutely so nice and friendly!

Towards the last miles we get into town and there was crowd support at many spots. The college cheer section was so fun! I didn't think I would be laughing towards the end of a marathon. I knew I had yet to conquer "The Lemon Drop Hill" at mile 22 and kept thinking about it but it really wasn't bad and again the crowds made it feel much easier than I had worked it up in my head.

The energy in the last bit was so so wonderful and made me run my fastest mile! Great organization at finish line and nice after party. We didn't hang around much because it got super cold. I bought some merchandise at the tent and headed back to the hotel.

Grandma's Marathon is known to be a bit warm and humid, and although at the start till about mile 10 it seemed like it might get warm the weather turned to be perfect race conditions. It got cooler and had a nice Breeze. The wind actually was in my face the last two miles which wasn't ideal but no one can control that!

This was my 2nd marathon after years of setbacks and it was just so amazing! All stars aligned for me to start and finish this race feeling strong the entire way ending in negative splits at 4:14:37 a 45 minute PR and a very emotional finish! State number 18 at MN was definitely a great experience. I loved that the race shirts were finisher shirts and we got it after finishing along with the beautiful medal!

Duluth is such a nice town and we had lunch at the Grandma's Saloon and Grill where it was packed with racers.

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(2022)
"Top Notch "
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I flew into Houston on Saturday morning, A friend had picked up my bib but I checked into my hotel (JW Marriot Downtown) and walked to the convention center, which was about a half mile away where the expo is. Greta expo with picture opportunities, name wall and a lot of vendors. You could spend a lot of time in there. I collected some samples, took some pictures. The t-shirt is a finisher shirt so was only given after race finish. I thought that was really special.

Race morning, runners get to stay in the convention center and walk out to start line that was about another 1/2 mile. I left the center around 6:40 for a 7am corral close. I have never seen so many porta potties at a start before! Inside the convention center it was a never ending wall of portas and the lines were so quick because of that. They even had extra toilet paper towers :) There was a Gatorade/water station in there too. on the way to corral I made another stop at the "last minute" portas they had just before the corrals. This race they actually checked who was getting in the corrals and if we had the right bib, that was pretty impressive too considering the 33000 race field.

Marathoners and Half marathoners start together and stay till almost 8 miles. No pacers for half but can stay with marathon pacer group if anyone wanted. The energy running with so many was amazing. It was a chilly day, starting at feel like temperatures of 28 degrees. There were so many volunteers, aid station every 1.5 miles and medic stations. Some course entertainment and plenty of crowd support. The course itself was flat and so many straight roads that makes it a PR friendly course. I was able to snag a PR, and seems like many did this year, including the American marathon and half marathon records! The PR bell line was long :)

After finish we walk right back into the convention center where the family reunion area is. Also a huge medical are that looked like a mini hospital. They were amazing, Due to severe cramps right after finish I had to be wheeled into medical so that was a first time for me. The convention center even had a changing area dedicated to men and women for after the race. Right outside the center in the green area was the after party with many vendors and the PR bell.

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(2021)
"A PR course"
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My first Wineglass event. My husband and I drove upstate NY and stayed in Hammondsport. On Friday, we did a winery and enjoyed Keuka lake area. Saturday we drove to Corning, stopping at glass museum first for packet pick up and making our own glass ornaments. packet pick up was quick and expo this year was with limited vendors due to the pandemic. For Dinner we stayed in Corning which is such a cute town.

Sunday morning my husband drove me to the shuttle stop in Bath, which was only 10 minutes from Hammondsport. The buses took us to the start line and we could wait inside the school till start. It does packed in there. Easy start, I lined up with the 1:55 pacer and decided to give it a shot. The pacer was great in pointing out fuel stations ahead of time, giving mile by mile time and encouraging the whole way.

The course although advertised as net downhill (I believe that maybe more for the marathon) and seen as downhill on elevation profile, the course is more flat than downhill, and Garmin showed a 305ft total ascent. Still it was nice running through countryside, which is not new to me but the finish line area was great! I started pushing more after 10 miles and ended up with a 2+ minute PR even in the rain!

The medal is just amazing, which is glass. The finish line post food was plenty with soup, pizza, fruit and bars. There is a phot op with race time available and free showers at the local YMCA, which I took advantage of. After changing I came back and cheered for the marathoners who were finishing and had lunch right in corning.

Other swag included a nice 1/4 zip fleece, a wineglass and a mini bottle of champagne.

Definitely a nice destination race!

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(2021)
"Be ready for hills!"
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This was a quick runcation with friends. Drove to Baltimore Friday, be prepared for some traffic. We went straight to the convention center for the expo, for a big city race the expo was just mediocre. we got our shirts and bibs and checked into our hotel, which was right across the start/finish line. The best decision ever!

Race morning was so nice, we were able to go out to the start line and line up in our corals very last minute. There were plenty of Porta Potties for anyone who needed. The start was easy and although the marathoners merged with the half at that point it wasn't an issue.

The course is HILLY! my Garmin had an elevation gain of 666 :) Up until mile 6 I believe it was constant hill after the other, then when we hit the lake it was finally a flat two miles and back to hills again after. It was a rough race for me since I had a PR race just 6 days before and was not recovered at all. But I have to say the crowd support was amazing and the energy form the other runners totally got me through it. So glad to be back at big races! I even got candy from strangers! This one was totally for the beautiful crab medal and checking off another state.

Finish line party was great, each participant got two beers and it was a beautiful day to hang out by the Inner Harbor.

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