Latest reviews by Christine Guenther

(2019)
"2019 Lululemon 10K"
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First time doing a Lululemon race. I jumped at the chance to have a weekend away to somewhere warm from the PNW coldness, so I signed up pretty quickly back in June/July

Registration: sign up early, sold out in 3 days. Costs $85

Transportation/ Hotels: I stayed downtown and my hotel offered a free shuttle to and from the airport (added bonus). If you can, do an Uber or a Lyft to get around the city, or the transportation system. Parking’s expensive and a bit obnoxious

Packet Pick up: Happens over the course of 3-4 days at the Lululemon UTC store over in Wakefield. It’s a bit of a hike to get there and not the easiest in terms of finding the store since it’s in an outdoor mall. Bib numbers were assigned as you picked up your bib, don’t forget to have your QR code to be scanned. You also get either a tank or a t shirt depending on if you’re a woman or a man. Afterworlds, take some time to shop around, your bib gets you 25% off anything regular priced

Race Start: Shelter Island. There are shuttles from the finish and certain hotels that left between 5-6 AM. A bit of downtown as the race didn’t start until 7 and we were essentially hanging out until 7.

The course: starts on shelter island before going to harbor drive, onto Harbor Island for a mile and change then back along the harbor and ultimately to Waterfront Park. You did get some Harbor Views and some pretty good views of the airport rental car parking lots. I feel like there’s a bunch of options in terms of course choices and that there could have been a better course in order to see some of that in San Diego.

Post race: after you crossed the finish, you got a medal, a Lululemon bag, a donut and some food. Waterfront Park was set up with some vendors, post race yoga and a Lululemon pop up shop. The line to the pop up shop had to be at least a 30-45 min wait at one point and they ran out of anything in the women’s sizes that was SD specific so you may have been able to either go to one of the stores or order it special, which was kind of disappointing.

Fun idea, but better course options I think.

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(2019)
"International 5K"
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I signed up for the International Chicago 5K as a shakeout run for the Chicago Marathon this year. Registration was quick and easy and could be found on the marathon website as well (redirected you to the International Chicago 5K). Register early enough, get your country flag on your bib.

A few weeks before the race, your bib was mailed to you if you were a US resident (international runners including Canada had to pick up at the expo). I think this is a great idea if you’re within a certain vicinity to Chicago, but coming from Washington State, I was paranoid I wasn’t going to back my bib (I worked a 9 day stretch at work before leaving for Chicago, so the fear is real!).

Race itself started in Daley Plaza and finished in Grant Park. Race itself is flat. Be aware that Garmins/GPS are bouncing off the skyscrapers and can have their own issues getting the right distance. 1 water stop on course. Race itself was great though the finish was a bit of a hot mess and overcrowded. They did have food for runners and i feel like if it were bagged up and handed to people as they were coming through it would have solved a whole lot of issues. You also get a beanie hat at the finish which is a fun alternative to a medal. Great way though to be part of marathon weekend if you’re not doing the full marathon or if you’re looking for a shake out run before the marathon.

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(2019)
"Chiacgo round 3"
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Third time around for Chicago and the farthest I’ve had to travel for it (was in Pennsylvania my prior 2 times for this). Chicago itself can give you a wide variety of weather challenges so I was glad the weather itself was 40s-50s for the weekend!

I arrived the Thursday prior to the marathon since I lose a day flying back east with long flights. I stayed downtown close to Grant Park to make life easier getting to and from the race. I caught dinner Thursday night and called it good. Friday morning, I went for a shake out run prior to heading to the expo. It’s easy enough to take either the Green line to McCormick Place or the 63 Bus. If you’re worried about figuring that out, easy enough to Uber or take a cab.

The Expo: security going in, which is to be expected with a marathon this huge, did lead to a little bit of a bottle neck heading in. Bib pick up involved scanning your participant packet or your emailed out bib information and showing ID and once you got through that, it was smooth sailing. You were given a numbered location to go to and your packet was waiting for you. After packet pick up, there were more than plenty of vendors, racers and charities set up. You have to stop yourself from buying all the things. The official race shirts were disappointing and running 2 sizes to small. While I appreciate the ability to swap them out, I wish they’d actually size them correctly. I was also REALLY disappointed in the official gear by Nike this year, it was so underwhelming. I feel like the other vendors had better gear than Nike did this year and I’ve done this race 3 times.

The race: 3 separate waves/start times depending on the time you give when you register. Each wave has separate corrals (3-4) with pacers for a whole host of time goals. Coarse itself is flat and fast, with really no incline (except for Roosevelt Blvd as you’re coming towards the finish). 29 neighborhoods, plenty of energy (though NYC might have it beat with the crowd support). Things do spread out which is appreciated (NYC I feel like is more crowded runner wise the entire race). Aid stations every mile or so with electrolytes and water. Plenty of Biofreeze stations on course of well. Mile 14 is fun, especially if your a charity runner, as all the charities line the last 1/4-1/2 mile. 6-7 hr time limit, though people will be out cheering the entire time

Post race: plan on walking a bunch to get out, just like with any huge marathon. You were given a bag of food, could pick up water and Gatorade and had the chance for the post race party (which I didn’t make it to). No chocolate milk that I could find, which was really disappointing. Not everyone wants a beer after a marathon (I’m probably in the minority on that one, but still). Medals and heat wraps for everyone, I think I saw wash clothes too this year.

Definitely a fun marathon to go back to, I’ve done it 3 times and overall is an awesome experience

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(2019)
"Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon"
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First time doing a Revel Series race and it was fun! I flew in from Washington on Friday to Salt Lake City and picked up my rental car at the airport. From there, I drove over to Salt Lake Community College to pick up my packet.

Expo: Fairly easy to get to, though if you weren’t paying attention to email you might not realize what address to use to get there. You went into the activity center, up some stairs and got your bib and a pair of goodr sunglasses, then down into the main expo to get your shirt and bag check bag. Everyone got a heat sheet and some gloves...early indicator that it’s cold at the start!

Hotels: 3 or 4 host hotels, one of which was 1/4 mile from the finish. I stayed at the Marriot Residence Inn in Cottonwood. It had shuttles to the start (shared with the Hyatt next door)

Getting to the Start: shuttles only since it starts in a canyon. Shuttles left from the host hotels or from the finish line. Shuttles for the full left between 4-5 am, the half 430-530 AM

The start: race time at 6:45 AM. Only downside is the shuttles got us to the start nearly 2 hours before the start so we were sitting in 45* temperatures waiting for the sun to come up. You can only have so much throw away gear on in addition to the gloves and heat sheet given. Bon fires maybe?

The course: literally all down hill. If you’re looking for a BQ, look at the half/full for this race. Scenic race, really don’t see crowd support until the last 3-4 miles where we get into town, but also where it flattens out. Photo ops on course as well as aid stations with water, Powerade and gels. Only thing I wish there more more of or more consistency of were aid stations. They were anywhere between 1.5-3 miles apart.

The finish: in Cottonwood. Met with medals, food, water, etc. Wish there was tru moo chocolate milk over the organic stuff. After you exited the finishers Shute, plenty of vendors, opportunity to get results, race swag and your bag drop. The only downside is that I couldn’t find the shuttles back to the hotels that offered them so I ended up taking an Uber back to my hotel.

Great race, would come back for it!

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(2019)
"OVerlake Half Marathon"
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Ran Overlake for the first time 2 weeks ago and signed up for it 3 days before the race (benefits of living on the other side of Washington State and being able to easily get there).

The Expo: really no frills. In and out at one of the local running stores in Redmond. I picked up my bib and walked to my hotel, which was also about a 1/4 mile from the start.

Swag: hooded sweatshirt, though thinner material

The Race itself: if you’re looking for a flat course in Washington, look at this race. Flat course, scenic. Mostly on paved running paths. Be aware you’re sharing the course with bikers and nonracers. One of the things that needs worked on is either corrals or a staggered start. There was somewhat of a staggered start, but you were still on top of people the first few miles and people were 4 across taking up the entire path. If you needed to pull to the side, no room to do it. Course was out and back so you finished where you started.

Finish/Post race: plenty of water, but no chocolate milk or food really other than bananas. Plenty of vendors set up if you wanted to check out local stuff

Solid 3.5-4 star race to look at if you’re looking for something Labor Day weekend

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