Latest reviews by Amy Dedić

(2017)
"Niko's first 5K!"
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I have run the Hot Chocolate in Philly the past two years. This was my first year running the 5K instead of the 15K. If you know me, you know I love the longer distances but my 7 year old son wanted to run the 5K as his first 5K ever so of course I had to run with him!

Due to weather and having to pick up Niko after work, I just didn't have enough time to make it to the expo however I simply forwarded Niko and my confirmations to my sister and she easily got our stuff for us. It's really great when races allow that option. As usual the jackets were great and in my opinion the best yet. Nice thick, cozy material and thumbholes! My only wish was that they would have a kid size option because there was close to 200 kids under 14 that ran and I know Niko was pretty disappointed to not have a jacket that even remotely fits so that he can wear it around. I wear mine all the time because I love it so much and I know he would love to show it off to his friends. Otherwise I love all the swag!

Race morning was great as usual. You can easily find inexpensive garage parking or street parking within walking distance of the start. The race area is always bumping with music and it's pretty easy to use a potty before the race.

The course is part of the 15K and goes into the city for almost a mile then down MLK drive and finishes in front of the Art Musuem area. Not much aid is needed for a 5K but there was fluids and I was very happy to see a fully stocked candy station. In the two years that I ran the 15K, there was no candy anywhere on the course. Niko obviously loved this! I found the finish of the 5K to be a little dull compared to the 15K or maybe it was just this year. There wasn't any real definitive marking indicating the finish as there usually is. We did however receive all the same chocolate goodies which we all thoroughly enjoyed.

All in all it was a fun time and we will definitely run it again.

Here's more about my personal race: http://runningmarathonmom.blogspot.com/2017/04/2017-philly-hot-chocolate-nikos-first-5k.html

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(2017)
"Marathon turned half"
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I was supposed to run the full marathon however a foot injury 9 days before the race made running that many miles impossible. I tried but about 5 miles in, the pain was bad and my husband convinced me to just run the half. So that was one really nice feature that the full and the half ran most of the first half together. Around mile 11 was when the half split off towards the finish. I still received a half marathon time and a half marathon belt buckle which was awesome.
The expo was a nice size in the convention center. We went with our friends that we were staying with so we had a bunch of kids with us. But they had some fun kid activities so we actually had to drag them out at one point. We liked the race shirts, simple, nice color. The shoulder bag was pretty interesting but definitely a useful pool or beach bag.

Logistics were super easy. There was tons of street parking near the start/finish area and on Sundays it's FREE. Bag check was quick and easy before and after the race. I really loved how they had the HUGE camelback thingies with water so people could fill up their stuff before and after the race, which also reduces trash. It was nice they gave out full bottles of water and then I just used that to refill because I was THIRSTY.
The Oscar Blues beer garden was AWESOME! I spent a good chunk of time in there waiting for my husband to finish the full. and then we went back again when he was done. We also got compression treatments on our legs after he finished which felt great.
The course itself was scenic especially for an out of towner. There were more crowds cheering that I expected including some bands and cheering squads. I also saw several beer stations and a margarita station. The course is VERY hilly. It would definitely be a tough one to get a PR if you run mainly flatter marathons but it's a fun course. Unfortunately the weather was pretty horrendous on race day for us. It was 70 and cloudy but 100% humidity. Our bodies were just not prepared for that.
Overall it's definitely a fun race and Austin is a great city to visit. We would run it again!

Check out more of my personal race here: http://runningmarathonmom.blogspot.com/2017/02/austin-marathon-or-maybe-just-half.html

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(2017)
"Back to Paradise"
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As I said last time I did this race in 2014, it's hard not to love a race that occurs in Key West. That said, I do think they made improvements that make it even better than the first time I ran it. The expo was much bigger and much better organized inside the brewery. There was plenty of detailed info available about the course and where exactly the start line was. The bag check was super easy and quick. The course was slightly different than 2014 but all for the best. It's very scenic and hits up some of the major sites in Key West including the SouthernMost point. It's very important to have plenty of aid on the course since it is hotter and more humid than most of us are used to running in January. I felt the race did an excellent job of this. There were more than enough stations and tons of very enthusiastic volunteers. The finish line was pumping which was fun. The medal is a fun wine stopper and the race shirt only something a Key West race would give out. I love that the bibs have the runners' names on it. There was TONS of water and food afterwards. Did I mention the 35 kegs of beer? Oh yeah IPA and pilsner, and unlimited refills in your key west half cup. Fun music, cool giveaways. Can't beat the afterparty. I loved this race the first time, loved it even more this time. Can't wait to go back again!!!

Check out more of my personal experience and pics here: http://runningmarathonmom.blogspot.com/2017/01/disclaimer-i-received-entry-to-key-half.html

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(2016)
"Running circles for 24 hours"
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NJ one day is whatever you want it to be. There's a marathon, 50K, 12 hour race and 24 hour race. I ran the 24 hour race in hopes of reaching 100 miles. It's a one mile loop course. Don't let the trail series fool you, it's a paved loop. To date, the only ultra I ran on pavement is the double blue ridge marathon which hurt enough, 24 hours on pavement OUCH! Despite my pain, it was a great race. Logistics are so super easy. You can have your crew and cheering sections right there on course with you. The race aid station was awesome. I could put in an order for a hot item and they would have it ready the next time I came around. Bathrooms were also nice indoor ones that were heated which were soooo nice on of course what was probably the coldest day/night of the season. The RD is so super nice and supportive. I received several hugs from him and he even personalized my license plate and wrote my 100 mile PR on it. Being on a small loop for so long I made some new running friends and watched a couple runners bust out US national team qualifiers for the 24 hour world running championships, so cool! So even though the pavement was so friendly to me, I still think it was a great event. I definitely recommend it!!! They also have a 3 day in the spring on the same course which also seems very popular.
check out more details of my personal race here: http://runningmarathonmom.blogspot.com/2016/11/that-time-i-ran-for-day-nj-one-day.html

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(2016)
"There's definitely Boulders in the Boulder Field"
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This was the first year for the Boulder Field 100K and 50K. That said Stephan Weiss is known around the greater Philly and Reading areas for putting on top notch races. Boulder Field was no exception. It took place in Hickory Run state park. There was free camping both Friday and Saturday night which we took advantage of. The course is a nice mix of super technical rocky terrain and super runnable sections. I really enjoy the scenery and changes in terrain type. It's a 50K loop that actually goes through the main area about 12-13 miles into the loop so my family was able to see me a number of times. As always with a Stephan race, the aid stations and volunteers were outstanding. I had volunteers running with me a few times into/out of aid stations just to give me support. The stations were more than well supplied with pretty much anything you would want hot or cold. I really don't have a complaint about this race and would do it again in a heart beat. Everyone got sweatshirts and finishers received handmade german weatherstations, I'm starting to get quite a collection! Also top 3 awards were beer growlers which I snagged one for 3rd place female. I really enjoyed this race so much! You can read more details about my personal experience on my blog.

http://runningmarathonmom.blogspot.com/2016/09/boulder-field-100k.html

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