I'm so excited to finally announce that I have been chosen to be a BibRave Pro!
What's that you may ask. Well, have you ever heard about a race but didn't know too much about it so you were unsure of whether you wanted to run it or not? Were curious as to how actual runners felt about a certain course? Wanted to find out was the SWAG Bag really worth the cost? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then www.BibRave.com is just want you need. There, real runners post their honest review of the races they have run rating everything from course terrain (how about them hills), parking, SWAG, communication and more.
I learned about BibRave from a fellow runner friend, (check her blog out here - http://barkingmadaboutrunning.blogspot.com/ ) who posted about it on Facebook. I checked it out and was hooked. See, I am a researcher. I like to know everything about a race before I run it. Helps with the nerves. Being able to read real race day experiences has really helped me immeasurably.
From there, I learned about #BibChat - a weekly Tuesday night Twitter event where runners from all over get together to chat about topics, learn about cool gear and get to know others in the running community. I've made so many awesome new friends though these chats and learned about so many cool things. They also give away two items from a sponsor each week. On my 3rd #BibChat I won a free pair of Oofos recovery flip flops - see my previous blog about them here. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join - Tuesday evenings at 9 pm EST.
Anyway, back to being a Pro. Over the summer, BibRave announced applications were open for their ambassador program, the BibRave Pro team. I had gotten pretty involved with BibRave at that point posting several reviews, being involved with the #BibChats and just making friends with several community members. Why not, I figured. Worst case scenario, they say no and nothing changes. Well, they said YES and here I am. A Pro.
So what does this mean. Basically, I just keep doing what I've been doing, interacting with an awesome community, post my race reviews, be involved in #BibChat and learn about new awesome products. But as an extra bonus, I now have access to really cool race and gear discounts that I can share with you. To see these awesome deals, check out the two new page tabs at the top of the blog. They are updated periodically so be sure to check back on occasion.
So what's your next race coming up? Afterwards, be sure to share your experience with us at BibRave!
Friday, September 22, 2017
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
First let me get this minor disclaimer out of the way - I am close friends with the Race Director of this race, which is just one of the reasons I run it each year. She's awesome, but that will not influence my review.
|I swear I didn't mean those things, Susan!|
|Somehow I'm not slipping on grass at the finish|
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
This was my second year with the Carowinds Run and Ride Series running the Half Marathon. I signed up for the series back in January which allowed for a pretty big discount, so I ended up registering for 3 of the 4 possible races - the 1 miler, the 5K and the Half. The other distance (Quarter Marathon) was not an option for me as it was at the same time as the Half.
On race day, we arrived to the theme park where there was ample free parking. There was a bit of confusion as the race start time ended up being different than posted on the website with the 5K now starting at 8:30 instead of the posted 8:15. Luckily, the 1 miler was also pushed back 15 minutes from 9:00 to 9:15 as I was planning to run both. The on-site DJ made this announcement several times so it wasn't really a big deal, just a bit more waiting.
The race started just outside the park gate and looped around the back of the parking lot onto a maintenance road, and then into a back gate next to a large wooden roller coaster, The Hurler. From there, it wound around the park, into the water park area, under several more coaster, through the Dinosaurs area (always fun to run past life-size dinos), back out a maintenance area. The miles go by fast as there are a million things to look at, especially since Carowinds had already started putting up their creepy SCarowinds decorations. I only ran past 1 Peanuts character, Franklin, during the race and even then, I think it was just a coincidence as he was making his way to his station for the park to open, but he high-fived me as I zoomed past, which made me smile. There was a water station at the halfway point. I didn't stop, but it was well staffed. My only route complaint comes from the condition of the roads in the maintenance areas.The roads behind the scenes were extremely broken up with loose rocks and huge cracks in many places. I had a few footing slips due to them.
The finishers area was full of cheering people and Snoopy and Charlie Brown were there cheering on the runners. Volunteers were handing out medals as you crossed and there was lots of water bottles, Powerade bottles, bagels, bananas and apples on hand. Prizes were given for the top 3 finishers in each 10 year age group (the previous year had 5 year age groups) and I just missed placing with a 28:18 time for a 4th place finish. I didn't have much time to stick around as the start line for the 1 miler was inside the park and getting ready to be escorted there (only those with bibs were allowed to go to the start) so I had to quickly switch my bib and head over. Overall, the race was fun with only a few complaints - the biggest being there was no on course photography at all, and apparently very very very limited finish line photography for the 5K. I was kinda bummed about that cause last year's pictures were so cool (hello, Dinos in the background) but luckily, my husband was there to take some finish line photos of me otherwise I wouldn't have any. The medals were adorable (Lucy for the 5K) and link up to others in the series to form a roller coaster car. That right there was worth it to me!
The 1 miler started 45 minutes after the start of the 5K which I also ran. The start line for the 1 miler was a short walk from the finish of the 5K so I had plenty of time to find my husband and daughter, switch bibs and head with my daughter to the 1 miler start just inside the park entrance. Since the start was inside the Carowinds gate, only those with bibs were allowed in so the husband had to wait at the finish line, which was the same finish line for all 4 races. We started directly under the park's iconic Sky Tower, which was pretty cool and after a countdown, we were off.
The Half started at 7:00 am to a wonderfully cool morning. Prior to the race, the National Anthem was played and we had a moment of silence for remembrance for the next day's Sept. 11th. Both the Half Marathon and the Quarter Marathon had the same start time and routes with the Half Marathoners taking a second loop around. We started outside the front gate and with a big circle around the exterior of the Carowinds parking lot circling back to the gate and inside the park. The route wound under roller coasters, through the Dinosaurs Alive area, past the SCarowinds decor, into the water park, under more coasters and out a back service area to take a turn and into the hilly Campground area, came back out down a service road, back into the parking lot and around to the gate again only to start over again. The parts inside the park seemed to go quickly with lots of things to look at with the parking lot areas and campground seeming to drag a bit. I had not had the best Summer training and had run pretty hard for the 5K the day before so I was just planning to take it easy and let how I felt guide me. I started out a bit ahead of the 2:15 pacer and figured at some point she'd catch me and I'd have to decide to either be okay with that or push it. She caught up to me around mile 10 where I overhead her tell the group she was with that they were a few minutes above pace, which I thought was a bit odd, but decided I felt okay and to fall in with them. The pace group's added distraction was welcome and we chatted the last few miles away. I crossed the finish just after the pace leader for a 2:12 finish (despite the fact she was the 2:15 pacer) and a new overall and course PR for me by 4 minutes. Again, as with the 5K, the condition of the roads in the maintenance areas were extremely broken up with loose rocks and huge cracks in many places. I knew to look for this from the 5K and took these areas a bit slower.