Race Review: Rock ‘N’ Roll San Francisco

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Rock ‘N’ Roll San Francisco half marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

This past weekend I ran the Rock ‘N’ Roll San Francisco half marathon with my fellow BibRave Pro Jeannine. It was a lot of fun and well worth the trip.

Arcelia Expo

Even though I got in super late (12:30am), we headed to the expo first thing in the morning. We took MUNI from our hotel to the Embarcadero, got Philz Coffee and walked down to Pier 35.

There was a small line but once the doors opened it took us less than five minutes to get our bibs. Right after bib and t-shirt pickup there was the official merchandise section.  One of the coolest things Rock ‘N’ Roll does is put participant names on the shirt. There was a life-size banner where you could find your name which was fun.

The rest of the expo was small but it made it a lot more manageable. Toyota was there and was giving away a portable battery to Toyota owners and you could play games for more prizes. I played against Jeannine in a run in place challenge. There was a how much can you fit into corolla game too. The title sponsor United Airlines was giving away headbands/neck warmers and free Illy espresso. Illy espresso is now served on all United Airlines flights. We stopped by St. Jude, Rock ‘N’ Roll, a few other booths before we headed out for a full day of sight seeing in San Francisco. 

We walked down to Pier 39 saw the sea loins, Boudin bakery, and then took the cable car back to our hotel near Union Square. It was super fun hanging off the cable car and taking in the city. Jeannine took some awesome photos. We dropped our bibs off at the room and then headed out to the Mission District to go see all of the amazing murals. Found some artisan s’mores, more art, and then some beer at Anchorship Public Taps. Dinner was yummy Japanese food then we went to bed super early since we had a 6:15am start for the race.

http://siftstar.com/wp-json/oembed/1.0/embed?url=https://siftstar.com/2006/10/10/want-raw/ Race Day

After an early wake up call we got a Lyft to the start line. It was freezing, I should have brought throwaway clothing with me. We found my friend Kristie and then headed into Pier 39 to stay warm and out of the wind. The race however did not start on time. We waited at least 10-15 minutes before we started, they never specified what was the delay.

The race course was an abbreviated out and back starting at Pier 39 and ending at Ghirardelli Square with the turnaround at the end of the Golden Gate Bridge. In total we run about 4 miles on the Golden Gate Bridge, 4 miles on city streets, and the rest on the paved tails of the Presidio.

Once we were off we ran along the water and up a few hills to get to the Presidio. Coming from Seattle the hills were steep but nothing I wasn’t used to. The weather was a bit chilly until we hit mile 4. Once we got onto the bridge the weather cleared and it was BEAUTIFUL! Since we weren’t running for time we stopped and took photos along the bridge and I am so happy we did. Running the downhill turnaround was fun since it was trail with a huge hill. I ended up hiking it to save my energy for the last few hills we had left. I will say, we did not run on the actual car lanes, we ran on the pedestrian/bike path that was quite narrow. There were a few points where I did run into other runners and it wasn’t avoidable. But the views were well worth the narrow course.

After the bridge we turned onto the Presidio paths and got up close and personal with the waves which was fun. It was a bit boring running along the path since the Golden Gate Bridge was behind us so there wasn’t much view.  I started to not feel so great around mile 11 even though I ate almost all of my fuel. With Kristie’s help I was able to persevere and getup the hill near Fort Mason at mile 12.5 and then down a hill to the finish.

official website Post-Race

The finishers chute was short and highly organized. I was able to get my medal, water, electrolytes and Ghirardelli chocolate quickly. Where the finish line was located made it easy for us call and Lyft.

When I got back to the hotel after the race, I was able to jump on Athlinks.com and claim my race results. You can check out how I did it here, and while you’re at it, jump on and make an account too. Don’t forget to add me as a friend so we can go head-to-head in future races!

We had more time to sightsee so we grabbed bottomless dim sum brunch at Chubby Noodle to celebrate then explored Chinatown before we headed to the airport.

buy reyataz 300mg uk Overall race thoughts

Overall, this was a great race weekend. If you haven’t been to San Francisco or it’s been a while since your last visit, it is well worth a trip. Rock ‘N’ Roll puts on a great race that’s well worth it!

Race Recap: 2017 Rock N Roll Seattle Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Rock N Roll Seattle Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! 

I’m going to be honest- this is a local race for me so I might be a bit more bias than most. I am very happy I trained on most of the race course this year so I had some idea of what to expect when it came to the course and the hills.

Expo:
I left work a bit early and arrived at the expo around 5:30pm. There was Warped Tour going on so the normal walk from the International District took much longer than normal. When I got to CenturyLink Event Center there was no one there. I am not joking, there was no one at bib check in or waiting in line. I got my bib in five minutes and then headed over to the Brooks merchandise. There wasn’t much so I headed into the expo. Walked around a bit got some free sunglasses from Visit Seattle and got some free body glide from Westin. Besides the Nuun booth there wasn’t much else to see. I felt pummeled by Rock N Roll merchandise. All in all I spent an hour tops at the expo.

Saturday 5K:
I opted to run the 5k for the remix challenge. Honestly, it was alright. The corrals were small and cramped and the course was an out and back. I am glad I ran it but might skip it next year.

Sunday – race day!
Let’s just say I did not get any final information from Rock N Roll until Wednesday. They also changed the start time for the race from 7 to 6:30am. I understand their reasons but it made taking a bus to the start not possible, my options were to buy a shuttle ticket, bus to downtown then take the light rail, or bum a ride/take an uber. I decided to take an Uber with a friend from my place to get to the start line. This ended up changing Sunday morning.

I woke up Sunday morning to no Ubers in my area even though I scheduled one. So my amazing boyfriend ended up driving me and my friend to the start. Yes, he wins boyfriend of the year. We finally got to the starting area around 5:40 and holy crap it was not the standard Rock N Roll start. There weren’t defined corrals and the gear check was so far we had to walk a good distance to get to it. After gear check we got in the bathroom line then headed to the corrals to find a few of our friends from Fleet Feet Seattle.

The actual start took forever. I was in a front corral and even though corrals were starting we did not move for 10 plus minutes. I also realized I was not in an actual corral, even though I was between two fences. Not a great way to start the race.

Once we finally started the course was narrow. I prefer the older courses of this race. I was dodging people much of the time I was running. The first six miles were quite scenic and hilly. I was so happy I trained on most of the course so I knew what I was expecting. At mile 8 is where I got into trouble. I did not realize there was a steep hill and I started to cramp due to the humidity. Oh well… I kept running along Rainier Avenue South toward the finish line. I will say these miles were dull. I was so happy to get to the mile 11 aid station and see my friends from Fleet Feet Seattle. It was a great pick me up for the last hill which was the on ramp that gets to the finish.

I was clearly not thinking straight

The finish line was standard, the medal this year was great! I love it! I found my boyfriend and we set off to find my Remix Challenge medal. I had a hard time finding the medal tent and the gear check. They were far apart and part of it was that I was tired. I did get a pair of flip flops from Toyota because we have a corral which was nice! Surprise finish line swag is always nice.

I found my friend and we walked to the bus on 3rd Ave. We didn’t have to wait too long which was fantastic considering all of the traffic chaos caused by the race course closures. Once I was home, I ended up spending the rest of the day resting. I think Joey was concerned I spent a long time with my legs up the wall while watching TV.

My recommendation to Rock N Roll is to start at CenturyLink and finish at Seattle Center if they are going to do a point to point course. I know there is a lot of construction in Seattle but the current finish is brutal ending at CenturyLink Field. I know a lot of people who live in Seattle had a hard time getting to the start line on time due to the start time change AND the location of the start line.

Overall if you live in the Greater Seattle Area, I would run this race. It may be hilly but it’s a great course to challenge yourself on.

Race Recap: 2015 Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon

Here’s part two of my Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Weekend trip!

So the morning of the half marathon arrived and it was FREEZING. Yes, it was windy and cold. So my first goal was to find warm clothes for running and walking around. I found the closest mall to my hotel was The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace but it was still quite a walk. I ate quick breakfast and walked over. Found a few things at Gap and H&M that would keep me warm and hoped for the best.

Getting to the start line was also quite a process. I took the monorail as far south as I could, think it’s MGM Grand, then walked in and out of all the hotels to get to Mandalay Bay. Since it was gusting winds up to 40mph I waited with Kristie in the casino until it was time to get into our corral. We met a very nice British man who was running the marathon as a Boston qualifier. I think he ran a BQ (!!) I wish I was that fast!

Here we go! #rnrlv #runchat #remixchallenge #oiselleteam

A photo posted by amanda lee (@amandakl) on

We got into the corral and realized that this was not the race to run fast, it would be a feat of running smart because of the severe headwind and rain we would have on the last 4 miles toward the finish. The race started and we south toward the Las Vegas sign and then made our way to the center of the strip. In years past I’ve heard there are lots of spectators. This year not so much because of the wind. All of the neon was flashing and the music was blasting, it was super fun. As we made our way to Old Vegas and the Pawn Stars Pawn Shop it started to get dark. There weren’t many lights. As we made a turn we saw a few people almost wipe out on manhole covers because of the rain earlier in the day. I was so happy to see the Clif Bar fuel station with lights and music. I can’t imagine how lonely the marathon would be if it were that dark the majority of the race.

We then turned on the rest of the strip and has a massive headwind. It was pretty much buckle down and do work to get to the finish line. I am not a huge fan of straight-a-ways but the Las Vegas Strip is an exception. There was so much going on with the lights and people around I didn’t have to think about the horrible wind. As we got close to the finish Kristie and I both picked it up and made it in a respectable time. I was so happy I ran with Kristie otherwise I don’t know how I would have made it!

The finish chute was super organized compared to other Rock ‘n’ Roll Races. Even the remix and other medals line was quick. (My medal is defective, the little slots are not on the right way but I could care less!) Kristie got her sweet roadie medal and we went to the Bellagio fountain for photos. I was so cold we snapped a few quick photos, said goodbye and went on our separate ways. Side note: Kristie and I are now facebook friends and hope to meet up at RnR Las Vegas next year!

I went back to the hotel showed then set out to find food. I got a seat at the bar at Yard House. I’ve never been so hungry after a race! I ate a full burger, two orders of fries, and at least two beers. Gotta stay hydrated!

Overall I enjoyed my trip to Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas weekend. I wish the weather held up but overall it was super fun and I can’t wait to do it again!

Have you ever been to Las Vegas? What was your favorite part?

Race Recap: 2015 Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas 5k

Here’s part one of many about my Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Weekend trip!

Expo
After flying in early Saturday morning I went straight to the expo via monorail to avoid all of the lines. I’m glad I did. I didn’t have to wait to get my bibs and there was a small wait to get my race shirts. I was a little bummed the merchandise was picked through but found a fun Brooks tank top.

The expo was pretty crowded and a little hard to navigate. It probably didn’t help I had my roller bag with me, whoops! I navigated my way around and bought a new Sparkly Soul headband (they are the best!), more Nuun, and a Sparkle Athletic tank. I even won a free pink cowbell from a booth! I think I got out of the expo in less than an hour and a half and took the monorail to my hotel to drop off my bags. I couldn’t check in till 4 so I wondered around the strip, bought a discounted ticket to Cirque Du Sole and explored the shops around my hotel. I finally checked into my hotel and by the time my bags arrived I had to hurry and get changed for the 5k.

The monorail is great but it was super crowded. I squeezed into a car with a few others and it was a very packed ride to the 5K hotel. After arriving at the last stop, we all funneled through the hotel and finally to the race course. While waiting for the corrals I met a bunch of nice locals who were running the race. One of the ladies took my photo for me which was so sweet. Once in the corral I met another wonderful lady named Kristie! She was so nice and said she would look out for me on the course as we started the 5K.

The 5K course was a great warmup for the race the next day. The majority of the course is an out and back which is pretty boring but there was DJ. The rest of the course is a mile-ish of turns in the festival grounds. It was fun with the music playing and all of the lights. I finished in a reasonable time and then quickly hurried to the monorail. On my way to the monorail I found Kristie again! She gave me her phone number so we could run the half marathon the next day together.

I am so happy I ran this race. It was a great way to stretch out my legs before the half marathon and I met some pretty cool people too!

Check out the crazy course below!

Race Recap: 2015 Rock ‘n’ Roll Vancouver Half Marathon

Well it wasn’t pretty but I did run the Rock ‘n’ Rol Vancouver Half Marathon. I’m very glad I ran it and had a wonderful weekend but there were a few little hiccups that I learned from along the way.

The expo was very small and somewhat boring. The best part was bib pickup was a breeze. I even saw a few friends and picked up a sweet Vancouver race course tank top.

Picked up my bib for #rnrvan! #oisellevolée #runchat #werunsocial #halfmarathon #canada #vancouver

A photo posted by amanda lee (@amandakl) on

The only downside of Saturday was nerves. I was super cautious all day. I didn’t want to walk too far and felt bad I made my boyfriend slow down everywhere we went. We ended up walking to the aquarium and around Stanley Park to scope out the finish line. Since we didn’t want to go all the way to Gastown for dinner, we did a quick Yelp search and found Joey. I had a yummy chicken sandwich with yam fries and a beer. Then we headed back to the hotel to watch the Canucks game and prep for the day ahead.

When we got back to the hotel I couldn’t decide what to wear. I ended up with a large somewhat organized pile of all my clothes. Sunday came and I decided to run for the first time in my Oiselle Volée singlet with an old Nike lightweight tank top underneath, my Brooks Running arm warmers, a pair of short spandex shots, a pair of crops over that, and my ProCompression socks. Even with all the layers, I was freezing for the first mile and a half of the race. We will get to that later…

Getting there was a quick 10-minute walk from my hotel. It was a nice warm up. I arrived a few minutes before they called the early start time for corral 16. My biggest mistake was checking my sweats too early and not bringing a throwaway shirt. Whoops… Now I know better! In the 30 minutes or so leading up to the start I walked around the start area and found an old coworker. We chatted for a good while and then I scampered off to my corral, corral 5 (!!). Yes, I somehow seeded myself too high since my plan 6 months ago was to run a sub 2 hour half.

When the corral started I just took off at a sub 9-minute mile. This did not hinder me, it got me warmed up. I know, most people would think it’s a bad thing but I don’t think it hindered my overall race. The course was pretty exciting taking us through Gastown and the Chinatown Gate. At the third mile I started my run/walk timer. Run/Walk? Yes, I am a big fan of Jeff Galloway’s run/walk method and it’s helped me get back in shape since getting sick 8 months ago. I started my timer and carefully worked my way through the miles. By about mile 7 we were almost to North Vancouver and I realized I didn’t eat anything. I quickly opened up some Gu Chomps and kept going.

By mile 10 we entered Stanley Park. It was quite scenic but narrow. This is where I hit the wall. There was a hill, and from the elevation chart it did not look bad but it was steep! I was exhausted and realized that I would have to walk up most of the hill. Then there was another pretty large hill. This was not helping my race mojo. At mile 11 I realized that my GPS was .4 off! Yes, all of the sudden I ran an extra .4 miles more when my watch was pretty much on target with the mile markers. With just two miles left my goal was to finish upright and not worry about a PR. My legs were not happy, the hills took a lot out of me and I was losing steam quickly. By mile 11.5 I was freezing cold, I think it was the trees and slight cloud cover. Once I saw the Vancouver boathouse and was so relieved I pushed and ran a sub 10 pace. Crossing the finish line was a huge relief, those hills were hard on my legs and I just wanted to finish.

The silver lining to all of this was as I waited in line for my World Rocker Medal, I realized I PR’ed the race! Yes, you heard that right, I ran my target of 2:15 for 13.1 and got an official overall PR by 1-2 seconds! I was super ecstatic and it made the walk back to the hotel more manageable.

 

Overall I am not sure I would run the race again. Even though I PR’ed, I felt like those hills at the end were not fun and made me want to get the race over with. I also was bummed I ran extra mileage between two mile markers and not over the course of the race. But I did get a brand new PR and that is a lasting memory I will take away from this race.

Do you like hilly race courses? Would you rather have hills at the beginning or end of a race?