A Visor For All Conditions

Product Review – BOCO Gear 360° Visor®

“Disclaimer: I received a BOCO Gear 360° Visor® to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming aBibRave Pro (ambassador), and check outBibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

Whether it’s to keep my hair under control, the sun off my face or my head warm; I can easily be spotted running with something on my head.

In fact you might have seen me in a BOCO trucker hat or a Boco stocking hat. BOCO (as some of you Coloradians might know) is short for Boulder, CO – where the company was “born.”

All this rambling brings me to the newest addition to my BOCO Gear collection, the  BOCO Gear 360° Visor®!

What makes this visor so special? Well I will tell you:

  • Terry cloth liner across the forehead to reduce sweat from dripping on your face
  • elastic band on the back, no readjusting
  • machine washable
  • black under the brim to reduce glare
  • the bill is curved and fits like a normal hat – no crazy flat brimmed nonsense
  • dry tech polyester

Now – how did I make the most of this visor?

While I have been wearing it from time to time on my runs, to shield my face from the sun (which is important all year round.) I put this to it’s first test as I wore it during the Detroit Marathon, in wind gusts close to 40 mph. The visor never budged, I never worried about losing this as I ran the last few miles in a head wind.  It’s a pain if you have to worry about keeping your hat on, and uncomfortable to run with your hand on the top of your head, to keep your hat on.

Second… I have been enjoying this as an addition to cold runs. I need my head and more importantly my ears covered when it’s cold outside (insert dramatic story of my ears being frostbit as a kid.)I prefer to wear a stocking hat or multifunctional head wrap. However, those items do not block my face from the sun. It’s sooooo easy to just throw the visor on, on top of the hat – BAM, sun protection.

I think if there were a downside to this visor, it would be the sizing. For my head size, it’s fine. I like that there is no extra adjustable strap to deal with. For others it could be too big or too small.

My favorite thing about this – it’s machine washable. I don’t have time to hand wash stuff, and the running gear that requires that treatment gets neglected. This just makes taking care of my visor so much easier.

The pros may have additional thoughts on BOCO Gear, so check em out: Amy WMeridithJeannineLindseyVanessaFrankKolbeStephanieMattCaseyJessica FallonGinaSamantha

BOCO makes a lot of products – check out their website, or maybe get your own custom order.

Follow BOCO Gear on TwitterInstagramFacebook.

 

Advertisements

Health Warrior Chia Bars – review

Review of the Health Warrior Chia Bars

“Disclaimer: I received 2 boxes of Health Warrior Chia Bars to review 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 can’t resist a good bar, with that being said I have also had my fair share of disgusting bars. With so many options out there, I was happy to try out the Health Warrior Chia Bars.

I ripped open the brown cardboard box, when it arrived, to find 2 boxes of Health Warrior Chia bars inside. I received the chocolate peanut butter and vanilla almond. In addition to the bars, there was a cool surprise – The Coloring Book, Marathon Training.

What the heck is chia, and why should you eat it? Well it is that plant seed that grows into a pet, but it’s also a superfood – the most nutrient dense food on the planet!

chia boasts more omega-3s than salmon, more protein than an egg, more calcium than milk, and more fiber than flax

This superfood is combined with other ingredients to make a gluten free, soy free, dairy free and vegan bar, yet only 4-5 grams of sugar. These are near 100 calories and help you feel full as they contain protein, fiber, fat and omega-3.

How do they taste? This is where I am always skeptical. I love all the benefits these provide, but I am not going to eat them if I don’t like them. I am here to say, these are good!!!! They taste like a granola bar…the flavors I received, taste just as described. You get a whiff of vanilla before you bite into the vanilla almond and you just can’t go wrong with peanut butter.

I think my favorite thing about these are you can see the ingredients that are listed on the label. They are not a mushed up, dried out, chalky square.

I found myself taking these with me to work. They are the perfect snack to hold me to lunch time.

I also snuck them into Camp Randall, Kinnick Stadium and Carver Hawkeye Arena. Who wants to pay concession stand prices for bad for you food?

I have my eyes on the new sea salt caramel flavor and I would like to try their line of pumpkin seed bars too. Ok, who am I kidding, I would like to try them all as all my boxes are empty!

I think the only bad thing about these bars is when the chia seeds get stuck in your teeth.

I mentioned a coloring book – that’s right!!! If you place an order through this link – http://healthwarrior.link/colorbookbr you will be sent the Marathon Training coloring book. It’s funny and filled with the truth about marathon training.

I was able to stay in the lines!

I know the other pros were sent other flavors so make sure to check out their thoughts: CaseyBrendaJessicaPaulaStephanie MattAmyJanelleLindsey Emily Samantha 

Stay up to date with Health Warrior by following along on their social channels – TwitterFacebookInstagram

Half Marathon #47

Half Marathon #47

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Madison Marathon Half Marathon to review 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!”

It’s amazing how things start to add up over time, hard to believe I have completed my 47th half marathon, my first was in September 2011. This was my 6th half marathon in Madison. Find out if I will be back…..

For my no nonsense review – check out bibrave.com

Where shall I begin… I think I will fast forward through Saturday… originally when I signed up, I was excited as it was the day after the Iowa / Wisconsin football game in Madison, I would be in town anyway…why not run a marathon? Well, you can read again about me switching races…but still Hawkeye football and running, what is better?

Well as I write this we all know that game did not turn out well for the Hawkeyes, so why should we relive it…no need….I will say I got to spend more time with new friends, and I did enjoy that.

Sunday, November 12 – RACE DAY!!

Gear: Sparkle Athletic Skirt, Bibrave long sleeve shirt, 2xu Hyoptik tights, Zensah compression socks, BUFF® ThermoNet™, Pearl Izumi gloves, Hawkeye hat, xx2i sunglasses, Aftershokz Trekz Air, Brooks Ghost 9, Garmin Forerunner 935, Road ID

I was up early for a short drive to Madtown. I was staying just south in a town with a Kwik Star – I love those stores!  So, I stopped for some coffee and a bagel. The weather was also a little crappy, the temp was near freezing and it was spitting rain. I did make it to Madison without incident, and checked the weather map, it looked like I was just out of it and the race would be dry.

Oh – I forgot to tell you all about the packet pick up and stuff – but as I said – check out my bibrave review…the blog is for the rambling. Anyway, unless you pay for race day packet pick up, you have to get your bib the days before at the Monona Terrace – it’s easy and painless…and I did that before the game.

Ok, back to race day – One of my favorite things about this event, it’s on a Sunday, so all the on street parking just blocks away from the start / finish is FREE. I pulled in around 6 am for the 7:10 a start, and found a parking spot 2 blocks away.

I had time to use one of the many port-o-potties and get back to my car and sit and stay warm and relax. No standing in a corral for an hour before you start, no wondering where you need to be… just sitting and scrolling social media.

With about 15 minutes to go, I left my car and walked to the starting line. I could hear the National Anthem in the distance, so I stopped walking and listened. I arrived to the starting line to hear them announce the wheeler start at 6:55 am, then it was the full marathon start at 7:00am. I looked for my friend Dan, and kept an eye out for Steena, but didn’t see either.

After a selfie or 2, I found myself lining up into the backfed corral. These are kind of annoying, if you are fast, it’s hard to get to the front. Anymore, I just get in the corral and move forward…I try not to worry. There were pacers with signs you could stand near too.

There was a wheeler start for the half marathon, then it was time for me to start. I have never run this course in Madison before…. well as a half marathon. The course is the second half of the full marathon, which I ran last year.

There was some construction in the first mile or so of the race, so the streets we were running on were quite narrow, and at one point it was sooo narrow that we all just stopped… I can remember the collective sigh I heard from everyone at this moment… (thanks to my Aftershokz Trekz Air) the sigh was like something you hear from a crowd at a sporting event. However, after this point… the course widened again and we finally started to thin a little. Most of the participants must have been running the half marathon.

The first 5 ish miles were on some boring roads, passing businesses and gas stations. In all the races I’ve run in Madison, this course is my least favorite. We finally got closer to the lake and there were views of that.

There were parts through residential neighborhoods and a short out and back section. Each mile was marked with a sign, and I didn’t notice any timing mats. *The RaceJoy app was the tracking app suggested by the race, which is based on the participant using their phone GPS on course. This just burns my battery, so I do not use it. I should have set it up though as I think there is a way around it – really I should just look into it, lol

_NRF5174

Around mile 8 was a HUGE hill with a cool look over the lake… I actually checked my heart rate at the top – as a Bibrave Pro I have been testing a Garmin Forerunner 935 with the wrist HR monitor, and I noticed it was only about 173 at the top of the hill, so I happened to keep pushing the pace into the finish line.

On course there were many aid stations. At first I was confused as water was first, then Gatorade, but that was followed with water again. Also as the stops went on, the mixing of cups happened – water wasn’t always in the white cup – but the volunteers shouted what they had to offer. There were also a couple of gel stops too.

There were also a lot of law enforcement volunteers along the way. There were a lot of busy intersections. I made sure to thank them when I could. Near the finish is a hill (of course – it wouldn’t be Madison without hills) I said thank you to an officer and he made some remark instead- something to the effect of keep going or don’t give up, like your Hawkeyes yesterday.  UGH this did not encourage me at all, in fact I was mad!  I am fine if a friend lays down the smack talk, but I didn’t know this person. He should have also just been making sure runners are safe, and given the time, clap or say good job. I compare this to “good job but the things you like suck!”  Anyway, I didn’t let this cloud my thoughts on the overall event…just do your job.

I came into the finish as the announcer said my name. My Garmin had a time near 2:15 for 13.3 ish miles. I am not made about the distance… I understand that GPS gets off and I probably didn’t run the tangents.

I jumped and the photographer captured it!! Oh and the pictures were posted that night and sent to me via email for a FREE download!!

MKY_0672

After I crossed that finish line a volunteer placed a medal around my neck and a bottle of water was made available to me. Then I waited in line for a photo with the back drop.

_DSC1444

After that, a kid ran out of nowhere and placed a mylar blanket on my like a cape! I wasn’t super cold, but was grateful and took it with me as I grabbed a couple of orange slices. There were some halved bananas too. The next stop was the choice of a bagged Panera lunch – turkey, ham or veggie. I chose the turkey one and made my way to my car.

On the way I passed by a results tent, I could have had my time printed out, but passed. I could have also purchased some race merchandise and turned in the tag on my bib for a free Michelob Ultra. *I am not sure it’s necessary to mention this again… but come on, it’s Wisconsin, how about a craft beer? LOL

Alright…I made it back to my car and did a quick change in the back seat. Pro tip – get the sweaty layer of clothing off when it’s cold outside. Once that wet layer is gone, add some warm dry layers. (you can thank me later.)

With warm dry clothes and a big fluffy coat, I was headed back to the finish line to cheer on the runners. I did stop for a peppermint mocha on the way since I passed on the beer.

I made it to the finish line to see Dan finish his 32nd marathon! Then Joanne came in to finish the half. WAHOO!! Congrats!!!

I needed to get on my way, as I was headed to a men’s basketball game in Iowa City. I did meet up with Dan and then Joanne, used one of the 230948209347 port-o-potties and was on the road.

Ok…so I made it as far as the grocery store…I wasn’t leaving without beer and cheese curds.

I made it to the basketball game, but I was late…

I enjoy running in Madison, but I am not sure if I will be back when the Hawkeyes are in town. Also even though this is not my favorite course, it’s nice to have longer distance races late in the year.

I received an email after the event that there will be 4 medals that fit together to form one big piece with a center piece, looks like I will be back!

Meet Dan

Introducing Dan … the man…who keeps returning to run in Madison

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Madison Marathon Half Marathon to review 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!”

By this time, you know I run a lot of races in Madison, WI and I am ready to head back this weekend for my 47th half marathon. (Hopefully after a great football game at Camp Randall – GO HAWKS!)

Dan is in the pink, photobombing us – in front of the Capital


However, I don’t have much more to add to what I have already told you about running in Madtown. I didn’t really train specifically for this either, and training recaps (IMO) are boring, and you can find lots of the race day info on Madisonmarathon.com – so what’s a girl to write about?  Never fear….  I reached out to Dan – who also is from the Iowa City area and runs a lot of races in Madison, WI.


Who’s Dan? I know him through Corridor Running as a fellow board member. He is also a RRCA coach and leads a small group of runners in Iowa City, called Run 319. (I am still convincing them to start their runs after 5 am.)  You might have seen him around town with his dog Phil, or read about him in the newspaper, as a proud organ donor.

Here we are at a beer run, with Phil – Dan is in the yellow.


I had the chance to catch up with him before he heads north:

What brings you back to Madison?

 “Since I have a cousin who lives in Madison, I always have a FREE place to stay.
And because Madison is only 3 hours from home, I’m always looking for races in the area.
BONUS: Within the last year, my cousin moved her parents (my aunt & uncle) to Madison in order to help care for them…
This Saturday, there’s a celebration for my uncle’s 80th birthday and my aunt & uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary…
So my mother, 4 out of my 6 siblings, and numerous in-laws & cousins will also be in town.
 And I’ll get to see my other kidney as per the following.”

Can you remember how many races you have run in Madison?

“Sunday will be my 10th

1) 2014 Madison Marathon
2) 2016 Goulish Gallop 10K
3) 2016 Haunted Hustle 5K
4) 2016 Haunted Hustle Marathon (Pacer)
5) 2016 Madison Marathon
6) 2017 Run Madtown Twilight 10K
7) 2017 Run Madtown Half-Marathon
8) 2017 Haunted Hustle 5K
9) 2017 Haunted Hustle Half-Marathon (Pacer)
 
(And I’m already registered for next year’s ‘Conquer the Capital 45.5 Challenge!’)”
What number marathon is this for you?
“No. 32”
What are you looking most forward to at this race?
“Seeing my relatives along the course — My cousin knows the city of Madison so well that last year, I saw her 6 different times during the race!”
Do you have a race day routine?
“Not really — Eat a lot of trail mix & fig newtons starting tomorrow!”
What is your favorite post race treat?
“Chocolate Milk & Pretzels”
I don’t know about you, but now I want a Fig Newton. Join me in wishing Dan good luck this weekend. Maybe you will see him at packet pick up – which is Friday from 4-7pm or Saturday 10 am – 5pm at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center located at One John Nolen Drive.
 img_1903
 Also, Dan is reuniting with his kidney this weekend. I feel it’s appropriate to post about organ and tissue donation. If you are interested in becoming a donor, sign up!
So – Dan and I will be returning to Madtown, and I know my friend Joanne is running too. Will you be there? What keeps you returning to run?

DHD_9759

Recovery Gives Back

OOFOS Project Pink

“Disclaimer: I received entry a pair of OOFOS OOahh Sport Project Pink Sandal to review 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!”

IMG_2057

I am back with another OOFOS review, seriously great shoes, I couldn’t resist when BibRave gave me the opportunity to try a different pair that benefits breast cancer research.

That’s right the Project Pink line of OOFOS donates $10 from every pair. Check out the collection, there is a shoe for everyone. I went with the OOahh Sport Project Pink Sandal.

I have the OOriginal Sport Sandal and the OOmg Low shoe, which are both great. However, I decided to go with the slide on version of the shoe as I wanted something that I could slide on with socks after a race. Yes, I can do that with the Low Shoe, but honestly it looks silly.

A little refresher about OOFOS:

  • absorbs 37% more shock with every step than traditional footwear foam.
  • reduces stress on your back, knees and feet
  • the patented footbed cradles your arch
  • you can throw them in the washing machine to clean them
  • they flex with the foot and the ground
  • allows your feet to breathe

Now, why do I continue to wear OOFOS? Have you ever had Plantar Fasciitis? Well, I have and I would like to prevent it from coming back. They are also my go to shoe for wearing around inside my house on the hardwood and tile floor.

IMG_2649 (1)

They are also great as an every day shoe from getting coffee to going to football games.

Recently, I have been enjoying them for travel. They are easy and light weight to pack. Which makes them easy to slide on post race. Recovery has never been easier.

IMG_3428

I might have my eye on the OOmg High Shoe next.

The Project Pink collection starts with models priced at $44.95.

If you need to hear more check out what the other BibRave Pros have to say: StephanieMaiPaulaMeridithJenna Vanessa – LauraEmily

IMG_2530

Make sure you follow OOFOS on their social channels to find out what is new- TwitterFacebookWebsiteInstagram

Detroit Marathon – Race Recap

Race Recap – Detroit Free Press Marathon

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Detroit Free Press Marathon to review 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!”

IMG_3154

For my to the point review, check out bibrave.com

IMG_3122 (1)

Gear: Sparkle Athletic skirt, Bibrave tank, Brooks Ghost, Garmin Fenix 3, Boco Gear Visor, Spi Belt, Road Runner Sports shorts, Zensah socks, Road ID, xx2i France 2, Aftershokz Trekz Air

Sunday, October 15, 2017. The race started at 7:00 am. It was cloudy and humid, expected wind gusts of 40mph. The race was run alongside the international half marathon and the marathon relay.

Josh and I arrived early to our parking ramp, and sat in the car for a while. We weren’t sure what the traffic situation would be and got their early to avoid any problems. We had coffee in the hotel, but ate Nugo bars in the car.

Pre-race emails said we needed to carry our passports and runners with water bottles were subject to search. This created a problem for me, while I like Gatorade to run with, I also like to carry my hydration pack – 1) so I can drink when I want 2) to carry anything I want 3) bring the food I like to eat. IMO, this makes the race a hassle…what if you are allergic to Gatorade? I also like to bring real food and candy as I don’t do gels. Where do I carry that? Plus my passport? I made all this work with my Spi Belt for my phone and passport, then used the pockets in my shorts for gummis and a waffle.

Around 6 am, we left to walk over to the starting area. I had told the Bibrave Pros I was headed that way, so we could meet up for a picture.

IMG_3183

The area was congested. The race had corrals at the start, with suggested crossroads to enter to get to them. There were port-o=potties on these cross roads, but always seems like there was never enough, as lines snaked around. Gear check was in the finisher area, not near the starting entrances… so if you weren’t too early you had to find a way to get there and to your corral through the people.

I met up with the pros, we wished each other good luck, and I thought I would try to find a port-o-potty to use… no luck, lines were still long. So, I just decided to get to my corral, corral K. Of course, I was on the wrong cross road and to get there, I was “swimming up stream.” So, I went out and around a block, to enter the correct way.

I stopped on my way to listen to the Canadian National Anthem and the US National Anthem, sung live.

I got to my corral, and there was no one checking bibs at the entry. Another thing I was searching for was a time that the corrals closed, or a time to be in them. I couldn’t find anything… there was just a lot of congestion.

I did chit chat with an older gentleman who was running his first marathon. He won the battle with throat cancer and no longer produces saliva. His bib said “Bob’s Bucket List.” I wished him luck as we moved forward.

As we got closer to the start, I noticed I was now in corral L. Being slower it really doesn’t make a huge difference to me, however if you are going to insist on a waved, corralled start, it needs to be policed better. There was so much congestion.

IMG_3158

I really didn’t have a huge goal going into this race. I did have a great last 20 mile run and I felt good going into the race. My PR is just under 5 hours, so I thought… heck stick to something in that range. I even made a playlist…I still put it on shuffle, but I knew it was songs that would keep me moving.

When I finally crossed the starting line I noticed the 5:10 pacer. I love the idea of pacers, let them do the work for you…just stick next to them. I was going to try and hang with this group for a while.

The first few miles are through an industrial section of town, it leads up to the bridge crossing into Canada just after mile 3. It was interesting to observe the amount of Border Patrol in this area. They were on the course checking to make sure each runner had a bib. There were even officers along the side with giant guns. Security was tight.

Climbing the bridge ramp, I left the pacer…they were going to slow up this ramp for me. I got to the deck of the bridge and it was still very crowded. It didn’t help the amount of people who were just stopping in the center of the bridge for a selfie – move to the side. Also, I have never ran a race where runners from behind said excuse me to snake through the crowd. There was no where to go.

IMG_3159

After we came off the bridge, the crowd started to thin just a little bit, only because runners ran through the border patrol booths. However, a hydration station was soon after this and it was chaos again.

IMG_3160 (1)

There were numerous aid stations on the course. They had water and Gatorade, with paper cups. However, many were a hot mess… you weren’t sure what you were getting. There were no flags or signs telling you. There were 2 different cups, but not always the water in the Gatorade cup. Also the first stop what Gatorade mixed in with water, and the others Gatorade was second. I know these are all manned by volunteers, but I am sure at some point they are told what to do. *Also is the new Gatorade formula different, I wasn’t liking it.

Ok, so where were we? Running in Canada…this was nice, we ran along the waterfront and through the town only for a few miles. There were many spectators out, all cheering for us. Even when we came to go back across the border, the officers were cheering for us too.

Just after mile 7 we were in the underwater tunnel headed back to the USA. I believe this is the only race you run underwater. I was not looking forward to this part, I really don’t like tunnels. The course narrowed back to 2 lanes, so it was congested again. The surface was asphalt and was wet and slippery. This is also another part where people would stop and take selfies… UGH. I just wanted to get out! It was so stuffy too. It was cool when we first entered, the chanting and shouting.

At mile 8 we were welcomed back into the USA. There was a large group of spectators here along with more border patrol. There was also a small climb out of the tunnel, but nothing too bad.

From here on out the race is back on US soil. I also was feeling good, and really using my music to stay focused on moving forward. I did need to use the bathroom, but kept moving as each port-o-potty area still had a line. It wasn’t until mile 15 I found a bank of port-o-potties with no line, ah relief.

I was trying to fuel every 5 miles, but I also wanted to drink at least water when I ate something, so this threw that strategy off just a bit. I ate half a waffle at mile 6, the rest at mile 11, then opened the bag of gummis just before I used the bathroom at mile 15. Also, some where in these miles there was a church giving out bananas. *I wish this was known ahead of time, or the race provided fruit or candy.

Miles 16-18, I like to call this area Octoberfest. It was a residential neighborhood and the residents were out in full force. Music and beer! At this point in my race I was still feeling good, so I did not stop to drink some beer. I should have grabbed some of the candy though.

I think it was just after 18 or so when the lead runner for the US Only half marathon passed me. This event starts after the International events, but uses some of the same course. If I were running the US half, I would be mad that all the slower runners were in my way. Yes, there was a lead bike getting people to move, but it was still not ideal.

It was time to go out to Bell Isle. Mile 20-22 were run on this island, and since the race cuts off access to the public, there are no spectators out there. I do remember Eminem came on my music as I was crossing the bridge out to the island, so I was still feeling good heading into mile 20. I was feeling even better when I got off the bridge and Team World Vision had orange slices. Yes, more of this on the course please!!!

I am sure I crossed a timing mat out here, and then out of no where, I saw the 5:10 pacer …ahead of me…huh? Well maybe they passed me when I was in the bathroom? Then it was mind games…so that took me through mile 21.

I just kept going, off the island and it was time for the home stretch back into downtown. UGH!!!! This was along the waterfront, and we had a head wind….with those 40 mph gusts as planned. That was when the wheels fell off… I didn’t do any resistance training, and it was hard. It also didn’t help that the running surface turned to brick at this time too, and there were some rain sprinkles. I will say this, my Boco Gear visor never budged in the wind!

I then was running back and forth with the 5:10 pacer… and I overheard him say that he was no longer on time, but close to 5:26. Even pacers have a bad day.

I kept battling to the finish line, running, walking, laughing at myself…the wind was tough! My watch was also way off, with all the weaving in and out of people at the start, I did not run the tangents, so it was long. In my mind I was like… I can run the last mile… but it really wasn’t the last mile.

A lady did recognize my orange BibRave shirt and said she follows along on twitter. It was nice to chat, but I just didn’t have it in me to finish with her. I struggled all the way to my 5:27 finish…but hey a finish is a finish.

IMG_3184

When I crossed the finish line, a volunteer placed a medal around my neck. There was a table set up with small water bottles and cups of Gatorade. I took 2 bottles of water. There was a heat sheet area, but volunteers had a hard time wrestling them in the wind. After this a volunteer was handing out small bottles of chocolate milk.

The finish chute was long and I was wondering where the food was, then out of a no where a volunteer came walking towards me with a pre-filled bag of goods. Always nice when your hands are already full to have a bag.

IMG_3176

There was also a backdrop set up here to take finisher photos, the wind was moving it around. While there were a couple photographers set up here, no one invited me over…. and I knew pictures were not free, so I didn’t stop. I did stop near this area to chat with BibRave Pro Dane on the outside of the fence, and another runner came up to me to take her photo, but instructed me to NOT get the backdrop as that was not allowed. You had to pay for that photo, as well as any other photos from race day. *As I write this, I still haven’t purchased any photos and I don’t plan to.

IMG_3167

I took the time to read the race guide the night before, I noticed the finisher area (the gear check area I mentioned before was here.) There was a marked “beer” among the other areas of merchandise, food trucks, relay reunion, and runner massage.

Josh magically appeared and told me I had no reason to go to the post race area. While I believed him, I knew I had to write a review, so I went to check it out.

IMG_3172

I am not sure it was the weather, but there was no post race party. Or maybe slow runners do not get the same post race? The merchandise was sold out – which can be a good thing. The beer was $5 and went to a charity. Great, it went to charity…however, out of all the races I have run with advertised beer, it has never been a separate purchase. So, we left to go find a place to sit… any race with a post race seat is my favorite, and those are rare.

IMG_3189

Josh and I wondered back to the direction of the car  We saw a Shake Shack and thought we would stop there, however the line was really long. We went to a nearby coffee shop and had our own post race party. It was also nice to sit down and discuss our races.

We had to get back on the road, we were staying at a hotel down the road, and then would finish the trip home the next day.

When we arrived to our next destination in Michigan City, IN, the first thing we did was look for a brewery, we were getting that post race beer!

IMG_3192

We woke up early – again – the next day to get through Chicago traffic, and made it back home just before 10 am.

Overall: I guess I would still recommend you do this race, it’s just not for me. Running in and out of Canada was fun, and the course itself is relatively flat and marked well and the race medal is great! However, the passport and hydration pack situation is just too much of a hassle for me. The lack of real food on course and no free beer are part of those little things that wont have me returning. With so many race options in the fall, I am going to do one that makes me feel as special as the first runner to cross the finish line.

 

Detroit Weekend part 1

Detroit Marathon – Expo & Tour

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Detroit Free Press Marathon to review 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!”

It was finally time to run the Detroit Marathon. If you have been reading along, you might be familiar with this race, it crosses into Canada. Josh joined me for the weekend adventure. I will break it down into 2 posts. One about the expo and pre-race tour, then one about my actual race experience.

IMG_2998

We left Friday afternoon… I am always up for a road trip. Unfortunately we didn’t time our trip around Chicago very well, but once we were through the traffic nightmare, we made good time to our hotel in Dearborn, MI.

IMG_3020

Saturday.

We woke up in decent time to get in a shakeout run. There was a 5k offered by the race, but I realized it too late, plus we wouldn’t have been in town to get our bibs.

After some searching on the internet, I found a greenbelt system a few miles from our hotel. It was a nice paved trail, and a humid morning for a run.

IMG_3030

It really wasn’t that exciting of a morning… but we eventually made it over to the COBO center for the race expo

I have never been to Detroit, and was looking forward to seeing new things. However, after finding our parking spot, then walking to the expo… it appears nothing was happening. I feel it’s one of those downtown areas where no one lives, but just works.

IMG_3045 (1)

The expo was easy to find, well marked with signs. The expo center was very spacious. When you walked into the space, you walked behind all the vendors to start the process at bib pick up.

Bib numbers were emailed out the week of the race, along with other race communications. If you didn’t have that with you, there was a computer available to look it up. Once you had this, you had to show your ID and passport to get your bib, shirt, and gear check bag with goods. It really was easy.

IMG_3048

The shirt was a New Balance, gender specific, long sleeve, technical blend. I really liked it. The bag also had a multifunctional head wrap, a race sticker, a race guide and some other materials. A virtual race bag was sent via email too.

IMG_3117

From this point you could proceed to an information booth that was staffed by volunteers or if you needed to talk to border patrol they were available to answer questions.

Then it was time to enter the expo. The first area was the official race merchandise. From here you could snake through all the other vendors. This was nicely set up so that you could see every single booth. Some expos are set up so that unless you go back and forth you might miss something.

The one downside to this expo though, I felt there was a lack of freebies, giveaways and sign ups. There were a lot of running stores with apparels, so if you forgot something you had a large chance of finding it. There was also one booth with water – Absopure, which was nice as there were no water stations set up.

Once through the vendors, there was a photo opp set up. Which was one of the like 3 photo opportunities, unless you made your own. Then that was it.

The first trip through, I talked Josh into buying the older model of my shoes as there were a great clearance price, but that was it…. Then, Josh wanted to go through again, so we did.

The second trip I noticed that things in the official merchandise area were selling super fast, as a hat I had my eye one was out of stock. Josh purchased some chews, and we were done!

We were hungry, but had to be back at the information booth at 2pm for a VIP tour for the race ambassadors. Since it was just after 1 we ate at the cafe that was inside the expo center. Not a great selection, but it filled the void.

At 2pm, we gathered around the booth and met up with the other Bibrave Pros. Nicole, Dane and Matt. Jeph was also there as he was an official race ambassador.

IMG_3065

The race gave us drawstring backpack filled with goodies, and we then started the tour.

It took us out the back of the expo center, and through the back streets to the start and finish line. We passed by a tent where cadets were filling the post race food bags. The starting area was busy with people hanging banners and setting up bleachers.

From here we were taken to the Detroit Free Press offices. This is the main sponsor of the race. We were taken to the race headquarters, just a small conference room. It was filled with papers taped to the walls and snacks! Then, that was it… just a nice little tour with a little behind the scenes information.

IMG_3120

From here, Josh and I wanted to get back to our hotel, grab some food and go to bed. We said “see ya later” to the pros and went our separate ways.

We did take the long way to our hotel, passing my Comerica Park, Ford Field, the Motown Museum and old Tiger Stadium. This also took us by many run down parts of the city. Wish we had more time to see and do all the things, we will have to come back. We even checked into visiting Canada, but the 6 mile drive was going to take 45 minutes.

When we got back, we went to the Olive Garden… we knew there wouldn’t be any questionable food here. I eat cardboard food before a big race…even though I know I could handle crap food.

IMG_3119

As luck would have it, the Olive Garden was having their endless pasta deal. Dinner was easy, all the plain noodles, bread sticks and salad.

Well…after some catching up on social media, and changing our parking spot, Josh and I called it a night, we had an early wake up call.

IMG_3121