I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE Hot Buttered Run. It's a holiday themed race that has 12k, 5k and kids courses, and it's super fun. This was my third year running it, and it was better than ever. Almost about how the race is organized is pretty fantastic, and we've been lucky to have rain-free weather every year! I thought the weather was perfect, although my friend Cari did not appreciate my description of 53 degrees as being "balmy" and "perfect shorts and tank weather."
Anyway. The race itself is reasonably priced, and packet pickup at Fit Right was a breeze. There were a few goodies in the custom printed goodie bag, as well as the bib/timing chip and long sleeved cotton t-shirt. I ordered a small, and unfortunately had the same problem this year that I had two years ago... the sleeves are WAYYYY too short. They barely come halfway down my forearms. :(
This year the race started and ended in Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver. It used to be at Pearson Air Museum, but I think the park is a better venue by far. I carpooled with my BFF downtown, and parking wasn't too bad, we parked just a few blocks away. Once we arrived we hung out for a bit and met up with some other friends, and then waited til the last possible minute to put our jackets and sweaters in bag check. As usual, bag check was super efficient, and the line moved quickly, so it wasn't a problem. The starting line was divided into three corrals (sub 8, 8:01-10, and over 10) which worked out really well. There was hardly any congestion on the course due to the staggered start.
At the starting line:
The course itself was mostly flat and pretty, going through downtown, by Fort Vancouver, along the waterfront. There was one big "hill" going over a bridge about mile 6 that was hard. The course was very clearly marked and there were tons of volunteers along the way, as well as a few aid stations. Prior to the race I didn't think I would PR since I just didn't feel ready. But even though the course was accidentally measured as being longer than 12K, I still managed to maintain a good pace and PR after all!
The AFTER PARTYYYYY!!!
Ummm... and just FYI, I didn't plan on wearing all pink. It just happened. Because a LOT of my clothes are pink. Hat, jacket, pants, shoes... Yep.
Anyways, the after-party was great. There was tons of food (Biscoff cookies, almonds, rice cakes, bananas) and drinks (Gatorade, Muscle Milk, water). Getting into the 21+ area was easy, as there were clearly designated people checking IDs. While the lines for hot buttered rums did get a little long, the people serving drinks were doing a great job of keeping things moving. The hot buttered rums were AMAZING. SO GOOD. The mix is made by hand from scratch, and I could definitely taste the difference. And while we were in the Rum Garden, we got pictures with Gingy (the gingerbread man from Shrek!). It's kind of a tradition :P
We didn't hang out for too much longer after that since it was cold (we didn't stick around for the awards, but the medals were gorgeous!), and in spite of the course being a little too long, everyone really seemed to enjoy the event and was looking forward to doing it again next year. It's definitely one of my favorites!
Have you done any holiday runs?
I love doing a race on Thanksgiving morning--it's a good time to reflect on what I'm thankful for, and counteract some of the gazillion
calories I'll consume later. For those reasons, my friends have made it somewhat of a tradition to do a Thanksgiving morning run. The past few years I did the Clark County Turkey Trot, but after seeing the MASSIVE Turkeython medals, I decided to mix it up this year! And I had a BLAST running Uberthon's 2013 Turkeython
I really like Turkeython for several reasons:
- It benefits Providence Children's Health, Doernbecher Children's Hospital and Portland Rescue Mission--three great local charities.
- It has events for everyone--10k and 5k runs, 2.5k walk/run, kids races, and family and student 10k relays.
- It's a good value --the entry fees remained constant, regardless of how close it was to the race date, and the $35 10k fee included a chip timed race, a good quality medal, and tons of post race goodies, including muffins, coffee, cocoa, apples, oranges, Larabars, and Fuel100 Electro-Bytes.
- Although an event shirt wasn't included in the registration fee, they were CHEAP. The long sleeved, tech t-shirt for the event for only $5 if you pre-ordered with your registration, or for $8 if you purchased it at packet pickup or the day of the race).
- They had three days of packet pickup. (Although none of the JC Penney employees knew that packet pickup was going on, and the Uberthons website wasn't super clear about WHERE exactly it would be within JC Penney, I did eventually find it!)
- There was tons of parking (so no need for bag check).
- Although I had originally been worried that the 2.5k loop course would be boring and overly crowded, it was actually fun! It was seeing volunteers and spectators over and over again, and even with about 1000 participants, the course was fast and fairly flat--I actually got a PR, which I hadn't expected due to the expected number of participants, past experience at Halloweenathon, and the fact that my running has been SLOW lately.
- Race photos are only $5 each... unfortunately I didn't see any really worth buying :(
In addition to your bib that has your number and timing chip on it, everyone received an extra bib that said "I am thankful for ______ " and runners were encouraged to fill it out and put it on their backs. Mine said: "I am thankful for my best friend who is running Turkeython with me... and beer."
Me and my BFF!!!
It's a really great race, and while it was cold, we still had a good time! I'm looking forward to doing this again next year :) From pre-race to race to post-race, it was fairly well done.
Did you get in a workout on Thanksgiving?
Because I'm a little crazy, I signed up for two 5k races on the same morning. On purpose. And they were only an hour apart. hahaha. And I talked my crazy awesome friend Pat into doing them both with me! The first was Mustache Dache
The Portland Mustache Dache is part of a national series of Mustache Daches that benefits Movember
, "the international men’s health charity, which aims to forever change the face of men’s health through the power of the moustache, by raising vital awareness and funds for men’s health issues to combat prostate and testicular cancer and mental health challenges". Ten percent of your race entry goes straight to the organization!
Everything about this race was pretty great... except the course haha. Packet pickup was easy-peasy at Fit Right in Portland the afternoon/evening before the race. The location (Big Al's in Beaverton) is easy to get to and has ample parking. There were lots of booths and heating lamps, as well as bag check, and the roughly 600 5k-ers were sorted into three "corrals" baced on pace.
Not long after we started the race, we began the ascent. I had heard the race would be hilly, but I didn't realize the race would be up and then down (second time in two weeks... you'd think I'd learn...) It was one of the toughest 5k's I think I've ever done. I had to walk portions of the uphill and my calves felt like they were going to explode, and was a little nervous to go too fast on the downhill, because the roads were a little slippery and there were a few sharp corners. It definitely wasn't a PR sort of course, and it made my legs pretty sore the day after. But it was really well marked, and there were tons of fantastic volunteers (including Trevor and Tracy! You guys rock!)
There was TONS OF SWAG after the race. In addition to the cotton t-shirt (unisex and womens) and other stuff in the goody bag, each bib had a ticket for an Iron Horse Brewing beer (three options!), and a Bulleit cocktail (Manhattan with cherry, neat, or whiskey/coke), there was tons of free stuff at the event. Two kinds of energy drinks, Muscle Milk, Ziva dark chocolate mustaches, Movember temporary tattoos, sweatbands, bracelets and stickers, and drawings for prizes. Although there wasn't a photobooth (as mentioned on the website), but there were two great backdrops for taking photos! The post-race party was tons of fun, and Pat and I were a little bummed that we had to leave. Overall, the Portland Mustache Dache was REALLY REALLY fun and I can't wait until next year (even with the hill!)
After the Mustache Dache and post-race festivities, Pat and I headed to the Ugly Sweater Run
at Griffith Park in Beaverton. She had texted some of her friends at the Ugly Sweater Run to let them know we were running late, but apparently the race started 15 minutes late. When we arrived, I did a quick change into my "ugly sweater" (I don't actually have one and didn't want to buy one, so I wore my Burton faux-sweater printed long sleeve tech shirt), but we kept our mustaches and Mustache Dache medals on! Although we were given hats as part of our entry fee, we didn't wear them since it would be pretty hot.
The race was already well underway by the time we crossed the starting line. Since the race wasn't timed, we were just trying to get an extra 5k in, and support Toys for Tots! It's an out and back course, everyone could see Pat and I running by ourselves to catch up. People cheered for us though, which was nice! The atmosphere was fun and friendly. Parts of the course were a little crowded, but people quickly moved out of the way. The worst part of the actual course was that there was only one available restroom on the entire course (plenty at the start/finish though!).
At the finish, lines for hot cocoa were long, and the lines to get into the beer garden were RIDICULOUSLY long. No one wanted to wait (except me haha) so we left after I bought a Bro-Dog and a cookie (I was hungry!).
I liked the course, the entry fee was inexpensive since I got a deal on Groupon for $20, and the Ugly Sweater Run hat is fun and different. But it was kind of a bummer that it wasn't chip timed, that there weren't more bathrooms on the course, and that the lines were so long for beer (please have more people checking ID's!!!). While I might consider doing this race if they changed up a few things, if it conflicts with another race, I'm not sure I'd register for Ugly Sweater Run again.
When my friend Tom first talked me into signing up for this race, I heard "10.5 mile trail run," and said, "... uh, no thanks." But the allure of a medal and wine and a post-race party lured me in, as well as the $45 price tag and the cap of 300 runners. So I signed up.
A few weeks later Tom sent me a link to this:
That's the elevation. We're running up a mountain, and then back down it.
I thought about backing out. I didn't. Now, a day after the race, my legs are making me regret that decision.
So the morning of the race, I carpooled with Den and we headed northwards to Moulton Falls Winery, which is 45 minutes away--further than we usually drive for races. Then we waited around under some heating lamps for the train to pick us up and take us to the starting line. There was some confusion as there would be two trainloads of people, but the race wasn't chip timed, but since I just wanted to finish I wasn't too concerned about it.
Image source for all pictures: Get Bold
We started off on an asphalt road for about a mile or so until we got to the gravel logging trail that would lead us to the ascent. It was brutal. It was tiring. I wanted to run to the top, no matter how slow my pace was, but eventually somewhere between mile 4 and 5 I gave up and just had to hike it. The view was beautiful but I was panting and couldn't wait to head back down. I made up for a lot of lost time on the downhill, but the "trail" was rough--lots of loose gravel. I was very relieved when I finally crossed the finish line.
We took shuttle buses back to the winery (my knees started to hurt a little) and got food and teeny tiny pours of wine. The Get Bold staff and volunteers were great but the winery didn't seem too happy to have all the runners there :( I'm kinda on the fence about whether I'd do this race again.
What I liked:
- Free race pictures and lots of them! A little blurry but I'm super grateful that they're free and they're plentiful.
- Post-race soup (chicken noodle and vegetarian chili) and bread really hit the spot, as well as hot cocoa!
- The view was beautiful at times.
- Lots of parking and no need for bag check.
- Price was okay.
What I wished were different:
- Different course and/or more accurate description. Up and down a mountain on a gravel logging road isn't the same as "trail run."
- No train ride. It was cute but kind of odd. And then we had to shuttle back to the winery. A little too much waiting around in the cold for me personally!
- The people pouring the two free tastings for each runner were SUPER STINGY with the pours. I would honestly estimate that each pour was less than a tablespoon.
- Shirts were additional $$ (which was fine) but tech shirts would have been nice instead of cotton.
My legs are pretty sore today--I didn't take enough time yesterday to roll them out or ice them, and didn't start taking Advil or wearing my calf sleeves til today. That race kicked my butt!
Me on the left, and my buddy RFG on the right!
Energy Events had their very first zombie run (Run 2 Survive
) this year for the Evergreen School District Foundation, and it was AWESOME!!!! I loved it, and all of my friends and coworkers loved it. We're already stoked about next year!!!
But back to this year. It was their first year doing this particular event, but Energy Events has a reputation for fantastic events that include beer! :) This event was no exception. Packet pickup was easy breezy at Fit Right
in Vancouver, and the goody bag for survivors included an awesome t-shirt, race bib, and some candy and random stuff from the sponsors. I love the shirt and can't wait to wear it--it's a good quality tech shirt and the Run 2 Survive logo looks awesome (although I accidentally requested a MEN'S small when I registered, I swapped it out the day of the race at the registration tent). Zombies and Survivors were supposed to show up early to "check in", but there wasn't really a check in, just quick announcements to each group. This happened much later than we had been instructed to arrive, so we were standing around in the cold for a bit (and I forgot my gloves at home!). Mayor Tim Leavitt gave us a pep talk at the starting line and then we were off just before 5pm.
The course felt tough. It was mostly flat but the grassy terrain felt like it took more out of me than a regular 5k road race does, especially with the sprinting and attempting to dodge the zombies! I had both lifelines stolen early on, before I even made it a mile and a half! That was a bummer, but I continued to trudge on with my buddy Randy. At the finish line, we were handed a double sided Survivor medal (one side said "I AM DEAD" and the other side said "I SURVIVED"). Zombies received a different dogtag medal for finishing. There was Monster energy drinks, water, Gatorade, bananas, candy, and granola bars. My friends and I headed into the Breew Fest area for our free beer (Heathen Transgression IPA), and then bought a few more rounds. They were only $4 for a "pint" which isn't bad, and beer sales went to the Evergreen School District Foundation as well. The amount of beer wasn't QUITE a pint (I mean, who's counting...) but there was a nice variety of beers to choose from, as well as a Zombie Zin and Ace Hard Pumpkin Cider!
Lots of strangers asked to take pictures of me or with me, which was fun. When the costume contests started, I decided I really needed to see if I had a shot... and I won Best Female Zombie!!! People were totally creeped out haha. I got a fantastic prize basket with gift certificates to local places, and some neat products from Scentsy, Burgerville, and other stuff. I was even featured in the Columbian newspaper
I can't wait for this event next year--good race, good swag, good people, and good beer! Although I'm terrified of zombies (seriously... terrified), and I looked scary as hell, I'm stoked this run, and for another opportunity to practice my zombie makeup again! (I didn't have to look at myself, so it wasn't so bad hahahaha). I'll be posting a step-by-step tutorial on how I did my makeup on Wednesday, complete with products and links to Amazon!
Have you ever done a zombie run? Are you afraid of zombies?
I've been pretty excited about running the Run Like Hell 10k for awhile--I'd heard it was a fun race, but unfortunately, this week I've been dealing with knee/foot issues, and wasn't really sure how it would go. And I decided on my costume the day before (forest fairy? a lot of Pinterest and Google image searching went into it haha). I bought yards and yards of fabric at Walmart the night before and spent awhile cutting strips of netting and fabric (thank goodness for rotary cutters and self-healing mats. If you're going to DIY a tutu, invest the $20 in these tools. You'll be glad you did).
Clockwise from top left: Tom, Juliet & I waiting to start the race; my DIY Pinterest-inspired tutu; at the 10k starting line in downtown Portland; my glittery fairy wings; fairy makeup
In the morning I threw on some glittery makeup (as much as I thought would stay on).
Here's how the race went: Cold. Fairly fast (except for the train, which we all knew would happen). And fun. And then really cold.
The race started a bit late due to train issues, but not much. It was COLD and foggy outside. Once we started, I loved the cool temp--it was perfect. And I felt pretty good even though I didn't fuel my body very well the day before (um crab and artichoke dip and pumpkin beer are not the best pre-race dinner, although they are DELICIOUS).
We did have to stop for the train for maybe 5-10 minutes, but SERIOUSLY, it says that there will be a train crossing on the race info page! And that the times will be adjusted accordingly! CHILL OUT, or don't run the race! The guy next to me was whining the ENTIRE TIME about how he had a really good groove going and how this totally was going to throw him off, blah blah blah. And later I heard that some half marathon runners were yelling at a volunteer because they had to stop for the train. WTF?! Stopping for a train during a race is a bummer. I get it. But that's running. That's life. A person can make up all the excuses in the world about how this or that threw them off, OR they can decide that they'll take on the challenge and come out on top.
I pinned this awhile ago and I think it pretty much sums it up:
I finished a little slower than my 10k PR but I'm still waiting on my "official" adjusted time to see exactly how much longer.
The post-race area (Pioneer Square) was fun. There was food (vegan chili, bread, bananas, and candy), live music, and lots of tables for hanging out. Each participant could get two free beers from Lagunitas... I only drank 1 1/2 of mine before I was too cold to keep standing out there, and we all headed back to the car.
Overall, I'd say it's a fun race and I'd consider doing it again. It'd be nice if they changed the course to avoid the train, but if they didn't, I just wouldn't count on it being a PR course.
Did you race this weekend?
I love this race. I can't say enough good things about it. Every year, it's been amazing. And we lucked out with the weather!!! :)
Sherri McMillan and the NW Personal Training Team really make this a spectacular event, because not only did the race raise over $20,000 for Susan G. Komen and $5000 for the Children's Center, they also made each and every one of the 1,800 participants feel pampered every mile of the way! It's incredible. This is truly one of my favorite races because there's a lot of support for one another, even complete strangers.
Pre-race: there's snacks and water, awesome volunteers doing bag check efficiently and quickly, and an amazing warmup led by Sherri!
During the race: tons of volunteers cheering you on and pointing out the way, a well marked course (almost every mile is marked with an inspirational note!), water/gel stations every two miles, tons of bathrooms.
Post-race: Firefighters handing you a necklace "medal", volunteers handing out filled reusable water bottles, volunteers cutting off your timing chip, tons of snacks (popcorn, soup, bananas, oranges, bagels, Power Bars), massages, fudge, cupcakes, an awesome awards ceremony and live music. There are also tons of great vendors selling some really cute stuff (I totally bought three headbands and a t-shirt...)
I can't say enough positive things about this race. It's fantastic. My only small complaint is that the long sleeved event shirt doesn't fit me very well in the arms (although I don't think I've gotten a long-sleeved race shirt that fits... so maybe my arms are just weird)!
Thank you to Sherri and NW Personal Training and to all of the amazing sponsors and volunteers for putting on an amazing event. <3
The Great Bacon Race
. I wanted
to love this event. I loved the idea of it and had been talking about it nonstop since the moment I found out about it. It was in Vancouver WA, it was for a good cause, it was the inaugural race, it was a fun theme, there was promise of lots of swag, and I loved the irony of being a vegetarian (okay, a lacto-ovo-pescitarian) running in a race centered around BACON, with all you can eat bacon at the finish. I was incredibly over-the-top excited about this event, and I loved that the event organizers had a lot of interaction with their facebook fans to build up the event.
However, my excitement turned into disappointment on race day. The Great Bacon Race was one of the most poorly put together events that I've ever signed up for. Before I go on, I would like to say two things:
#1. I understand that this event is for charity
. And that's wonderful
. But that's not an excuse for lack of planning. There are LOTS of GREAT races for charity (I actually can't think of many races that DON'T benefit a charity these days), and
they're also GREAT events
for runners to participate in as well.
#2. I know that it was the first year
for the Great Bacon Race, and there's usually some growing pains, but I really hope that they understand that this is constructive criticism, because I would love to run this race again next year and be just blown away by its awesomeness.
Here's what happened:
- Apparently people didn't pick up their packets at packet pickup and then there were hundreds of people trying to do so the morning of.
- Volunteers didn't show up.
- Bag check hadn't been set up.
- Nobody seemed to know anything about VIP bag check or VIP goody bags.
- The race didn't start on time because people were still picking up their packets.
- At 9am, half an hour after the race was supposed to start, there were no volunteers on the course and the course was still unmarked.
- The "10k" course was less than 6 miles.
- There weren't VIP lines for beer, bacon or tacos (there were supposed to be).
- The beer and wine servers got stuck carding people.
- Get an event coordinator. Energy Events does a great job.
- Don't promise what you can't do--REQUIRE packet pickup, limit the race to fewer runners, and follow through on your VIP stuff.
- Plan on having more volunteers than you need.
- Don't rely on volunteers for things that race officials need to be in charge of, like marking the course. Do it early--either the night before, or EARLY EARLY EARLY the morning of. And check it for accuracy.
- Order enough stuff. People who register first should get first dibs.
- Start the race on time. It's chip timed--you'll still get a chip time even if you personally do not cross the starting line at the "gun time." Participants need to take responsibility for picking up their packet. Responsible participants should not have to wait on hundreds of people who waited until the morning of to pick up their packet.
- Have people IDing those 21 and over ahead of time, and mark bibs or give out wristbands.
You don't want people to feel like this after your event...
Here's what I did like:
I really, really, really hope that the Great Bacon Race actually becomes a GREAT RACE next year.
Excited for two amazing races this weekend... also a little apprehensive to be doing a total of 19.3 miles this weekend!