Blacklight Run San Jose 2018

Disclaimer: I received a Buff 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!

A blacklight race is when you run through color stations, similar to a color run, and get powder thrown on you. This race is at night and has blacklight lamps along the race so you can see the colors light-up.

The entrance fee included: a t-shirt, a sticker, and a race number. The race wasn’t chipped or timed, so the race number was just an accessory.

This was my first blacklight run. When we arrived there was a DJ playing music and pumping up the crowd. He was throwing color packs and other small prizes to the crowd.

Once we were told to the line-up, I waited for the race to start for at least 30 minutes. I took that time to look around at how much paint other people already had on, and their outfits. The race trail took us on uneven dirt paths. Once it got dark, there was no light to guide the way. Experience racers had headlamps and glow in the dark lights on. I didn’t have any of that on. I struggled to see where I was stepping and at times where I needed to turn to continue on the path.

The powder stations had a lot of powder and were happy to throw some extra powder your way if you told them. I went through two of the color stations twice in order to get more powder on me, and that wasn’t a problem. Do close your mouth as you run through. Many people made the mistake of talking or laughing and consequently ended up with a mouthful of colored powder. Yikes!

  

The blacklight lamps were neat. They were often crowded as everyone wants to get there picture taken there.

There was no medal at the end. Our bib had a tear-off coupon for an extra colored powder pack that I didn’t claim. I figured I had already gotten my fair share of powder for the day.

I used a Buff to first hold my hair back and later to keep the powder out of my mouth.

Review: AftersShokz Trekz Air

Disclaimer: I received AfterShokz Trekz Air 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!

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My first experience with the AfterShokz brand was while waiting in my corral for the runDisney Avengers 10K in November 2017. I saw a runner next to me wearing AfterShokz Trekz, so I asked him many questions, which he was more than happy to answer. He also took his headphones off and put them on me for me to listen to the sound quality. At first, I thought, that’s a little weird for a stranger to do that, but then I literally heard the difference in sound. The sound has clear and loud even when I was surrounded by a very loud crowd of people and the announcer was releasing other corrals. At that point, I was sold.

Later in March, I had the opportunity through BibRave to receive a pair of the new AfterShokz Trekz Air. I already knew it was a brand I not only enjoyed, but one I personally trust, so I had no objections.

I ran the Castaway Cay 5K with my AfterShokz Trekz Air and even though the weather changed to windy and raining, the sound quality did not change. I was still able to hear my music and my headphones stayed put. I like how the AfterShokz are designed to hang right over your ears, so I no longer have the problem I had with hired headphones where I had to keep adjusting them and putting them back in place. Extreme weather conditions test passed.

I also ran the Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon in 2018 in Orlando, FL with my AfterShokz Trekz Air. For me, that race was a test on how long the battery on these headphones would last. I’m nowhere near being a speedy runner, so I wondered if the headphones would die on me. The answer is, no, they didn’t. I turned on the AfterShokz Trekz Air at 3am to keep me awake on the bus ride over to the starting line. I ran 13.1 miles and wore them on the bus ride back to my hotel at 10:30am and they still were working properly. Battery life test passed.

I’ve done some dog walking for Wag, which I love! I know to take my AfterShokz Air with me on dog walks, because I know my ear is open and I can hear traffic and pedestrians. I would have never taken my regular headphones with me on walks. It would be so unsafe. Street safety test passed. 

By the way, if you’re interested in getting your first dog walk free with Wag, click on this link.

There’s also the cool factor. I get tons of compliments and questions as to what type of headphones they are and do they work. I also answer phone calls with my AfterShokz Trekz Air. Of course, I get the occasional stare like, “why are you talking to yourself?” LOL! With the touch of a button, I can answer a phone call and skip songs.

My advice is to try a pair of AfterShokz Trekz Air. I’m sure you will love them too. Through our partnership with AfterShokz, you can now get  $30 off air + a free trucker hat. To purchase go to bibrave.aftershokz.com

Why I Gave Up On My FitBit

 

After much love for my Fitbit Blaze, I decided it no longer met my needs. I’m actually sad about it. After the 408K race in San Jose, I checked my time, like every runner does and discovered that my pace was off by 0.7!! That was a big error margin. How did I know I was that off? Well, first my husband was running a different app on his phone and he ran by my side the entire race. Second, I started my watch at the same time he started his app, and third, the final chip results were better than what my app gave me. I was totally blown away.

When you are a runner, you depend on the accuracy of your watch to keep your training on track. While I have not tried some of the other running watches my friends own, I decided to make a new purchase. I opted for a Series 3 Apple Watch in pink!

We will see what I think of this watch. I’ll give it some time before I draw any conclusions.

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San Jose 408K 2018 Race Review

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Disclaimer: I received free entry to the San Jose 408K 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!

Expo
The address for the expo and bib pick-up was an address with no location landmarks, like for example, in front of the restaurant or next to, … Maybe for next year’s bib pick-up instructions, the organizers can be more specific. It was not easy to find where to go. Google Maps put me two blocks away with a lot of stores and restaurants in between. I didn’t have to wait in line for my bib. The bibs were handed out by number so you had to come prepared with your bib number. We received a few emails warning us of this, so it was not a surprise. There were two other tables that were promoting other Bay Area races and that was it for the expo.

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Swag
For the race entry fee, I received a technical short-sleeve shirt and a finishers medal at the end.

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Course

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The course was on pavement and flat the entire way. It was obvious where to go and there was always someone along the route making sure the runners stayed in the right lane. The route started at the SAP Center in Downtown San Jose and finished at Santana Row.

There was a sweat check provided by UPS. You could hand off your jackets and other items and the UPS employee would put a label on it with your bib number and hand it back to you at the end of the race. I was impressed with how many UPS trucks were present. There were also a lot of porta-potties at the beginning of the race. Along the race, I only saw two porta potties on two different stops.

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This race has two key mile marker events. One is Memorial Mile and the other is Mariachi Mile. Memorial Mile depends on Veterans to volunteer their time and come out and cheer on the runners. I thought I would see more Veterans present, but I only counted a mere 4. Mariachi Mile was towards the end of the course. There were several mariachi bands playing along that mile. It was great fun to see the different costumes, the various age groups of the performers, and of course, the wonderful music. It was a great photo opportunity. Where else do you get to run past mariachi bands?

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Aid Stations
The aid stations were weak. There were two along the 8K route and they only had water, no electrolytes, or snacks. Also at the beginning of the race Amazon had a booth with hot coffee, pastries, snacks, and fruit, but it was only for Amazon employees. The race itself had nothing other than water to offer runners to fuel up for the race.
I did see a blind runner being guided by a race volunteer. It warmed my heart to see that the organizers are providing opportunities for everyone.

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Atmosphere
It was a fun atmosphere. Many people were running with at least one other person, if not a whole group. It was a timed race, but I didn’t feel like its anything more than a fun run, where people could take their time and go as fast or as slow as they wanted.

Post-race
At the end of the race, the volunteers handing out the medals weren’t ready. I had to wait a few minutes for them to get more and walk over to where I was and hand me one. After the race, I walked over to the Lululemon store that was promoting that they had custom 408K merchandise on sale. I noticed as I was leaving that there was a group of Mexican dancers posing with runners and there was a long line to get your photo taken with them. I didn’t walk to the end of Santana Row, so I don’t know if there were any snacks at the end.

I met one of my Instagram followers, @dzny_girl. She was very nice. We had a nice little chat about runDisney and local races. I always invite my followers to run with me. Click on this link to see where I will be running next.

Parking tip: I parked at Santana Row early in the morning. I then took a Lyft ride to the SAP Center. This worked out well for us as our car was waiting for us at the finish line and we didn’t have to wait for the bus to take us back to downtown San Jose.

Keep All Your Racing Stats In One Place With Athlinks

Disclaimer: I reviewed Athlinks 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!”

After one of my races last year, I got an email asking me to claim my race results. I thought, what’s this? So, I clicked on it and it took me to the Athlinks website. Once there I created an account and to my surprise, Athlinks already had the results of several of my previous races. I did some weeding through the results as not all the results listed were mine. From what I can tell, when you run a chipped race the results automatically show up in Athlinks within a couple of days. Races that are not chipped will require you to upload your results manually.

Why would you want to use Athlinks?

  1. Well, I like that Athlinks keeps track of my personal record (PR) for each distance. I do a lot of races and I often forget what time I’m trying to beat. Athlinks keeps all this information together for me in one spot.
  2. It also shows me the upcoming races of my friends. It’s a reminder to cheer them on and encourage them to do their best.
  3. It’s free!
  4. If you’re really competitive, you can see who else is running the same race. If it’s a friend of yours, they will show up as a rival. Athlinks will keep track of your time and your friend’s time and keep a win or lose point system.  You can see that RunStrongRun, a fellow BibRavePro ran the Hot Chocolate 15K with me in San Francisco and I have 1 loss to her. By clicking on the arrow on the bottom right, I am able to see the next screen which contains the exact time difference.I’ll undoubtedly have other races this year with RunStrongRun and I always reference back to our wins and losses by logging into Athlinks. She’s a better runner than I am, so it will probably mean more losses for me, but that’s okay.

Race Review: Sedona Marathon

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Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Sedona Marathon race 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!”

Expo
The expo was in a big open location under a tent. I appreciated that it was open until 8 pm on Friday before the race, however, it would have been nice to know ahead of time that you can pick-up your bib on race day. I flew in on Friday and almost didn’t make it to the pick-up. A stressful experience that could have been easily avoided.

There were a handful of vendors selling everything from Sedona socks and t-shirts to runner specific gear like recovery sandals and hydration packs.

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Swag
Swag included a t-shirt, bib, and finishers medal. I learned that the medal we received is actually part of a 4 piece set. So, I will definitely need to come next year to claim the next piece of the puzzle.
Course

The 10K course was not too hard. There were some hills, but they were doable. I just made a point to go faster downhill and take my time going uphill. The course was on a paved road the entire time.

Sedona is at a high elevation, so the air is thin with no humidity. I actually got very dehydrated after the race. I know now to drink more water. The scenery is the best part, it’s breathtaking! I kept looking around as I ran and being amazed.

Aid Stations
I felt like there were plenty of aid stations throughout the course with both electrolytes and regular water. There were also many volunteers along the race cheering runners on with both handmade signs and cowbells.

There were a lot of portapotties. No long lines waiting to use the restroom, like in other races!

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Atmosphere
Everyone was so nice! It was a friendly environment. Many tourists came in that weekend just for the race. The locals were very kind and welcoming.

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Friends

I met up with two other fellow BibRave Pros, @rundeweyrun and @azsungoddess. Dewey did the full marathon, Emily did the half, and I did the 10K. BibRave was well represented that day. It’s always nice to meet and connect with Pros in-person.

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Post-race
There was a beer garden available. I’m not a beer drinker, but there were many people enjoying having a cold beer after the race. There were vendor food trucks available, for those that had worked up an appetite. Some food options that I saw available were pizza, loaded fries, and pork sandwiches.

After the race was done there was plenty to do, since Sedona has been rated as one of the top 10 most beautiful locations in the U.S. There’s a lot of opportunities for sightseeing before or after the race and even if you don’t have the time for that, you will love just looking around at the beautiful red rocks that surround the town.

Run-cation

I made this race a weekend trip. I flew with Jim and Chiquita, our 4-year-old chihuahua to Phoenix. We then rented a car and drove to Sedona. We stayed at the Sedona Rouge, which is a pet-friendly hotel.  There was a potty area for her right outside our room, which was very convenient. Chiquita stayed in the room during the race but was otherwise with us. The stores and some restaurants in town were pet-friendly, so it made it easy for all of us to walk around town.

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Chiquita has her own Instagram account. Click here to take a look.

 

Carb DM 5K Review

Expo:
This was a small race of about 130 people, so there was no expo. It was clear that the intention of the race was to come out and enjoy time with loved ones, support the cause and exercise.

Swag:
The swag was a t-shirt and a bib. No medals were handed out. There was no goodie bag or samples. Typically, fun runs are like this, so it wasn’t a surprise.

Course:
The course was a 5K in Coyote Point Recreation Center in San Mateo. It was mainly a flat rate, but it has a hill that put you right above the ocean. The views were ever changing as you passed one mile to the next. It passed by a marina where you could see sailboats to your right, so it wasn’t your average park run.

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Aid Stations:
This race promotes diabetes awareness, so it wasn’t surprising to find two aid stations named “low stations” with both insulin and juice bags. There was one water station on the course about half-way through. However, there were plenty of snacks before and after the race.

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Atmosphere:
Many people were there as a family or with other runners. It was a friendly environment where people were out to have fun and get exercise.

First Congregational Church of Palo Alto Christmas Pageant 2017

Post-race:
Once I passed the finish line, a person ripped off the bottom half of our bib, since it was our first time doing this race, we didn’t know what was that for. There were no chips on the bib. The time was manually kept for the top runners and posted on a board by the finish line. I didn’t stay for long after finishing the race. Based on the photos of the event, it seems like there were prizes raffled out. I thought prizes at the end meant that they were going to hand out medals to the top finishers. Had I known that it was raffle prizes, I might have stayed longer.

There were many tables set-up, but as in many races, the volunteers didn’t know what they were supposed to be doing. A recommendation for next year would be to have someone oversee the volunteers to ensure a smoother process.

There was plenty of parking spaces. You did have to pay $6 to park, but it was announced via email ahead of time and the organizers encouraged people to carpool to save on the parking fee.

I would be happy to do it again next year.