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.

Bay Area Running Streakers

During my New Year’s Eve race in Fremont, I noticed that one of the racers had the word “streaker” printed on her bib. I asked her about it and then spent the next 20 minutes talking about it.

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Brazen Racing has something that I think is unique. Runners that completes all the Brazen Racing races for the calendar year is named a streaker. This person gets a special number, a special t-shirt with the number, a framed case for all the medals won in the year and a special ceremony. The number the streaker is assigned is not given out again to another runner. Even if the runner only “streaks” for one year, they get to keep their number forever.

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What’s the challenge?

  • Well, Brazen Racing has 27 races scheduled for 2018. That’s a little over 2 races a month. In order to streak, you have to participate in all 27 races. This would be a show stopper for me. I travel a lot and I also participate in other races like Hot Chocolate, Rock N Roll, and runDisney, to name a few. Running just Brazen races would severely limit my racing calendar to just local races, which is fine for some people, but not for me.
  • You can choose what distance you want to do. If you’re not ready for half or full marathons, that’s fine, just do the distance that meets your strengths and goals.
  • All races are trail races and the elevation gain is significant in some of the races. If you’re not willing to do hilly runs, you’ll have a hard time getting to streak.

So, what do you think? Are you a streaker in the making?

Hot Chocolate 15K San Francisco 2018 Review

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Hot Chocolate 15K 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!”

What a great day! I can see how Hot Chocolate races are so popular. They’re so much fun!

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If you’ve traveled to San Francisco before you know that traffic and parking are a problem. I purchase a shuttle and parking pass ahead of time online. It was perfect. When I arrived at the parking lot I quickly found a parking spot. The shuttle service was fast. I didn’t have to wait a long time in line to get in a shuttle and the same was true for coming back to the car.

I was able to meet up with Christine and Stephanie, both are fellow BibRave Pros. Christine flew in for the race from Washington and Stephanie was one of the pacers. Christine and I were in different corrals, so we were only able to chat before the race.

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The weather was good. It was 48 degrees F in January, cloudy, with no rain. I didn’t do sweat check because I didn’t need to this time. The bib had a tear-off part on the top for sweat check.

I always invite my followers to Run with Me. Today I got to meet Bertha who was doing the 5K. It’s nice when you meet your friends in person, not just online.

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There was music at the entrance of the race. The announcer was actually quite funny. I enjoyed listening to him as I moved forward in my corral.

There were a lot of portapotties available strategically placed throughout the race.

The aid stations were awesome. There were plenty of volunteers with Nuun and water in hand to give out. Some stations had chocolate chips and even marshmallows.

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The views along the course were amazing. Golden Gate Park is so beautiful! The course even led us by the ocean and pass some buffalos. Surfers were trying to get past us on their way to catch waves.

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At the finish line, we were handed our medal with a special San Francisco keychain.

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I then headed over to find where to get my finisher’s mug. The bottom of the bib had a tear-off for the finisher’s mug. It included a lot of yummy goodies: hot chocolate, dipping chocolate, pretzels, biscotti cookies, rice crispies, and a banana. Once we were done with our finishers mug, we went back to catch the shuttle and quickly made it back to the parking lot to pick up our car.

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It was a great experience and I hope to do this race again.

Once home, I went online to Athlinks where I claimed my results for this race. Athlinks does a good job of keeping all my stats in one place. Once you’ve done several races, it’s hard to keep track of all the results. Athlinks makes that easy and you can also keep track of the results of your friends and loved ones.

 

New Year’s Day Half Marathon 2018

On New Year’s Day, while my neighbor was just going to bed after their New Year’s celebration party, I was getting up and getting ready to go out and do a half marathon. I needed to complete this race if I was to earn my first mega medal. By 6 am we were in the car and headed to Castro Valley, California for the race. Neither one of us had ever been to Lake Chabot, so we didn’t know what to expect.

The race started at 7:30 am for us as we were in the hiker division of the half marathon. Being part of the hiker division gave us an extra hour to complete the course. Given that it was our first time completing that distance, we thought that having extra time would be a good thing. At the starting line, we were handed our maps. Little did I know what was in store for me.

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A chilly 42 degrees Fahrenheit at the starting line. Soon we were off. The trail went around the lake. I could already see how beautiful the area was. I couldn’t help slow down enough to take a photo once in a while.

Little did I know that the elevation gain was going to make me question why I signed up for this race. Turns out that there was a 2,075 elevation gain. It was painful! When the runners were released, I was amazed at how fast they were able to run through such a difficult terrain. It was steep hills almost all the way. My knees were feeling the steep downhill paths.

The top runner completed the course in 1:30!! Talk about hardcore!

There were several snack tables along the way. They had all kinds of yummy goodies: trail mix, gummy bears, chips, pretzels, and GU. In addition to water, they had cups with electrolyte fruit-flavored drinks.

Given that it was my first time doing this distance, 13.1 miles, at times I didn’t feel hungry, but Jim was pushing me to eat anyway. He said I needed the energy and he was right.

I did it! When we were done, Jim said he was proud of me. He saw how much pain I was in, but I kept at it and didn’t bail.

Sedona Marathon Here I Come

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!”

Sedona is one of those places that I’ve heard is so beautiful that I wanted to visit it one day. The red rock mountains in Sedona are just breathtaking.

When I was told of the opportunity to run it as a BibRave Pro, I jumped on the opportunity. I signed up to do the 10K. I have other BibRave Pros joining me for the marathon weekend, so I’m looking forward to meeting them and cheering them on.

Use code 18BibRave” for 20% off.

For the cost of registration, you get a t-shirt, medal, and Cliff Bar products at each of the aid stations.

I love technology. I was excited to hear that the Sedona Marathon uses a free app called Race Joy. It allows you to track yourself and other runners on the course and send either custom or generic cheers. Another feature is that it alerts you when the runner you are tracking is close by, so you can get ready for to take that perfect running photo.

I’ll be using the built-in race countdown to keep track of how many days I have until the race and to plan my daily workouts.

Join me in Sedona on February 3, 2018. I’ll be wearing my bright orange BibRave Pro shirt. Make sure to say hi.

What I’m doing on New Year’s this year

New Years is a big time for us. I met Jim on a New Year’s Eve. This year we’re doing something different. We’ll be running on both New Year’s Eve and New Years Day. Why would you do that you ask?

Well, there are these local races by Brazen Racing that seemed interesting. They’re New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day races allow you to get an additional third medal and create a Mega Metal! A Mega Medal is where the pieces interlock like a puzzle to create one big metal. Isn’t that cool!!?

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You can do any combination of distances in order to qualify for the Mega Medal. Normally, you would have to do a 10K and a Full Marathon or something like that where the distances are pre-set, but not for these races. I signed up for the 5K on New Year’s Eve and the Half Marathon on New Year’s Day. The New Year’s Eve race is in Fremont and the New Year’s Day race is in Castro Valley so I will be able to run in different places. The course includes trails on Quarry Lake in Fremont and trails starting at Lake Chabot Marina with both paved and dirt trails.

I’m running the Hot Chocolate 15 SF on 1/7/18 so these two races will help me prep for the HC race. The HC Race will require more endurance and tolerance to elevation changes. Every race I can get in before January 7 will help me to do better for that race.

Registered to Run the Hot Chocolate 15K SF

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Hot Chocolate 15K SF 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!”

Reasons for registering for this race:

  1. There’s chocolate! Not just hot chocolate, but also the candy kind. The race has sweet stations with marshmallows, chocolate chips, & M&M’s. Love chocolate? [ctt template=”4″ link=”8asf2″ via=”yes” ]Register for the sweetest race with code “BRHCSF18” to get a free cap![/ctt]
  2. The medal. It looks like a full-size chocolate bar with a piece bitten off of it. Each Hot Chocolate race city has it’s own specific key charm. The San Francisco one is, of course, a trolley.
  3. I had seen photos of the after race goodies and shirts and I had made a mental note that I had to try a Hot Chocolate race in 2018. The nearest one to me is San Francisco.
  4. Photos are free! How many times have you worked hard at a race, just to find out that you have to pay some ridiculous $20 or $25 a photo?! Not with Hot Chocolate races. You can easily download the photos from the website, share them on social media with their built-in tools, and they even have a race frame added to the image so you can show off that you were really there!
  5. I’m doing the Star Wars Dark Side runDisney Half Marathon in April and this race is good training in preparation for that race.
  6. Goodie bag. You get a long-sleeve running shirt with a built-in front pocket for your phone, earphones, money, etc. Screenshot 2017-12-18 at 2.40.54 PM.png
  7. Post-race snacks. Hot Chocolate races hand out these really cool jumbo cups that are filled with hot chocolate and dipping goodies. I’ve seen enough of those cups online to want one for myself! Screenshot 2017-12-18 at 2.38.54 PM.png