Review: Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh

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

This was my second ever Half Marathon race. I have to say I really enjoy racing this distance. I’d never ran a Rock ‘n’ Roll race before, so I was glad to have an opportunity to do so on their last visit to Raleigh, NC.

I went to the EXPO on the Saturday, the day before the race, and picked up my bib and shirt. The shirts are nice — Brooks technical shirts with minimal sponsor logos. The EXPO had some great vendors. My wife managed to get a great deal on some compression socks. There was lots of official Rock ‘n’ Roll merchandise as well. I loved the shirts with every participant name on it. Very cool.

Parking for both the EXPO and race day was very convenient. I managed to park quite easily within a block of the starting line.

I have heard over the years of how hilly a course it is, so I was expecting the worse. To be honest, it wasn’t all THAT bad. Yes, it had hills, but there was plenty of relief on downhill sections of the course.

The funny thing is — Because of the “hilly” reputation, Rock ‘n’ Roll made modifications to the route this year to make it less it less hilly. Well, according to past runner’s Strava records, this years route had a 100ft increase in elevation gain!! šŸ™‚

The Live music along the route was awesome. I can’t recall the number of times it brought a smile to my face. I also loved the energy of the spectators throughout the various Raleigh neighborhoods. They really helped keep me going.

It was so cold at the start of the race that I did something I never do. I went and grabbed a coffee and drank it around 30mins before we started. I’ve never had to use the bathroom so bad during a race before that I needed to stop — until THIS race. At mile 9 something very bad was going to happen if I didn’t find a porta-john. Rock ‘n’ Roll are fantastic for providing so many along the route. Not sure what I’d have done otherwise…!

Aside from messing up my time a little, I was still happy to finish within 2 hours on this course. I’m sad I won’t get a chance to do better next year.

The medals were great, and you could get your medal engraved with your name and finishing time if desired. And there was plenty of snacks handed out as you walked through the end section of the course after finishing.

The band, SUSTO, sounded really good at the post race event. My only gripe is that I finished the race around 9am and the post race party didn’t start until 10am. I was so cold at that point I couldn’t even imagine holding a cold (free) beer. And yes, I made use of gear check and had a coat to wear post-race!

While a specific review of the Raleigh race may not be super helpful to the reader, now that the race is gone, I will say that in general that the race was really well organised and executed. I would not hesitate to run many of the other Rock ‘n’ Roll races across the nation.

Check out a poem I wrote after the race.

Added: Tobacco Road Half Marathon

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Disclaimer: Iā€™m promoting Tobacco Road Marathon & Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Here’s me and my running buddies on Sunday past, training for the Tobacco Road Half Marathon on March 18th in Cary, NC. We’re putting on our best smiles for the camera, but this was probably one of our toughest runs in a while.

Tobacco Road will be my first official half marathon race and I’m already suffering some pre-race nerves. Does anyone else get these?!

Continue reading “Added: Tobacco Road Half Marathon”

Athlinks – Centralize Your Race Data!

Disclaimer: I am promotingĀ AthlinksĀ as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becomingĀ aĀ BibRave ProĀ (ambassador), and check outĀ BibRave.comĀ to review find and write race reviews!

I was sitting at lunch the other week with a good buddy and colleague (for the sake of a reference we’ll call him Elmo). While Elmo is not a runner, we will often talk about running and upcoming races that I’m training for.

Conversation will usually gravitate toward some rough ideas for hosting a race on his farm in rural NC and making a load of money. Easy, right?!

“Yes”, I tell him. “It’s that easy”, rolling my eyes.

This latest conversation was slightly different. Elmo had a new idea. This idea involved building a website (I work in software development) that would keep everyone’s results in one place.

“Elmo, we already have that”, I said.

He wasn’t listening and continued, “And the race organizers would all send the results in and…”

“Elmo, I’m telling you, this exists already”.

“And people would pay to use such a convenient service!”, he said, finishing his proposal.

“Elmo, this exists! I’m reviewing the site right now. It’s called AthlinksĀ AND it’s free to use!”

While Elmo has gone back to the drawing board to think up more ideas, let me tell you about Athlinks.

Continue reading “Athlinks – Centralize Your Race Data!”

Review: Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k Race – Charlotte

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Hot Chocolate 15k as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming aĀ BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check outĀ BibRave.comĀ to review find and write race reviews!

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Race Prep & Signup

In a previous post I’d talked about signing up for the Hot Chocolate 15k in Charlotte, and how I had to upload “proof” of previous race times to get assigned a corral on race day.

I received an email after a couple of weeks to say I had been assigned to corral “D”. I had no idea at the time what that would look like except that they started the corrals off 4 mins apart from each other.

Training for the race consisted of my regular weekday runs with slightly longer runs at the weekend. The two weeks before Christmas that I was out with Vertigo set me back both mentally and physically, and I got a little concerned that my target of a 8.30/mi would be hard to achieve.

Continue reading “Review: Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k Race – Charlotte”

Hot Chocolate 15k Charlotte Pre-Race Update

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Hot Chocolate 15k 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’ve been both excited and nervous about this race. Excited because I love the atmosphere of race day, and nervous because I’ve set a target that at times I’m not sure I can achieve.

I took the day off work today and drove down to Charlotte early (after a short run of course) so I could visit the Expo and chill out a little before tomorrow.

My wife Liz, daughter Katie, and youngest son Xander came with me to cheer me on and take advantage of a wee weekend break in Charlotte.

We booked the Sheraton, the same hotel as the Expo, which had a special rate for race participants.

Continue reading “Hot Chocolate 15k Charlotte Pre-Race Update”

AfterShokz Trekz Air — Shockingly Good Earphones for Running!

Disclaimer: I received a pair of AfterShokz Trekz Airs 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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I’d consider myself a music guy, a musician even — I listen to a lot of music. But look back over the last couple of years of my run selfies on Instagram and you’ll not find many with me wearing earphones.

I think I have funny shaped ear holes or something. I’ve always struggled with finding comfortable earbuds that will a) sit in my ear canals comfortably for an extended period, and b) not fall out or need readjusting during exercise.

For this reason I mostly go without. It just hasn’t been worth the hassle…

Recently I have had the opportunity to try a pair of AfterShokz Trekz Airs — earphones that don’t even go in your ears. That is because they use bone conduction technology!

Continue reading “AfterShokz Trekz Air — Shockingly Good Earphones for Running!”

Be Brilliant, Be Seen!

Disclaimer: I received reflective strips from Brilliant Reflective 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!

Most of my weekday runs happen before the sun comes up, so that means a lot of road running in the dark. It wasn’t long ago I read a post on our community Facebook page complaining about runners seen early in the morning wearing dark clothing. Yep, that was referring to our running club for sure, and a warning that we were not doing enough to be visible.

If any of this sounds familiar to you, then you need to hear about Brilliant Reflective strips. They are highly reflective strips that you can apply to your clothes (or other items) and come in both stick-on and iron-on packs.

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Continue reading “Be Brilliant, Be Seen!”