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!! 🙂

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.

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Review: Allscripts Tobacco Road Marathon & Half Marathon

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Disclaimer: I’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!

I had such a great time at this race, it just didn’t seem right to review it like every other race I’ve reviewed. So, I decided to write a little poem that covers my race experience from start to finish.

Tobacco Road Half Marathon 2018

I went to bed early
To get plenty of rest
My wife was so supportive
There’s no doubt that I’m blessed
(Love you Lizzie!)

The morning arrived in no time
Long before the promised sun awoke
It was freezing bloody cold outside
But I had no plans to wear a coat

After multiple trips to the toilet
It was time to lace up and go
If I still need to empty my bladder
I’ll make the trip to porta-potty row

With a van full of MRC runners
We traveled to the Tobacco Road race
I munched on my energy gummies
Hoping I could stick to my target pace

The participants all began to gather
Three-thousand, two-hundred and fifty two
Nine-hundred and seventy-five the full
I’d be running my first Half with my crew!

The gun give a blast and off we went
Passing under a huge American flag
I tried to keep up with the one-fifty pacer
But very soon I started to lag

As the road leveled out the crowd opened up
And I managed to catch my pacers
There up ahead was one of my friends
She’d passed me and I didn’t see her

After two and a half miles of pounding the road
The Half went left and Full went right
There were plenty of water and Gatorade drinks
If I partook every time, need the toilet I might

The trail was cozy for an out-and-back
The lead pack were returning at my mile five
As runners flew past they were followed by a breeze
The atmosphere was electric, I felt so alive

I was still feeling fresh at mile marker nine
By mile marker ten I was feeling half dead
The energy gels had lost their effect
My legs felt heavy, a battle ensued in my head

Was the last stretch and the finish was close
But again my pacers had gotten away
Determination kicked in and dragged me along
This race won’t beat me, not today, NOT today

Downhill to the end is a wonderful thing
I knew I had it in the bag
Crossing the line with my arms raised high
An eleven minute PR! I know, I brag

 

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 a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com 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”

Review: Cupcake Race 5k Photos

We completed the Cupcake Race at Brier Creek back on October 14th. I was hoping to have the whole family involved, but our oldest had a band competition and was unable to take part.

The race itself is very good value. We paid $15 each and that covered the race, time-chips, t-shirt, medal, water bottles, and of course a cupcake at the end. The course starts in the Brier Creek shopping center area and runs out and down the road at the back, toward Lumley Rd and then back.

I pushed Xander in the stroller for the duration. He was very well behaved and loved watching all the people running around him.

It was a nice family day out. I never imagined us running races together as a family. How things change! Our next family race (with Nathan included) is the Krispy Kreme Challenge in February. We’re all signed up and ready to eat some doughnuts!

Review: Running Of The Bulls 8K Photos

I ran the Running Of The Bulls 8K race on Saturday morning. Loved it. It was a 5 mile route around downtown Durham, NC. We got a really good day for it as well. Mid 60s at 7.15am.

Unexpectedly, I got to run with race with my second oldest kid, Noah. One of our friends had to drop out so Noah ran in her place. Really proud of him keeping up with me the whole way.

I finished the race in 39:56 minutes, averaging 7:58/mi. Overall position 292/1318, and in my age group, 36/86. Very pleased with that.

Bull City Running Company hosted the race and did a great job. Also, thanks to James Scott Farin Attorneys for sponsoring the event and providing some free race photos. 🙂

I loved how the race day coincided with the weekly Durham Farmer’s market, so after the race we were able to grab food from the food trucks. Liz, Xander and Katie came down to hang out with us afterward. We will definitely be signing up for next year.

Noah and me at the start line.
I think this was around mile 4.
Kandy, Jeremy, me and Noah after the race.

Route: Running Of The Bulls 8K

Next Friday at this time, I’ll be picking up my race bib for Bull City Running Company’s Running Of The Bulls 8K (website).

The race starts on Saturday morning, June 3rd at 7.15am. It’s the first time I’ve ran this particular race, but I have ran very similar routes in Durham before so I have an idea of what to expect (i.e. HILLS).

I enjoy running through cities. You get to see things you easily miss when driving through. You also get a better feel for where everything is. I’m looking forward to it!

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