Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Roanoke Canal Half Marathon

Hey! You can stop running now...

¯\_(ツ)_/¯  I have no idea why I kept running, my legs were dead πŸ˜… 



The race description gave me hope I'd be cruising on something less than technical...😁

From the web page  "The Half Marathon and 8k will both take place on the Roanoke Canal Trail. The natural surface trail is generally flat with a few hills. As runners travel back in time along the historic trail, they will pass over several culverts that were installed during construction of the canal in the 1820's. Runners in both races will also pass by the large bulkhead that diverted water into the canal during the years it was used to generate electricity for the local mills. Those who choose to run the half marathon will actually run through the old aqueduct, which is widely regarded as an engineering feat well before its time.

There will be a three hour course limit for the event."
Roanoke Canal Half Marathon and 8k 
While not highly technical trail, the terrain changed throughout the course and felt challenging. Footing wasn't the easiest, we covered a few big hills, very grassy areas, rooted areas, and rocky stretches. I enjoyed the peacefulness running near the water at the turn around point.  I savored the dirt ending.

I was so impressed with the race organizers. The after spread was a full lunch offering egg salad, tuna, and chicken salad wraps. There were salty snacks, fruit, soda, plenty of water, and a heated offering of rice and beans. The age group awards were handmade wooden plaques, every detail spoke thoughtfulness.


The start/finish is a nice area near the water to hang out and catch your breath after the run. The parking area is only a few steps away. It is a small race, so if crowds and stimulus are your thing this may not be the race for you, but if you are looking for a quiet supported Spring trail race this event is budget friendly during a great time of year!

Monday, August 6, 2018

AfterShokz Trekz Air Colors (Canyon Red) Review

"Disclaimer: I received a pair of AfterShokz Canyon Trekz Air Colors 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!"

I started wearing wireless headphones about 8 years ago while working out and I have been a fan ever since. Wires are a distraction I do not want. The Aftershokz Trekz Air in Canyon Red have been the best model I have ever worn.

Initially when my wireless journey began, I wore a pair that covered my ears AND I had to put electrical tape around to hold the ears pads on, it worked, but I kept for wishing for a better option. Yes, I am a sweater! πŸ˜‚ Eventually I sweated them to death only to find that model had been discontinued, so I began the search for a new model. I went through a phase where I tried several different models that all ended with me frustrated at the lack of decent options on the market.

As I searched I found the perfect option!
Aftershockz was the solution I was looking for. I ordered a pair of Trekz Titanium Mini’s and fell in love. I could HEAR what was going on around me like never before! I have been running happy for several years with my Aftershokz when I was given the opportunity to test Aftershokz Trekz Air Colors in Canyon red.

They arrived and I couldn't get over how lightweight they felt! Way lighter than I expected and the fit over the ear was incredible. The band around the back does fit a little different than my other pair but it doesn’t budge. I put them on and they stay in place. I fell in love all over again. I was awed by what a positive difference the thinner ear piece on these made...not a bit a of pressure on your ears or head. Somehow, Aftershokz made great even better.
  • comfortable fit
  • easy to use
  • ability to fast forward songs on the run
  • awesome charge life
  • includes a great carry case
  • awesome sound quality
  • still hear the sounds of nature and approaching cars
                             If you don't like to read, πŸ‘†click and watch...less than two minutes

The sound through bone conduction is awesome. I am a fan of not directly blasting your eardrums, and they look great as well. Of all colors πŸ’— canyon red is my favorite.

Aftershokz Trek Air is a design that makes sense, is truly ingenious and not just for runners! Cyclists, gym dwellers, or anyone who commutes and travels will love how long these hold a charge and how comfortable the fit is.

Thank you Aftershokz for filling what was a huge gap in the wireless headphone market and for continuing to be an innovative leader in the industry with quality products.

The website has great resources if you have any questions and great customer service. Be sure to check it out! 

.... and   Related image I have a deal for you! 

GET $55 off the Trekz Air Bundle

Use code BRBUNDLE at checkout


Thanks for stopping by!
Karen 

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Run Wild Missoula ~ Missoula Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Missoula 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’ve been visiting Montana the last 10 years and it really is my favorite place to be. I have passed through Missoula before but never actually stopped to run there, so I felt very thankful for this opportunity.

Overall this was an awesome race experience. It is apparent when you arrive, organizers have the weekend down to a science and everything runs like a well oiled machine. There is also a great app, powered by Mylaps, that offers live tracking, text finish results, the weekend schedule, travel info and a few frames to add to your pictures!

I could not participate in the Beer run Friday night or the 5K Saturday morning, but from all the participant feedback I heard, both events sounded like a great time. Missoula offered a Big 3 challenge for the weekend, but I still have no idea what the surprise gift was! I chatted with runners, who had done the Beer run or the 5K, but not all the events.

If you did the Big 3 please comment below and tell what the special gift was!

I drove from Whitefish, which is north of Missoula, Saturday morning and arrived mid afternoon at the expo which is held in a great outdoor location.


The river path is nearby and it is a great place to shake out your legs and enjoy the views. 


I had a great conversation with a volunteer about her move to Missoula and the local running scene.  She made a very strong positive impression on me and it made me realize how important it is to volunteer and greet out of town and new runners at a local event.





The expo offered a variety of vendors and you were in good shape if you needed running fuel, event commemorative gear, or brightly patterned running skirts, shorts, and shirts. The local running store is just a short walk away from Caras Park Pavilion to add more shopping opportunities. 























After I retrieved my bib, walked the river path, checked into my hotel, and walked the route to the race shuttles to make sure it was a good option for race morning; I went to eat some dinner and get some sleep.

I woke up early!  The last shuttle to the start line leaves at 5:15 a.m. so I was walking by 4:40 a.m. The bus ride to the start reminded me how far 13.1 miles really is. 

























I did a half mile warm up run and the typical porta-p-stop (and yes they were plenty), and ate a Panda licorice bar after my shuttle ride.  I only had about 10 minutes to wait till the 6 a.m. start. A beautiful rendition of  the national anthem, followed by a few fireworks and off we went at sun up! The sun is strong as soon as daylight cracks, and I wondered how I would hold up.

On a personal level, it was feeling just a tad too warm for me, it was about 10 degrees warmer than it had been in Whitefish, but hey it is summer, and mid 60's this time of year for a southern gal is way better than anything I have run in since April. I trotted along with high hopes I could have a strong run. As the miles clicked off, I was feeling thankful for the shade on the course. The temperature probably rose by 10 degrees during the first hour and my splits slowed as things warmed up.

10:33, 10:17, 11:04, 11:05, 11:03

11:16, 11:45, 11:16, 11:41, 11:51

I wore my own hydration belt and stopped 3 x’s to refill my bottle with Gatorade. It eats up the clock, but I am past PR days, so I’d much rather run and be comfortable, enjoy the views, and soak up the atmosphere. Every water stop was well stocked and had plenty of Gatorade. Along the course, I passed a fantastic bagpipe player, and a man who sits in his yard in a tuxedo and plays his grand piano for runners.

During the early miles the course carried you along rural roads with wide opens spaces. A large part of the later miles later were through Missoula's neighborhoods. A lot of folks put up sprinklers so you can cool off, which is a very nice touch. There were also a few neighbors who had over 21 hydration stops, but I did not partake. 😏

My runner’s instinct kicked in after mile 10 and I tried to pick up the pace and finish strong. I couldn't pick it up as much as I hoped, but it was a solid effort.

11:26, 11:01, 11:04...last bit 9:15 ish pace across the line 2:26:57
I am very content covering 13 miles at this pace.

The finish line area is on the bridge over the river. The announcer enthusiastically calls out names and where people are from. I heard a lot of out of state runners being called in front of me, but I was coming in simultaneously with a local man on a very strong marathon run, so I did not hear my name called.  The local with a sub 2:30 marathon had the focus and rightly so!
One of the frame options from the app 


I was handed my awesome medal, and proceeded to the food area. I replenished with a banana and some tasty pasta salad. Shuttles seemed to be steadily running, but I opted to walk the mile back to my hotel because I was feeling some stiffness in my legs and I hoped walking would help. The distance has been a challenge for me the past few years no matter what pace I run, hence my decision to not worry about trying to “race” anymore.

There are many options within walking distance for food and drinks if you want to explore downtown.








Oh and haaaaeeeeyyy! Free race photos...mine did not come out all that spectacular but still, you can't beat free. They actually took a finishers photo after the race and printed it out, a really nice touch!

LOL 


I had hoped to meet Juan, a fellow BibRave Pro at this event, but he was not able to make it to Missoula.
Here is a little bio info from him:
"I live in Cypress, Texas and have been a runner for 18 years now. I am a married father of three boys with a fourth one on the way. I work as a Digital Learning Specialist in Aldine ISD in Houston, and am thoroughly enjoying my first year as a BibRave Pro. You can find me on social media as @3dotjuan and on my blog, www.3dotjuan.com."
Juan wrote a nice Q and A blog post you find here. Give him a follow! He is a great inspiration.

Overall, run wild Missoula was a fabulous running experience and it is a great event to add in during the summer months. I would recommend flying into Kalispell (FCA) and enjoying the drive to Missoula. The changing landscape in Flathead Valley will not disappoint and be sure to stay a few days if you can! There are so many great kayaking, rafting, and hiking opportunities near by it would be ashamed not to take advantage of all Montana has to offer.

Thanks for stopping by πŸ’ž
Karen 



Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Run & Ride Kings Dominion


This DAY πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ˜ƒ

The skies opened up with torrential downpours a few times as we went running though Kings  Dominion. We dodged puddles ankle deep, tiptoed over muddy spots, and took in the quiet of the park before it is packed with people. 

Running and smiling...
Okay, maybe we hammed it up for the camera just a bit, but my slowest half marathon is definitely at the top of my favorites list. 

It was so awful out you just had to laugh,
AND laughter is good for the soul, 
AND so is running with friends!
 
Yep, we were excited to cross the finish line because that meant it was time to go ride some roller coasters, and ride them we did! 
We almost had the park to ourselves because it takes a special kind of 
nutty to hang out and get pelted all day in the rain πŸ˜ƒ

Run and Ride is genius, miles and smiles all the way. 

I will miss my run buddies at my next half marathon, but I'll be back with my sweat crew soon. 
We got plans ☝πŸ˜€πŸ’“πŸ’¦

Take care and run happy!
Karen

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Run Wild Missoula! Yes, Please :)

I am so excited Bib Rave has granted me the opportunity to run the Missoula Half Marathon this July!

My first visit to Montana over 10 years ago is still vivid in my memory. Stepping off the plane in Kalispell, smelling that fresh mountain air, feeling the cool breezes in summer, and seeing the beauty of the mountains surrounding the valley hooked me. I started to travel around the state each visit so I could take in the views and really enjoy all the beauty the state has to offer.

One particular visit about 9 years ago, I drove from Portland, Oregon to Whitefish, Montana and passed through Missoula along the way.  I was awed by the relatively flat land surrounded by steep mountains, the views were stunning. The convergence of several different mountain ranges;  Rattlesnake, Bitteroot, Garnet Range, and Sapphire Mountain Range make Missoula a pretty unique place in the Northern Rockies.

Being an east coast gal, I have a deep appreciation for any place the dew point stays out of rain forest range and the heat of the day actually cools off overnight.


I hoped I am blessed with some of those cool morning temps on race day, but rain or shine I am going to enjoy every step where Lewis and Clark once travailed.

My favorite thing to do in a new town is take a good long walk or run in so I can really experience it. 13.1 is going to be the perfect way to take in all Missoula has to offer!

















Use my discount code and join me July 13-15!

Use code “BibRave18” to save $5 on race entry! Price increases June 16th
http://www.missoulamarathon.org/
This event was ranked #1 on the Bib Rave Top 100 

BibRave

Read some great race reviews here

Thanks for stopping by! 
Karen 
"Disclaimer: I received a free race entry to review the Missoula Marathon weekend of events 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!"