Category Archives: Race Recaps

Race Recap: Ventura Marathon 5K

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Ventura Marathon 5K as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

The summary

The Ventura Marathon’s 5K was well-organized, had great swag, and is a mostly flat course by the beach. What more can you ask for?


The long version

I picked up my packet on Saturday, and the expo was in full-swing. A friend picked up her stuff on Friday, and said they were still putting it up, so I think Saturday was the better day. There were also some events on Saturday so that’s probably another reason why everything was going full-force. The packet pick-up process was easy – it was by bib number instead of last name, but they sent you the bib number in an email the day on Thursday or Friday.

I knew there was supposed to be a bunch of swag in the bags, but I was super impressed. Everything came in a big reusable shopping bag that I will definitely use again. Inside the bag were my bib, a hat, my tech t-shirt, a couple samples (Clif gel, kettle popcorn) and a couple flyers. The expo was pretty good, too. There were quite a few vendors (Jamba Juice, local vendors) and other races. The live band was pretty good, too!

I decided to stay in a hotel that was within a mile of the start line so that I could warm-up on my way to the race. There was no parking at the start line/venue, but there was plenty of parking (both paid and free) within a half mile to full mile nearby. It was really dark the morning of the race, so have to really pay attention to your surroundings (I may or may not have walked into a cement bench on the walk there). There were plenty of port-a-potties, and short lines.

The 5K was the last race to start (after the marathon and half marathon), and started about 15-20 minutes late. Not the end of the world, but something to note. The race started in waves, which allowed everyone to spread out a bit, and started at the end of the pier. I don’t typically look at race courses before I run, so I was surprised that the race wasn’t actually along the beach. I thought it was going to be on the bike path along the sand, but it went over to the road. You could see the ocean for a mile or so, but it wasn’t along the beach as I expected.

There were a couple gradual “hills”, but you got to go back down them, so that wasn’t a big deal. The course was on one lane of the road, and it got a little congested when people started turning around and doubling back (it was out-and-back). But the course was fast, and the aid stations had wonderful, high-energy volunteers.

The finish line!

The finish line!

The medals were super cute, and given out right after the race. The actual medals seemed to be the same for every distance, but they changed the ribbon that the medal was hanging on, which is a great idea. I was also handed a bottle of water after the race. I didn’t see anyplace to fill up a water bottle, but I didn’t look either, so it could have been there.

There was quite a bit of food after the race: bananas, pineapples, Nutri-grain bars, Cheez-its, and chocolate, plus the samples at random vendors and a food truck.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this 5K if you live locally. Check out the BibRave reviews for more information about the 5K and about other races.

Race Recap: Platte River Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Platte River Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

This race was my first half marathon since at least 2011, maybe even 2010, so I was really excited. I didn’t PR (and didn’t expect to), but I was super proud of myself anyway, and beat the goal I had in mind (2:30). It was also super exciting because I got to meet fellow BibRavers Bradley & Katherine IRL!


Registration: The registration process was easy and was with Race Roster online, and you could get your name on your bib! I received a confirmation email, then a couple emails the week before the race that told me the final instructions were posted on the website. It would have been nice for the instructions to have been emailed, but that’s not a huge deal.

Communication Leading up the Race: I was a little disappointed in the lack of social media engagement. I posted on IG and tweeted regularly, and never received a like or response. In fact, the last post on their Twitter account is from St. Patrick’s Day, even post-race. Again, not a huge deal, but some engagement would have gotten me more excited about the race.

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Packet Pickup: They offered three days to pick up your bib (Friday, Saturday, or race day) so I went on Friday afternoon, and there were only a couple other people there. Packet pickup was quick and easy. It was at a local Runner’s Roost, and this particular location has a great downstairs space for events, so I was lead downstairs and easily picked up my bag and long-sleeved shirt. There was also some sponsor samples down there. Runner’s Roost and Asics were main sponsors of the event and offered a discount on Asics products at the store that day.


Pre-Race: The day of the race, it was really easy to find parking. There were two bigger lots, but we chose a street spot that was only a block away so my boyfriend could drive over to the finish. He didn’t have any trouble finding a spot within a couple blocks of the finish line, either. There were plenty of Port-a-Potties near the start line, so the bathroom line moved pretty quickly.

THE RACE!: The race started in five waves, which helped us get a bit spread out and it wasn’t as packed as it usually is when you have 1500+ runners starting at once. The point-to-point course started in downtown Littleton and then headed out to the Platte River Trail. It was a cool, cloudy day, so it was perfect racing temps!


The Platte River Trail has some dirt and gravel, but the multi-use path is mostly paved. There are some small uphill/downhills underneath roads, but overall it’s mostly flat and scenic along the river, with a couple industrial sections.

There were plenty of volunteers along the course, and hydration (water and nuun) every couple miles. Because this was also a relay, there were two points where runners were handing off, but the process was smooth and didn’t disrupt the race in any way.

Around mile 12.5, there is quite a hill going up and over an overpass, but the perk is that you get to come downhill and then cruise around a corner to the finish line.

It's a little blurry, but this is what I was staring down with a 1/2 mile left in the half!

It’s a little blurry, but this is what I was staring down with a 1/2 mile left in the half!

Finish & Expo: At the finish line, I got a big medal and *another* swag bag with a glass and a bottle opener. There was plenty of water and signage so I knew where to go to find the expo. It was a couple blocks down the road, but again, easy to find. At the expo were plenty of samples of nuun, Noosa yogurt, Skinny Pop popcorn, and a few others. There was beer and food as promised (hot dogs, burgers, mac & cheese), and a band playing music.

More swag at the finish line!

More swag at the finish line!

The expo was right next to the RTD station, which was the way back to the start line where most people parked, but as I mentioned above, my boyfriend picked me up, so I didn’t experience that. Runners were supposed to be able to ride the RTD back for free.

Post-Race: The results weren’t posted until a couple days after the race, and my posted time was two minutes off of my watch time. I have a feeling that maybe my chip was picked up as soon as the waves started, because I started in wave 4. I’ve never had my watch that far off, and I always hit it as I’m crossing the mat, so it could just be me, but I’m not sure what happened there.

The race pictures came out on Friday, so five days after the race. The photographer wasn’t very easy to spot, so I didn’t even realize they had a photog out on the course. The pictures were sorted by time (instead of searchable by bib) and didn’t really give an indication of where they were on the course, so it was a matter of looking through many photos to try to find mine. I also wasn’t able to find a picture of me at the finish line, which is a bummer (but luckily Eric took some pictures for me!).

Overall, this was a well-organized race, a lovely course at a great time of year, and I definitely recommend it! There are a few things that could definitely be improved (social media, photographs, etc.) but those are what I consider to be add-ons and not essential to the success of the race.

For more pictures and a different perspective from Bradley, who came here from sea level check out Bradley on the Run. Also head over to Katherine’s blog, a fellow Coloradoan, who wrote a lovely review as well.

Athens Marathon Race Recap

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In 2008, we decided to go Greece to run the Athens Marathon with Apostolos Greek Tours. Before getting into the race re-cap, I highly recommend Paul Samaras and his tour. He is such a nice man, and you can tell he really wants you to have an amazing experience in Greece.

We had a pasta dinner the night before, and had the hotel set up the breakfast early that morning so we could get something to eat before we left. The race didn’t start until 9 am so it was nice to not have to get up super early. We slept until about 6 am, got breakfast, and then I got on the bus to head towards Marathon at 7. Eric didn’t have to leave until 7:30 since the 10K started near the stadium, which was my finishing point.

On the road to Marathonas.

We drove through the Greece countryside and arrived in Marathonas at around 8:15. It was cold and a little windy, but the wind would be at our backs once the race started. Jeff Galloway, the run/walk master, was with the tour and was leading a 1 min. run/1 min. walk group with a goal of finishing in 5 hours. The night before he told us that the course was difficult and we should expect to run 20 minutes slower than usual, but my secret goal was to set a pr (break 5:20).

With Jeff Galloway before the race.

After listening to some Madonna, and then taking an oath about having fun and enjoying the race, it was on! Jeff wanted to start after everyone else had gone, and for the first time I started dead last. There were only a few thousand people there, so we were actually only about 5 minutes behind clock time. The temperature at race start was 61 degrees with the wind at our back and lots of cloud coverage – practically perfect marathon weather.

The starting line. I told you we were dead last!

After the first couple miles, we started a loop around the tomb of the Athenian soldiers, who died during the historical war between the Persians and the Athenians. The 1/1 run/walk method was awesome and the race was flying by. Jeff and his wife, Barbara, were so positive and fun to run with. Eric and I had looked at the course map beforehand and didn’t expect much of the hills that we saw – they were mostly long and gradual, but a couple were a bit steep. The hills did start to take a toll on my knees, though. Besides being hilly, the road is slanted which any runner knows can create imbalance issues. By mile 7 my knees started bothering me, but I tried to ignore them. They continued to bother me, and ended up hurting for 3 weeks after the race, but I think my positive attitude (and the cream/spray I kept getting on them) really helped me through.

The tomb.

We continued through the countryside, with cheers of Bravo! and Calimera! (good morning) coming from people who had come outside to cheer us on. Around mile 16 we started to get into the suburbs of Athens and began to see more buildings. This was also about the time that I started to lose the group. I had to stop to get some cream for my knees and slow my pace down a bit and they pulled away. I kept them in my sights for the next 3ish miles and then they were gone. But I was looking forward to seeing Eric at mile 24, and I made a friend who was part of TNT who was there running as well.

In the countryside.

My hamstring started to cramp off and on around mile 20, but I would push through the running minute to get to the walking minute and then it would go away for a couple minutes. One thing that helped me get through was something that another member of our group said which was, “I can do anything for a minute”. I remembered this when I started to feel tired and when I started to cramp.

The blue line is from the 2004 Olympics. We followed the same course.

I got to about 23.75 and there was Eric. I had almost made it! I wasn’t crashing, either, it was awesome. My crash during this race was in the middle, around 12-15. Eric was surprised to find me in a good mood, and I was kind of surprised to be in a good mood. Maybe it was the spirit of Phidippides and the olive branches in my visor. A little after mile 25, both my hamstrings started to cramp and my quads. I have never cramped in my legs before, so it was a little bothersome. It would come and go, and it pretty much went away in a few minutes.

He looks way faster than I was going at this point.

Right after mile 26 Eric had to leave me because he couldn’t run into the stadium with me, so he had to haul it through the National Gardens to see me finish. As I was “sprinting” to the finish, EVERYTHING cramped. My left big toe was cramping, which has only happened with tight climbing shoes. As I was running in I turned to my right and saw a stray dog jogging in a few feet behind me, which kind of made me laugh and I forgot about my cramps for a second.

You can see me down there in the pink shirt!

And then I was done. It was amazing. Here I was in the Olympic Stadium with the olympic rings above the stands (which we climbed up the stairs to right after the marathon), with the acropolis and the Parthenon in the distance, and it was amazing. My final time was 5:14, a PR by approx. 6 minutes. 🙂

My medal!

Eric made me climb up there, but I don’t regret it!

The view from the top.