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Oct 30, 2013

Wordless Wednesday 10/30/13

I'm not hugely religious but love this passage
Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!

Oct 29, 2013

Wicked Halloween 10k race review

Short Version 
Finished in 48:02 (official time); no new PR
verall place: 151/2020 AG(M40-44): 16/126 
Overall Pace: 7:45/mile
Race #57

Overall another great Kona races.  This one was extra special because it was the last race of the Kona Triple Crown Series so we got an extra race medal for doing the ShamRocknRoll, Kona Run and Wicked Halloween Run.  The race went off in usual Kona form - a fun time, chip timed course, well organized start and finish area.  I'll be at the Kona Chocolate Run in three weeks as well! 

Long Version 

Registration/Packet Pickup 
Registration is very easy as it's always been with Kona races.  You can print out a form and mail it in or register online on their website.  Since I'm a race ambassador, I mail mine but I've used the electronic registration in the past and it's very easy and straight forward to do.  The company always puts together a separate website for each race it does and includes all the details about everything on the race.  It's very easy to follow.  In addition, they have a Facebook page that helps keep you up to date with information.

Packet picket was once again the day before the race at the local middle school in Plymouth and also race morning.  I love they give two options as every race should do this BUT every race does not!   Since I was also volunteering at packet pickup that morning, I picked up my packet and my running buddy's packet at the time I was volunteering.  I've volunteered for three of Kona's races this year - the Triple Crown of volunteering.  Haha!  It's always a great time talking with the runners as well as some of the runners that recognized me and said hello.

There was plenty of parking at the packet pickup since it was at the school.
Middle School in Plymouth
The race had everything set up in the gym like they have at other Plymouth races.  As you can see below, they have race day registration(assuming it's not sold out which the 10k was) and they were also selling shirts from previous races from this year.
Race Day Registration and shirts for sale
You went to the board where all the runners names and bib numbers were listed in alphabetical order and found your number.  Once you had your number, you gave it to the volunteer and they pulled your bib, a shirt and a Kona Chocolate run bag.  This is what I did for my volunteer job too!
Runner names/bib numbers
The race also had a few vendors working the expo and when my volunteer shift was done, I took a look.  Noodles was there giving out their pasta - yum!  There were five or six other vendors you could talk to as well.  While my shift was from 10am to 1pm, had I just been going to get my packet, I would have been in and out in literally minutes. They are very organized!
A few vendors
Packet pickup
Start area
The next day was the race so my running buddy, Kevin and I, made our way over pretty early.  I met him at his home at 6am.  Yes, he thinks I'm nuts to leave that early but I'm always an early guy and must get good parking.  Since we got there about 7am, we were able to park right next to the finish area - perfect!  I prefer to just wait in the parking lot and use the bathroom early so we are ready to race without being stressed.  We waited in the car about 1/2 hour and headed to the warming tent.  Since Kevin needed to wait in line for the bathroom, I said I would meet him but I never did catch up with him until after the race.

As I walked over, they were getting the finish line still set up and they had all the race medals ready to go!
Finish line setup
Kellogg park in Plymouth is where the start/finish area is located and it's a great venue for a race.  The city even had their Christmas lights on in the park - haha - a bit premature I think.
Kellogg Park Start area
You can see below the kind of organization this race needs with over 5,000 people running.  You need to have your race medals all ready to go!  The start area had all kinds of tents set up including tents for the costume contest, first aid, age group award, triple crown awards, food tent and a warming tent.  The warming tent was a nice addition to this race.  While it was not extremely cold today, it was nice to stay warm prior to the start - so much so that this year I missed the thriller dancers before the 10k(but got to see them later before the 5k).  Everything was clearly marked and everything was in the same area so you really couldn't have missed anything.
Sweet medals!
Costume Contest - note the Christmas lights
First aid/lost and found
AG awards
Food for after race
There were a ton of runners in the warming tent and I saw Rich who we raced with last weekend in Detroit! We talked for a few minutes about how he was feeling from his marathon last weekend and then headed to the start together.  I saw one of my co-workers who was also earning the triple crown today which was awesome because her foot had been hurting lately but she got through it and got her crown!
Warming tent
Inside warming tent
Morgan Whitehead, the race directors daughter, did the National Anthem and we were ready to go.  Kona races have a great track record for being on time.  I was in the first wave which was for runners under a 10 minute pace and we started in a timely basis.
People in front of me at start
People behind me at start
Ok, this was supposed to be a training run for me but, as you can see, I did not just run it as a training run.  WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING!!!!!!!  I cannot believe I ran that fast and I'm really upset I did this.  While it's not a PR, it much faster than I should have run this.  I had planned to go out at an 8-8:30 pace and stay there.  Ummm.....that surely didn't happen!   Of course, as I write this review on the evening of the race, I'm currently icing my right Achilles heal - something that has never given me issues.  I guess one thing is for sure is that if this is the way I feel after a six mile race, that pace is not going to bode well for a full marathon.  Stupid, stupid, stupid......

You notice the overall elevation is minimal and I also stopped at the 3 mile aid station for some water since I left my water bottle in the car on acciden - not that you really need it.
Map per Garmin
Splits per Garmin

Pace/elevation per Garmin
Note: When I take pictures during the race, I don't change my pace or stop in the interest of safety. I just keep running and I get what I can get from the pictures. Some come out better than others but they give you a great idea of what the course is like.  I have not had very good luck with pictures for the last several races!!

The race always starts right downtown in Plymouth and you get to run a little in downtown before heading into the neighborhoods.  Then about five and a half miles is out in the neighborhood.  If you have not run the course before, it's in a very nice neighborhood and kind of reminds me of the neighborhood I grew up in.  The homes are beautiful and all different!

As we made our way through the course, there were three aid stations and several scare stations.  The scare stations were people dressed up as zombies and would cheer and ghoul for you as you ran past.  While the weather was nice for running, I just couldn't seem to get many good pictures for this race. It's so frustrating - I need sun for good pictures!   Anyway, a guy passed me about the 5 mile mark and saw me taking pictures and said I was pretty ambitious for running and taking pictures.  I told him he might be in my blog this week - ha!(he's actually pictured in one of the course pictures)  Before I knew it, we were already back to downtown and coming around the finish.  There is always lots of people out there cheering us at the end since the 5k had not started yet.  While lots of people also dressed up to race, there were more than normal the number of people who ran in their race shirt - probably because it's so nice.
Downtown to start
Lots of people wore their race shirt!
Around mile 1 - I missed the sign
Mile 2 - sorry so blurry
Scare stations! cool! haha!
By the park - love this part of the course
Mile 3
Mile 4
Around mile 5
Mile 6
Almost there!
Just before the finish turn
Aid Stations
While I didn't stop at all the stations, they were well stocked with water and sports drinks.  All the volunteers did a great job cheering us on and getting us hydrated. It was a bit chilly out so it was much appreciated to have them out there for us!
First Aid Station
Second Aid Station
Third Aid Station
Finish Area
Of course, the finish area is right back at where we started.  As you came through the finish shoot, a volunteer handed you your medal for the race.
Handing out medals
You could then make your way over to the food tent.  Because I knew there was going to be so many people getting their Triple Crown medal, I decided to get that first.

The race had a list of names and you just showed them your bib and they gave you the other medal.  I was their first runner that ran all three races but was not on the list.  Actually, I was kind of glad it happened as I wanted to see how they handled it.  The volunteer had me come back to where they had two computers hookup up with a database of both the ShamRocknRoll run and Kona Run.  Within 30 seconds he found my name and confirmed I did run all races and they gave me the medal.  It was so easy!   This is what I like about Kona - they plan ahead!  There was also a photographer from Dishy Photography who was taking pictures as you got your Triple Crown and she captured this one of me:
Photo credit:  Dishy Photography(HERE)
Perhaps you might even be in one of the pictures if you did the Triple Crown?  You can check the other photos HERE for the ones that were taken.  Thanks goes out to Dishy Photography for allowing downloads and tags on Facebook!  How awesome are they?

After I got the medal, I went to the finish line food tent.  I figured it would take longer to get through the Triple Crown tent than the food tent and while I didn't have to wait for either, I heard the line was long for the Triple Crown later but the race was prepared for it.

The race had the usual finish line food that Kona offers including a Panera Bread bagel, bananas, granola bars, half cookies and water and sports drink.  I love that the bagels are individually wrapped.  Kona are the only races I've ever seen them do that for and love the sanitary issue of it.

Because I had a little time before we left, I went back and got some pictures of the thriller dancers as well as Morgan and Alan Whitehead as they got ready for the start of the 5k.  I was also able to get a picture of the start at the 5k.  I said hello to Greg Everal, who's company, Everal Race Management, handles the timing for all of the Kona races. They do an awesome job timing the races and I've never had any issues with Kona or any other races they've timed in the past.
Finish line food tent
Finish line food tent
Thriller dancers before 5k
Morgan Whitehead ready to sing
5k ready to start
Finally before I met up with my running buddy, I took some pictures of the scarecrows that are on display in the park.  Below was my favorite this year.  They have probably 15-20 of them to look at which is a nice tradition in Plymouth and family fun!
Awesome scarecrow
For your race registration, you got a chip timed course with aid stations and with pacers for the 10k and 5k this year.  It's the only race I know that offers pacers for those distances.  For this race they didn't have the QR code to check results immediately but they were online when I checked them later when I got home.  The race also had a semi closed course meaning they had volunteers at the turns but traffic was allowed on the coure(although it's never much since it's Sunday morning). They also have police at the main roads stopping cars.  The race always does a great job keeping runners safe and this race was no exception.

The race offered a good selection of finish line food as well as entertainment at the start.  They also offered two day packet pickup with a couple vendors to talk to.  They give everyone a race shirt and this year it was a 1/4 zip tech shirt and it's really, really nice!   Check it out below - a great design and it's one up on most other race shirts for other races in the area.  This is worth the registration fee alone and it will get worn not only for running but it's comfortable enough for daily use.  With your packet, you also received a Kona Chocolate Run bag, which are great to have around.  Only the 10k and 5k runners received the bag.
Shirt front
Shirt back
Kona bag
You also received a finishers medal for doing the 10k and it's a great design.  I heard a few comments about liking last years medal better, but frankly, I like the new design and that it's different and it's got a nice ribbon too.  It's also HUGE!  That medal is bigger than some of my marathon medals!!!  Of course, I also received the Triple Crown medal which I'll discuss more below.
Wicked Halloween 10k medal
Wicked Halloween 10k medal close up
The Triple Crown medal
The Triple Crown medal close up
How did I get the Triple Crown?
In order to get the Triple Crown race medal, you needed to run the ShamRocknRoll 5k or 10k in March, the Kona Run 5k, 10k or 10 mile in June and the Wicked Halloween Run 5k or 10k.  Of course, I wanted the medal for each race, so I opted to run the 10k for the ShamRocknRoll and Wicked Halloween and the 10 mile for the Kona run.

Below are the three shirts and medals you received for doing each race.  I thought it was a really fun way to earn an extra medal and as long as you did the distances required, the Triple Crown medal was no additional cost and just earned for your hard work running the three races.  Next year will be the Grand Slam series which will include all these races plus the Kona Chocolate Run in November.
ShamRocknRoll Run, Kona Run, Wicked Halloween
ShamRocknRoll Shirt and Medal
Kona Run shirt and medal
Wicked Halloween Run Shirt and medal and Triple Crown medal
The Kona Running Company Triple Crown Series medals for 2013
As I've always said in the past, Kona Running is well organized.  Since they have been running races for years, they know how to keep things organized.  They know the number of volunteers needed.  They know what to be prepared for.  The communication on their website, their regular emails and their Facebook pages are great.  It's one of the best run races I've done and considering I've run nine of their races and 57 races altogether, I have an idea of what goes into it.  They work tirelessly to make each event great!

Overall, another successful Wicked Halloween Run in Plymouth.  These guys know running as many of their staff are runners themselves.  Each race, Alan Whitehead, the race director and the staff, always seem to make their races better each year.  Every year I think, oh this is the year where it's just the same as last year and then they come up with something new to improve it.  This year the 1/4 zip tech shirts and the Triple Crown series really stood out compared to local races.  Kona knows it's bling and it keeps bringing back more and more runners each year.  Frankly, what runner doesn't want to get an incredible race shirt and a sweet medal?  I know I do and that's why I'll be at the Kona Chocolate Run 10k in three weeks!
Rich, Kevin and I - Success with Triple Crown
I hope to see you out there again in three weeks!

Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!

Note:  I received a complimentary race entry as a race ambassador in exchange for this review.  All opinions on this post are my own and I was not required to give a particular opinion.