Race Recap: Freezer 5K

On Sunday, December 10, we ran in the Freezer 5K in Buffalo, NY. This race is held in the cobblestone district of the city, with the course going down by the Canalside area.

Registration Cost: This was about $25 and the race supports the Police Athletic League, which has sports for inner city youth.

Packet Pick-Up: Last year, Violet picked up the packets before the race but this year we waited until race morning. The packet pick-up was held at Buffalo Ironworks, which is a bar near the race start/finish. This is a small venue that can get pretty crowded!

We arrived at about 10:30am for the 11:00am race start and went over to the packet pick-up right away. For the pick-up, it was fairly packed inside but we were able to make our way to the registration table to get our numbers.

One surprise was that Violet’s name was listed incorrectly on the list and the bib, but in a different way on both! Haha that was a first! That didn’t hinder picking up the bib (partly because she didn’t correct them). The bibs are festive and colorful this year so that was a plus!

The swag for this year included a cotton long-sleeved t-shirt, an individual serving of cereal (we both got Golden Grahams, yay!), and a sample size of a SoftLips cube lip balm. There were also Buffalo Sabres magnets in the bags and a wristband for beer at the after party.

Pre-Race: We waited in the car because it was crowded in Buffalo Ironworks and cold outside. In terms of pre-race info, we had gotten an email from the race director about the packet pick-up. The website is a bit confusing/poorly laid out.

Course: The course begins and ends near an arena in downtown Buffalo. It goes near one of the marinas and the Canalside area. It was a simple out and back type of loop–the same course as last year. There wasn’t a water stop on the course. There were volunteers at the one- and two-mile marks reading times as you went by.

Finish Line: The finish line is well-marked and has a long finishing chute.  The results are done with the lower portion of the bibs so we were instructed to tear that off while we were in the chute. There was water readily available at the end.

Post-Race: This is held in Buffalo Ironworks and was very crowded last year. It was also crowded this year, but not quite as bad–we think there were about 200 fewer registrants this year so that may have made a difference! There was beer, pizza, soup (chili and butternut squash bisque), rolls, cookies, bananas, apples, and chips.

Violet had remembered having full hands last year so she brought the plastic shopping bag from packet pickup in her pocket for the fruit and chips. That worked really well!

The venue had run out of paper plates for pizza, but there were napkins available. Also, there were people handing out the pizza and serving the soup, which was nice. As we mentioned above, there wasn’t much room in the facility… so we took our food and ate in the car.

Weather: The temperature was 28 degrees and rather brisk due to the wind, which was blowing at approximately 13 mph. It was overcast as well.

Apparel: Charcoal wore a pair of holiday leggings, running shorts, Darn Tough socks with striped knee-length elf socks over them, a long-sleeved baselayer t-shirt, a short sleeved t-shirt, a hoodie, a neckwarmer, gloves, and a Santa hat on top. For shoes, she wore Newton Kismet 2 shoes.

Violet wore knee-length compression shorts, holiday leggings, a pair of Darn Tough lightweight socks with striped knee-length elf socks, a long-sleeved midweight baselayer t-shirt, a 1/4-zip fleece, a running jacket, neckwarmer, gloves, and a Santa hat.  She wore Asics GT-1000 shoes.

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Race Recap: It’s a Wonderful Run 5K

On Saturday, December 9, we ran in the It’s a Wonderful Run 5K in Seneca Falls, NY (a.k.a., Bedford Falls). This race is held in conjunction with the Wonderful Life Festival and brings more and more people each year. We’ve done this race for several years and keep coming back.

Registration Cost: This race’s registration cost about $25 and most of the proceeds goes back to the Seneca Falls community via several charities and organizations.

Packet Pick-Up: In previous years, we’ve gone the night before to pick up packets and avoid some of the traffic congestion around the race area. This year, we opted to leave earlier in the afternoon (for the 4:40pm race start) and pick up our packets then. The registration area closed at 4:00pm.

We arrived at about 3:30 and got our numbers and shirts quickly and easily. They were organized and very easy to pick up, which was impressive with the number of registrants there were this year (more than 5,000!).

The swag for this year included a purple long-sleeved tech t-shirt and the number. In years past, there were jingle bells for shoes but we didn’t see those this year.

Pre-Race: There was a warming tent near the start line, though it was very crowded inside. Pace flags were located near the bridge where the race starts, but with so many people they were a bit superfluous. At the beginning of the race, we walked very slowly to get to the start and made our way over the bridge.

Course: The course begins and ends in downtown Seneca Falls–the start goes over a bridge that is similar to the famous bridge in It’s a Wonderful Life. The rest of the course goes through the town and there are several local people out cheering and enjoying fire pits and holiday festivities. There were two official water stops on the course (and a few places to stop for shots of various things along the way, too).

Along the way, Violet witnessed some very reckless stroller driving by an older gentleman. Hopefully the kid inside wasn’t too traumatized by getting almost tipped over at least once along the way! Dogs were officially not allowed this year due to insurance, but there were some along the course.

Finish Line: The finish line is on a downhill with several people all around. This year, the race officials were directing finishers to the community center gym for refreshments. In previous years, water has been available right at the finish line.

Post-Race: Violet went in to the community center for water and ended up with a couple of bananas, a cookie, and a cup of hot cocoa. That said, the line to get in to the gym took about 15 minutes just to get to the door. There were also bagels available.

This is one area where the race has really outgrown the location. Hopefully in future years, there will be some better options for moving people through.

Weather: The temperature was in the mid- to upper-30s and pretty nice for the race. Running with about 4,999 other people probably helped with the temperature 😉

Apparel: Charcoal wore a pair of holiday leggings, running shorts, Darn Tough socks with striped knee-length elf socks over them, a long-sleeved Smartwool t-shirt, a short sleeved t-shirt, a hoodie, a neckwarmer, gloves, a running cap, and a Santa hat on top. For shoes, she wore Saucony Guide 9 shoes.

Violet wore knee-length compression shorts, holiday leggings, a pair of Alaska Knits lightweight socks with striped knee-length elf socks (surprise, surprise), a long-sleeved Smartwool t-shirt, a 1/4-zip fleece, a running jacket, neckwarmer, gloves, and a Santa hat.  She wore her trusty Saucony Guide 9 shoes.

Race Recap: Holiday Trifect Leg 3 – WhoNELLville 5K

A few hours later, we continued westward to the WhoNELLville 5K for the final leg of the trifecta. To summarize the trifecta, the Selfless Elf was by-far the biggest event with more than 1,300 runners. As can be expected, the parking was the most difficult for this race but still not bad (we parked on a street near the start/finish area). There was also the most swag with this race–with the bags including t-shirts, elf socks, and many samples/promos. The finisher’s medal is made from a ceramic-type material with cut-outs for the wording.

It’s a toss-up whether WhoNELLvile or the Santa 5K was smaller; they were likely about the same size, but the Santa may have been a little smaller? The running community in Ithaca may be a bit faster and more serious, though. For swag, the Santa run had Santa hats and the finisher’s medals (they are wooden ornaments for a tree with a handstamped Santa on the front). The WhoNELLville run had a t-shirt.

Best cocoa of the day goes to the Selfless Elf, though to be fair, we didn’t try it at the Santa run. But the coffee in Ithaca was good (and we by the time we got to Hornell, we had already had four cups of coffee each so we didn’t try that option there)!

Best local decorations goes to the WhoNELLville, though that was enhanced by being an evening run. For the size of the race, WhoNELLville also had a good spread of food and beverages post-race.

Alternatively, the Santa 5K offered a hat decorating station in the post-race area that was available and popular with the kids at the race. By default, the Santa 5K also had the best clown. We tried to keep a safety margin so we can’t comment much further than that 😉

Our usual rundown (for the WhoNELLville) follows.

Registration Cost: This one also cost about $25, with the proceeds going to a local hospital. This race was also sponsored by Wegmans so hopefully most of that money will be seen by the hospital.

Packet Pick-Up: We picked up our packets about 30 minutes before this race start, too. This was quick and easy, although the ladies at the tent weren’t sure if we had entered the correct ages! We didn’t mind 🙂 We got our t-shirts and glow stick bracelets without problems.

Pre-Race: There were some emails sent with reminders about this race as well. The pre-race area had a tent with an announcer and Christmas music. It was getting chilly so they moved along and got the race started on time (if not a little early).

Course: This course goes through downtown Hornell and had volunteers at each turn. The course was mostly closed to traffic–and where there were intersections, cars were patient to wait for runners. It was dark by the time we were running, but there were enough street lights and holiday decorations to have it pretty well lit most of the way (neither of us had a headlight or other light and were fine).

Finish Line: There was an announcer at the finish line and many people around. The race results were being posted promptly.

Post-Race: There was a tent with with water, bananas, oranges, granola bars, and mini bagels that had been donated by Wegmans. There was also a table with free hot cocoa and coffee from a local coffee shop. The announcer waited until all participants had completed the course to do awards. We waited for this because Violet won her age group (and didn’t have to show her ID). The prize was a fleece blanket embroidered with the race name.

Weather: The temperature was in the 30s and fairly clear, which was nice with the full moon.

Apparel: Charcoal wore a pair of holiday leggings, running shorts, a long-sleeve Smartwool shirt, an elf t-shirt, a fleece sweatshirt, elf knee socks, and Saucony Guide 9 shoes, gloves, and a running cap with a Santa hat on top.

Violet wore holiday leggings, running shorts, a long-sleeve Redram baselayer shirt, a 1/4-zip fleece, an Under Armour running jacket, elf knee socks, a Santa hat, and gloves. For shoes, she–again–stuck with her Saucony Guide 10s (but wore Birkenstock clogs between races…).

Race Recap: Holiday Trifecta Leg 2 – Selfless Elf 5K

A few hours after the first leg of our trifecta, we went westward to the Selfless Elf 5K. For this leg, we met up with a couple of friends and ran as a group.

Registration Cost: This one cost about $25, with the proceeds going to the food bank. This race is sponsored by Wegmans as well as many other local businesses so hopefully most of the money goes to the charity.

Packet Pick-Up: We picked up our packets about 30 minutes before the race start. This was quick and easy, which is impressive given the number of participants. There was also an option to pick them up last night at Wegmans.

Pre-Race: There were several emails sent prior to the race and updates for the pre-race area. Parking was the most difficult part, due to the number of people there. The emcee was directing runners to get into the appropriate pace groups about 20 minutes before the race start. There was also a warm-up that was led by a fitness company that was going on for people in the starting corral.

Course: This year, the race was held in Horseheads rather than Corning, which was nice–especially because the course was closed to traffic. There were volunteers on course to direct runners and vehicles. The course also had two water stops.

Finish Line: There was an announcer at the finish line and many people around. The actual finish line was an inflatable archway that looked like wrapped Christmas gifts. There were several volunteers at the finish line to hand out medals. Live race results were also nearby.

Post-Race: There was a tent with hot cocoa provided by Wegmans (this also included a sugar free option) and sugar cookies; there was a table with bottled water and sports drinks. We didn’t check them out, but there were tents with stretching, a beer/wine tent, and you could visit with Santa in a nearby location. If you wanted to enter the costume contest, you were instructed to walk in front of the announcer’s gazebo.

Weather: The temperature was in the 40s and cloudy.

Apparel: Charcoal wore a pair of holiday leggings, running shorts, a long-sleeve Smartwool shirt, an elf t-shirt (from last year’s race), elf knee socks, and Brooks Pure Cadence 6 shoes, gloves, and a running cap with a Santa hat on top.

Violet wore holiday leggings, running shorts, a long-sleeve Redram baselayer shirt, a 1/4-zip fleece, an elf t-shirt (from last year’s race), elf knee socks, a Santa hat, and gloves. For shoes, she stuck with her Saucony Guide 10s.

Race Recap: Holiday Trifecta Leg 1 – Santa 5K

On Saturday, December 2, we embarked on the second running of our holiday 5K trifecta. In the first leg, we completed the YMCA Santa 5K.

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Registration Cost: We registered for this race during the early-bird registration period, which was $20.

Packet Pick-Up: Race numbers were given on the morning of the race, along with Santa hats. This was quick and easy as there weren’t many participants there.

Pre-Race: Water and other refreshments were available. There were announcements prior to the beginning of the race, including directions for the course and instructions for where to run. There were bathrooms open in a nearby church. A clown was juggling fire batons and was on hand to blow a horn to start the race. Christmas music was playing prior to the race start.

Course: The course ran along roads in downtown Ithaca, with some of the roads closed. There was one section where we were on the sidewalk, but mostly roads. There were several volunteers on hand to help with traffic and directing runners.

Finish Line: The finish line was marked and there were several people around, there was one person watching for race numbers and yelling them out for results. Rather than having a chip time, this race used the bibs’ tear-off portion at the end. Violet was greeted by the clown upon finishing (she sped up to get through the chute quickly).

Post-Race: A food truck was on hand and provided free coffee for the participants. There was also a tent with water, hot cocoa, and cookies. There were handmade finisher’s medals (that will double as ornaments) on hand, though it was up to runners to get one from the bin.

Weather: The temperature was in the upper 30s to low 40s and cloudy.

Apparel: Charcoal wore a pair of holiday leggings, running shorts, a long-sleeve baselayer shirt, a Smartwool t-shirt, and a sweatshirt, and a running cap with a Santa hat on top. For shoes, she wore Newton Kismet 2s.

Violet wore C9 running tights, Nike running shorts, gnome knee socks, a long-sleeve tech t-shirt from a prior race, a 1/4-zip fleece, Under Armour jacket, a lightweight running beanie with a Santa hat on top, gloves, a neck sleeve (no wonder why I was so sweaty!), and Saucony Guide 10 shoes.

Running Places: Downtown Dallas

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This wasn’t for a race (I wish!), but I was in Dallas on a work-related trip this past week. It was getting to be dusk and I didn’t want to run alone in a new place, so I visited the gym at the hotel where I was staying on the first evening. The second day, I put in a couple miles of walking to get to know the area (because… on this kind of trip, there’s not so much time for exploring!).

I was excited because the following morning, a mini-group run had been coordinated with others. I ran the mile or so to the meet-up point, then joined the group for 3-4 miles to and from the Katy Trail. This is a paved, multi-use (former rail) trail that would be great for running or biking. I’m not sure of the total distance, but it looked like it covered quite a bit of the Dallas area.

The next two mornings, I put in a few miles solo in the areas surrounding my hotel. This allowed me to find the Dallas Farmer’s Market (I returned after breakfast and a shower–funny how I have to wait for things to open–and browsed a bit) before I flew out. I also got to run past some nice parks and other areas that would be worth exploring on a more vacation-oriented trip.

Overall, I’d rate downtown Dallas as a fairly running-friendly area. There were some other early morning runners out (especially as it got closer to 7:30-8:00am on the weekend), and pretty intuitive street layouts. The signage for the Katy Trail was helpful and there are plenty of DART stations around town if you get lost/need a ride back to a starting point. There were some other people around town and on the sidewalks, but I didn’t feel unsafe while running (there were also police officers and safety patrol bikers throughout the town).

–Violet

 

Race Recap: Run for Puerto Rico 5K

On Sunday, November 5, we ran in a 5K hosted by the Ithaca High School class of 2018 as a benefit for Puerto Rico.

Registration Cost: This race’s registration cost $20, with the proceeds being directed toward Puerto Rico disaster relief. Ithaca High School students and staff prices for registration were $10. The registration was easy; we signed up yesterday (we just heard about the event earlier this week).

Packet Pick-Up: Race numbers were distributed on the morning of the race, with payments also being taken (cash or check) in person. Runners were directed to arrive 30 minutes early in order to have this take place, even if you pre-registered online. There were shirts, but we aren’t sure what the cut-off for getting one of those was.

Pre-Race: There was water available and music playing. The 5K started and finished in Ithaca’s Stewart Park, which is right by Cayuga Lake. There are public restrooms open and sheltered areas.

Course: The course was an out-and-back on the Cayuga Waterfront Trail, with an extra loop in Stewart Park. There were volunteers at the turns and cones to help with two-way traffic. There was one water stop at the turn-around point.

 

Finish Line: The finish line was marked and there were several people around. Rather than having a chip time, this race used the bibs’ tear-off portion. This took a couple extra seconds at the finish line to get those off. The bibs were then stapled on a board for the results.

Post-Race: There were bagels (with cream cheese, peanut butter, and two types of jam), apples, water, hot water for cocoa and tea, Gatorade, and coffee. For being a small 5K, the food spread was pretty good! We did, however, see one competitor double-dip in the peanut butter after eating a glob off a spoon (ewww, glad we stayed out of the peanut butter!).

The finishers’ bib pieces were being stapled to the board when we left, but the coordinators said they would email the final results to everyone.

Weather: The temperature was in the upper 50s, but with the wind it felt colder. There were some clouds, but it was a nice morning for a run.

Apparel: Charcoal wore a pair of C9 running tights, a Hot Toddies technical long-sleeved t-shirt, a sweatshirt, and a running cap. For shoes, she wore Newton Kismet 2s.

Violet wore C9 running tights, a C9 long-sleeved t-shirt, a Columbia 1/4-zip long-sleeve shirt, and a running cap. She wore her trusty Saucony Guide 9 shoes.