Race Recap: Night Nation Run

On Saturday, May 7, we did the Night Nation Run 5K. This is advertised as the first running music festival (very punny?).

Registration Cost: With the coupon code, it was about the same as most other 5Ks in the area. Also, this was billed as a fundraiser for Stand-Up to Cancer, so presumably some of the registration cost may get contributed to that organization.

Packet Pick-Up: We had opted for the Friday pre-race packet pick-up (because day-of pick-up cost an extra $5). There were several reminder emails sent with the information that was needed. Charcoal wasn’t able to go to the pick-up so Violet got both packets. This ended up being easier than the race FAQs led us to believe. Although the website said we’d need a copy of Charcoal’s license and a signed waiver, it turned out that Violet just needed the registration confirmation email with the barcode to scan.

The pick-up line was a bit slow because many people were picking up multiple packets. Otherwise, it went pretty smoothly.

For swag, there were cotton t-shirts and a glow necklace.

Pre-Race: There were a lot of emails and the communication was not bad. The highway exit for the race area was closed and we needed to go one exit further to get there. Related, we ended up parking where there was a space available… and as it turned out, this was about 1.5 miles away from the race start. There were no other lots available (this was on-street parking), and this was the best option. Seriously?! It was a long walk, both to and from the race start–not what we were expecting based on the information in the emails. More specifically, the emails said there would be ample free parking by the course. Although this was free, it was not close.

We didn’t try to take bags into the race area, but they had security at the gates to check. The security guard also needed to see our numbers before we were allowed into the race area.

Once we were in the race area, it was a little confusing to tell where the line to the start was–there was just a big group of people who were standing around. It was hard to tell if they were in line to start or if they were in the “party” area. There were some food trucks in this area.

When we got into the line to start, it took a while to get to the starting line because they were letting people go in waves every couple of minutes (not sure how many people were in a wave, but there were employees at the start lines to regulate this). There was an emcee/DJ who was at the starting line, along with two young women who were kind of like Night Nation Run cheerleaders.

The release form indicated that protective eye-wear should be worn at all times on the course. We were rebels and didn’t wear our safety goggles, but we saw one person who had them. We weren’t sure what they were for–most likely for the strobe lights?

Course: This was a bit treacherous with potholes and puddles. It was a two-loop course, meaning that we could have finished in half the time. But we didn’t. As it turned out, we ran through a muddy connecting area to start our second loop. Not surprisingly, the course was much emptier the second time around.

There were about four stations along the course where DJs were playing music, there were strobe lights, and selfie stations with blacklights. There was also one water stop that was in the mud between the first and second loops. Rather than having a paper cup with water, each person was given a 20-ounce bottle of Aquafina.

Approaching the finish line, there were a lot of people cutting through to get out of the mud. As you can see, this course was not very regulated and was not timed, adding to the party atmosphere.

There were some nifty arrow lights to point the way along the course. There were also some other lights along the course to help with the non-music areas.

Finish Line: It was a little unclear where this was, but there was a selfie station with blacklights, and another water stop (that also gave out whole bottles of water).

Post-Race: The after-party was nearby, with a stage where the DJ and cheerleaders were interacting with the crowd. There were some giveaways with glowing sticks/swords. We didn’t stay at the party to scope out the food trucks or other festivities.

Weather: It was cold (40s-50s), rainy, and windy by the water.

Apparel: Violet was wearing running tights from Target, a light fleece-lined C9 turtleneck, a fleece jacket, Smartwool socks, a rain coat, and Asics GTX 1000-4 (goretex) shoes.

Charcoal wore reflective running tights, a long-sleeved technical t-shirt, an activewear sweatshirt, and Brooks PureFlow shoes.

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Race Recap: Seneca7

On Sunday, April 30, we ran in the Seneca7 with five other people. It was a long day, but a lot of fun in our rented minivan.

Registration Cost: A bit expensive (at $77/per person). Also, unaccounted for, the cost of getting up at approximately 6am on the day after a half-marathon last fall (a Monday, too!), to try to get registered. As evidenced by our recap, the registration was successful, but still worth mentioning.

Packet Pick-Up: This was a zoo. Both of us went to the Smith Opera House on the day before the race with two other two members for our packet pickup and the pre-race meeting. It was a little confusing because we had to find our team number before we got our packet and once we got that, only one of us was allowed to go upstairs to retrieve our bag. On the plus side, we got two bags of trail mix (while the chosen one went upstairs) and had the chance to swap shirt sizes.

For swag, each team member received a long-sleeve hooded t-shirt, a 77.7 sticker, a piece of chocolate, and a single-serve pack of almond butter. Collectively, we also received one reusable shopping bag, one cowbell, one vehicle sign, some gels and electrolyte fizzes, an eraser, and two bags of trail mix.

Pre-Race: The pre-race meeting was packed and contained some information that was helpful. Overall, it was mostly helpful and didn’t drag out too long. The race directors did a fairly good job of conveying this information in the meeting, which was good due to the dismal state of their website. Finding information online prior to the meeting was a lengthy endeavor because the website is broken into several pages so you end up looking all over. We also had to make sure to enter our team information online by specific dates in order to proceed with the race, which meant we had to stay on top of deadlines between October and March.

For pre-race planning, we had come up with a list of food that we would bring. As it turned out, we had way too much food. We ate a couple of muffins and “breakfast cookies” that Charcoal made, a couple of mini bagels with peanut butter, pretzels, small pieces of a turkey sub, some chocolate-covered espresso beans and other candy, and some fruit (bananas, grapes, watermelon). And we only used about half of the water that we had taken.

Course: This relay starts and ends in Geneva, NY. The course was relatively well marked overall. The course guide was pretty useful for both runners and drivers. We didn’t run into excessive traffic at the exchange points and didn’t really get lost on foot or in the van. We had some time at the exchange points, but didn’t find ourselves there for long stretches with nothing to do.

One concern for the race is having enough porta-potties; there were some at most exchange points. More importantly, the Glenora Winery (we think that’s the one) had real bathrooms and free coffee/tea in the lobby for runners. We appreciated that a lot–thanks, Glenora! We also stopped at a gas station along the way, where there was a restroom available. We did skip the pit-stop where bathrooms were also available. Toward the end, one of the exchange points was at Bottomless Brewery, where there were also real restrooms available. At one of the other ending exchange points, the building was closed and we were sad.

Finish Line: Our team gathered at the team reunification point and awaited our final runner. We enjoyed getting to see other teams join up and finish and were equally happy to see our teammate coming through the park. We all crossed the finish line together (or as close as possible). There were announcers on hand and immediately afterward, we received our medals and had our photo taken by a volunteer who was on-hand to take team photos.

Post-Race: We had cornbread, cookies, and juice. It looked like there had been chili earlier in the day.

Weather: Was a bit challenging. It was cold and a bit rainy in the morning (we started at 6:45am, in the 2nd wave). As the day went on, the sun came out and it was fairly nice. By the end, it was a bit chilly again. Most of us went through at least one change of clothes over the course of the day.

Apparel: Violet started out with C9 capris from Target, a technical t-shirt from a previous race, 1/4-zip shirt from Target, a running jacket, Merrell merino wool socks, and Brooks PureCadence 4 shoes. Outfit number 2 consisted of Old Navy capris, a technical t-shirt from a previous race, and Saucony Guide 9 shoes. The jacket came and went through the day 🙂

Charcoal went with Old Navy capris, a technical t-shirt from a previous race, a jacket that came on and off through the day, and Saucony iso Triumph 2 shoes.

Race Recap: Shoes for the Shelter 5K

On Sunday, April 23, Violet ran in the Shoes for the Shelter 5K (sadly, Charcoal couldn’t make this one. Boo!). It was the day after a long run, but a fun race with gorgeous weather. The general re-cap is summarized below!

Registration Cost: This race cost about the same as most 5Ks in the area.

Packet Pick-Up: I picked up my bib and t-shirt (and dropped off a pair of shoes to donate!) at Canisus College’s athletic center on the day before the race. Parking was available, though it was a little tricky to get to the door that I needed. Picking up the packet was easy once I was inside the building.

Pre-Race: When I got there in the morning, parking was quick and easy in a nearby lot. I opted to park in a lot up the road so I would get to warm up a bit on my way to the starting line. There were markers for your approximate pace group. They asked runners to remove their hats before the beginning for the national anthem, and their were uniformed members of the campus ROTC (I think) there.

Course: This race starts and finishes near the Canisius College campus, going down to the Delaware Park area of Buffalo. All of the running was done on the road, with one lane closed to traffic. There were plenty of police officers and course officials on hand to help with traffic. Because this is Buffalo, NY, the course was pretty flat. There were a couple of little slopes. There was one water stop on the course.

Finish Line: The finish line was on a slight uphill! There was an announcer there, with a table where volunteers were handing out cups of water. There were also bananas.

Post-Race: I didn’t stick around too long after the race, but it looked like the post-race party mostly consisted of the water and bananas unless I missed something!

Weather: It was sunny and probably in the 60s.

Apparel: I wore shorts, a technical t-shirt from a previous race, and a 1/4-zip shirt. My all-important footwear included Darn Tough socks and Saucony Guide 9 shoes.

Race Re-Cap: Skunk Cabbage Classic

On Sunday, April 9, we ran in our first race of 2017–the Skunk Cabbage Classic Half-Marathon. It was a fun day and a good start to our running season. Our general re-cap is summarized below.

Registration Cost: This race was affordable–the cost of registration was about $20 and the optional shirt was $15. There was a discount for members of the Finger Lakes Runners Club, which about evened out the online processing cost.

Packet Pick-Up: We picked up our bibs and t-shirts from the Finger Lakes Running Company store on the day before the race. We were able to pick up our bibs easily and without waiting in line. As a pro and a con, because this is an eco-friendly area, they didn’t have bags for the packets.

Pre-Race: We received one email from the race director with info about the packet pick-up and some logistics for parking. When we got there in the morning, parking was quick and easy in a nearby lot. There were bathrooms available in a building that was close by. We did think it was a little confusing to tell where the half marathon and 10K starting lines were.

Course: This race starts and finishes on the Cornell University campus, which means it definitely has some hills. Most of the running was done on the road, although not all roads were closed to traffic. The course was hilly, but scenic and included about five water stops. We both carried water and were glad we did! As far as fuel goes, Violet carried one pack of pink lemonade Honey Stinger gummies. Charcoal had a pack of pink lemonade Honey Stinger gummies and a chocolate coconut GU gel (Violet had one of these, too, prior to starting the race).

Along the way, it looked like there were two porta-potties near the 2-mile mark and again 11- on the turn-around. (That may not have been enough because we saw a handful of participants using the woods and side of the road…) As a final note, we didn’t smell a lot of the skunk cabbage!

Finish Line: The finish line was on a downhill and had an announcer there. Water and medals were given out right after crossing the line. The medals were nice and they had enough for all participants although it had been advertised that there would only be medals for the first 625 to cross the finish line.

Post-Race: The refreshments provided after this race included Gimme! coffee, Cayuga Creamery chocolate milk, Ithaca Milk Yogurt, bagels, bananas, cookies, and apples. There was also peanut butter, cream cheese, and honey for the bagels. We liked everything we sampled. All of the post-race festivities were housed inside Barton Hall.

Weather: It was sunny and about 60F. There was still some snow on the ground in a shady area, which was fun to see (Violet enjoyed this, but Charcoal missed it!).

Apparel: Deciding what to wear was a challenge–it was cool, but warm enough that we weren’t sure what would be most comfortable. It ended up that we both wore C9 capris from Target. Violet went with a tank top, 1/4-zip shirt, injinji 2.0 women’s toe socks, and Saucony Guide 9 shoes. Charcoal opted for a technical t-shirt from a previous race, a vest, nondescript socks, and Saucony iSO Triumph 2 shoes.