Disclaimer: I received free entry to review and race the Run for the Zoo Virutal Race 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!
Run for the Zoo Virtual Edition!
I think this goes without saying, but like most races in 2020, the “Run for the Zoo” Race has gone virtual. That means being able run when ever my schedule permits, and having the luxury to run on my time makes things a lot easier to plan and execute. Virtual runs also give me an opportunity to get my miles in and get on with the day, without having to travel to and from the race.
Obviously, there are some drawbacks – if you are a people person, running in isolation is no fun, and not having a support team along the way can make things slightly more challenging. However, since we’re all professionals of running over the quarantine, this virtual race was business as usual for me.
Race day highlights!
Since I ran the streets in my backyard, I got to take in the beautiful scenery and wonder of an Amish Countryside- complete with farm animals! The cows were very encouraging… the horse and buggies didn’t want to race though.
I also timed my run to fall in the late afternoon, when the temperatures were most likely to dip- and the forecast was calling for rain, so the motivation to finish with haste was present!
I’m glad I was able to Run for the Zoo and bring awareness to my social circle about this race. The Lincoln Park Zoo relies on various fundraising events (like this race) to support their operations.
If you’d like to support the Zoo, they have numerous exciting programs (virtual and in-person) shared on their website: HERE
Let me start off by saying this is hands down one of my favorite local half marathon courses. Major kudos to RD Scott Newcomb and the entire volunteer staff that make this race possible every year.
Trail running attracts a certain crowd, and Squirrely Tail certainly brings them out. What I love about Squirrely Tail is the “no frills” style of the race. But, don’t let that fool you.
This race puts out a great spread and has some of the friendliest volunteers that make race day more of a community event than a flashy swag-fest. Sure, each registrant gets a race tech shirt (as long as they register in time) but really you come to this race for the experience.
The course has around a total of 745 to 800+ ft gain depending on which direction you run. Last year the race was run counter-clockwise around the lake (745 ft gain), this year the course was run clockwise around the lake (808 ft gain). The terrain is technical, but not very difficult and has a lot of opportunities for easy running.
February in Eastern PA is a bit of a crap shoot. Last year was a cold, muddy, miserable mess. This year the temperature was cold, but the course wasn’t as muddy as the previous year. The only thing about this year that I was focusing hard on was not rolling my ankle, otherwise conditions were near perfect.
I got to the race a little behind schedule, so this year was a no-fuss-collect-your-bib-and-go approach. In my haste, I forgot that I had to pee, and took off with the group only realizing my mistake after running past the port-a-johns.
Call me crazy, but you’d think a race in the woods would have provided me plenty of opportunities to stop and relieve myself… but it didn’t. Every twist and every turn I could see other runners, and being one to keep pushing on, I told myself I’d go to the bathroom once I was done.
The first 4-5 miles went off without a hitch, I was enjoying my easy going pace and naturally fell into a groove trailing behind a couple that was making it a point of staying together. I was enjoying our pace, so I didn’t push. After crossing a small bridge they met up with a friend who was walking the course in the opposite direction and stopped to chat.
[Side note: during the race the trails are open to the public so you can expect to encounter plenty of hikers, especially when the weather is favorable].
Deciding to not break my stride, I broke away from the couple and continued onward, slowly trotting behind two more runners. The three of us kept a good pace, exchanging small talk about the awesome weather, the course, Watch out for that root!, and so on.
By mile 9 I really had to pee, but didn’t know where to stop, so I kept telling myself, “you’re almost done, just keep going.” This worked surprisingly well, and by mile 12 I forgot about it. Around this time another runner [Grayce] caught up to me, she had run Frozen Snot the day before and was killing it. Kudos to all of the runners who ran Snot the day before and were running Squirrely Tail the day after. I’m telling you this race is awesome at attracting the nuts! Anyway, I kept with her until the end, focused on the port-a-john as I crossed the line.
After I finished, an Instagram follower [Ryan] approached me to say hi! We chatted about the race, the conditions, how awesome it was, and parted ways after shaking hands and finally getting to meet each other in person. I made my way to my car to swap clothing out. I needed fresh warm socks and a new sweater. After getting dressed I looked over to base camp where I saw Dave was cooking hot dogs.
Naturally, I partook in a hot dog, loaded with ketchup, mustard, and relish – helped myself to some chicken corn soup, a shot of peanut M&M’s, and a hot coffee.
Once satisfying my palette, I was getting ready to head back to my car to leave, and… oh yeah, I have that whole I need to pee thing! After 13 miles of awesome trail running, sipping on Tailwind Nutrition now and again, partaking in hot coffee afterward and downing a Gatorade, it was the perfect ending to my morning adventure. Whatever, it was so satisfying, don’t judge me.
Hands down, this race kicks ass and you’ve got to be a little Squirrely to want to run it year after year. I enjoy the course’s challenges and I enjoy the people even more. I’ve met some really awesome people out on the trail and back at the base camp after crossing the finish.
Do yourself a favor and sign-up for this race next year, it won’t disappoint, and when you are done have a hot dog with Dave! Tell ’em Ken sent ya!
“Disclaimer: I received free entry to Fredoms Run Half Marathon race 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!”
Freedoms Run Half Marathon
The weather was perfectly cool for what has probably been one of my favorite half marathon experiences so far! I have spent the better part of 5 months training to run a Half Marathon under 2 hours, and the outcome was unexpected, but more on that later. Let’s talk shop.
As a runner, I’m willing to accept that most race conditions come as they are. The weather being the one major thing that no one can control. So when we found out the July temps were going to +96°F with high humidity and a warning for an excessive heat index, we dressed appropriately and decided to roll with the punches. After all, what did we expect for summer weather in the NorthEast? So for this review, the weather (even though it was as hot and humid as the sun) won’t be the focus.
The Good Stuff
I feel like I should start off with all the good stuff about the Great Inflatable Race because I love the concept and it genuinely got the kids fired up for race day.
Despite the hot hot heat, the kids gave it a hearty thumbs-up. Even though the sun-scorched the slides into lava rocks, and we all experienced brush burns from hell, a hyper-extended/rolled ankle, and sweat beyond belief, we had a good time. After all, it’s the GREAT INFLATABLE Race, how cool is that?!
There’s something a bit magical about running in a local 5K, to help benefit a school district’s running program. The New Holland Farmer’s 5K is just that, an awesome race that helps benefit our local school district’s running program.
Disclaimer: I’m promoting the Rutgers Unite Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!
Who doesn’t love a course that boasts a great time? This year’s Rutgers Unite Half Marathon and 8K was like no other, and I had the awesome pleasure to interview fellow BibRave Pro: Lacey Timony about her race day experience!
Read more to watch our interview and hear Lacey’s thoughts!
There is something exciting about race day, and there’s nothing better than sharing that excitement with friends (and family)! This year’s Hot Chocolate run was made even more exciting by not only getting to share it with my family, but this was my first race with fellow BibRave Pros!
Before I get into all the squirrelly details about this race, can we stop for a moment and reflect on how awesome the running community is? I have some pretty awesome friends, and when they suggest I sign up for a race, I usually jump on the chance. Immediately after I sign up I usually get this “what did I just do” feeling, and along comes self-doubt and all the other little things that I tell myself in an effort to sabotage my results on race day. I know, I’m horrible, but stay with me.
LRRC Running Peeps (From the Left: Me, Jason, Becky, Paul… and I’m horrible for not remembering Becky’s friend in white)
All that being said, after “The Frozen Snot“, when my friends suggested running Squirrelly Tail, I thought a nice half marathon in the woods seemed like a good time. So I signed up and like most runners shared my excitement on Facebook. Before any self-doubt crept in, the vast array of running friends I have all chimed in with the same excitement having signed up to run as well. At that moment, I was feeling pretty good, having a nice handful of people running the event there that I know gave a much-needed boost to my confidence. Running Community Awesomeness, Check!
Guys I’m super stoked to share that I’ve partnered up with BibRave as an ambassador for 2019! I can’t wait to dive in and really put my talents to work.
I’ve got a lot of plans for 2019, and I’m really hoping to kick things off on the right foot! What you can expect to see from me in the near future:
Race Reviews and Promo Codes
Product and gear Reviews
And much more!
To all my friends and family: Thank you all for your support! And to all my runner friends and fellow BibRavePros here’s to a successful and wonderful year ahead! Also, if anyone wants to collaborate and join in the podcast, the more the merrier!