5 Tips For Making Your Bolder Boulder Experience the BEST!

The Bolder Boulder is one week away, on Memorial Day and it will be the 8th time I’ve run the race. This local race is a blast and known across the country as one of the best 10k’s!

I really enjoy this race from the course to the spectators and the after party to the swag! The whole city gets into the race and almost every runner in the state of Colorado is there. It’s definitely a race to add to your bucket list, even if you’re from out of state!

There are also so many ways to enjoy the Bolder Boulder. You can go for speed – it’s fun to brag about a good time on the hilly course. You can also go for fun and enjoy the many fun sights and treats along the way: the Doritos house, the marshmellow house, beer chugs (if you’re old enough), bacon, trampolines, Elvis, thebelly dancers and the many slip and slides along the way….just to name a few! Or you can split the difference and go half and half: run fast but pick up a few treats to enjoy while running! I have a friend that one raced it for speed, looped around and ran it again to hit all the fun stuff!

I’ve experienced Bolder Boulder in many of the ways above – partaking in the fun parts, running as fast as I can, running with my mom, with a boyfriend in previous years and all by myself. Now, I have not run this race nearly as many times as some people. I have a friend that has run it every year since 1980, like many locals around here, so I’m by no means an expert, but I do have some go-to habits that I’ve come to rely on for this race.

In all the years I’ve run, I stand by a few things that make my Bolder Boulder experience the best it can be, no matter what way I decided to enjoy the race.

Here are FIVE (plus) tips I swear by to ensure you have the BEST Bolder Boulder day:

1. Take The Bus
-I stand by this 100%, no matter what. RTD (Denver’s bus system) sets up a bunch of stops that are special for Bolder Boulder. You pay around $9 (or less) and you get dropped off right by the start line and picked up at the finish line.
-I swear you’ll be thankful for this; traffic on Bolder Boulder day can be horrendous. $9.00 is well worth the stress of traffic, finding a parking spot and then getting back to your car, wherever you end up parking, after the race.

2016. Racing with my Mom! On the bus with our coffee!

2. Travel Light
-Bring only what you need. If you just can’t leave the layers and accessories at home, there is a bag drop, but I’ve never used it. In a crowd of 20,000+ people, I don’t really want to lose my bag in the shuffle.
-I wear a waterproof race belt, or depending on the weather, my FlipBelt Crops, that I keep my phone*, car keys, credit card and ID** in. I’ve seen some people wear a water vest, even if it’s not necessary for the distance.
-I’ve only ever experienced good weather for the Bolder Boulder (knock on wood). However, it’s usually pretty chilly at race start and SUPER warm as you’re running and after. I wear a light jacket or pullover that I can tie around my waste. If you don’t even want to do that, wear something you don’t mind giving to charity. All clothing items left at the start get donated.
*Having your phone with you helps you find your friends and family at the crowded stadium finish line.
**You’ll definitely want your ID for the FREE beer at the end!

3. Speaking of nice weather...
-Sunscreen up ahead of time. Just get it done in the morning. Trust me. Afterall, this race is 5,391ft above sea level; you’re closer to the sun!

4. Decided on your goal BEFORE you run
-Are you trying to get the best time you can? Start in the front of your wave group and keep your eyes up ahead to dodge the crowds and run the tangents.
-If you really are serious about a Bolder Boulder PR, qualify in the year before with a speedy time to get seeded in an earlier wave that puts you ahead of the main crowds of runners.
-Just want to have fun? Start farther back and take advantage of all the fun along the course. Grab a buddy with a similar “goal” and don’t forget to take pictures!

2017 Cheers!

5. Most of all HAVE FUN and enjoy the festivities!
No matter your goal, take in your surroundings, smile and say hi to strangers…this event is a blast! My favorite part is when you come into the stadium, right at the end,  and are running around the field. The stadium crowd noise is invigorating and feels like they are all cheering just for you!

This event has so much to offer from the fun race course, spirit of the neighborhood,  watching the elite race, and the Memorial Day celebration after the race, it’s worth the cheap registration fees and always great swag (shirts and the token lunch box)!


Here are some photos from over the years:

What will 2018 bring!?! We’ll see!


Bolder Boulder 10k Website
Reviews on BibRave.com

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Vegas’ Unknown Gem – Red Rock Canyon

How many times have you gone to Vegas? At least once, right? Most people have. I bet most people have never left the city, let alone the strip. Hey, I don’t blame them; it’s easy to get in a cheap and fun vacation in the City of Sin! I have been to Vegas twice (now three times) and never knew there was much beyond the strip.

Circa 2010 with one of my best friends, Amanda.

Now that I’m fully immersed in the climbing world (I own a guiding business after all), I know there’s so much more to Vegas. It’s now crazy to me how many people visit Vegas and have no idea there’s a beautiful National Conservation Area just minutes away. To each their own, I suppose; the outdoors is not for everyone!

If you are an outdoors enthusiast or looking for a side trip, just 15 minutes away from the Vegas strip (that’s even closer than visiting the Hover dam – which is still worthy of a visit) is an outdoor mecca waiting to be explored! Next time you are in Sin City, take a break from the nightly debauchery and explore this outdoor desert paradise!


Getting There:
From Vegas, take Charleston Blvd West.
That’s really it! It’s about 15 miles from the strip to the visitor’s center.

Things to do:
-TONS of climbing; literally 100’s of routes! I won’t get into climbing too much. If you are a climber, you know what resources to use to find an ideal route (friends, Mountain Project and a guidebook). Let’s just say if you are a climber and have NOT been here, you’re missing out.


-Hiking: there are a ton of trails spattered all over the place! Pick a pull out off the road and start hiking.


-Visit the visitor center: I do have to say this is probably one of the best visitor centers I’ve seen. They have a earth, wind, water and fire display (all centered around what created the desert) and it’s pretty cool.


-Look for a desert tortoise: They have one living at the visitor center but try and see if you can spot this elusive creature in the park.  Just please stay on the trails. (No, I have not seen one myself.)

-Take a drive: and pull over in every single pullout. There are some really unique views all over this 13-mile scenic drive. My favorite is the Calico Hills.

The Calico Hills during a freak snow storm

-Go horseback riding: Check out Cowboy Trail Rides.
-Camp: There’s only one campground in the area, the Red Rock Campground. It’s $17/night (I believe) and it’s first come, first served but it’s decent. It can get really crowded with dirtbags (I was one of them for a week). 😉
-Bike: You can road bike on the scenic drive and there are a few dirt trails for mountain bikers. Check in with the Visitor’s Center for trails open to mountain bikers.

Tips:
-Bring a map or a person that is really good at remembering which way you went on the trail. I do have to say, some of the trails as not marked very well and there’s a lot of braided trails all over. It’s easy to get going on the wrong one.
-If you’re camping, get there EARLY and be okay with dirtbags. There’s only one campground and it’s first-come-first-served and it’s full of dirty climbers! Many times, multiple groups are sharing one site, so it tends to be very crowded and occasionally noisy. (There are no showers, just pit toilets. There is potable water).
-The park has some pretty strict hours. If your climbing takes you past 5pm, make sure you leave a message with the rangers with your car’s info, where you’re climbing and when you’ll be out. In fact, if you are climbing, especially if you plan on being nighted; just read all the rules and regulations yourself.


We were there for about a week and got a lot of climbing in, a race and hiking. Here’s what we did:

Day 1: Visited the Visitor’s Center and then climbed a route called Olive Oil, a 665 ft, 5.7 rated route, with 5 pitches and a 2.5ish mile hike in and out. I only cried once when I got stuck in the chimney (Backstory: if you know me in real life, I tend to cry a lot while climbing. It’s getting better.) We got started a little late and ended up hiking out in the dark.

Day 2: Climbing a little bit in the Calico Hills before the storm came rolling across the desert. We didn’t get much in before the storm rolled through. We then went to the host hotel for the race to check in and get my packet.

Day 3:  Race Day. I did the Red Rock Canyon Half! Read my race recap here or find it on BibRave.com.  We took the remaing hours of the day to “rest” and walked around the Vegas Strip.

Day 4: Climbed Mescalito, a 1000ft, 5.7 grade peak with 7 pitches. The climb itself was fun and had a lot of fun features like a chimney, step arounds, ledges and some exposed slabs, but the more “fun” part was our descent. We were aiming for the hike out but ended up in this gulley with about 5 rappels and down climbing. It was miserable. We would be down climbing and then all of a sudden hit a drop off and see the rappel rings. Over and over and over. The sun was going down and we were tired. We touched the bottom of the peak just as the sun fully set, turned the headlamps on, and started the 3-mile hike to the car. Despite the hike out and down climb, this was probably the hardest full day of climbing I’ve ever expereience and I actually learned a lot and enjoyed the whole experience.

Day 5: Rest day! We found some easier climbing back in the Calico Hills and I led my first pitch!

We also camped at the red rock canyon campground for most of our nights except the night before my race. We stayed at the race’s host hotel, the Sun Coast Casino and had fun exploring the giant casino and did some bowling. It was also nice to get a shower in after the race before we had to check out and get back to camping life.

Next time you visit Las Vegas, I highly suggest taking a day trip to this National Conservation Area! It’s beautiful and so close to town!


More info:

Park hours (vary per season)
Fees: $15/vehicle (or free with a National Park’s Pass!)

Red Rock Canyon Website
BLM Red Rock Canyon Website

The Safety Item You NEED For Running (Spoiler: It’s Also Entertainment)

Disclaimer: I received the AfterShokz Trekz Air to review 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!

When it comes to safety, I’m a little bit paranoid. I’m a pretty safe person with all the activities I do: running, climbing, hiking. When it comes to running, I abide by all the rules…running toward traffic on the side of the road, carrying my ID (Road ID), wearing reflection and lights when running after dark, etc, etc, etc. The only thing I am bad about is when I listen to music.

I have gone through phases with music on the run, but lately, I’ve needed it to get through even a short run. In addition to listening to music, I’ve been “playing” Zombies, Run! while running which requires having headphones on.  I’m not a techy person, nor do I have a ton of money, so I use the earbuds that came with my phone. They’re normal earbuds and they are comfortable, however, they sit in my ears and block out all other sounds.

Enter the AfterShokz.

Execute: MIND BLOWN. (explosion noises)

Seriously. Now that I have these, I feel super techy and modern, but more important is how SAFE I feel and still be able to enjoy Zombies, Run! and my music.

About The Product
The Trekz Airs are the second wireless product from the AfterShokz family. First was the Trekz Titaniums, the first of its kind in bone conduction technology. The Trekz Airs are similar but lighter, built to fit more securely, and produce better sound. All the AfterShokz products use Bone Conduction Technology to transmit sound. This means they sit just outside of the ears, leaving your ears open to hear the environment around you. This provides safety while still listening to your entertainment on the run! It’s pretty awesome.

Photo from AfterShokz Website

Pros
-Lightweight (they really don’t add much bulk to your head)
-Leave ears open (so you can hear cars and people while you listen to music or other entertainment)
-Bluetooth connection (no cords hanging around for you to yank out accidentally on an arm swing.)
-Long battery life (they’ve lasted on half a dozen runs – depending on length of run)
-Repels dust, moisture, and sweat (sweaty person? No problem! I’ve even worn them when it starts raining).
-They come with a cute carrying case (and earplugs for when you DON’T want to hear anything else and a charging cable).
-They now come in colors (just for fun-sies. I have the midnight blue ones).

Cons
-They do hook around your ears which isn’t a problem until you’re wearing a hat and sunglasses. It just creates a lot of things all in one spot. To combat this, I put my hat and glasses on first then add the lightweight Trekz over all that. That seems to work!

Surprises
-They stay put! When I first got them I thought, “no way are those saying on when I run,” but I haven’t had a problem at all. They even stay on while I bend around while stretching.
-The sound is normal! I thought music would sound funny or “off” through the Trekz but all my favorite bands sound just the same!
-I really COULD hear everything around me! In fact, the first time I wore them, I was so used to the other headphones that I was jumping like I was in a horror movie at random sounds around me like lawnmowers and screaming children. They really are incredible.
-The Multifunction button: On the left ear, there’s a multifunction button that can pause/play your music, skip to the next song, answer calls and activate your phone’s voice control. At first, didn’t know this was a feature and was still fumbling with my phone when I needed to pause or play my music. When I figured out how to use this button, my mind was blown. Again.
-The biggest surprise is how safe I really do feel and how scary it is that I have been running with regular earbuds all this time. I run around my neighborhood a lot which includes a lot of streets without sidewalks. It’s really important to me to be able to hear traffic around me. This truly is a SAFETY product rather than an ENTERTAINMENT product and I think more runners should start incorporating these into their running accessories. A lot of people don’t know these exist.

Adaptations
-Races: It’s always been a faux pas to run races with headphones. Race directors, like myself, want you to hear the safety info, volunteers directing you on course, and of course cars if it’s a road race. I love that these will make racers more alert while attending events!
-Home: If you want to clean, listen to music and not disturb your housemate, or just need to hear when the phone rings, these are perfect. I work from home a lot at the same time as my boyfriend and I like to listen to music while working. So to not disturb my partner, I can wear these and still hear when the phone rings for my business or when Ben is asking me a business question (or just bugging me and teasing me about something…maybe I should go back to real headphones at home…)
-Kiddos: I don’t have children, but I can really see these being useful when home with small children. You can still enjoy music while they nap but be aware when they need something or wake up.
-Bikers: I am not a biker, but I know a lot of bikers like to enjoy music on the ride. It’s even more important for them to be aware of their surroundings.

Overall
The AfterShokz Trekz Air are definitely worth their price. They are a perfect way to enjoy music and still be safe and situationally aware. This goes for road runners and trail runners alike. Roadrunners need to hear cars, bikers and people and trail runners need to be able to animals, mountain bikers, and other people. I don’t typically take music with me on a trail run because being in nature is pure to me, but having the Trekz Air would be a way to enjoy some music while still being able to hear the birds and wind through trees as well as not disturbing others enjoying a peaceful walking in the woods.

 


Get your own: Visit bibrave.aftershokz.com  and use the coupon code on the site to save $30. Plus, I think when you order this way you get a BibRave Truckers hat with your order! 


See what the other BibRave Pros are saying:

Running & Smiling | Samantha | Logan | Barb | Barb Sweet | Amy | Crazy Hamster | Organic Girl | Bradford | Running for my Life | Lindsey | Preston| Runner in Progress

PureRun Minimalist Hydration Vest by Amphipod Running (Product Review)

Disclaimer: I received an PureRun Minimalist Hydration Vest by Amphipod Running to review 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!

I’m going to start this review by saying I am not normally a hydration vest user. I have used other vests when they first came around but had such a bad experience with them, in terms of chaffing and cleaning, I stopped wearing them and never found  a replacement.

Then, I bought a hydration belt, but even that wasn’t quite what I needed. It didn’t hold nearly enough water and it always bounces on my butt no mater how I place it or adjust it.

When BibRave put the CTA out about the Amphipod PureRun Minimalist Hydration Vest, I saw the words “minimalist” and “vest” in the same sentence and was intrigued.

When it comes to hydration needs on the run (usually for anything over an hour and also depending on the temperature outside), I look for a few things:
-Amount of water I can carry
-Minimal to no “bounce” or moving around on my back or body (i.e. I don’t want it rubbing any exposed skin)
-Minimal fabric/bulk of the product itself
-Pockets for things like my phone, keys or ID and cash (because if I’m wearing a vest, I don’t want to wear anything else in terms of belts or put things in my pockets)
-Easy to take care of and clean

To keep it simple, the PureRun Minimalist Hydration Vest met all my needs and more!

Pros/Features/What makes it different from other vests:
-Very minimalist feel: it’s lightweight, made from breathable material, and there isn’t much bulk to it. The only weight you feel is however much water you bring! It’s also made with very minimal material which is great when it’s hot outside and you don’t want that much fabric covering your front and back.

Adjustable to fit perfectly: it comes in two sizes and the buckles/straps across the front are adjustable. Plus, the straps on the sides can cinch down.

Minimal to no bounce: even with the water bottles full! They call it the “Lateral Stabilization Process.” There are three straps across the front in various places so the vest doesn’t move around or bounce on the run. With hydration belts, I hate the bounce on my butt while I run, so this is perfect!

Ready to bring ALL the water: it comes with two-12oz bottles and is bladder ready (i.e. there’s a pouch and a hole for a tube-pass through. It would fit a 2L water bladder).

Pockets galore: There are FOUR pockets with room to spare. The two on the front are great for snacks, gels and your phone and two on the back are great for keys, cards, and things you don’t need to access regularly while running. It seems every time I look at it I find another pocket! I can carry my phone, keys, snacks, gels, chapstick, credit card/cash/ID, kleenex and probably more.

-Bungee Cord On Back: Perfect for holding your extra layer, rain jacket or shell because when you’re on those long runs, you never know what you’ll need!

Jett-Squeeze Caps: this means it’s easy to drink water or other fluids while running; you just pop the top and squeeze to drink. I noticed that you can leave the caps “open” or popped when they’re in the pockets and because of the squeeze caps, water doesn’t leak out.

-Easy to clean: the bottles are super easy to clean and because of the minimalist fabric and the mesh material it’s made out of, the vest itself is easy to air dry and clean when necessary. Other vests I’ve had experience with don’t breathe and end up molding if you don’t clean them soon enough, so this is a HUGE bonus for me. When it does need a wash, you can throw it in the machine on the gentle or hand wash cycle and air dry!

Things To Look Out For:
-I did notice that I can’t wear mine with a tank top. Maybe it is just me and my size, but I did once and had some pretty decent rubbing and chaffing on my neck and shoulders. I don’t notice ANY rubbing when I wear regular t-shirts or long sleeves.

Overall/Personal Experience:
To steal the words from another BibRave Pro, “I will never need another hydration vest.” Seriously. This vest has met all of my needs and then some. I now choose this vest over my other hydration products (belts, handhelds, etc). It’s even giving me motivation to make my long runs even longer so I can feel justified taking the vest on the run. It will also be pretty useful on hikes that I may not want to carry a huge backpack on.

If you’re in the market for a vest or considering adding a hydration vest to your gear closet, THIS is a great option!


Get your own: This vest retails at $100. You can purchase it online or see what stores it’s at!

Amphipod’s  social media:
Instagram @AmphipodRunning
Twitter @Amphipod
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/amphipod/


See what the other BibRace Pros are saying:

Amy | MMDRuns | Running with Log | RunSpirational | I Run for Many Reasons | Renee | Bradford | Alastair | Meredith | Andrea |