Sunday, January 21, 2018

Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half Marathon - The Race

Last weekend I ran (technically mostly walked due to bronchitis) the Rock 'n' Roll Arizona half marathon.  This was my first race in Arizona, which became the 10th state that I have completed a half marathon in.  What drew me to this race was that my husband had never been to Arizona, I wanted to escape the cold in the Midwest, we were both off for the MLK holiday, I have family in the Phoenix-area, and I knew that I would be running at least one other Rock 'n' Roll race in 2018.

Why you should run this race:

  • The race expo was downtown and easy to get in and out of.
  • The race website had every detail that I needed for race weekend, especially since I was coming from out of town and was unfamiliar with the area.
  • Distances available include kids run, 1 mile run, 5k, 10k, half marathon, full marathon
  • Downtown Tempe (start line for the half marathon and 10k and finish line for the 10k, half, and full marathon) is such an amazing place with restaurants and shops that appeal to anyone!
  • Scenic, and mostly flat course.  The couple hills I remember rewarded you with great views at the top!
  • Plenty of music along the course.
  • Large crowd leading into the finish line.
  • Post race food for the half marathon included Gatorade, bottled water, chocolate milk, Pringles, bananas, and granola bars.
  • New course signage debuted at this race.
  • Half marathon started in Tempe, ran into Scottsdale, then Phoenix, and back into Tempe for the finish.
  • Expo and the race were all accessible by car and public transportation and both were also close to the airport making this trip very easy for out-of-towners.
  • January temperatures in Phoenix are usually in the 50's and 60's and SUNNY!
  • There are plenty of things to do, see, and taste while you are in town.  We went to an ASU basketball game and a Phoenix Suns NBA game, hiked Hole in the Rock, and ate at In-n-Out Burger just to name a few things.

The only suggestion I had for next year was to make the corrals larger.  Although they were marked with the new signage, they were closer together than any race I had ever seen marked corrals at, and the start line area was a bit chaotic as a result.  I still found my running buddy/cousin in the chaos though, and we enjoyed our time on the course.

Here are a few photos from the expo and the race.

My cousin and I at the start line
The craziness in the corrals

Getting closer to the start line
Police on the rooftops overlooking the start line

Scenery along the course

View of downtown Phoenix from the top of the hill

My favorite entertainment group on the course

Nearing the finish line

Celebration area from the bridge
The medal!!!

I hope you will consider adding this race to your 2019 lineup!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

#WellnessWednesday - CycleBar - Creve Coeur Review

This blog post has been a long time coming considering the fact that I have now taken 39 classes at CycleBar - Creve Coeur.  The first CycleBar studio to open in the St. Louis area was the Chesterfield location, which I blogged about mid-2017.  I attended a class during their Grand Opening and then used a Groupon for four classes there and blogged about that experience too.

Then shortly after returning from our wedding the CycleBar - Creve Coeur location opened, which is the closest CycleBar to our house.  The layout is pretty much the same as the Chesterfield studio except there were four shower rooms instead of two and all the lockers had usb ports in them.  The technology in the studio and the class format were also the same.

Check in area

Usb ports in all lockers!

When I attended a class during the Grand Opening at Chesterfield, I had no idea that you could sign up for more than one class.  So this time, I took full advantage of the Creve Coeur Grand Opening rides and rode three times, completely FREE!

During the Grand Opening you could also get the very best deals on packages, so I purchased the First Month Unlimited and then the 20 Ride Package because it was 30% off.

I had to use my Unlimited Month first, so I set a goal to come as many times as possible during that month.  CycleBar made it even easier to achieve that goal by creating a challenge where if you rode 10 times in the first 21 days, you would get $100 back in credit.  Needless to say, I achieved that goal because I really wanted that credit for future classes!

Because I purchased these deals during the Grand Opening, I was not eligible to purchase a Groupon for classes at this location BUT I did manage to earn two free classes in 2017.  One was by simply putting the CycleBar magnet on the back of my car and being spotted by CycleBar - Creve Coeur staff out on the road.  They posted an image to social media of my car, I wrote them to prove it was my car, and then a FREE class was loaded to my account.

The other was by having one of my post-ride Instagram posts re-posted to the CycleBar - Creve Coeur Instagram page.  Both instances absolutely made my day!

I have really enjoyed my time at the CycleBar - Creve Coeur studio.  I have tried different bikes in the studio, different class times, and different instructors.  Some classes come only with water, while others have coffee or wine waiting for you after your ride (those are my favorite).  Class themes change all the time and are always challenging and fun.

I was #1 in the class for one of those 39 rides and sometimes I manage to get into the top three, but normally I am happy if I can finish in the middle of the pack.  Some instructors show the performance screens frequently during class, while others barely turn it on.  I find my class ranking motivating, especially during those 20 and 30 second races, but it is always YOUR ride.  I can't do everything the instructor requests, I just do MY best.  Then after each class, you will receive an email with your personal stats and a link to the playlist.

The one time I was #1

Class times have changed a bit since the Grand Opening, but the owner is good about sending out surveys to previous riders to gauge interest in different times before he makes any changes. Staff have always been very responsive to any issues I have had with my account and are friendly every single time I enter the studio.  Every time!

If you have not taken your FREE Intro class at CycleBar yet, I urge you to click here to find your closest studio and learn more about scheduling a ride. New riders also get great prices on intro packs or you can call or visit the Creve Coeur studio and ask for the "Groupon pricing" to get a package of four classes at the Groupon price without needing a Groupon account.

I just can't say enough good things about CycleBar.  Each instructor teaches the class differently and no two classes are EVER the same.  I hope you get a chance to experience a class at a CycleBar studio near you!

Happy New Year!