Flat and Beautiful: Blooms to Brews Half Marathon Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry to Blooms to Brews as part of being a BibRave Pro. I value authenticity & honesty; all options are my own. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

This year seems to be the year of half marathons for me, and I am NOT complaining. I am getting more comfortable with the 13.1 mile distance and my training right now is maintaining conditioning and fitness to run 13.1 miles. Because of this I have been able to run so many races this year so far and I am loving it! In previous years, Spring races were never an option for me because I wasn’t trained enough yet by this time of year. There are so many great Spring races worth running, and Blooms to Brews is one of them. IMG_3676

As my fellow BibRave Pro, Elizabeth, put it: Blooms to Brews is the ideal race. Easy access, fun atmosphere, flat course, fun after party, awesome swag and medals. There is a 10K race, half marathon, marathon and a 4 person marathon relay. The options make it easy to turn this race into a fun weekend with your spouse or running friends as there is something for everybody!

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the medals for 10K, half & marathon (longer the distance, bigger the medal!)

Start Line

Since I was running the half marathon, Andy signed up to run the 10K and we turned the weekend into a run-cation in Portland. Race morning was a breeze because we stayed very close to the start line. There was loads of parking at the park where the start/finish and after party were taking place. This was the easiest access I have had to a race, it was great.blooms 2 brews I found Elizabeth, we snapped a selfie looking super fast in our BibRave orange & then we were off for the half marathon! IMG_3739

The Race 

The course was flat and beautiful, as promised. Elizabeth and I got interviewed about the race on an awesome running podcast and we talk a LOT about the course. We also tell a few funny stories from the day. You can listen without downloading anything! Listen here.

The first mile wasn’t the most scenic, but from then on it was just rolling fields, flowers and the river. IMG_3752My favorite part of the course was running by the lilac farm; it smelled wonderful! 

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flat course
We even ran by cows and other livestock a few times. It was really beautiful, peaceful and serene. IMG_3747
The course were all concrete roads except 3/4 miles of the course that was a dirt road. All the runners were informed of this ahead of time, so you knew to expect it. I didn’t know exactly what the terrain would be like. It was dirt with some gravel, so it was easy to grip and not difficult to run on. I did catch my shoe on a rock though and while I didn’t fall, I took the rest of the gravel road a little slower. IMG_3754
There were plenty of aid stations with sport drink and water. A few of the stations had gummy bears, but I somehow missed them. Other runners confirmed they were there. I ran the race with my hydraquiver pack, so I ran thru several of the water stations and missed the fuel.blooms 2 brews
After the gravel road, we came up on the tulips which meant the end was in sight! 

Finish Line

It felt SO good to cross the finish line! I felt like the last 2 miles were a struggle for me, so the finish was a very sweet one. I managed to make it in under two hours, but no PR. This is definitely a course you could PR on. It is flat and fast. IMG_3757
I got my super cool medal and headed off the the post race area. I was hungry and ready to get the party started! IMG_3797

Post Race

The course is beautiful and fun, and the post race environment is even better. All the elements combined knocked this race out of the park! They had free massages available, fruit, donuts and other pastries, water, sports drinks, BBQ sandwiches and beer. 

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this is only 1/4 of the finish area. it was huge!
The BBQ sandwiches were made by a local BBQ company and slow roasted in the park overnight. They were very accommodating and served me a ‘gluten free’ sandwich without the bun. The meat was delicious! Some of the best I’ve had.IMG_3767 IMG_3765
The beer is an essential part of this race. It is very unique how they do it at Blooms 2 Brews. The beer is served out of an old fire truck!IMG_3783
They had 6 taps available, one of which was the beer served specifically for the race, Bold IPA. You could buy a growler and take some home if you wanted. blooms 2 brews
NOTE: while beer is an essential part of the race (in the name & after party) you can still have the best time without the beer. I’m allergic to gluten so I don’t drink beer, and I still had the best time. I mention this because I don’t want non-drinkers or people who don’t like beer to think this race is not for them. 
Blooms to Brews had awesome awards for the top 3 race finishers as well as the top 3 in each age group. If you placed, you got an additional medal which I thought was pretty special. I did not place in my age group, but Andy did! He placed 3rd in his age group in the 10K. I was surprised, envious and excited all at the same time! IMG_3780
You could upgrade to VIP at Blooms to Brews which included to a special VIP area pre/post race. Elizabeth and I were able to enter and the tent was awesome, definitely worth the money to upgrade for several reasons. blooms 2 brews VIPFirst of all, the tent had lots of those outdoor heaters, which were a great way to warm up once the sweat started to soak in. There were TONS of snacks. I mean everything you could ever want or imagine. They also had an open bar with beer, wine and mimosas. A great option if you are not a big beer drinker.IMG_3793
Last, but not least, here was a dedicated masseuse for the VIP tent.  
While hanging in the VIP area, Elizabeth and I ran in to the race director, Elby. He was pretty hard to miss with his suit!! IMG_3798He is a lot of fun and a runner himself. Probably explains why he knows how to put on an AMAZING race! 

Run it OR Skip it?

RUN IT! I cannot say enough great things about this race. I was riding the runner high for the rest of the day. I could not stop thinking about what a great time we had. It was a wonderful event and next year we want to come back with friends and make it a race weekend!IMG_3785

If you want to read more about the race:
—  Elizabeth’s race recap (she is giving away a bag of coffee from the race expo!)
my Bibrave review 

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