Thursday, October 15, 2015

RnR Brooklyn Expo + VIP Experience

A few weeks back when I had volunteered at Disney with Sparkly Soul, my SS ladies told me that they had been cancelled as a vendor for the Brooklyn expo because they were told the expo had been significantly cut to basically focus on race sponsors and charities. I was bummed, of course, but also confused – this is the ROCK ‘N ROLL SERIES we’re talking about – they’re known for giant, bustling, awesome expos, right?

Friday afternoon after my jaunt through Central Park, I headed down to the Greenpoint area of Brooklyn for the expo at the Brooklyn Expo Center. My first thought was that the expo was nowhere near the race, which is usually the convenient way to go. The expo center as it was, was a decent walk from the G train. But I digress.

Much like Sparkly Soul had warned, the expo was… tiny. Underwhelming is the word I gave Ashley, our Rock ‘n Blog coordinator extraordinaire. Gu, Toyota, and other headline sponsors, as well as a few charity groups (Leukemia and Lymphoma Society) and that was about it. You could also sign up for next year’s RnR Brooklyn at a discounted rate (good through Sunday, do it! Just $50).

While it was nice to get through the expo in what seemed like less than ten minutes, it was still a disappoinment at the same time. I was hoping for some cute Brooks race swag, but found that there were all of two racks of women's tanks to choose from and that was it. Boo.

I grabbed my shirt, talked to Ashley for a bit, snapped some mandatory photos, and called it a day. Some of the Sparkly Soul ladies and other folks were meeting up at 4 for a meet up at the Brooklyn Winery – turned Kent Ale House – so I decided to head that way early. Dani wasn’t far behind and soon Briana and Cynthia were there too! It was great getting to meet some fantastic women, and eventually one man, all sharing the same running (and sparkly!) love.

Selfie-taker extraordinaire, Dani! And me, and Briana. 
After our meet up, I made my way back into Manhattan for dinner with yet another circle – Jessica, Adrian and I were all doing #BKtoLB and tons of other Rock ‘n Roll aficionados were all gathered for dinner at Il Corallo Trattoria for some carb-loading and social fun. I got there way late but had the most amazing pasta and happily called it a night! I headed back to my sister’s and got home just before she did from her happy hour.

Rock ‘n Roll VIP
Pre- and post-race, I was offered the opportunity to participate in RnR’s VIP experience. This was only my fifth RnR experience ever and clearly my first VIP, which I was really excited about! Dani explained to me that every race VIP has had a different kind of amenities offered -- some mimosas, some bagels, some croissants, and that you never know what you're going to get! I was excited and pretty eager to find out.

On Saturday morning, my sister and I made the hour-long trip into Manhattan and back out to get to Prospect Park. She knew I had to go to VIP, so I made my way in there while she waited for her two friends (Jansen, running his first half, and his support team girlfriend) to get to the park. VIP had a completely separate security gate and bag check than the other runners, which I later learned pretty much saved a super hassle in my book.

VIP was inside the Brooklyn Public Library in the heart of Grand Army Plaza at Prospect Park. It was warm, though a small space, but it was warm, and that was all I cared about at that point. Inside were bagels, croissants, coffee, orange juice and our own bag check that would be carted over to the finish line for us.

I'm not sure how many VIP folks there were, but I'd guess probably close to 100. While we had our own restrooms, there was still a line once it came time to start heading out to the start line. About 6:35, I dropped off my bag, left my jacket on, and went outside to find my sister. Through the fence, I met Jansen and told him to head through security so he and I could at least walk towards our corrals together. I waited nearly 15 minutes before I realized that he was stuck in the mob of people trying to get through that security line. God bless the VIP line! I told my sister and Jamie to wait for Jansen and that I'd just see him at the finish line. I bolted to the start, anxious to get into my place and was freezing. Thank god I left my jacket on. But more on that soon.

Post-race VIP was amaaaaaazing. Breakfast? Check. Mini-shower station? Check. Beer, if that's your cup of tea? Check. MASSAGES? All the checks. Hosted by Westin, this seriously made the thought of paying for VIP worth it, even if just for the massages with a (fairly minimal) line. There were tables all out in the sun if you were freezing or underneath some tents in case the sun was just too much. Personally, running in 60 degrees is beyond glorious but I cool down way too fast to enjoy it afterward!

Ashley & I, finally! 
Post-massage, I went back out to find my sister and her friend who was still finishing the race. We listened to a bit of Nate Ruess' set, though not enough because let's be real, I adore him, and had to bolt to the subway so I could make it to the airport on time.

I even got to meet a few extra friends while out at VIP - re-united with Dani and heard about her race and got to meet the super-fab Ashley of Healthy Happier Bear.

If you're able to hang around post-race and soak in every amenity of the VIP experience, I highly recommend all that it has to offer. If you're traveling with tons of folks, this may be hard to do, but if it's one or two of you on a race-cation, this is totally worth the additional cost (Brooklyn was $79, but prices can vary depending on the race location and packages offered). Spectators can get in on this too, so if you have someone waiting for you at the finish line, this might be a great way to say thank you. :) Get that massage while you can and all the free deliciousness of a bagel, fruit, cookie breakfast (I think I had more cookies than fruit, but that's not surprising). 

All in all, a great experience in VIP. Despite some disappointments with the expo, the race itself was fabulous. Can't wait to share more about it tomorrow!

Have you ever done a Rock 'n Roll VIP experience? What'd you think?

I am a member of Team Rock ‘n Blog  through the Rock 'n Roll Race Series and was provided both the race entry and VIP experience complimentarily. No other compensation was provided. All opinions are my own. 

No comments:

Post a Comment