Shed Your Threads

Shed Your Threads 2021 – Race Recap

It was a whirlwind of a weekend and I was here for it!

The Shed Your Threads 10k / 5k race was on July 17th in Elkader, IA. This race was part of the town’s Sweet Corn Festival and I have run it a couple of times before. However, Elkader is not that close to my home, so Josh and I made a little adventure to get there.

The Friday evening before the race was the Great Jones County Fair, and the Zac Brown Band was the musical entertainment. We threw the dogs off at my parent’s house and made our way to Monticello to catch some live music. This venue is about an hour from our home. For the $10 fair admittance we were able to listen to the music and fireworks from a nice distance away from all the people. Around 11 pm, we made it back to our car and traveled to our next destination – Guttenberg, IA.

Saturday morning – which was also race day – Josh and I woke up early to drive the additional half hour to Elkader. Luckily Guttenberg has a Kwik Star so we were able to get a breakfast made for champions!

We rolled into Elkader just around 7 AM. We still needed to register before the 7:30 AM start time. Without a shirt, race day registration for the 10k was only $15. WHAT A STEAL!! I am not even sure if you could register online for this. Josh got us all squared away while I chatted with someone I knew, Jill, who was also running the 10k.

We had our bibs and used the neighboring campsite’s bathroom facilities. Josh did some stretches and I came back to chat with Jill before we ended up at the starting line.

Runners gathered across the street for the announcements. They were taking their time as they were entering registrations into some computer system. The main announcement was to not be alarmed about the distance at the turnaround. This race is an out and back on the Pony Hollow Trail, however the start was also not the finish so we wouldn’t turn around at the half way point.

Everything was squared away and it was time to go. I don’t recall if there was a horn or anything special, I just pushed play on my music and we were off.

The trail is flat, crushed limestone for the most part. It runs near the Turkey River, there are some great views. There is also a section near a corn field, everything NE Iowa has to offer – except bluffs. The parts with trees and shade also seemed to trap the humidity. While there was a cloud cover, it felt soupy.

There was also a 5k that started at the same time of the 10k, and at the 5k turnaround there was a water stop. From this point I kept going and it got to the part where I thought I took a wrong turn as I saw no one for a really long time. There were no turns to take, but it’s an eerie feeling when you think you should be racing someone.

Finally I saw the lead runner in the 10k, they were truckin! Then the next runner was pushing a stroller, followed by the 3rd runner also pushing a stroller. My gosh, some amazing athletes out here!! Then I saw Jill, the first female. I cheered her on and then I cheered Josh on as he was coming back.

I then saw the next water stop and the closest runner ahead of me. This was the 10k turnaround, so I looked at my watch and it was off, but since I was told not to worry, I just kept moving. I was hoping to catch the guy ahead of me.

Then it came to the point where that guy was the only thing pulling me forward as I got worried I was last place. I really felt I was pushing my pace too, but all I had was my watch to gauge that, and I really don’t keep checking it.

Then I came across some walkers – who were not in the race. Then I saw a lady with a bib and a part of me was relieved I was not last and a part of me was relieved so much I slowed down.

The 5k turnaround water stop came and the guy I was chasing had stopped to drink water, I thought I could catch him for sure now. UGH no…. his running pace was just so much faster.

Then I came upon a young girl on the course. She kept stopping and looking at her watch. I was kind of concerned. I did catch up with her and asked if she was ok and she appeared in good spirits. I knew we were close to the finish, so I would check back every so often, while moving forward.

I came to the finish line and checked my watch, short. So, I handed the tag from the bottom of my bib to a volunteer and ran until my watch said 6.2. I only note this as it was made a big deal about the course measurement. At the end of the day it’s not a make or break thing for me, it’s just nice to have my 10k time be an actual 10k distance.

I met back up with Josh and Jill and we discussed our races and cheered in the last runners on the course. Word was she had lost an airpod or something.

Once everyone was back, we gathered back together for the post race. All kids were given a bag of goodies no matter the distance they ran. There was string cheese, bottled water and other snacks available. I had some water as I was holding out for my adventure after the run – I think this is called foreshadowing – ha!

Awards were given to overall and age group winners. I won my age group and was given a nice certificate and a choice of gift cards to an area business. Josh also placed in his age group and received these prizes. I will also note that I was second to last overall. It also might be worth it to note there were maybe 10-15 people that ran the 10k, while maybe thrice as many ran the 5k.

We said our goodbyes and moved the truck closer to the downtown area for the the Sweet Corn Days Festivities!

There are many events all day, free sweet corn, a parade, a tractor pull and – drum roll please – the donut hole eating contest!! You better believe I signed up for this when I saw it on the schedule. I had no clue what to expect, but I did know I would be eating donuts for free.

Josh and I gathered around the picnic table set up in front of Pedretti’s Bakery. Things were to get under way around 9:30 AM. We noticed a lot of younger kids gathering around and I started to worry that the contest was just for kids. I mean, there was no cost, so that made sense. I became worried and considered backing out as I didn’t think it would be fair to compete against them.

Then there was a roll call and it was based on age groups – phew! I was still in!!! We observed the younger age groups attack the donut holes. They were served in bowls of 5 with a little carton of milk. There were some kids that made it look easy, while others were just in their own world.

When it came time for the 16 and up group – that was me. I took a spot at the table after the lady called my name. The guy sitting across the table from me actually ran the 10k, pushing the stroller in 2nd place. He was chatting with the others saying how he has won this contest in the past and it was something like 50 donut holes he ate. A guy sitting to the left of me was also saying how he had won before as well. Then there was the lady to my right who was just there to eat donuts. I panicked and decided to just enjoy and do my best.

This older age group had bowls of 10 placed in front of us and then there were bowls of 5 placed in the center of the table. We all got a milk carton too. The timer guy said, “go!” I grabbed the first donut hole and it was hard to focus, the guy across the table had this weird “dunk in milk, shovel in face” method that was making me laugh. The lady to my right was laughing. Then the guy to my right starting coughing. It was hard to focus and eat. Then the chewing, so much chewing and trying to do it fast. So, I took a note from the milk dunker and tried to consume more milk, which made it easier.

I was done with my first bowl of 10 and working on that second bowl with 5, as the time counted down I finished that second bowl and there was not another bowl to start on. See – I could have ate one of those and taken the other 4 and ate later. So that was it – only 15 measly donut holes in 2 minutes. This was my first foray into competitive eating.

The guy across the table had something like 47 and the guy to my left had maybe 50….. but from the other end of the table the winner had 55 or so. DANG! This is some serious donut hole eating!!

At the end of the contest, I was able to walk away and not feel too miserable. It was also a lot of fun.

From there Josh and I cashed in our race gift certificates at the local coffee shop. Then we walked around the town checking out the murals and the little antique mall place.

What a fun little town festival in Elkader, IA. A lot of the small towns have these events in the summer with races. They are one of my favorite ways to explore Iowa. While there are no frills to the race, the price is a steal and I enjoyed it. I will continue to run it when it works with my schedule.

Josh and I stopped back through Guttenberg and then made a pit stop at Textile Brewing in Dyersville before returning home. I had to rest up for the next day!