………….and the adventure does continue…That’s right another marathon a whole week after Grandma’s…
Ok…relax, I have run this race solo and as part of a relay in the past, and it’s all on a crushed limestone trail, with like no elevation to climb, so I knew I would be able to finish in the 8 hours the course was open… I just needed to be careful of the heat, temps would be near 90 at the finish.
The event was held on June 25, 2016. It was a typical summer Iowa day, hot & humid.
I (well I convinced Josh to join the fun, he would help crew) arrived early to the start. The race starts in Dyersville, IA and end in Dubuque, IA. A point to point race all on the Heritage Trail. I live about 1.5 hours from Dyersville, which for me, doesn’t require getting a hotel. However you could stay or start in Dubuque and ride the shuttle bus to the start.
Parking at the start is limited and there are volunteers directing people where to go. We snagged a spot at a nearby business, knowing we would be moving the car, to eventually meet up with another member of the crew, my dad. I grabbed my bib, bracelet timing chip and a drawstring bag with my gender specific short sleeved tech shirt, there was also a koozie and rubber bracelet in the bag. Registration was still open for the solo marathon option for about $100.
There were a couple port-o-potties at the trail head, but the line was crazy long. We hopped in the car and went to the nearby convenience store. We had plenty of time and it was a smaller race.
I mentioned having a crew. This race is advertised as “military style” meaning you bring what you want along with you, and there would be minimal support along the course. There are 5 transition stops for the relay with aid, including bathrooms. I wanted to be prepared and meet my team along the way with more food and drink. Also it’s nice to not have to drive to Dubuque and get the shuttle to Dyersville, this way we could all drive back to the start.
*However this being the third year I have participated, they could drop the “military style” from the description. This race has more things on course than the Chicago Marathon. They added more water and random coolers on the route due to the heat (even mini bottles of Gatorade). There are pretzels, gummis, fig newtons and sports drink at the transitions too. Several ATV’s roam the trail with medical aid and more liquid.
Alright, I have bounced all over the place…so I had my bib, my crew and was ready for the race to start. We had some nice words from the RD and military members and then a young lady sang the National Anthem. Then the race was off.
Gear: OM pack, blue sparkle athletic skirt, stars n stripes procompression socks, tank top, Adidas 7″ boyshort, brooks ghost 8 shoes, head sweats visor, xx2i sunglasses, garmin fenix, plantronics, and all the 2toms.
The race is nice, that you can break up the mental game, by thinking it’s only X miles until the next relay transition. It was about 6.6 miles until the first one, and that first section had the most sun exposure. All I could think was I wanted some Gatorade. I saw my dad and Josh and they had the cooler at the ready. I briefly spoke with them, and kept going through the exchange, where I swiped my timing chip. (This wasn’t required, but I like to prove I was in the race)
I was off on the next section. I had forgot how many miles it was before the next exchange, but I new Josh wanted to run the 3rd, 5th & 6th legs with me, so I was looking forward to that. I listened to an audiobook while I ran through the country and cornfields.
I made it to the second stop, Josh and my dad were ready with the cooler of drinks, I also think I ate some pretzels. However, Josh wasn’t ready to run…he got off track talking to my dad…so he prepared to run legs 4, 5 & 6 instead.
The race was really uneventful for me…just kept moving along. It was hot, and I just kept drinking water and Gatorade, even found some ice along the way. The shade was gold!
I ran the final 11 miles with Josh. The trail is not closed for the race. However you need to pay to use the trail to, a user permit. It was nice to have some company, although I was ready to punch him as every time we ran another mile he told me how many more we had to go. I was starting to slow down too, I would run to the next mile marker and then walk for a bit.
*Also, Josh and I don’t promote “banditing” a race. He would drink the water I would carry with me. He passed at all the water stops, but the volunteers would insist that he drink some. We understand people paid to run this race, and that is what the volunteers are there to support.
FINALLY we saw the finish, so Josh pulled off the course and I crossed the timing mat in a time of 5:26. YEP, faster than the week before. It was about 90 degrees. I got a chocolate milk, apple, and a bottle of water. There was a table with grapes and cookies. A vendor had brick oven pizza, but didn’t stick around for long. You could get a print out receipt of your finisher time.
I sat down for a while in the shade. We were near the medical tent. The only people in the tent were the pacers. Yes, the race had used marathon maniacs for pacing. I started near the 5:15 pacer, but didn’t stay with him, he was using a running/walking method. However later in the race, I passed the 5 hour guy and 4:30 person. I am thinking they were having a crappy race and did not stick to their pace.
I need a post race beer, so we tried to pick a good place in Dubuque for something tasty. We ended up at the old Star Brewery, but turns out it really isn’t much for food and drink. We had a beer there, but still needed some food. Dad remembered a place near a Marina- “Catfish Charlies” so we headed there after a walk along the river.
We arrived at Catfish Charlies and found a table outside by the marina, in the shade. We each got a Potosi brew, and started off with fried alligator bites.
I then had to have some catfish…of course, we were at the catfish place!!
We were stuffed, and got in the car to head back to Dyersville. I was feeling pretty good for having ran 2 marathons in 2 weeks.
I should have known though, since we were with my dad, the trip wasn’t over. We stopped for some fun Dunkin Drinks, and at a Best Buy as dad saw a good deal on TVs.
It was a fun day. As I have said before, it’s not about the running, it’s about the friends & fun along the way. I really like this race and hope to run it again.