Run for the Thuringer!

Amana Freezer 5k – 2018 recap

The meat bag swag keeps me coming back!

Saturday, January 27, 2018 – 10 am.

Unless you are new to the blog, you know this is one of my favorite Iowa winter races. I have run it a hand full of times, the swag is one of the reasons I return. Instead of another shirt, participants can choose a meat bag from the Amana stores, or you can opt for no swag.

I made sure to register online before the price increase and to get a guaranteed meat bag. I believe the cost was around $25. I am probably going to say meat bag as many times as necessary in this post, so let your inner 12 year old keep chuckling.

Josh was also able to make the race this year, and he was able to register on the day of the event, and still choose a shirt or meat bag.

There are no changes from last year for this event. The race day packet pick up happens in an old appliance factory building. There is a bathroom in this location, and they had port-o-potties outside the door. Again this year the visitor center restrooms were locked. There is plenty of free parking around town.

We grabbed our bib and meat bag, then chit chatted with everyone – Oh yeah, another reason this is a great event, all the area runners come out of hibernation. 

WHAT’S IN THE BAG? The 2018 edition included thuringer – which is like summer sausage, a package of swiss cheese and a package that contained 2 smoked pork chops. My bag also had a ticket for a post run Millstream beer. Josh’s bag did not have one.

We finalized the gear we would be running in and did a warm up run to Casey’s and used their restroom, then ran back in time for the 10 am race start.

There was no National Anthem, in fact people were just kind of standing around and then people were moving. It’s small town Iowa racing at it’s finest…. just go!

A photographer snapped shots as we all ran over the start mat. The course was the same out and back, on paved surfaces. Well that is what I thought until we did the turnaround loop in Middle Amana. It’s a tiny little place and they must have went to a chip and seal, creating a loose gravel running surface. There is also a short hill here.

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Can you see me?

Ok, I am getting ahead of myself. I haven’t raced a 5k in what felt like years… so I didn’t know what to expect, but one thing seems always certain, I start way too fast. I just went, and then I saw my friend Mark ahead and I thought I could catch him. Well, the watched beeped at the first mile and said 8:30… NOPE! I wasn’t going to maintain that, and let Mark go and backed it down…but reflecting on it… dang, an 8:30 mile, pretty good for me!

I made it to that loop in Middle Amana and the front runners were on there way back. I cheered on my friends, and kept moving forward.

It seemed like forever to run that final stretch back into Amana, but I made it back to the timing mat, crossed the finish line, ripped the chip off my own shoe and found Josh. I did check my watch real quick and I had run another sub 30, with 28:11.

The timing company had race printouts if you wanted to get one, but we decided to walk back the race course a little bit and cheer on those still running. It was a nice winter day, the sun was out and it wasn’t too frigid.

When it was time we made it back to the building where you picked up your packet, for the post race treats and awards.

There was all kinds of baked goods, bagels, bananas, clementines, hot chocolate and bottled water. There was also plenty for everyone!

The post race awards always crack me up. For whatever reason, no one is listening and everyone is talking so you can not hear anything. The lady brings a bull horn and everything.

There were a lot of speedy people this year. I did not place – hey my AG of 30-39 is very competitive. I always joke I should have ran in college, I would have won many small town 5ks in my AG. I did cheer for all the winners, they received medals.

Then it was time for the random raffle prizes. I had my fingers crossed, but I did not win anything. Well, or did I? The prizes concluded and my friends were all standing around discussing the fact there was no bag of bird see raffled off. Funny… the lady got back on the bull horn and said “We have bird seed to giveaway!” I crossed my fingers, but I didn’t win….oh wait, it’s get’s better… the person I was talking to about this – won. Congrats Michael on your bird seed win!

It was time to move on, Josh had to get to some sporting event. I wasn’t leaving without cashing in my beer ticket. We walked over to the Millstream Brewery where I got a barrel aged brew, whoa! It was a strong one!

When at the brewery we chatted with some more friends. As I said, this race is great people come out from hibernation and you get to catch up, find out where you will see them next, what they are training for.

I could have stayed all day, but we had to get back to the big city.

I think I write the same thing every year, but I will always run this race if it fits in my schedule. A $25 price tag for a meat bag and some camaraderie, what more could you ask for in the middle of winter in Iowa.

As always add your review to Bibrave.com and claim your results on Athlinks.com

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Grandma’s or Bust!

Grandma’s or BUST

“Disclaimer: I received entry into Grandma’s Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

That’s right, I am headed back to Duluth! If we are getting technical it’s my sixth time to Duluth. I took a family vacation as a kid in 1993, I ran the half marathon in 2014, and then the first Great Grandma’s challenge in 2015, the black flagged 2016 marathon, and the almost as hot 2017 marathon.

2018 is the year for perfect weather, you heard it here first!

Why am I returning?

  1. I want to eat at Grandma’s Saloon and Grill. In all these years I have not done that, and it’s located at the finish line.
  2. I am going to run the 5k on Friday night too. I will be in town for packet pickup, might as well do the Great Grandma’s challenge again.
  3. The lake – Lake Superior! I have never jumped in post marathon – GASP! My first half was cold, the 2015 marathon was rain, the 2016 marathon I had to find my husband in the medical tent, and in 2017 I met my friends at the beer tent.
  4. It’s a great event. I feel this needs no blurb, great events keep people coming back.
  5. The medal! GM Medal Reveal FB 2018

I feel those are my top 5 reasons to get back. I hope to cross all those things off the list.

What has you returning to a race? Why would you travel to something year after year?

Winter Running

I have not been on a treadmill for close to a year, I have been braving the elements and running outdoors. If you dress appropriately, it can be done!

Winter in Iowa can be anything, this past month windchill temperatures have been 20 degrees F below zero, then there will be a warm up near 30 degrees. In the past I have used 10 degrees as my guide to hit the “dreadmill.” For some reason this year, I have been embracing my badass and braving the elements.

While I am no expert any anything, I do have some tips and tricks: (you might have seen some on FB or IG)

  • Do not stand around outdoors. Get moving once you are outside.
  • Gear:

Base layer – I make sure to have a wicking material against my body to grab the sweat – yes – you will sweat… you want that sweat off your body.

Socks – I do fine with Zensah socks, but wool is a great option. It allows your feet to breathe while keeping them warm.

More layers, and all of them. I make sure my sweaty  (wicking) layer is not exposed to the elements, by adding another shirt, and I tuck it in, reducing chance of skin exposure. I have many pants, sometimes I’ll wear fleece lined or add wind pants. I wear a pullover on the top as it allows me to move easier than a coat.

Accessories: I wear a my SPIbelt to hold my phone, I wear at the small of my back to keep it warm, under a pullover. I add a BUFF®️ and my AfterShokz are always under my hat. I have my trusty Pearl Izumi gloves, and will add mittens on top. I try to never forget glasses to protect my eyes too (keep them from your face to allow air to move around the lens)

  • Stay moving. The moment you stop, glasses will fog as the air stops moving around the lens. Also by moving, your muscles stay warm.
  • When you are done, get that sweaty layer off! That will make you cold.
  • Immediately hop into a hot shower or sauna.
  • Brag to all your friends that you are a badass, and the weather has nothing on you!

Once you are wearing the appropriate gear, and you get moving, you wont be cold.

For me it’s about acclimation, the first few runs are bad, but once I am used to an extreme temperature I am fine, when it starts changing back and forth is when I have a problem. See you outside!

Half Marathon #48

Triple D Half Marathon – Race Recap

On Saturday, January 13, 2018 I hopped into my car and made the drive to Durango, IA. It was a cloudy day and temps near the 10 am start were “feels like -6 F.”

Ok rewind…. yes, that is the temperature and yes I was going to run 13.1 miles in it. I should also let you know that I have been running in this cold and am acclimated to it. I think my last run indoors was almost a year ago.

Gear: Orange Mud vest pack 1, XX21 France 2, Spibelt, Pearl Izumi gloves, BUFF(R) ThermoNet, Garmin Forerunner 935, Zensah compression socks, Aftershokz Trekz Air, Craft Storm pants, Adidas boy shorts, UA Horizon trail shoes, B1G hat, Champion sports bra, Danksin tank, Lululemon t-shirt, Nike thermal turtleneck, Orange Mud pullover.

The event is small, but hosts quite a few events. There is a bike event and poker ride that starts earlier in the day. Along with the half marathon at 10 am, you could run a marathon or 50k. A 5k was on the schedule 15 minutes after the longer running events. If there were snow on the ground, cross country skiing was encouraged.

I still needed to register, and reading the website I knew that it was possible on race day. I parked, for free and easily in a gravel lot close to the start/finish and the bar that was hosting the event.

I walked in, wrote a check and in return I received a bib, unisex cotton t-shirt, 2 stickers and 2 Hammer gels. I used the indoor bathroom before returning to my car.

Back to my car I continued adding all my layers. The key to winter running is wearing the proper layers, but to still be able to move. Also, I didn’t want to stand outside any longer than necessary, this is where I get cold, I need to be moving and I am fine.

At 9:45 I made my way to the start area for announcements, and of course we had to wait. I tried to walk around or run in place, I could feel my toes getting cold… I knew I just needed to get moving.

Announcements were made about the event. The entry fee went to maintain and create new trails in the area. I also assumed it went to the user fee too. There was mention of the turnaround spots too, the half and full were out and backs. I was glad I was not running the 50k, it was the marathon course, but when you came across the marathon finish, you went out and back the other direction to make up the distance.

We were reminded to make sure our bibs were visible when we finished as there was no chip timing.  Then it was time to run.

All that standing around, my toes were cold, well it was getting to the point where I couldn’t feel them. It took a mile or so until I was comfortable with the temperature and could feel them again.

The race did not have a lot of participants. Maybe 50 people, I am not good with guessing crowd size. The runners thinned out fast. I fell into my pace and could just see the guy ahead of me.

I mentioned this is a self supported event. This should not be overlooked. Bring everything you need, no matter what distance. There is NO ONE on the course, no spectators, no volunteers, no law enforcement, no mile markers….NO ONE! Which is also just fine, it’s a flat, crushed limestone trail and this is advertised. The one thing you want to make sure is your hydration doesn’t freeze. * I did this by adding electrolyte to my water.

After mile 3 ish I could see a chair lift, and as I got closer, I could see I was running at the base of Sundown Mountain, which is a ski “resort.” Yes, you can ski in Iowa. All these runs on this trail and I just realized this.

Just before the half way point, I started seeing people coming back. It was nice to see some humans. I made the turn around and made sure to drink and eat some Nutter Butter bites.

During this race I thought of the first half as adding miles and the last half it was a countdown of how many miles I had left. I looked forward to seeing the ski resort again, and then I knew it was just a few more to go.

I listen to music when I run races, usually on shuffle. Just when I needed it one of my favorite running songs came on. Eminem’s “Til I Collapse” and all the sudden I was passing the guy I had been trailing… “Music is like magic, there’s a certain feeling you get….”

That song got me pumped so after passing that guy, I came upon another guy…it feels to pass guys, lol. I made sure he was ok and was going to keep going…but he asked me what mile we were at, then we chatted for a bit. I thought I was ahead of him and out of no where we were running together again. This didn’t last long and I pulled ahead..woohoo!

I crossed the finish line with a Garmin time of 2:21 and a distance of 13.1. I claimed my finisher medal, which is a cool hand cut design of the logo and doubles as a bottle opener.

I walked the 50 feet or so to my car to get a change of clothes. The key to staying warm is to get that sweaty layer off. I talked to the RD about the post race awards and raffle. He said they were waiting for everyone to finish, but I think he meant the half distance. There were still some longer distance runners out on the course.

I wanted to stay for the raffle as I heard there were skiing passes, but I needed to get on the road as I was going to an Iowa wrestling meet and it was supposed to snow.

I grabbed some post race pizza. Usually I hate pizza after a run, for my pace it’s been sitting there and tastes like cardboard…. however the bar provides HOT, FRESH pizzas, it was delicious!! I also had a bottle of G2. There was water available, and I am not sure if beer would have been provided too.

As luck would have it the awards started while I was still eating and then it was time for the raffle. I did win!! Ok, with the amount of prizes and the number of people present it would have been weird if I didn’t. However, I won some Hammer gels…. I took them, but I shared them with someone who would appreciate them.

It was getting close to 1 pm, so I departed and made the trek back to Iowa City.

I really like the Heritage Trail, so I like the opportunity to run on it when I can. It’s also nice to have a longer distance event in the middle of winter in Iowa, those are very rare. However, I paid $60….. yes, it was race day and I did get a shirt and stuff, but there is no chip timing and no course support. I am sure I will be back though, just need to sign up earlier.

If you ran don’t forget to write a review at bibrave.com or claim your results at Athlinks.

2017 Recap

You know you’re old when you find yourself saying “That year went fast!”

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I feel like I was just telling you about running a marathon a month, and that was over a whole year ago. 2017 came and went, and while I didn’t have any huge goals, I guess I accomplished a few things.

  1. I ran 100 miles per month, so I have now done that for 2 years!!
  2. I ran in a new state – Michigan
  3. I completed 32 races (I think?)
  4. I ran 1700 ish miles.
  5. I joined the Zensah Ambassador Team
  6. I have a total of 161 BibRave reviews
  7. I joined the Shokz star program with Aftershokz

January – The year started in Florida, wahoo!! I really need to find out how to be a snowbird. Before a not so great Outback bowl, I ran the Spring Hill Half Marathon, only to return to Key West weeks later for another half marathon, I am still dreaming about the key lime pie. I came back to Iowa for the Amana Freezer race, it’s a must run.

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February– The weather was all over the place for February, I volunteered and ran the Freezefest 5k in Iowa where temps topped 50 degrees. Then a week or so later headed to Chicago for a 10k with freezing temps!!

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March – The weather stayed really cold for March, but I was able to help with the Shamrock Shuffle and run the inaugural 6.34 km.

April – This was a big race month for me. I ran the Easter Egg Scramble in Davenport. I was gifted an entry to the Hawkeye 50k – and it was unseasonably HOT, I managed a good fall and found a friend to chat with during those miles. I then ran the Illinois Marathon a couple weeks later with my BRF Heather!! I wasn’t done with April, I closed out the month with a half marathon as part of the Drake Relays– where is was cool and rainy. I guess I remember the weather.

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May – I love to race… so I started May with the Ganzo’s 5k and the Red Shoe half marathon, just a week after the last half, and 2 weeks from my last marathon. I then added some 10ks to the month with the Bear Stampede and Madison Twilight event.

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June – I started the month off with a 5k in Blue Grass, where my niece ran her first ever mile race and kicked butt!! Then it was time to focus on Grandma’s Marathon – my 3rd one there, will it ever be cool again? I rounded out the month running a marathon relay with Josh on our 10th wedding anniversary. We then took some time off and ventured to run a trail or 2 in NE Iowa, which lead us to the Interact 5k .

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July – I started the month helping with the Fifth Season Race and presenting at the expo – I still make and sell my headbands. We then traveled to Chicago for the Big Ten 10k, which is always a fun event to represent the Hawkeyes and meet all my Chicago friends.

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August – I ran a hometown race to start the month, then listened to the RunIowa podcast with fellow Corridor member about a race in a quarry, so of course I had to run that too! Then it was time to bring back the crazy, 2 races in one day- the Madison Mini and the Dam Backpocket 7 miler – which is always on the warmest day of the year.

September – This month brings football, so I was able to squeeze in some races between tailgating. NewBo was Labor day weekend as well as Run With Carl. and then I ran 2 races in the same weekend – The Pleasant Creek 30k and  then my 45th half marathon, The North Face ECS.

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October – This month put me on the road with a 10k in New Lenox, IL to kick things off. Then I put on my volunteer hat and worked the starting area for the Chicago Marathon. After that Josh an I hit the road to Detroit, for my first ever race in Michigan. Then I went to Louisville for maybe, one of the most fun post race parties ever at the Urban Bourbon. This race even had me experimenting with cooking with bourbon.

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November – For the first time ever, I switched from a full marathon to a half marathon at the Madison Marathon. I also couldn’t resist the event as the Hawkeyes unsuccessfully played a football game the day before. I wrapped up the month with one of my favorite “turkey trots.”

December – I ran 0 races – GASP! I did however jump on board to organize a fun run in Iowa City. Then I went to my first ever trip to New York for the Pinstripe bowl and I made sure to run in Central Park.

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Looking ahead to 2018, I already have some things on my agenda:

  1. Log 2018 miles – running and walking
  2. Run CRANDIC – I plan to run this, I am also part of the committee putting this event on. I love the new challenge
  3. I am the new co Vice President for Corridor Running
  4. I will be running Grandma’s Marathon (& 5k)
  5. I have returned to BibRave as a Pro and a regional Captain. I have been with them since April 2014.

I hope to add more things for 2018, I really love running all the races, so in a way the goal is to find a way to be able to do that again.

I really don’t set goals, but rather what is the next challenge. Do you set goals?

If you want to follow me into the new year, I am on Twitter, Instagram , Bibrave, and Strava, oh and recently Athlinks.

 

Bibrave Partners with Athlinks

BibRave has a new partnership with Athlinks.

“Disclaimer: I am promoting Athlinks as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

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What is Athlinks?

  • An online collection of your race results. Find, share and claim your race results up to the last 10 years
  • Connect with friends – meet at a future race, have a friendly competition or cheer each other on.

I have been an Athlinks member since 2009 – it’s cool to have your race results all in one place. However, when I originally joined, I found myself having to add all my races to the database, and due to so many races, I gave up, it was a lot of work to search websites for results and wait to see if they were added.

Periodically since that time, I would check in and some of the bigger races would show up on my profile to claim. That is easy, the system recognizes your name and you just hit the “claim results” button.

Now, I am willing to give the website another try. There have been many changes to the site to make it more of a community.

You can follow friends, when you follow them you can see if they raced the same events as you. This stat also tells you if you won or lost against them in that event. It’s a nice friendly competition, but when you are a slow runner, seeing all the losses on your profile isn’t a great feeling, ok so maybe it’s a little motivating.

I also am having an issue following accounts that are private. They can follow me, but I can not follow them back. I can also not see who my followers are, unless I go through my emails. *Maybe I am just missing something?

You can also add future events to your profile to see who will be there, complete with a countdown. This allows you to put in your time goal as well.

There were a few other things I am still struggling with:

  • My PR’s are not accurate. I have a couple marathon relays on my resume and they are counting that as my marathon PR.
  • I signed up 9 years ago, I can not change my email address to the one I prefer to use today. *I am working on getting this changed

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Moving forward – I am curious to see what incentives and discounts will be available. The website has grown, and in fact before January 8, 2018, those who sign up for a new Athlinks account or existing members who claim a new race result are eligible to win great prizes – from race entries into the Leadville Race Series and the Life Time Tri Series, to a one-year premium TrainingPeaks subscription. To learn more and “Win 2018”, visit https://app.athlinks.com/win2018/

As I continue to get email notifications, I will keep up with my Athlinks account just as I have in the past. Who knows maybe a giveaway will entice me to actually add the races that are not in the database.

You can get your free account online at Athlinks.com or get the app on your phone. If you want you can follow me too – https://www.athlinks.com/athletes/114826986

 

 

 

A Marathon in the Corridor

“Disclaimer: I am promoting Run CRANDIC as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check outBibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

Have you heard?

There is a marathon coming to the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, IA area. Run CRandIC will be held Sunday, April 29th. There will be a marathon that starts near the NewBo area of Cedar Rapids and finishes at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. In addition there will be a half marathon that starts at the UICCU (University of Iowa Community Credit Union) in North Liberty and finishes at Kinnick Stadium, and a 5k starting at NW Junior High in Coralville.

To say that I am excited, is an understatement. A MARATHON IN MY TOWN!!! I have traveled a lot of places, just to run a marathon. There is a 50k about 10 miles away ( I need to register for that)…but the closest marathon is one hour away.

Crandic – if you noticed, those are the letters that make up “C”edar “R”apids and “I”owa “C”ity. You also see this train image, what does that all mean? Well, here is some information from an article in the local newspaper:

“There’s so much history in the name CRANDIC, and for a good chunk of this run you’re running immediately adjacent to the tracks,” he said.

According to the CRANDIC website, the first electric cars began carrying passengers between the two cities in August 1904 over what was known as the “interurban.” Ridership began declining in the early 1950s as cars became more affordable, it said, and the last passengers were carried on the rails in May 1953.

Its freight business continued, the website said, and now operates “60 miles of mail line track and nearly 40 miles of industry track and switching gears,” carrying over 90,000 carloads every year. “

The Crandic railroad was the link between to the 2 cities, and so the name was born. However, and if you read the article…. (please ignore the 26.6 mile comment – we all love Josh S…but he is not a runner, lol) this race has been years in the making. There was always the obstacle of getting from point A to point B.

Enter – all the parties involved. This is a HUGE event, so in addition to the economic development groups and the CVB (and everyone I am missing) – Corridor Running was asked to help with the inaugural event.

You already know I was excited, but now my running club was asked to help.  After I stopped doing cartwheels, I stepped up to be one of the club members to be part of the planning process. Squeeee!!!

I will not bore you with planning details and all the meetings… so many meetings… seriously… there are a few meetings involved… oh and some emails. I am kidding, I am loving it. I have already felt the pressure to make sure this is a great event, getting the route planned was a feat, but it’s something I know we will make great!

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The website has more specific details provided, I just felt the need to share my excitement!

If you have been perusing the website you might have noticed the first price increase is Dec 16th. If you want the best race, I encourage you to sign up before December 15th, 2017 at midnight. http://runcrandic.com/registration

My current plan is to run this as my 25th marathon (we’ll see if that happens,) so if you are in the area and want to “train,” look me up. I may not be as familiar with the Cedar Rapids area, but I have run the half marathon course, and there are some hills!