Durant Dusk Hustle – 2019

Race Recap – Durant Dusk Hustle 2019

Friday, August 2. Durant, IA. 7 PM. Sunny, 80 ish degrees.

This is a fun, small town event. I have participated many times and this year I was going to test my legs and actually try to race the 5k.

I don’t mind an evening race, except for the wait all day to run. My body is actually a little looser at the end of the day too.

I left work for the day shortly after 5pm. It’s maybe a 35 minute drive. I found a parking spot on a side street, walked over to registration where I paid $25 for entry without a shirt. Then had way too much time to kill. I walked over to the convenience store to grab a bite to eat and use the bathroom. I then ran a mile and it was finally time to start the race.

In the meantime there was a kids run and the National Anthem was sung.

I lined up, then it was time to go. I followed the pack through the streets of Durant. A friend jokingly asked if Durant had enough roads for us to run 3 miles. In reality, the race was on one side of the highway and the town could probably host a 10k too.

It was nice in that the temperature was cooler than years past. The combination of paved and asphalt roads get warm with an evening start. There was one hill in the race, but nothing steep. This was around the water stop just after the half way point. We ran a loop in a neighborhood that bordered a farm. The course was marked with spray painted arrows in the road as well as volunteers at major turns.

I came into the finish line at stopped my watch, I had 3.1 and 28:38. Another sub 30, 5k in the books. I really tried to push my pace, but it has been a long time since I tried to run faster than normal. I was happy with my mile pace though.

I grabbed a bottle of water and a popsicle. I walked over the to the timer to get a printout of my results…. and 4th in my AG. This is the worst place to finish, I was defeated! I tried soooo hard and yet I was still not good enough. I feel this way as fast paced runners are those who are celebrated. Don’t get me wrong, I did my best and thought I had a good pace, it was just my feeling at the time. (Off on a tangent here…. I do always try to say or post my times and paces, because as a middle of the pack runner, I hope to inspire and encourage everyone that all paces are ok to be proud of!! It’s just rough on race day when you are alone and no one says good job in person at a small town event. OK end of rant)

I did wonder around the small town festivities. There was a slow pitch softball game, rides and live music.

When I returned back to the race area, it was time for the awards, I listened and clapped for everyone. I did happen to look at the times for the 33-40 age group, and I was 2 minutes and 18 seconds or so from 3rd place, which is a big difference. I would say my age is pretty competitive.

IT was getting late and I was ready to go home. I drove home on the side roads and stopped to pick up some Paul Revere’s bread sticks in West Liberty. They are soooo good and we don’t have this pizza place in Iowa City. One (One Christmas Eve on our way back through, we stopped and bought some too… they were open on Christmas Eve!)

Overall, this race isn’t anything to add to a bucket list, but I like to throw it in the mix of events. Also, it’s a race where I don’t see many familiar faces so maybe the different competition is a good thing.

Inaugural Hoover Prairie Run

Hoover Prairie Run 2019 – Race Recap

This race is associated with the annual Hoover’s Hometown Days in West Branch, IA. For many years there was the Presidential Races, then the Fergalicious 5k and then last year there was no event. I was excited when the local Lions Club posted there would be a run for 2019. I had to sign up!

This was not going to be like any other run, it was going to be held in the Hoover Prairie, and it was posted to be a 4.5k. The distance had instant PR written all over it, but running in a prairie is a challenge itself.

If you don’t know, West Branch is the community where I grew up and went to school. It is the birthplace of Herbert Hoover. There is a presidential library and museum along with the birthplace cottage and gravesite. On those grounds there is a restored prairie. It is maintained by the National Park Service, and offers some mowed paths.

I also work in West Branch, so on one of my lunch hour runs – or runch as I like to call it, I decided I would check out the course. This wouldn’t be my first run in the prairie, but my first in a long time. I wanted to make sure there were not many ruts or holes.

I discovered the mowed pathways to be in excellent shape. However, I guess I forgot about all the hills. Nothing like running on grass, up and down a bajillion times.

Saturday, August 3, 2019 – RACE DAY!!

I drove the 15 minutes to West Branch, but the streets were already closed up for the day of festivities. I finally arrived at work to park and walked over to the race starting area to get my bib. The event started and finished at the Hoover Presidential Library. There is parking there, but it’s for the museum. There was a port-o-potty set up too.

It was easy to grab my bib and I received a unisex, gray cotton t-shirt. It had a black logo on it. I took my things and walked back to my work, where I attached my bib to my belt and used the bathroom.

I walked back over to the starting area in time for the pre-race announcements. I was standing near some people I knew and we chatted about the actual route. There was a map and some verbal instructions, but I still wasn’t sure. We were supposed to go this way, then that way and do a loop here and there. There was also a 1.5k walk happening too.

My sister and niece arrived to cheer me on. They didn’t understand the map either, but they also didn’t care.

It was time for the race to start, so I found a place near the back. Then I was off and running. I knew there were 10 year age groups, so I was trying to size up my competition. Is that person in my AG? What about that one? Can I pass them?

We started on the drive near the gravesite, there was a volunteer stationed at the point where we needed to veer off into the prairie, so I followed the group and turned right. It wasn’t soon and we were huffing and puffin up the first hill. There were volunteers all over the prairie directing us where to go, even a water stop that we would pass twice. I was never lost and always knew where to go. There were signs placed where there were some ruts and holes, but they weren’t anything huge. There were no mile markers.

After all the turning and climbing and sizing up my competition, I was rolling into the finish line. I pushed stop on my Garmin and I had a 5k distance and a time of 30:22. Everyone that participated received a ribbon. I discovered it was good enough for 3rd place in my age group, wahoo!! I will be honest though, there were not that many people who ran the race.

There were bananas, granola bars and bottles of water available. The results were tallied and the awards were announced. I recognized the name of the overall female and realized it was someone I ran the Rival Game Relay with, years ago.

My sister, niece and I cheered for all the winners and then decided to stake out a location to watch the parade. Races with small town festivals are the best. We ended up getting a ton of candy pelted in our direction, too much!

The parade was over, so we went and had lunch at the Mexican restaurant, I got to learn all about the day in the life of an 8 year old and enjoy huevos rancheros. Then it was time to say good bye and get on with our days.

I really hope this race continues on. I know how much work it takes and I am glad the Lions took the initiative to bring this back. It was a successful first year event!

BibRave Summit Weekend

Chicago BibRave Summit Weekend

Disclaimer: I received entry into the Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

WOW – I am about 5 blog posts behind, and it’s only going to get worse, so here’s hoping I can catch up and remember all the races and things.

Thursday, July 18.

Josh was joining for this long weekend in Chicago. We made the decision to take the Amtrak, as it’s expensive to park a car multiple days. When it’s hot the train gets delayed, and this day was no exception. We made the most of it and went to grab some lunch in Galesburg, before we hopped on the rails.

The train finally arrived and we are on our way. We were put in a double decker car with a group of boy scouts. Their troop leader was very talkative and loud and made sure everyone heard him talking. Josh managed to nap through all this. I did learn from the loud conversation that the couple he was talking to was on the train for days, traveling from New Mexico to New York.

After what felt like eternity, we had rolled into the very busy train station. We got our bearings and made it out on the streets of Chicago. We only had a short walk to our hotel, the Club Quarters.

We made it just before 6pm, which meant we made it to happy hour. This gave us access to wine and snacks! We took part before we trekked up to our room. We had never stayed in this brand of hotel before.

After we checked into our tiny room, we discovered we were near Garrett’s popcorn, so of course we went to get some! No trip is complete to Chicago without purchasing the Garrett’s mix!

Then it was time for real food, so we walked over to one of our favorite places, Miller’s Pub. This restaurant offers just about anything you would want to eat – burgers, breakfast, seafood, pasta and beer! After we were full, we walked back to the hotel as Friday would be the start of a BibRave filled weekend.

Friday July, 19

We woke up early as we were to meet up with the crew for a service project. However, soon after we woke up I received an email that the project was cancelled by the city because it was too hot. This lead to a little chat, but it was decided that we would still meet and go for a little run, followed by coffee and donuts. It was nice to meet up with new and old pros, put names to faces.

The day was packed with events, so we went back to the hotel on foot and showered to then take an Uber to the McCormick Center for the Rock N Roll Expo. I think we squeezed in a sandwich at Potbelly for lunch.

The Rock N Roll expo was smaller and quieter than I expected. However, I kept forgetting that it was Friday afternoon and many people were still at work. It was easy to get your bib and shirt, even exchange it if needed. Then there was an area to buy race branded merchandise and then you snaked through the vendors. It didn’t take me too long to go through, although I did stumble on a great new beef jerky! I love food samples!

The crew of pros had taken photos and picked up all their things, so then it was time to depart again and get ready for the next event, the orange carpet dinner. Josh and I found another Uber and went back to the hotel.

We were all fancied up and called up another Uber to take us to the City Winery North. That was fun, it was shared and the person already in the car was talking loudly on her phone the entire ride. This didn’t bother the driver as he was deaf. It was super annoying to those of us who could hear, Josh and I texted each other back and forth on the ride.

Of course, we were the first to arrive at the orange carpet event, and we were too early. We sat at the bar and ordered a wine flight. It was good. More pros started to arrive, so we chatted. Then it was time to go into our private room.

There was indeed an orange carpet rolled out for us, complete with a sponsor backdrop and photographer! I did my best smize and Kardashian pose as I worked it. We were given swag bags too! Mine had two pairs of Knockaround sunglasses, a t-shirt and candy.

A bar was set up with some wine and drink choices. I had some more wine. Then a dinner buffet appeared with ravioli, salad, and veggies. We all enjoyed the evening squeezed into tables dining, drinking and taking more pictures.

During the evening, a message was sent that the RnR 5k was cancelled in the morning due to the heat. I wasn’t running the 5k, but it meant more people could join the BibRave shake out run in the morning.

As the sun started to set on the evening, I wasn’t ready to go back to the hotel and I wanted a beer! We ended up leaving and running into more pros at a nearby establishment for a drink. Then a few more of us moved onto another establishment and had another drink. Around midnight we thought we were going to turn into a pumpkin, so we got another Uber and went back to the hotel.

Saturday, July 20

An early and painful wake-up. We were going to the lake front to meet up with the group for a short shakeout run and a photo shoot. We were running a little behind, so we took another Uber or Lyft – at this point I don’t recall. We were dropped off at the location that was on our itinerary, but apparently that was not the correct location. There was a group of about 5 of us, that then appeared to be late as we had to hustle from the wrong location.

When we made it, we went for a short little run, and a photographer took some photos. The lake was really high, so the waves were crashing right next to the path. When we got to the turnaround point, I realized I didn’t start my watch, UGH! I also caught up with a few people who said after we left the night before then carried on and went to eat the most delicious hamburger ever. I am old, I was mad, but I am glad I got some sleep.

When we got back to our starting point, I kept going to at least get a mile because I am still run streaking. I had some time as people gathered around for more coffee and donuts and took turns getting individual professional photos.

Josh and I reenacting engagement poses

Then we took some group photos and just like that, it was time to get back to the hotel, take a shower and get ready for our next adventure. Sooooo, this time we did walk back to the hotel.

Our next adventure was a day game at Wrigley Field!! Yay, go Cubs! We both hadn’t been to see a game since they did the renovations, maybe 5 years. We found the red line near our hotel, discovered it accepted Apple Pay, and got on the train to Wrigley way early.

It was super hot! We walked around and then questioned what we should do. We didn’t have time to actually go to a bar and enjoy a drink, but we also had more time than just waiting on the group to show up. So we wondered into the McDonald’s across the street for some McNuggets and a real bathroom. It was also nice to cool off for a minute.

On the walk back to the marquee to meet the group, we purchased some peanuts and waters from a street vendor.

We waited to meet up with the others in the hot sun. They arrived and we took a photo and the tickets were passed out. We were in the 4th level, under the awning – shade!!

We did some walking around and made it to our seats. My seat was directly behind a pole. I had to lean one way to see the pitcher and lean the other way to see the batter. I was not enjoying the game. So I left the group and found an empty seat in the very top row of the stadium, there was a breeze!

The Cubs had a good game going, and I was going to stay until the end, because why even go if you are going to leave early. ( I am looking at you people who leave at the under 4 timeout in CHA!) I am glad I stayed, I think it was after we sang the stretch, there was a storm system coming in to the north and the wind changed direction and blew in off the lake. I think the temperature dropped 20 degrees, there was as roar from the crowd. It was like the air conditioning was turned on. There was only other pro left in the stands at this time, so we moved to sit together and we watch the Cubs win!! Ben, the Brewers fan was not so thrilled.

The sky was looking like it could open up at anytime and we needed to decide what we were going to do. Ben decided to go home. Josh and I had more BibRave plans to attend, but we didn’t have enough time to go back to the hotel and then to the event. We walked a bit south and thought we could get a ride easier, but the rideshares were expensive. So, just as it started to rain, we popped into some random bagel shop. Josh purchased a drink so we could use the bathroom.

We waited out the rain, and wasted time as we would be early to the next event. Josh kept his eye to his apps for a ride, but when we popped out of the bagel shop we were at a Red Line stop, so we just hopped the train and made our way to the City Winery on the river walk for our next event.

When we arrived, the sun was coming back out. We were one of the first to arrive and the best smelling – nothing like a hot sweaty day at the ballpark! I grabbed a cold cucumber, lime radler – very interesting!

This event was a live recording of the BibRave podcast with Cindy Kuzma. There was a buffet of noodles, salads and dessert. They also made sure to have the sauce on the side, wahoo that’s a win for team no sauce!!

As we dined, the events of the evening started. All the pros in attendance were asked to stand up, and they asked us to start sitting in the order we joined Bibrave. I was thinking, I feel like I know where this is going and thought, should I just stand on the table? I knew I was the only pro that started in 2014. However, I didn’t know where they were going with this. I was indeed the last pro standing and I was receiving an award. WHAT?!?

I received the BibRave Legacy award. I have been a BibRave Pro for 5 years. I was given a card and a scented pillow in the shape of a tangerine. I was shocked to be honored or receive anything. I was asked to speak and I didn’t know what to say. Thinking back, I should have encouraged those in attendance to get to know everyone in the program as that is my favorite part. I really like meeting up with the pros at races and hopefully making new friends.

Wow, after all that, I needed a cookie! We sat and listened to the live recording.

It had been a long day, so we made left with some extra cookies and made it back to our hotel room. We laid out all our race clothes and called it a night.

Gear: Sparkle Athletic skirt, Hawkeye hat, Orange Mud pack, Adidas shorts, Aftershokz Trekz Air, Brooks Ghost 12, 2xu socks, Garmin 935, Zensah bra

Sunday, July 21.

RACE DAY!! If you want my race review check out Bibrave.com. This was my second time at this race. It was my second ever BibRave partner race in 2014. I wasn’t too impressed with it then, but was ready to give it another chance.

We were up early again, we had to make a race day picture at the starting arch. We were able to just walk over from the hotel. We found the group and smiled pretty.

Josh threw some more smack talk to Jess as they had some contest to see who could run the race the fastest. They are close in race times, so it was for fun. It was a hot, humid day, so I kept encouraging them to be smart.

There were lots of corrals, many complaints they were too crowded. However, I wasn’t in a rush to join one as I was going to say, hi to my friend Heather who was also running. I happened to catch her on her way to the loo. After that, I hopped into to some random corral and proceeded to the start line.

I had no goals for this race, except get to the finish line. I did have expectations for a Rock n Roll race, and hoped it to be better than the last time I ran it.

I ran and saw some pros on the course, saw the BibRave cheer station, heard a few bands, but as usual, there is not one every mile in Chicago, especially downtown. Then came the dreaded McCormick Tunnel. At this point it’s just part of about every running event in Chicago as there is not a better place to get from point A to point B.

When I left the tunnel, we were rerouted onto the sidewalk. I was shocked and saw a man getting chest compressions on the road. I was about in tears, this shook me up. To this day, I have no idea if that man is ok. It also puts things into perspective. Whoa….

I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, and aimed towards the finish line.

I made the finish. I was given a medal and a cold towel. There were bottles of Gatorade, boxed water and pineapple juice. Apparently they were out of chocolate milk. There were Pringles and granola bars. I kept walking over to the park to meet the BibRave group, this is also where the post race band was performing. You could also get a Michelob Ultra.

We stood around, chatted, took a photo, then some people left. I knew there were still a few pros and Heather out on the course, so Josh and I waited for them to finish. We also were able to listen to the music too.

I don’t know if the race is better than when I ran in 2014, but maybe because I didn’t have too high of expectations in the first place? It’s tough when other Rock N Roll events get huge headliners as the musical act and then this one is usually someone I have never heard of. I also understand each event can only do so much in each city. I have said this before, but I think if I would pay to do another Rock N Roll it would be Las Vegas. ( I would have to do the half though as the marathon cut off is 5 hours. )

It was getting close to the time we had to be out of the hotel, so we walked back and got cleaned up, packed up our bags and left them at the concierge. We had one more event to attend.

We arrived at the Public House for a post race brunch. I had a bloody mary and a huge breakfast scramble. I was sooooo exhausted! We only stayed a while before we had to make the trek back to the hotel, grab our bags and then get to the the train station to get on the Amtrak back to our car.

Chicago is a fun place to visit, however I am so glad I do not live there. I like being able to get in my car and go where I want, when I want, park where I need to park. I guess it might be different if I didn’t have a car and could walk everywhere I needed to get.

We were on the train back to Galesburg, and of course Josh was asleep before we were in the suburbs. I passed the time scrolling my phone and playing games.

We were back at our car, and ready to get home. However, I wouldn’t let Josh leave Galesburg without celebrating National Ice Cream Day.

What a fun time in Chicago!

Mad Mini Anticipation

What is the one thing you are most looking forward to on race day?

Disclaimer: I received entry into the Madison Mini as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

Race day is less than 2 weeks away. I am no stranger to the Madison Mini and I am excited to run it again. I will be meeting a couple of BibRave Pros and Josh will be joining too. I know why I like to run this event, but I thought it would be fun to hear what they had to say. I asked them each the same question – “What is the one thing you are most looking forward to on race day?”

If you know anything about me or my husband, you know we are HUGE Hawkeye fans. So, of course, this is what Josh had to say, “I’m looking forward to running past the Wisconsin band and saying ‘Go Hawks’, and enjoying the post race party on the Union Terrace.”

On the flip side, Amy had this to say, “I love the race because I went to undergrad in Madison so it gives me an excuse to take the fam back for the weekend and it’s fun to run through campus and see how it has changed.”

Jonathan has never been to Madison and had told me this, “Well, Ang I had looked forward to running by Lake Mendota and was excited because this race has been on my list for the previous 3 years before this year but my schedule never worked with the date and time of the race. But my selling point has/was to be to enjoy the beautiful city of Madison, which oddly enough I have never gone to.”

As a refresher, I am looking forward to the post race party on the terrace, it’s such a great place to celebrate the day. If you see any of us, say hi!

Maybe these reasons have enticed you to register, well good news I have some codes to help you save. If you are interested in the 5k, use code BIBRAVE5 to save $5. If you are interested in the half marathon, use code BIBRAVE15 to save $15. Registration is thru August 16. https://www.madisonminimarathon.com/ 

Buckets O Fun

A Non Running Post

It’s been a hot minute since my last post, so for fun, I am posting about a road trip with my dad. Who knows, maybe I’ll give up the running and transition to travel blogging…ok not gonna happen. When I started this blog, it was for me to remember events, so this will be a fun way to remember an interesting trip.

A little background,  I have always worked for my father, who is an electrician. There was a time I was out on the job installing outlets and hanging ceiling fans – mostly as a teenager. Over the years I have done many things, but currently I am buying and selling on eBay. This job has me managing an inventory of over 2500 items. I ship daily, I find items to re-sell and my dad and I also purchase things to use for my dad’s electrical business. This journey has taken us many places, and we have met many people (hello auction friends!)

Our latest adventure had us on the road. My dad purchased a bucket or boom truck from a utility company in Ohio. While we explored the shipping options, which included someone else driving it back for us. (This complete stranger wanted us to put them on our insurance.) We decided the best option would be to drive my car to Ohio, and then my dad would drive the truck back and I would follow in my car.

Now, I am a road trip warrior. If a race fits in my schedule and I can afford it, I will be on the road and at the starting line in time. However, my father has not done any long road trip traveling in a a few decades or sooooooo….. What does that mean? Keep reading.

First we had to make sure payment was on it’s way, so that was sent ahead of time, mostly because we were not sure when we would leave. With the fancy mail system, it was to arrive on a Monday.

The weekend before, with some back and forth phone calls we came to the decision that we would leave on Sunday.

Sunday morning I met my dad at the shop. We really didn’t have a schedule, but the destination was Warren, OH. We decided that we would take the route through Chicago. The first stop was in Walcott, IA to get some cheaper gas – around $2.45. Then we motored on.

Of course when we stopped for something to eat in the suburbs of Chicago, there was an accident on the interstate and the GPS re-routed us through some city roads… and then we got back into the stop and go traffic. I think it’s expected to have traffic problems anytime in the Chicago area. This slowed us down, but again…. we didn’t have a schedule.

The rest of the trip to Ohio was pretty uneventful and boring. I introduced my dad to the Forensic Files on the XM Radio after we listened to a Cubs game.

We came to Warren, OH after dark. We weren’t exactly sure where we were going as we couldn’t get the truck. Driving through the town wasn’t too impressive in the dark. We stopped and I googled a hotel to stay at, so we headed in that direction.

The hotel was nice, and as luck would have it, a Waffle House was nearby. My dad had never been, so of course we ate dinner there. He enjoyed his meal, and once he saw my hash browns he had to order some himself. I will say it was the quietest WH I have ever been to, but it was also about 11pm at night. (eastern)


It was the day the truck payment should arrive, it was also the day we could go look at the truck. I woke up early to go find a place to run. My dad woke up to go check out the hotel breakfast.

I found a greenway in the area. It was a nice paved trail made for recreation.

When I came back to hotel, my dad had contacted the truck owner and we made plans to get our things together and head over to the utility company.

We arrived and of course the payment had not shown up. The guy asked why we didn’t just bring it with us, well we weren’t sure when we would be picking up the truck, but we wanted to make sure it was paid for.

In the mean time, the guy moved the truck outdoors and had it all set up. My dad climbed up into the bucket and started testing it out. I stood on the ground and about crapped my pants when he was way up high and spun it sideways almost tipping the truck. I swear, men and their toys… LOL!

My dad finally came back down from the truck and the mail guy had arrived and so had the check. We signed all the paperwork and were given all the owner’s manuals and maintenance inspections. Then we each got swag, a travel mug!

We said our goodbyes and got things ready to hit the road home. This meant my dad would travel with his flip phone and a tablet, I would have my iPhone. Also to note, the AC in the truck was not working and it was around 90 some degrees. It was around lunch time, and we had made the decision to not go through Chicago on the way back, so it would take 2 more hours, for a total travel time of 10 hours.

We started the trek out by filling up the truck with diesel. Then I was in the lead with my GPS and took us to the interstate. This was when the fun started. The truck is quite big and not the easiest to maneuver. We were on the interstate, but I had to go about 45 mph for my dad to catch up, which was not fun when changing lanes and taking exits in the bigger cities.

We took a break and my dad said that the truck was running hot. It was up to 65 mph cruising speed, but he couldn’t get it to cool down. He discovered that the hydraulic radiator was on top on the engine radiator. Sooooo the trip was going to take awhile. Again, I was not on a schedule.

We got back on the interstate for only a little time before we were back at a rest stop to let the truck cool down again. I couldn’t decide if I should try to take a nap in my car or what to do. I don’t do well with nothing to do, but wait. I like to go and get where I need to be.

Finally after some resting we were back on the road. I was following behind my dad at this time. It took forever to get through Ohio. I was very happy when we were out of that state and into Indiana.

Then we took another break at a rest stop not too far from Indianapolis. We took some time here, and ran into the janitor. What an adventure! This guy was telling my dad of some construction around Indy and suggest we go another way. Then after I used the bathroom, I was caught up in the conversation. It was way too political for me and he wanted to throw democrats as far as he could…. but what do you do besides smile and nod so you don’t become some statistic from some crazy guy at the rest stop. Then this guy goes on and on, like he had no one to talk to all day, and his dream is to sing at the Ryman Auditorium and he started to sing a song he wrote. We had to get out of here!

The only thing good to come from this stop was a cool rainbow.

I went to look at my GPS to find a way around the city. There are some back roads that go north and then west. However, my dad was the one in the lead… soooo I was looking at my phone reading a map…..keep in mind if I put in a destination it would take me on the interstate, so I just had to keep following the map as I was also talking to my dad on my bluetooth. My dad is hard of hearing, and has to have the windows down in the truck and hold up his flip phone to his ear. So there we were, watching the sun go down in the middle of somewhere Indiana.

It was getting late, if I were just in my car I would have made it home from Indy, but things were not going our way. We ended up on some east/west road that had roundabouts. I was on the phone telling my dad how to drive in a roundabout when he missed a turn and went off into the wrong direction. The truck is hard to turn around, so I hit the flashers and sat on the side of the road, talking on the phone guiding him back my direction.

Time was passing by and we were on a road of never ending roundabouts, however I was now in the lead!! We came to a stop light and on the right side of the road I spotted a hotel, I quickly asked if dad wanted to stop and he couldn’t say yes fast enough.

We pulled into the hotel parking lot and I went in to check the rate. It was also about 10pm. The rate was $150 and I about crapped my pants. The hotel was brand new, but that’s ridiculous for a Monday night in the middle of nowhere Indiana. Ok, so we were stuck, my dad was done driving the truck for the day and to move to the nearest hotel would be a chore… so instead of fighting that we sucked it up and got the hotel.

This is when I decided I was going into Ross Geller mode, I was making sure to use all the hotel amenities and take all the things. We got to our room and I turned the AC really cold!

I looked at google and discovered a sports bar that was open until midnight. We made our way over there and had a beer and some supper. What a long day!!! We were very optimistic in thinking we could make it back in a day, but we were done fighting the heat and roundabouts.


We woke up and took advantage of the hotel breakfast before it closed. It was pretty swanky with cold pressed juice and smoothies. I made sure to pocket some packaged cereal and fruit for the road. I even filled my new travel mug with coffee.

We were back on the road and still navigating this road around Indy. We would eventually catch up with I-74 and then it’s an easy road home.

We were not on the road too long and I noticed the low tire pressure warning on my dash. HMMMMM I just had 2 new front tires put on and they rotated the old front tires to the back, so I knew they should be fine with air. So we stopped at the next gas station and I pulled up to the air while my dad fueled the truck. I couldn’t hear any air hissing out of my tire or could I feel any. I moved my car over to get some gas and I could see something in my tire. I went inside the gas station to ask for a tire shop.

The first tire shop was “sooo busy they had to turn regular customers away.” They recommended me to Pomp’s down the way, I called ahead and they said they could get me in. My dad and I took off in my car and left the truck at the gas station.

We walked into the waiting room and saw popcorn, my dad immediately went to get some. I talked with the guy at the counter and he said it would be a little while and to have a seat. We took advantage of the wifi and waited.

It wasn’t too long and they had called my name. I walked to the counter and they had the piece of iron that was in my tire. I was shocked!!! It was about 4″-5″ long. I was lucky that something worse didn’t happen on the interstate. The bill was only $22 and we were back on our way to the truck.

I-74, just get to I-74. My dad was soo tired of me saying that, he kept asking where the road was. Finally after trekking through the middle of nowhere Indiana, we were at I-74, WAHOO!!!!! I was still leading at this point, so when we got on the interstate it was slow going for a bit and it was also raining, but we were moving!!!

Finally we had crossed the border into Illinois. Then we came to the Champaign / Urbana area. There are a few more roads here, but just stay on 74 and we are good. Somehow my dad was leading at this point. I think we switched on the road as it’s easier for me to follow on the long haul as I don’t have to go as slow.

Then it happened, my dad decided to take I-72 to Decatur. WHAT?!?!?!?!? I honked and was like don’t exit!! He just kept going and took the clover leaf south. At what point did I say to take this road?

I pulled off at the next gas station and sat there while I looked at the map. I also called my dad, no answer. I sat some more. I called my dad, no answer. This kept up for a while. He finally called me back to which I answered, where are you going?

After some discussion, I told him to take the turns to head back towards I-74. To him that apparently meant just keep going north or west. This meant I sat at the next exit for a ridiculous amount of time waiting for him to come back towards the interstate, which he never showed up for, because he just kept going north and west.

I left my post, found a bathroom and a drink and contacted him again. He was loving the rural 2 lane road, and claimed the truck ran better at 55 mph. All I could think is I was never getting home, ever! However, I am not sure what I needed to be home for, I just wanted to get there.

I finally found a 2 lane road that traveled west for quite a while, and would meet up with a road that went north and would eventually hook up with interstate 80, which takes us home.

After reading this map, I was able to catch back up with my dad, I found him at a gas station that has slot machines inside, surprise!

I got him out of there and we kept moving along, but it felt like it was taking forever!

Another stop for fuel and I grabbed a pop tart because we never ate lunch. However I did enjoy my hotel cereal and fruit. Then we were back on the road and headed north.

Finally we had crossed the Mississippi River and we were in Iowa, wahoo!!!

We took the exit for hwy 6 and made our way back to West Branch. It was late, about 10pm. Another long day on the road. I was hungry, but needed to stop back in the shop to check on this kitten that showed up out of the blue a few days before we left. It was still there, so I feed it and went home. I still had to get my mile in for my run streak, so I ran circles in my cul de sac.

What an adventure! My dad made the remark that he needs to road trip more as things have changed in the last 30 years. I learned a lot about patience, A LOT!

There you have it, my non running adventure.

Do you Strava?

A review of the Strava platform

Disclaimer: I will be receiving an annual Strava Subscription and Strava merchandise as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

What is Strava?

Strava is a social fitness network, that is primarily used to track cycling and running exercises, using GPS data although alternative types are available – Wikipedia

I have been a Strava user for a while. I run with a GPS watch that collects all my data from the run and loads it to the platform. Similar to other run tracking sites, Strava keeps track of how many miles I have run, elevation, and routes.

I like to know how many miles I have run each week and every month, it certainly keeps me accountable. You can also count swimming and biking data.

I also use the stats overlay on my photos as another form of accountability.

Strava also personalizes your data. I use this feature to keep track of how many miles I have on my shoes. There is a place to add your gear, then after each run you can edit your run to say which shoes you ran in. Then you can set it to notify you when you have run a determined amount of miles. I am currently running in 3 pairs of shoes, so it’s nice to not have to keep track of all those with pen and paper.

Another form of personalization, is pushing you to do your best by keeping track of your times on certain routes you run. You can earn course records and PRs.

Ok, some may argue that with this personalization, it’s not private. You can set your account settings to private and you can set your routes to not show where you run within a distance of your house.

Another way I use Strava for motivation is to sign up for the challenges. Every month you can find new challenges to join such as running a half marathon, a distance challenge or virtual 5ks. My favorite are challenges that offer a discount on a product or free things. One year there was a challenge to negative split a marathon, and I won a pair of shoes. These little things keep me interested.

Strava will send emails to keep you up to date on your challenges too, and supply a summary each month.

Strava is also a social platform. You can join running groups and find running friends. Within your social feed you can comment and give kudos. If you are looking to join a running club, I suggest the BibRave Running Club – https://www.strava.com/clubs/bibrave

Strava has a free version, so if you are looking to keep data of all your runs check it out at strava.com. You can then sync your GPS watch to the app on your phone, or use the app on your phone on the run. There is also a paid version if you would like a little more, such as training plans.

So do you Strava?

Hotter than BALLS!

Run 4 Troops 2019 – Race Recap

Spoiler Alert: this race was HOT!!

The Run 4 Troops event has always been the weekend after Grandma’s Marathon. I have participated in both events for the past 5 years now. I was worried they would both be on the same weekend for 2019, but I was in luck and could do both.

There were some changes made this year; for starters they added a half marathon! (There has always been a marathon and marathon relay.) What does this mean? The race has always been a point to point event, running from Dyersville to Dubuque on the Heritage Trail. To accommodate the additional race, all the races would now start and finish in Dubuque, and the race would be an out and back! This also meant there was limited parking available and we had to park about 2 miles away and shuttle to the start/finish area.

I have been spoiled amd had someone drop me off at the start in Dyersville, or I have run as a relay. Dyersville is also a lot closer to my house. I wasn’t sure if I would like these changes. Suuuuuure … the half marathon is a more popular distance, and at the end of June, who wants to run a marathon? Well, besides me – running from one location to another is cool.

So, I made some changes to my routine too…. I drove to Guttenberg the day before the race. Don’t worry I didn’t go out of my way, my family just has a small motel and I helped all day Friday cleaning and whatnot. This also meant my drive to the race would be about 45 minutes instead of and hour and 40 some minutes… and at 4 AM that is HUGE!!

On Friday evening, I dined with my parents – I talked them into eating some plain noodles…ok so I fixed up some pesto sauce too. Then I gathered all my things and tried to get some rest. Race day was going to be fun, the forecast was HOT, HOT, HOT!!!

Gear: Nike shirt (I wish I could find more of these, lightweight but provided shoulder coverage from the sun,) Orange Mud pack – with Gatorade Endurance, Boco Visor, Rudy Sunglasses, Aftershokz Air, Addidas boy shorts, Zensah sports bra, Garmin Forerunner 935, Brooks Ghost 11, Salt chews, pretzels, nutter butters, Sparkle Athletic skirt, coppertone spf 50, CEP socks. 

Race Day!

I woke up early, toasted a cinnamon raisin bagel with peanut butter, then stopped at the Kwik Star for some coffee and was on the winding Great River Road to Dubuque. I knew the day was going to be miserable temperature wise as I had to keep wiping my windshield from the moisture in the air.

I rolled into the shuttle parking lot, after a small detour. I wasn’t paying attention to the signs that were posted, oops! There were attendants parking cars, which I felt was weird as there seemed like there were 2304909234 available parking spaces. Oh well, I gathered my things, and hopped aboard a bus. (There were some port-o-potties here too.)

The shuttle was super quick. I was at the race start/finish location in minutes, which was good as I had to get my bib. I checked in with my name and they gave me a drawstring bag with my bib, bracelet for trail usage, gender specific tech shirt, and a protein bar (which is best refrigerated.) I had to check this bag as my car was about 2 miles away… it’s not a huge deal, but something I need to remember to grab when I am done.

I pinned my bib on as I waited in line to use the bathroom. Then a volunteer said there was a bank of of port-o-potties “over there.” So, no waiting, wahoo!!

I then had some time to wait for the race to start. As luck would have it I bumped into Jill (from the 100 miles in November group) and more Corridor Running members Michelle and Amy. It’s always nice to spot familiar faces.

I sprayed myself with sunscreen and walked towards the starting corral. There were some race announcements, including a note about the course. We would be going out and back one direction for a total of 3 miles, and then out and back on the gravel trail the remainder of the course. Then there was a live singing of the National Anthem.

Just before the race, I spotted another runner John… he had just arrived with a minute to spare. Plenty of time, small races are the best! The full marathon started at 6:30.

I started out near the 5:30 pacer when the race began. I just didn’t feel comfortable at that pace, so I ran ahead, and stuck with the 5:15 pace group. I need to learn to stay with the pace groups, and I tried!

I asked the 5:15 pace guy what his name was, it was Bob. My friend Amy told me to keep an eye out for Paul, so that is why I was asking. Bob was chatty and had a little mantra to start out with. Sadly, I just didn’t keep with this group and all the sudden I was with the 5 hour pace group.

I had found Paul! He was working the pace group…perhaps maybe he is still talking as I write this post. I was with them until they walked a water stop… then I was in front of it when I heard “Hey, I know that runner up ahead!”

To which I said, “Hey Robin!” I noticed as I passed the group at the water stop, it was Robin from Iowa City. So, I slowed up and chatted with her for a bit, and Paul then asked about me too and we made small talk about out things, including Amy. LOL.

I really should have stayed with this group longer, but I ran ahead… always my mistake.

We hit the mile 3 marker and were back at the start/finish area. Which was also the same time the first wave of the relay started. The trail/path was congested for me. They did have some cones up to make sure marathon runners were kept to one side. It was nice to see spectators as we came through the area.

I just kept plowing on. I came up on Michelle and then kept running. The trail is shady, but there was not much air moving. It was just the beginning of a hot, humid, muggy day.

There are a few climbs in the race, they are overpasses or road crossings. All the road crossings had volunteers, they also had Gatorade and water. These aid stations were in addition to the aid that was provided at the relay transition areas. Those had grapes and pretzels – oh and some gels.

I was carrying my Gatorade with me, but I also grabbed water at about every opportunity. I even would grab a tiny plastic bottle at times and put it in my pack. The aid stops just had colder beverages. I was also chewing my salt tabs and eating my pretzels.

I eventually was passed by Paul, then Robin, then Michelle… I was toast at about mile 10. I switched to my walk a quarter mile, run 3/4 mile plan. It was how I was going to smartly get to the finish line. I had 8 hours.

The good thing about out and backs is that you can see more runners and slap some high fives and good lucks. Just before the turnaround I saw John, Paul, Robin and Michelle again…so that helps the moral.

I came through the turnaround just after mile 14. This stop had grapes and wet towels!!!! I also took the chance to spray on some more sunscreen. It might have been at this point I turned my phone off of airplane mode, and checked the weather. The feels like temp was 92 degrees.

Nothing too exciting was happening, I just keep going. Then around mile 17 ish… I started walking with another runner from Virginia. She had chosen this race as part of her quest to run a marathon in every state. We walked and chatted for a while. Then I needed to use the bathroom.

This is when the chafe happened! I was soo sweaty and my clothes were soaked, so after the bathroom stop, my shorts just didn’t get back into the correct position. UGH!!

However, I did spot Jen at this aid/ transition stop. She had also run Grandma’s last weekend, and was doing this event as a relay with one other person. Trail racing offers these opportunities to continually meet people on the route, throw in small town atmosphere and they really are the best kind of events.

I trekked forward and received a message from another friend, also named Jen. She had paced the half marathon and was done, and was checking in on me. I told her I was taking my sweet ass time!

Then another runner came up and asked me about my socks. She was wearing compression sleeves and rocks were getting in her socks. I said they were better than the sleeves, but rocks still get in your shoes. I walked and ran back and forth with this person for a while, until about the last transition point in Durango. She stopped for the bathroom.


SOOOO HOT!!!! Just keep moving forward! I was given a bag of ice at this last stop… but it was an entire ziploc bag. I first put it on my head under my visor. Then I decided to dump it into my pack… ahhh cold Gatorade!!!!

Jen kept messaging me… and I might have picked up my pace a tad…. but I wanted to make sure I could run that last tenths of a mile…so I was back to walking.

The ATVs started roaming the trail in these last few miles. They were dropping off coolers of bottled drinks as there were no crossings or aid. They were also asking how we were doing, and a simple thumbs up was all they needed.

I saw mile marker 26! My watch had been ahead all this time, but oh well. I picked up the pace and ran it in. They even announced my name as I crossed the finish line.

This was my slowest marathon to date, finishing near 6 hours. I am not mad about it either. Anymore if I know I am not properly trained I wont push it as I want to feel good the next day.

A wet towel was placed around my neck, a volunteer had bottled water and chocolate milk in her hand. I grabbed the milk. Then another volunteer placed a medal around my neck. They asked me if I needed ice… I said I need a beer!!! I had been wanting a beer since about mile 12. Easy digestible carbs!

I grabbed some more grapes, passed on the cookies and the pizza. I found my friend Jen and met up with Michael and Dan who also paced the half. They were chatting with the other Jen who ran the relay and Robin. I said I need a beer, and redeemed my ticket for a Naturday! Stop judging – it’s so light and refreshing!!! (Oh, I also got carded!!)

We chatted and commiserated. Jen showed off this cool board they all got for pacing the event. We tried to stay in the shade. I then thought maybe I should eat something more, but when it’s so hot, it’s hard. I redeemed my food voucher for chips and 2 pickles as I did not want the pork sandwich. I could have used another beer, but I didn’t have any cash.

It was getting late and we were all melting. We snapped a group picture or two and I actually remembered I needed to grab the bag I checked, except no one was there. So I just went and got it myself. Also remember when I said there was a protein bar… yeah that stayed out in the heat all day.

We all made our way to the shuttle bus, and proceeded to our cars. We said our goodbyes and parted ways.

I traveled back to Guttenberg, stopping to take in the views.

So with all that said, did I like the changes for 2019? Well, I love the trail and I do like that you can cheer each other on with the out and back. However, I still miss running the entire trail. I am not sure the race will get big enough to support to 2 starting locations, but I can hope. I also think the relay benefits with a point to point as the locations for transition don’t have to double up. The shuttle was great!

With all that said, it’s a well organized race, with a great small town feel. I will try to run it again.