“Disclaimer: I am promoting Run CRANDIC 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!”

It’s Run CRANDIC race week and we’re all freaking out. Ok, so maybe some people are remaining calm. I am ready to run a marathon, that is not why I am worried, I am more worried about the event happening with the least problems possible. People can be very rude and mean, for the stupidest reasons……anyway…

Some people may refer to this period of training as a taper, and some people describe it as taper tantrums. How do you go into race week avoiding this?

  1. Trust your training! If you picked a training plan (oops I didn’t do that) you should trust that you put in the work and have the endurance to get you to the finish line.
  2. Take on a new hobby. You need something to occupy all your new found free time, why not learn to knit, get into bird watching, or decoupage?
  3. Check the weather. What better way to keep the tantrum alive than to obsess about the weather every day. It’s Iowa, it will change 65 times in the last week, so clicking that refresh button every hour will keep you busy.
  4. Plan your race day outfit. Don’t laugh, there is an art to putting together your race day look. From something that wont chafe to something that represents you. I like to wear a fun skirt with fun colors. Hey, add your name to your shirt as spectators can easily cheer you on.
  5. Catch up on those chores. Remember all those Saturdays you told yourself you would get to that leaky toilet or replace the porch light? Well you should have some more time now, get to it!
  6. Volunteer! Whether it’s at another race or your library, this is a good way to fill your time.
  7. Netflix marathon. This is a perfect way to test your endurance, curl up on the couch and see how many TV shows you can watch before you need to use the bathroom.
  8. Work on your playlist.If you run with music, this is the perfect time to add your favorite songs to your listening device. If you are super detailed you could get the songs in order of where the steepest hills will be.
  9. Hydrate. Unlike the weather, making sure you are ready to roll is one thing you can control, so make sure you are on top of drinking water and electrolytes. Or perhaps a Run Crandic 26.2 Brew? Scheduled to hit taps at these locations:
    • Kickstand  in Cedar Rapids
    • Chrome Horse in New Bo Cedar Rapids
    • Vine in Coralville
    • Old Chicago Coralville
    • Tin Roost North Liberty
    • Red’s Ale House North Liberty

     Big Grove in Iowa City will have it at the post race party

  10. Rest! Take a nap, sleep in, go to bed early. Arrive to race day feeling refreshed!
  11. Carboload! This might be my favorite thing, I like food and I LOVE pasta!!  By now, with your longer training runs you should know what foods agree with your digestive tract. Add them to your diet in the week leading up to the big race.

WHEW!! After all of these things, it’s race day and your taper tantrums should be over. The next thing to do is get to the start line, so you can get to that finish line!


Chocoholic Frolic – Race Recap

Recap of the Chocoholic Frolic 5k & 10k – 2018

Saturday, March 31, 9 AM at Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City. The temps were near 40 with wind that would pick up and change direction.

Before I get into run details…how bout some background… As always I will have a review at bibrave.com.

This event is new to Iowa City. With some research it appears that a race management company is responsible for 5 of these chocolate themed runs around the USA. It’s my opinion that due to the popular Hot Chocolate races, this series exists. In my area we do not have a lot of race management companies come from outside, most races are organized locally.

I first started to see advertisements for this event on Facebook. Something would appear in my news feed daily. Then, that same ad had a discount code to save $15. The registration period for that code expired, and a new one was advertised. I did try to contact the event via FB messenger on Feb 14th.

Ok, I couldn’t resist a 10k for $30, so I eventually registered. I was very hesitant. There was very little information on the website. However, because the run was soooo close to my house, I wanted them to prove me wrong.

There was no published course information, all the website said was the run was at Big Grove Brewery. As someone who knows that area well, I know it’s under construction, I was curious where we would be running. I also know running one direction out and back is roughly 5.5 miles.

There was also no information about the expo, as it said there would be one. To this day it still says TBD. It did say you could register on race day, so that usually means you can get your stuff on race day. However, with lack of information…who actually knew?

Next, proceeds from the event were going to a charity. The only way to learn about this was through the registration process. All it had was an option to donate more to “local charity.” What is this local charity? I still don’t know.

What did I know? I would be running a 10k that started at 9:45 am. I would receive a chocolate bar medal, a chocolate bar, and get a 1/4 zip pullover. I also read there would be a chocolate beer made special for the event. Apparently this was enough for me to justify spending the money (or to do some market research?) Is this enough for the everyday runner?

The week of the run/race, I finally got an email. Up until this I wasn’t sure if I paid $30 for a chocolate bar, as I still hadn’t received answer to a my FB message or one through the “contact us” form I submitted.

The email had the important information the website was lacking. First, it did call the event the Chocoholic Frolic Run – but went on to state “race” details. No where did I see “fun run” and I do think there is a difference between race and run and what to expect. It had both course routes and information about times to pick up your bib. This email also said the 10k would start at 10 AM. There was also another discount code to share with friends. Did anyone ever pay full price? This information needs to be on the website, it’s very helpful in deciding on registration.

Whew… you still with me?

So on the Wednesday before the event, I attended my running club’s shop local event. Prizes were race/run entries… and as the cookie crumbled, there were leftover entries to this and I was gifted one and gave my husband an entry. This was on the heels of a discount going out to the running club. Lots of codes and complimentary entries.

I talked to my friend who I convinced to register as she LOVES chocolate, and she still claims she never saw this event advertised anywhere. She does not have Facebook, where I saw an ad daily. So, maybe the reason for all the codes?

After all this and the codes, I found myself registered for the 5k as well as the 10k. I’ll keep things upfront and honest, I used one of the complimentary entries. There is no expectation I do anything in return. I always write a recap… so here I am.

There was a packet pick up the night before at the brewery. Josh and I decided to go and get our things. The brewery was packed, but there were signs leading us to the packet pickup area. We just had to tell them our names and they grabbed us a bib and assigned our information. Since I had registered for both races they asked if I wanted 2 pullovers, or a different size. While I thought about it, the lady asked me if I wanted some of the merchandise on the table. This was all really nice and totally not necessary. I did decide on another pullover color, but discovered it was too big when I got home, so Josh has another pullover. They thanked us many times for registering for the race.

I had organized all the things I was going to wear for the run. The weather is crazy here, it’s never going to be spring, so it did take some time to decide what to wear.

Gear: Sparkle Athletic ice cream skirt, Flipbelt crops, Zensah socks, Brooks Ghost 9, Moving Comfort bra, Mission t-shirt, Chicago Marathon hat, Aftershokz Trekz Air, XX2i France 2 sunglasses, Nathan race belt, Garmin Forerunner 935.

In true race day fashion, I was anxious about getting there in time. Why? I don’t know, I am used to traveling far and being unfamiliar with things… I really could have rolled up minutes before the start.

The brewery opens for regular business at 11 AM, but they had the doors open for people to stay warm or use the indoor bathrooms. The patio fireplaces were on. There is lots of parking, including at the neighboring business.

Inside, on the top of the bar were the plates of goodies finishers received. In the back game room computers were set up for race day registration. A selfie station tent was set up on the patio. 90s hip hop music played on the speakers. An announcement came over the system and the kids race was to begin, followed by the 5k.

Another strange thing is the 5k is before the 10k. With time and whatnot, you think they could run them simultaneously or start the 10k first.

As I mentioned before, I am familiar with this area. The City of Iowa City has been re-working an old waste water plant to make the area to the west of the brewery a small park with paths that connect to a trail system. This project is close to complete, but the connection to the brewery is not finished, so a wood chip trail was added to get to the starting line. It wasn’t difficult, it just wasn’t ideal.

At about 9 AM, runners were gathered at the start. There was a teardrop flag blowing in the wind and a rubber timing mat across the sidewalk. There was a bike out front to show the way.  After some announcements, the race was on.

Josh gave me a high five and I followed the pack. The course is on the Iowa River Corridor Trail. It heads south along the Iowa River, to the ball fields, and eventually around the Trueblood Rec Area. It’s relatively flat, a small little hill here or there, and it’s all paved.

I passed the first mile marker and my watch agreed with the distance. After this, I took a turn as suggested by signs, to run through the ball fields and make a loop. I passed the water stop and did not take anything as it was cool. I am not sure if there was anything but water. The email stated “water and chocolate will be located along the route and at the finish line.”

I was on my way back, and keeping note of the mileage on my Garmin, for a basic out an back, things were not adding up, but what could I do but keep moving.

Also a side note, as a Bibrave Pro I was trying out my FlipBelt cropped leggings for the first time, and I had the phone in the back zippered pocket and I had to keep pulling my pants up. This kept me occupied as I ran back.

When I got close to the starting line, which was also the finish line, I looked at my watch and it was around 2.6? I knew the 2 guys (Dan & Horacio) handing out finisher medals, so I motioned to my watch, and raised my arms. They motioned me to the finish line, so I crossed the timing mat and they handed me my luggage tag medal. My Garmin read 2.75 miles. I was not happy. Someone with the race management company caught wind and told me they didn’t want to deal with the construction, so it was short. Ok, then don’t have the race/run or advertise it as a 5k. I am sorry to my friends Dan & Horacio who got to hear and see all my displeasure with the situation. Horacio wanted me to make sure I told everyone the guys handing out medals were the best!

I met up with Josh who had my 10k bib, as I needed to switch because the timing strips were registered for each race. I went inside to get my 5k? finisher plate and found the place very busy with participants. The finisher plate was PACKED with treats, like an insane amount of things for a 5k?. It was more than just the chocolate bar.

I had to get ready to go back out and run, so I put my plate in the car. I met a few of my running friends and we all discussed the short course and someone said the 10k course was spot on. Ha… the email might have said that too, but it also said the 5k was 3.4 miles.

I walked back over to the start area, while Josh did some warm up strides. There were not as many participants in the 10k. There were some more announcements, and the bike lead was back. This course started with a loop around the park path (um this could have been added to the 5k) and then we took the same Iowa River Corridor Trail south along the River, but this time a cut by the water stop table to the sidewalk along S. Gilbert St. There were signs in the ground with arrows pointing the way. There were no human volunteers on the course, except 2 at the water table.

I continued on, and had to cross a road. While it had a 4 way stop, there were no cones, no traffic control, nothing here. I took the loop around Trueblood, and then BAM….the wind was at my face or had switched direction or something, it was like running through mud. Anymore I can’t win with the weather, so you just wear all the things and expect the worst.

After my loop around the lake, there was a fork in the road….I was behind some women who were just as confused as I was at this fork. Those ahead of my just cut across the 2 cones and sign flopping in the wind. I had glanced at the course and felt like I needed to take a left and follow the Iowa River Trail. I went that way and I knew I was going the correct direction as there was a sign with an arrow on this route. The ladies in front of me basically cut the course, but really are they at fault if the intersection, with no human, was not clearly marked?

I was mad. I was really thinking if they were in my age group and they placed as the winner that would not be fair, then I was thinking this would be a great story for marathon investigation, lol.

After thinking I was on the correct path back to the finish, I passed one of the women who cut the course, but she was running the wrong way. She mentioned something like, the course is short. I was like, you cut the course, but neither of us stopped. I was no longer mad.

Are you still reading? Thanks!

It seemed as the wind was getting worse, so I was battling that the entire way back. I even dodged a falling limb. I also moved my phone to the front pocket of my FlipBelt Crops, and had no issues.

I got closer to to the finish and had to do another loop around the park area, before I crossed the timing mat. I was sad that Dan & Horacio were no longer handing out medals. I hit stop on my Garmin and it said 5.87. Wow! I met Josh and all I could think was get me some beer!

Inside the brewery, I grabbed another finisher plate and made my way to the beer. I said I wanted one of each brew, and showed them both of my bibs. I even got Josh’s beer as he didn’t care for it. There were not many participants hanging out at this time.

We joined our friends who ran the 5k? and discussed the event. I ate the items on my plate that were not individually wrapped, there was soo much! We chatted about getting what we paid for and discussed if this was a race or a run. When we solved all the problems we parted ways, and called it a day.

My overall thoughts….ha, you had to read a ton to get to this point. I feel I got $30 worth of stuff – the pullover, all the chocolate, the medal and the special beer. I do not feel I got any of that in the actual running part of the race.

Would I run it again? Hmmm maybe still on the fence… I am not sure I would pay to do it, knowing what I know. a lot of things have to improve.

This also has me wondering, what do people want in a race? Do they want the swag and material things? Or do they want a well supported course, an accurate course, volunteers, posted information? Am I looking to much into this, is this just a race for fun? Is this one of those events to get the non runner out and moving?

I am also a member of my local running community, and a member of our local running club. As a volunteer club that hosts 7 races we strive to do our best for the running community, and we hope to set a standard of what people should expect when registering for an event.

Thanks for reading.

Training Excitement

Training Excitement

“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!”

How could marathon training be exciting? No – I am not drunk… and yes training for Run CRANDIC has been exciting.

You might have noticed my lack of blog posts, but it’s because I have been trying to keep up with all the excitement that is training for a marathon in my backyard.

I have run quite a few races, and yes there is a 50k just down the road. This is the first marathon in the corridor. Why does that matter? I can train the actual marathon course. This is huge to knowing where the hills are, what to expect with the terrain AND group training runs!!

I have never been apart of something like this. In full disclosure, I am on the planning committee for this event, so I may know more than I let on. However, back to the point – there is so much excitement for this event. Every weekend someone posts an option for a group run, and a handful of runners show up to encourage each other to accomplish their goal. It’s brought out something in my local running community I didn’t know existed.

See –  I have struggled for years to fit in, to find a group run I could actually be a part of. (No one runs 10  minute miles, ugh.) However, this has been different. If you want someone to run with you just ask, and they show up.

How can you be part of this? Well if you are running CRANDIC, make sure to join the FB chat group – Run CRANDIC Runners. Just ask about meeting up, and BAM!

I have run the entire course, the things I do…however the crazy part, because I asked – I had 3 others do this with me. The training excitement is fantastic!

photo cred: Michael Price

Are marathon training groups normal in your town? What if you don’t have a marathon?

Will I see you on race day? Registration is still open and you can save 10% on your race registration until April 25th – which is when registration closes!!  Don’t forget we could always use volunteers too!

Sip and have fun!

Corridor Running Shamrock Shuffle 2018

Race Recap – Corridor Running Shamrock Shuffle 2018

Saturday, March 10, Iowa City, IA. Sunny and a cool 30 ish degrees.

This is the only race Corridor Running hosts in Iowa City, so if I am around I always try to participate, whether it’s running or volunteering.

I arrived at College Green park just after 6:30 AM as I signed up to help with race day set up. Brrr, it was cold, but not as cold as last year. I checked in an asked where I was needed to help.

I am not sure I ever had an official job, but I set up tables, answered some questions, directed people where to go, and I took photos and updated the club’s social media accounts. (which you should follow: Instagram / twitter) A box of donuts magically appeared and I might have ate one.

In addition to the normal bib pick up, there were tables set up to buy club gear and a table for a new running store in the area, Heartland Soles.

Around 8:30 I ditched my coat and made it to the starting line. It was weird, I ran in my volunteer shirt and no sparkle skirt. Maybe it’s because I was out of practice… I hadn’t ran a race in over a month!

After some brief announcements the race started. There were 2 distances to run – a 3.17 km and a 6.34 km (which was an additional loop.) I was in for the double loop. The course is a tour of the north side neighborhood, complete with old brick streets. There is one major hill near the end of the loop… this of course is where the official race photographer was stationed. The last stretch of this course is also on a busy street.


I had a good first loop, and then the wheels came off and I slowed down for my second loop. So.. I got my phone out and started doing some IG stories and taking pictures. I got called out talking to my phone by some guy on his cool down lap, HA!

Before I knew it, I was at the finish line and a volunteer was removing the timing chip from my shoe. I had a Garmin time of  38:10. There were bananas and water set up near the finish line, but the post race party was at a bar a short walk away.

I stuck around the finish and race area for a while as I also volunteered to help tear down the event. Hey, a race doesn’t happen without the volunteers, so I am happy to give back! It really isn’t difficult either, just do the task your are assigned.

The clean up duties were simple and easy as most of them were already done by the time I got back to race headquarters. I did move some tables and put some boxes in my car.

I got the ok to head to the bar. The awards had already been given out and people had started to leave – it wasn’t as crowded as years past. I had pre-paid for the brunch and ordered a beer and sat down at the bar.

Fellow club member, Warren joined me as I ate my corned beef and egg stew and we solved all the world’s problems.

I will continue to support my club with this event. I also like that the race distance is something different. I have struggled in the past to fit in at the post race party, but I enjoyed having a moment to sit down and reflect – I need to be ok with that too.

If you ran don’t forget to add your review to Bibrave.com and claim your results on Athlinks.

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!


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!

Half Marathon #44 – New Bo

New Bo Run – Half Marathon #44 Recap

The New Bo Run was held on Sunday, September 3 in the New Bohemia area of Cedar Rapids. There is a 10k and a half marathon that are run at the same time. It was sunny, 60 ish degrees and super humid.

I am no stranger to this event, I have run the half marathon in the past. I am also a board member of the running club, Corridor Running, that helps organize the event. That being said, I did pay for my entry – if there are any questions to my thoughts. As part of the club, I help with their social media accounts, and we ran the course a week before the race.

Josh was running this year too, so we woke up early, had the usual toast with peanut butter and all the coffee, then made the 40 ish minute drive to Cedar Rapids. We were tired, but ready to run. The first Iowa football game was the day before, and the Hawks defeated Wyoming 24-3. Go Hawks!

GEAR: neon green Sparkle Athletic skirt, adidas shorts, lululemon shirt, Orange Mud hydraquiver vest pack 1, xx2i France 2 sunglasses, Aftershokz Trekz Titanium, B1G hat, Brooks Ghost 9, Garmin Fenix 3, RoadID, spibelt, Zensah socks

We were able to grab our bib and shirt before the race with no issues. It seemed many others had the same idea, there was a quick moving, short line. The club also had gear available for sale.

Josh and I needed to use the restrooms, and no matter how many port-o-potties a race brings in, it’s never enough. There were 2 banks of them, with one line for each. Now, we could also get in the debate of multiple lines or one line….. but ANYWAY… Josh and I knew there was a Casey’s (convenience store) 2 blocks away. We did a warm up to the store and passed IG friend Jaclyn on the way (she was doing the same.) Ahh, in and out in minutes, great idea Josh.

We ran back to the starting line. Which for this race is not the finish line. It starts a couple blocks away, not a big deal. Runners were starting to line up as a drone buzzed overhead.  The official race photographer roamed, as the National Anthem was sung live.

I actually stood near the start line to take a picture, then went around the starting timer mat, and hopped into the race. There were no corrals, and I didn’t hear an announcement to line up according to time. However, there were about 1000 participants, and the width of a city street, I didn’t feel too congested.

I did hop into line with social media friend Chelsea and BibRave pro Mel. Hey ladies!!! They are troopers, they had just run a half marathon the day before in Madison, WI. I, of course snapped some photos…and began my race.

Going into the race, I didn’t have a huge goal, but I was going to try and push my pace. However, the humidity was tough, and I was taking photos and posting to IG stories and the Corridor Running twitter feed as I went. YEP…that’s me.

Being familiar with the course, I didn’t expect any surprises. However, my watch beeped at mile one and I didn’t see a mile marker flag. HMMM? SO – I later learned that the mile 5 flag went missing last year at the race, and this year the mile 1 and mile 4 flag went missing. SO, if you know where these are, or know anything about this…please return them. This doesn’t help keep costs down for the race, or make our race compare with others if we have to waste time creating mile marker signs because some punk thinks it’s cool to steal. OK end rant!

I will have a “to the point” review at Bibrave.com if that is more your thing.

Ok, back to running the course. I knew there would be a couple port-o-potties near the entrance to the Prairie Park Fishery, about mile 2.5. As as noted above, there are never enough, lol. I didn’t have to use one, but there were some lines. There was also a water stop here. All the aid stations were water only stops in paper cups.

Then it was time for the 2 courses to split, the half marathon to the left and the 10k to the right. There was a sign and a guy standing there with a pool noodle directing runners.

Trotting along – there was another railroad crossing. Yep, this race has railroad tracks on the course. There are trains that will run during the event, you just need to be alert. The race does their best to work with the railroad, but it is what it is.

Just near mile 3, there is the first hill. It’s not a huge hill, but it’s a nice little climb. This takes you on the back road of the race, where there are more rolling hills. The first part of this section are a chip and seal road treatment, allowing for potholes and weird ruts from traffic, but nothing major. It eventually switches to pavement and a gravel shoulder.

There were more water stops and a few spectators out and about with some great signs. Just a nice day for a run through the back roads of Linn County.

At about the halfway point is the entrance to the Sac and Fox trail. There is a timing split mat set up here along with one port-o-potty. Also something to note is the water fountain in this parking area for the trail. The New Bo run dedicated it a few years back from race proceeds.

This trail is one of my favorite parts of the race. It’s an easy trail, really flat, gravel or packed dirt, no need for special shoes, and it’s shady. There is a water stop on the trail just after the one and only gel stop. There is no other food offered on course.

This race is pretty basic, just water and one gel stop. I knew this going in, so I had my OM pack with some orange Gatorade and a granola bar for an emergency. I am ok on some runs of half marathon with no food, and other times I need more than an electrolyte. At about mile 9 I was feeling like I needed something, so I took a bite of my granola bar.

I am not a huge watch “watcher,” meaning I rarely glance to see what pace I am going. I may check to see what mile I am at when it beeps at me. However, a race walker caught up with me, I was amazed at his form and ability to move so quick…. I also noticed that about every 10 steps he was checking his watch… I am still amazed at how he did it. (I eventually kicked it in and crossed the finish before him.)

Coming back around after mile 10, it was the part of the course that re-joins with the first few miles, so the race is an out and back with a loop in the center.

At the point, I was hot and sweaty, but I kept moving as I found my friend Monty. He is training for the Chicago marathon, and said he has since inspired his wife to run some races too. Hope he has a great training cycle, and an even better marathon.

I was approaching the last mile. I knew that there was a slight hill, more of an incline. When you run out on this part, you don’t realize you are running down hill, but you feel that climb on the way back.

I saw the club President, Mark cheering everyone on. Always nice to see friendly faces. Also, the law enforcement officials were still out protecting all the intersections, and before I could tell them thank you, they were cheering too.

I was on the home stretch to the finish line… I could hear the announcer, but he was sharing the results of the 10k, and giving out awards. I am not sure if the faster kids had their names announced as they crossed the finish line.

I crossed the finish line to see the race photographer, hopefully I was looking fly… or on fleek or whatever the kids say these days….. I was handed my handmade ceramic medal, and reusable plastic cup. I then saw Josh.

We waited by the finish line where I saw many other people – as we were waiting for more people to finish. I then had to leave as I said I would help with the apparel sales. I also wanted my post race treats.

Josh stayed at the finish to see Mel and Chelsea. I walked over to the apparel sales and was told they had things under control. So, I went to check out the post race food. No kolaches…. WHAT?!?!?!? I wasn’t that slow, I mean I did hang by the finish line a while, but what? So, did you have more than one? I did grab a veggie breakfast burrito, but it was kinda mushy from sitting in a steamer… so I did what any runner would do… I walked over to get my plastic cup filled with the Lions Bridge Brewing beer – a Workman’s Comp. There were also water coolers available to fill your cup with water too. No plastic bottles.

I finished the race around 2:12

Of course, I would run into another person I know, Matt, and we chatted for a while. Then as I was standing there, I congratulated Dan and his dog Phil as he placed in his AG, I said hi to Horacio. I also saw Lisa, she had just completed her first half marathon. Lisa was also part of a couch to 5k group I helped with a few years back, this was amazing! Congrats Lisa!

I was then getting texts from Josh… the area is not that big, but eventually he found me, as well as Chelsea and Mel, they had finished and were going to get their beers.

We all stood around and chatted some more, cuz runners like to talk about running.

However, we needed to get moving so we could get back home to let the dogs out. We made the trek back home with a pit stop at the Iowa Running Co, they had black and gold truckers for $10.

Of course, who do we see there but more runners…and Doug… one of the RD of the upcoming Pleasant Creek Trail Run…soooo I got to hear – again – why wasn’t I registered for that race. Well, here is a run down…the race is Sept 16th, which is the home football game against North Texas at 2:30. I can make one loop (15K) get to the game, and then travel to WI for the North Face Endurance Challenge half marathon on Sunday, Sept 17th. I just wasn’t sure I could make it all work, and well I am broke. ok off topic – it happens.

Ok – so I accidentally registered for the 30k PCTR… we will see if that weekend goes as planned. It really was an accident.

Back to the New Bo Half Marathon. I like this race, registration tops out around $50 ish dollars, there is an option for no shirt. The running basics are covered, and no hassles. It’s a community event as it kicks of the New Bo Arts festival too. I do wish there was real food on course or electrolytes, and kolaches for all. I will continue to run this race if it fits in my schedule.





Spillway & Sunburn

Hawkeye 50k – Race Recap

The race took place Saturday, April 8th in Solon, IA, around Lake MacBride, starting at 8 am, with the 25k starting at 8:30.

First, I have to thank Deb for giving me her bib for this event. This is a capped race, and registration sells out quick. I mentioned in a previous blog post how I missed out, and she contacted me.

The main reason for my excitement – an ultra in my backyard – well not really, but a 20 minute drive from home. There are a bajillion 5ks, and some 10ks, a couple 13.1s, but not many options for longer distances close to home. Ok, don’t get me wrong I love the adventure all my travels have brought me, but for once I get to sleep in my own bed, no travel expenses, no hotel costs.

Alright… Friday night I ate my usual, plain old noodles, and prepared all my gear. I also made cupcakes and mini muffins as the post race was a potluck. I contemplated if I should carry my pack, given all the details in the pre-race email about the aid stations, but the forecast was predicting temps about 20 degrees warmer than I had been “training” in.

Gear: Orange Mud Endurance Pack, XX2i France 2 sunglasses, Aftershokz Trekz Titanium, Nathan race belt, Bibrave tank, Blue Ridge Pullover, Zensah technical hat, Adidas 7″ boyshort, Pro Compression Socks, Brooks Ghost 9, Garmin Fenix 3, Road ID, 2 Toms.

Yeah…. you noticed training in quotes above. After last year and the crazy marathon a month, I knew I would be able to complete this race. However, I was not training for it. I have been training for the Illinois Marathon, thankfully I had picked a plan that had me prepared.

Josh was joining me at this race, but he would be running the 25k, or one loop. We took off for Solon after my usual toast and coffee breakfast. We arrived at the Timber Dome with time to grab our ankle strap chips and use the bathroom one more time. Josh had already grabbed our bibs and short sleeve, unisex tech shirts the day before.

While waiting to start, we saw fellow Iowa BibRave Pro, Mel. She was running the 25k. We chit chatted for just a short while, and then it was time to start!

I lined up near the back, and waved to Josh & Mel as I was on my way.  I knew I had to run the loop twice, and I was familiar with about the first 4 miles. Other than that… I was ready for the unknown.

The course featured crushed limestone trail, some pavement, single track and a spillway crossing.

In the back of my mind I knew I had a chance of setting a new PR at this distance. My current PR is 7:09, and I was close at my last 50k. So, I just kept the first few miles slow and steady.

Then we all came upon the first giant puddle on the trail. This spot is just low, and is prone to minor flooding. I mention this only because there were so many people going off the trail into the woods to avoid this puddle… um there is a spillway crossing coming up, and everyone was avoiding the puddle. I splashed on through…. think I turned my audiobook on.

I always get geographically confused around Lake MacBride and the Coralville Reservoir. I know I am in Johnson County, but I have no idea really where I am. After the flat limestone trail section, there was a short climb to a road, which led us into the main beach of Lake MacBride…. I knew where I was… temporarily. There was one of the aid stations here, stocked with gummy bears, chips, cookies, Gatorade, water and much more.

I stopped for some gummy bears and kept on moving. It was back to some flat limestone, this was the section that lead to the spillway. I wasn’t scared, I have run trail race with creek crossings, so I was ready to welcome the challenge.

The spillway………. I approached and noticed there were some guys in waders near the bottom, they also had a rope across the water for helping runners too. There was also an area to cross near the top. If you chose the bottom route, you had to climb down some rock, which meant you had to climb back up.

There are pictures of this, but even though the proceeds go to a charity… I don’t need to buy more race photos.

This first loop, I went with the bottom crossing as this is where there were people helping you across. I had a harder time getting down the rock to the actual water, than crossing the water. Once at the water, I held onto the rope and walked through the rushing water. Then it was the tough climb back to the top. Oh, and once to the top, there were stairs in the trail, to climb back up on the trail.

I was now on more traditional trail, or single track type terrain through the woods. This was my favorite part. It was also the most up and down part of the course. I just kept moving. Another great part of ultra and trail races is all the other participants on the course, everyone that passes me I get to cheer on, given there aren’t many spectators out in the woods.

I came upon the next aid station, grabbed some more treats, and moved along. I was just enjoying the day. I was back in the woods, following the pink flags. Then it happened…. I fell.  Well, I knew it was going to happen at some point, but I just tripped on the air or maybe there was an actual tree root, but I was now on the ground.

What does one do when this happens? First – you look around, did anyone see me? Second – am I ok? Welp… as luck would have it, on a course where runners were so spread out, there was someone that saw me. I was also ok, it’s dirt…softer than pavement, just some scratches.

Ok, so who was that someone that saw me fall? I was lucky enough to get to run the majority of the rest of the race with her. Meet Tenile!

She made sure I was ok too, I was fine and embarrassed, and for a while I felt the fall on my hip, but it subsided as I kept moving. We chit chatted forever and in no time we were at the last 3-4 miles on Mehaffy Bridge road. This was my least favorite part, who likes running on the shoulder of a busy road? It was nice to have someone to chat with.

I learned she would also be running the Illinois Marathon in a few weeks, and she was helping her husband train for his first hundo. (I think that was the distance, it’s been a few weeks)

We came across the timing mat together after the first loop. The time on the clock was just over 3 hours, which for me was HUGE! I could totally PR.

I ate a pb&j and looked around for Josh. He was going to take my pullover. However, he was not at the finish area… I looked and saw him in the distance, I yelled, he did not hear me. Tenile was already back on the trail… I was like… um… I am wasting time…. so I dropped my pullover with the aid station volunteers and left to catch back up with Tenile.

We were back at it, one more loop to go. The sun was out, and the temperature was rising. It was also the part where we both were starting to struggle, so one would walk and the other would go on, we would catch back up with one another here and there.

I forgot to mention the pelicans. Since the run is around the lake, there are many things to see. There are the usual people fishing and what not, but there were tons of giant pelicans out there too. Very cool.

Then, just like that, Tenile and I were running together and about to cross the spillway again. This time, there were no men helping people cross at the bottom. They were up at the top instead. Really, this was a nice added perk…. these people didn’t have to be out there, but here they still were.

The upper part of the spillway was a little deeper, but nothing past my shin. I did witness a few people stop to take off their shoes and socks before getting into the water. Hmmm, not sure what that’s about, guess they like dry feet. Well… I enjoyed this second trip through, the water was soo cold and refreshing, felt great!  While I didn’t have to climb down rocks and back up, there was a steep little exit to this crossing. With the help from the guys wading in the spillway and Tenile… we successfully crossed and now climbed the steps again to the top of the trail.

This is when it really got tough for me, I kept moving, but lots of walking and running and walking… once I finally caught back up with Tenile, we missed a pink flag marking the course, oops! There were sections the course could have been marked better. From that point on, it was panic if we hadn’t seen a pink flag in a while.

We kept going back and forth, and finally I turned on my music around mile 25, it was the boost I needed. It was also hot now.

Coming out of the woods, I was back running with Tenile again to do the final 3-4 miles on the highway. Just before getting to that road, we saw Josh! He has some Gatorade and encouraging words…

We were back to the highway, the sun was blazing, there was no shade, and it was windy. We stuck together for a while, running from mail box to mail box, then walking to the next mail box.

Tenile’s husband was then dropped off, so I kept going, and she chatted with her husband, as he ran in with her.

This stretch of the highway was tough!!! I kept rolling though, along with the hills…and I felt Solon kept getting farther away. Then finally, the last turn into the finish.

I could see the finish line! Then out of his car, from the parking lot, it was our friend Joel. I was surprised, hey Joel! What the heck? He was on his way back from the QC and on his way home, so stopped by, and as luck would have it, it was the same time I was finishing.

I used the last spurt of energy, and I finished around 7:15. Whew! So close to that PR, but the hot conditions did me in. I really wanted someone to take be back to the spillway, to just sit in it.


Josh was there with a cup of ice for the Gatorade. There were also many others still laying around enjoying the day and cheering on finishers.

I used the bathroom and then grazed the potluck selection. There were a lot of cookies and chips. I grabbed a scotcheroo and went to talk with Josh and Joel. I noticed I was very sunburned.

I managed to drink the Gatorade and decided I was hungry, so I went back in and got a plate of cheesy Doritos a popsicle, and more scotcheroos, I wasn’t sure what I was hungry for but this was going to do.


I joined back with the guys and we waited for more finishers to come in. The course was open for 8 hours (even though the timing company stayed there for the last person to finish – 9 and half hours.) We also chatted with the others and learned the winner of the 50k had a finishing time of 3:21, DAMN! All I could think was, at least I wasn’t lapped, lol.


There was no beer here, but as luck would have it, Big Grove Brewery was just around the corner. I convinced the guys that we should go get one. We said our goodbyes, thanked everyone as volunteers were still milling about, and were on our way.

I enjoyed a beer and tried to eat some more food, but I was now at the point were nothing sounded too great. I tried to eat some fries, but they were not hitting the spot, however I ate a salad with salt that was good. I ended up taking my tater tot casserole to go.

We said goodbye to Joel, and Josh and I were on our way back home, a whole 20 minute drive.

Overall: This race is great! I mean with all races there can be some tweaks made here and there, but the price is right, course is challenging, people are top notch! I hope to register before the cutoff next year.


This recap took forever, check out my official review on bibrave.com too … but up next Easter Egg Scramble, Illinois Marathon & 5k, Madison 10k, Grandma’s Marathon.