Happy Easter

Easter Egg Scramble 5k – 2017 – Race Review


The 2017 race was on April 15 in Davenport, IA. Race start was 9 am, and it was sunny, humid and pushing 65 ish degrees.

I am no stranger to this race, I have run this many times before, and it’s where my 5k PR stands – and it’s been a long time since I’ve run that time.

In addition to the 5k, there are some kids races and an egg hunt. So, it’s a good excuse to hang out with my niece as well as my other runner friends in the Quad Cities area.

Gear: Magenta Sparkle Athletic skirt, Wal-mart tank, Adidas boy shorts, Garmin Fenix 3, ProCompression socks, XX2i France 2 sunglasses, Brooks Ghost 9, spibelt, Aftershockz Trekz Titanium headphones, Run Madtown hat. – oops didn’t take a flat runner picture

Race day:

I left my house and set out to drive the 50 minutes. I wanted to make sure to see my niece race, before the 5k started. I also needed to grab my packet. Race day packet pickup FTW!

I parked at the marina across the main road, it’s a short walk, but it’s free parking and there is plenty of it. Otherwise you need to come early to find something close on a nearby side street.

I had arrived with enough time to grab my packet- race day packet pickup FTW!! I got my drawstring bag with my unisex, short sleeve, soft tee, and bib. There might have been a flyer or 2 in bag, and I had a timing chip to attach to my shoe. I used the facilities and wondered around.


I spotted my sister and couldn’t miss my niece dressed in a silver, sparkly skirt and tall bunny socks! She’s a fashionista, prepared to run a fast 1/2 mile race. I was also glad I spotted them as they would hold all the crap I had acquired.

As we waited for the kids races to start, we saw our friend Kevin gearing up for the 5k. We all cheered as my niece ran her race, then it was time to line up for ours.


As I was entering the self seeded starting area, I spotted another friend, Kelly.  We chit chatted and then it was time for the race. There was no National Anthem, and then everyone was off.

Oh this race…. the first half mile or so is all up hill, it’s part of the Bix course too. I was one week out from a 50k and I had a marathon coming up in one week. I had my usual sub-30 goal, but didn’t want to break myself considering I was in recovery – taper – training mode.

After I made it up the hill, there was a nice flat section, followed by a really long down hill. (down hill is tough too) According to my Strava stats I actually ran a great second mile at 8:03…DANG!

Then I hit the last stretch, it was part of the main highway, and it was super windy, even had to turn my hat backwards…. I slowed my roll… It was also feeling really hot by now, that humidity was getting to me.

I came to the finish area to cheering from my sister and niece. The last hundred feet are all down hill, so you can cruise through the finish arch. However, once you cross the timing mat, the volunteer that hands you your medal tells you to take a hard right to get your chip removed. This is tough… it’s too squished up, you should be able to walk it out down the street first…


So, I made that turn and was on the search for some water as there are no aid stations on course. I did see a tent set up that was printing race results and the volunteers were clipping tags from shoes… I just bent over and pulled mine off…no one has time to wait, when you need some water. Luckily I found my sister, and she gave me the water bottle she had with her.

Kelly, Kevin and I then walked over to the post race party. It was hidden in a lot behind some buildings. There was a line that formed to get your post race goodies, including water. Ok, do I need to start carrying water for a 5k now? I know this time of year the weather is a crap shoot, but jesh, lol.

Once we reached the goodies we could get a Sam Adams Summer Ale, Breakfast burrito, Gatorade protein bar, bottle of water, sparkling water, and huge bottle of Gatorade. While a person really doesn’t need all these things, if you grabbed them all, they were hard to carry.


I had a post race beer, bottle of water and a burrito as I chatted with Kevin and Kelly, and then other runners as they passed by. A 2 person band played cover songs. There was no where to sit, except the ground. The burritos were really good!!! Awards were announced.


For an official race review – check bibrave.com


It was time for the egg hunt, so we departed this area and went to go make sure my niece was prepared to get us some candy….. er… ahem, fill her basket with candy. The egg hunt was on a ball field, and divided by age. She scrambled after some eggs and filled her basket. The organization gave each kid a basket that was already filled with candy too. (Some how I ended up with one of these)


Welp…all the fun was over…. or was it?


My sister tells us about her friend that opened up a new ice cream spot, just around the corner. We continue the fun and proceed to get some ice cream…. they opened up early for us.

We tasted some samples and decided what to get. I had a waffle cone with the raspberry lambic sorbet and topped it off with the key lime pie. SOOO GOOD!


After devouring our treats, we walked back to our cars, and went on our separate ways. Well almost…. Kevin and I went to get some coffee and hunt down some more Luvo meals. The online store finder (& my sister) said the Jewel Osco store in IL had them.

We found the meals, I stocked up. I hoped I could get them home before they all melted. I was happy to not have to bring my lunch to work for the next week.


I’ve said it many times before, but participating in races when you can meet up with your friends is the best. The day always leads to fun and adventure. So, while this race is on the pricier side, I will probably continue to do it so I can hang out with my friends and drink beer, eat burritos and ice cream.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

Shamrock Shuffle – 2017

Shiverin’ Shamrocks!

BRRR! The 2017 Corridor Running Shamrock Shuffle was a cold one!. The race always takes place around mid March and usually it’s a seasonably decent temperature, but since mother nature is drunk, temps were around 20 degrees this year.

Gear: Rainbow Sparkle Athletic Skirt, XX2i France2 sunglasses, plantronics headphones, Survivor BUFF, Nike Turtleneck, Previous Shamrock Shuffle Race Shirt, Zensah Compression sleeves, Garmin Fenix 3, Brooks Ghost 9, Spi-belt. ( I changed the hat to a BOCO Louisanna Marathon stocking hat and Road Runner Sports Capris)


I mention the weather, because not only was I running the race. I was volunteering. This meant I arrived at the race location 2 hours before the event. While I was able to park close enough, to use my car to keep warm…. there is no shelter or place to stay warm.

must keep warm! BUFF and France2 frames to protect my face.


Pre-race volunteers continued to roll in, as well as trucks with race day supplies. We unloaded the trucks and set up things on the park. Tents, tables, bananas, sound system, etc.

The race takes place at College Green Park, so race day things are set up in the center of the park, while the race is start/finish is out on the street.

Before we knew it, participants were showing up to get their bibs, and my feet were freezing.


I helped out where I was needed, and ended up falling in with bib pick up. There were three of us and we had the system down! A runner gave us a name (as you could pick up anyone’s bib, no ID required), we looked up a bib number, handed them a bib, and a chip. I only ripped 2 bibs, oops!

I really needed to use the bathroom, and there were two port-o-potties near the start, but the line was long and the race was going to start, so I joined the others near the starting arch.


The race is a fun St. Patrick’s theme, including the distance of 3.17km, which is just around 2 miles. New, for this year, you could run the loop twice, for a 6.34km run. Of course, I chose this option, automatic PR!!

There were some announcements and then the race started. Gah, I was really cold, and I could feel it in my legs. The entire first loop, they just felt strange, like they were thawing out, or I could feel the muscles warming up. While the course had one big hill near the finish, they were not feeling the fatigue from that.


In that first loop, I caught up with Monty, again…. if we keep meeting at races, people are going to talk, LOL. I kid, it’s nice to see your runner friends out there!

By the second loop, my legs felt normal again, and I motored through the course again. It was all on pavement, and in typical Iowa winter fashion it’s when the potholes make their appearance, so I made sure to steer clear of them a second time. I thanked all the volunteers on the course, and climbed that hill one more time.

I crossed the finish line, and I was warm. I didn’t need my coat. Since I was signed up to then help volunteer post race, I stayed at the finish line and helped Dan take chips off shoes.

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When the majority of the runners had finished, I helped where needed, loading cars, taking down tents, the usual volunteering work. Hey guys, it’s really pretty easy…so help out if you can, nice to give back to your local running clubs… ha!

There were the bananas I mentioned earlier, and bottles of water at the center of the park, and cups of water near the finish, as it doubled as an aid station for the course.

The post race party was a few blocks away at Micky’s Irish Pub. There was an option when you registered to get a $5 brunch, or pay at the door. They would also be having beer specials, and hosting the awards ceremony here. You could also grab your pint glass, which was given instead of a t-shirt.


It is spring break in Iowa City when this race is held, but parking downtown can always be a problem, and to park close you have to pay. Lucky for me, I found a super close parking spot, swiped my card for $1.50 for one hour of time.

The party was happening. I did not pay for the brunch, as the last time I did this, the option was corned beef and cabbage, and I realized I do not care for it. I also don’t have $5 extra at this time… womp, womp, poor ol Angie… I did pack a Nugo Bar…lol.

I stuck around, watched the awards. The first person in each 10 year AG got a cool prize and the overall winners for each distance scored $50. WHOA, I need to get faster!

The morning ended chatting with some other runners, and realizing I should probably get home to let the dogs out, and oops my car was only paid to park at the meter for one hour!

I got to my car and saw the slip of paper flapping under the windshield…. but there was no fee, I owed $0.00. WEIRD! Why print the paper, what a waste!  I was happy I didn’t owe a fine.

When I got home, and got my data all loaded to Strava… you know if you don’t post a picture on Instagram and get that data loaded, I am not sure it even happened…. I realized I ran sub 9 minute miles, for 4 miles!!! WAHOOO. I am super happy about this, 2016 I spent running for endurance and distance. I did 0 speedwork, so I was happy to feel a little speed return. This is fast for me, so I’ll take it, maybe someday I will score a $50 winner’s prize!

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Race photos were posted to FB, and online album, free to download

This is a nice short race, with a nice challenging hill, and a fun post race party. If I am around next year, I will run it and volunteer again.

For my official race review, check bibrave.com

 

 

Mardi Gras Freezer

Back on My Feet Mardi Gras Chaser 10k

Chicago, IL (Montrose Harbor) – 10 am – February 25, 2017 – Cloudy, “feels like” 9 degrees


Hey guys, I ran another race!! Wahoo!!! This time I took Josh along with me. Well, I actually snagged a deal through twitter for $10 registration. I thought for that price, if the weather turned bad, we could afford to skip it, as the race is for a great charity – Back on My Feet.

So many races are for charity… but few are for a charity that is all about running! Back on My Feet Chicago uses the power of running to help change the lives of those experiencing homelessness in our city. All proceeds from the race will support Back on My Feet in providing programming to change lives one job, house, and mile at a time.

img_2952Josh and I left for Chicago the Friday before the race. We’ve been to the windy city, many times, and weren’t expecting any surprises.  We had no problems on the tollway, yay the construction is done! Then we settled into the Holiday Inn at the Merchandise Mart. We had never stayed here before, but was very nice and accessible.

To keep with tradition we made a stop at Garrett’s Popcorn to get some Chicago Mix and then ate supper at Miller’s Pub. Hey, we like what we like! Also, Miller’s Pub is awesome, it’s like stepping into an 80’s supper club and pub all in one. You want a hamburger – fine, you want grilled octopus – you can get that too.


Race Day:

Another late start… 10 am race time… ya, ya…the weather can be anything this time of year. In fact, just earlier in the week it was 70 degrees. However, the temps for this race wouldn’t get much over 20 degrees with a nasty wind chill around 9, YES 9 degrees!! So, maybe it’s the warmest time of the day for this race….

We were staying 5 miles south of Montrose Harbor, but it didn’t look like traffic was going to be too bad to get to the start.

We got to the race area at about 8:30, which is when packet pick up opened. I can’t say enough about race day packet pick up for a Chicago race!!! It wasn’t an extra cost, and I didn’t have to make an extra trip anywhere the day before to find my packet or ask a friend to do it for me. The parking was also FREE, yes free parking in Chicago, it’s possible!!! There are so many races in Chicago, and when we have to pay for a hotel, these free things make the race affordable.

Josh and I made our way to get our things…. oh I forgot to tell you about the best part of the race…. we met up with fellow Bibrave Pros, Heather, Mark and Frank!!!! We saw Mark and Heather on the way to get our packet….however, it was too cold to chit chat.

Packet pick up was super easy, we just told them our names and they gave us our bibs and 1/4 zip pullovers. We could grab a Mardi Gras mask if we wanted one. It’s nice to get a quarter zip, but this one is white, and well…. it’s white…and you can see through it…anyway, it’s still better than a cotton tee.

On our way back to the warm car, we passed Mark again, where he gave us “Hot Hands.” Spoiler Alert: these were a life saver!


Once in the car, I ate my Nugo Mint Chocolate bar for breakfast….seriously love those things. We kept warm and texted the other pros. We heard Frank was around, so we quick grabbed a group picture, then went back to sit in our warm cars. IT WAS COLD!


It was finally time to race. We all met up again… including Mark’s wife, Tina and Heather’s mom, Marge. We also noticed, Frank wearing his bib…. he is recovering from knee surgery, so this was a surprise to us all…but I think we all knew he wasn’t going to sit it out.

Gear: Purple Chevron Sparkle Athletic Skirt, Pro Compression Socks, 2Xu Hyoptik thermal tights, Nike turtleneck, Moving comfort jacket, Survivor Buff, Bibrave Boco Stocking hat, xx2i France 2 sunglasses, Plantronics head phones, spi belt, Brooks Ghost 9, Garmin Fenix 3, 2 pairs of generic gloves, and Hot hands hand warmers.

The 10k was first, (there was a 5k to follow) we seeded ourselves in the corrals, which were organized by pace. I was already shaking because I was sooooo cold. The National Anthem was sung, and we all started moving.

The race was an out an back, starting on the roads near the harbor and then on the north end of the Lake Front Path / trail. It was coned off and there were volunteers guiding participants. However, it was not closed to pedestrian traffic. It started to flurry.

Photo Credit – Mark D.

My toes were numb until mile 2… have you ever ran with numb toes, it’s like rocks in your shoes… I finally warmed up, about the time I saw Mark and Josh headed back. Then I hit the turnaround where volunteers were handing out Cliff Bars. There were many stops with water and Gatorade. I then saw Heather running with Tina and then I saw Marge and Frank, while out and back courses can be annoying, it’s nice to be able to cheer on your friends.
If you want more of my official race review – check bibrave.com

I came to the finish line near 1 hour… which I was happy with… in fact, I told Josh I would finish in that time, so he knew when to greet me with more clothes. Which he did!

I was handed some Mardi Gras beads, my finisher’s medal, and then there was a buffet of post race food. There was more water and Gatorade, bananas, mini muffins (2 kinds,) chia bars, cliff bars and mini bagels. I was happy I had pockets in my jacket.


I put on my coat and another layer of pants and cheered in my friends. I stayed mostly warm, but the hot hands didn’t keep my finger tips warm, and I could barely feel them as I took pictures.


Yay, we were all finished! One of my favorite things is meeting my friends at races. We hung around for a little bit, and the the race organizers told us to take as much food as we wanted… I escaped with a bag full of mini bagels…and there was still lots of food left. I hope they were able to donate it to a shelter.

Photo Credit – Heather C.


We said goodbye to Frank, and then ran back to our cars to get warm.  The rest of us decided to go check out the post race party at the Fat Cat bar. They had a $15 buffet and a free beer for runners. However, don’t be fooled, there were 3 choices – Blue Moon, Coors Light and Leinie’s Honey Weiss. They were also having a raffle.


We waited around for a table to open up. When a table opened up, we got our buffet plates and filled up. It’s a good thing all those post race goodies were sealed to eat later. The buffet had rice and beans, yogurt, biscuits, chicken, bacon, potatoes, eggs and french toast casserole.

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Yes – I put sprinkles on my biscuits

Once we were full, it was time to say goodbye…always sad…I mean I get to talk to my friends on twitter, but always nice to get to hangout in person. I will see them again soon too.


As luck would have it, we were really close to Wrigley Field, so after Josh and I grabbed some Dunkin Donuts coffee, we drove by the baseball stadium. It was undergoing lots of construction, so even if we did get out to take a picture, we wouldn’t have been able to get too close.


Then after what felt like an hour, we were back on the tollway, headed back to Iowa… it was a quick trip to Chicago, but a fun one. Spoiler Alert: I will be headed back for the BTN B1G 10k in July, Go Hawks!

 

 

 

 

Freezefest 2017

Corridor Running Freezefest 5k

I am so excited to have something to write about. I ran and volunteered at the Freezefest 5k or should I say “Warmfest.” (More on that later.)


As most of you know, I am on the board of my local running club, Corridor Running. This is the first race of the year for the club. In addition to running, and creating the playlist for the event, I was on board to take pictures, post to social media, shoot video and anything else they needed me to do.
For my official race review – check out bibrave.com

Gear: Ice Cream Sparkle Athletic Skirt, xx2i France2 sunglasses, Garmin Fenix 3, Go Pro, Adiddas boy shorts, Lululemon shirt, Corridor Running Trucker hat, spi belt,  2xu Vectr socks, aftershokz


The event always takes place in February, and it has a later start time of 11 am. It is in Marion, IA at Squaw Creek Park. This is mostly due to the weather. It can be cold or as we saw this year, record warmth, nearing 60 degrees.

*Personally, I would rather have a race start at 7 or 8 am. I run in all weather conditions, so I would just like to get up and get it done.

This is a smaller race, and it’s capped at 350 participants due to the lack of parking.. This means that packet pickup is the day of the race, which works out well because of the late start I was whining about above. Anyway…. the lodge allows room for an easy packet pick up as well as an area to get information about upcoming Corridor events & membership. It’s also a good location to stay warm, if the weather is cold. There is also indoor plumbing, however the system seems to get overwhelmed and backs up….but don’t fear there are extra, clean port-o-potties set up outdoors.

It was time to start the race. While there were no signs encouraging people to line up according to pace, everyone did an excellent job of self seeding.  Mark – the club president said some words, and then the National Anthem was sung live, however if you were in the back of the corral, you might not have been able to hear it.

With this being a 5k, my usual goal is to run it sub 30 minutes, however I had a Go Pro in one hand and my phone in the other. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to tackle all of this.

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The race course wasn’t too difficult, it was basically flat, and on all paved surfaces. Ok, so the finish was uphill and there were some potholes….but totally manageable. The course also has out and back type sections, so you can cheer on the others.


I crossed the finish line, while watching the clock…SUB 30!!! My official results:


After I was done running, I picked the camera back up and snapped some pictures of the award winners. Then I went to check out the post race food, since it was lunch time. Volunteers called the “cookie monsters” brought a lot of baked goods, and there were 2 different types of homemade chili. There were some sandwiches and fruit too. I waited too long and there wasn’t much food left, and I don’t care for chili, so I grabbed a cookie. There was also lots of beverages – bottled water, sodas, and some Miller Lite.

I really needed to get on my way, there was Hawkeye basketball game at 1pm… I was already late.

This is a great race! The price is right and it gets you out of the winter funk. The club does a great job too, everything runs smoothly. I also like getting to socialize with everyone. I also forgot to mention, a portion of the proceeds goes to benefit the Boys & Girls club.


See you at the next Corridor Running event, the Shamrock Shuffle – PS registration is still open. There is a 3.17k and a 6.24k. They could also use volunteers.

Keep up with Corridor Running: Website / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram & don’t forget to tag #corridorrunning

 

 

 

Amana 2017

The Amana Freezer 5k – 2017 Edition

This is my favorite winter race in eastern Iowa. You may have caught my previous posts about this, even calling it “January’s Hidden Gem.” Well 2017 didn’t disappoint.

In addition to the meat swag bag and the hospitality of Amana, IA, what makes this race so great is that the local running community comes out of winter hibernation.


So, it was a foggy and unseasonably warm day, temps over 40 degrees. This was a nice change from the freezing temps I have run this race in before.


Since I haven’t picked a training plan for my upcoming marathons – the IL Marathon and Grandma’s… I should probably do that….I didn’t have any goals, or a set amount of miles to run that day. After I arrived around 8:30 to pick up my packet and meat bag, I set out to run some pre-race miles, that ended up totaling 4 miles.

Gear: Sparkle Athletic skirt, Corridor Running hat, Brooks Ghost 8, Aftershokz, SpiBelt, Moving Comfort pullover, Adidas short, Procompression socks, Garmin Fenix 3.

I attached my bib to my belt, and the timing chip to my shoe and made my way to the starting line. This is where I saw running friend, Joel.  We chatted and then everyone was moving forward…ha we weren’t paying attention and someone jingled some bells and the race started.


A refresher on the course, it’s an out and back on the paved road, you run out to East Amana, circle around and come back to Amana. There is a hill when you get to East Amana, but nothing steep. The road is open to traffic, but the locals don’t seem to mind. The most scenic thing on the course is the occasional beer can in the ditch or the cow pasture. Hey, this is Iowa 🙂


I had an ok race for already logging 4 miles. My 5k goal is always sub-30 and according to my Garmin I finished in 28:05. I felt like I pushed my best, even though each mile split was slower… oh well, I had a year of distance running, it’s hard to get the speed back.


At the finish line, I saw a lot of friends from the 100 mile group and Corridor Running. I felt like a social butterfly. One of my favorite things about running is meeting the people.


The crowd moved towards the post race food and awards in the building where packet pick up took place. Usually it’s jammed packed, but since the weather was so nice, there was room to breathe.

There is always a great post race food spread, really quite a lot for a 5k. Clementines, bagels, bananas, fruit pizza, Fig Newtons, and cookies. Then there was bottled water and hot chocolate.


I chatted with more friends, including a reader of the blog, Hi Rosemary!! That was a nice surprise…as we chatted I chuckled as the lady tried to start the race awards. Every year it’s the same old problem, she has this microphone, but you still can’t hear her, and then she gets mad…I am still laughing. Someone eventually get her a bull horn, which you really can’t hear either as everyone is chatting.

We all stood around listening to the awards, then it was time for the raffle. I remember the year Laura won the bird seed and she didn’t want it… ha! I always am happy to win anything….and this year was my year, I won a bottle of wine, 2 wine glasses, and an opener!!  Joel was standing around with us too and he won a gift certificate for a bottle of wine too.  He really doesn’t drink wine, so he thought he would trade the bird seed winner….that didn’t work when the bird seed winner took her prize and immediately headed out the door. People want that bird seed!

Once all the prizes were handed out, it was time to redeem the Millstream Beer ticket that came with registration. The Brau Haus is located just across the street, and you just walk in and choose a craft beer or soda. I happily chose the Iowa Pale Ale. As I was leaving to drink my beer outdoors, someone asked “What is most similar to Coors Light or Miller Lite?” The guy pouring the beer chuckled, and said “tap water.” I laughed too.


I met Joel back outside and he was telling me how excited he was to tour Amana, and check out all the stores. The small town takes pride in their winter festival, so it is fun to check out all the shops. I couldn’t stay though, I had to get back to Iowa City and the Iowa Woman’s Basketball game. GO HAWKS!


I will always try to run this race. First, the meat bag! Second, the town rolls out the red carpet for the weekend. Third, the local running community wakes up for the year! Oh and the price is always right, around $25 (you can even get it for less if you want no meat bag or shirt)

Spring Hill Half

Spring Hill Mania – Half Marathon

As you might have read from my last post, I was in Florida for the Outback Bowl.  I had my eye on this race for quite a while…I originally thought I would run the full marathon…but I’m not even THAT crazy…also I wasn’t sure how I would be getting to this event, it was over an hour from where I was staying. In the meantime I signed up for the Hooters Last Chance 5k (which was the day before) and was content with just one race.

However…things changed… If you don’t know, I am not a frequent flyer, I really don’t care to fly anywhere……..OK if you don’t know this, you haven’t been reading my blog full of road trips.

Ok, anyway…I was talking to tailgating friend Scott, and even though it was last minute, I gave up my seat on an airplane, and drove to Florida with Scott. This meant we would have a car to get to the race. So, I signed up…. I signed up late, even with the $10 discount the race was around $90 for a half marathon – YIKES!


I was really set on doing this race, as I will be in Key West 2 weeks later for the Key West Half Marathon. I needed one last long run before that race, and I needed to train in the Florida heat . I am currently happy running in 30 degrees and shorts at home, so 60 degrees would be hot for me. This was the perfect opportunity to train.

The race was on Saturday, Jan 1……….yep I had 5 hours of sleep, and maybe a hangover, however Scott drove me to Spring Hill, FL bright and early.

After a Nugo Dark Bar for breakfast, I was at the park pavilion grabbing my race bib. There was a cotton shirt included with registration, but I was late so they didn’t have one for me. I could have had it sent to me, or I could get a $25 gift card to an online compression company. I chose the gift card.
The start was at 8 am. It was sunny and warm, the temps would rise to 80 degrees.

There were a few announcements about the course. Information about aid stations and port-o-potties, and where turnarounds would be, since it was an out and back course.

The wheel chair start went first, followed by the marathon, then it was my turn to start the half with the 10k runners.


Gear: Sparkle Athletic skirt, ProCompression Socks, New Balance shoes, Garmin Fenix 3, Orange Mud Hydraquiver, XX2i USA 1, Nike Hawkeye Hat, Iowa tank, Adidas boy shorts.

As mentioned above, this was a good training run for my upcoming Key West Half, so not really sure what the goal was, except to get the miles in, in the Florida sunshine.


The out and back course was on a bike path along the Florida 589 toll road. This meant the scenery was a snoozefest. Highway on one side and back yards or open land on the other. There was also no shade.

I ran 6.55 miles out and saw the sign to turn around. There were two aid stations on the way out, so I would hit them on the way back. They were near the 2 mile and 5 mile markers, so those 3 miles in between seemed to take forever. The AS only had water and lemon lime Gatorade in Dixie sized cups. Now that I think about it, I didn’t see any of the port-o-potties that were supposed to be every 3 miles, but I didn’t need one, so I wasn’t looking. I hope for those running the full marathon there was some sort of food, or the stations started to be closer together or they offered more.

I was glad I brought water with me. I was not used to running in the heat and sun. I could drink and splash water on my face. For the price I paid, I expected more support or ice or more water….or I am just not used to the heat in winter.

I moved along the entire time and finished around 2:28. Which really, not a super bad time for me…so I will take it. I was hot!


I was handed a medal at the finish line and a bottle of water. There was a station set up to type in your bib number and get official results.

After a short walk, I was at the pavilion where the “headquarters” of the race events were. There were some boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts, bananas and some homemade breads to eat. It appeared someone was cooking the advertised pancakes and eggs, but none were available when I finished. It was also 23904 degrees and it was the last thing I wanted. There was also a cooler with Gatorade.

I grabbed a donut and slice of bread, filled my water bottle with some Gatorade and walked back to the car, to find Scott awake from his nap. I could hear some announcements coming from the pavilion, must have been the awards.


Scott was watching some RC airplanes, as we were in a public park area with ball fields and open areas. I was over the race, it was time to go…. I ate half the donut, refilled my water bottle with water, and we left.

I really wanted to find a produce stand and get some fresh squeezed orange juice and some oranges. We took the scenic route back to Clearwater Beach….all the stands were closed! Maybe because it was New Years Day and a Sunday.

We made it back to the hotel in time to get ready to head to Chanelside for the Hawkeye Huddle. Almost forgot we were here for a bowl game.

For the $90 I spent on this race, I expected more. I have run full marathons that cost less and have provided more. I know this race opens up a year in advance for a price around $30, which I would say is more than fair, but to pay what I did so late in the game….totally overpriced. Also, about that gift car….yeah that’s a waste… the prices for things, just don’t work so I get something for nothing… I have to pay a difference or shipping…….. I already paid $90 for half, where I got a donut and Gatorade….not worth it paying more.

I did get something out of this race. The training in the heat. I am going to be ready for Key West!