Springville Extreme Quarry Run

2017 Springville Extreme Quarry Run 6k

The 2017 event took place Saturday, August 12 at 8 am. The 6k run is part of Springville fun days. (This is in Springville, IA.) It was a great summer day for a race, the sun was shining and morning temps were near 60 degrees.


The weekend was full of races to choose from in my area, all shorter distances. I choose this one as I was excited to take on the challenge of running through the quarry. I also heard the RunIowa podcast with race director Joel, and it peaked my interest further.

I woke up early and had some toast, one slice with peanut butter and one slice with jelly, topped it off with the usual black coffee. I was on the road by 6:30 am for the 45 minute drive to Springville. I had never been to this town.

Gear: Orange Sparkle Athletic Skirt, adidas shorts, *last minute change to Lululemon shirt, XX2i sunglasses, Aftershokz Trekz Titanium, Garmin Fenix 3, Spibelt, Zensah pineapple socks, New Balance Shoes, Bibrave hat. *I also realized when I arrived at the race, that my outfit was supporting the school colors.


It was easy to find where the race started, even though the online registration information said “downtown.” I just kept making turns and found the downtown. I was able to find a spot to park on a side street about a block away, and of course it was free.

I walked to pick up my bib and timing chip, I also got a short sleeve race shirt. There was a discounted rate for no shirt too. Race day registration was available for around $35.

There were 2 port-o-potties set up near the packet pick up area. Previous year race shirts were also FREE for the taking. A pancake breakfast was in this area too for a small fee. People wondered about before the race start.

I ran into Joel before the race and he asked if I was going to write a review… I told him the pressure was on… lol. I also met twitter friend Amy (@amykeating05.)

this is actually a post race photo

Near 8 am, people headed for the starting mats. Then there were some announcements, but I heard none of them. The microphone was not very loud and the people were very chatty. They did quite when the National Anthem was sung.

I really didn’t have a grand plan for this event. However, since I had some background on the event, I wanted to “race” the hill. As I mentioned above, the race runs through the Wendling Quarry. This is the only time the quarry shuts down, and non employees are allowed access without a hard hat. As part of the race, you run DOWN into the quarry, through the quarry, and then through a tunnel, to turn around and run UP and out of the quarry. There is a King / Queen of the hill challenge, where timing mats are thrown down at the bottom, and the fastest person up the hill is crowned. I was going to give this a go!

This was also not my first go at the 6k distance. Way back when I ran the Drake Relays 6k, and I looked at that time to see if I could set a new PR.

With those things in mind, I didn’t push too hard until I saw the hill. The race was an out and back, and the first stretch was an uphill section. We were told to stay left of the cones that marked the course. They were easy to follow along with the arrows spray painted on the pavement or chip n seal surface.

The course flattened out, and then there was the water stop near the mile mark… which were paper cups, YAY! This is also where I got the first look into the quarry, but couldn’t really gauge the hill … so just kept motoring on. The surface also changed to dirt with gravel.

Then all of the sudden, I saw the blue timing mat on the top of the hill… and at the same time I was descending. I almost have a harder time on the downhill than the uphill, I am soo fearful of blowing out my quads…and after 3 Blue Ridge Marathons, ouch!

I wound down through the quarry and the leaders were on their way back, yet no one had started the climb. I yelled some positive words to people I passed, then it was time to run the tunnel. This is actually a natural bridge that was created to get under Hwy 151.


It was dark in the tunnel and there were blinking, lighted cones in the center. Ok, so I took my sunglasses off and I had no problems seeing. In fact, so many races through McCormick Tunnel in Chicago, and this was a breeze. Also even footing on the gravel/ dusty surface.


I looped back around and was on the way back to the finish. There were many volunteers on course in the quarry too, even though there was no confusion about where you should be running.

Then it was time to conquer the hill… so I started pushing the pace a little, and as I climbed I pushed more, then it came to the point where I had to use my arms, and I was passing people. I really felt good, until I came to the top…. I had to walk… WHEW!!! what a climb in a short amount of distance…. looking at the Strava data…


After the short walk, I stopped at the water stop and took a sip, and kept moving… It was hard to push the pace again. It was an uneventful trot into the finish line.

I finished near 34 minutes (not a PR, I shouldn’t have walked)… I got a small printout of my results; but that really wasn’t what I was concerned about, I wanted to know the hill climb times.


After some milling about and grabbing a bottle of water and granola bar, they did the awards before everyone was finished. The overall winners were announced first, and both male and female were awarded an engraved quarry rock. They were really cool!


Then it was the age group awards, and finally the King & Queen of the Hill awards. Which were a little confusing…but I did not win. I ran the hill in 1:45 and the female winner ran 1:20. DANG!

I learned that after the race there was going to be a parade. Luckily for me I had no sweaty running clothes to change into in my car.

I met up with some fellow Corridor Running Board members – Joel (oh hey the RD of this race) and Michael. We talked “shop” and then the parade started. It was a nice little parade. I love small town events!


It was then time to make the trek back to Iowa City. I did so hitting up the bulletin boards at the Casey’s Convenience Stores with some New Bo Run race flyers. (Hey, you want a flyer to post? Or hey sign up for the race!)


After a stop in Mt. Vernon, I came upon a tractor cade or something. You know old tractors that are following each other… yeah they went on and on and on forever on the side of the road. Seriously, if you never leave your house, you miss so much.


I am getting sidetracked…. To bring it back around, I would recommend this race to everyone. With so many 5ks it’s nice to have something a little different.

 

Did I PR the 10k?

DID I PR?

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the BTN B1G 10k to review 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!”

The last time I mentioned the Big Ten 10k, I was hoping to set a new PR. Well, did I? *Spoiler alert * No, however I had a great time, and of course I will tell you all about it.

If you want the basic facts of the race, you can find them on my review I left at bibrave.com.

Saturday, July 22

Alright, so Josh joined me on this “racecation,” how could he miss out on a race supporting the Hawkeyes? We left first thing to get to Chicago.  We had plans to meet up with Heather, and run some miles on the lake front path.


The great thing about this race is someone is allowed to pick up your packet for you, or you can pay a little extra and have it sent in the mail. We chose to have it mailed, when we registered we weren’t sure what our plans would be.


After a run with Heather, and navigating the streets of Chicago, we tried to get checked into our hotel… which they still didn’t have ready. It was 5 pm, wut?  However, after a room service credit and a talk with the manager, a room was made available.

After all the drama, we made it to one of our favorite spots for dinner, Miller’s Pub. Then called it a night, after some room service chocolate cake.


Gear: bibrave tank, Orange Mud HydraQuiver Vest pack 1, Sparkle Athletic skirt, Pro Compression socks, Road Runner Sports shorts, hawkeye hat, Road ID, Aftershokz Trekz Titanium, XX2i France 2 sunglasses, Garmin Fenix 3


Sunday, July 23

We woke up early and ordered a room service breakfast. I had a bagel with peanut butter and fruit for $18 – DANG! Josh stuck with steel cut oatmeal. We left the hotel and walked to the race start on Columbus, near Grant Park.

The race started at 7 am, so we planned on meeting up with the other pros before the race for a picture and wish each other good luck.


Announcements were made, while music played in the background. We were encouraged to line up in our corrals, which were noted on our bibs. I was in corral B (not sure how or why) but it was full by the time I got to the entrance. I waited outside the entrance, however instead of letting all of us in at the back of the corral, corral C passed by before I was let in.

It was a sunny morning, and extremely humid. It made the race very uncomfortable. We even received an email before the race (as well as a note posted on the website) about additional hydration on course, and slowing down our race goals.

Spice Adams started each corral with an air horn, he is a Penn State Alum. I started off cruising… since I had run this course before, and as mentioned in my previous post, this course is flat, I thought I could PR. However, that plan went out the window soon after the part on Lower Wacker Dr. This portion of the race is underground, so it’s HOT and stinky…the air was not moving.

My first 2 miles, were sub 9 minute… then this part hit and I was running over 10 minute miles. The next plan was to just enjoy and get to the finish.

While I did bring my own water with me, I was trying to pay attention to the hydration on course. There were 3 stops with Nuun and water, but I didn’t feel there was anything extra than the previous year.

After the lower wacker part, the course went back along Michigan Ave, then turned and climbed Mt. Roosevelt, while then taking us around the museum, to then run along the lake. This part offered some great views of the city.


Then there was the first of 2 water slides. I made sure to give this one a go, I had done it in the past, and with the weather, I thought it would be a good idea. However, I just didn’t get enough steam to slide the entire distance… so I had to crawl out, leaving me with wet socks… at least I felt cool for a while.

I continued on the run, more along the lake, and this is when I realized the area was not closed to others – meaning bikes… and they were not too happy to share.

I made the turn around, and just kept moving… it was tough, that humidity made the air really heavy and thick. I passed by the second water slide, where they had the fight songs playing… sadly I never heard the Iowa Fight Song.

I was happy to finally come back to the finishers chute, where I saw a photographer at the end, but another runner came in ahead of me blocking my shot.

As mentioned before, I did not set a PR in this distance…heck I was 10 minutes off… but I didn’t have it in me…I did finish, and am happy with that.

When I crossed the finish line I was given a bottle of water first, then I grabbed a wet towel. There was a chance to grab a banana and a Clif protein bar…then finally I got my medal.


Unlike the previous years where each school got a different medal, everyone got the same finisher’s medal. We had to redeem a ticket on our bib at our schools post race tailgate tent to get a “coin” (which was a magnet) that stuck to the medal.

There were also tags on the bib to redeem for a Revolution Brewing beer and an Amylou sausage with pretzels.


The post race is always my favorite part. As mentioned above, each school has a tent…I found out this year that each school’s tent provided something different. In the past I feel that Ram racing provided one school specific swag item for everyone to get ( I got sunglasses before) I guess the magnet was the item this year. So, that left the other swag up to the school itself. Well my school is one of the geographically closer ones, so they can easily drive more swag to the tent. I was given the chance at stickers, magnets, photos with props and much more. I found out that the Ohio State tent was selling t-shirts. Some schools had their mascots. So, I imagine the school only brings what they can, however this allows each participant a different experience.


While, I spent the majority of my post race time near the Iowa tent. There were also tailgating style games, live music and giveaways.


This race is a good time for the B1G fan, or for anyone looking for a 10k in Chicago that does not go through the McCormick tunnel!


I will give my 10k PR another go, some day… but as I mentioned I will be training for the Detroit Marathon… well then there is the Madison Mini Half Marathon and North Face Wisconsin Half Marathon… oh and the Madison marathon…. so maybe one day I will get back to speed…


Go Hawks!

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Interact 5k

Interact 5k – Race Review

For my official review – check out bibrave.com


Josh and I happened to be in Guttenberg and stumbled upon the schedule of events for the summer Stars and Stripes Celebration the town was having, it mentioned a 5k. I actually ran this event 2 years ago, and hadn’t seen any information online about it, so I was glad we saw the flyer.

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not sure if this was the actual name of the race?

The 2017 race was held on July 2, in Guttenberg, IA and started at 7 am. It was a gorgeous summer day, cool yet humid.

I am not sure this needs any explanation, but Josh and I walked/ran to the race start, it was just around 1.5 miles or so, but all down a giant hill. We walked most of it as the hill is along a busy highway and the path is on a steep bluff, running is challenging.


We made it to the Gazebo for registration. Along with missing the information online, I am not sure there was any place else you could register than race day. The registration table had some course maps.

This was an easy process, step up to the table, fill out a form, hand over $15. That was it…but you also got no shirt and no timing chip, just a bib. Easy peasy.

There were real bathrooms that are part of the river park, open to use. If you drove to the race, parking was easy to find on the streets.

The race was delayed a few minutes as the organizers were still entering registrants into their phone. The race is put on by high school kids, so maybe that is why there was the laid back atmosphere. They were raising money for a charity.


Everyone lined up behind the chalk starting line, and after a few words, we were told to “GO.”


The course is on paved surfaces in the city limits. There were no major potholes or hazards to watch out for.

Along the course were yard signs with information about binge drinking and underage drinking.  There was one water stop. The intersections were manned with volunteers or members of the fire department.

I thought I would give my best shot at racing this…heck why not? I actually didn’t feel like I started too fast, but I kept pushing myself. By the time I had climbed one of the few inclines to run the levy along the water, I was feeling the humidity.  UGH! However, it was just one foot in front of the other, plus the views along the water were great!!! Then the course went behind and into the Lock and Dam area.

I still had about a mile to go, and it was the most boring part of the course, through the residential area…and with only 44 race participants, it really was extra boring…. at one time I hopped I was headed the right way, but I could see a volunteer in the distance.

I then turned to make the run down the home stretch. I kept pushing it. I hit stop on my Garmin at the chalk drawn finish line, and that is when my Garmin also buzzed for 3 miles. Eek… a little short, and my time was 26:53. I will take it though, I had a sub 9 minute mile pace.

I met up with Josh at the gazebo, and we discussed our races over a bottle of water. I wasn’t too hungry, but there were bananas and granola bars available. We snapped some photos and cheered on runners while we waited for results.


When everyone was done, we sat at a picnic table for the awards in the gazebo. They handed out the top 3 overall in male and female, speedy people!!! I think there were separate awards for kids too.


It was only 8:30 ish when all this was said and done, so before we made the trek back to the house on top of the hill, we browsed the farmers market. We each got a pastry, and snagged some coffee.

The walk back up the hill was fun… but by 10 am, the adventure was over. I like races that start early enough to allow you to still have most of your day.


Would I run this again? Yes, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to get there, if I am in town, I will drop the $15 for a fundraiser.

Happy Anniversary

Running – the best way to celebrate 11 years of marriage.

Another Saturday morning 4 am wake up call, but when you run, this is nothing new…However, this particular Saturday, June 24th, was our 11th wedding anniversary.

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Sure, we both had run Grandma’s marathon the week before, but it’s hard to miss the Run 4 Troops Marathon. In fact last year I ran both marathons.

This year, we would be running the marathon relay. We were lucky to get in on this event. More people choose to do this as a relay, so they cap the participants, mainly because the route gets so congested. I sent an email to be put on the wait list, and I was contacted quickly to say we got in!

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Gear: Sparkle Athletic skirt, 2xu tank, Zensah hat, Zensah socks, Brooks Ghost, Garmin Fenix 3, xx2i USA sunglasses, Road Runner sports shorts, aftershokz headphones.

We would start in Dyersville, IA and run the Heritage Trail to Dubuque. Josh was going to take the first 3 legs and I would finish with the last 3. Since this is point to point, the person not running would move the car along the route.

We rolled into Dyersville around 6:30 am, we needed to grab our stuff. This was in a reusable Hy-Vee bag. There was the bib, which was attached to a really nice bib belt we would get to keep. Our short sleeve, gender specific, tech shirts were in the bag too. The Heritage trail requires a user fee, this is included in our race registration, but we are also given silicon bracelets to wear to indicate we have paid the fee.

Then it was time for the “meeting” or rather some announcements. We learned about the transitions and what to expect on the course, and then a former member of the military gave a talk, then the National Anthem was sung…then we waited around for the solo marathon to start at 7 am. We had time to use the port-o-potties.

At 7 am the marathon was off with a bang – literally! An old cannon was fired and the runners took off. A drone buzzed ahead taking photos. Then finally at 7:30 it was time for the relay runners to start. The cannon had an issue and fired a few minutes after the runners started.


In the past the marathon and relay started at the same times, but they stretched it out. I really don’t think it helped. As you read on, you will see why… but they need to stagger out the relay times…that is where the most people are that need to use the transitions. 


Josh was on his way, I was going to plan to visit him at each transition. However, things were not looking good. The majority of people involved with the event were with the relay, so everyone was headed to the first exchange at the same time, causing a huge traffic backup. I even stopped to use a bathroom at a gas station, and the line was 10 people deep.


By the time I got to the actual transition the traffic was crazy. I ended up parking along the highway, and running down near the trail. I don’t do well with these things, if I know I need to be some where, I want to be prompt. I don’t like feeling rushed or late.

I saw Josh approaching, he was looking good. The sun was shining, but it wasn’t too hot or humid. The first leg went from Dyersville to Farley, and it is the leg with the least shade, it is 6.6 miles long.


I spoke with Josh as he passed, I mentioned I didn’t think I could get in and out of the next exchange due to all the traffic, also he was keeping a great pace. Some of the racers were starting to spread out, but Josh was also catching up to the solo marathoners.

Exchange 2 was at Epworth, it was 4.4 miles long. I did not make it to this exchange. I am sure I could have made it, but I also was going to be running soon too, so I wanted to make sure I had time to get my crap together. I get a little anxious.

I arrived to exchange 3. Josh would have passed through Epworth, and then had to run 3.6 miles to Graf.

I arrived at Graf, the transition was at a park, and parking wasn’t too bad, but you had to cross the course to get a spot. I parked the car and used the port-o-potty. I then trotted back to the car and put on some sunscreen, got my headphones and things, then walked to the exchange zone.

Even though I kept checking my watch, as I was guessing on Josh’s estimated time into the area, I didn’t have to wait long. It seemed like he appeared out of no where.


We made the bib exchange, and walked together on the trail a bit, discussing how busy the transition areas were, and if he thought he would be able to see me along the route. Then I took off for the next stop, 4.5 miles away, at the Budd Rd intersection.

It was a nice section of trail, lots of shade. About 2 miles in, a woman came up on me, and then started to run with me. It was nice, we chatted and ran into the exchange. I saw Josh!  I think it helps that I run slow enough for him to have time to maneuver into the exchange areas. I gave him a high five, shouted my number to the timing person, and grabbed a cup of water and continued on.


At the time I was running, I couldn’t remember how many miles were between the transitions, so I really wasn’t sure when I would see Josh next, but I wasn’t too worried, as I have run the trail before, and if I needed something there was plenty of support out there.

Looking at the map, I had 3.4 miles to go before I got to transition 5 at Durango. This was an uneventful section, I just motored on. I passed some solo marathoners, and some relay members sped passed me.


I trotted into Durango, I saw Josh again,and slapped a high five. Then came into the very crowded exchange. The exchanges and timing are set up so that solo runners pass through on one side, and relay runners on the other. The problem here is that since I was not actually passing the bib, I had to navigate through people that were, and people that were not paying attention to others running through.

After the congestion, it seemed the trail opened up to emptiness. Finally, were people spread out? Anyway, I was enjoying the trail. I had 3.7 miles to get to the finish.

Just about the 24.5 mile mark, I came upon a lady in tears on the side of the trail. I slowed and asked if she was ok, she said no. I was not concerned about time, I stopped. She described her pain, and she was having leg cramps. She was holding a bottle of Gatorade. She was able to talk to me, and she said she had met her husband at every exchange, and had been drinking that Gatorade and more at each stop. She said this was her first marathon. She was in tears, and couldn’t relax enough to just settle down, like she was in a panic.

Another woman passed us, I told her as she ran ahead to send a medic if she saw one. I encouraged the woman with the cramps to breathe. I got her back to a standing position after she drank some more Gatorade and calmed down. We were walking…. then she started to cry again, and she cramped up. She sat back down. In the distance behind us, I could see an ATV.

As the ATV approached, I flagged them down to help. They were medically trained. The first thing they asked was if she was drinking Gatorade… I am not a doctor, but I thought they could get her to finish the race. I left the situation, and told the crying woman to just relax, she had plenty of time to finish, and I would see her at that finish line.

Strangely after this, I developed the strangest pain behind my knee, just under the hamstring, but I kept moving, stopping to rub it out. Then out of no where, the crying lady passed me, but in the passenger seat of the medic’s ATV.

Wow, all the thoughts…all the freakin thoughts. At the time, she had 1.5 miles to go, and 3.5 hours to get there. As I said, I am not a doctor, but I KNEW she could do it, and still as I write this, I KNOW she could have finished. I could see the panic in her as she was afraid of the cramps, and she couldn’t just get out of her head and relax. I am sure the medics didn’t want any liability issues, so they didn’t encourage her to continue. UGH, I would have sat on that trail for an hour for cramps to subside, so close to the finish line…. but we are all built differently, and maybe she actually broke something… but dang, you see all kinds of things out there. I really wish she would have finished.

Ok, ok, back to me and finishing the race. After all the thoughts, I had to run the one and only hill on the course, this is when the pain in my leg was at it’s worst! Going up that hill really put a strain on me, this is when I thought it was hamstring related. There was no pain going down this hill on the other side of the road.

I approached the finish area and saw Josh, we ran in the last hundred feet together, and the announcer shouted our team name as we crossed the finish line. We had done the race in just over 4 hours.

The lady standing at the finish with the medals did not give us one. So apparently, relay teams did not get medals this year? I don’t know, it was way strange. I did this as a relay 2 years ago and the team got a medal. I still can’t find any information on the web either way. It was just strange to come across the finish line to a woman holding a medal, and not get handed one.

I was able to grab a chocolate milk, bottle of water or Powerade at the finish. Then, Josh and I wondered through the crowded area to check out the post race merchandise. There wasn’t anything we couldn’t live without, so we hopped in line for some wood fired pizza.


After waiting for a slice, we grabbed some grapes, orange slices and a cookie. We sat at the provided tables and chairs, under a tent. *Other races should take note of this simple feature, a place to sit! We people watched, and listened to names being announced as people crossed the finish line.


We had to get back home to let the dogs out, so we walked back to our car to make the trek home.

I like this race, and I will do it again. I think the best way to go about this is to run it solo, and have any crew meet you at the non exchange intersections. The trail is all crushed limestone and super flat, except for the one hill. There is also food and drink available at each exchange. You get a great event for your money.

Josh and I both enjoy running, it was nice to do this marathon as a team on our wedding anniversary. We are pretty simple people and don’t need a fancy getaway to celebrate, this was perfect for us.

For more race detail head to my review at bibrave.com

 

 

 

Grandma’s 2017

Grandma’s 2017 – RACE RECAP


“Disclaimer: I received entry into Grandma’s Marathon to review 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!”

I LOVE GRANDMA’S MARATHON!!! I was so happy when Bibrave partnered with this race, I couldn’t wait to get back to Duluth. In fact, my group of friends already had a hotel reservation. I would be returning for a 4th year at the event…. in fact I think my first Bibrave race was the Garry Bjorklund half marathon in 2014.

Duluth is about 7-8 hours from Iowa City, and as per usual, this is a road trip for me. Josh and I got a head start by staying in Rochester, MN on Thursday evening. We woke early, to pick up Miguel at the French Meadow in MPLS – hello delicious breakfast!

From MPLS we made good time to Duluth. That drive on I-35 can be tough as there always seems to be construction and everyone is leaving the city to get to their lake cottages.

We called ahead to our hotel in Superior, WI (just across the canal) and we were able to check in early. This allowed for some down time, even a nap before we would go to the expo, packet pick up and pasta dinner. The hotel had a welcome bag with Clif Bars and bottled water in our rooms.

At the expo, Kara Goucher would be speaking at 3pm, followed by Dick Beardsley. The 3 of us left our hotel around 2pm so we would be able to hear Kara speak, and meet up with the Bibrave gang that was also running the race.


Once we got near the DECC, where the expo and festivities were being held, traffic was backed up due to parking limitations. There was parking available for $5 near the area, but everyone was arriving at the same time. We should have left earlier or parked across the way and walked over. After some cussing, we talked our way into a bar’s parking area – they begged us to have a beer, but instead we gave them $5 and were given a parking pass.

It was a short walk to the expo building, but we were able to make it before 3pm. We met up with the gang and listened to Kara speak.


It was time to get our packets and then check out the expo. The vendors are set up until about 8pm, while packet pick up stays open late – 11pm. When we were there, around 4 ish, it seemed very busy.


There were the typical vendors, and a few free samples including pork, beer and wine. Grabbing our packets was easy, just needed the bib number, and didn’t have to show an ID, when you left this area they double checked that your timing chip scanned.


It was time to eat! I had won a Grandma’s prize pack on facebook which included 2 shirts, a hat and 2 pasta tickets.


Gina (Bibrave pro) had an extra pasta ticket which she shared with Miguel. You might have heard me boast about this dinner. It’s my fave because I can get a plate of plain noodles… um I might have have 3 plates of noodles…in addition to some bread, wafer cookies and a tiny Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. We took our time here and conversed with Gina’s friends, who happened to be from Iowa.


Before we left to get back to our hotel, we stopped to check out of the finishers of the 5k. (you could run this as part of the Great Grandma’s Challenge, 5k Friday and half or full Saturday) Even saw a joggler amongst the many people.


Back at the hotel, after laying out all the race day essentials, we called it a night at 9pm, it was going to be an early wake up call.

Gear: Bibrave tank, Sparkle Athletic Galaxy skirt, Zensah USA compression socks, adidas boy shorts, moving comfort bra, Hawkeye hat, Orange Mud Endurance Pack, aftershokz Trekz Titanium, Welch’s fruit snacks, Brooks Ghost 9, Garmin Fenix 3, Road ID. *planned on a Half Buff & my XX2i France 2 shades


RACE DAY

4:00 am – Rise and shine!  The half marathon started at 6:15 am and the full marathon started at 7:45. The race starts at Two Harbors and ends in Duluth,  we had to take a shuttle to the start. The hotel offers a bus for the marathon, but there was no option for Miguel (running his first half marathon,) except to catch a shuttle in Duluth.

This hotel caters to the runners and put out a breakfast starting at 4 am. Coffee, toast, bagels, fruit, juice, yogurt; all the simple basic foods that are perfect before a race. I toasted some bread and slathered some peanut butter on it, and grabbed a granola bar for the shuttle to the race.

We all piled into the giant rental truck, and barreled down the highway… ok not really, but we left around 4:30 for the boarding that was happening between 4:45 and 5:15 for the half.

UGH! Traffic was backed up onto I-35 from the exit ramp, as they could’t move cars fast enough into the parking lots. We pulled an “audible” and took some other random exit, with some twists and turns, we had cut the line from the interstate, and were close to getting a parking spot. *Ok, so I don’t do well in these situations, in fact I think this is the only thing I worried about on race day. I wanted to make sure we all got to the starting line. This caused major anxiety, as I am spoiled by Hawkeye events with parking passes and traffic control.

Whew! We were able to get close enough to have Miguel get in the line for his shuttle. We had options to get to the start line, and had time to then park the truck. We paid the attendant $5 and went to go find Miguel in line for some final good lucks and a picture.

Josh and I now had time to get to our shuttle… ok so the marathon buses started loading after the half and did so until 6:15am. However, Grandma’s is the only marathon that has a train that will take you to the start. I really wanted to do this, but it was first come first serve to 1000 people. With the timing, it worked out, we made the train!!!


The train goes up the shore, following some of the course. It is also sold as having bathrooms. I did not use a train bathroom, but Josh who had to wait a long time to use one, said they were “well used.” That aside, I really thought the train was a unique way to get to the start. There is also a spectator’s train.


We arrived to the start with plenty of time to check our bags, and wait in the super long port-o-potty lines. There has to be about 200 or so bathrooms, but never seem like enough. It was cloudy and there were some rain sprinkles falling.


We ran into Gina in the bathroom lines… just like last year, lol. I wanted to snap a pre-race pic with her. I took off my hat to put on my BUFF, in this process, my sunglasses which were resting on top of the brim of my hat, snapped in 2. GASP! *update XX2i has a lifetime warranty*


I wear a visor/hat and glasses to run in, as it’s great and easy way to protect me from the elements. So there I was, about to run my 23rd marathon, and I had no sunglasses… however I got my picture with Gina.


Josh and I walked to the starting corrals, we slapped high fives and wished each other luck. He went to the faster area, and I pushed towards the back. There really weren’t corrals, but there were pace signs and pacers to line up with.

The National Anthem was sung live and the race was underway. I knew it would be a few minutes before I would cross the start line, so I finally went to push the buttons on my Garmin to get it ready to use. That is when I discovered it was at 35% charge. UM? I had it plugged in all night…. oh wait, did I? Obviously not. Then I realized my error, I plugged in my headphones, and was like, they don’t take long.. I’ll just unplug after a bit and plug my watch in….that never happened.

Here I was, ready to start another marathon, no sunglasses and a watch with minimal charge… but you know what… I was not worried, not anxious…. nothing – I was ready to tackle the trek to Duluth.

I didn’t have a race goal… I blogged about my training for this race, including the crappy 16 miler that was my one and only long run. I knew I would be able to finish, and I knew I would do my best. It was also my third time at the event.

I don’t have too much to say about the marathon this year that’s any different in years past. The event is very well organized and any ability is welcome, course is open for 7 hours. Great spectators, great volunteers. The sun eventually came out, and it warmed to 77 degrees – according to the marquee when I was near mile 23. This is also when I switched my phone off airplane mode and called Josh just to tell him where I was.. and he was with Miguel and they were tracking me *blushing* This is is when I noticed my watch had officially died – so it lasted 22 miles, and like 4 ish hours? Guess I need to run faster.

I felt great this race, I walked the aid stations, like every 2 miles….and never wanted to walk – until mile 25. I never felt defeated. I did feel hungry at mile 15, and I had been eating my fruit snacks, I took bananas and oranges from the official aid stations. I had also been drinking the blue Powerade on course, but had to stop as it was way too sweet. (I was ready for a toothbrush.) I am thankful to the bacon stop and the people who had strawberries.

When I got to the last .2 miles the sky had clouded up and there was a downpour, the sound system even went out, and my name was not announced when I crossed the finish line at 5:26.  I didn’t have any clue how far I was back from the official time, so when I first saw my finishing time, I was a little disappointed. Oh well, I am slow and most importantly I felt good, not tired or sore.

I am not sure there is anything I dislike about this event, maybe they could add some food choices in the beer/music area AND consider something other than marathonfoto for pictures.

This is a race where you get your shirt at the finish line, so after collecting that, my medal, heat sheet, and bottle of water…the sun was already back out. I met up with Josh and Miguel, then saw Gina in the runners only food area. I made sure to grab some more strawberries.

CONGRATS MIGUEL!! Finished his first half marathon!!!


We then all met up with the Bibrave gang and enjoyed the post race music and beer.


(this area is open forever too, so everyone gets a chance at beer and music.) There were soda choices in addition to Odell brews.


Everyone then departed, and that is when Josh ran into a guy he knew from Iowa, and I saw Darin (hope I spelled that right) I keep running into this guy at races. So we chit chatted some more. If you see me say hi!

Then it was time for the traditional post race Little Angie’s. Tacos for the win! It was tough to eat all my food… I wasn’t super hungry then and I was tired!


Some how it was nearing 4:30… we trucked back to the hotel for a much needed shower and nap. However, I thought if I napped at this hour I wouldn’t get up, or I wouldn’t sleep the night.

Around 7:15 pm, I convinced Josh to drive some where so I could put my legs in Lake Superior. We found a pull out along the course, just north of Duluth. The air temp was in the 50’s and the lake was sooo cold but it felt sooo good! We skipped some rocks too.


Of course I was now hungry, so we drove a little further to a restaurant you pass along the course. We both got the walleye and tried the wild rice – which is a “thing” in the area. After dinner, it was finally time to close the chapter on the day…. I was ready to crash… and I did that.


Sunday

Time for breakfast, and the trek back to the Hawkeye State. We did some googling and thought we would try this cafe that served the famous Betty’s Pies. When we arrived the line was out the door, so we found this other place in downtown Duluth, the Lark. Welp, while the food was tasty, the service was slower than my marathon time.  We were happy to leave and go get some more coffee at the Duluth Coffee Co.


The trip back to MPLS to drop Miguel was uneventful, no traffic back ups. We were back in the cities around noon time, said good bye to Miguel… and crawled back into the truck.


After a traffic back up in southern MN (seriously that area has been under construction for years.) We made it all the way back to the Clear Lake exit before we needed to eat again. Luckily we did not need any gas, all the pumps were full. We discovered that Casey’s would put their chicken strips into a wrap, that was a delicious discovery!

Then really… it was a boring road trip, the radio was boring, the scenery..boring… maybe because we have traveled it a lot. Oh well, we made it home.

As stated at the beginning of this super long post, I love Grandma’s and Duluth, can’t wait to get back… of course we have the hotel reserved already.


You can follow Grandma’s on twitter, Facebook, Instagram or their website to keep up to date with the 2018 event, and you can check out my bare boned review at bibrave.com 

To answer the question, when my watch was recharged, I could see it had worked for 21.2 miles and 4 hours 15 minutes. 

Blue Grass 5k

2017 Blue Grass 5k – Race Review


The 2017 event was held as part of the Blue Grass Days weekend. The 5k and one mile race was on Friday, June 2,. The 1 mile started at 6pm and the 5k at 7pm. It was sunny, hot and around 84 degrees.I have run this race beforeoh I know you are shocked to learn this information! However, I hadn’t run in 3 years, it’s the same weekend as Hospital Hill in Kansas City. With no race on the schedule this year, I was in need of something, and then I remembered this race, plus I could hang with my sister, Amber and niece, Ella.

I was in contact with my sister during the day. I was curious if Ella was going to run the kids race. At the time, I wasn’t sure what distance it was or what time it started. Ha, yeah…. I just knew when I needed to leave to get to the 5k, and still have enough time to register.

At 4:50 pm, Amber texted and said, Ella was going to run the mile, WAIT, WUT?  Ok….. I was at work…and still needed to wrap things up, and get my running gear on – then drive the 40 minutes to the race.

It was the quick change performance of a lifetime, and I was in Blue Grass in a flash. My biggest issue was parking. It’s a super small town, but at the same time, I didn’t want to take a parking spot for a resident, or be in a towing zone. I finally just parked my car, and hustled to the Community Center.

It was 5:49 pm, plenty of time, and Amber and Ella weren’t even there yet. I was registering for the 5k, a whopping $10 – yes, let’s take a minute here, $10 an hour before race start – with chip timing. I could spend $10 more and get the short sleeve, unisex tech shirt if I wanted too. Amber rolled in and paid $5 for Ella to run the mile. In seconds, she had a bib and a timing chip attached, and was at the starting line.

6:00 pm. Ella had never run this far, EVER. I was going to run it with her, just to make sure nothing weird happened. I am not sure what the deal was, but the one mile race was only kids, all younger than 12? There were also not very many of them. I wondered if anyone could run the mile?

After a short delay and some direction from the RD about which way to go, the race started. Ella shot off, I jumped in beside her, and we were on our way.

The course was an out and back, all on paved surface, but many spots to be aware of, and not trip. The course was closed to traffic.


There was one other girl running, the rest were boys. The other girl had a guardian with her too, otherwise all the kids were out there by themselves. Ok, so there was a water stop…. but it was strange.

Ella and I moved along, it was hot and I was worried she would feel sick or something. However, that was far from the truth. Before the turnaround, she was skipping and even said “This is fun!” We turned around and she saw some of her friends on the course. I encouraged her to thank all the police officers at the intersections. We passed the water stop, which she insisted she did not need, and we kept moving.

It was time to make the sprint to the finish line. I ditched her, I had a timing chip on my shoe that couldn’t cross the finish mat… but mostly so she could finish on her own. She crossed the finish line in 10:38 – DAMN GIRL!! She ran the entire race, I was and still am so proud!!


There was now a lot of time to waste until the 5k. Ella had her post race popsicle and really wanted to go check out the carnival and festivities that were happening in town. We managed to keep her distracted until the start of the 5k, by running into my friend Dan, and his dog Phil. They were going to do the 5k too.

Just before 7pm, the RD made some announcements, making sure to thank everyone, and I mean everyone. Then there was a nice live singing of the National Anthem.

I lined up, and took off… weee – Amber even snapped a picture of me – HEY!


As I said, I have run this before, but I should mention it was a much simpler race. There was no chip timing, you finished and grabbed a popsicle stick to determine your placement. The course, while the same also went the opposite direction the previous time. I overhead someone talking about this, so I inquired why the route was run in the opposite direction. I learned that the runners wanted the hill towards the beginning versus the end of the race.  I rolled my eyes… this course is relatively flat with a small hill… looking at my Garmin / Strava stats… there was a total of 46 feet of climbing – sigh… and that hill was 20 feet…so yeah…people need to stop whining about hills, and just run them.

I was actually gonna try and race this…yes it was hot, yes I haven’t really done any speed work, but what the heck, why not? Just before the first water stop – which was full 16 oz plastic bottles (that I took a sip and handed to Ella) – I saw one of my sister’s friends…it was my goal to beat her. So just after the first mile, it was on!!

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It was all I could do to catch her… I did pound out an 8:37 first mile though – go me! I caught up with her just before mile 2, which I ran at 8:50 – and for me that’s still speedy – Also it was 84 degrees on pavement or asphalt, – HOT! Soo now what… ugh cotton mouth – I need to stop spitting – I’m gross. The second water stop had plastic cups and a hose spraying water, I tried not to slow down, so the person wouldn’t pass me, but I took a much needed drink.

I think every member of the area fire department or law enforcement was on the course, blocking every intersection. The entire course is closed to traffic, shutting down the easiest way around. I would like to thank all the volunteers who put up with the small minded people who couldn’t wait 5 minutes to cross the road. I saw 2 incidents of pissy people throwing a fit because the road was closed and they couldn’t wait or go around.

Whew, now time to push that last mile… there was one more water stop with paper cups, I stopped. Yep, a 5k with 3 water stops – THANK YOU! I also didn’t take much time here…and I had also gained on my competition, even though I was slowing down…my third mile was 8:56…however still sub 9 – wahoo!

I made that last turn, and saw Amber and Ella cheering me in. I crossed the finish line with a time of 27:3? which was good enough for 4th in my AG…always 4th…I was a convincing 4th place though, it wasn’t close. The 35-39 AG is very competitive – I would have won the 30-34 .


I hung around for a while, chatted with others ate my post race popsicle. Ella finally got to go to the carnival area. We reconvened and waited for the awards ceremony, indulging on our free “beers.” Ella and I got a wooden nickel with our registration to redeem for a free drink. I don’t care for the beer selection they offered so I took a soda, and Amber used Ella’s for a Coors Light.


We cheered as the awards were presented. Ella’s name was announced as the female winner of the mile – WAHOOOOO!!!!! She all the sudden was very shy and grabbed my hand and pulled me along to the stage to collect her trophy. The kid got a trophy! It was pretty cool.


It was getting late, and I had to stop back at work and gather my things, and eventually get home. We ended the evening with a celebratory ice cream from Casey’s.


As far as the race goes, I can not recommend it enough. $10 on race day, with chip timing, free beer, flat course, accurate 3.1 miles…what more could you ask for? Ok, small town Iowa, but I have paid more and gotten less, so do this race!


I also hope Ella will continue to think running is fun. I may have to order us matching unicorn / rainbow running skirts.

 

Run Madtown 10k Review

Run Madtown 10k Review

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Run Madtown Twilight 10k to review 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!”

The 2017 event took place on Saturday, May 27th at 8:10 pm in Madison, WI. It was overcast and around 65 degrees, it was humid. The 10k started, 10 minutes after the 5k.

Read about my road trip to get there.

The 2 night races are part of a weekend of events which also includes a half marathon on Sunday. If you do the 10k and the half marathon you will get an additional medal, and can say “I Conquered the Capitol.” I was fortunate to do that challenge last year, and top it off with the fall marathon, for a huge medal haul. – Ok, enough of that, back to the 10k…

Gear: Sparkle Athletic stars skirt, BR tank, Adidas boy shorts, B1G hat, Spibelt, Gamin Fenix, Adidas Ultra Boost X, Road ID, Zensah USA socks, Buff

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Registration for this race was available online, but it closed May 24th. There was a chance to register at the expo. I honestly can’t remember how much this race costs, looking at my review last year, it topped around $60.

The expo was at the Monona Terrace Community Center. It was open Friday evening and Saturday until 5pm, before the race. If you were not able to make it, it was easy to make arrangements for someone else to pick it up for you. Parking was available in the attached ramp for a fee, or in downtown at a meter – with a short walk.


The expo wasn’t huge, but had everything you might need. The bib pickup was in the back, and you had to show an ID and give your bib number, which was sent in an email the week prior. There was a station set up to check if your timing chip was active. Many photo opportunities, including a banner with your name on it. There was race merchandise, a running store and area vendors. There were water stations set up in the corners to keep hydrated.


The expo closed 3 hours before race start. Since the race starts and finishes at the State Capital there are many things to do & places to go, or you could just take a nap on the lawn of the Capital.

After an afternoon at a nearby brewery, I came back to downtown and was able to find on street parking, which was now free as it was after 6pm. I had to find the starting line, it was on a street alongside the Capital, but which one? There was also some construction, so it didn’t start where it did last year.

Once I easily located the start, which I arrived too early, I saw Dan from Iowa City, so we chatted a while, and then I met up with fellow Bibrave Pro Lisa, who was also running the 10k.


We all paused for the recording of the National Anthem. (It sounded like the Jordin Sparks version at the Super Bowl.) We then watched the wheelers start the 5k, and then the 5k runners follow. It was then time to get into the corral – which was just one big corral, and for the most part people self- seeded.

Going into this race, I thought I would have a decent time. I did my best to prepare for an 8:10 pm start. I would also like to note I was wearing the Adidas Ultra Boost X shoes, I am testing for Bibrave – I have run up to 7 miles in them, so thought this would be a good race test. (Foreshadowing – I’ll have a review coming, but I have to keep them tied loose, for the best fit for me.)

The course is a nice tour of Madison, it’s short, but it takes you by many things including Camp Randall and the Kohl Center. It is on all paved surfaces. This year, as I mentioned there was construction, so there were areas you needed to watch out for potholes or road drop offs.

It should also be said, Madison is not flat, and every race I have ran, always includes Observatory hill. However, once you are at the top you are rewarded with a really cool view of the lake.

There were a few spectators out on the course, but the volunteers where the ones that were energetically cheering everyone on. Speaking of the volunteers, they were at every intersection, making sure everyone went the right way.

There were 3 aid stations, and at least one had lemon-lime Gatorade (2nd – after the water.) Liquids were all served in paper cups.

Now, I previously wrote a post about how the course was lit well enough in the past, but I noticed the bike path we ran on to be a tad dark this year. It was also open to other users, including bikers, one of which almost ran over me.

Each mile was marked with a sign, and there was a timing mat at the half way point, with a clock. The timing tag was located on the back of the bib.


There was also an app called RaceJoy available for spectators to track you, My phone battery was already at 34% at the start of the race, so I put it on airplane mode while I ran. The RaceJoy app needed you to open it while you ran. This app also allowed spectators to send you cheers.

Now that I have mentioned all the bells and whistles of the course. How did I do? Well, I was having a good time tackling the hills, and pushing my pace, being familiar with Madison also helped. However, since I keep my shoes – double knotted – tied loosely, I just kept felt like they were slipping off my feet. At mile 3, my double knotted shoe came untied. Have you ever had to stop, bend over, tie your shoe, then continue racing? UGH, huge momentum crasher.

I tried to keep pushing the last half, but I felt the humidity, just couldn’t get back into it. Then there was the above mentioned bike path incident. I could hear this noise behind me, and by the time I looked back, this dude was off on the side passing me. Oh well, before soon, I was back at the finish at the Capital.


When I came across the finish line, and announcer said my name, a volunteer placed a medal around my neck, and another volunteer handed me a bottle of water. There was a backdrop set up for taking pictures. The race provides FREE pictures, which were posted online in 2 days. After a photo opp, there was Rocky Rococco’s pizza. Sorry, but the last thing I want to eat after running is a greasy slice of pizza, there were no other food options…a banana would have been great!


I looked at my watch, and I finished with a time near 1:01, which is alright, not bad.

After the long walk of the finishers chute, you could leave, or turn the corner into the post race “party” area. There was a tent set up to get your results printed, and a place to buy some race branded merchandise, then there was the beer tent, where you could grab your FREE Michelob Ultra. I think you have heard my thoughts on this… it’s the land of 23948092384 craft breweries, I passed on the Mich Ultra.


I found Lisa after the race, we chatted and took a picture or two, and just like that it was after 9:30 pm. This old lady was going to turn into a pumpkin. We departed ways and I was back on the road to Iowa.


Overall, Madison is a great place to run. While this race is shorter, it offers a great tour. The expo is easy to get to, the price is competitive and the volunteers are great. I hope in the future to see a different post race food & beer option – which, really, is just me being picky.

Did you run this race? Tell everyone what you thought with a review at bibrave.com

Watch out Madison, I am making a return to the Madison Mini!