Run for the Thuringer!

Amana Freezer 5k – 2018 recap

The meat bag swag keeps me coming back!

Saturday, January 27, 2018 – 10 am.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Can you see me?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Half Marathon #48

Triple D Half Marathon – Race Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trail Trot

Legend of the Fall 2017 – Race Recap

I think I have been running this race for the last 5 years ish. Nothing much changes, but if I don’t add it to my blog, did it happen?

I have added another review to Bibrave.com as well. I am the only one with a review, but really it’s one of my faves in Iowa City.

This race is always the morning of Thanksgiving. It’s our area “Turkey Trot,” yet it’s a difficult event, covering the trails through Hickory Hill Park. This year the weather was probably the best it’s been in years. It was about 40 or so degrees at the start, and there had been no precipitation leading up to race day, leaving the trails dry.

I registered online a few weeks before the event, so on race day I just needed to grab my bib. I am just about 2 miles from this race, so I always run to and from Regina High School, where it starts.

Gear: Black Sparkle Athletic Skirt, Zensah Compression socks, Chicago Marathon hat, Grandma’s 5k tech shirt, Orange Mud Pullover, Spi belt, XX2i France 2 sunglasses, Aftershokz Trekz Air, Under Armor Horizon shoes, Garmin Forerunner 935, Road ID, Buff(R), Pearl Izumi gloves

I arrived to discover they had moved the packet pick up and race day registration to the outside of the lunch room area. This was slightly congested. I had to wait in a line. I also think there were more participants than normal because the weather was so nice. I didn’t have to wait too long, and I receive a bib, timing chip to attach to my shoe and my long sleeve, cotton, unisex shirt.

I put my bib on my Spi Belt, attached my timing chip and looked for a place to stash my shirt – since I didn’t drive. I was then out the door, and waited near the starting line.

The start is on the track. Everyone waited around, and then was encouraged to move to the starting line, which was just a cone on the track I believe. People just jumbled up together. There were some announcements and then it was time to race.

The race went about 3/4 away around the track, allowing people to thin out before heading down the hill, into the woods and trails of Hickory Hill Park.

The area to run is narrow, so it’s hard to first get a position, so you just wait patiently for a place to pass. There is a hill within the first mile and people start walking, so if you wait it out, this is a good time to pass.

The trail twists and turns and goes up and down, over roots and leaves – your typical trail surface.

There are no mile markers out there, but you follow small yellow flags, which are easy to navigate. Close to the end there is always the short cut, or as they call it in this race – “the spicy way.”

I always take this cut, it’s on unmarked trail, through some trees and then a small creek crossing, with a steep climb out of the ravine. I always laugh at everyone hesitant to cross the water, and I always dash right though.

Once past this area, it’s not much further to the finish. With another 3/4 lap of the track, there is a blue timing mat to cross and you are done! A volunteer was clipping chips here, I just bent over and pulled mine off.

As I was running, I noticed a 6 pack of La Croix was running the race – ok so it was 6 people in costume. I had to get my photo with them. The one lady was like, oh yes – all costumed runners take a picture – um I was not in costume…but I guess plaid pants and a sparkly skirt will do that. They said they also used their costumes for a race the week before.

I walked back up to the school, browsed the post race cookie and dessert bar, grabbing a cookie bar and filling a cup with water. I sat down and ate, and listened while some awards were given out. Winners received pumpkin pie!

It was time to run home, I found my stashed shirt and left the building. I carried it in my hands and enjoyed the nice weather on the way home. I had just over 7 miles total for the day. It was time to get ready for my Thanksgiving plans at my sister’s house.

I really like this race – you can search my blog for past experiences. I will continue to run this event if I am in town, and you should too!

Half Marathon #47

Half Marathon #47

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Madison Marathon Half 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!”

It’s amazing how things start to add up over time, hard to believe I have completed my 47th half marathon, my first was in September 2011. This was my 6th half marathon in Madison. Find out if I will be back…..

For my no nonsense review – check out bibrave.com

Where shall I begin… I think I will fast forward through Saturday… originally when I signed up, I was excited as it was the day after the Iowa / Wisconsin football game in Madison, I would be in town anyway…why not run a marathon? Well, you can read again about me switching races…but still Hawkeye football and running, what is better?

Well as I write this we all know that game did not turn out well for the Hawkeyes, so why should we relive it…no need….I will say I got to spend more time with new friends, and I did enjoy that.

Sunday, November 12 – RACE DAY!!

Gear: Sparkle Athletic Skirt, Bibrave long sleeve shirt, 2xu Hyoptik tights, Zensah compression socks, BUFF® ThermoNet™, Pearl Izumi gloves, Hawkeye hat, xx2i sunglasses, Aftershokz Trekz Air, Brooks Ghost 9, Garmin Forerunner 935, Road ID

I was up early for a short drive to Madtown. I was staying just south in a town with a Kwik Star – I love those stores!  So, I stopped for some coffee and a bagel. The weather was also a little crappy, the temp was near freezing and it was spitting rain. I did make it to Madison without incident, and checked the weather map, it looked like I was just out of it and the race would be dry.

Oh – I forgot to tell you all about the packet pick up and stuff – but as I said – check out my bibrave review…the blog is for the rambling. Anyway, unless you pay for race day packet pick up, you have to get your bib the days before at the Monona Terrace – it’s easy and painless…and I did that before the game.

Ok, back to race day – One of my favorite things about this event, it’s on a Sunday, so all the on street parking just blocks away from the start / finish is FREE. I pulled in around 6 am for the 7:10 a start, and found a parking spot 2 blocks away.

I had time to use one of the many port-o-potties and get back to my car and sit and stay warm and relax. No standing in a corral for an hour before you start, no wondering where you need to be… just sitting and scrolling social media.

With about 15 minutes to go, I left my car and walked to the starting line. I could hear the National Anthem in the distance, so I stopped walking and listened. I arrived to the starting line to hear them announce the wheeler start at 6:55 am, then it was the full marathon start at 7:00am. I looked for my friend Dan, and kept an eye out for Steena, but didn’t see either.

After a selfie or 2, I found myself lining up into the backfed corral. These are kind of annoying, if you are fast, it’s hard to get to the front. Anymore, I just get in the corral and move forward…I try not to worry. There were pacers with signs you could stand near too.

There was a wheeler start for the half marathon, then it was time for me to start. I have never run this course in Madison before…. well as a half marathon. The course is the second half of the full marathon, which I ran last year.

There was some construction in the first mile or so of the race, so the streets we were running on were quite narrow, and at one point it was sooo narrow that we all just stopped… I can remember the collective sigh I heard from everyone at this moment… (thanks to my Aftershokz Trekz Air) the sigh was like something you hear from a crowd at a sporting event. However, after this point… the course widened again and we finally started to thin a little. Most of the participants must have been running the half marathon.

The first 5 ish miles were on some boring roads, passing businesses and gas stations. In all the races I’ve run in Madison, this course is my least favorite. We finally got closer to the lake and there were views of that.

There were parts through residential neighborhoods and a short out and back section. Each mile was marked with a sign, and I didn’t notice any timing mats. *The RaceJoy app was the tracking app suggested by the race, which is based on the participant using their phone GPS on course. This just burns my battery, so I do not use it. I should have set it up though as I think there is a way around it – really I should just look into it, lol

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Around mile 8 was a HUGE hill with a cool look over the lake… I actually checked my heart rate at the top – as a Bibrave Pro I have been testing a Garmin Forerunner 935 with the wrist HR monitor, and I noticed it was only about 173 at the top of the hill, so I happened to keep pushing the pace into the finish line.

On course there were many aid stations. At first I was confused as water was first, then Gatorade, but that was followed with water again. Also as the stops went on, the mixing of cups happened – water wasn’t always in the white cup – but the volunteers shouted what they had to offer. There were also a couple of gel stops too.

There were also a lot of law enforcement volunteers along the way. There were a lot of busy intersections. I made sure to thank them when I could. Near the finish is a hill (of course – it wouldn’t be Madison without hills) I said thank you to an officer and he made some remark instead- something to the effect of keep going or don’t give up, like your Hawkeyes yesterday.  UGH this did not encourage me at all, in fact I was mad!  I am fine if a friend lays down the smack talk, but I didn’t know this person. He should have also just been making sure runners are safe, and given the time, clap or say good job. I compare this to “good job but the things you like suck!”  Anyway, I didn’t let this cloud my thoughts on the overall event…just do your job.

I came into the finish as the announcer said my name. My Garmin had a time near 2:15 for 13.3 ish miles. I am not made about the distance… I understand that GPS gets off and I probably didn’t run the tangents.

I jumped and the photographer captured it!! Oh and the pictures were posted that night and sent to me via email for a FREE download!!

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After I crossed that finish line a volunteer placed a medal around my neck and a bottle of water was made available to me. Then I waited in line for a photo with the back drop.

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After that, a kid ran out of nowhere and placed a mylar blanket on my like a cape! I wasn’t super cold, but was grateful and took it with me as I grabbed a couple of orange slices. There were some halved bananas too. The next stop was the choice of a bagged Panera lunch – turkey, ham or veggie. I chose the turkey one and made my way to my car.

On the way I passed by a results tent, I could have had my time printed out, but passed. I could have also purchased some race merchandise and turned in the tag on my bib for a free Michelob Ultra. *I am not sure it’s necessary to mention this again… but come on, it’s Wisconsin, how about a craft beer? LOL

Alright…I made it back to my car and did a quick change in the back seat. Pro tip – get the sweaty layer of clothing off when it’s cold outside. Once that wet layer is gone, add some warm dry layers. (you can thank me later.)

With warm dry clothes and a big fluffy coat, I was headed back to the finish line to cheer on the runners. I did stop for a peppermint mocha on the way since I passed on the beer.

I made it to the finish line to see Dan finish his 32nd marathon! Then Joanne came in to finish the half. WAHOO!! Congrats!!!

I needed to get on my way, as I was headed to a men’s basketball game in Iowa City. I did meet up with Dan and then Joanne, used one of the 230948209347 port-o-potties and was on the road.

Ok…so I made it as far as the grocery store…I wasn’t leaving without beer and cheese curds.

I made it to the basketball game, but I was late…

I enjoy running in Madison, but I am not sure if I will be back when the Hawkeyes are in town. Also even though this is not my favorite course, it’s nice to have longer distance races late in the year.

I received an email after the event that there will be 4 medals that fit together to form one big piece with a center piece, looks like I will be back!

Come for the race, stay for the Bourbon

Urban Bourbon Race Recap – 2017

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Urban Bourbon Half 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!”


This blog post is more of my personal take on my adventure, (and a little long) for a to the point review check out my review on bibrave.com.

At this point, you should know I was headed to Louisville, KY for the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon. I mean I was preparing for a half marathon in bourbon country the best way I knew how… consuming all the bourbon! While that might seem like a strange strategy, especially a week after a marathon…. it would be my 46th race at this distance, and I have run this one before – I knew what to expect.

The race was on Saturday, October 21st and packet pickup was the Friday before, until 8pm. There was no race day packet pickup, and while someone else could grab my stuff for me… I figured I would have enough time Friday evening to get it myself.

I hopped in my trusty ol car, coffee by my side and was on the road. The trip was uneventful, except for all the stopping to use the bathroom. I must have the world’s smallest bladder, seriously I thought I would never get there. Luckily there was a Waffle House on the route too!


When I got near Louisville, I knew I wanted to cross the river on the the Hwy 31 bridge. Within the last year or so, they finally finished the construction on the Interstate 65 bridge, and it now requires a toll to cross. The Hwy 31 bridge has no toll and it’s easier to navigate, it dumps you on Main St in Louisville, next to the Yum! Center, which was a block from my hotel, the Galt House.

I lost an hour due to the time change, and it was near 4 when I found parking under the hotel – $20 for the time I was there. I made it to the lobby and discovered a long line for check in. Daylight was burning! My plan was to park my car and leave it until after the race, check in, run to packet pickup, then run back…. but I wanted daylight to do this.

Magically, someone from the hotel caught my attention and opened more check in desks, so after all that and waiting in the lobby to grab the elevator to my GIANT room. I was back down on street level and moving on foot to packet pickup.

In years past, packet pick up was near downtown at the baseball stadium, however this year due to a successful soccer team it was not available. The race directors came up with another plan, which moved packet pick up to an Arts Center a few miles away from downtown.

I had google mapped the distance to this, and found a route. However, there was a road closure and I wasn’t sure if this also meant that the sidewalk was closed to. I reached out to the RD and he was like, oh no problem – just take these roads and you will get right to the Arts Center.

So – I fought through the foot traffic, there was a Jason Aldean concert happening…and was on my way. I was going to meet fellow BibRave Pro Nicole, and waiting on that elevator had already put me behind. I was keeping her up to date via text.

I am somewhat familiar with running in Louisville. I was down here during the summer, and this was going to be my 3rd race here. My route to packet pick up took me along the river, and near the Big Four Bridge. I kept following the sidewalk until it ended… insert a Shel Silverstein joke. I was along a 4 lane highway, at a bridge…no safe way to get across. I had no clue where I was, after some back and forth, I checked in with the map, on my phone with 30% battery life…There was a trail behind an apartment building I needed to find.


I found that trail and really hoped nothing was going to happen to me. It ended at some strange side road with a dirt bike course. I was in the middle of no where. I continued and was running on the shoulder of a busy, 2 lane road. I cut through a parking lot and was on the street where packet pickup was located.

Luckily, Nicole was patient. She had been waiting for me the entire time. We waited in the long line to get our bibs. It was really crowded. With the line out the door, it was a tight squeeze in and out.


In addition to getting your bib and shirt. The local Fleet Feet was inside, race merchandise was for sale, Jim Beam was sampling bourbon as well as pre-selling etched bottles.

When Nicole and I got to the front of the line, we didn’t have our bib numbers. We totally forgot to check the board outside the location. They were not sent in an email. The nice people let us go check and bump back to the front of the line. We showed our ID’s and they put the Bourbon Bash wrist bands on our wrists. We then got our long sleeve, gender specific tech shirts. (I really like the shirt, they had to go to plan B with this too, however after wearing it once it has snagged)

From there we sampled the bourbon and decided to pre-purchase the etched bottle. How cool is that! Jim Beam will etch a bottle of their black label with the race logo and your name and time or anything else you want it to say. The idea is that they will have access to live results and print them as them come in to them at the Stillhouse, so you can just stop by after the race an grab your personalized bottle. 


We left the crowded packet pickup and parted ways for the night. I had to get back to downtown, and I was racing the daylight.


I made it back with 6% battery life. I next needed to find something to eat. the race offered a couple sit down options, but one was $20 and the other $45. I also didn’t take the time to look into them further. However, I did notice a pasta restaurant 2 blocks from the hotel.

I made my way over to the pasta place. It was full of runners, I could tell by the bourbon bash wrist bands. I was actually relieved to have found a place with runners, the hotel was full of people in fancy clothes as there was a “Ball” going on.


After I was full of all the plain spaghetti noodles, bread and salad. I got all my running clothes together and decided to call it a night. I also noticed my throat was a little scratchy. I had a headache on and off all week, and I was just thinking it was dehydration from my marathon the week before.

RACE DAY

Ok guys – sorry this is sooo long… but I will re-read this one day, and like to remember what I did.

Gear: Sparkle Athletic donut skirt, Zensah socks, Hawkeye Hat, Bibrave tank, Spi Belt, XX2i France 2, Aftershokz Trekz Air, Garmin Forerunner 935, Brooks Ghost, Adidas Shorts, Road ID


The race started at 8:30am. I know, sooo late… and my hotel was located at the start/finish line. Depending on the elevator schedule, I could be there in minutes. Alas (is that the right word?) I was up and at ’em at 7 am. I first had to make sure I could get a late check out. They said that 12 noon was the latest, without an extra charge, so I said OK, I’ll do that.

I brewed some coffee in my room and tried to eat a Nugo bar. I still had that headache, and didn’t feel the best. I was sick, or there was something in the air, or all the travel and running was catching up to me.

I really didn’t know what to do with all the time, I liked the later start, but I am ready to get things done, plus would be nice to not worry about hotel checkout. I was done wasting time, so I walked down to the race start.

It was a nice morning, about 50 degrees, and the sun was out. I met up with Nicole and the guy who plays the trumpet at the start of the race. He’s originally from Iowa!


Nicole and I chatted until it was time to file into the starting corral. There was only one entrance and it was in the back. If you were planning to run fast, it would have been a good idea to line up early, or you have to fight your way through the crowd. There were signs along the side to encourage people to line up according to pace. There were also pacers in the corrals.

I had one goal for this race, get back to my hotel and showered before they kicked me out.  With an 8:30 start, I knew worse case scenario would be a 3 hour race and then I would bust my butt.

After a trumpet rendition of the National Anthem followed by the trumpet cheer you hear at the Kentucky Derby, the race was off! I had ended up near the 2:45 pacer to start, I just didn’t want to fight through the corral any further – and with chip timing, I didn’t really care.

The course starts through Whiskey Row in downtown Louisville and takes you up through Cherokee Park to then loop back around to finish up running by the Slugger building.

I was with the 2:45 pace group for a cup of coffee, that wasn’t gonna work… I need to start slow and this method helps that, but I left them and was soon running with the 2:30 pace group.

After passing through the first water stop, I ditched the 2:30 pace group and just ran how I was feeling. Headache aside, I was feeling pretty good.

I mentioned I had run this before, and I knew the park was a pretty place to run through, I also knew this is where the hills were.

Leading up to this point, I enjoyed the live music and the guy on a bike with GIANT speakers playing loud music. I stopped at all the aid stations. They had water and then Powerade, both in paper cups. I like I always knew what liquid I was getting, but feel the Powerade should have been first.

Mile 7 – my legs were dead… they felt like goo. I had climbed the first 2 major hills in the park, and the downhill was decent too. With my strong start, and with a marathon last week, I wondered where my wheels would fall off.

I did manage to get a decent photo at this point, and the pictures are FREE to download!!

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I just kept motoring through the course. I did have the time on my mind, and I knew the 2:30 pace group was behind me. If I never let them pass me I would be good.

The last mile was decorated with a balloon arch, and this is when I didn’t have anything left… I was still running, but I was tired!! “Just keep moving forward.”

I was on the home stretch and could see the finisher arch in the distance. I had a plan to jump across the finish line. In 2015, I did this and my picture was epic, however the race pictures were not free then, I am poor, I did not buy one.

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I jumped across that finish line, but sadly the 2 photographers did not capture that moment, however I can remember the moment I stopped my Garmin  – forever!

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The volunteers at the finish line handed my my Jim Beam bottle shaped medal and I grabbed a bottle of water along with a small bottle of Powerade.

There was a short line to get a photo with the race backdrop, so I stood there for a little while.

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I then made the turn towards the Bourbon Bash area. This walkway had bananas, chocolate milk and bagels. I also was greeted by a fellow Instagram user @lawgirl246 I wish we had more time to chit chat, but I bolted back to my hotel room.

I got back to my room about 11:15 am. There was a house cleaning lady in it….I was not happy and explained I had a late check out, and she was like, no big deal, and let me take a quick shower. Whew! That was a close one!

I got my things all packed up and back to my car. I would say I crushed my race day goal!

Now, for the fun part of the day. The Bourbon Bash!!

This is the post race party. The race is open to participants 21 and older for this reason. I mentioned the wrist bands we received at packet pickup. If you did not run you could purchase one for $30. They allowed you 4 bourbon samples, 1 beer, a bowl of burgoo and a slice of pizza. However, you could trade these tags, they weren’t being monitored. I saw a lot of trades of bourbon for beer and vice versa.

The weather was perfect, it had warmed to near 70 degrees, this made for long lines as people stuck around. It also helped that the Louisville Crashers were rocking the stage! The race merchandise was also available for sale here too.


I made sure to get in that beer line right away, it was one of the longer ones. They were serving a Kentucky bourbon barrel brew that was near 8.2% I also sampled a lemonade moon shine, a peach bourbon, and a mixed drink with brandy. I also waited in line for a slice of pizza.


Even though I was there by myself, I had a great time. I stayed until the party closed at 1pm. We weren’t even kicked out! However, because of this, I forgot about the bourbon walk. Which is a partnership with some local establishments to get pins if you purchase something, oops!


All good things must come to an end…. I left the fun and walked over to the Jim Beam Stilhouse to get my etched bottle. I walked in and waited in the line, I was then told my bottle was not done. I was very confused. Apparently they sold more than they expected, and were etching bottles from walk in orders, and couldn’t keep up with the pre-orders.

I wasn’t happy, and there was nothing I could do, I prepaid for the bottle and I wanted to take it with me. I took a seat and waited…. I think I waited about an hour. They did offer a free tasting to us that were waiting, but I was officially “bourboned out.”


I finally got my bottle just after 2pm, and I only remember this as I really wanted to get a donut and they closed at 2pm.


I walked back to my car, and entered the GPS to visit family in Lexington. It’s an easy, hour-ish drive to the east. I listened to the last of the Hawkeye football game on the way…it went to OT and they lost, boo!

That evening I caught up with some blogs and we went out to eat.

When I woke up in the morning, there were donuts!!!! They were like bourbon balls. I sadly had to much other breakfast food, so I brought some back to share with Josh.


I left Kentucky around 11 am, knowing I would gain an hour on the way back home. I thought was on the route to take me through Cincinnati, but I ended up back towards Louisville, so I went with it. However, I ended up on some side road that took me on another toll bridge. I did everything to avoid that on the trip down, and I am now waiting on a $4 bill in the mail.

The rest of the drive was uneventful. I felt kinda like crap, so lunch was a bag of popcorn and Gatorade. I think I pulled into the driveway around 8 or 9pm.

I love a good road trip, and couple it with a great race, you have an excellent time! If you are around Louisville and you enjoy a great race and a great drink, this is the run for you!

Thank you for reading this, it was super long….

 

 

 

 

Detroit Marathon – Race Recap

Race Recap – Detroit Free Press Marathon

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Detroit Free Press 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!”

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For my to the point review, check out bibrave.com

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Gear: Sparkle Athletic skirt, Bibrave tank, Brooks Ghost, Garmin Fenix 3, Boco Gear Visor, Spi Belt, Road Runner Sports shorts, Zensah socks, Road ID, xx2i France 2, Aftershokz Trekz Air

Sunday, October 15, 2017. The race started at 7:00 am. It was cloudy and humid, expected wind gusts of 40mph. The race was run alongside the international half marathon and the marathon relay.

Josh and I arrived early to our parking ramp, and sat in the car for a while. We weren’t sure what the traffic situation would be and got their early to avoid any problems. We had coffee in the hotel, but ate Nugo bars in the car.

Pre-race emails said we needed to carry our passports and runners with water bottles were subject to search. This created a problem for me, while I like Gatorade to run with, I also like to carry my hydration pack – 1) so I can drink when I want 2) to carry anything I want 3) bring the food I like to eat. IMO, this makes the race a hassle…what if you are allergic to Gatorade? I also like to bring real food and candy as I don’t do gels. Where do I carry that? Plus my passport? I made all this work with my Spi Belt for my phone and passport, then used the pockets in my shorts for gummis and a waffle.

Around 6 am, we left to walk over to the starting area. I had told the Bibrave Pros I was headed that way, so we could meet up for a picture.

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The area was congested. The race had corrals at the start, with suggested crossroads to enter to get to them. There were port-o=potties on these cross roads, but always seems like there was never enough, as lines snaked around. Gear check was in the finisher area, not near the starting entrances… so if you weren’t too early you had to find a way to get there and to your corral through the people.

I met up with the pros, we wished each other good luck, and I thought I would try to find a port-o-potty to use… no luck, lines were still long. So, I just decided to get to my corral, corral K. Of course, I was on the wrong cross road and to get there, I was “swimming up stream.” So, I went out and around a block, to enter the correct way.

I stopped on my way to listen to the Canadian National Anthem and the US National Anthem, sung live.

I got to my corral, and there was no one checking bibs at the entry. Another thing I was searching for was a time that the corrals closed, or a time to be in them. I couldn’t find anything… there was just a lot of congestion.

I did chit chat with an older gentleman who was running his first marathon. He won the battle with throat cancer and no longer produces saliva. His bib said “Bob’s Bucket List.” I wished him luck as we moved forward.

As we got closer to the start, I noticed I was now in corral L. Being slower it really doesn’t make a huge difference to me, however if you are going to insist on a waved, corralled start, it needs to be policed better. There was so much congestion.

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I really didn’t have a huge goal going into this race. I did have a great last 20 mile run and I felt good going into the race. My PR is just under 5 hours, so I thought… heck stick to something in that range. I even made a playlist…I still put it on shuffle, but I knew it was songs that would keep me moving.

When I finally crossed the starting line I noticed the 5:10 pacer. I love the idea of pacers, let them do the work for you…just stick next to them. I was going to try and hang with this group for a while.

The first few miles are through an industrial section of town, it leads up to the bridge crossing into Canada just after mile 3. It was interesting to observe the amount of Border Patrol in this area. They were on the course checking to make sure each runner had a bib. There were even officers along the side with giant guns. Security was tight.

Climbing the bridge ramp, I left the pacer…they were going to slow up this ramp for me. I got to the deck of the bridge and it was still very crowded. It didn’t help the amount of people who were just stopping in the center of the bridge for a selfie – move to the side. Also, I have never ran a race where runners from behind said excuse me to snake through the crowd. There was no where to go.

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After we came off the bridge, the crowd started to thin just a little bit, only because runners ran through the border patrol booths. However, a hydration station was soon after this and it was chaos again.

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There were numerous aid stations on the course. They had water and Gatorade, with paper cups. However, many were a hot mess… you weren’t sure what you were getting. There were no flags or signs telling you. There were 2 different cups, but not always the water in the Gatorade cup. Also the first stop what Gatorade mixed in with water, and the others Gatorade was second. I know these are all manned by volunteers, but I am sure at some point they are told what to do. *Also is the new Gatorade formula different, I wasn’t liking it.

Ok, so where were we? Running in Canada…this was nice, we ran along the waterfront and through the town only for a few miles. There were many spectators out, all cheering for us. Even when we came to go back across the border, the officers were cheering for us too.

Just after mile 7 we were in the underwater tunnel headed back to the USA. I believe this is the only race you run underwater. I was not looking forward to this part, I really don’t like tunnels. The course narrowed back to 2 lanes, so it was congested again. The surface was asphalt and was wet and slippery. This is also another part where people would stop and take selfies… UGH. I just wanted to get out! It was so stuffy too. It was cool when we first entered, the chanting and shouting.

At mile 8 we were welcomed back into the USA. There was a large group of spectators here along with more border patrol. There was also a small climb out of the tunnel, but nothing too bad.

From here on out the race is back on US soil. I also was feeling good, and really using my music to stay focused on moving forward. I did need to use the bathroom, but kept moving as each port-o-potty area still had a line. It wasn’t until mile 15 I found a bank of port-o-potties with no line, ah relief.

I was trying to fuel every 5 miles, but I also wanted to drink at least water when I ate something, so this threw that strategy off just a bit. I ate half a waffle at mile 6, the rest at mile 11, then opened the bag of gummis just before I used the bathroom at mile 15. Also, some where in these miles there was a church giving out bananas. *I wish this was known ahead of time, or the race provided fruit or candy.

Miles 16-18, I like to call this area Octoberfest. It was a residential neighborhood and the residents were out in full force. Music and beer! At this point in my race I was still feeling good, so I did not stop to drink some beer. I should have grabbed some of the candy though.

I think it was just after 18 or so when the lead runner for the US Only half marathon passed me. This event starts after the International events, but uses some of the same course. If I were running the US half, I would be mad that all the slower runners were in my way. Yes, there was a lead bike getting people to move, but it was still not ideal.

It was time to go out to Bell Isle. Mile 20-22 were run on this island, and since the race cuts off access to the public, there are no spectators out there. I do remember Eminem came on my music as I was crossing the bridge out to the island, so I was still feeling good heading into mile 20. I was feeling even better when I got off the bridge and Team World Vision had orange slices. Yes, more of this on the course please!!!

I am sure I crossed a timing mat out here, and then out of no where, I saw the 5:10 pacer …ahead of me…huh? Well maybe they passed me when I was in the bathroom? Then it was mind games…so that took me through mile 21.

I just kept going, off the island and it was time for the home stretch back into downtown. UGH!!!! This was along the waterfront, and we had a head wind….with those 40 mph gusts as planned. That was when the wheels fell off… I didn’t do any resistance training, and it was hard. It also didn’t help that the running surface turned to brick at this time too, and there were some rain sprinkles. I will say this, my Boco Gear visor never budged in the wind!

I then was running back and forth with the 5:10 pacer… and I overheard him say that he was no longer on time, but close to 5:26. Even pacers have a bad day.

I kept battling to the finish line, running, walking, laughing at myself…the wind was tough! My watch was also way off, with all the weaving in and out of people at the start, I did not run the tangents, so it was long. In my mind I was like… I can run the last mile… but it really wasn’t the last mile.

A lady did recognize my orange BibRave shirt and said she follows along on twitter. It was nice to chat, but I just didn’t have it in me to finish with her. I struggled all the way to my 5:27 finish…but hey a finish is a finish.

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When I crossed the finish line, a volunteer placed a medal around my neck. There was a table set up with small water bottles and cups of Gatorade. I took 2 bottles of water. There was a heat sheet area, but volunteers had a hard time wrestling them in the wind. After this a volunteer was handing out small bottles of chocolate milk.

The finish chute was long and I was wondering where the food was, then out of a no where a volunteer came walking towards me with a pre-filled bag of goods. Always nice when your hands are already full to have a bag.

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There was also a backdrop set up here to take finisher photos, the wind was moving it around. While there were a couple photographers set up here, no one invited me over…. and I knew pictures were not free, so I didn’t stop. I did stop near this area to chat with BibRave Pro Dane on the outside of the fence, and another runner came up to me to take her photo, but instructed me to NOT get the backdrop as that was not allowed. You had to pay for that photo, as well as any other photos from race day. *As I write this, I still haven’t purchased any photos and I don’t plan to.

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I took the time to read the race guide the night before, I noticed the finisher area (the gear check area I mentioned before was here.) There was a marked “beer” among the other areas of merchandise, food trucks, relay reunion, and runner massage.

Josh magically appeared and told me I had no reason to go to the post race area. While I believed him, I knew I had to write a review, so I went to check it out.

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I am not sure it was the weather, but there was no post race party. Or maybe slow runners do not get the same post race? The merchandise was sold out – which can be a good thing. The beer was $5 and went to a charity. Great, it went to charity…however, out of all the races I have run with advertised beer, it has never been a separate purchase. So, we left to go find a place to sit… any race with a post race seat is my favorite, and those are rare.

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Josh and I wondered back to the direction of the car  We saw a Shake Shack and thought we would stop there, however the line was really long. We went to a nearby coffee shop and had our own post race party. It was also nice to sit down and discuss our races.

We had to get back on the road, we were staying at a hotel down the road, and then would finish the trip home the next day.

When we arrived to our next destination in Michigan City, IN, the first thing we did was look for a brewery, we were getting that post race beer!

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We woke up early – again – the next day to get through Chicago traffic, and made it back home just before 10 am.

Overall: I guess I would still recommend you do this race, it’s just not for me. Running in and out of Canada was fun, and the course itself is relatively flat and marked well and the race medal is great! However, the passport and hydration pack situation is just too much of a hassle for me. The lack of real food on course and no free beer are part of those little things that wont have me returning. With so many race options in the fall, I am going to do one that makes me feel as special as the first runner to cross the finish line.

 

Detroit Weekend part 1

Detroit Marathon – Expo & Tour

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Detroit Free Press 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!”

It was finally time to run the Detroit Marathon. If you have been reading along, you might be familiar with this race, it crosses into Canada. Josh joined me for the weekend adventure. I will break it down into 2 posts. One about the expo and pre-race tour, then one about my actual race experience.

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We left Friday afternoon… I am always up for a road trip. Unfortunately we didn’t time our trip around Chicago very well, but once we were through the traffic nightmare, we made good time to our hotel in Dearborn, MI.

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Saturday.

We woke up in decent time to get in a shakeout run. There was a 5k offered by the race, but I realized it too late, plus we wouldn’t have been in town to get our bibs.

After some searching on the internet, I found a greenbelt system a few miles from our hotel. It was a nice paved trail, and a humid morning for a run.

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It really wasn’t that exciting of a morning… but we eventually made it over to the COBO center for the race expo

I have never been to Detroit, and was looking forward to seeing new things. However, after finding our parking spot, then walking to the expo… it appears nothing was happening. I feel it’s one of those downtown areas where no one lives, but just works.

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The expo was easy to find, well marked with signs. The expo center was very spacious. When you walked into the space, you walked behind all the vendors to start the process at bib pick up.

Bib numbers were emailed out the week of the race, along with other race communications. If you didn’t have that with you, there was a computer available to look it up. Once you had this, you had to show your ID and passport to get your bib, shirt, and gear check bag with goods. It really was easy.

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The shirt was a New Balance, gender specific, long sleeve, technical blend. I really liked it. The bag also had a multifunctional head wrap, a race sticker, a race guide and some other materials. A virtual race bag was sent via email too.

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From this point you could proceed to an information booth that was staffed by volunteers or if you needed to talk to border patrol they were available to answer questions.

Then it was time to enter the expo. The first area was the official race merchandise. From here you could snake through all the other vendors. This was nicely set up so that you could see every single booth. Some expos are set up so that unless you go back and forth you might miss something.

The one downside to this expo though, I felt there was a lack of freebies, giveaways and sign ups. There were a lot of running stores with apparels, so if you forgot something you had a large chance of finding it. There was also one booth with water – Absopure, which was nice as there were no water stations set up.

Once through the vendors, there was a photo opp set up. Which was one of the like 3 photo opportunities, unless you made your own. Then that was it.

The first trip through, I talked Josh into buying the older model of my shoes as there were a great clearance price, but that was it…. Then, Josh wanted to go through again, so we did.

The second trip I noticed that things in the official merchandise area were selling super fast, as a hat I had my eye one was out of stock. Josh purchased some chews, and we were done!

We were hungry, but had to be back at the information booth at 2pm for a VIP tour for the race ambassadors. Since it was just after 1 we ate at the cafe that was inside the expo center. Not a great selection, but it filled the void.

At 2pm, we gathered around the booth and met up with the other Bibrave Pros. Nicole, Dane and Matt. Jeph was also there as he was an official race ambassador.

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The race gave us drawstring backpack filled with goodies, and we then started the tour.

It took us out the back of the expo center, and through the back streets to the start and finish line. We passed by a tent where cadets were filling the post race food bags. The starting area was busy with people hanging banners and setting up bleachers.

From here we were taken to the Detroit Free Press offices. This is the main sponsor of the race. We were taken to the race headquarters, just a small conference room. It was filled with papers taped to the walls and snacks! Then, that was it… just a nice little tour with a little behind the scenes information.

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From here, Josh and I wanted to get back to our hotel, grab some food and go to bed. We said “see ya later” to the pros and went our separate ways.

We did take the long way to our hotel, passing my Comerica Park, Ford Field, the Motown Museum and old Tiger Stadium. This also took us by many run down parts of the city. Wish we had more time to see and do all the things, we will have to come back. We even checked into visiting Canada, but the 6 mile drive was going to take 45 minutes.

When we got back, we went to the Olive Garden… we knew there wouldn’t be any questionable food here. I eat cardboard food before a big race…even though I know I could handle crap food.

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As luck would have it, the Olive Garden was having their endless pasta deal. Dinner was easy, all the plain noodles, bread sticks and salad.

Well…after some catching up on social media, and changing our parking spot, Josh and I called it a night, we had an early wake up call.

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