Shamrock Shuffle – 2017

Shiverin’ Shamrocks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

For my official race review, check



Mardi Gras Freezer

Back on My Feet Mardi Gras Chaser 10k

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

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

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

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

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

Race Day:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit – Mark D.

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit – Heather C.

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

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


Yes – I put sprinkles on my biscuits

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

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

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





Freezefest 2017

Corridor Running Freezefest 5k

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Amana 2017

The Amana Freezer 5k – 2017 Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spring Hill Half

Spring Hill Mania – Half Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Hooters Last Chance 5k


Josh and I were in Florida for the Outback Bowl, and of course I was on the look out for a race in the area during the time we would be there. I stumbled upon the Hooters Last Chance Race of the Year in Clearwater Beach.

I also needed to log some miles, I have run at least 100 miles a month for over a year now, with the 2 mile run to the race and the race, I would hit that goal.

If you haven’t figured it out the race was on Dec 31st….. It was to start after the one mile swim at 10 am. The race was on the beach, it was sunny and around 65-70 degrees.

I don’t remember the last time I ran a 5k….in fact my last race was a the Artic Frog 50k at the beginning of December. Who am I? LOL

Gear: Iowa tank top, yellow Sparkle Athletic skirt, 2xu vectr socks, NB 880 shoes, Garmin Fenix, Iowa Nike hat, Adidas boy shorts

Josh and I ran to the race with plenty of time to spare, so we ran an additional mile along the beach. We watched the swimmers as we ran… that looked tough, and then they had to come out of the water and run through the sand to finish. We also had time to cheer them in, very inspiring.

The announcer was very energetic, I think she was also the RD. She knew many of the people at the event and called them out over the loud speaker that was also playing music. The race was put on by a company that does many local events.

When it was time, runners all lined up near the water, on the beach, no corrals. However, I felt everyone was smart enough to line up according to pace. The National Anthem was sung live.

The race was on. I have run on the beach a few times before, you know on that hard packed sand, just at the water’s edge. Once I even tried this barefoot, but got a nasty toe blister. I was glad I had my shoes, but don’t tell anyone, I didn’t read the race description and didn’t realize it was going to be on the beach…SHH, it’s our secret.

Ok, the goal…sub 30…. It was hot for me, so I just pushed the pace. Running 50k’s and marathons for a year, I did 0 speedwork, so this was my challenge.

I was doing fine, until I came to the part on the course where the lead pack was headed back, as this was an out and back course. We had to share the piece of sand…or I guess I could run in the dry stuff, but why?  It was difficult to share, as the going out portion was on a slant. I did see Josh, and I gave him a high 5!

We passed mile markers, and a water stop with plastic cups at the turnaround. The turnaround guy was holding the trash bag for the cups, something even more guilty feeling about leaving your cup trash on the beach.

I didn’t see many other Hawkeye fans, which was strange as this was the beach the Outback Bowl held events on. Last year I ran a half with at least 15 other Hawk fans. Oh well, I did see 2 guys pushing strollers….at least they never passed me, I call that a small victory. I also splashed in the water a few times…ok it was by accident.

I could see the finish ahead, so I pushed the pace on the packed sand, as I knew I would be running through the dry, loose sand the swimmers had to finish on. That portion was tough, but glad I had practiced by running in the snow at home.

I came across the finish line and a volunteer handed me a medal, a bottle of water, and a piece of paper for a top finisher award. (The top 25 in each gender received one.)

The race was sponsored by Hooters, which was just across the street from the race start. The post race party started on the 3rd floor at 10:30. Each participant got boneless wings and a free beer. We found out, at the party that the beer options were crap…but we did our best to sip on some Mich Ultra. Also, this was my first time at a Hooters, and I am not sure if they made these boneless wings ahead of time, but they were dried out and gross! (This does not reflect on the race at all) It was nice of Hooters to open up for the event.

We got in line to get our top finisher award, which was just a plaque that said we were a top finisher, it was cool. When we were given the award, the RD asked questions and made you feel special. Great small town feel to the event.

We milled about and talked to an old lady who wanted to see my hair cut, as she needed to shave off her hair, because she dyed it red and it didn’t take….see runners are awesome…they will talk about anything…she also whined about how cold it was…oh Florida, don’t ever change. Seriously, there were people in stocking hats and gloves, long pants and long sleeves.

I got my sub 30!

It was time to go, we had to get to Ybor City for the Hawkeye festivities of the day. We pulled up the Uber app….yep we didn’t run back…we had medals and plaques.

This was a fun event, it was only $25 before the fees, and I registered the week of the race. Doesn’t get better than that… I didn’t get a shirt, but I don’t need any more shirts! The RD made everyone feel special too. I would run this again…who knows with the Hawkeye record with the Outback Bowl, the odds are in my favor.


Arctic Frog 50k


December – The final month of my “Marathon a Month” journey. I capped off the adventure with an ultramarathon.

As I discussed with my February or July race, it’s hard to find races in the midwest when the temperatures are at their peak low or high. After some searching I happened upon the Arctic Frog 50k in Libertyville, I, Saturday, December 3. This is just north of Chicago and a short 3:45 hour drive.

ROAD TRIP! (Ha those words are familiar around here)

The plan was to leave at a decent time on Friday, to get to my hotel and get a good nights sleep. I had a busy day though before I could leave. There was work and I agreed to be part of a holiday vendor fair in the middle of the day. I actually helped raise $500 for the county Crisis Center, by donating proceeds of my headband sales.

I was on the road around 4pm. I think the best investment we made as far as traveling is the I-Pass, makes it so easy to get in and out of Chicago. I made some stops along the way, and rolled into the motel around 8:30 pm. It wasn’t fancy, but for $55 it was all I needed. (I’ll cap off the year, but travel and costs are more difficult than running)

I brought some pasta along with me, and it even had pesto and scrambled hamburger on top. See, I don’t always eat plain noodles. The plan was for a good nights sleep, I even found Friends on TV to watch….but I never sleep well away from home before a race…Even after all the races I have done, I toss and turn all night, I think I am fearful I will miss the alarm.

Saturday – I didn’t miss my alarm… I woke up just before 6 am. The race was to start at 8 am, and I still needed to grab my bib. I also brought along a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for breakfast. I paired that with what the hotel lobby called coffee…it was more like hot water.

I pulled up google maps and discovered I was only a 3 minute drive to the start…no matter what though, it seems like time flies by when you are trying to get somewhere, and in no time it was already 7 am. I got all the things together and drove over to Independence Grove, the forest preserve where the event was taking place.

There was plenty of parking, in fact it was all free if you were running the race. The area is like a park and there is a place you are supposed to pay to park, if you are using the area.

I parked and walked to the table where I could get my bib. I just told them my name and was handed a gallon size Ziploc bag of things. Included was a long sleeve, neon orange, unisex tech shirt; a sticker; a Curate bar; a random paper bracelet thing; and my bib.

There were indoor bathrooms available, but a short walk away. They were heated too, as it was cloudy and about 25 degrees.

I walked back to my car to suck up some more heat before the race started at 8 am. I had plenty of time. I sat there, and checked out the happenings on my phone, and double checked I had everything I needed.

Gear: Orange Mud Endurance Pack, Hawkeye ball cap, Merino Wool Buff(r), Buff(r) Hoodie, Aftershockz headphones, Key West Tech short sleeve shirt, Moving Comfort Jacket, Nathan Race belt, Sparkle Atheltic Skirt, 2XU Hyoptik tights, ProCompresion Socks, Brooks Ghost 9, Garmin Fenix 3, Pearl Izumi gloves

It was nearing the start of the race, so I walked to the starting arch, complete with balloons. It was a small racing field, and a laid back event. There were some announcements being made, but hard to hear as everyone was talking and no one was listening. There was some chatter about 50k finishers not having enough medals as there was a mixup, but they would send it in the mail…then something about if you chose to get it sent in the mail, they would give you 25% off next years entry… I really don’t know what was happening… I did know, if I didn’t get something for finishing, I wouldn’t be too happy.

After the announcements, the crowd moved forward and the race was on. My main goal for this race was to finish, it was the crown to the year. However in order to do that, I needed to make the first loop in 4 hours.

The course was run through the forest preserve on soft limestone trail, some dirt, and some pavement thrown in. Each loop was 25k, but it was not your traditional circular style loop. There were 3 out and back sections. This was great, you would meet other runners, and could slap some high fives and get words of encouragement.

This style of loop was also set up to hit the main aid station 6 times. I am sure I have touched on this before, but the aid stations for longer distances or trail running is why I prefer them over road races. Seriously, I think they had more food at the aid station than a casino buffet. There was clementines, bananas, pretzels, snack mix, strudel muffins, Ores, jelly beans, M & M’s,  candy, water, soda, gatorade, broth, coffee, peanuts, pickles and green olives…. I am probably missing something. Best aid station ever, the volunteers were great too, very helpful and friendly.

Ok, so the running part…getting sidetracked by food..oops!

I started slow, and was suddenly at the back of the pack, and I was ok with that. At around the 2-3 mile mark, a person came up behind and started chatting with me. I was like, are you speaking with me, lol.

We became quick friends, running is the best!! My new friend’s name is Heather, and she is from Chicago. We stuck by each other, chatting along. Even striking a pose or 2 for the photographer. At some point we crossed paths with the leader of the race, he was only wearing shorts and his sponsors were wrote on his bare chest. (He eventually won in sub 4 hour fashion)

We made it through the first loop as the finisher clock said 3:13…we didn’t get cut and we didn’t get lapped!!! Just had to make it one more loop. After some more refueling at an aid station, we had to pick up our walking as we were cooling down.

At about the same point we first met, Heather said her knee was bothering her, and said to go on ahead…I stayed with her a bit, but eventually there was a distance between us, and I went on my way. However, as I mentioned the course allowed us to see each other as we passed on the out and backs.

I switched over to my music. I don’t remember the hills being a problem on the first loop, but I was walking up them on the second loop. I was really near the back of the pack, it was evident when I arrived at the furthest away aid station… I only passed 2 people on the way back to the finish. One of them was Heather, and I told her I would see her at the finish.

With about 3 miles to go, the sun came out… I didn’t have my sunglasses with me and I wish I did, it was why I ran with a ball cap though, in case the sun came out. Anymore I run with my sunglasses so much, it’s hard to run without them.

I was feeling it at this point, and was dreading the switch back to pavement. Every time I would stop, my hip would hurt and my knee would whine at me. However when the watch hit 30 miles, I was going to run the rest of the way to the finish.

I could see the finish arch in the distance, and there was someone waving to me. I was like, who is that? Then I remembered, my other friend Heather, of Bibrave Pro fame…mentioned she might come out. I think when the sun came out, she was on property.

I was soooo happy!!!! There is nothing more exciting than seeing someone at the finish line that you know!!!

I also noticed the finisher’s clock, it was ticking near 7:01…and in the back of my mind I knew that was super close to my 50k PR.  I hit stop on my watch after crossing the finish line, and then took a peak at my watch…30.54 miles….not a 50k…so is this a PR? UGH..the guy at the finish said they measured the course twice. Then I noticed, with the fanciness of my watch, that my moving time was 6:40…I wasted 20 minutes at aid stations and a bathroom stop.  Now all the math, if I ran another half mile, would I have beat 7:09? (my PR time) Either way, I am ready to tackle 50k again…maybe in 6 months…

After some chatting with Heather, I did get a finisher’s belt buckle!!! I also snacked on more food. There wasn’t a true post race setup, but the aid station that was set up here was still open. There was also a tent set up with a propane heater.

I told Heather (that I just met on the race course) I would see her at the finish, and with the out and backs, she was to be the next person to finish. Then someone finished that wasn’t her…and we were all confused. Some friends that knew her, went to go find her, and didn’t come back with her.

Then, not on the race course, Heather appeared….she took a wrong turn near the last mile, but she was still within the finishing time, and she was able to cross the finish line. WAHOO!!!

All three of us milled around some more, new Heather even scored a sleeve of Oreos…cuz why not? LOL.

Original Heather and I were going to go warm up with some Starbucks, which was right across the way, and new Heather joined us.

We chatted like we were all old friends. This is why I love running, the people!!! I have met the coolest people along the way…. I mean running also has taught me anything is possible…but the friendships I have made are like no other.

New Heather departed first…and even though I am pretty sure Original Heather and I would still be chatting there now, I had to drive home. We said our goodbyes…and were on our way…

The drive home was easy, even stopped for some salty, McDonald’s fries. I really wasn’t too hungry for post 50k, probably because I ate like a queen on the course.

As far as this race, I would run it again. It’s very laid back, but well organized. While you could have missed a turn out there, it was easy to find your way back. The preserve is also a good place to get in all those miles.

And there it is…. a marathon (or longer) a month for one whole year. I will recap the entire experience…like how I actually ran 14 events…and why…