How to Give Back

How To Give Back on Race Day

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Run Madtown Conquer the Capital Challenge to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!”

There was a time I ran all the races. Lately, I have had to choose the races I want to run because I don’t have the funds to register or travel to them, or I was injured. Luckily there are still ways to be active and part of race day.

I have done many things to pay it forward, or give back to a race. Here are some of the things I have done, and ways to help:

    • Packet Pickup – Participants will come to you and you will give them your things. Really Simple job, and usually shifts are available. The toughest part can be double checking IDs.
    • Expo – This can be a more involved task, with physical labor required. You may need to move a water cooler, sign, or stantion. you might also be required to stand on your feet and direct people where to go.
    • Finish Line – This can be a busy place to help. I have had to remove timing chips from shoes, which is more difficult that you think – all the bending over. Another rewarding finish line duty is handing out finisher medals. *The day after the Lucky Run, my quad was so sore from all the lunging. 

    • Course Marshal – This might be one of my favorite places to be on race day. You might have to work a busy intersection with cars, so you need to be alert. However, most positions also allow you to be a cheer station, so bring a cowbell, sign or noise maker if there is room at your stop. *I recently helped at a road crossing at the Let Me Run 5k, very inspirational!
    • Aid Station – One of the more labor intensive positions and be prepared to get dirty/wet. This task usually requires handing liquid to runners. Someone fills cups, someone hands a cup to a person in motion, someone is cleaning up cups. Sometimes the liquid is a sticky electrolyte drink. Then you have duties where you need to stock food and have it available, cutting orange slices is also a sticky job. You also need to consider food safety with this too. I will say if you volunteer at a road event it will be more fast past than a trail or ultra event. *I recently helped at the local marathon in my community. I was on a microphone greeting runners to our stop, I was also keep the pickle juice cups full. It was a lot of fun as we were a later mile marker in the race. 

  • Behind the scenes – small local races are usually organized by a committee of volunteers. It doesn’t hurt to ask if they need help planning or marketing the event. *As you know I am very involved in my local running club, I am able to post on their social media, plan 7 races or join training runs. 

I have just one request if you choose to never volunteer. Please be kind. A volunteer has given up their time for you. Race day has a lot of logistics and a volunteer is just facilitating the transactions to make things go as smooth as possible. Please don’t yell at them and threaten to drive them over at a busy intersection. *I note this from personal experience. Small towns have more than one road, be patient, go around or park your car and help encourage the runners. Many of these races are supporting causes and charities in your community.

My next race is in Madison, WI for the Run Madtown weekend of events, if you can help volunteer please check out the link – They are also planning for some fun too. The Saturday evening events are glow themed and the Sunday half marathon is USA themed.

Fun Fact – Run Madtown will provide financial support to those in the community who support our events. They tally the hours at the end of the event and send the organization you volunteered on behalf of one check. How cool is that!!!! Get paid to volunteer.

I have written about volunteering before, but I feel it’s important to continue spreading the word. Hope to see you on race day and tell you thank you!

Run Streak – OVER

That’s it – it’s over…no more run streak.

If you didn’t know I started my run streak the day before Thanksgiving in 2017. It was part of the Runner’s World holiday streak. I was to run a mile a day until New Years Day. I did that and just kept going.

I made it 455 days.

On February 22, 2019, .57 miles into my run, it happened.

It was like any other winter day in Iowa. CRAPPY! I had been running outside for the most part this winter. Running in snow, ice and negative temperatures.

This particular Wednesday, there was a fresh covering of snow, perhaps a couple inches. Everything was blindingly white.

It happened – I stepped down and landed on a ball or chunk of ice, my foot rolled. There were noises I thought I heard, and maybe there were really ripping sounds.

There I was, I hadn’t slipped or fallen. I had just rolled my ankle. I have stepped wrong on many tree roots or giant rocks on trails before. This could have happened then too, not weather related.

There I was standing on the sidewalk, alongside Scott Blvd. I was close enough that I contemplated walking home.

Then I did what anyone would do, I turned to my IG stories and shared my problem with the world. I was in some pain.

Then I called Josh. He said he could be on his way to get me, about 4 miles across town. There was no place to sit. By the time Josh would be to me, I could be at home.

*I take my phone, roadID and my Aftershokz on every run. You just never know when you need these things. They are easy to bring with me and make safety easy.

I started moving back home. My watch said I had ran .57 miles, but I did do a warm up walk, so I was over a half mile from home. Luckily the snow was cushy, which also made it easy to drag my foot home.

I just wanted to get my shoe off. I was in my head and wanted to see what it physically looked like. I wanted to know it was going to be ok.

When I got home, I removed my shoe and then my sock. My ankle was a little larger than the other one. I got around to taking a shower, where the heat made it loosen up. Then I just sat in my recliner… now what?

I did keep checking the clock, counting down the time I had left to finish a mile for the run streak. I am stubborn and thought I would still be able to do it.

It was a long day, but after sitting around resting, icing, compressing and elevating I decided it was time to have it looked at. Never thought all my compression socks would be this handy. Also, snow in a cooler is the perfect icing strategy. The final straw was when it was elevated and would roll to the side, there was an extra sharp pain.

Josh was my knight in shining armor. He was in charge of walking the dogs for the day.

He also took me to the Urgent Care clinic, where there was maybe one seat open to wait in. I was more worried I would catch a cold or the flu from all the others waiting.

I hobbled into an exam room and was seen by a physician’s assistant. There was no actual verdict when I left. However, I had an x-ray on deck. I also declined a walking boot and crutches. The boot actually hurt worse to walk in. There was some concern I could have a fracture.

Josh then took me to the clinic with the x-ray machine. The joy of rolling your driving foot. This stop took maybe 10 minutes and we were on our way back home.

The sleeping was the worst. I couldn’t get my foot situated so that I was comfortable. When I finally got comfortable, it felt locked up and if I moved it, felt like it would snap. It was no fun, I think I crawled to the bathroom at one point.

When I woke up, it was really stiff. After the rough night of sleep. I was off to get a second opinion. I was also waiting for x-ray results.

I was hauled to UI Sports Med and the doctor was great. He confirmed there was no break as he saw the x-ray. He said I would probably feel good in 2 weeks, but if I felt better sooner I could “get back to running the shitty streets of Iowa City.” He recommended physical therapy and I agreed. He also said studies have proven that walking boots can hinder progress to the injury.

This happened on a Wednesday, the last day of my running streak. I didn’t do any activity on Thursday. It was the first time in forever I had done nothing. I eventually went to work for a few hours. Friday came and I again did no exercise, but was able to drive to work.

I haven’t taken 2 days off of exercise in 455 days. I strangely wasn’t too angry. I know I can start a new streak and I can use the break. My butt muscles haven’t been right in a long time.

On Saturday, I joined Josh at the gym. I walked on the flat indoor track. It was a slow start, but I managed to get rolling for one mile. Sunday I cranked out 4 walking miles – 4 miles!!! I have been walking now everyday since. I also picked up my weights and tried out the rowing machine!!!

I ventured to my first PT appointment on Tuesday. It was some basic stretching exercises. I was shocked at the price for each appointment. This is kinda when it all felt sad, I can’t afford to pay for this. I am fortunate to have a Josh. It’s frustrating, but I need to be healthy.

I have a pretty big schedule of races. I want to be able to do them. My first race is a 50k in April, there is a lot of trail and I need strong ankles. I know I can drop to the 25k if I am not ready.

Run streaking – it kept me going and moving. Sure, even I thought at one time it’s a good way to get injured, but now I am thinking it’s also a good way to keep healthy. My injury could have happened to anyone, doing any physical activity in any weather conditions. I am thankful I was so active before this injury that I can pop right back to activity – days after it happened.

I haven’t given up, I may be down, but I am not out. I can start a new streak.

Can’t Keep Me Away

Back to Madison

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Run Madtown Conquer the Capital 19.3 Challenge to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!”

That’s right, I am going back to Madison, WI. You just can’t keep me away.

I have wrote a lot about running in Madison. I think I have mentioned that I have probably ran more races there than in Iowa City.


I will be back in town at the end of May for the Run Madtown events. I will be running the 10k on Saturday night, then turn around to run the half marathon on Sunday morning. This is called the Conquer the Capital 19.3 challenge. I will continue this challenge in November for the Conquer the Capital half and half challenge – more on that later, I just like all the events all the time.

If you want to join me use code “RAVENSAVE” for 10% off (excludes kid’s race).  

Reminder there is a price increase MARCH 1st!!!

Filling the Calendar

I have a race on the calendar!!!

2019 has been a strange year for running already. I have only ran one race, it is almost March. I didn’t have anything on the calendar for a long time.

Then the ball started rolling and I somehow have many races on my running calendar.

April  13 – Hawkeye 50k

May 25 – Run Madtown 10k

May 26 – Run Madtown 13.1

June 22 – Grandma’s Marathon

June 29 – Run 4 Troops Marathon

August 17 – Madison Mini Marathon

October 20 – Des Moines Marathon

November 10 – Madison Marathon 13.1

EEEKKKK – I need to step up my game. I do not have a training plan picked out and I ran 11 miles as my last long run. Time is ticking away!

What I do have on my side – experience. I have run all these events before. I keep going back, but I know they are all great events.


What is on your 2019 race calendar?

What happened in 2018?

Then, just like that it’s 2019. I have no idea what happened to 2018. This is just a sign that I am old and time goes by faster and faster. Anyway, I always like to recap my year, believe it or not, I will go back and read these.

The year started off with one goal, run and walk 2018 miles in 2018. I paid to be a apart of this challenge a couple years back (2015.) I got a medal and an online community. I wasn’t interested in that for the cost, so I was doing this challenge on my own. I would track each intentional walk and run with my Garmin and load it to Strava.

I also started the year as am ambassador for BibRave, Zensah and Aftershokz. I was in my first year as Vice President of Corridor Running.

Other than that, I would run some races and see where things took me.


I ran a new to me race, the Triple D. I enjoy running on the Heritage Trail near Dubuque, plus a half marathon in Iowa in the winter. I ended the month with a tradition like any other, the Amana Freezer run.


Helped my club with their first race of the year, and for fun it started snowing an hour before the race, making it live up to it’s name – Freezefest. I also went skiing for the first time in about 10 years.


I volunteered and ran the Corridor Running Shamrock Shuffle. It was also time that training for the first ever Crandic Marathon was ramping up. I joined some appreciation runs and received a race entry to the Chocoholic Frolic, which allowed me to run both events they offered. That was an interesting run.


I am looking through blog posts for this recap and it appears I didn’t test any products through BibRave until April. I also volunteered at the Hawkeye 25k/50k it was a miserable day, cold and rainy. Then the most excitement for this month was the Crandic Marathon. Crandic was my 25th marathon.


The year was moving fast at this point. The local market I was a part of was going to be present at a local race, so I doubled up on the fun and sold headbands and ran the 10k. Then I decided that I would start trail Tuesdays, which lead me to find a short little trail in my area. I ended the month with the trio of races in Madison. I was also introduced to the running program at the area prison, that was a humbling experience.


This was a busy month! It was the last year for the Dam to Dam in Des Moines, so Josh and I went over and ran the rainy event. Since then another company purchased the race and will host a similar event. From there I risked my life and ran the Keota 10k, but won the female race! I made the annual trek to Grandma’s and ran the challenge. Then turned around and ran another marathon the next week, Run 4 Troops. I even gave kayaking a try!


After helping at the 33rd Fifth Seasons Race, Josh and I took a summer vacation. We ended up in Canada, which had me attempting my longest race to date a 56K, however if you read the review, you know how that turned out. When we returned we discovered a West Liberty race, so we gave it a try. I also ran the Solon Beef Days 5k.


This is the month my blog photo storage became full, LOL! I had to learn to be creative as I still have a free site. I learned all about embedding google photos. I then convinced my sister to allow my niece to run a race, so they joined me in Durant. After that it was a trip to Chicago to represent the Hawks at the B1G 10k, where I became Bill Murray’s BFF. Then to end the month I ran the stupid Backpocket race, lol.


Football season was here, so that meant choosing race events to fit that schedule. The month began with helping the club with the NewBo run. I only ended up running one race, the PCTR 30k. I did, however start running with Kona and she ran her first virtual 5k.


Kona was going to try to PR her 5k and try another virtual 5k. I traveled to MPLS to cheer a friend at the Twin Cities marathon and the club had 3 races! I was going to run my first ever Des Moines marathon, and I am glad I did! Then for fun a week later I ran the inaugural Hawkeye fallout 50k. If that wasn’t enough the next day I attempted a 5k at the IMCC.


The 6th year of 100 miles in November! I still can’t believe this keeps going, and it’s all because of the great people that participate. I also completed half marathon #50 in Madison. I also ran the Legend of the Fall for the xth time, keeping the tradition alive. The month ended with a fun trip to Texas to participate in the first ever influencer day at The Running Event.


The month started with my first ever race in Texas. Then it continued on as I got to test all the fun products I received at The Running Event. Then there was the Ugly “Sweat”er Run, which raised over $1,300 for Shelter house. I also woke up in the middle of the night to run on a treadmill beside a guy who ended up running 150 miles on a treadmill in 48 hours. It ended with a road trip to Florida.

2018 – According to Strava, I completed 2024 miles in 2018. I was pleased with this result. I only ran 12 miles of this on a treadmill. However, I am not going to be doing this for 2019. I have over 1700 running and the rest was walking.

I hit one year in my run streak!

What is in store for 2019?

This is the question I can not answer, and it’s driving me nuts. I need a challenge, I need a project. I don’t make resolutions. I have toyed with the idea of running a 50 miler.

Things for certain: I am a BibRave Pro (this will be the start of my 6th year, just call me Grandma BibRave!) I am am Aftershokz ambassador. I am the Co-Vice President for Corridor Running. I am registered for the Amana Freezer 5k, I plan to register for the Run Madtown events, and I won entry into Run 4 Troops (but still waiting on entry code.)

There are many possibilities of things to do, most of which require money. Heck, you need an employee – I am also interested in work too. I guess I will just see what happens.

Zwift – GO RUN


“Disclaimer: I received a Zwift foot pod to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find, and write race reviews!”

I received a bag full of items at The Running Event, I will do my best to give each item their proper review.

Treadmill running…just the thought has me grumbling. I mostly refer to it as the dreadmill. The midwest weather can be a crapshoot and sometimes the treadmill is the best alternative to icy sidewalks or lightning bolts.

Enter – Zwift! I was introduced to this brand at a welcome reception during The Running Event. They were launching their new virtual running app. That’s right an app that lets you virtually run with others on the treadmill.

How does this work, well you sync a shoe pod to your bluetooth device (phone or tablet.) This sends your cadence to the app to virtually run with others, who are also running with the technology at the same time.

There were four pros who were selected to test this out during the reception. I wish I would have had a chance to learn more during the event, it was just hard to do all the things at once. I did watch the avatars on the screens move along in the video game like setting.

Next – I needed to try it out for myself. I am going to tell you I have not run on a treadmill in about two years. I have a gym membership, but it’s the college gym, there is no parking and it’s always 239048209348 degrees inside. I have stopped in the gym to use the bathroom on a long run though.

I opened the shoe pod box and installed the battery, then attached it to my shoe. I was also able to connect it to my watch. I am assuming this makes the treadmill setting more accurate. The shoe pod retails for $29.

I also installed the Zwift app and the Zwift companion app on my phone. They are both free.

Since finals were over and the majority of students had left for break, I thought it was a good time to test the pod and app. I ran the 2.59 miles to the gym and had my fingers crossed when they scanned my membership card – it worked!!!

I found a treadmill, it really is like riding a bike… and I started walking while I opened the apps to get things rolling. I synced my pod to the app and was ready to go. I saw my avatar on the screen, but the phone screen was really small to see all the details. If you have a tablet, it would be better to see.

I pushed the buttons to start the run, bumped up the speed on the treadmill and my avatar wasn’t moving. I touched the phone screen some more and accidentally turned the screen off. I was now running and didn’t want to stop. I had the phone back on and my avatar was just standing there, occasionally bending and stretching. I ran 4 miles, my avatar never went anywhere.

Selena – the movie, was on TV, LOL


Next I joined the BibRave group run. It was easy to go into the app and choose “join” on the upcoming run. You can select upcoming runs or workouts at anytime.

I went to the gym, and set up my treadmill and was virtually in line with all the other pros on the starting line. There was a side section where you could enter some text and say hi. The timer counted down and it was time to go, I bumped up the speed and my avatar didn’t move.

I was frustrated, I didn’t know what to do. I just started pressing everywhere on the screen. I really wanted this to work and run alongside everyone.

I pushed end run and started over. It allowed me to join the run that was in progress. It even put me out on the course, but again my avatar just stood there, and then people were passing me. I like a friendly competition, but I wouldn’t move. However, as I was standing there Santa flew by in the sky, that was cool.

After more restarting and frustration, I just finished out a 3 mile run.

I don’t know what the problem is, it says my shoe pod is synced, so it’s recognizing me. It would be fun to race people, er I mean run alongside them. I want to have the fun that my friends are having.

If I am reduced to the treadmill this winter, I would like to be able to use this, I will continue to try and get it to work. As much as I hate the treadmill, it does push me to run faster, and I really like the concept of this app.

I will note that when I am not using the shoe pod, I will remove it from my shoe and take out the battery. Bumping the pod will cause it to activate the battery.

If you want to give this a try, you can get a shoe pod here. Then download the Zwift app. The companion app makes it easier to manage your account, join group runs and find friends.

Thank You

100 Miles in November Comes to an End – THANK YOU

It’s over, it’s all over. 

Where did the month go? I say this every year. At the beginning of the month the task of hitting 100 miles seems so daunting, yet here we are. 

I hope everyone reached their goal for the month. While the design of the challenge is to hit 100 miles of logged running or walking, I know many set other goals just to get you moving. Congratulations to everyone!!

Thank you! First I want to thank everyone for participating. I love to hear the encouragement from you all, I love that people keep coming back to do this year after year. This doesn’t happen without you guys!

Second, I would like to thank the sponsors that make you all accountable:

  • Iowa River Power Company – If you are in the Coralville area please stop by to enjoy the Sunday brunch, it’s consistently voted the best in the area.
  • Corridor Running – This is my local running club, if you are looking to join a running group in the area that supports the community, 2019 membership is open!
  • BibRave – You may still be wondering what BibRave is, well they are the Yelp! of races, make sure to check out to find, write or read a race review. 
  • Hawkeye 50k – My local 50k, I have had the privilege of running this race twice and volunteering at it once. This is a nice mix of trail and distance right here in the Corridor. Registration is OPEN and it will sell out! 
  • Aftershokz – I hope you know my love for the Aftershokz Trekz Air. These are bluetooth, bone conduction headphones that allow you to hear your surroundings. If you want more information I can set you up with a demo pair. If you are looking to make a purchase – save $55 on a bundle, but use this link –
  • Special thanks for Mike and Linnea for keeping the spreadsheet in check! With their handy work the group logged over 10,000 miles!

NOW the moment you have all been waiting for, prizes! These were all determined using a random number generator and checking you all had update logs or hit at least 100 miles. 

To finish off the last week I have 2 more BibRave prizes to give away, Congratulations to Kristin S and Mike G. 


Congratulations to Jill W for winning the Aftershokz Trekz Air!!

Congratulations to Sarah P for winning an entry into the Hawkeye 50k/25k.

I will be in contact with all winners to get your prizes to you.

I can’t say Thank you enough and look forward to what 2019 brings and the 7th year of the challenge.