Buckets O Fun

A Non Running Post

It’s been a hot minute since my last post, so for fun, I am posting about a road trip with my dad. Who knows, maybe I’ll give up the running and transition to travel blogging…ok not gonna happen. When I started this blog, it was for me to remember events, so this will be a fun way to remember an interesting trip.

A little background,  I have always worked for my father, who is an electrician. There was a time I was out on the job installing outlets and hanging ceiling fans – mostly as a teenager. Over the years I have done many things, but currently I am buying and selling on eBay. This job has me managing an inventory of over 2500 items. I ship daily, I find items to re-sell and my dad and I also purchase things to use for my dad’s electrical business. This journey has taken us many places, and we have met many people (hello auction friends!)

Our latest adventure had us on the road. My dad purchased a bucket or boom truck from a utility company in Ohio. While we explored the shipping options, which included someone else driving it back for us. (This complete stranger wanted us to put them on our insurance.) We decided the best option would be to drive my car to Ohio, and then my dad would drive the truck back and I would follow in my car.

Now, I am a road trip warrior. If a race fits in my schedule and I can afford it, I will be on the road and at the starting line in time. However, my father has not done any long road trip traveling in a a few decades or sooooooo….. What does that mean? Keep reading.

First we had to make sure payment was on it’s way, so that was sent ahead of time, mostly because we were not sure when we would leave. With the fancy mail system, it was to arrive on a Monday.

The weekend before, with some back and forth phone calls we came to the decision that we would leave on Sunday.

Sunday morning I met my dad at the shop. We really didn’t have a schedule, but the destination was Warren, OH. We decided that we would take the route through Chicago. The first stop was in Walcott, IA to get some cheaper gas – around $2.45. Then we motored on.

Of course when we stopped for something to eat in the suburbs of Chicago, there was an accident on the interstate and the GPS re-routed us through some city roads… and then we got back into the stop and go traffic. I think it’s expected to have traffic problems anytime in the Chicago area. This slowed us down, but again…. we didn’t have a schedule.

The rest of the trip to Ohio was pretty uneventful and boring. I introduced my dad to the Forensic Files on the XM Radio after we listened to a Cubs game.

We came to Warren, OH after dark. We weren’t exactly sure where we were going as we couldn’t get the truck. Driving through the town wasn’t too impressive in the dark. We stopped and I googled a hotel to stay at, so we headed in that direction.

The hotel was nice, and as luck would have it, a Waffle House was nearby. My dad had never been, so of course we ate dinner there. He enjoyed his meal, and once he saw my hash browns he had to order some himself. I will say it was the quietest WH I have ever been to, but it was also about 11pm at night. (eastern)

Monday!

It was the day the truck payment should arrive, it was also the day we could go look at the truck. I woke up early to go find a place to run. My dad woke up to go check out the hotel breakfast.

I found a greenway in the area. It was a nice paved trail made for recreation.

When I came back to hotel, my dad had contacted the truck owner and we made plans to get our things together and head over to the utility company.

We arrived and of course the payment had not shown up. The guy asked why we didn’t just bring it with us, well we weren’t sure when we would be picking up the truck, but we wanted to make sure it was paid for.

In the mean time, the guy moved the truck outdoors and had it all set up. My dad climbed up into the bucket and started testing it out. I stood on the ground and about crapped my pants when he was way up high and spun it sideways almost tipping the truck. I swear, men and their toys… LOL!

My dad finally came back down from the truck and the mail guy had arrived and so had the check. We signed all the paperwork and were given all the owner’s manuals and maintenance inspections. Then we each got swag, a travel mug!

We said our goodbyes and got things ready to hit the road home. This meant my dad would travel with his flip phone and a tablet, I would have my iPhone. Also to note, the AC in the truck was not working and it was around 90 some degrees. It was around lunch time, and we had made the decision to not go through Chicago on the way back, so it would take 2 more hours, for a total travel time of 10 hours.

We started the trek out by filling up the truck with diesel. Then I was in the lead with my GPS and took us to the interstate. This was when the fun started. The truck is quite big and not the easiest to maneuver. We were on the interstate, but I had to go about 45 mph for my dad to catch up, which was not fun when changing lanes and taking exits in the bigger cities.

We took a break and my dad said that the truck was running hot. It was up to 65 mph cruising speed, but he couldn’t get it to cool down. He discovered that the hydraulic radiator was on top on the engine radiator. Sooooo the trip was going to take awhile. Again, I was not on a schedule.

We got back on the interstate for only a little time before we were back at a rest stop to let the truck cool down again. I couldn’t decide if I should try to take a nap in my car or what to do. I don’t do well with nothing to do, but wait. I like to go and get where I need to be.

Finally after some resting we were back on the road. I was following behind my dad at this time. It took forever to get through Ohio. I was very happy when we were out of that state and into Indiana.

Then we took another break at a rest stop not too far from Indianapolis. We took some time here, and ran into the janitor. What an adventure! This guy was telling my dad of some construction around Indy and suggest we go another way. Then after I used the bathroom, I was caught up in the conversation. It was way too political for me and he wanted to throw democrats as far as he could…. but what do you do besides smile and nod so you don’t become some statistic from some crazy guy at the rest stop. Then this guy goes on and on, like he had no one to talk to all day, and his dream is to sing at the Ryman Auditorium and he started to sing a song he wrote. We had to get out of here!

The only thing good to come from this stop was a cool rainbow.

I went to look at my GPS to find a way around the city. There are some back roads that go north and then west. However, my dad was the one in the lead… soooo I was looking at my phone reading a map…..keep in mind if I put in a destination it would take me on the interstate, so I just had to keep following the map as I was also talking to my dad on my bluetooth. My dad is hard of hearing, and has to have the windows down in the truck and hold up his flip phone to his ear. So there we were, watching the sun go down in the middle of somewhere Indiana.

It was getting late, if I were just in my car I would have made it home from Indy, but things were not going our way. We ended up on some east/west road that had roundabouts. I was on the phone telling my dad how to drive in a roundabout when he missed a turn and went off into the wrong direction. The truck is hard to turn around, so I hit the flashers and sat on the side of the road, talking on the phone guiding him back my direction.

Time was passing by and we were on a road of never ending roundabouts, however I was now in the lead!! We came to a stop light and on the right side of the road I spotted a hotel, I quickly asked if dad wanted to stop and he couldn’t say yes fast enough.

We pulled into the hotel parking lot and I went in to check the rate. It was also about 10pm. The rate was $150 and I about crapped my pants. The hotel was brand new, but that’s ridiculous for a Monday night in the middle of nowhere Indiana. Ok, so we were stuck, my dad was done driving the truck for the day and to move to the nearest hotel would be a chore… so instead of fighting that we sucked it up and got the hotel.

This is when I decided I was going into Ross Geller mode, I was making sure to use all the hotel amenities and take all the things. We got to our room and I turned the AC really cold!

I looked at google and discovered a sports bar that was open until midnight. We made our way over there and had a beer and some supper. What a long day!!! We were very optimistic in thinking we could make it back in a day, but we were done fighting the heat and roundabouts.

Tuesday!

We woke up and took advantage of the hotel breakfast before it closed. It was pretty swanky with cold pressed juice and smoothies. I made sure to pocket some packaged cereal and fruit for the road. I even filled my new travel mug with coffee.

We were back on the road and still navigating this road around Indy. We would eventually catch up with I-74 and then it’s an easy road home.

We were not on the road too long and I noticed the low tire pressure warning on my dash. HMMMMM I just had 2 new front tires put on and they rotated the old front tires to the back, so I knew they should be fine with air. So we stopped at the next gas station and I pulled up to the air while my dad fueled the truck. I couldn’t hear any air hissing out of my tire or could I feel any. I moved my car over to get some gas and I could see something in my tire. I went inside the gas station to ask for a tire shop.

The first tire shop was “sooo busy they had to turn regular customers away.” They recommended me to Pomp’s down the way, I called ahead and they said they could get me in. My dad and I took off in my car and left the truck at the gas station.

We walked into the waiting room and saw popcorn, my dad immediately went to get some. I talked with the guy at the counter and he said it would be a little while and to have a seat. We took advantage of the wifi and waited.

It wasn’t too long and they had called my name. I walked to the counter and they had the piece of iron that was in my tire. I was shocked!!! It was about 4″-5″ long. I was lucky that something worse didn’t happen on the interstate. The bill was only $22 and we were back on our way to the truck.

I-74, just get to I-74. My dad was soo tired of me saying that, he kept asking where the road was. Finally after trekking through the middle of nowhere Indiana, we were at I-74, WAHOO!!!!! I was still leading at this point, so when we got on the interstate it was slow going for a bit and it was also raining, but we were moving!!!

Finally we had crossed the border into Illinois. Then we came to the Champaign / Urbana area. There are a few more roads here, but just stay on 74 and we are good. Somehow my dad was leading at this point. I think we switched on the road as it’s easier for me to follow on the long haul as I don’t have to go as slow.

Then it happened, my dad decided to take I-72 to Decatur. WHAT?!?!?!?!? I honked and was like don’t exit!! He just kept going and took the clover leaf south. At what point did I say to take this road?

I pulled off at the next gas station and sat there while I looked at the map. I also called my dad, no answer. I sat some more. I called my dad, no answer. This kept up for a while. He finally called me back to which I answered, where are you going?

After some discussion, I told him to take the turns to head back towards I-74. To him that apparently meant just keep going north or west. This meant I sat at the next exit for a ridiculous amount of time waiting for him to come back towards the interstate, which he never showed up for, because he just kept going north and west.

I left my post, found a bathroom and a drink and contacted him again. He was loving the rural 2 lane road, and claimed the truck ran better at 55 mph. All I could think is I was never getting home, ever! However, I am not sure what I needed to be home for, I just wanted to get there.

I finally found a 2 lane road that traveled west for quite a while, and would meet up with a road that went north and would eventually hook up with interstate 80, which takes us home.

After reading this map, I was able to catch back up with my dad, I found him at a gas station that has slot machines inside, surprise!

I got him out of there and we kept moving along, but it felt like it was taking forever!

Another stop for fuel and I grabbed a pop tart because we never ate lunch. However I did enjoy my hotel cereal and fruit. Then we were back on the road and headed north.

Finally we had crossed the Mississippi River and we were in Iowa, wahoo!!!

We took the exit for hwy 6 and made our way back to West Branch. It was late, about 10pm. Another long day on the road. I was hungry, but needed to stop back in the shop to check on this kitten that showed up out of the blue a few days before we left. It was still there, so I feed it and went home. I still had to get my mile in for my run streak, so I ran circles in my cul de sac.

What an adventure! My dad made the remark that he needs to road trip more as things have changed in the last 30 years. I learned a lot about patience, A LOT!

There you have it, my non running adventure.

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 BibRave.com 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 – http://runmadtown.com/volunteer/. 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 BibRave.com 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.

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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).http://www.madisonmarathon.org/  

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.

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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.

JANUARY

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.

FEBRUARY

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.

MARCH

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.

APRIL

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.

MAY

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.

JUNE

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!

JULY

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.

AUGUST

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.

SEPTEMBER

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.

OCTOBER

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.

NOVEMBER

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.

DECEMBER

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

PRODUCT REVIEW – Zwift Foot Pod

“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 BibRave.com 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

Hmmm?

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.