Race Logistics

RACE LOGISTICS

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Madison Mini Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

If you have been reading since the beginning, you know I run A LOT of races. I’ve been asked why I choose an event, or about my favorite race… well first I consider the price… but next I always consider the logistics – can I make this race possible.

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I will be headed back to Madison, WI for my 4th Madison mini, one of the most important race logistic when I am participating in a race sooo close to home, yet soo far away… Can someone else get my packet?

Madison is about a 3 hour drive for me… sooooo I can leave first thing in the am and arrive on race day. The Madison mini makes this easy for me by allowing someone else to pick it up for me at packet pick up. All they need is a copy of my photo ID. If I were really planning ahead, I could have paid a little extra (when I registered) and picked up my packet at will call, which is open before the race on race day.

I could go on and on about inconvenient packet pickups, ok maybe I will. The year Josh and I ran the Chicago Marathon, we had to drive into Chicago twice…once was to pick up our packet as there was no packet mailing, no race day pickup, and no one else could get it for us. ( I don’t recall packet mailing)

Other race logistics that make a race a great event:

  • Parking – is it close? do I have to pay?
  • Bathrooms at the start
  • Online maps of the course, start/finish – what is available at the start finish, do I have to walk far to get water?

When a race considers what it’s like to be a participant, that is an added perk, so the special perks of allowing someone else to grab your packet or multiple banks of port-o-potties makes my decision easier… well after I check the price.

Madison Mini Packet pickup information:

 PACKET PICK-UP INFORMATION

Location:  Alliant Energy Center, Hall C, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way, Madison

Friday, August 18: 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m

Please bring your Photo ID as packet pickup is by last name. You will not need your bib number. REMEMBER! THERE WILL BE NO RACE DAY REGISTRATION OR PACKET PICKUP AND NO THERE ARE NO TRANSFERS OR REFUNDS.

FAMILY OR FRIEND PACKET PICK-UP

If you would like to have a family member or friend pick up your packet for you, they must have a copy of your photo ID (either digital or paper).  Please have it ready when you go to their line to get their packet so you can show it to the volunteers.

WILL CALL PACKET PICK-UP

The Will Call Packet Pick-Up Booth will be located at Library Mall near the fountain and will be open on Saturday, August 19 from 5:30 – 6:45 am

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Places to Run – Squire Point

PLACES TO RUN

SQUIRE POINT, 2800 N Dubuque St, North liberty, IA / Coralville Reservoir

This area I call Squire point is a combination of a couple trails near the Coralville Reservoir. It is also referred to as Linder point or Woodpecker Trail. All the trails hook up together, creating one trail system.


Access / Location: There are parking lots at the entrance to the Squire point off of N. Dubuque St. The trail loops around to another access point off of West Overlook Rd. with more parking spots. The parking is free. The maps will provide a clearer picture of access to this area.

Mileage: A loop of the outer edge of this trail system will come out close to 4 miles. The way the trails are laid out you can make a longer or shorter run by turning left or right.


Terrain: The trail is a combination of many surfaces. The majority is packed dirt, and it’s solid. There are sandy patches, leaf covered areas, many tree roots, and near bridges there are rocks. There can be washed out areas and downed tree limbs. Wider than single track. There is one spot you can cross into a campground to hit the trail as a loop. Trail shoes aren’t necessary, but if it’s muddy I would recommend them.


Elevation / climb: The trail takes you to the edge of the reservoir, so you climb down, it can be steep in spots. Iowa isn’t mountainous, but these are nice trail climbs, so beware if this is your first go at it.

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Scenery: The is near the Coralville Reservoir, many views of the water, while still being lost in the woods. May see deer and hear many birds.


Maintenance: The trail is maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers (I think?) Tree limbs are cut up and removed. There are steps added on steep inclines. Water crossings have bridges. There is no winter maintenance.


Markings: There are maps at every intersection or fork in the road. There is a hole in the sign marking “you are here.” No mile markers.


Features: There are benches with views of the reservoir. The trail also has workout stations where you can do pull-ups, climbs, sit-ups, etc. There is no trail user fee. There is a bath house located in the campground off the West Overlook parking area.

Warnings: There are tree roots and can be muddy in wet conditions, watch your footing. No fires, no bikes, no horses, and pets must be on a leash.


Personal Notes: Try to get to the area in the mornings or avoid weekends as it’s more crowded.

Map:

*information current as of 8/10/17

2017 Fergalicious 5k

2017 Fergalicious 5k


The 2017 race was held on Saturday, August 5th in West Branch, IA at 8 am. It was sunny with temps near 55-60 degrees and 80 % humidity. The race is part of Hoover’s Hometown Days and a fundraiser for the Girls High School Track Program.

For the “to the point” race details, check out my review at bibrave.com

I had an open weekend, and 5 miles on my Detroit Marathon training schedule, and because I had run it many times before, I thought it would be the perfect event to get my miles logged. It also helped that it’s a 15 minute drive from my house.

Gear: Sparkle Athletic Skirt, Zensah Chevron Argyle Compression Socks, Adidas shorts, Spi-belt, BUFF® Run Pack Hat, XX2i sunglasses, Aftershokz Trekz Titanium, Garmin Fenix, New Balance Shoes, Road ID


After a Nugo Bar for breakfast (seriously my favorite thing to grab n go) and some coffee, I was on my way to West Branch.

I made sure to arrive in time for race day registration. I checked online for the price, it was $30, so I would skip the processing fees by registering in person. I filled out my form and was told it was $25, I was happy, but told them online it said $30, the person taking the money didn’t seem to care…. hope no one had to pay $30. I also was able to get a cotton, short sleeve t-shirt.

West Branch is a small town, it’s easy to walk from anywhere you park. While some of the streets are closed for the festivities, it’s easy enough to find a spot on a side street and walk a block to the race start – which is not the same as the finish… probably to get the correct mileage in.

There are also some port-o-potties set up for the town festivities, or you could go into the Town Hall if you needed to use the bathroom.

However, lucky for me…the starting line is just outside my work. I can park there, use the bathroom and have no issues. It’s about time, right? Traveling to all the races and figuring out all the race day logistics, it’s nice to have at least one event where I don’t have to worry about anything.

This allowed me to get in a one mile warm up on my beloved Hoover Nature Trail. Remember the training schedule called for 5 miles. I timed the warm up “just right” as I arrived to the starting line on time.

There were no pre-race announcements, just runners talking amongst themselves. If you read any of my previous reviews about this race, you might remember that the race is named for a previous track coach. He usually shows up and says some words. This year he was no where to be seen, there was no National Anthem… just a “GO!”

As we started promptly at 8 am, there were still a few stragglers walking to the starting line. It was nice the race started on time, however when there are not too many participants, I think it would have been nice to wait for them to get to the starting line.

When I checked the registration online, I also noticed that my age group was 25-49 years old, so this changed my race day strategy. While I was going to race this, I wasn’t going to kill myself trying to place.

The familiarity of the course was my advantage. I knew where the turns were, and all the hills. I knew when to run faster or slow down.

I was cruising along, following the course with ease. The pavement was clearly marked with arrows as to which way to go. Each intersection had someone monitoring it, whether it was a girls track member or law enforcement official. However, the students seemed disinterested in being there – a hand clap or some enthusiasm goes a long way. Also, one of the busier intersections with a police officer, a car stopped to chit chat with the officer, blocking the intersection to the runners…. that wasn’t the most ideal. As I said though, all the intersections did have a someone.

I didn’t have any other race issues, the pavement was your typical surface, a few cracks here and there, there were no mile markers – but that is not a huge deal. I didn’t take water on the course, but I think there was a water stop about half way.

I came to the finishing chute, which was before the finish line, and it was marked with track hurdles. There was a giant clock with the overall time. A volunteer took the strip from the bottom of my bib for race place. I ran the race in 27:26, with a sub 9 minute pace. I was happy with that! My Garmin also showed 3.1 miles.


I came back to the finish area after my mile cool down. The post race food was on one side of the road in a parking lot. There were donuts, crescents from Tiffiny’s Bakery, bananas, granola bars and bottled water. It was surprising to see so many crescents uneaten.


Then everyone was finished and shouting came from across the street. I went over to listen to the awards. The overall were first and then the age group. Overall winners were also announced as age group winners. Medals were given out to those who placed.

When it came to my AG I was shocked to learn that I had placed 2nd. I noticed the first place winner in my AG received an envelope instead of a medal. When I went to pick up my award, the person asked if I lived “around here” and before I could answer said she had a medal for me.

So I awkwardly waited around, and other AG winners were announced and they didn’t receive any medals or envelopes. I was whisked back to the other side of the street where the lady dug through a tote and gave me a medal (from a previous year) with a 3rd place ribbon. I said “oh it’s not big deal, I don’t need a medal” Then she pulled out some other ribbon and gave me that, to change out.


I really don’t need this medal, but if you are advertising medals to the first 2 in each AG, and some get gift certificates while you didn’t order enough medals, it’s very confusing. I was part of a medal snafu earlier this year… I get that organizing a race is hard work and sometimes things don’t work out. This was just weird to me.

I really hope a little “more” gets put into this race for next year (pre-race announcements, same prices for everyone, post race awards.) I personally feel they “mailed it in”and relied on the fact that it is the 11th annual event, and expected people to show up. Participation seemed low and I never saw a flyer around WB. It’s nice to run a hometown event with the small town feel, the little details make the difference when there are a lot of other races I can run.

*Please remember, these are my thoughts… I know a lot of you that read this, ran the race too. I am just being honest, and want the best for the race in the future. 

Places to Run – Hoover Nature Trail

Places to Run

The Hoover Nature Trail, West Branch, IA section

The Hoover Nature Trail is an old railroad bed that follows the old Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad route between Burlington and Cedar Rapids. Only portions of the trail are completed for recreational use.

Location: West Branch, IA to Oasis, IA

Mileage: 3.5 miles (one way) You have to start near Main St in West Branch and run to Oasis Rd.


Terrain: The part in the city limits of West Branch is chip and seal, and the parts in the county are maintained crushed rock. One highway crossing and one gravel road crossing. Trail shoes are not necessary.

Elevation: FLAT! no hills

Scenery: Trees and farm land line the trail. Depending on the year you can find corn or soybeans planted next to the trail. Small creek runs alongside in parts with a few bridge crossings.


Maintenance: The City of West Branch & the County Conservation Board maintains the trail(plus volunteers.) The sides are mowed, tree limbs are cut away, a grader will touch up the rock periodically. There is no winter maintenance, you get to make your own way in the snow/ice

Markings: At one time mile markers were on the trails, but have been damaged over the years. There are gates to keep vehicles off the trail. Random signs for horses to stay off to the side.

Features: Peaceful! While the trail sees a lot of usage you might be the only one out there. There is an outhouse style bathroom near Oasis. There is no fee to use this trail. There are some benches placed in random spots.


Warnings: Be aware of off leash dogs, while it’s not posted to keep your dog on a leash, many use the trail this way. The bridges have some holes, so watch your footing.

Personal notes: This is a great flat trail that’s easy on the body. The start is close to where I work, so I am able to #runch easily.

Map:

 

12 weeks until Detroit

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Detroit Free Press Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

It’s that time again, time to train for a marathon. As you know I will be headed to Detroit (rock city) in October. It will be my first time there, and I get to run in and out of Canada.

With marathon training comes a “plan.” Which as you may have read on the blog, is always a struggle. I made it through 2016 winging it, and since I finished each race…. I really have struggled with sticking to the more traditional training – because I know I will be able to do it. My last marathon – Grandma’s – I tried to keep up with the crazy plan Josh was doing…and I skipped runs or was always altering them….


With 12 weeks to race day, this time is going to be different…. HA – FAMOUS LAST WORDS! Ok, it’s not going to be different, but I did look at some plans, and Josh sent me one he found that looks like I can accomplish. So…here goes… today I will run 3.1 miles…

I wont be blogging about my training recaps, I don’t have time for that… and really, do you want to read them?  Seriously, do you?

Honestly, while the training is the hardest part of the race, and I am a little anxious to complete each run………. I am more worried about getting my passport. What? Yes, I have a passport, but it is in our lock box at the bank, and while we have the key to gain access, I have no clue where that key is in our house. I worry about the dumbest things…. but when you register for this race, you agree to have your passport.


If you know where your passport is and would like to join me in Detroit, use code “DETROITBRP17” for 10% off race entry. http://www.freepmarathon.com/

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What’s new?

If you a frequent visitor to my blog discount page, you might have noticed something new and different.

Discounts from Zensah and Aftershokz!

In addition to my ambassadorship with Bibrave, (applications are currently open – tell em I sent you!) I have had the opportunity to join the Aftershokz Shokz Squad and expand my involvement with Zensah.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

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Zensah – VIP baby! Alright, maybe I am taking this a little too far…. back at the beginning of the year I was given a chance to be a brand ambassador for Zensah. Recently this has led me to the exclusive review club.  While this means great things for me, this means I am happy to share a 20% discount (referral link) with you! If you are not familiar with this company, check out their website. I love their compression socks, the foot bed is soooo soft!!


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Aftershokz – Do you remember when I told you about the Trekz Titanium bluetooth headphones? The head phones that do not go in your ear, and allow you to hear your surroundings by using bone conduction? This is the great company that makes them! I am what is called a Shokz Star, and I will a collection of their headphones if you would like to demo them. YEP – that’s right, want to try out this crazy awesome technology? Well look me up!  I also have an awesome 15% savings code if you shop at aftershokz.com – use ANGIE1 (U.S. & Canada only)


I will be at the Corridor Running Fifth Season Race Expo, at the Cedar Rapids Double Tree, on July 3rd from 11 am – 7pm if you want to try the products, learn about BibRave or buy some headbands.

 

Bear Stampede 10k 2017

2017 Bear Stampede 10k


The 2017 event was on Saturday, May 13, and started at 9 am. The 5k was run at the same time, on the same course, but turned around sooner than the 10k. The sun was shining and it was 70 ish degrees.

I have run this race, both distances, in the past. I have also been a part of this race, in that I have sold my head bands, and given proceeds to the race.

This year was different. The race organization changed hands, and I wasn’t contacted to sell head bands (and I didn’t contact them,) which was fine, because I don’t have time. However, I am happy to make custom orders.

I thought, hey I can get some miles in, it could be a tune up for the Run Madtown 10k, and then I could get to some projects at work. I like to make things with reclaimed wood, or upcycle furniture and the materials are piling up.

I parked my car near the starting line, and went into the school to register for the race. Registration was only $30!!! I didn’t get a shirt, but I don’t need anymore. Seriously, I think I mentioned this in years past, where can you run a 10k with race day registration of $30?!?!?!?  I also got chip timing.

I left with my bib…in an unnecessary plastic bag, that also had a Road ID coupon. I needed to move my car, so I drove to my work, parked my car and made my way back to the race, with a stop at the post office. I am not sure if it was about a half mile.

I arrived back to the starting area and milled around a bit. I was ready to go. I said hi to my friend Monty, he said he enjoyed this race because of the Hoover Nature trail part. This is the trail I run on during lunch time, it’s flat and peaceful.

Announcements were happening, and then it was time for the National Anthem, sung by one of the school kids. 5k and 10k participants were told to line up, there was no corral or pacers, but the race was small enough, and the street wide enough, there were no problems.

The race started at the elementary school, it then took a small loop through the town, followed by an out and back on the trail, then a run up all the hills to the finish back at the school.

I started out feeling good. However, that did not last long. The weather was too hot for me. It’s like the heat came from no where. I am fine running in heat, just when I have had time to acclimate to it. I also made the mistake of wearing a black shirt.


I did fine on the paved portion through town, but then came the trail section. As I said, I run this trail weekly, I thought I would be able to pick things up here. This was not the case. It started near the 5k turnaround. First runners were coming back towards me, crowding the trail. Second, the trail was not closed to others, there was some nature walk happening, crowding the trail – those people would not move! Third, it was hot!

I grabbed some water, which was ice cold at the 5k turn around – styrafoam cups though…blah. Then I crossed the highway and the participants thinned out. I think maybe 30 people ran the 10k. However, the nature walk people were out on this part too.

I made it to the 10k turn around, and grabbed some more water. On this part, I could count what place I was in. Before the turn around I was the 4th overall female. However, once I turned around, I saw the next 2 ladies closing in on me.

I was on the struggle bus the entire way back, I tired to push my pace, but it wasn’t happening. I was just too hot. Then one by one, the ladies passed me. We got back to the paved part and had to run up the hills. Whew – they are steep! I kept moving though.

Finally the short downhill to the finish line. Also talk about a super quiet finish line, where did everyone go? I crossed and someone cut my timing chip from my shoe. I needed some water.

I went to the post race treats area, and I was happy to find some chocolate milk. I grabbed that first, and then ended up chatting with someone for a while. I then thought I needed some water, only to find it was all gone! UGH those 5k runners! Thankfully, more bottles of water appeared. I grabbed one and a chocolate chip cookie.


As I cheered on the finishers, I waited for the results to be printed. They were posted, and I found out I placed 4th in my age group. Which is usually great, but the age group was split all funky: 0-19, 20-40, and 41-99…. um what? This is a school race, and even the 5k was split the same… you think for school kids it would be broken down…and 20-40 is the most competitive group….oh well. I left, no prizes, no medals for me…. lol. Guess I need to get faster and not wear black on a hot day. My finishing time was still near an hour.


Oh this race….will I run it again? Sure, being able to register on race day and the price itself is worth it, plus the money goes to the school. However, I felt the organization change… just seemed to lack in motivation or drive to have a great race…instead they just went through the motions of what was done in the past. Don’t get me wrong, there weren’t any bad things that happened, still had kids races too, and a bouncy house….but there was just something missing.