Run Madtown 10k Review

Run Madtown 10k Review

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Run Madtown Twilight 10k 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!”

The 2017 event took place on Saturday, May 27th at 8:10 pm in Madison, WI. It was overcast and around 65 degrees, it was humid. The 10k started, 10 minutes after the 5k.

Read about my road trip to get there.

The 2 night races are part of a weekend of events which also includes a half marathon on Sunday. If you do the 10k and the half marathon you will get an additional medal, and can say “I Conquered the Capitol.” I was fortunate to do that challenge last year, and top it off with the fall marathon, for a huge medal haul. – Ok, enough of that, back to the 10k…

Gear: Sparkle Athletic stars skirt, BR tank, Adidas boy shorts, B1G hat, Spibelt, Gamin Fenix, Adidas Ultra Boost X, Road ID, Zensah USA socks, Buff

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Registration for this race was available online, but it closed May 24th. There was a chance to register at the expo. I honestly can’t remember how much this race costs, looking at my review last year, it topped around $60.

The expo was at the Monona Terrace Community Center. It was open Friday evening and Saturday until 5pm, before the race. If you were not able to make it, it was easy to make arrangements for someone else to pick it up for you. Parking was available in the attached ramp for a fee, or in downtown at a meter – with a short walk.


The expo wasn’t huge, but had everything you might need. The bib pickup was in the back, and you had to show an ID and give your bib number, which was sent in an email the week prior. There was a station set up to check if your timing chip was active. Many photo opportunities, including a banner with your name on it. There was race merchandise, a running store and area vendors. There were water stations set up in the corners to keep hydrated.


The expo closed 3 hours before race start. Since the race starts and finishes at the State Capital there are many things to do & places to go, or you could just take a nap on the lawn of the Capital.

After an afternoon at a nearby brewery, I came back to downtown and was able to find on street parking, which was now free as it was after 6pm. I had to find the starting line, it was on a street alongside the Capital, but which one? There was also some construction, so it didn’t start where it did last year.

Once I easily located the start, which I arrived too early, I saw Dan from Iowa City, so we chatted a while, and then I met up with fellow Bibrave Pro Lisa, who was also running the 10k.


We all paused for the recording of the National Anthem. (It sounded like the Jordin Sparks version at the Super Bowl.) We then watched the wheelers start the 5k, and then the 5k runners follow. It was then time to get into the corral – which was just one big corral, and for the most part people self- seeded.

Going into this race, I thought I would have a decent time. I did my best to prepare for an 8:10 pm start. I would also like to note I was wearing the Adidas Ultra Boost X shoes, I am testing for Bibrave – I have run up to 7 miles in them, so thought this would be a good race test. (Foreshadowing – I’ll have a review coming, but I have to keep them tied loose, for the best fit for me.)

The course is a nice tour of Madison, it’s short, but it takes you by many things including Camp Randall and the Kohl Center. It is on all paved surfaces. This year, as I mentioned there was construction, so there were areas you needed to watch out for potholes or road drop offs.

It should also be said, Madison is not flat, and every race I have ran, always includes Observatory hill. However, once you are at the top you are rewarded with a really cool view of the lake.

There were a few spectators out on the course, but the volunteers where the ones that were energetically cheering everyone on. Speaking of the volunteers, they were at every intersection, making sure everyone went the right way.

There were 3 aid stations, and at least one had lemon-lime Gatorade (2nd – after the water.) Liquids were all served in paper cups.

Now, I previously wrote a post about how the course was lit well enough in the past, but I noticed the bike path we ran on to be a tad dark this year. It was also open to other users, including bikers, one of which almost ran over me.

Each mile was marked with a sign, and there was a timing mat at the half way point, with a clock. The timing tag was located on the back of the bib.


There was also an app called RaceJoy available for spectators to track you, My phone battery was already at 34% at the start of the race, so I put it on airplane mode while I ran. The RaceJoy app needed you to open it while you ran. This app also allowed spectators to send you cheers.

Now that I have mentioned all the bells and whistles of the course. How did I do? Well, I was having a good time tackling the hills, and pushing my pace, being familiar with Madison also helped. However, since I keep my shoes – double knotted – tied loosely, I just kept felt like they were slipping off my feet. At mile 3, my double knotted shoe came untied. Have you ever had to stop, bend over, tie your shoe, then continue racing? UGH, huge momentum crasher.

I tried to keep pushing the last half, but I felt the humidity, just couldn’t get back into it. Then there was the above mentioned bike path incident. I could hear this noise behind me, and by the time I looked back, this dude was off on the side passing me. Oh well, before soon, I was back at the finish at the Capital.


When I came across the finish line, and announcer said my name, a volunteer placed a medal around my neck, and another volunteer handed me a bottle of water. There was a backdrop set up for taking pictures. The race provides FREE pictures, which were posted online in 2 days. After a photo opp, there was Rocky Rococco’s pizza. Sorry, but the last thing I want to eat after running is a greasy slice of pizza, there were no other food options…a banana would have been great!


I looked at my watch, and I finished with a time near 1:01, which is alright, not bad.

After the long walk of the finishers chute, you could leave, or turn the corner into the post race “party” area. There was a tent set up to get your results printed, and a place to buy some race branded merchandise, then there was the beer tent, where you could grab your FREE Michelob Ultra. I think you have heard my thoughts on this… it’s the land of 23948092384 craft breweries, I passed on the Mich Ultra.


I found Lisa after the race, we chatted and took a picture or two, and just like that it was after 9:30 pm. This old lady was going to turn into a pumpkin. We departed ways and I was back on the road to Iowa.


Overall, Madison is a great place to run. While this race is shorter, it offers a great tour. The expo is easy to get to, the price is competitive and the volunteers are great. I hope in the future to see a different post race food & beer option – which, really, is just me being picky.

Did you run this race? Tell everyone what you thought with a review at bibrave.com

Watch out Madison, I am making a return to the Madison Mini!

Racin & Road Trippin

How to plan your next race road trip

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Run Madtown Twilight 10k 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 caught my post about preparing for a night race, you know I was headed to Madison, WI for a 10k that started at 8pm. Also if you are familiar with my blog, you know I drive to all the races. While this is a shorter road trip, I am going to highlight the essentials that made my trip to Madison great!

I have to state the obvious – make sure your car is ready for the task. Always check the tires, and make sure you’re current with your oil status an fluids, then fill it full of gas and get ready for adventure.

Where are you going? The first thing in planning your road trip is to locate the exact address and the time you need to be there. This way you can count backwards and plan from there. We needed to be to the race expo at the Monona Terrace before 5pm, and then to the race start at 8pm. This left all day Saturday for planning shenanigans, with a 3 hour drive both ways.


Grab your friends. While solo road trips can be just as fun… bringing along a friend can be even more fun! I picked up my road trip buddy, around 8 am, Saturday morning. We were up for anything. This also allows for you to switch drivers, for when you are tired or need to tweet your happenings. *Spoiler alert, driving home after an 8pm race, it was nice to have 2 drivers.

Snacks. You never know when runger will strike, it’s best to be prepared. The snacks at a convenience store are over priced and are few and far between, and does anyone really want to eat something from a rest stop vending machine? Bringing along what you like is also healthier and wont jeopardize your race. We had packed some waters, granola bars and bananas. Ok – fine we stopped and I purchased some gum.

Music / podcasts. Sitting in silence can be refreshing, but when the open road is calling, you need something to keep your mind off the boredom of the pavement. Some suggestions: bring along your favorite mixed tape, a CD, create an new playlist on your device, XM radio, download a podcast, grab an audiobook. While we were occupied with chatting most of the time, we did rock out to some tunes on the XM radio as well as catch up on the Forenic Files. XM plays old episodes of the show on Headline News, nothing more creepier than driving through the night listening to murder mysteries.

Places to stop. It is important to know where you need to end up, but it’s also important to know what is on your route. Will there be a museum? A store? A Brewery? A tattoo parlor? Since we had planned ahead and knew when we needed to be where, we had stopped at the Madison Farmers Market and made a trip to New Glarus Brewery. There are sooo many things to see and do, why not put them on your to do list?


Be spontaneous. Sometimes the most fun is when you haven’t planned it. Allow yourself to try something new, or take the road less traveled… a little cliche? I don’t care, it’s so true…life is very short, enjoy it! We made sure to add some spontaneity to our trip, we saw a sign on the road for some historical site – Pendarvis, so we just pulled off the exit and followed the signs through town. It really wasn’t anything, I mean I wouldn’t even stop to buy a post card…but it was fun and led us to make a stop at Crazy Franks consignment store, which led us to a bag of 25 cent popcorn.


We also enjoyed another spontaneous adventure that afternoon. Our trip to the New Glarus Brewery led us to Belleville, WI. At the brewery they gave us coupons for a free draught at a local establishment. We randomly picked a place, and “bellied up to the bar.” As we were sitting there, we met a guy who travels to Iowa City a lot.  


I’ll get to the actual details of the race in my next post, but maybe this will give you some more insight as to why I like to travel, by car to all the races. Don’t let a few miles discourage you to travel to your next race. With a little prep and some spontaneity you can have an excellent road trip.

So what’s next for me? Well I will be trekking back to Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN.

OOFOS OOmg Low Shoe

OOFOS OOmg Low Shoe


“Disclaimer: I received the OOFOS OOmg low shoe 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!”

What is this shoe? Well many runners may be familiar with OOFOS and their recovery flip flops, or you remember my review of them. Well this is the same OOfoam technology in a closed shoe.

“The first fully closed shoe to feature OOfoam technology! We combined the OOFOS patented footbed design you know and love with a 4-way stretch mesh upper to create an unbelievably comfortable shoe that enhances the recovery process. Take the stress off your tired soles, joints and give your feet the freedom of natural movement in a shoe you can wear all day, every day.” – www.oofos.com

What is this OOfoam technology? Well it’s the sole of the shoe that absorbs 37% more impact than traditional footwear foam materials to reduce the stress on your feet and joints. With this and the construction of the shoe, it’s the perfect recovery tool, and you can wear it anywhere – hiding your runner’s feet!

Ok -I have to admit, hiding my feet is the best part! Ok, well that and I can put them on right after I take my running shoes off. My flip flops have a toe separator which makes wearing socks difficult. These just slip on, easy peasy.

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Ok, so you are saying to yourself, these aren’t the prettiest shoes…. and honestly, I thought that too, however after wearing them to walk the dog, around town, to bake, and everywhere….. I really don’t think they are that unattractive…. they are similar to other loafer type shoes on the market. There are also other color options available.

The price tag may be a surprise, however let me remind you:

  • These are an investment in your recovery
  • OOfoam Technology
  • These are a shoe you can wear everyday, all day for six months or more.
  • The bottom will wear out before the foam breaks down.
  • These are a lifestyle shoe.
  • These shoes are machine washable. Or you can spot wipe them, the colors wont bleed.
  • “Your Feet Earned This.”

My favorite thing about these shoes is I feel like I am wearing a slipper in public, and they look like an actual shoe. I also don’t have to show the world my feet. (OK my feet aren’t that bad, but I am too lazy for a pedicure.) They also work with or without socks. They are very squishy feeling to walk around in too or relax in your favorite recliner with a beer.

If you are ready to make an investment in your recovery. Head on over to www.oofos.com and get yourself a pair.

Are you jealous of my orange carpet?

Not sure yet? Check out what the others are saying – TedrickLindseyJeannineNora


As always you can find OOFOS on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

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.

Running at night

How do you train for a night race?

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the RunMadtown 10k 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!”

Ok, I have run A LOT of races, however I still don’t have the evening or night race thing down. I am going to be running the Run Madtown Twilight 10k in Madison, WI on May 27th. It starts at 8:10pm. As someone who usually runs in the morning or goes on a #runch, I am still trying to prepare the best I can, I have come up with a list of things, I have done or should be doing.

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I ran the even in 2016 with Lisa, and will be meeting with her again in 2017

1.) Familiarize yourself with the course. Will there be hills, pacers, aid, trail? At this time of night it’s just starting to get dark, and the lighting can throw things off. Knowing at what mile I can grab a water, or at what point I might have to climb a hill will help keep me on pace to finish in a decent time. This way I can deal with my eyes adjusting to the light and looking out for unknown course hazards.

2.) Run at night. This may be the most obvious thing to do. Run at the same time the race starts, then your body is ready. However, this is just so hard for me. I want to get my run done, I am not a fan of waiting all day. Also by 8:10 pm I am tired and don’t want to do much. Hey – I am an old lady.

3.) Eating. Perhaps, this is tougher than the night running. In my everyday life, I do not eat an early supper. Some days, I might not eat until 9 pm. The solution is to eat an early light dinner so the food has time to digest. I wouldn’t eat a plate of nachos, covered in jalepenos, well unless that is your thing. Then when you are done, enjoy the post race food line up as a snack. This year there will be Rocky Rococo’s Pizza at the finish.

4.) Find something to do during the day. I get anxious, and waiting around all day to race drives me nuts, I need things to do to keep my mind occupied. This isn’t a long distance race for me, but if it were I would recommend finding something to do to stay off your feet, or try to relax – and you can never go wrong with taking a nap!

I will also need to get my bib, so I will have time to check out the expo at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center Lakeside Commons. There is no race day packet pick up, so I will have until 5 pm on race day to check out all the goods.

There are also a ton of things to do in Madison. I really like the farmers market on Capital Square – which is where the race starts/finishes. You can also check out many breweries, the lakes, tour the Capitol or the UW Campus. Many things to keep an anxious mind busy until 8:10 pm.

5.) Prepare your gear. By the time this race is over, you will be finishing in the dark. The course is well lit, but you want to make sure your outfit is ready for the FREE race pictures. I like to wear all the colors, but you can wear what is comfortable for you to run in, remember pictures last forever on the internet.

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I just need to work on the evening and night running thing, and I think I will be ready. As a Hawkeye fan it may be tough to travel to Madison for a sporting event, but for a race, I am ready to get back to Madison.

 

Red Shoe 2017

Red Shoe Half Marathon – Race Recap 2017

Oh – I really have been slacking, I left you all in limbo…did I run this race due to the killer headache the night before?

Well, of course I ran it!! Powered by mashed potatoes!!

If you are looking for the simple, fact filled review – head on over to bibrave.com

Gear: Sparkle Athletic Ice Cream Skirt, 2xu tank, Adidas 7″ boyshorts, Pro Compression Socks, B1G tech hat, Spi Belt, Aftershokz Trekz Titanium, XX2i France Sunglasses, Garmin Fenix, Brooks Ghost 9


Alright – race day was Sunday, May 7th, it was sunny and would warm up to around 70. The race started with the 5k at 8:30 am.


I was able to grab my packet the day before the race. It was a bag full of papers & flyers that I just put in the trash. There was my bib and there was an unflattering, short sleeve tech tee – mostly because it’s a man’s cut.

There are 2 half marathons in Iowa City. I have run them both, in fact they partner together, for an additional medal opportunity, and you can say you ran Iowa’s Longest Marathon. Personally, I prefer this race over the other, and being in my town, longer than a 5k, I HAD TO DO IT!

The race starts and finishes at the Ronald McDonald House, which race proceeds benefit. This area is also next to the University of Iowa, Carver Hawkeye Arena and Duane Banks Field. This allows for ample parking and indoor bathrooms.

I rolled up around 7:50 am, to am empty Dental Lot (the lot for the dentistry college – this area is surrounded by parking lots.) I discovered everyone was told to park in a packed Lot 75. I really thought I was at the wrong place, where was everyone?


Well, they were all huddled inside Carver (CHA,) where the bathrooms were…and also confusing, it was not that cold and the sun was shining. It still felt like there wasn’t a race happening.

Just after 8 am, and standing around alone… I decided I did not need my arm sleeves, so I walked back to car to ditch them. I also found a four leaf clover! There were now about 5 cars parked near my car.


When I started back to my car, there was some kids race happening, which caught me off guard, as there were no people around…the kids must have just appeared.

I started walking back to the race start, and it was now 8:15 ish…there were some announcements on the sound system, and someone sang the National Anthem. I was beyond confused at this point and just went with it. The race didn’t start for another 15 minutes.

They used the time to tell a story about a family that has used the Ronald McDonald House, which was nice. I really like this charity and what the House does. If you remember, I was once donating Medals 4 Mettle to the House.


After another shorter kids race, the announcer encouraged people to line up behind the starting arch. More people appeared out of CHA….. it was starting to look like there was a race about to happen.

There were no corrals and no pacers. As I said the 5k started with the half marathon, there were people with strollers all in one spot. I tried to line up where I thought my pace would be. Ran into a friend who had his dog, and it was the dog’s first race.

I have run both the half and 5k before, there have been many hiccups over time. One year I ran the 5k, I was held up by a train.  The 5k used to be the GOTR spring race, and the course narrowed within the first 500 feet, the girls would line up in the front, and be walking at the point the course narrowed. Then the last time I ran the 5k, it started separately and was a good race. I was shocked to see it start with the half again.

I knew this course too, I run this town, I knew there would be hills (seems to be what people remark about the most, when they are finished.) However, due to construction, the course was changed this year, and the biggest hill was removed.

Coming into this with a rough day before, and eating only mashed potatoes, I was just there for the miles. I started off at a decent pace, and just followed the crowd and the arrows. *Note the arrows were not race specific… so arrows lead people for both the 5k & the half marathon.

The course went down by the Iowa River, crossing the bridges, checking out more of campus. Then it went through City Park. This is where the first aid station was. There was Gatorade first, then water in paper cups. It was getting warm for me, so I made sure to stop and drink. I didn’t bring a pack with me.

As we snaked through City Park, we came to the yard sign that said “mile 3.” I looked around, and since bibs were different for different races, I noticed that there were quite a few 5k runners at this point. We were not .1 miles from the finish, GASP! What was going on? In my mind, I had been waiting for the half to split from the 5k, and I never saw it. I then asked the 5k runners, if they were fine, and advised them they could go cross country to get back to the finish, or follow the course to a point that would get them to the finish.

Many 5k runners continued on the course, as it was the safest, due to roads being open to traffic, the marked course was safer. My watch was near 4.5 miles, when it was a good chance for the 5k to get back to the finish. At this intersection, they had to cross Hwy 6, an intersection where there was no traffic control, but a stoplight with buttons to push for pedestrians. There were 2 race volunteers pushing the buttons. If you ran the 5k, you were close to 5 miles.

All I could think is WOW, and I hope there were no kids out on the course alone. I did have more miles ahead of me so I kept moving. I did call Josh, I had to tell someone, lol… plus with bluetooth headphones, you can make a phone call on the run – so easy!

The course was now taking a turn onto First Avenue into Coralville, just after mile 5, I saw someone I knew – Anne! It was a welcomed surprise, especially since I was out there by myself.

I was at the next water stop, this one had the same paper cups. The person with Powerade… yep a different kind of drink, was handing out cups, and it was after the water, which was not being handed out. I don’t know if this is a big deal, but these little details are important. All electrolyte drinks should be the same on course – people can have issues – and it should be before the water, and volunteers should be attentive to getting it to people.

Oh well, onward…. the next few miles were uneventful. I was hot, but nothing I could do, I just made sure to drink when I hit the aid stations. I had some fruit snacks with me and ate them around the half way point.

The course went on the Clear Creek path, and met up with Camp Cardinal Blvd. This is the hilliest part of the course. There were more water stops with Powerade. Nothing too exciting.

Soon, I was on Melrose and running back east, into Iowa City. In the past we took the road back to the parking lot behind Kinnick Stadium to finish back where we started at CHA. However this year, because of the changed course, we went back onto the Mormon Handcart Trail, and then back to Mormon Trek.

Oh, HEY… I saw Anne in this area again, another welcome surprise….especially when I had just passed some bored volunteers sitting on the ground, no enthusiasm or care to be there. Anne gave me a high five and I was on my way.

I was now on the path behind the softball complex. There was a last water stop, and then I realized there would be one more steep climb before the finish. Races love to add this path, it’s closed to traffic, but the hill is no joke!

I finished up the hill, and through the parking lot – lot 75, crossed the street into the CHA parking lot and I was at the finish. Then in what seemed like exactly 12 inches from the timing mat, they handed me a medal… DUDE! I need to slow down and walk it out, there was soooooo much room for me to do that, but I was handed my medal immediately after I had finished.

My time was near 2:15 ish. I was happy with this knowing I wasn’t really racing it. However, I wish people would cheer people in. Looking at my Garmin, I only had 12.9 miles, it’s still close…but short. I don’t recall seeing a 13 mile marker either.

Oh well, I did find the post race food. There was A LOT of it. Bottled water, apple juice, chocolate milk, Powerade, donuts, cupcakes, apple slices, apples, orange slices, bananas, and bagels.


I actually turned down the donuts….don’t fear I had a mini cupcake instead. I took a minute and listened to the awards. I guess I missed the part where the age groups were divided up strangely…ages up to 29 were in 5 year increments, and after that 10 year increments. OK, I am not fast, but the smaller increments are easier for me to place.


I didn’t have a lot to do, so I stuck around the finish line until the clock was at 3 hours, I think that is when the course was supposed to close. I cheered on finishers.

I then decided to call it a day. I walked back to my car, had no troubles with traffic, and made it home before lunch.

I did have a slight headache, so I tried to stay hydrated the rest of the day.

This race….. I really want to be proud of my hometown races, I want to be able to tell people to come to Iowa City and run a race. This year, I can not say that. However, in the week since the race, I have learned a few things. 1) people who ran the 5k were given free entry to next years event. 2) the 5k and half will start separately next year 3) this was the first year under new directorship 4) letters were sent to 5k participants, along with some socks, apologizing for what happened.


So now… I am torn… I run a lot of races, so I feel I have valid thoughts and opinions.  I do like the actions they have taken regarding the mishap with the 5k. I just want more details to the half too. I need great water stops, cheer stations, and an accurate course. I would give the race another chance if it fits in my schedule.

 

 

 

 

Why Run Grandma’s

Top Reasons to Run Grandma’s Marathon

“Disclaimer: I received entry into Grandma’s 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!”

I am no stranger to Grandma’s Marathon. I was introduced to the weekend of events, 3 years ago as I was fortunate enough to take part in the Garry Bjorklund half marathon as a Bibrave Pro. Since then I have run the marathon twice, once was part of the inaugural Great Grandma’s Challenge.

I’m ready to get back to Duluth to run my third Grandma’s, and here are my top reasons why:

Bacon – Yes, bacon! There is an unofficial aid station that cooks up bacon. Alright, maybe this reason should be the excellent crowd support and spectators. Sure, it’s no Chicago, and there are parts that don’t allow for easy access to spectators, but the sections of the course where people can get to are awesome. Signs, high fives, cheering for random strangers…. and of course bacon!

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Quirk! What is this you say? This is what makes the race unique, there are things you wont see at other races. There is a house that lines up troll dolls along the curb. Last year a guy with a banjo was making up a fun song about runners. A guy standing in costume handing out candy. You might even see Grandma too! These things are also placed just when you need a boost in your race. Oh, did I mention bacon? There is even a guy who runs to the start, and then runs the race, for a total of 50 plus miles of running.

Here is a video of my 2015 race.

The Train! This race is point to point, meaning you need to get to the start. While there are many free shuttle buses, some even from the hotel you might be staying at; you can take the train to the start. Also this train has bathrooms!!! Believe me, the bathroom thing is awesome, because while there are what seems like 100 at the start, it’s never enough. Plus the train is also open to spectators to ride.

The Course. The course runs along Lake Superior from Two Harbors to Duluth. While you may not always have a visual of the lake, it seems to appear just when you need it. It’s also flat, well it is for me, ok so there is “Lemon Drop” hill, but no rolling hills or steep climbs, just enough to keep the muscles working. It showcases the best of northern Minnesota, without getting lost in the backwoods.

course

The Community. While Duluth is home for this event, the entire surrounding community opens it’s doors on race weekend. From the nearby casino to the south, the University campus, or nearby Superior, WI – you can find hotels with early morning breakfasts, shuttles to the race start, dorm rooms, and the friendliest people.

The Spaghetti Dinner. If you know me, you know I do not care for marinara sauce. I love me some fresh tomatoes, but put some gooey paste on my pasta, and you have ruined it. Enter, the Grandma’s Spaghetti dinner. First, it only costs $12 per adult, which is the most reasonable I have seen. Second, you can get a gluten free option. Third, you can go back for seconds. Fourth, you can get PLAIN NOODLES!!! Fifth, there is ice cream. Ok, so you don’t want to over do it before a big race, but there are options and you get your money’s worth. Oh, there is also all the bread you care to eat too.

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Late Packet Pick Up Hours. Packet pick up remains open until 11 pm the Friday before the race. This makes it possible to actually pick up your packet! (note there is no race day pickup) There is one major road to Duluth, you head north out of MPLS on I-35, it can get congested… so while you should allow enough time, the late packet pick up time makes it possible to actually get your things. Also if for some reason you still can’t grab your stuff, you can have it mailed (submit info by May 31, costs $25) or make arrangements for someone to get it for you.

Things to See. Just to name a few – you can tour an iron ore freighter – the William A. Irvin (this is what the 5k is named after), say hi to Pierre the Pantsless Voyager in Two Harbors (rumor has it he broke his arm), or just relax on the shores of Lake Superior… or maybe get that confused with Lake Shore Brewing 🙂

Well Organized. In 2015, there was a downpour at the start, in 2016 the race was “black flagged.” Weather is the one thing you can’t control on race day, yet I never felt unsafe or scared at anytime during these situations. The race takes care of the people. There are numerous aid stations on course as well as medical help.

This race still has all the standards too… an excellent medal, great post race beer, live music, and a shirt you have to EARN. However, the reasons I mention are why I keep coming back. The race and the community goes above and beyond to make you feel at home in Duluth.

gmas

Registration is open! I hope to see you in Two Harbors, June 17th at 7:45 am!