Casserole Concoction

Lunch…what do you want for lunch?

The dreaded question, asked weekly, every time my husband and I go to the grocery store.

First, we go through each week and figure out how many nights per week we need to cook supper – yep supper, that’s what it’s called. Then from those meals we can decide if we will have leftovers to take for lunch.

If we don’t have leftovers, most of the time lunch ends up being a frozen meal, soup or sandwiches. If we have time, we will prepare a casserole and then divide that up into daily portions to take.

This past week we had time to make a casserole, and instead of looking up a recipe, we thought we would wing it… so here is our take on breakfast casserole.

Note: I make some of the best concoctions when I just throw stuff together, the downside is we never get to have the same thing again. With that being said, I don’t measure out things unless I am baking, so the ingredient list that follows is my best guess.

Ingredients:

  • package of bacon (or turkey sausage or ham)
  • package of frozen hash browns
  • 16 eggs
  • Veggies of your choice – bag of frozen works good
  • package of shredded cheese
  • fresh spinach
  • Edit (milk to thin out eggs)

-Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9″ x 13″ pan.

-Cook the bacon


-Put a layer of bacon in the bottom of the baking dish.


-Add a layer of frozen hash browns – we had an opened bag, probably had 20 oz left.


-Add veggies, and meat


-Mix beaten eggs with spinach, add salt and pepper if you like.


-Pour egg mix over the hash browns, veggies and meat.


-Top with cheese


-Bake for 45 minutes. If you have a lot of cheese you can choose to broil when done cooking.

(Really, just layer the hash browns – can mix in cheese with these. Add a layer of meat – or no meat if that’s your thing. and a layer of veggies, then fill in the space with eggs you could add more eggs than mentioned above. Top with cheese.

Ok – so I type all the above up while it was baking… I have no clue how it tastes yet. It’s currently cooling, before we will divide it up and put in containers to take for lunch.

img_5266

Alright… so 45 minutes wasn’t long enough for the eggs to cook … sad panda…. so we put it back into the oven for another 45 minutes.

maybe it cooked too long? 


As far as nutrition content….. well it has protein and veggies, but then there is the bacon and cheese. So, you can make it better or worse for you depending on what you choose for ingredients.

OK – so how does it taste?


It tastes really good, and the salt from the bacon is enough for me, but pepper would be good. Josh even likes it and was chatting it up at work, and got this suggestion from a colleague – adding milk to the egg mixture might speed up the cooking process.

Also I was thinking mixing in some sour cream or shredded cheese with the hash brown layer. Really, this is simple and the kind of food I like. I would attempt to make something similar again.

If this is out of your comfort zone, and cooking without a recipe scares you…just give it a try once…you might like it.

Illinois Marathon Weekend

I-Full Challenge


“Disclaimer: I received entry into the I-Full Challenge at the Illinois 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!”

When this race opportunity became available, I was hesitant – and not for the reasons you might think. I didn’t have any marathon reservations rather I wasn’t too excited about wearing orange in Champaign, IL. However, with this recap  about my time at the other “U of I” you’ll find out why this Hawkeye would return to do it again.

Now, what is the I-Full Challenge? Wait you didn’t read this post? Well in a nut shell, run the 5k the night before the marathon, then run the marathon and get an additional third medal when you complete all races. Of course, since I was in town, I had to do both.

Before I get into the adventure of the weekend, if you want the simple, fact filled review, you can find those at Bibrave.com – 5k review ~ Marathon review.

I left on Friday afternoon for the 3:45 hour drive from Iowa City. It’s been a while since I had been on a road trip, wahoo! It really was uneventful, well until the first rest stop was closed…UGH! Traveling before a marathon is tough, all the hydrating, which leads to all the bathroom stops.

I arrived around 4:30, thanks to all the online information, including the race guide, I easily found a free parking spot. There was just a lot of traffic and people moving about.


I walked over to the rec center (ARC) for the expo. I grabbed my packet & a friends packet through a simple QR code procedure. I then moved into the traditional expo space and met up with my friend Heather (and Marge.) She was running the I-Full Challenge too, but for fun she was going to run a half marathon on Sunday – you know after the marathon.


We made a loop through the expo, and went to claim our pasta tickets. The pasta dinner was held in the same building, from 4-7pm. It was hard to schedule this dinner, and get ready for a 5k at 7:30. There was penne pasta with sauce, lasagna, tossed salad, bread, bread pudding, and chocolate chip banana bread. There was no sauceless pasta… I tried to eat some penne noodles, but instead just doubled up on the bread and took one of each of the desserts.


During dinner, we met up with another Bibrave Pro, Andrey. He too was running the I-Full challenge. Both he and Heather were going back to the hotel before the 5k, so they departed. I stayed around, and checked the expo out more, and then listened to Dick Beardsley speak. He was talking about his record setting Grandma’s Marathon. It was a quick and fun talk. – Then just like that it was time to get read for the 5k.


I quickly changed in my car, and walked over to the start. I found all the pros, Heather, Andrey and Mel. We were all cold, but ready to run!

There were a lot of people running the 5k. I was in a jam packed corral B, people had to wait outside the corral. There was a live rendition of the National Anthem, and then about every few minutes each corral crossed the starting line.


The coolest part of the 5k, was a fire engine set up with a flag within the first half mile, then there was all the college kids out enjoying a Friday night. The course was super flat. There were also no concerns being too dark.


Then came the finish on the 50 yard line of Memorial Stadium. It wasn’t my first time finishing on a football field, but the experience is always fun! There was a medal too! Spectators were allowed to watch in the stands.


I met up with the pros afterwards and we chit chatted over a post race banana. We moved out to the street where the 150th University birthday celebration was taking place. There was cake and beer, along with live music. After some celebration, it was time to focus on the marathon in the morning.


The Illinois Marathon was going to be my 22nd marathon. As Heather pointed out it was also on the 22nd of the month. Not sure it was a sign, or just another race. Either way, I continued to prepare… had my gear all ready, ate one of Heather’s super hero muffins, caught up with social media and called it a night.


4:56 am…tooooo early, but I was awake and checking the weather. I was also on the hunt for coffee. The weather said there was going to be no rain, something I had been tracking all week, however it wasn’t going to be too warm, and super windy.


I found some coffee in the lobby, and the hotel breakfast was open early for the runners, so I made some toast with jam.  The idea was coffee, bathroom, run.

I went back to the room and got all my things ready, I also had to be packed up and out of the hotel as late check out was 1pm, no way I would make that.

Race day parking was super easy, we rolled into a parking spot with an hour before the 7:03 start. So, we just sat in our cars to stay warm. I also made arrangements to meet Michael, I grabbed his packet the night before. He actually won a last minute entry into the half.


As the race start neared, it was odd, I didn’t have to use the bathroom… so this was weighing on me a little. Would this affect my run? Oh well, I knew there were port-o-potties on the course, so I would use one if I needed to.

Heather and I were seeded into the same starting corral, so we walked over. On the way we saw Mel. There was a singing of the National Anthem, and then the race was on. It took a while for our corral to get through.


Ohhhhh….. well I didn’t have any huge goal for this race, I was 2 weeks out from a 50k. Training went ok, so I knew I could finish. I stopped at an open port-o-pottie around mile 8, just to pee (TMI, I don’t care.) I was still feeling good, enjoying the bands on course, the other runners, the volunteers. Then around mile 12.5 the half marathon split and it was like I was running alone. I met a person who recognized my Bibrave shirt – Hey Aunt Melinda, thanks for the cheer! Then around mile 15, it was struggle bus city.

I had fruit snacks and a Nugo bar with me for food. I was counting on the oranges and Lemon Lime Gatorade to get me through. Looking back, I think I really overlooked this. I don’t train eating gels, I like food – pb&j, nutter butters, candy. I am not sure I had enough or the right things with me.

There were some jelly beans around that mile 15 part, and then it was walking .25 mile and running .75 from there to the finish. I just kept moving, but I couldn’t pin point what my problem was. The wind was driving me nuts too. There were so many twists and turns through residential neighborhoods that I never knew if I would be running with the wind of against it. I was just in my head I guess.

I was physically fine, and the volunteers that stuck out on the course were amazing. Especially since there weren’t too many spectators. Every intersection had an energetic volunteer that didn’t ignore you because they were on their phone. There were also cyclists monitoring the course that would ride along and chat too. So, I never really felt alone out there.

The course was also super flat! I mean there were some inclines, but no climbs. I should have been having one of my best races. I just couldn’t get in the grove…. and I like Gatorade and all, but there has to be a better flavor than lemon-lime… so it was just one more thing driving me nuts.

On another note, I never had to USE the bathroom, and that never bothered me on the run.

It was finally time for me to run into the stadium once again. It was strange, there were not many people there, so the finish line was all mine. It was fun to run across the 50 yard line to have one of the photographers say “Go Hawks!” I was wearing my Hawkeye hat of course.

17952658_10155236342204313_4921140343326162649_n

I received my marathon medal, got my challenge medal and challenge finishers received a fleece blanket.  Then took a few photos before grabbing a bottle of water, and my Nature’s Fury drink. I found Marge in the stands and she was tracking Heather on the phone app, she was going to finish soon. We sat and talked, and before we knew it Heather was crushing her marathon PR!

Wahoo!!!! However, we were all cold, so we went into the concourse to see what the concession stands had for post race food. There were bananas, cookies, pretzels, Nature Valley Granola bars, pizza and pasta. (I never cared for heavy or greasy food immediately after running, but it was quite the spread.)


We stood around and talked for quite a while, even got to say hi to Jan, the race director. By the time we left the stadium, all the post race cake and beer were packed up. I could have used a small piece of cake… oh well.

It was time to drive back home…. I did a quick change in the parking lot and said goodbye to Heather and Marge… we will meet again at the B1G 10k in July.

The drive home was just as boring as the drive there. I did stop for some super salty McDonald’s french fries…cuz they always taste good after a long race. It was nice to be home after the race… I had the whole day Sunday to take it easy. (Or to hunt down the mythical Starbucks Unicorn drink)

Overall: As a Hawkeye running at a rival…ok hmmm, Illini football hasn’t been a threat lately, so a rival might be a stretch…. anyway, I had a great time at the other “U of I.” From the free parking and volunteers to the finish on the football field, this race does a great job. I mean there were a few questions as to why I was wearing my tigerhawk hat, but overall this race is top notch.


 

Happy Easter

Easter Egg Scramble 5k – 2017 – Race Review


The 2017 race was on April 15 in Davenport, IA. Race start was 9 am, and it was sunny, humid and pushing 65 ish degrees.

I am no stranger to this race, I have run this many times before, and it’s where my 5k PR stands – and it’s been a long time since I’ve run that time.

In addition to the 5k, there are some kids races and an egg hunt. So, it’s a good excuse to hang out with my niece as well as my other runner friends in the Quad Cities area.

Gear: Magenta Sparkle Athletic skirt, Wal-mart tank, Adidas boy shorts, Garmin Fenix 3, ProCompression socks, XX2i France 2 sunglasses, Brooks Ghost 9, spibelt, Aftershockz Trekz Titanium headphones, Run Madtown hat. – oops didn’t take a flat runner picture

Race day:

I left my house and set out to drive the 50 minutes. I wanted to make sure to see my niece race, before the 5k started. I also needed to grab my packet. Race day packet pickup FTW!

I parked at the marina across the main road, it’s a short walk, but it’s free parking and there is plenty of it. Otherwise you need to come early to find something close on a nearby side street.

I had arrived with enough time to grab my packet- race day packet pickup FTW!! I got my drawstring bag with my unisex, short sleeve, soft tee, and bib. There might have been a flyer or 2 in bag, and I had a timing chip to attach to my shoe. I used the facilities and wondered around.


I spotted my sister and couldn’t miss my niece dressed in a silver, sparkly skirt and tall bunny socks! She’s a fashionista, prepared to run a fast 1/2 mile race. I was also glad I spotted them as they would hold all the crap I had acquired.

As we waited for the kids races to start, we saw our friend Kevin gearing up for the 5k. We all cheered as my niece ran her race, then it was time to line up for ours.


As I was entering the self seeded starting area, I spotted another friend, Kelly.  We chit chatted and then it was time for the race. There was no National Anthem, and then everyone was off.

Oh this race…. the first half mile or so is all up hill, it’s part of the Bix course too. I was one week out from a 50k and I had a marathon coming up in one week. I had my usual sub-30 goal, but didn’t want to break myself considering I was in recovery – taper – training mode.

After I made it up the hill, there was a nice flat section, followed by a really long down hill. (down hill is tough too) According to my Strava stats I actually ran a great second mile at 8:03…DANG!

Then I hit the last stretch, it was part of the main highway, and it was super windy, even had to turn my hat backwards…. I slowed my roll… It was also feeling really hot by now, that humidity was getting to me.

I came to the finish area to cheering from my sister and niece. The last hundred feet are all down hill, so you can cruise through the finish arch. However, once you cross the timing mat, the volunteer that hands you your medal tells you to take a hard right to get your chip removed. This is tough… it’s too squished up, you should be able to walk it out down the street first…


So, I made that turn and was on the search for some water as there are no aid stations on course. I did see a tent set up that was printing race results and the volunteers were clipping tags from shoes… I just bent over and pulled mine off…no one has time to wait, when you need some water. Luckily I found my sister, and she gave me the water bottle she had with her.

Kelly, Kevin and I then walked over to the post race party. It was hidden in a lot behind some buildings. There was a line that formed to get your post race goodies, including water. Ok, do I need to start carrying water for a 5k now? I know this time of year the weather is a crap shoot, but jesh, lol.

Once we reached the goodies we could get a Sam Adams Summer Ale, Breakfast burrito, Gatorade protein bar, bottle of water, sparkling water, and huge bottle of Gatorade. While a person really doesn’t need all these things, if you grabbed them all, they were hard to carry.


I had a post race beer, bottle of water and a burrito as I chatted with Kevin and Kelly, and then other runners as they passed by. A 2 person band played cover songs. There was no where to sit, except the ground. The burritos were really good!!! Awards were announced.


For an official race review – check bibrave.com


It was time for the egg hunt, so we departed this area and went to go make sure my niece was prepared to get us some candy….. er… ahem, fill her basket with candy. The egg hunt was on a ball field, and divided by age. She scrambled after some eggs and filled her basket. The organization gave each kid a basket that was already filled with candy too. (Some how I ended up with one of these)


Welp…all the fun was over…. or was it?


My sister tells us about her friend that opened up a new ice cream spot, just around the corner. We continue the fun and proceed to get some ice cream…. they opened up early for us.

We tasted some samples and decided what to get. I had a waffle cone with the raspberry lambic sorbet and topped it off with the key lime pie. SOOO GOOD!


After devouring our treats, we walked back to our cars, and went on our separate ways. Well almost…. Kevin and I went to get some coffee and hunt down some more Luvo meals. The online store finder (& my sister) said the Jewel Osco store in IL had them.

We found the meals, I stocked up. I hoped I could get them home before they all melted. I was happy to not have to bring my lunch to work for the next week.


I’ve said it many times before, but participating in races when you can meet up with your friends is the best. The day always leads to fun and adventure. So, while this race is on the pricier side, I will probably continue to do it so I can hang out with my friends and drink beer, eat burritos and ice cream.

Peace of Mind

Road ID Wrist ID Elite – Product Review

“Disclaimer: I received a Road ID Wrist ID Elite 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 jumped on the chance to try this model of Road ID, not only because I needed to upgrade my current name badge, but mostly because I am very passionate about runner safety.

 
What is Road ID?

Simple – an ID you can carry on you for safety reasons. There are various models depending on where you want to wear the ID. Each model has a name badge, that is customized online. Suggested information are people to call, allergies or blood type. However you can put what you like on your ID. This ID is great for all outdoor activities, your pets, your children, anywhere! It’s easy to wear.

They also provide interactive IDs, which will provide more information online, such as medical history. There is also an app you can use on your phone to notify friends where you are running.

My Road ID story:

I came across Road ID years ago when I purchased the Shoe ID. At the time I thought I would never forget or lose it as it would always be on my shoe. However, that all changed when I met a guy at the post race of the Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon. He said he was hit by a car once, and his shoe flew off… they never found that shoe.

Lucky for me, many name badges are interchangeable with the bands, so I bought the Wrist ID sport. At the time, the only option was the cloth with velcro strap. This ID was good, but it wasn’t my favorite as the cloth didn’t stand up to the sweat, and it didn’t smell pretty.

Road ID then came out with the Wrist ID Slim. A silicone banded ID. I had to have this!!! I upgraded to this model. The old cloth ID was demoted to luggage tag. The new silicone band has been my everyday ID until the wrist ID elite came along. I never took it off. It held up to the sweat. I always had it on me. I even bought a lot of badges for it.

Then came the Wrist ID Elite. I really needed to upgrade my name badge on my slim. I had a silver badge and because I wore it everyday for probably 3 years, it was scratching off and getting hard to read. I also had my eyes on the new black name badge, and I would be able to get that with the Wrist ID Elite


Wrist ID Elite

First, you choose the faceplate and clasp color, then you select the band color – all done online. I then easily filled out the prompts online to customize my new name badge. I have my name, year of birth, my home city, 3 contacts, and made sure to note I have no known allergies. I also added a “Go Hawks.”  I also added a badge, which is like a charm to my order.


I received many emails letting me know the status of my order and when it shipped. The emails were just as witty as the printing on the envelope it arrived in. They are number one in the customer service department.


I opened the envelope to find my ID in a nice little tin. There were also some coupons inside and the badge I ordered.

The thing to note with this particular model of ID is that you need to cut the bracelet to fit your wrist. This process is simple, well after a little help from an online tutorial, but I wanted to make sure I didn’t cut it to short and I didn’t want the bracelet too tight.


I clasped this on my right wrist at first. I wear a lot of bracelets on this wrist. Hmmm, it just didn’t fit on that one…. so I switched it to my left wrist with my watch.


This is where I wore my Wrist ID Slim…well and to be honest, I still am wearing the old silicone band with all my badges… because I want to wear all my badges, and they don’t fit on the Wrist ID Elite.


When I run, I don’t notice my wrist ID Elite is there, however in my everyday life I notice this model. I am not sure it’s an ID I can continue to where 24/7. When doing some yard work – raking to be exact, the name badge would push the start button on my watch. Also if I have the clasp to close to my watch clasp, it will pinch my skin. So, maybe I need to wear on the other wrist. This is just my own personal preference.


I do love that it has 6 lines to add text, and I love the black badges. I think I personally prefer the smaller band with no extra clasps. I was thinking I would get a new name badge for my old smaller band….but then, Road ID came out with some news…

They have been making name badge for watches or fitness trackers for a while now, and finally they are making one for my watch model. This is what I am going to get. I can wear my watch and my old band with the badges I have.

My personal soapbox:

I run all over – trails, sidewalks, streets, gravel. I am tired of hearing all the excuses as to why you do not run with ID, and don’t get me started about not running with a phone. You never know when a car will miss a stop sign, you might fall on the trail, a dog attacks, an undetected health problem happens, you get lost, you’re dehydrated…on and on and on. YOU JUST NEVER KNOW, so why not be proactive?


Bottom line… GET ONE! This is the simplest thing to wear on a run, and it’s super affordable. While the wrist ID Elite may not be the model for me or you, they have a huge selection to chose from depending on your preference to wear it.

This link will provide a $5 gift-card to use towards your purchase:  bit.ly/2ocFWMl   The $5 gift-card is valid for 2 weeks after sign-up (copy of the gift-card will be emailed.)

Make sure to check out Road ID on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. They are always coming up with new colors, badges and models. (um rose gold anyone?)

Looking for more information, check out these reviews: Heather – MaiMeredithMatt JeannineVanessaJames 

Spillway & Sunburn

Hawkeye 50k – Race Recap

The race took place Saturday, April 8th in Solon, IA, around Lake MacBride, starting at 8 am, with the 25k starting at 8:30.

First, I have to thank Deb for giving me her bib for this event. This is a capped race, and registration sells out quick. I mentioned in a previous blog post how I missed out, and she contacted me.

The main reason for my excitement – an ultra in my backyard – well not really, but a 20 minute drive from home. There are a bajillion 5ks, and some 10ks, a couple 13.1s, but not many options for longer distances close to home. Ok, don’t get me wrong I love the adventure all my travels have brought me, but for once I get to sleep in my own bed, no travel expenses, no hotel costs.

Alright… Friday night I ate my usual, plain old noodles, and prepared all my gear. I also made cupcakes and mini muffins as the post race was a potluck. I contemplated if I should carry my pack, given all the details in the pre-race email about the aid stations, but the forecast was predicting temps about 20 degrees warmer than I had been “training” in.

Gear: Orange Mud Endurance Pack, XX2i France 2 sunglasses, Aftershokz Trekz Titanium, Nathan race belt, Bibrave tank, Blue Ridge Pullover, Zensah technical hat, Adidas 7″ boyshort, Pro Compression Socks, Brooks Ghost 9, Garmin Fenix 3, Road ID, 2 Toms.


Yeah…. you noticed training in quotes above. After last year and the crazy marathon a month, I knew I would be able to complete this race. However, I was not training for it. I have been training for the Illinois Marathon, thankfully I had picked a plan that had me prepared.

Josh was joining me at this race, but he would be running the 25k, or one loop. We took off for Solon after my usual toast and coffee breakfast. We arrived at the Timber Dome with time to grab our ankle strap chips and use the bathroom one more time. Josh had already grabbed our bibs and short sleeve, unisex tech shirts the day before.


While waiting to start, we saw fellow Iowa BibRave Pro, Mel. She was running the 25k. We chit chatted for just a short while, and then it was time to start!

I lined up near the back, and waved to Josh & Mel as I was on my way.  I knew I had to run the loop twice, and I was familiar with about the first 4 miles. Other than that… I was ready for the unknown.

The course featured crushed limestone trail, some pavement, single track and a spillway crossing.

In the back of my mind I knew I had a chance of setting a new PR at this distance. My current PR is 7:09, and I was close at my last 50k. So, I just kept the first few miles slow and steady.

Then we all came upon the first giant puddle on the trail. This spot is just low, and is prone to minor flooding. I mention this only because there were so many people going off the trail into the woods to avoid this puddle… um there is a spillway crossing coming up, and everyone was avoiding the puddle. I splashed on through…. think I turned my audiobook on.

I always get geographically confused around Lake MacBride and the Coralville Reservoir. I know I am in Johnson County, but I have no idea really where I am. After the flat limestone trail section, there was a short climb to a road, which led us into the main beach of Lake MacBride…. I knew where I was… temporarily. There was one of the aid stations here, stocked with gummy bears, chips, cookies, Gatorade, water and much more.

I stopped for some gummy bears and kept on moving. It was back to some flat limestone, this was the section that lead to the spillway. I wasn’t scared, I have run trail race with creek crossings, so I was ready to welcome the challenge.

The spillway………. I approached and noticed there were some guys in waders near the bottom, they also had a rope across the water for helping runners too. There was also an area to cross near the top. If you chose the bottom route, you had to climb down some rock, which meant you had to climb back up.

There are pictures of this, but even though the proceeds go to a charity… I don’t need to buy more race photos.

This first loop, I went with the bottom crossing as this is where there were people helping you across. I had a harder time getting down the rock to the actual water, than crossing the water. Once at the water, I held onto the rope and walked through the rushing water. Then it was the tough climb back to the top. Oh, and once to the top, there were stairs in the trail, to climb back up on the trail.

I was now on more traditional trail, or single track type terrain through the woods. This was my favorite part. It was also the most up and down part of the course. I just kept moving. Another great part of ultra and trail races is all the other participants on the course, everyone that passes me I get to cheer on, given there aren’t many spectators out in the woods.

I came upon the next aid station, grabbed some more treats, and moved along. I was just enjoying the day. I was back in the woods, following the pink flags. Then it happened…. I fell.  Well, I knew it was going to happen at some point, but I just tripped on the air or maybe there was an actual tree root, but I was now on the ground.

What does one do when this happens? First – you look around, did anyone see me? Second – am I ok? Welp… as luck would have it, on a course where runners were so spread out, there was someone that saw me. I was also ok, it’s dirt…softer than pavement, just some scratches.

Ok, so who was that someone that saw me fall? I was lucky enough to get to run the majority of the rest of the race with her. Meet Tenile!

She made sure I was ok too, I was fine and embarrassed, and for a while I felt the fall on my hip, but it subsided as I kept moving. We chit chatted forever and in no time we were at the last 3-4 miles on Mehaffy Bridge road. This was my least favorite part, who likes running on the shoulder of a busy road? It was nice to have someone to chat with.

I learned she would also be running the Illinois Marathon in a few weeks, and she was helping her husband train for his first hundo. (I think that was the distance, it’s been a few weeks)

We came across the timing mat together after the first loop. The time on the clock was just over 3 hours, which for me was HUGE! I could totally PR.

I ate a pb&j and looked around for Josh. He was going to take my pullover. However, he was not at the finish area… I looked and saw him in the distance, I yelled, he did not hear me. Tenile was already back on the trail… I was like… um… I am wasting time…. so I dropped my pullover with the aid station volunteers and left to catch back up with Tenile.

We were back at it, one more loop to go. The sun was out, and the temperature was rising. It was also the part where we both were starting to struggle, so one would walk and the other would go on, we would catch back up with one another here and there.

I forgot to mention the pelicans. Since the run is around the lake, there are many things to see. There are the usual people fishing and what not, but there were tons of giant pelicans out there too. Very cool.

Then, just like that, Tenile and I were running together and about to cross the spillway again. This time, there were no men helping people cross at the bottom. They were up at the top instead. Really, this was a nice added perk…. these people didn’t have to be out there, but here they still were.

The upper part of the spillway was a little deeper, but nothing past my shin. I did witness a few people stop to take off their shoes and socks before getting into the water. Hmmm, not sure what that’s about, guess they like dry feet. Well… I enjoyed this second trip through, the water was soo cold and refreshing, felt great!  While I didn’t have to climb down rocks and back up, there was a steep little exit to this crossing. With the help from the guys wading in the spillway and Tenile… we successfully crossed and now climbed the steps again to the top of the trail.

This is when it really got tough for me, I kept moving, but lots of walking and running and walking… once I finally caught back up with Tenile, we missed a pink flag marking the course, oops! There were sections the course could have been marked better. From that point on, it was panic if we hadn’t seen a pink flag in a while.

We kept going back and forth, and finally I turned on my music around mile 25, it was the boost I needed. It was also hot now.

Coming out of the woods, I was back running with Tenile again to do the final 3-4 miles on the highway. Just before getting to that road, we saw Josh! He has some Gatorade and encouraging words…

We were back to the highway, the sun was blazing, there was no shade, and it was windy. We stuck together for a while, running from mail box to mail box, then walking to the next mail box.

Tenile’s husband was then dropped off, so I kept going, and she chatted with her husband, as he ran in with her.

This stretch of the highway was tough!!! I kept rolling though, along with the hills…and I felt Solon kept getting farther away. Then finally, the last turn into the finish.

I could see the finish line! Then out of his car, from the parking lot, it was our friend Joel. I was surprised, hey Joel! What the heck? He was on his way back from the QC and on his way home, so stopped by, and as luck would have it, it was the same time I was finishing.

I used the last spurt of energy, and I finished around 7:15. Whew! So close to that PR, but the hot conditions did me in. I really wanted someone to take be back to the spillway, to just sit in it.

img_4464

Josh was there with a cup of ice for the Gatorade. There were also many others still laying around enjoying the day and cheering on finishers.

I used the bathroom and then grazed the potluck selection. There were a lot of cookies and chips. I grabbed a scotcheroo and went to talk with Josh and Joel. I noticed I was very sunburned.

I managed to drink the Gatorade and decided I was hungry, so I went back in and got a plate of cheesy Doritos a popsicle, and more scotcheroos, I wasn’t sure what I was hungry for but this was going to do.

img_4463

I joined back with the guys and we waited for more finishers to come in. The course was open for 8 hours (even though the timing company stayed there for the last person to finish – 9 and half hours.) We also chatted with the others and learned the winner of the 50k had a finishing time of 3:21, DAMN! All I could think was, at least I wasn’t lapped, lol.

img_4467

There was no beer here, but as luck would have it, Big Grove Brewery was just around the corner. I convinced the guys that we should go get one. We said our goodbyes, thanked everyone as volunteers were still milling about, and were on our way.

I enjoyed a beer and tried to eat some more food, but I was now at the point were nothing sounded too great. I tried to eat some fries, but they were not hitting the spot, however I ate a salad with salt that was good. I ended up taking my tater tot casserole to go.

We said goodbye to Joel, and Josh and I were on our way back home, a whole 20 minute drive.

Overall: This race is great! I mean with all races there can be some tweaks made here and there, but the price is right, course is challenging, people are top notch! I hope to register before the cutoff next year.

img_4459

This recap took forever, check out my official review on bibrave.com too … but up next Easter Egg Scramble, Illinois Marathon & 5k, Madison 10k, Grandma’s Marathon.

 

 

 

 

Vertical Challenge

5 Minutes…..

That was all I kept telling myself, only 5 minutes, you can do this!!

Ok, backing up here… I saw a post on Facebook from Phil over at Fleet Feet Davenport. It was the one year anniversary of the store opening, so he was hosting some events.

In a rare moment of time, Josh and I both didn’t have anything going on, when I saw the event for Friday night, I asked Josh if he would be interested.

What was that event? Well Altra Running was sponsoring the Vertical Challenge: How far could you go on a treadmill, set at 15%, in 5 minutes? (5 Minutes…)

We were both in! Josh didn’t seem too worried, but I was a little nervous. I wondered if I would blow out my calves or any of my leg muscles? As you know I have the Hawkeye 50k in a week, and the Illinois Marathon in 3 weeks.

I really have no experience at this. I mean I run around Iowa City, and if you run the right hills, you can climb some elevation, but nothing more than average of 100 feet over a quarter mile.

I also don’t regularly run on a treadmill, nor is it ever set at an incline over 1%. I did move a workout to a treadmill the night before, and cranked it up to 15 just to see what that was like… I quickly put it back down.

Friday night: We arrived at the store where the challengers had gathered. When you walked in you signed up for a time slot. In the back of the store was the fancy treadmill and the Altra Running shoes. We also saw runner friend Kevin, he was there for the fun.


Phil did a quick introduction and a rundown of how the challenge would work. He also said that the top male and top female would win $40 gift cards!!! This was actually doable for me, because there were only 2 women competing. (Hello, ladies?!??! Where you at? You need to show up!)

We sat around, browsed the store, tried on the Altra shoes, and watched the competitors who went before us. That incline really didn’t look too steep – as a spectator.


Then it was my turn… I got the feel of the treadmill, a short little warm up. Then it was go time.

Only 5 minutes….

I am pretty sure life comes to a stand still when on a treadmill. I have run up to 20 miles on one, but time just never moves.


Ugh – I was like ok, I can do this… and one minute went by, I was only running at like 3.8 mph…seriously, I think I walk that at no incline… Then the next minute took forever, I had to slow down. I think there was some walking. Then I bumped it back up.

Josh, Kevin and the competitors were cheering me on, it was cool. I was dying! Come on, only 5 minutes…. Josh even took to covering up the time. I think I might have cheated, I hung on to the handles.

FINALLY – 5 minutes was over! I had only went .31 miles. My lungs were on fire! My legs felt fine. I coughed.

Next up, Josh. He got the familiar with the treadmill and pushed start. I stood around coughing, feeling the burn in my lungs, but also cheered on Josh with everyone else. I could tell he was having trouble. I covered up the time for him, kept encouraging him.


He was done! He complained of the burn in his lungs too. However he as asthma, and didn’t have his inhaler. He was coughing too.


The challenge continued, there were some beasts on that treadmill!! Not sure if they were just showing off or they were just that awesome.


We talked to others, learning of their running stories (I met a guy, Chris, who will be at mile 18 of the Illinois Marathon,) and also telling us how they couldn’t stop coughing and how their lungs hurt.

There was cold beer and pizza when we were done…. you thought we just went to the running store for this…nah …. I run for beer!

I need to find this beer! 


It was time for the results. The first male ran just over .5 miles. DANG! The first female ran … drum roll please… .37 miles (or something like that.) Yep, I came in last…. oh wait, I came in second!!

What a fun time though! When I started running, a mile seemed impossible to run without stopping. However with each passing year, I try to keep pushing to see what I can do. There was the first half marathon, 50k, then I ran a marathon a month. While this wasn’t a huge goal. I just wanted to see if I could do this, and I could…..I was also one of only two women who showed up!

I woke up and ran 12 miles the next day. My legs don’t feel like toast. Did push hard enough? Oh my lingering cough, tells me I did.

Side note: The Barkley Marathons started this weekend, I have been following the only live coverage I know about via twitter. I came across the training schedule of John Kelly (who is performing well this year.) For his training, he ran 13.1 miles at 20% incline…

So yeah… it was JUST 5 minutes….

BB Performance

Beachbody Performance

“Disclaimer: I received the Beachbody Performance – Advance Performance Stack 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 know you have all been waiting for this review, some have even asked if I became a Beachbody Coach. While I do like some of the workout programs, I did not become a coach, I was just able to test this line of products because I am a Bibrave Pro.

What did I receive:

  • Beachbody Performance Energize, lemon flavor. A boost of energy with no jittery side effects, delays exercise-induced muscle fatigue. Uses green tea leaf extract as caffeine.
  • Beachbody Performance Recover, citrus flavor. Speed up muscle recovery with the “ideal combination of time-released proteins and phytonutrients to help facilitate muscle recovery and reduce muscle breakdown.” Contains why and pea protein isolate.


Now, the biggest thing when it comes to trying new things I have to consume is the taste. If it doesn’t taste good to me, I am not going to use it.

Also the next thing to keep in mind about these products that I have mentioned above, they are supplements. Please read the ingredient list on the links above before deciding if these are for you.

Last thing I would like to note, these products are NSF Certified for sport.

Alright – all the necessary notes out of the way, how did these work for me? I am a runner, I wish I would get my act together and lift more weights, but you know, I’d rather take the time to run 20 miles instead. However, that being said, runners still use muscles, they can be sore, fatigued and in need of a recharge.

I opened the package of goods,which included a shaker bottle, when I came home from work. Since it was night, I tried the Recharge first.

I opened the container, to find a white colored powder. There was a scoop inside too. The directions for serving are on the back of the container.

img_3288

I put one scoop of powder in my shaker bottle, then added the 8 ounces of water. I shook it up. and noticed it took a little effort. Pro tip (thanks Heather) add the water first, then the powder. It was time to take a taste, it reminded me of vanilla ice cream. I sat and wasted time on the internet while I drank it. The only thing I didn’t care for was the aftertaste as I kept drinking it. I don’t care for sweeteners in general, however there is one drink I like that contains Stevia, so I was open to trying this. The more I drank, the more I could taste it.

I have tried to like this, I even tried putting this in the blender with frozen berries. I also tried another time with sherbet ice cream. I just can’t get past the aftertaste, however I do like it better in the blender.


The next morning I woke up, and felt fine. I was going to try the Hydrate during the day, to see if I initially would like it. When I opened the container, I noticed it was very yellow, and when I added it to my 8 oz of water, it mixed up yellow. This had a nice subtle citrus flavor, not overbearing, and I am not bothered by the Stevia nor is it too sweet for me. I did notice if I set it down too long, the powder started to separate from the water, so I had to shake it again.


I have been enjoying this product the most, I feel hydrated and feel like I always have to pee when drinking it, lol. I prefer to drink it with ice too.

I first tried the Recover as recommended on the container, add one scoop to 8 oz of water. I did so, shaking it in my bottle. It was an orange color, and seemed to taste fine, but I really wasn’t in love with it.


The next time I gave this a try was post 20 miler. I also noticed the whey protein as an ingredient and I thought, um protein smoothie. So, I added the water and scoop of powder to a blender of ingredients – clementines, frozen berries, apples, spinach. WOW, this is how I prefer to drink this, very good!! Also I was never rungry, or felt that empty feeling in my stomach, even days later. This did some fancy trick. I remember talking to one of my BRF’s Amy about this. I am usually hungry days later, but this worked for me post run.


I continue to drink this in post run smoothie form, versus adding the one scoop to water. It tastes better for me, and it combats the hunger. I just need to not be so lazy and keep the blender washed up, seems I am always fighting the husband over using it.

The last item I had yet to try was the Energize. I was hesitant to try this because it has caffeine in it. I already drink too much caffeine, in the form of black coffee. I was worried by drinking this, it would really push me over the top. However, I was hoping that drinking these products would get me to drink less coffee.

I gave it a go on a day I was to run 7 x 800’s, and I waited to run at lunch, as I drank my coffee for breakfast. I thought I could use the extra boost for this workout. Speaking of boost, the flavor in this is a boost…whamoo – it’s very lemony, just like the hard candy. I happen to like that flavor, however you could water it down too.  My run went well, and I had the energy I needed to get through the speed work.


I did try this again on another runch, but I didn’t feel any faster or any extra oomph. I am not sure if – I just don’t drink it enough, or I drink too much coffee anyway. Or, I was just in a mood.

I do know this product comes in little sample packs, so if you want to try a boost, I would suggest trying this!

Overall: Beachbody offers a great line of products. I would recommend reading all labels, including ingredients and directions before considering if this is for you. I will continue to use the products, especially the Recover for post long run, in a smoothie form, I seemed to benefit the most from this. Also since these are more of a powder, they seem to stay mixed up better with a blender. However, I am a sugar gal, I prefer the taste of the regular electrolyte drink I can pick up at the store over the hydrate product.


Don’t hesitate to learn more from Beachbody, by checking out their website, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

The BibRave pros were busy testing these products, so here are some more thoughts: Amy – CatherineGinaLindsey – JamesFallon – Heather