Is a PR possible?

Can I PR the BTN B1G 10k?

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the BTN B1G 10k to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!”

The 10k…. the dreaded 10k…. almost as tough as the 5k anymore. I say this as I spent the last year running long distances, so this meant lots of sloooooow running. However the shorter distances can be tougher as I feel the need to race them…

I will be headed into Chicago to run the Big Ten Network B1G 10k. This will be my third time at the event. As a HUGE Hawkeye fan this race is fun to cheer on your team while making jabs at your friends who are supporting your rivals. The post race tailgating atmosphere is also fun.


I was thinking this could be a good attempt to PR the 10k distance. My current PR is 53:51 (dang I was speedier at one time.) I have made a list of my thoughts, if this is even possible:


  • I have been training in extreme conditions
  • The course is flat
  • not my first time on the course, no surprises
  • it’s “only” a 10k
  • race start at 7 am – beat the heat
  • I am rested – ahem – haven’t been training like a crazy person


  • I haven’t been doing speed work
  • my training runs have been slow
  • it’s hot, humid, miserable
  • there could be a water slide feature on the course, I MUST stop

Looking to still register for the race? Online registration is open through July 22. If you use code BibRaveBTN17 you will score a bonus drink bottle!!


Please note that if you have registered, there is no race day packet pickup. You can grab your stuff at the Fleet Feet Old Town location (1620 N. Wells St.) Friday (July 21): 10 am until 8pm and Saturday (July 22) 10 am – 6pm. You can have a friend or family member pick up your packet for you. To do so, please forward your bib number confirmation email to your designated friend or family member. In the text of your forwarded email be sure to state that you are providing your authorization for this person to pick up your packet. Your designated person will need present the forwarded e-mail at packet pick-up to obtain your race materials. Friday: 10 am until 8pm and Saturday (July 22) 10 am – 6pm.



Who will I see there? Or if you want to see me, you can find me at the Hawkeye tent after the race, probably around 9 am.


Orange Mud – P.F.V. Gear Review

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

“Innovation from frustration” I think this tagline is what I appreciate about Orange Mud the most. Orange Mud makes a lot of products and each appears to be it’s own invention. The Phone. Flask. Vest. is one of their newest and I was ready to give it the test!

First, I want to describe this vest to you, so take a minute and examine the photos.


Are you thinking, how does this work for someone with a chest? Well, let me tell you the vest comes in 2 sizes, I have the small / medium. I am being honest, I have a larger chest and I ordered the smallest size. I have no issue with the size on a large chest.

Then you may notice the pockets. There are so many! There is the pocket the 15 oz / 450 ml (included with purchase) flask goes in, then there is a pocket for your phone.  Those pockets have elastic cinch closures. There is a small pocket on the left side that has a clip ring to house your key. Then there is a pocket on the right shoulder, good for lip balm or a snack. Then there is a pocket on the back, maybe for a credit card or trail pass. Note there is no closure for that pocket.

Ok, next do you notice the straps? There are 2 adjustable straps that go under the arms. Then there is a bungee strapping system that goes across the back for grasping a light jacket.

How do you put this on, well the easiest way to describe it is, put it on like a shirt, over your head. There is a clip on the left side that allows for more room to maneuver in and out of it. Once you have it in place, it’s easy to reach under the arms to tighten the straps. *I am used to the OM vests, so this is easy for me.


Phew… this small pack has a ton of features.  I say small because it only allows you to carry 15 oz of water.

Now how does it work while running?

The inaugural run was “interesting.” While the size of this pack fit me, I wasn’t sure how it was supposed to fit while running… ahem bouncing…. or if it did fit while running.

I had the hardest time trying to get it in the right position, was I supposed to wear it more like a bra? Was I supposed to wear it lower in the back? I wanted to try it out, so that first run, I didn’t fill the flask with liquid. The pack seemed to move without the weight of liquid.

I was still uncertain about the proper fit of the pack, so on my second run I went on a run with a friend to get a donut…and wouldn’t you know, a long john fits perfectly in the flask pocket! All kidding aside, it still felt a little strange to wear.

I wasn’t ready to give up on this, I really like OM products. I finally filled the flask with water. I wanted to get the general feel of the pack before I tried the flask, and yes I don’t usually carry water on short runs… just me. However, when I carried the water and my phone, and made sure the cinch closures were tight, the pack fit me well.  I also thought it was a little weird to drink from the flask in its position, it seems like the straw is high up on my shoulder.

Now, that I know the fit is better with the flask with liquid, I ran with it just for the fit, however it’s also when I noticed some random chaffing on my chest. *Me and chaffing is a whole other story…..

I also let my husband give the pack a try, here are his thoughts:

Hi everyone, Josh here. At first, I was skeptical about the water causing the pack to slosh around as I ran. As it turned out, I didn’t have it cinched properly, so once I did that, everything really fit well. I’ve worn the pack on about 4-5 runs of up to 10 miles, and it’s really been beneficial to have hydration on short-medium runs, especially with this brutal stretch of Iowa summer. It’s also nice keeping my phone away from my body as I run, and I haven’t had any issues with liquid hitting the phone. All in all, success!

Thanks Josh!

I keep running with this pack, trying to figure out what the best way to wear is, and how it fits me the best. The one thing I can conclude for sure, the more I wear it, the better it fits me. I think the fabric relaxes and I get a better feel for it each time.

I also will run with this and carry my phone only. Why? Well it is sooo easy to access my phone. Yes, it’s less cumbersome to maybe wear a running belt, but the ability to grab my phone and do an IG story or take a photo is soooo easy! If you don’t take a picture and post it on social media, did your run happen?

Will I continue to run with this product? YES! While I initially struggled with the perfect fit, I didn’t give up. The only other downside is, you can’t squirt sweat out of your eyes from a flask, lol. If you haven’t caught on, I love OM products and how innovative they are. I am not just giving you a load of crap. The Phone. Flask. Vest. is perfect for shorter runs and allows you to go hands free. ( I dislike hand helds.)

Now you might be asking, how do you care for this? Orange Mud has some general guidelines available – “How to wash a pack.” Really it’s easy, hand wash in luke warm water with unscented detergent and air dry.  The OM way is the BEST way to insure a long life to your pack. * Even though it may take a few uses before I get around to removing the salt crust off my pack, I find it easy to hand wash the pack, but sometimes I might toss it in the dryer to get some of the excess water out of it…shhhh, it’s our secret. Also the flasks can be hard to clean, I will stick them in the dishwasher, or if I am just drinking water – a quick hand rinse and I will store in the freezer between uses.

Sure it might seem a little pricey, but you can save 10% with code BRPPFV (This code actually works on any Orange Mud purchase)


As always if you didn’t find the information you were looking for in my review, check out what my fellow BibRave Pros had to say – Casey –JamesHaleyBradley – Heather – MaiFallon

Or catch Orange Mud on all their social channels – twitterFacebookInstagramYouTube – website


Beer Run!

Hey – some fun news… a beer run! That’s right… show up, run, drink a beer!

As you might know this past spring I was asked to be a “Captain” for the midwest region of the BibRave program. I am happy to serve this “post” with my friend Heather. If I am being honest, the midwest region of pros are the best!!! I think my favorite part of racing is meeting them in real life. Seriously, if you are racing with them, make a point to say hi!

Ok, I am getting carried away, I do that a lot. So what does a Captain do… well lots of things, but one is an opportunity to host some fun meetups throughout the year, and while it will be tough for Heather and I to co-host an event… we will do our best to accommodate.


Alright the details!!

What: Beer Run ( or social run, ending at a taproom)

When: Wednesday, July 19th, 2017. 6:00 pm.

Who: you!

Where: meet at the Big Grove Taproom, 1225 S. Gilbert St.  Iowa City

Why: Because running is fun, and beer is good.

How: ok, how about just the details… Please arrive at the Big Grove Taproom around 6pm (near the entrance – in back) some announcements will be made. We will then walk around to the start of the trail (on the other side of the creek.) Then it’s time to run/walk/move. The pathway goes around the Terry Trueblood recreational area, if you want to do the total distance it is near 5.5 miles. If you want to go out and back 1 mile, that is fine too.

Really the idea is you show up, do some physical activity, and have a social afterwards. All paces are welcome, and it you just want to walk for 10 minutes that is fine too. Not a beer drinker? That’s ok, come for a soda.  Have a dog? bring them too!

Amy and I drinking a post race brew at the Key West Half Marathon

If you can, please RSVP to this FB event page

VIP Status


“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 to review find and write race reviews!”


I am going back to Madison, WI!! This time I am going in style – VIP status!!

I really enjoy Madison, WI – well unless the Hawkeyes are playing a sporting event in the city… that’s a whole other story.

I am going to be running the Madison Mini Marathon on August 19th. I have run this race before – 3 times in fact.


There have been changes over the years, but for the most part you run through Madison, seeing the sights (Camp Randall, Kohl Center, farmers market, Arboretum, plus many more areas) and end up at the Union Terrace. This is a great setting for the post race festivities. In the past I have enjoyed a craft beer and music along the lake front.


Throwback to the 2014 race medal

THIS YEAR -I am taking advantage of  the Ultimate VIP Experience! Ok, you all want to know what that means… well I will tell you:

  • Pre-race coffee, juice, fruit and carbs – starting at 5:30 am
  • Private restrooms
  • Massage – the only massages offered at the race
  • Personal Gear check
  • Chill-out on the deck as you overlook Lake Mendota and The 14th Mile Post-Race Party
  • Craft Beer! Unlimited FREE Wisconsin Brewing Company beer
  • FOOD! Traditional tailgate-style buffet with your choice of brats, chicken, burgers and all the fixings. Oh, and don’t forget the great sides and delicious desserts!
  • Unlimited soda, water and Gatorade for those looking for non-alcoholic drinks


Ok so, yes – all these fantastic perks come with a price… this package costs $55. However if you use code BRMAD you will save 10% on race registration. (Price increase July 20)

Who will I see in Madison on Aug 19th?






Interact 5k

Interact 5k – Race Review

For my official review – check out

Josh and I happened to be in Guttenberg and stumbled upon the schedule of events for the summer Stars and Stripes Celebration the town was having, it mentioned a 5k. I actually ran this event 2 years ago, and hadn’t seen any information online about it, so I was glad we saw the flyer.


not sure if this was the actual name of the race?

The 2017 race was held on July 2, in Guttenberg, IA and started at 7 am. It was a gorgeous summer day, cool yet humid.

I am not sure this needs any explanation, but Josh and I walked/ran to the race start, it was just around 1.5 miles or so, but all down a giant hill. We walked most of it as the hill is along a busy highway and the path is on a steep bluff, running is challenging.

We made it to the Gazebo for registration. Along with missing the information online, I am not sure there was any place else you could register than race day. The registration table had some course maps.

This was an easy process, step up to the table, fill out a form, hand over $15. That was it…but you also got no shirt and no timing chip, just a bib. Easy peasy.

There were real bathrooms that are part of the river park, open to use. If you drove to the race, parking was easy to find on the streets.

The race was delayed a few minutes as the organizers were still entering registrants into their phone. The race is put on by high school kids, so maybe that is why there was the laid back atmosphere. They were raising money for a charity.

Everyone lined up behind the chalk starting line, and after a few words, we were told to “GO.”

The course is on paved surfaces in the city limits. There were no major potholes or hazards to watch out for.

Along the course were yard signs with information about binge drinking and underage drinking.  There was one water stop. The intersections were manned with volunteers or members of the fire department.

I thought I would give my best shot at racing this…heck why not? I actually didn’t feel like I started too fast, but I kept pushing myself. By the time I had climbed one of the few inclines to run the levy along the water, I was feeling the humidity.  UGH! However, it was just one foot in front of the other, plus the views along the water were great!!! Then the course went behind and into the Lock and Dam area.

I still had about a mile to go, and it was the most boring part of the course, through the residential area…and with only 44 race participants, it really was extra boring…. at one time I hopped I was headed the right way, but I could see a volunteer in the distance.

I then turned to make the run down the home stretch. I kept pushing it. I hit stop on my Garmin at the chalk drawn finish line, and that is when my Garmin also buzzed for 3 miles. Eek… a little short, and my time was 26:53. I will take it though, I had a sub 9 minute mile pace.

I met up with Josh at the gazebo, and we discussed our races over a bottle of water. I wasn’t too hungry, but there were bananas and granola bars available. We snapped some photos and cheered on runners while we waited for results.

When everyone was done, we sat at a picnic table for the awards in the gazebo. They handed out the top 3 overall in male and female, speedy people!!! I think there were separate awards for kids too.

It was only 8:30 ish when all this was said and done, so before we made the trek back to the house on top of the hill, we browsed the farmers market. We each got a pastry, and snagged some coffee.

The walk back up the hill was fun… but by 10 am, the adventure was over. I like races that start early enough to allow you to still have most of your day.

Would I run this again? Yes, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to get there, if I am in town, I will drop the $15 for a fundraiser.

Smell Well Giveaway!!!


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

What is a Smell Well pouch? “A solution to all your gear refreshment needs!” Each package comes with 2 fabric pouches that freshen, remove odor, prevent bacteria and absorb moisture. These are perfect for stinky, sweaty running shoes as well as running gear. They are also a convenient size & weight.

As you know, being a BibRave Pro allows me the opportunity to test things like this, and while I don’t necessarily have super stinky shoes, I may take a little longer to get to cleaning my gear, so I had to give these a go.

When I first opened my package, I noticed the fresh scent. It is not “perfumey,” but just a pleasant fresh smelling aroma. I have a pile of shoes, so I just stuck them in one of the pairs of shoes to check back the next morning.

I checked back in, and as much as I didn’t want to stick my nose in my shoes, I did and they were super fresh, I really was skeptical at first, but my shoes smelled pleasant.

They also ended up in my husband’s shoes after Grandma’s marathon… and they did their trick.

Next up, I wanted to test the absorption powers. My running belt gets gross, and this is one of those items that takes me a little too much time to get around to clean. Heck, it can go into the washing machine… Anyway, I stuck both pouches into my belt, as it was super sweaty. VIOLA!!! Seriously, the belt was dry and smelled wonderful. These little pouches can work their magic. The pouches aren’t wet or “water logged” when you remove them either.

Another item I run with, which again takes me a while to clean, as I hand wash them, are my running skirts. The waist band gets sweaty…enter Smell Well… I can just throw this all in a bag, and the entire skirt comes out smelling wonderful.

I also stuck these in the pocket of a hydration vest. The surprising thing about doing this, in addition to making the vest smell great, is that while on the run, I would get a whiff of the fresh scent.

Ok, how about traveling…. these are perfect! Since they are such a convenient size & weight, they don’t take up any room in a bag or suitcase, but they come in handy for your dirty laundry… Especially if you take runcations.

Honestly, I really wasn’t too sure about these pouches. I am glad I tried them, I really like how they work, and how easy they are to use and bring along. If you would like to get some pouches for yourself head on over to Amazon and use code “BIBPRO10”  for a Buy 2 get 3

GIVEAWAY CLOSED Congrats Darren!! 

GIVEAWAY TIME!!!! You could win a package of Smell Well Pouches from me!! I have the multi-colored flowers pattern (as pictured above) to give to one lucky person. Just use the rafflecopter link below to enter multiple ways.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Contest Rules:

  1. Open to residents in the USA only
  2. Smell well and BibRave paid employees are ineligible.
  3. No purchase necessary
  4. Contest runs 7/7/17 12 am CT through 7/11/17 12 am CT
  5. Winner will be chosen at random.
  6. Winner will be announced Tuesday July 11th at noon CT, and contacted via email.

Check out what the other pros have to say about Smell Well: HeatherJeannineVanessa  – MaiLindsey  – Mary Jo

Keep up with Smell Well socially – InstagramFacebookTwitterWeb

Happy Anniversary

Running – the best way to celebrate 11 years of marriage.

Another Saturday morning 4 am wake up call, but when you run, this is nothing new…However, this particular Saturday, June 24th, was our 11th wedding anniversary.

Sure, we both had run Grandma’s marathon the week before, but it’s hard to miss the Run 4 Troops Marathon. In fact last year I ran both marathons.

This year, we would be running the marathon relay. We were lucky to get in on this event. More people choose to do this as a relay, so they cap the participants, mainly because the route gets so congested. I sent an email to be put on the wait list, and I was contacted quickly to say we got in!


Gear: Sparkle Athletic skirt, 2xu tank, Zensah hat, Zensah socks, Brooks Ghost, Garmin Fenix 3, xx2i USA sunglasses, Road Runner sports shorts, aftershokz headphones.

We would start in Dyersville, IA and run the Heritage Trail to Dubuque. Josh was going to take the first 3 legs and I would finish with the last 3. Since this is point to point, the person not running would move the car along the route.

We rolled into Dyersville around 6:30 am, we needed to grab our stuff. This was in a reusable Hy-Vee bag. There was the bib, which was attached to a really nice bib belt we would get to keep. Our short sleeve, gender specific, tech shirts were in the bag too. The Heritage trail requires a user fee, this is included in our race registration, but we are also given silicon bracelets to wear to indicate we have paid the fee.

Then it was time for the “meeting” or rather some announcements. We learned about the transitions and what to expect on the course, and then a former member of the military gave a talk, then the National Anthem was sung…then we waited around for the solo marathon to start at 7 am. We had time to use the port-o-potties.

At 7 am the marathon was off with a bang – literally! An old cannon was fired and the runners took off. A drone buzzed ahead taking photos. Then finally at 7:30 it was time for the relay runners to start. The cannon had an issue and fired a few minutes after the runners started.

In the past the marathon and relay started at the same times, but they stretched it out. I really don’t think it helped. As you read on, you will see why… but they need to stagger out the relay times…that is where the most people are that need to use the transitions. 

Josh was on his way, I was going to plan to visit him at each transition. However, things were not looking good. The majority of people involved with the event were with the relay, so everyone was headed to the first exchange at the same time, causing a huge traffic backup. I even stopped to use a bathroom at a gas station, and the line was 10 people deep.

By the time I got to the actual transition the traffic was crazy. I ended up parking along the highway, and running down near the trail. I don’t do well with these things, if I know I need to be some where, I want to be prompt. I don’t like feeling rushed or late.

I saw Josh approaching, he was looking good. The sun was shining, but it wasn’t too hot or humid. The first leg went from Dyersville to Farley, and it is the leg with the least shade, it is 6.6 miles long.

I spoke with Josh as he passed, I mentioned I didn’t think I could get in and out of the next exchange due to all the traffic, also he was keeping a great pace. Some of the racers were starting to spread out, but Josh was also catching up to the solo marathoners.

Exchange 2 was at Epworth, it was 4.4 miles long. I did not make it to this exchange. I am sure I could have made it, but I also was going to be running soon too, so I wanted to make sure I had time to get my crap together. I get a little anxious.

I arrived to exchange 3. Josh would have passed through Epworth, and then had to run 3.6 miles to Graf.

I arrived at Graf, the transition was at a park, and parking wasn’t too bad, but you had to cross the course to get a spot. I parked the car and used the port-o-potty. I then trotted back to the car and put on some sunscreen, got my headphones and things, then walked to the exchange zone.

Even though I kept checking my watch, as I was guessing on Josh’s estimated time into the area, I didn’t have to wait long. It seemed like he appeared out of no where.

We made the bib exchange, and walked together on the trail a bit, discussing how busy the transition areas were, and if he thought he would be able to see me along the route. Then I took off for the next stop, 4.5 miles away, at the Budd Rd intersection.

It was a nice section of trail, lots of shade. About 2 miles in, a woman came up on me, and then started to run with me. It was nice, we chatted and ran into the exchange. I saw Josh!  I think it helps that I run slow enough for him to have time to maneuver into the exchange areas. I gave him a high five, shouted my number to the timing person, and grabbed a cup of water and continued on.

At the time I was running, I couldn’t remember how many miles were between the transitions, so I really wasn’t sure when I would see Josh next, but I wasn’t too worried, as I have run the trail before, and if I needed something there was plenty of support out there.

Looking at the map, I had 3.4 miles to go before I got to transition 5 at Durango. This was an uneventful section, I just motored on. I passed some solo marathoners, and some relay members sped passed me.

I trotted into Durango, I saw Josh again,and slapped a high five. Then came into the very crowded exchange. The exchanges and timing are set up so that solo runners pass through on one side, and relay runners on the other. The problem here is that since I was not actually passing the bib, I had to navigate through people that were, and people that were not paying attention to others running through.

After the congestion, it seemed the trail opened up to emptiness. Finally, were people spread out? Anyway, I was enjoying the trail. I had 3.7 miles to get to the finish.

Just about the 24.5 mile mark, I came upon a lady in tears on the side of the trail. I slowed and asked if she was ok, she said no. I was not concerned about time, I stopped. She described her pain, and she was having leg cramps. She was holding a bottle of Gatorade. She was able to talk to me, and she said she had met her husband at every exchange, and had been drinking that Gatorade and more at each stop. She said this was her first marathon. She was in tears, and couldn’t relax enough to just settle down, like she was in a panic.

Another woman passed us, I told her as she ran ahead to send a medic if she saw one. I encouraged the woman with the cramps to breathe. I got her back to a standing position after she drank some more Gatorade and calmed down. We were walking…. then she started to cry again, and she cramped up. She sat back down. In the distance behind us, I could see an ATV.

As the ATV approached, I flagged them down to help. They were medically trained. The first thing they asked was if she was drinking Gatorade… I am not a doctor, but I thought they could get her to finish the race. I left the situation, and told the crying woman to just relax, she had plenty of time to finish, and I would see her at that finish line.

Strangely after this, I developed the strangest pain behind my knee, just under the hamstring, but I kept moving, stopping to rub it out. Then out of no where, the crying lady passed me, but in the passenger seat of the medic’s ATV.

Wow, all the thoughts…all the freakin thoughts. At the time, she had 1.5 miles to go, and 3.5 hours to get there. As I said, I am not a doctor, but I KNEW she could do it, and still as I write this, I KNOW she could have finished. I could see the panic in her as she was afraid of the cramps, and she couldn’t just get out of her head and relax. I am sure the medics didn’t want any liability issues, so they didn’t encourage her to continue. UGH, I would have sat on that trail for an hour for cramps to subside, so close to the finish line…. but we are all built differently, and maybe she actually broke something… but dang, you see all kinds of things out there. I really wish she would have finished.

Ok, ok, back to me and finishing the race. After all the thoughts, I had to run the one and only hill on the course, this is when the pain in my leg was at it’s worst! Going up that hill really put a strain on me, this is when I thought it was hamstring related. There was no pain going down this hill on the other side of the road.

I approached the finish area and saw Josh, we ran in the last hundred feet together, and the announcer shouted our team name as we crossed the finish line. We had done the race in just over 4 hours.

The lady standing at the finish with the medals did not give us one. So apparently, relay teams did not get medals this year? I don’t know, it was way strange. I did this as a relay 2 years ago and the team got a medal. I still can’t find any information on the web either way. It was just strange to come across the finish line to a woman holding a medal, and not get handed one.

I was able to grab a chocolate milk, bottle of water or Powerade at the finish. Then, Josh and I wondered through the crowded area to check out the post race merchandise. There wasn’t anything we couldn’t live without, so we hopped in line for some wood fired pizza.

After waiting for a slice, we grabbed some grapes, orange slices and a cookie. We sat at the provided tables and chairs, under a tent. *Other races should take note of this simple feature, a place to sit! We people watched, and listened to names being announced as people crossed the finish line.

We had to get back home to let the dogs out, so we walked back to our car to make the trek home.

I like this race, and I will do it again. I think the best way to go about this is to run it solo, and have any crew meet you at the non exchange intersections. The trail is all crushed limestone and super flat, except for the one hill. There is also food and drink available at each exchange. You get a great event for your money.

Josh and I both enjoy running, it was nice to do this marathon as a team on our wedding anniversary. We are pretty simple people and don’t need a fancy getaway to celebrate, this was perfect for us.

For more race detail head to my review at