Run for the Thuringer!

Amana Freezer 5k – 2018 recap

The meat bag swag keeps me coming back!

Saturday, January 27, 2018 – 10 am.

Unless you are new to the blog, you know this is one of my favorite Iowa winter races. I have run it a hand full of times, the swag is one of the reasons I return. Instead of another shirt, participants can choose a meat bag from the Amana stores, or you can opt for no swag.

I made sure to register online before the price increase and to get a guaranteed meat bag. I believe the cost was around $25. I am probably going to say meat bag as many times as necessary in this post, so let your inner 12 year old keep chuckling.

Josh was also able to make the race this year, and he was able to register on the day of the event, and still choose a shirt or meat bag.

There are no changes from last year for this event. The race day packet pick up happens in an old appliance factory building. There is a bathroom in this location, and they had port-o-potties outside the door. Again this year the visitor center restrooms were locked. There is plenty of free parking around town.

We grabbed our bib and meat bag, then chit chatted with everyone – Oh yeah, another reason this is a great event, all the area runners come out of hibernation. 

WHAT’S IN THE BAG? The 2018 edition included thuringer – which is like summer sausage, a package of swiss cheese and a package that contained 2 smoked pork chops. My bag also had a ticket for a post run Millstream beer. Josh’s bag did not have one.

We finalized the gear we would be running in and did a warm up run to Casey’s and used their restroom, then ran back in time for the 10 am race start.

There was no National Anthem, in fact people were just kind of standing around and then people were moving. It’s small town Iowa racing at it’s finest…. just go!

A photographer snapped shots as we all ran over the start mat. The course was the same out and back, on paved surfaces. Well that is what I thought until we did the turnaround loop in Middle Amana. It’s a tiny little place and they must have went to a chip and seal, creating a loose gravel running surface. There is also a short hill here.


Can you see me?

Ok, I am getting ahead of myself. I haven’t raced a 5k in what felt like years… so I didn’t know what to expect, but one thing seems always certain, I start way too fast. I just went, and then I saw my friend Mark ahead and I thought I could catch him. Well, the watched beeped at the first mile and said 8:30… NOPE! I wasn’t going to maintain that, and let Mark go and backed it down…but reflecting on it… dang, an 8:30 mile, pretty good for me!

I made it to that loop in Middle Amana and the front runners were on there way back. I cheered on my friends, and kept moving forward.

It seemed like forever to run that final stretch back into Amana, but I made it back to the timing mat, crossed the finish line, ripped the chip off my own shoe and found Josh. I did check my watch real quick and I had run another sub 30, with 28:11.

The timing company had race printouts if you wanted to get one, but we decided to walk back the race course a little bit and cheer on those still running. It was a nice winter day, the sun was out and it wasn’t too frigid.

When it was time we made it back to the building where you picked up your packet, for the post race treats and awards.

There was all kinds of baked goods, bagels, bananas, clementines, hot chocolate and bottled water. There was also plenty for everyone!

The post race awards always crack me up. For whatever reason, no one is listening and everyone is talking so you can not hear anything. The lady brings a bull horn and everything.

There were a lot of speedy people this year. I did not place – hey my AG of 30-39 is very competitive. I always joke I should have ran in college, I would have won many small town 5ks in my AG. I did cheer for all the winners, they received medals.

Then it was time for the random raffle prizes. I had my fingers crossed, but I did not win anything. Well, or did I? The prizes concluded and my friends were all standing around discussing the fact there was no bag of bird see raffled off. Funny… the lady got back on the bull horn and said “We have bird seed to giveaway!” I crossed my fingers, but I didn’t win….oh wait, it’s get’s better… the person I was talking to about this – won. Congrats Michael on your bird seed win!

It was time to move on, Josh had to get to some sporting event. I wasn’t leaving without cashing in my beer ticket. We walked over to the Millstream Brewery where I got a barrel aged brew, whoa! It was a strong one!

When at the brewery we chatted with some more friends. As I said, this race is great people come out from hibernation and you get to catch up, find out where you will see them next, what they are training for.

I could have stayed all day, but we had to get back to the big city.

I think I write the same thing every year, but I will always run this race if it fits in my schedule. A $25 price tag for a meat bag and some camaraderie, what more could you ask for in the middle of winter in Iowa.

As always add your review to and claim your results on


Ganzo’s 2017

Ganzo’s Cinco De Mayo 5k – Race Recap


The 2017 5k was on Saturday, May 6th – GASP! Right, it wasn’t on the 5th of May… but some how we all managed… The race started at 9 am after the kids race at 8:30. It was a nice sunny day, around 50-60 degrees, oh and it was in Davenport, IA.

For a no frills review –

I was no stranger to this event, in fact when I ran the race in 2014, I was an award winner in the costume contest. Since then the race leadership was taken over by the guy who puts on the Quad Cities Marathon. The race still benefits the Autism Society of the Quad Cities.

I made it to Davenport just before 8 am. I still had to get my packet, and that closed at 8:30. Parking was a little different this time around, but available across the highway at the high school for free.

Packet pick up was quick and easy. I told the volunteers my bib number, from an email I received the week before. There were computers set up to register too, I think the race topped out over $40, but you get a medal, and a post race PAR-TAY!

I took my plastic bag full of too many race flyers… seriously there are too many things I don’t need. Anyway, I took my things, which also included a soft – short sleeve- unisex tee, a koozie, a pen and my bib with timing strip; back to my car. Then it was back across the highway again, to wait for the race to start.

While I waited, I met up with my sister and niece. Of course, my niece didn’t want to run the kids run, until they showed up to the race…. too late. We did cheer the kids on. Then we ran into Kevin, and chatted until we had to get into the corrals.

The corrals were jammed with people, including people with strollers and walkers just lined up where they wanted. Everyone was ready to go at 9 am, but then there were announcements – first from the race director, then it was the charity spokesman, then the mayor, I think the restaurant owner said a few words, then it was time for a live singing for the National Anthem, then the mayor told us how he was going to start the race…. I know right, just start already….

The race was finally on!!! I started out slow and steady…no goal, but the usual sub-30. I gave my sister and niece a high five on the way by. I then stuck with Kevin and we ended up running the race together.  As we ran, we saw Joel whiz by real quickly…. and then he disappeared.

The race started with a small up hill, and snaked through a residential neighborhood. There were some more rolling hills, and busy streets. There were 2, yes 2 water stops for a 5k, which is awesome!! We chatted and ran, thanked all the volunteers, and before we knew it were running the last stretch of the race.

We passed by my sister and niece again for another high five, and then crossed the timing mat, and we were done!!! The volunteer gave us our medals. There was no water or food in this area. If you wanted to continue walking the finishing chute, there were results to get printed out. My time was just over 29 minutes, yay another sub-30!

Joel appeared from no where, he just smoked the 5k!! All three of us went to watch finishers come in. We cheered on a lady running in a taco costume!! Then we saw Kelly zoom by.

It was time to go check out the post race events, and I wanted some water. The post race party was under a giant tent in the parking lot. An ID was required to gain admission, I am not sure if kids were allowed with a guardian. Funny story… I had once again misplaced my ID, and didn’t have it with me… and because I am me, I have a picture of my ID on my phone, they accepted that, and I had a wrist band to enter…. OK, so I don’t look 16 either.

The first thing to grab was a cold beer, Bud Light and a shot of tequila… well I grabbed those things too, cuz you know, fiesta! I didn’t have enough hands to grab anything else, so I took half the shot of tequila and washed it down with the Bud Light… cuz that’s what you do… I then decided I was done with that… so done… so I finally found that bottle of water I really should have been drinking. There were bananas and chips and salsa too. There was a taco truck set up for purchase of food.

Also under the tent was a stage with entertainment, live music!!  They also used this area to announce the awards. The party was happening!!

However, my sister was leaving, so I left the party to say “see ya later to them.” However, I hung around longer to chit chat with Joel, Kelly and Kevin. One of my favorite things about races is meeting my friends and hanging out!!

Sadly, that had to come to an end too, so we said our goodbyes… well mostly… I gave Kevin a ride home, via a stop at Dunkin Donuts. Had to get some coffee and munchkins.

This next part I am only documenting for personal purposes, and hope it never happens again. On the way home I had a slight headache develop. I had thoughts of – maybe I shouldn’t have taken half that shot, but it was only half a shot… or did I drink enough water? Did I lose too much salt? Not enough sleep? (I stayed up the night before to watch Breaking 2) Why do I have a headache? 

I usually get a bad headache or migraine due to hormones or dehydration / lack of salt. However, I just don’t think this was the underlying cause, as it got worse. I even took a nap, which usually helps, but this time I woke up and it was worse. Then since I just woke up, I wasn’t tired… so it was hard to rest… but I was in a lot of pain. I tried to drink some Gatorade and eat a granola bar, but felt so nauseous.

I was also worried if I would be able to run my half marathon the next day. I did some more lounging, and took more Advil. I really hate taking too much of that crap. I think I nodded off again. I finally felt like eating and ate an entire tub of mashed potatoes – you know half marathon the next day.

I finally went to sleep…. and I guess you will have to keep reading to find out if I made it to my half marathon….

Back to the subject of this post. Overall, Ganzo’s is a great spring race, Don’t let the higher cost deter you. It’s a race for all abilities, fun and organized well. Only suggested change would be an upgrade from Bud Light.

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

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.

Freezefest 2017

Corridor Running Freezefest 5k

I am so excited to have something to write about. I ran and volunteered at the Freezefest 5k or should I say “Warmfest.” (More on that later.)

As most of you know, I am on the board of my local running club, Corridor Running. This is the first race of the year for the club. In addition to running, and creating the playlist for the event, I was on board to take pictures, post to social media, shoot video and anything else they needed me to do.
For my official race review – check out

Gear: Ice Cream Sparkle Athletic Skirt, xx2i France2 sunglasses, Garmin Fenix 3, Go Pro, Adiddas boy shorts, Lululemon shirt, Corridor Running Trucker hat, spi belt,  2xu Vectr socks, aftershokz

The event always takes place in February, and it has a later start time of 11 am. It is in Marion, IA at Squaw Creek Park. This is mostly due to the weather. It can be cold or as we saw this year, record warmth, nearing 60 degrees.

*Personally, I would rather have a race start at 7 or 8 am. I run in all weather conditions, so I would just like to get up and get it done.

This is a smaller race, and it’s capped at 350 participants due to the lack of parking.. This means that packet pickup is the day of the race, which works out well because of the late start I was whining about above. Anyway…. the lodge allows room for an easy packet pick up as well as an area to get information about upcoming Corridor events & membership. It’s also a good location to stay warm, if the weather is cold. There is also indoor plumbing, however the system seems to get overwhelmed and backs up….but don’t fear there are extra, clean port-o-potties set up outdoors.

It was time to start the race. While there were no signs encouraging people to line up according to pace, everyone did an excellent job of self seeding.  Mark – the club president said some words, and then the National Anthem was sung live, however if you were in the back of the corral, you might not have been able to hear it.

With this being a 5k, my usual goal is to run it sub 30 minutes, however I had a Go Pro in one hand and my phone in the other. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to tackle all of this.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The race course wasn’t too difficult, it was basically flat, and on all paved surfaces. Ok, so the finish was uphill and there were some potholes….but totally manageable. The course also has out and back type sections, so you can cheer on the others.

I crossed the finish line, while watching the clock…SUB 30!!! My official results:

After I was done running, I picked the camera back up and snapped some pictures of the award winners. Then I went to check out the post race food, since it was lunch time. Volunteers called the “cookie monsters” brought a lot of baked goods, and there were 2 different types of homemade chili. There were some sandwiches and fruit too. I waited too long and there wasn’t much food left, and I don’t care for chili, so I grabbed a cookie. There was also lots of beverages – bottled water, sodas, and some Miller Lite.

I really needed to get on my way, there was Hawkeye basketball game at 1pm… I was already late.

This is a great race! The price is right and it gets you out of the winter funk. The club does a great job too, everything runs smoothly. I also like getting to socialize with everyone. I also forgot to mention, a portion of the proceeds goes to benefit the Boys & Girls club.

See you at the next Corridor Running event, the Shamrock Shuffle – PS registration is still open. There is a 3.17k and a 6.24k. They could also use volunteers.

Keep up with Corridor Running: Website / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram & don’t forget to tag #corridorrunning




Hooters Last Chance 5k


Josh and I were in Florida for the Outback Bowl, and of course I was on the look out for a race in the area during the time we would be there. I stumbled upon the Hooters Last Chance Race of the Year in Clearwater Beach.

I also needed to log some miles, I have run at least 100 miles a month for over a year now, with the 2 mile run to the race and the race, I would hit that goal.

If you haven’t figured it out the race was on Dec 31st….. It was to start after the one mile swim at 10 am. The race was on the beach, it was sunny and around 65-70 degrees.

I don’t remember the last time I ran a 5k….in fact my last race was a the Artic Frog 50k at the beginning of December. Who am I? LOL

Gear: Iowa tank top, yellow Sparkle Athletic skirt, 2xu vectr socks, NB 880 shoes, Garmin Fenix, Iowa Nike hat, Adidas boy shorts

Josh and I ran to the race with plenty of time to spare, so we ran an additional mile along the beach. We watched the swimmers as we ran… that looked tough, and then they had to come out of the water and run through the sand to finish. We also had time to cheer them in, very inspiring.

The announcer was very energetic, I think she was also the RD. She knew many of the people at the event and called them out over the loud speaker that was also playing music. The race was put on by a company that does many local events.

When it was time, runners all lined up near the water, on the beach, no corrals. However, I felt everyone was smart enough to line up according to pace. The National Anthem was sung live.

The race was on. I have run on the beach a few times before, you know on that hard packed sand, just at the water’s edge. Once I even tried this barefoot, but got a nasty toe blister. I was glad I had my shoes, but don’t tell anyone, I didn’t read the race description and didn’t realize it was going to be on the beach…SHH, it’s our secret.

Ok, the goal…sub 30…. It was hot for me, so I just pushed the pace. Running 50k’s and marathons for a year, I did 0 speedwork, so this was my challenge.

I was doing fine, until I came to the part on the course where the lead pack was headed back, as this was an out and back course. We had to share the piece of sand…or I guess I could run in the dry stuff, but why?  It was difficult to share, as the going out portion was on a slant. I did see Josh, and I gave him a high 5!

We passed mile markers, and a water stop with plastic cups at the turnaround. The turnaround guy was holding the trash bag for the cups, something even more guilty feeling about leaving your cup trash on the beach.

I didn’t see many other Hawkeye fans, which was strange as this was the beach the Outback Bowl held events on. Last year I ran a half with at least 15 other Hawk fans. Oh well, I did see 2 guys pushing strollers….at least they never passed me, I call that a small victory. I also splashed in the water a few times…ok it was by accident.

I could see the finish ahead, so I pushed the pace on the packed sand, as I knew I would be running through the dry, loose sand the swimmers had to finish on. That portion was tough, but glad I had practiced by running in the snow at home.

I came across the finish line and a volunteer handed me a medal, a bottle of water, and a piece of paper for a top finisher award. (The top 25 in each gender received one.)

The race was sponsored by Hooters, which was just across the street from the race start. The post race party started on the 3rd floor at 10:30. Each participant got boneless wings and a free beer. We found out, at the party that the beer options were crap…but we did our best to sip on some Mich Ultra. Also, this was my first time at a Hooters, and I am not sure if they made these boneless wings ahead of time, but they were dried out and gross! (This does not reflect on the race at all) It was nice of Hooters to open up for the event.

We got in line to get our top finisher award, which was just a plaque that said we were a top finisher, it was cool. When we were given the award, the RD asked questions and made you feel special. Great small town feel to the event.

We milled about and talked to an old lady who wanted to see my hair cut, as she needed to shave off her hair, because she dyed it red and it didn’t take….see runners are awesome…they will talk about anything…she also whined about how cold it was…oh Florida, don’t ever change. Seriously, there were people in stocking hats and gloves, long pants and long sleeves.

I got my sub 30!

It was time to go, we had to get to Ybor City for the Hawkeye festivities of the day. We pulled up the Uber app….yep we didn’t run back…we had medals and plaques.

This was a fun event, it was only $25 before the fees, and I registered the week of the race. Doesn’t get better than that… I didn’t get a shirt, but I don’t need any more shirts! The RD made everyone feel special too. I would run this again…who knows with the Hawkeye record with the Outback Bowl, the odds are in my favor.


One GIANT Medal!

Kickoff to Kinnick – 2016

Well you might remember I ran this race last year, and I didn’t really enjoy it. Even heard feedback from some people that helped put it on. Which is “whatever” I feel running as many races as I do, my opinion has some merit. Anyway, I did come back to run it again..mostly because I told people I would be running it, and it’s a race 3.5 miles from my house.

I added my more factual thoughts on ( I will admit it was hard to keep my opinions out of it, lol)

This race was held on Saturday September 24, 2016. This was an away game for the football team, as the race finishes on the football field. I wish the race actually kicked off the season, instead of in the middle of the season, but logistics happen how they happen. It was a cool, cloudy 68 degrees, but the humidity was over 90%.

Gear: Sparkle Athletic Skirt, UA Iowa tank, Adidas 7″ boyshort, Hawkeye hat, Aftershokz Trekz Titanium headphones, Garmin Fenix, 2xu short socks, Brooks ghost 8

I registered late for this race, because that is just how it happened. Online registration was still open at this point and I paid $49 – OUCH! (ok I still paid it) This is an example of where registering early is beneficial. You could also register on race day for $50…yep for a 5k. (Keep reading, you will see why) *Also the race benefits the UIHC and Tim Dwight foundation*

Included with the registration was a fancy, colorful bib with timing chip; gender specific cotton short sleeve shirt; finisher’s medal; finisher’s party; and a finish on the football field. There were also 2 coupons, one was $10 off a $30 purchase at the local running store.

There was a packet pick up the Friday before the race at Scheels (local sporting goods store) or you could get your things on race day, starting at 7am (no mention when this would close.) Last year the race was on a Sunday, and they had 2 PPU before the race, so they are very accommodating for this.

I left my house just around 7 am, the race started at 9 am, but I wasn’t sure when they would close PPU. I wish I would have known, so I wouldn’t have to wait around. I got to the race area, the start is different than the finish, and parking is scattered in many lots in between – all FREE!

Ok, so I rolled in and parked, then walked to the PPU. There was a table no signs, so just waited in line, told them my name and they seemed to know which box to find my bib in, but it seemed a little disorganized for them. However they found it quick, and it was marked with my shirt size, I was given that and on my way. Easy Peasy! There were a lot of volunteers just standing around though, but maybe they would be busier later.

I now had a lot of time to waste…thankfully there is social media, lol. Here is one example where the race could cater more to runners, start it earlier! I guess that is my main problem with this race, it caters to the casual runner…the running is just something you do to get you to the medal or fun. There is room for both!

Once it was closer to the race start, I made my way to the starting area. I did run into some people I know – Hi Anne!! Hi Wendy!!.

The starting “corral” could use some improvement. The music was playing in the background and people were told to line up. I am not sure if they were encouraged to line up by pace as I couldn’t make out the actual announcement words. There were some pace signs. I saw one for 7-9:00 mile pace, it was held up into the air for all to see. However when running a 5k a 7 minute mile is a lot different than a 9 minute mile, that many people shouldn’t be grouped into the same area. There was also a 10 min plus pace sign, however unless you were standing next to the person holding it, you couldn’t see it as it was held chest high. I didn’t see a sign for walkers, maybe there was and maybe people just missed it.

I think this starting thing is my biggest “beef” this year, it causes a huge problem at the start and during the first mile. I am slow, but if I am lined up in my 10 min per mile pace area, I shouldn’t have to stop due to walkers a couple tenths into the race (ok maybe the Olympic race walkers did this?) It doesn’t take much effort to add more pace signs, or because of the increased popularity of this race how about actual corrals with wave starts. There is chip timing, so why not? It will then make the race pleasant for everyone, there wont be a huge bottleneck the first mile or so with people. People wont have to run outside the coned off area. Or is it the time the course is closed? Start the race 5 minutes earlier.  Easy fixes…what am I missing?

Ok, the race was underway. It started near Carver Hawkeye Area and we went down the hill on Hawkins. It took a left turn onto the Coralville Strip. It was here that some runners took the sidewalk, when there was one lane of the road coned off, there were runners running on the grass between as well. Also on the stretch was the Coralville Police Department yelling over their loudspeaker to stay inside the cones. To say this was crowded is an understatement.

The course approached Mormon Trek and we took another left. The sidewalk is up against the street here and participants used both the sidewalk and street again. I also wonder if they had a shorter race distance doing this, or did they care?

The City High drumline was near the softball fields, that was a cool pick me up!

The field started to thin out, and it was easy to find a pace and not worry about bumping into someone or having to go into the open lane of traffic.

At the halfway point, volunteers were on both sides of the course…but this mean for the road lane and the sidewalk lane…handing out mini plastic bottles of water. Sigh…I understand the ease for volunteers, but IMO for a 5k, a sip of water is enough, that is a huge waste of water and plastic.I am hoping those bottles were all recycled. Maybe I am wrong and people prefer these? Give me a paper cup to pinch for a sip any day… on a side note I didn’t feel the need to stop and get a drink.

Then the course hit the intersection of Melrose, where we took a left. This part has some rolling hills, nothing steep. This takes the course back towards the stadium, passing by the golf course and through University Heights.

There was a spot where we all had to run on the sidewalk due to some construction. I did not see any construction. However the sidewalk is wide enough here and the field was spread out enough, it wasn’t a problem. Although those pushing a stroller could have encountered a problem if they didn’t get on the sidewalk when told, as they had to navigate the curb.

Once near Kinnick, the route took another left, and we ran alongside the pressbox side and entered the stadium at Gate, where is a direct shot into the tunnel that leads to the field. Yep only one direct way onto the field. The tunnel is at a steep decline, with sharp turns and in places has low clearance. All the hazards were marked, but you should pay attention.

After some twisting and turning, you see the light and enter the field at the NW corner.  This is the cool part, running out onto the football field. Spectators are allowed inside and are lining the both sides, cheering everyone on. You can spot yourself on the jumbotron as you cross the finish line.

*the overall course is a fair challenge for everyone, and it’s easy to navigate, just a tad crowded at the start*

Once you cross the finish line a volunteer gives you a GIANT finisher’s medal. (Ok I am almost embarrassed to say I was given this medal for just participating in a 5k, LOL) There were some Hawkeye Spirit Squad members there too. Then you can mill about on the field. However, some milled to close to the finish area, it was a little congested. There was room to take pictures on the field, if you just walked away from the finish. There was no food or drink on the field, so if you needed to exit the field to the post race tailgate for a bottle of water.

I was running a marathon the next day, so I didn’t have plans to go all out, just the usual Sub-30…which I did with a 28:59.

There was one way off the field, the stairs on the NW corner, so that backed up a bit. Then you were at the concourse level, which was not closed off, so I used the real bathroom and popped out in the stands to take a picture.

Then I made my way to the tailgate party. This was in the parking lot behind the pressbox (lot 43.) There were many things going on. There was a silent auction, race sponsors, a live band, a beer area, brats being grilled, granola bars, chips, bananas and bottled water were available.

This was fun! There was a back up in the beer line. (at one point it was crowding the race course) ID’s were checked before you were admitted to the gated off area. It was taking some time as they had to put a bracelet on your arm. Once inside the beer area you were given 2 tickets for Millstream Beer. There were bar height tables available to lean on, rest that GIANT medal on. I guess the downside was the tailgating games were inside this area as well as the craft root beer. So I am not certain if your ID was checked and you just didn’t get a bracelet?

The live band was a lot of fun. They even played background music while they announced the AG winners.

Then it was all over and time to go home…the post race was fun. I didn’t have a chance to stay for it the last year, so glad I was able to enjoy.

I really want to like all aspects of this race, maybe it’s why I keep coming back. I would say the actual running parts have a lot of room for improvement, but the post race events and finish on the field are a lot of fun.

End #NF 5k – recap

Iowa NF 5k Walk and RunIowa NF 5k Walk and Run

I had run this race last year, and wasn’t too impressed. However, a friend, Jen was going to run this year and I thought I would join her. I could also run to and from this event getting a few extra miles for the day.

Check out my official review at

Gear: Sparkle Athletic superhero skirt, ProCompression socks, Moving comfort bra, Green Walmart Tank, Nathan race belt, Garmin Fenix 3, OM Endurance Pack, xx2i sunglasses, Adidas shorts, Brooks Ghost 9

This year’s race was on Saturday Aug 13. It was warm, sunny and humid.

I woke up early and ran to the Terry Trueblood Recreational area. It is about 4.8 miles from my house. I was hoping for more miles on the day, and I was early to register so I ran around the lake when I got there. I actually ran into Jen, when I was about done.

Registration opened at 7:00am, and it was about 7:15. I walked over to the table to register expecting it to cost more on race day, but nope, only $20, and I didn’t have to buy a shirt. The last thing I need is another shirt.

Jen and I talked until the race started, mostly about her neon orange shoes.

We lined up and noticed that the one and only Erik Sowinski was running this event. He’s the coolest, compete at the Olympic trials and come back to Iowa City for a low key 5k.

Ok, after sizing up the competition…who am I kidding I will never be that fast… the race started. It was an out and back around the lake this year. There were 2 water stops with plastic cups. There were no spectators and the course was not closed to the public. It was nice on the out and back to wish others good luck as you passed by them.

I started way to fast, I think it was because I was trying to keep up with Jen (who by the way is a former college track athlete.) I only caught her at the turnaround, and that was because she stopped to take a drink. I had my OM pack on, as I needed it for running to/from the race.

Jen and I ran for a while together and chatted a bit. I told her I ran the first mile in 8:44 and that was way too fast. I slowed down and she kept moving faster, I just couldn’t keep up with her, and I think she was trying to keep up with a 10 year old kid.

The course was all paved and flat, but I just didn’t have any more speed in me. Running a marathon a month, I haven’t done any speed training except when I pick up a 5k here or there. Sure I can run 26 miles, but pushing in a 5k is tough!

I crossed the finish line in 27:15, wahoo!! It’s always a goal to hit sub 30, well and to finish.

Once I finished I made my way to a banana. They also had cookies, granola bars, apples and bottled water. Pizza would be showing up at 11 am. They had events all morning until then, including a one mile walk, a silent auction and things for kids to do.

Jen and I waited around for a while as there was mention that Star Wars characters would be showing up. While we waited we found Herky.

While we were standing around, I was tapped on the shoulder by an Iowa City police man. I was like uh, what did I do? He noticed my OM pack, and as he had an OM bottle pack, was curious about this new one. He asked me what I was training for, probably confused why I was wearing it for a 5k. I told him I ran there and that I was running a marathon a month. He then topped me and said he needed something to help him train for his first hundo in a few months. I wished him luck.

They had the awards presentation. Jen and I won our Age groups and received a plastic medallion.

Then we saw the storm troopers from the 501st Legion, and other characters. Of course, we had to get a picture. They insisted I hold a light saber. I was all sorts of confused as they talked, I have done too many Disney races.

It was time for me to get moving home. I had about 5 more miles and it was plenty warm. I said my goodbye to Jen and trotted back.

This race was much improved over last year, and I forget that it’s a fundraising event versus a competitive 5k. I would consider running it again. I had around 13 total miles on the day.