Grandma’s 2017

Grandma’s 2017 – RACE RECAP


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

I LOVE GRANDMA’S MARATHON!!! I was so happy when Bibrave partnered with this race, I couldn’t wait to get back to Duluth. In fact, my group of friends already had a hotel reservation. I would be returning for a 4th year at the event…. in fact I think my first Bibrave race was the Garry Bjorklund half marathon in 2014.

Duluth is about 7-8 hours from Iowa City, and as per usual, this is a road trip for me. Josh and I got a head start by staying in Rochester, MN on Thursday evening. We woke early, to pick up Miguel at the French Meadow in MPLS – hello delicious breakfast!

From MPLS we made good time to Duluth. That drive on I-35 can be tough as there always seems to be construction and everyone is leaving the city to get to their lake cottages.

We called ahead to our hotel in Superior, WI (just across the canal) and we were able to check in early. This allowed for some down time, even a nap before we would go to the expo, packet pick up and pasta dinner. The hotel had a welcome bag with Clif Bars and bottled water in our rooms.

At the expo, Kara Goucher would be speaking at 3pm, followed by Dick Beardsley. The 3 of us left our hotel around 2pm so we would be able to hear Kara speak, and meet up with the Bibrave gang that was also running the race.


Once we got near the DECC, where the expo and festivities were being held, traffic was backed up due to parking limitations. There was parking available for $5 near the area, but everyone was arriving at the same time. We should have left earlier or parked across the way and walked over. After some cussing, we talked our way into a bar’s parking area – they begged us to have a beer, but instead we gave them $5 and were given a parking pass.

It was a short walk to the expo building, but we were able to make it before 3pm. We met up with the gang and listened to Kara speak.


It was time to get our packets and then check out the expo. The vendors are set up until about 8pm, while packet pick up stays open late – 11pm. When we were there, around 4 ish, it seemed very busy.


There were the typical vendors, and a few free samples including pork, beer and wine. Grabbing our packets was easy, just needed the bib number, and didn’t have to show an ID, when you left this area they double checked that your timing chip scanned.


It was time to eat! I had won a Grandma’s prize pack on facebook which included 2 shirts, a hat and 2 pasta tickets.


Gina (Bibrave pro) had an extra pasta ticket which she shared with Miguel. You might have heard me boast about this dinner. It’s my fave because I can get a plate of plain noodles… um I might have have 3 plates of noodles…in addition to some bread, wafer cookies and a tiny Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. We took our time here and conversed with Gina’s friends, who happened to be from Iowa.


Before we left to get back to our hotel, we stopped to check out of the finishers of the 5k. (you could run this as part of the Great Grandma’s Challenge, 5k Friday and half or full Saturday) Even saw a joggler amongst the many people.


Back at the hotel, after laying out all the race day essentials, we called it a night at 9pm, it was going to be an early wake up call.

Gear: Bibrave tank, Sparkle Athletic Galaxy skirt, Zensah USA compression socks, adidas boy shorts, moving comfort bra, Hawkeye hat, Orange Mud Endurance Pack, aftershokz Trekz Titanium, Welch’s fruit snacks, Brooks Ghost 9, Garmin Fenix 3, Road ID. *planned on a Half Buff & my XX2i France 2 shades


RACE DAY

4:00 am – Rise and shine!  The half marathon started at 6:15 am and the full marathon started at 7:45. The race starts at Two Harbors and ends in Duluth,  we had to take a shuttle to the start. The hotel offers a bus for the marathon, but there was no option for Miguel (running his first half marathon,) except to catch a shuttle in Duluth.

This hotel caters to the runners and put out a breakfast starting at 4 am. Coffee, toast, bagels, fruit, juice, yogurt; all the simple basic foods that are perfect before a race. I toasted some bread and slathered some peanut butter on it, and grabbed a granola bar for the shuttle to the race.

We all piled into the giant rental truck, and barreled down the highway… ok not really, but we left around 4:30 for the boarding that was happening between 4:45 and 5:15 for the half.

UGH! Traffic was backed up onto I-35 from the exit ramp, as they could’t move cars fast enough into the parking lots. We pulled an “audible” and took some other random exit, with some twists and turns, we had cut the line from the interstate, and were close to getting a parking spot. *Ok, so I don’t do well in these situations, in fact I think this is the only thing I worried about on race day. I wanted to make sure we all got to the starting line. This caused major anxiety, as I am spoiled by Hawkeye events with parking passes and traffic control.

Whew! We were able to get close enough to have Miguel get in the line for his shuttle. We had options to get to the start line, and had time to then park the truck. We paid the attendant $5 and went to go find Miguel in line for some final good lucks and a picture.

Josh and I now had time to get to our shuttle… ok so the marathon buses started loading after the half and did so until 6:15am. However, Grandma’s is the only marathon that has a train that will take you to the start. I really wanted to do this, but it was first come first serve to 1000 people. With the timing, it worked out, we made the train!!!


The train goes up the shore, following some of the course. It is also sold as having bathrooms. I did not use a train bathroom, but Josh who had to wait a long time to use one, said they were “well used.” That aside, I really thought the train was a unique way to get to the start. There is also a spectator’s train.


We arrived to the start with plenty of time to check our bags, and wait in the super long port-o-potty lines. There has to be about 200 or so bathrooms, but never seem like enough. It was cloudy and there were some rain sprinkles falling.


We ran into Gina in the bathroom lines… just like last year, lol. I wanted to snap a pre-race pic with her. I took off my hat to put on my BUFF, in this process, my sunglasses which were resting on top of the brim of my hat, snapped in 2. GASP! *update XX2i has a lifetime warranty*


I wear a visor/hat and glasses to run in, as it’s great and easy way to protect me from the elements. So there I was, about to run my 23rd marathon, and I had no sunglasses… however I got my picture with Gina.


Josh and I walked to the starting corrals, we slapped high fives and wished each other luck. He went to the faster area, and I pushed towards the back. There really weren’t corrals, but there were pace signs and pacers to line up with.

The National Anthem was sung live and the race was underway. I knew it would be a few minutes before I would cross the start line, so I finally went to push the buttons on my Garmin to get it ready to use. That is when I discovered it was at 35% charge. UM? I had it plugged in all night…. oh wait, did I? Obviously not. Then I realized my error, I plugged in my headphones, and was like, they don’t take long.. I’ll just unplug after a bit and plug my watch in….that never happened.

Here I was, ready to start another marathon, no sunglasses and a watch with minimal charge… but you know what… I was not worried, not anxious…. nothing – I was ready to tackle the trek to Duluth.

I didn’t have a race goal… I blogged about my training for this race, including the crappy 16 miler that was my one and only long run. I knew I would be able to finish, and I knew I would do my best. It was also my third time at the event.

I don’t have too much to say about the marathon this year that’s any different in years past. The event is very well organized and any ability is welcome, course is open for 7 hours. Great spectators, great volunteers. The sun eventually came out, and it warmed to 77 degrees – according to the marquee when I was near mile 23. This is also when I switched my phone off airplane mode and called Josh just to tell him where I was.. and he was with Miguel and they were tracking me *blushing* This is is when I noticed my watch had officially died – so it lasted 22 miles, and like 4 ish hours? Guess I need to run faster.

I felt great this race, I walked the aid stations, like every 2 miles….and never wanted to walk – until mile 25. I never felt defeated. I did feel hungry at mile 15, and I had been eating my fruit snacks, I took bananas and oranges from the official aid stations. I had also been drinking the blue Powerade on course, but had to stop as it was way too sweet. (I was ready for a toothbrush.) I am thankful to the bacon stop and the people who had strawberries.

When I got to the last .2 miles the sky had clouded up and there was a downpour, the sound system even went out, and my name was not announced when I crossed the finish line at 5:26.  I didn’t have any clue how far I was back from the official time, so when I first saw my finishing time, I was a little disappointed. Oh well, I am slow and most importantly I felt good, not tired or sore.

I am not sure there is anything I dislike about this event, maybe they could add some food choices in the beer/music area AND consider something other than marathonfoto for pictures.

This is a race where you get your shirt at the finish line, so after collecting that, my medal, heat sheet, and bottle of water…the sun was already back out. I met up with Josh and Miguel, then saw Gina in the runners only food area. I made sure to grab some more strawberries.

CONGRATS MIGUEL!! Finished his first half marathon!!!


We then all met up with the Bibrave gang and enjoyed the post race music and beer.


(this area is open forever too, so everyone gets a chance at beer and music.) There were soda choices in addition to Odell brews.


Everyone then departed, and that is when Josh ran into a guy he knew from Iowa, and I saw Darin (hope I spelled that right) I keep running into this guy at races. So we chit chatted some more. If you see me say hi!

Then it was time for the traditional post race Little Angie’s. Tacos for the win! It was tough to eat all my food… I wasn’t super hungry then and I was tired!


Some how it was nearing 4:30… we trucked back to the hotel for a much needed shower and nap. However, I thought if I napped at this hour I wouldn’t get up, or I wouldn’t sleep the night.

Around 7:15 pm, I convinced Josh to drive some where so I could put my legs in Lake Superior. We found a pull out along the course, just north of Duluth. The air temp was in the 50’s and the lake was sooo cold but it felt sooo good! We skipped some rocks too.


Of course I was now hungry, so we drove a little further to a restaurant you pass along the course. We both got the walleye and tried the wild rice – which is a “thing” in the area. After dinner, it was finally time to close the chapter on the day…. I was ready to crash… and I did that.


Sunday

Time for breakfast, and the trek back to the Hawkeye State. We did some googling and thought we would try this cafe that served the famous Betty’s Pies. When we arrived the line was out the door, so we found this other place in downtown Duluth, the Lark. Welp, while the food was tasty, the service was slower than my marathon time.  We were happy to leave and go get some more coffee at the Duluth Coffee Co.


The trip back to MPLS to drop Miguel was uneventful, no traffic back ups. We were back in the cities around noon time, said good bye to Miguel… and crawled back into the truck.


After a traffic back up in southern MN (seriously that area has been under construction for years.) We made it all the way back to the Clear Lake exit before we needed to eat again. Luckily we did not need any gas, all the pumps were full. We discovered that Casey’s would put their chicken strips into a wrap, that was a delicious discovery!

Then really… it was a boring road trip, the radio was boring, the scenery..boring… maybe because we have traveled it a lot. Oh well, we made it home.

As stated at the beginning of this super long post, I love Grandma’s and Duluth, can’t wait to get back… of course we have the hotel reserved already.


You can follow Grandma’s on twitter, Facebook, Instagram or their website to keep up to date with the 2018 event, and you can check out my bare boned review at bibrave.com 

To answer the question, when my watch was recharged, I could see it had worked for 21.2 miles and 4 hours 15 minutes. 

XX2i Bahamas1

XX2i Bahamas1 Review

“Disclaimer: I received the XX2i Optics, Bahamas1 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!”

pictured with the zippered case they came in

Sunglasses!!! I can’t get enough of XX2i and their products, I was happy to try out another pair from their casual line, this time the Bahamas.

I had a choice in frame color, out of the 4 choices, I decided on the matte white/black with polar gray lenses. (Since I had another casual pair, the Bermuda in brown – hey a girl needs options!)


Features of this model include:

  • light weight, durable frame – they weigh 1.1 oz (thanks postal scale)
  • Polarized lenses with 8K optical technology
  • 100% UVA and UVB Protection
  • Glare cutting polarized lens technology
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • 365 day return policy – seriously, they give you a year!

Well besides wearing them everyday since I got them, I put them through the test by wearing them at an auction


Wearing them to mow the lawn and do yard work


Wearing them to drive


Wearing them so my husband wouldn’t wear them, until he bought his own pair

 

 

 

 


I wore them to sell goods at the farmers market


Eating Fro-yo or ice cream


Drinking beer/ coffee


I always have them with me, forgetting they were on my head, and then I reached for another of my xx2i sunglasses.


You get the jest of it… these sunglasses are good for any activity. They protect your eyes in a way you don’t understand, until you forget your sunglasses and end up squinting all day. Seriously, I don’t leave home without a pair of XX2i.

The only “con” which really isn’t a bad thing, these fit tighter than the other casual shades I own, so they are great for smaller framed heads/faces. I also love my running specific xx2i shades, so I have not run in these, they do not have an adjustable nose pad to keep them in place on a sweaty nose. However, I do know many others have ran in these – as I have run in my other casual shades too, it’s hard not to run in sunglasses even on a cloudy day…. ok I am rambling here…

Bottom line, get yourself a pair of XX2i sunglasses, your eyes will thank you – BONUS – use code “xx2irocks” for 50% off your purchase. https://www.xx2i.com/


Need more reviews? Check out what these Bibrave Pros had to say: Tedrick – Heather – Nicole – VanessaMeridith

As always you can find XX2i on TwitterFacebookInstagram or the Web

Am I ready for Grandma’s?

It’s time for Grandma’s Marathon, am I ready?

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

To say I am ready to get back to Duluth is an understatement, you might have caught the post about all the reasons Grandma’s is the best. However, looking back – am I ready to run a marathon?

I rarely talk about the training for races, it’s all posted on Strava, Instagram or facebook…. it’s available if you really must know. I am just not sure I did enough this cycle.

If you remember, I ran the Illinois Marathon in April, it was my 22nd marathon on the 22nd of the month. Then, there were some smaller races in between including a few half marathons… then I was supposed to be training for Grandma’s. Here is the problem…. was I training?

I was really lazy, instead of picking a plan for this race and just counting the weeks backwards, I resorted to my husband, who is also training for Grandma’s. It first started out as, “Hey Josh, how many miles are you running today?” I would then attempt to run that workout or mileage.


Then I realized he was using some super advanced Brooks-Hansen method of training, and it was really tough! I admitted to him that I was trying to run what he was doing, and he was like, nah just cut it down.

I mean, I shouldn’t be worried, right? I ran 14 marathons last year, I know I can complete this race, but at no point do I, or will I ever take running a marathon as a joke. I need to feel like I trained.

I think the most confusing thing to the plan is that you never run longer than 16 miles, but you are always running longer mileage on tired legs. During the week there are 8 milers, 6 milers, nothing shorter really. I have done a version of this training plan before and I know it works, so why do I continue to doubt myself?

Well, my longest run I had to split into 2 runs, it was a crappy run. Thankfully my 2 best running friends talked me back down, and encouraged me to continue my training. They made me realize everyone has these thoughts, and you just do your best, and I know they have my back!

So, now the race is in 5 days (thank you Garmin countdown watch face.)


I am feeling some what confident. However, it’s mostly because I really do love this race, it will be my third time. I also get to meet up with many BibRave Pros, hope they keep the beer cold at the finish.

Adidas Ultra Boost X

Adidas Ultra Boost X – Shoe Review

“Disclaimer: I received a pair of Adidas Ultra Boost X 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 have a go to running shoe, but I am always searching for another one. When the opportunity came up to test this shoe, I jumped on it. This shoe is different and I was curious.

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Note: I am not a shoe expert, or novice runner – however I have logged a few miles over the years. I always tell new runners to get properly fitted for a shoe that works for you. I hope this review doesn’t confuse that tip, but it tells you about the many styles of shoes available to you, when you go to your local Dick’s Sporting Goods to try them out.

First Impressions: The shoes arrived in a yellow box with the Adidas stripping. I opened it up to find my gray/white shoes inside. To me, at fist glance they looked like a sock attached to a foam pad.

After further inspection, I noticed the arch. It was not attached to the sole. I could stick my hand in the void. I also noticed the lacing system, it was this hard plastic piece on the outside of the sock, with 4 holes. The bottom was also stamped “Continental” like the tire company.

For all the technical specs, I add this from the website:

  • Runner type: neutral
  • adidas Primeknit upper wraps the foot in adaptive support and ultralight comfort
  • boost™ is our most responsive cushioning ever: The more energy you give, the more you get
  • STRETCHWEB rubber outsole flexes underfoot for an energized ride
  • Dynamic arch for adaptive fit; TORSION® SYSTEM between the heel and forefoot for a stable ride
  • Continental™ Rubber outsole for extraordinary grip in wet and dry conditions
  • Weight: 8.3 ounces (size 7)
  • Midsole drop: 10 mm (heel: 29 mm / forefoot: 19 mm)
  • Imported

*The floating arch is designed to respond to the way your foot moves, and the shoes are specifically designed for a woman.

Information on the boost technology – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6icItMrGasY

Background on me. I do best with a neutral shoe. I have collapsing arches, which was a concern, will this be a shoe that works with that or the opposite?

According to Strava, which means the times I remembered to log my runs wearing these shoes, I have logged 48.1 miles. Those miles include the following runs:

May 11, first run, 3 miles on the rail trail. When I put them on for the first time, I noticed the fit around my arch. The first mile, my arch was irritated. I really felt I was running on a foam board. The part that goes around my ankle is like a sock and wont rub my ankle bone. I was wearing tall compression socks.

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I joined the running club’s Couch to 5k program later that evening, and put these shoes back on. I think it was a total of near 2 miles on my feet. The slower pace and the added walking did not aggravate my arch, and I had no issues.

May 12. 7 miles on the crushed limestone trail. Ok, I should be breaking these in, with smaller runs…but there was a part of me that was like, the more I wear shoes, the better they feel. I had the arch irritation within the first mile, but it went away. Around mile 3, I had a strange “hot spot” feeling in my left foot. It is the part just under the big toe, where my foot lands. There was no blister developing, it was uncomfortable. By the time I was almost done, I had to stop and take a break and rub my foot. I was wearing low socks.

running

May 16. 4 miles on the trail. I was wearing just some regular low socks. I didn’t have any arch irritation. After a mile, my feet both had what I will continue to call “hot spots.” The soles were just irritated. This is when I stopped and removed my socks – relief! This is the time I realized that I can’t wear thick socks with these shoes, and I can’t tie them tight. I ran the rest of my run with no socks, I could feel the seam in the back rubbing my ankle, and was worried I would get a blister, but thankfully nothing. I did like the feel with no socks. However around mile 3.5 I had the “hot spot” on my left foot again.


The lacing system, with only 4 holes is why I had them tight, I am used to a higher hole on shoes, that allows me to lock my heel into the shoe, so there is no slipping, this shoe the highest hole is still across the top of my foot, tying it too tight just irritates my foot. Letting the laces out for a looser fit made my feet feel better, but my heel slips and the shoe feels like it will fall off. Getting the right lacing tightness is key.


May 19. 3 miles on crushed limestone. I made sure to wear thin socks and tie them loosely. My feet felt good, but my heel slipped, and the socks kept sliding down into the shoe. I split my mileage up for the day, so I wore the shoes until my next run later, the shoes feel fine, light weight and comfy for walking around. My socks though kept slipping into the shoe.


-Second run of the day, ran my first 3 miles on the pavement. They felt good, no issues.


May 22. 3 miles, crushed limestone trail. Can’t have shoes tied too tight or my feet hurt, can’t have too loose and my shoe slips on the heel.


May 23. 6 miles, crushed limestone trail. Irritation on left foot again, but at the end of my run. I wore my tall compression socks and didn’t tie them too tight.


Somewhere in this journey, my PF has been bothering me in my right foot. Now this is where I would tell everyone to stop running in these shoes, but since it wasn’t super painful. I kept going.

May 27. Run Madtown Twilight 10k. First race in the shoe. This was a gamble, I knew I would be able to finish the race, but I wasn’t sure about racing in the shoes. I wore my tall compression socks as I knew there wouldn’t be issues with those. I tied them loosely and in double knots.


I got over the feeling that they were too loose, and they were going to fall off. I was having a good time, pushing my pace. I could feel the responsiveness. Then about halfway, one shoe came untied. Having to stop and tie my shoe took away my mojo. Around the 5 mile mark, I had the pain in my left foot. After I was done running, the pain went away.

May 30. 3.5 miles, crushed limestone trail. No issues until I was ending the run, and that pain in the left foot was there.


June 5. 5 miles. Slight PF pain, arch hurts. However I notice how springy the shoe is.

sideways4

June 9. pavement. No pain issues until around the 3rd mile and that spot on my left foot hurts. I had to stop and take a phone call, when I started again there was no pain.


As you can see, I have mixed feelings with these shoes. I really like how the sock like structure fits, and allows my toes room to splay a little, but I don’t think it works for my foot.

  • I am used to wearing any sock I want and never having issues with bulkiness or blisters. I have to make sure to wear a thinner sock that wont slip.
  • As far as the arch fit, I am guessing my collapsing arch needs space to collapse? I was guessing the tight fit would offer more support like the inserts I had custom made for my work shoes.
  • I also am wondering what the heck the pain is in my left foot, and why is it only that foot?
  • I liked racing in them, I really felt for those first few miles I was getting back what I was putting into them.
  • I never logged anything longer than 7 miles, for me these are best on shorter runs.
  • I can’t get them to be as tight as I like, the lacing system only has 4 holes.

Conclusion: These shoes look different and cool, they are light weight and stretchy. However, they are not a running shoe that works for me. I will continue to wear them here and there for a short run, and to walk in.

rrtrail

If you still need more information, I encourage you to read the reviews written by these ladies: JeannineHeather WAmy WJennaLindsey  – GIna

dork

You can find them at Dick’s Sporting Goods, where you can get your hands on them, try them on, and see if they fit for you. They are also available for sale on the web.

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BTN B1G 10k

How far will you go to support your favorite sports team?

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

It shouldn’t be news to you that I am a HUGE Hawkeye sports fan. I grew up 20 ish miles from the University of Iowa Campus, I idolized my hometown Hawkeye – Marv Cook, it took me 5 years – but I graduated from the U of I, and I never left. Yes – I love my Hawkeyes.

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a run past Kinnick Stadium

I also love running…again this shouldn’t be a surprise…LOL.

Enter the B1G 10k in Chicago on July 23.

Now this is not my first time participating at this event. I did this race in one of the first years, and again in 2016. One of the coolest things about this race is the swag, your race shirt is the Big Ten team of your choice, alternating the main colors every other year. I have always received the gold – but it’s really yellow – shirt. I think I am most excited to finally get the black shirt this year. If you are just a fan of colleges ports, you can choose a generic BTN shirt too.

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Ok, shirts aside…. there is also the great post race tailgate atmosphere, beers, sausages, team tents with trophies, and much more.

BUT DID YOU KNOW about the SPIRIT AWARD? In addition to the overall award winners, and the Big Ten Bonus Prize, there is an award for the most spirited fan.

BTN is looking for the most die-hard Big Ten fans at the BTN Big 10K! Post your most spirited photos on race day using the #BTNBig10K hashtag for your chance to win!

So – get out the face paint, maybe you have a home made mascot costume? Then tweet or gram your photos with the above hashtag for a chance to win one of these prizes:

  • Football Grand Prize : Two (2) Tickets to the 2017 Big Ten Football Championship Game
  • Basketball Grand Prize : Two (2) All-Session Passes to the 2018 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament –

Only photos submitted on a public Twitter or Instagram account on July 23, 2017 will be eligible for entry 

I’ll be honest, it’s one of my biggest challenges to wear the BibRave Orange as a Hawkeye fan. Last year I made sure to put on some temporary tattoos, a Hawkeye hat, and sparkle skirt. I will have to get creative this year, the prizes are awesome!

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Register today with code BibRaveBTN17 for a bonus drink bottle – http://btnbig10k.com/

So what have you done to support your favorite sports team?

 

Run Madtown 10k Review

Run Madtown 10k Review

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

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

Read about my road trip to get there.

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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

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


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


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

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

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

Racin & Road Trippin

How to plan your next race road trip

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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