High Five a Volunteer!

A Race Doesn’t Happen Without the Volunteers!

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Madison Marathon Half 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!”

It’s the week of the Madison Marathon (Half marathon) and while I need to write something, I am stumped at what to say. I will be headed to Madtown to run my 50th half marathon.

I have run these events in Madison: Madison Mini 2013, Madison Mini 2014, Madison Mini 2015, Madison Mini 2017, Madison Half Marathon & 10k spring 2016, Madison Marathon 2016, Run Madtown 10k 2017, and Run Madtown 10k  & half marathon 2018.  If I have counted right, this is my 11th event, so I feel I have exhausted all there is to say about running in Madison.

I asked my friend Frank (he has a great blog with the best race posts) and he suggested why not write about the volunteers. AH YES PERFECT!!! I myself volunteer many times throughout the year.

First things first – if you have not registered to run – online registration closes 11/7 at 11:59pm – code MMRAVE18 saves you $$. WHY NOT VOLUNTEER? You can check out this link here – it looks like course marshals, bike lead, water stop, finish line medals, and gear check duties still have open spots.

If you are still hesitant on being a volunteer, here are the reasons I volunteer:

  • To Give Back – I know how hard it is to make an event happen, it takes a lot of people.
  • Be a part of race day when I can’t afford to run – Lately this is every race, so why not show up and hand out water, or take off timing chips. I can still be at the race and I might even get a shirt too.
  • It’s simple and easy – hand someone a t-shirt, give them gu packet.
  • It’s fun – give high fives as a course marshal, cheer on the runners.
  • Community – Sign up with your running club or running friends.
  • It’s rewarding – work the finish line, walk away feeling motivated and inspired.

Be sure to thank all the volunteers you encounter on Sunday. While they enjoy doing what they are doing, volunteering can be tasking. They are out in the elements for many hours so we can run for fun.

If I don’t see you handing me a cup of (frozen) water on Sunday, I hope maybe someday I will volunteer alongside you.


Scoobtober Virtual Run

Scoobtober 5k Virtual Run – 2018 Recap

“Disclaimer: I received entry in the Scooby Doo, Scoobtober 10k/5k as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!”

The time had come for Kona to try and PR her 5k, with the Scoobtober 10k/5k as part of the Scooby Doo Virtual Run Series.

I was not sure if I would be able to help her get to this goal. The race had to be completed by the end of October. In addition to being out of town in this time, I had just set a new marathon PR and completed my 6th ultra distance race. I was not feeling super speedy!

What did I do? I recruited my husband, Josh to earn Kona a new 5k PR!

Josh was kind enough to share his thoughts as he ran with her:

Kona and I went on our run the morning of Sunday, October 28th, on what was a gorgeous mid-fall day. After harnessing her, we took a brief walk to warm up before starting our virtual race. Not even a quarter-mile into the run, we encountered not only a family ahead of us on the sidewalk who had a dog of their own, there was a father and daughter that came up from behind on bicycles. Kona is very scared of anything with two wheels, so we pulled to the side and allowed the bicycles to pass before continuing. This would be our last real trouble through the run.
Kona plowed through the first mile into a strong head wind of about 20-25 miles per hour, but I could tell she was exerting a lot of energy. We stopped briefly so she could catch her breath before continuing. While she took it slow, she got through the first half, and finally we could turn around for the back half of the virtual race. With the wind now behind us, and a now-mostly downhill course, Kona flew through most of the back half. We passed the two-mile mark, and Kona was going strong.
We made it through our last uphill, and turned the corner to begin heading for home. We had a bit of a cross wind in this short stretch, but Kona knew where she was and kept on trucking. Meanwhile, I had a brief work emergency phone call to deal with, but with my AfterShokz headphones, we kept on going as I took care of the issue at hand.
As we turned off the main road to come to our neighborhood, we passed the three-mile mark and Kona was still chugging along very well. Soon, my watch hit 3.1 miles, and our virtual 5K was in the books. For hoping to see Kona through one 5K, to now have been with her for two 5Ks was definitely a treat, and I was so happy for her and her accomplishment! And to celebrate, of course she got a tasty Milk Bone.

Josh and Kona with their medals

Did she set a new PR? Kona’s time for her Scoobtober 5k was 34:50 and her Doo Good 5k time was was 33:24. She did not set a new PR, However sounds like she had some serious conditions to battle. Kona is 10 years old, she did a great job, no matter her time!

I usually do not participate in many virtual runs, mostly because I don’t have to funds to get a medal for running my usual routes. However, this one was different as I really enjoyed getting to run with Kona. It’s something I have always considered, but never made it happen. From all the swag and awesome medals, this event was a lot of fun.

Now Foods BCAA Big 6 – product review

Product Review – Now Foods BCAA Big 6

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

BCAA or Branched Chain Amino Acids, what are they? Well I really didn’t know, so what better time to find out and give them a try.

I received two canisters of the watermelon flavor, two canisters of the grape flavor and a shaker bottle.

Here is the information provided online:

  • Endurance & Recovery*
  • 6 Amino Acids / 8,000 mg
  • Vegan, Caffeine Free

BCAA Big 6 is an advanced caffeine-free sports supplement formulated to support exercise endurance and recovery from intense workouts.* BCAA Big 6 features branched-chained amino acids (BCAAs) to support muscle retention and recovery, and betaine to help maintain fluid balance during exercise.* BCAA Big 6 also has taurine, which can further support endurance.* BCAA Big 6 includes L-citrulline and L-glutamine to complement this formula.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

How did I use these?

First I read the directions and just needed to try it. I sampled the watermelon flavor first. I put one scoop to 14-16 oz of water, then I just shook it in a water bottle. The taste was good.

I went for a run and when I returned planned to drink it all. It’s recommended for before, during or after exercise. When I came back from my run, I drank as much as I could.

I then got creative and decided an easy way to consume during a run would be to eat it, so I made gummy bears! While they were fun to make, I am not sure I choose the best recipe, they were quite rubbery. Recipe – https://reflexsupplements.com/simple-homemade-bcaa-gummies/

I then tried the grape flavor, just shake with water. I preferred this flavor to the watermelon. They were both very pretty in color.

I then thought I would experiment with sour gummy bears, so I found a different recipe with less gelatin, and they turned out a lot better, but I think I added too much citric acid -which made them sour. Recipe – https://steelfitusa.com/2017/10/simple-bcaa-gummies/

To follow up, I was working consuming a drink a day for recovery purposes. I had just run the Des Moines Marathon on a Sunday, and on the next Saturday I was running the Hawkeye Fallout 50k.

Final thoughts:

While I think the product tastes great, my biggest challenge was consuming so much liquid. I do not drink a lot of water on a normal day, I really try to hydrate before a big race. So, for me it was hard to add this much liquid to my day. Perhaps, I am just not as focused as I should be with nutrition.

However NOW Foods was a great product to learn and try something I wasn’t familiar with. It’s a clean, highly-tested brand. They conduct more than 16,000 tests each month for identity, purity, strength and composition to ensure that what’s on the label is in the bottle. AND, now they’re third-party certified via Informed-Sport for added product purity assurance. The Informed-Sport program certifies that their products have been tested for more than 200 banned substances by their world-class sports anti-doping lab.

If you would like to try for yourself use code 20NOWBCAA on Amazon.com (or visit this link https://www.amazon.com/promocode/A1G65M39SCQHX5) for 20% off both varieties of BCAA Big 6. Code is limited to one-time use only, thru Nov 15.

Looking for more insight, check out these reviews: Corey KatyDanielle Amy


You can follow Now Foods on the internet – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Website

Gatorade Endurance Take Two

Gatorade Endurance Take Two

“Disclaimer: I received Gatorade Endurance Formula, Energy Gel and Energy Chews, as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

This is not my first post, nor my first review of the Gatorade Endurance products. However, this go around I was able to focus using the products for my most recent race, the IMT Des Moines Marathon. The race had the Gatorade Endurance drink on the course.

This time I received a tub of the watermelon Endurance drink formula, vanilla and apple pear gels, lemon lime Endurance drink formula packets, and orange and fruit punch energy chews.

*Also before this shipment, I ordered a tub of the orange Endurance drink formula, for whatever reason it is priced less than the others. I had drank all my previous watermelon flavor for all my summer long runs and races. I love that flavor!!! You can read more about that here – bottom line the extra sodium in this drink is what works for me.

I am a bit different, but I did not pick a training plan for my marathon. However, I knew when I need to log long runs and when to scale back.

I ran the PCTR 30k as part of training for the Des Moines Marathon. It was a HOT day!!! There was no shade on the course. I made sure to fill my hydration pack with watermelon Gatorade Endurance. I had a football game to attend to that night, I couldn’t afford the dehydration headache.

I then tested the chews on a longer run through Iowa City, I believe it was near 15-16 miles. I would rather eat candy, gummies and real food when I run. I was pleasantly surprised with the Gatorade chews. I brought the orange with me, it was flavorful and it didn’t stick in my teeth. The only issue I had was getting the package open.

My last long run, it was once again a billion degrees and humid. I filled my hydration pack with watermelon Endurance formula, I filled my pockets with the apple pear gels and the fruit punch chews. This run confirmed that I am not a gel person, while this flavor tasted really good, I just can’t ingest this on a run, the texture just turns me off. Luckily I had some fruit punch chews with me, they are my favorite yet, and I need to order some more!!!!

How did this prepare me for Des Moines? I knew what to take with me to the race. I was actually shocked to learn that the Gatorade Endurance drink was the only Gatorade product on the course, as the gels provided were by another brand. This told me to bring some chews with me.

On race day I did not have a plan, I just kept moving. (You can read my full race recap here.) I drank the Gatorade Endurance ( believe it was lemon lime) when I wanted and I alternated eating 2 chews at a time, washing down with water. I did stop for bacon, ate a Twizzler and a Jolly Rancher too. However, going in prepared with a fueling plan might have helped me set a new marathon PR!!!

This weekend I am registered to run a 50k, you better believe my pack will be filled with watermelon Gatorade Endurance. Sadly, I ate all my chews and have not ordered more.

In my previous review I raved about the increased sodium and potassium, this is what works for me. These products do not taste too sweet for me too. Nothing worse than feeling like you need to brush your teeth when you are done racing.

Make sure to keep up with the latest Gatorade Endurance news on their website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.



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

Spoiler Alert – It was a long time coming, but I set a new PR in the marathon distance at the IMT Des Moines Marathon….so I will tell you how I got there. (In 1.6 billion words)

For my to the point review – check out bibrave.com

Josh and I arrived to Des Moines just around 6 PM on Saturday evening. We were not able to attend the expo as the hours didn’t work into our schedule. Josh had to work at the Iowa football game, and I had to be a fan. My sister’s schedule happened to work in our favor, she was able to grab our stuff for us and enjoy the expo, grabbing all the swag. *The expo was a 2 day event, closing at 6pm on Saturday evening.

We had reservations at a restaurant for 7:30 PM as we weren’t sure when we would be able to get to town. We promptly cancelled those and decided to try the Olive Garden closer to our hotel. MISTAKE! I think everyone was there, and their grandma. Lucky for us we had drove by a place called “The Tavern.” The words pizza and pasta were lit up on the building, so we walked in and were immediately seated. We were fed and out the door at 7:31 PM.

I enjoy not being rushed, and the night before a marathon it’s most important. We were able to get back to the hotel and get all our things ready and try for a decent night’s sleep. However, it was game 7 of the NLCS and Purdue was giving it to Ohio State.

Gear: Rabbit BR Tank, Sparkle Athletic Skirt, Brooks Ghost 10, Bibboards, Zensah bra, Zensah socks, Aftershokz Trekz Air, Gatorade Endurance chews, Hawkeye Hat, XX2i sunglasses, Garmin Forerunner 935, BUFF(R). Not pictured Nike Element pullover.

Sunday, October 21

The alarm went off at 5 am, race morning is quite a process. It usually involves all the coffee and some sort of bread with peanut butter. However, things weren’t going so well as our toilet was clogged. (Seriously, we had toiled issues when we went to Toronto.)

We made the best of our amenities, and made use of the hotel lobby bathroom. Before long we were checked out and on our way to find a parking spot. We needed a place close to the start, and close to the meeting spot of a group photo. We pulled right up to the meeting spot to find a free parking space. So we relaxed in the warm car. (The feels like temperature was 25 degrees.)

Near 7 AM, we left the car to meet the Corridor Running and No Regrets group inside a hotel. People gathered and chatted about their race day expectations. It was also nice to use the bathroom.

photo cred: James G

The race started at 8 AM, so we made our way to the start line around 7:30 AM. My Grandma’s Marathon heat sheet never felt soooo warm.

Josh and I departed ways, he went into the corral and I was planning on meeting up with fellow BibRave Pro Jeremy, but his phone died. So I made my way into the back of the corrals. There were pace signs up along the side and pacer signs, but I was beyond that. I was also so far back I didn’t hear any announcements or if there was a National Anthem.

When it was time to move forward, I did. I ditched my heat sheet and stuck it into the side rail. The sun was shining on us as we crossed the start line.

Ahhhh, going into this race I had no expectations. I had put in the training, but I never followed a plan, and I did no speed work. What I did do, was run all my long runs in the heat and humidity.  Heck, it’s my 29th marathon, I knew I would finish.

I didn’t start my music at first, there were spectators and the runners were crowded in the first mile. The race started with the half marathon and marathon relay. I met up with the 5:25 pace group and stuck with them until about the 2nd mile when I spotted friend, Ara.

I caught up with Ara and chatted with him for another mile or so and eventually pulled away. The race course by now had wound it’s way through some of downtown and near the sculpture garden.

I just kept moving forward. I ditched my gloves and shoved them in the pockets in the waistband of my pants. At mile 6 I decided to use the bathroom, it would be the only time I would look at my watch during the race.

When I left the port-o-potty I could see a pace sign up ahead. I thought the 5:25 pace group had passed me. Then I did what all runners do, think. Could I catch back up with them? Did they pass me when I was in the bathroom?

I kept at it, and since I didn’t bring my hydration pack, I stopped for water or for Gatorade Endurance when I thought I needed it. Which, was tricky as each water stop was a little different. Water in Gatorade cups and such. I also ate my Gatorade Endurance chews as fuel, 2 at a time.

My favorite part of the course was the bike support crew. They roamed the course with baskets full of all the extra things you might need: Twizzlers, gummy bears, tissues. They also provided encouragement when you needed it.

Around mile 9 or 10, I was on the boulevard where you run out and back to the Drake University Campus. I was able to say hi to Josh and friend, Jennifer. Then I saw my friend, Melinda at the Capital Striders aid station. Then I caught up with the pace group, it was the 5:10 pace group!

I just kept moving! I made the corner and saw more familiar faces, including BibRave Pro Jeremy. We gave each other a high five!

One of the last minute surprises of this route was the loop around the Blue Oval. This is where the Drake Relays are held, it was a nice little touch. Guess I should have looked at the course a little more closely, but maybe not – I liked the surprise.

I just kept moving and was on my way back along the blvd. I said hi to Mel again, and then passed the half way point. This is when marathons get hard for me, between miles 13-20. However, for this race… I didn’t have that struggle.

Around mile 16 we entered a paved trail system, it was a nice change of scenery. In fact, this race could give the Twin Cities Marathon a run for their money on the “most beautiful urban marathon.”

I briefly thought, where is the 5 hour pace group? Then one of my favorite running songs came on and it bolted me through to mile 17, and then I was at mile 18….I just kept moving.

We were now on some loop around water, there was a bacon stop on the back side. Of course I grabbed some bacon!! They even had a sound system and they were cheering everyone on. Also at this point it seemed like there was hydration every mile or half mile, so many aid stations!

Then came mile 20. There was a clock set up here, it read 3:41 or something close. At first I was confused, is this time correct? WAIT- I could set a PR!!! I hadn’t looked at my watch since mile 6 and a PR never crossed my mind, I wasn’t trying for one, I wasn’t racing this. Then I thought, where is the 5 hour pace group?

I was going to go for it. I had 6 miles to go. My PR was 4:55, and with the time I actually crossed the starting mat, I had enough time to get there, but could I get there?

The sun was starting to warm things up, but the wind was also picking up. I just thought, make it to mile 21, and I did. Then I was thinking, I had one more treat with me, a cherry Jolly Rancher. I would eat that at mile 22, to encourage me to get to the next mile. However, we had just entered Grays Lake with the wind at our face.

I made it to mile 22 and was like, if I can make it to mile 23, I would eat that Jolly Rancher and I would have the wind behind me and I would take off my pullover. (Runners think about weird things.)

I then got to mile 23, time to take action – Jolly Rancher time, and time to get down to the tank top! Only 3 more miles to go!!! I knew the end of Grays Lake was mile 24, I could get there.

I made it to mile 24, only 2 miles left, just keep moving. Then there was a small incline. This course really wasn’t bad with elevation. There were some hills in the beginning, but it would be what I would call a fair course. However, that incline just after 24, I found myself walking. The first time the entire race… yep I was successfully running through aid stations. The walking felt weird on my legs though, so when I got to the top, I was back to running.

I was excited to see another aid station, my weird leg feeling had settled in my left calf, and I needed some Gatorade!!

Then I passed the mile 25 flag. I still wasn’t going to look at my watch. I just kept moving. I knew I was getting closer as I could hear noises.

I was at the last corner before the home stretch and members of the running group were standing there cheering me on. I made sure to go slap some high fives.

Then I turned the corner…..

I could see the clock, it had a 4, then another 4 after it… I was going to PR the marathon… I was a little emotional, which made it really hard to breathe. I crossed the finish line when the clock read 4:48….That was a PR!!! I pushed stop on my Garmin, 4:43!!!! HELLLO PR BABY!!! I DID IT!!!!

I walked to eventually find a finisher’s medal where the volunteer first shook my hand, then hung the medal around my neck. I then found a bottle of water on a table alongside cups of Gatorade Endurance.

I was soooo excited and I couldn’t find anyone I knew. SO I did the next best thing, I took a picture and posted it to Instagram stories.

What the heck just happened? My old marathon PR is from Grandma’s Marathon 2015 with at time of 4:52, but it doesn’t count because that is my Garmin time and not my official results. I paused my watch for a bathroom stop. My actual PR is from the 2016 Louisiana Marathon with a time of 4:55:02. So I blew it out the water, without trying.

photo from the race app

I called Josh, he was tracking me on the app. Oh – there was a really awesome app with live tracking and all the features. Josh had went to take a shower when he was done  running. Usually my times would have allowed enough time, but not today. He was on his way back to the finish area, and he was starving as when he finished he wasn’t directed to the food.

While I waited for Josh, I found Jeremy. He had run a great race too, while it wasn’t a PR for him, he enjoyed the day. We all three then walked through the food area. It was hidden at the very end of the finish chute. Josh had just wondered through the beer area, which was the first cutout of the finish chute, it was also the place with the race results.

As far as the post race food, there was more bottled water, chocolate milk, Gatorade in cups, oranges, bananas, sugar cookies, chips and queso, yogurt, ice cream, pretzels and pulled pork sandwiches. It was nice there was someone watching to make sure non runners did not have access to the food.

In the food area we also met up with more local club runners, so we all chatted some more before making our way to the post race beer. They had the Sam Adams 26.2 on tap.

Also in this area was the PR Bell, so I made sure to ring it loud and proud. I had never done that before. I also made sure to get my official race results 4:43:22. My shiny new PR!

We hung out a little more, but the day was getting away from us. so we said our goodbyes and departed ways. The walk to the car seemed to take forever.

We stopped for McDonald’s on the way home, because nothing ever sounds good when I am done running long distances except salty fast food fries. We were back home before it was dark.

Overall: This is a great race. I can’t believe it took me 29 marathons to cross the finish line. It really showcases the city of Des Moines, it competitively priced and it has the things a runners needs to have a successful race. I think one of the only things I would like changed is a later expo time on Saturday.

If you also ran the race, don’t forget to claim your results on Athlinks.com.

Practicing for a PR

“Disclaimer: I received entry in the Scooby Doo, Scoobtober 10k/5k as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!”

Kona is back for more! She’s accomplished her first 5k and is ready to go after a PR with the Scoobtober Virtual 5k.

That’s right there is a second event in the Scooby Doo Virtual Run series. If you missed out on the first one, now is your chance! The October event also offers a 10k. You need to register by October 20th. *Code BIBRAVE will save you on your registration!

I am not sure what to expect, I do know there is room to improve her time, but the weather is not cooperating. As I write this it is hot and humid again, so I hope one day we will get fall again and e can attempt a PR.

Since we took part in the September Doo Good 5k, we also are working towards the challenge medal too. The challenge registration is closed, but you can see the size of the September medal to know what to expect for October.

Included with Scoobtober entry:

  • Official Scoobtober Backpack
  • Scoobtober Virtual Run Finisher Medal
  • Digital Finisher Certificate
  • Scoobtober Dog Bandana
  • Scoobtober Virtual Run Doggie Medal/Tag

Also don’t forget in support of the Scooby-Doo “Doo Good” campaign, a portion of your registration will be donated to the Best Friends Animal Society.

Headed Back for the Medal

Headed Back for the Medal

“Disclaimer: I received entry into the Madison Marathon Half 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!”

The title of this post gives away a lot, but keep reading…. I have a discount code for you!

I will be headed back to Madison for another race, and my 3rd time at the Madison Marathon fall event. I’ve run the spring event that coincides with the medal challenges, and I ran this marathon in 2016.

In 2017 I decided to try the half marathon, and they introduced a 4 year medal series. The medals will all go together when they are done. Of course, I need to try to get all these medals, so I am back for the 2018 event.

Here is my 2017 medal:


Complete the Square Video – https://www.facebook.com/MadisonMarathonEvents/videos/2186380384709882/

If you are like me and sign up for races for silly reasons, here are some dates that might be of interest.

  • Online registration closes November 7 at 11:59pm CT
  • Expo and packet pick up will be Friday, November 9th & Saturday, November 10th
  • Race day is Sunday, November 11th. The marathon starts at 7, with the half to follow 10 minutes later.


Use “MMRAVE18” to save 10% through 11/7  http://www.madisonmarathon.org/

Maybe I will see you there!